|Psylocke (Joint Venture)|
|Real Name||Elisabeth Glorianna Braddock II|
|Alias(es)||"Betsy", Agent Braddock, "Mariposa Mental"|
|Relatives||James Braddock, Sr. (father, deceased), Elizabeth Braddock I (mother), James "Jamie" Braddock II (elder brother), Brian Braddock (twin brother), Tessa Falsworth (half-sister), Thomas Lennox (fiance, deceased), Mariko Yashida (patron)|
|Affiliation||Clan Yashida, Hellfire Club (London branch), Excalibur (former), S.T.R.I.K.E. (former), S.H.I.E.L.D. (former), the Hand (former)|
|Base Of Operations||Yashida Castle, Agarashima, Japan|
|Universe||Joint Venture Universe|
|Eyes||Purple (blue originally)|
|Hair||Purple (originally blonde, dyed light purple)|
|Unusual Features||Naturally purple hair and eyes|
James Braddock was a scientist from a dimension called Otherplace, a parallel universe created by Merlin, former Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, that follows different laws of science than our own. On Earth, he met and and married a woman named Elizabeth, and they had three children: James II, the eldest, and twins, Brian and Elisabeth II, or "Betsy" as she woulf come to prefer to be called.
Growing up in Braddock Manor, just outside of London, Betsy never knew her father's alien origins, only that he tried his best to get her and her brother the best education money could buy. Yet, despite James and Elizabeth's best efforts, they could not tame the inner fire, the warrior spirit that dwelt deep inside Betsy's soul. As Brian liked to put it, "I got all the academic genes, and you [Betsy] the rough-and-tumble ones."
A cruel irony it was, then, that when Brian and Jamie survived a car accident that nearly slew them and Brian's girlfriend, Courtney Ross, they were visited by the spirits of Merlin and his daughter Roma, who offered them a choice -- one brother would take up Caliburn, the Sword of Might, and the other would wear the Amulet of Right. Pacifistic Brian chose the Amulet, while daredevil Jamie chose the Sword, and both were blessed -- or perhaps cursed -- by their choices. The Amulet of Right turned Brian into Captain Britain, defender of Earth and the British Isles, while Jamie became Union Jack, able to reshape the world around him as he pleased.
Betsy, alas, had not been offered a talisman. However, something altogether different happened to her; she began having flashes of events yet to come, or things that had happened long ago. Eventually, she also acquired telepathic powers as well, which she used more frequently and more proficently than her random clairvoyant abilities. She learned that while Brian and Jamie's powers came from their connection to their father, and therefore to Otherplace, her own abilities were mutant in nature. While this set her apart from her family, Betsy was loathe to look a gift horse in the mouth. So it was that while Brian and Jamie began to defend Britain from the evils that threatened it, Betsy took a broader view, and joined S.T.R.I.K.E, the British division of the international law enforcement agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.
Psylocke, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
STRIKE and SHIELD had no shortage of work and training for Betsy. Under the codename "Psylocke", a name she would use for some time to come, Betsy became an accomplished pilot, a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, and one of their most slilled infiltration and intelligence-gathering operatives. She founded, and eventually came to lead, STRIKE's Psi-Division, consisting of many psychics, human, mystic, and mutant, which kept SHIELD one step ahead of nearly all its adversaries.
By necessity, Betsy kept her life as Psylocke secret from her brothers. A cover career was fashioned for her in modeling, which she learned she quite enjoyed, and excelled at. Even the radical decision to dye her hair purple from its natural blonde (at that time all the rage among fashion models) helped Betsy to stand out, and she appeared on several covers and in several ads as a "face." However, despite this almost pleasant diversion, Betsy's mind and attention were never far from SHIELD business.
Meeting Tom Lennox
Eventually Psylocke would come across her first real conflict of interest with SHIELD when they asked her to recruit a man named Thomas Lennox, a powerful telepath and telekinetic who could have been a great asset to STRIKE's Psi-Division. Betsy met with the man, and they instantly formed a deep connection. She learned that Tom wanted nothing to do with being a secret agent, even in a non-combative capacity; that his true passion was for journalism, for exposing the truth, rather than helping to conceal it. While Betsy understood the man's position, STRIKE was not so forgiving, and presented her with a sadistic choice: either make Tom an agent of the Psi-Division by any means necessary, or they would consider him a rogue element, a potential threat, and respond accordingly. Outraged, but backed into a corner, Psylocke agreed, and, being the superior psi of the two, telepathically altered Tom's memories and personality, so that he would see joining the Psi-Division as the right thing to do. It was a decision that haunts her to this day.
Tom Lennox was now one of her teammates in the Psi-Division, but his joining had been tainted by the unconscionable act Betsy had been forced to perform to make it so. Thus it was that she began to keep her distance from her teammates, keeping interactions with them strictly in a professional capacity, and shielding her mind more carefully than ever against telepathic intrusions, even friendly ones.
Eventually, a time would come when STRIKE's agents were being targeted, one by one, for assassination. HYDRA, a dark shadow organization that had risen up in the wake of the fall of the Axis in World War II, sought to strike a blow against SHIELD by eliminating, not only its British division, but its entire psychic network.
Betsy had foreseen this with her precognitive powers, but was too terrified to accept the truth of it, and so kept the visions secret from her team. Unfortunately, this just made it easier for HYDRA, as one by one, Psylocke's teammates were drawn out, isolated, and eliminated, by one of HYDRA's most skilled and ruthless European assassins: the ruthless, sadistic martial artist known as Slaymaster. Finally, when only she and Tom were left alive, Betsy called her brothers, seeing no choice left to her. While Brian and Jamie were shocked and disappointed that Betsy had kept her double life secret from them for so long, they would never turn their backs on their sister. Brian hid Betsy and Tom in Braddock Manor, which he and Betsy had inherited after their father had died in a lab accident, and their mother had vanished without a trace. During this time, Betsy apologized to Tom for being distant, though she could not yet tell him the reason for it. He accepted, and the two fell in love, that moment of peace ad honesty bringing them closer together. However, neither Betsy nor Tom were content to hide from their problems forever, and so they, Brian, and Jamie planned a counter-offensive that would end Slaymaster's threat once and for all.
Forging the Sword
Captain Britain, Union Jack, Tom Lennox, and Psylocke banded together and faced Slaymaster as a team. Brian and Jamie kept Slaymaster off balance physically, while Tom and Psylocke combined their psychic strength and attacked his mind, eventually frying his brain completely and leaving him catatonic.
In the wake of their victory, Brian made a business proposal to Betsy. While he did not know the details of the things Betsy had been forced to do as a member of STRIKE, he could tell how unhappy she was there, and so offered her and Tom permanent residence at Braddock Manor, and suggested they continue working together as Excalibur., outside the auspices of SHIELD and the crown, to protect Britain -- and, indeed, the world -- as a team. Betsy and Tom eagerly agreed, broke their ties with STRIKE, and thus the new team was born. Excalibur would go on to be celebrated as one of Britain's finest superhero teams, and STRIKE and SHIELD could do nothing to sanction them so long as they continued to act so heroically and be so well-beloved by the public.
The Sword Breaks
Unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever, especially when parts of it were built on lies. It came to pass that Britain was attacked by the Mandarin, a Chinese imperialist, crime lord, inventor, and magician infamous for his ten Power Rings, forged from alien technology and infused with magic.
It was at this point that Tom Lennox had finally worked up the courage to propose to Betsy, whom he had loved for a very long time. Unfortunately, right after he bought the ring (an amethyst, rather than a diamond, for he knew Betsy's favorite color), he ws abducted by the Mandarin's forces, and subjected to the power of Mandarin's "Mento-Intensifier" Ring (often also called the Liar). Ironically, even as Tom fell under its thrall, the Liar Ring revealed a grim, nearly-forgotten truth -- that the only reason Lennox had stayed with STRIKE at all was because Psylocke had changed his memories and his personality and forced him to. Using the Mento-Intensifier Ring, the Mandarin fomented those feelings of resentment and betrayal, warping Tom's love into hatred, and banishing even the thought of forgiveness. Under Mandarin's control, Tom attacked the rest of Excalibur, unleashing his full telepathic and telekinetic might for the first time and proving to be even more powerful than he had originally thought; his telekinesis could hold Captain Britain's incredible physical strength at bay, and he telepathically blocked Union Jack's access to his matter-manipulation powers, mentally torturing him with the intent of shattering his mind and driving him mad.
Only Psylocke stood a chance against her enraged lover. To save Brian and Jamie, she engaged Tom in psychic battle, where she lifted the block on his memories and showed him the truth of why she had changed them to begin with; that STRIKE would have had him killed, had she not. Somewhere deep within the recesses of his mind, Tom understood this, and forgave Betsy -- but he was still under the thrall of the Liar Ring, and so the fight continued until Psylocke struck him with a powerful psycho-blast, the ultimate, focused expression of her telepathic powers.
The Braddock siblings would then go on to battle the Mandarin and defeat him, but the damage had been done. Tom Lennox was dead, slain by the woman who had loved him, and the truth of Psylocke's manipulations, however necessary they might have been, drove a wedge between her and her brothers. Excalibur fractured as easily as it had been forged, with Brian and Jamie contimuing their fights against evil alone, while Betsy was left at loose ends.
Psylocke's life seemed as though it had fallen apart, but in truth, her trials had not even begun.
With nothing else to do, she took a job as a charter pilot for Royal Transcontinental Air, flying cargo planes back and forth between the UK and the US. It was as she returned from one of these cargo flights that her plane was sabotaged, and destroyed, by an old enemy: Slaymaster, mysteriously returned from the near-dead, now possessed of formidable telepathic powers of his own. Betsy barely managed to survive the crash, and had no time at all to catch her breath before Slaymaster attacked. During the fight, Betsy learned that Slaymaster's body had been possessed by an entity known as the Shadow King, and that he wanted to add Psylocke's telepathic prowess to his own, either by enslaving her or slaying her and taking the power for himself. Psylocke fought back valiantly, but she was overwhelmed, and goaded by the Shadow King, Slaymaster gouged out her eyes in revenge for what she had done to his mind.
Betsy was only saved by the timely intervention of her brother Brian, who heard her scream of agony in his mind when she lost her eyes. However he felt about her, she was still his sister, and didn't deserve to suffer at the hands of someone so foul and cruel as Slaymaster. Enraged, Brian attacked, striking Slaymaster with everything he had, keeping him too off balance for the Shadow King to concentrate on using his telepathy. Finally, Brian did what Betsy could not the first time they fought, and snapped Slaymaster's neck, killing him and casting the Shadow King back into the Astral Plane.
Betsy recuperated at Braddock Manor briefly, learning to use her telepathic and clairvoyant powers to 'see' in place of her eyes. However, things remained tense between her and her brothers, and she ultimately left for Switzerland to finish healing.
Betsy, sadly, would not even be allowed to recuperate in peace. She was kidnapped from the Alps by the other-dimensional sorceress known as Spiral. Spiral had been tasked by Matsu'o Tsurayaba, one of the masters of the Japanese ninja clan known as the Hand, to restore his lover Kwannon, a top assassin of theirs who had been blinded and nearly killed in a fashion quite similar to Betsy herself. Spiral, ever the trickstress, planted Psylocke's mind into Kwannon's body, and vice versa. Both women were surgically given bionic cameras in the form of artificial eyes, restoring their sight, and their mental powers and fighting skills were split evenly between each other; Kwannon's "empathic blade" combined with Psylocke's own "psycho-blasts" into a psychic knife either woman could produce from their fists, and Kwannon gained SHIELD combat training while Psylocke became a master of Eastern martial arts and weapons.
What happened to Kwannon after that is unknown, but Psylocke was brainwashed into becoming "Ankoku-Ojou", the Dark Queen of the Hand. She became a lethal force, feared in Hong Kong, Japan, and Madripoor, and whatever will she had had left was eroded to nothing along with her sense of self.
Eventually, Psylocke was sent to assassinate Mariko Yashida, the head of a Japanese clan who had proven to be stubborn adversaries of the Hand on many occasions. She was greeted by Mariko's Champion and fiance James Logan, and her cousin Sunpyre, whom she engaged in pitched battle. Logan won the fight through an incredibly risky gambit -- Sunpyre threw a flame blast at Psylocke and he interposed himself between her and the flames, then stabbed himself with her psionic knife while he was burning. The physical and mental agony tore through Psylocke's mind, shocking her awake from the Hand's conditioning and restoring some semblance of self to her at last. Logan's burns, of course, healed eventually, but the trauma would linger within Betsy's ind for some time to come.
After their initial conflict, Betsy sought to make up for her crimes by serving Clan Yashida. Mariko was skeptical at first. However, Psylocke eventually found herself fighting the savage Sabretooth, an old nemesis of Logan's, in a brawl throughout Yashida castle, trying to keep him away from Logan and Mariko's young adopted daughter, Amiko. Impressed by Betsy's courage, honor, and self-sacrifice, Mariko and Logan formally offered her a position within the clan, and Psylocke gratefully accepted.
Today, Psylocke serves Clan Yashida as both a protector and an intelligence agent, using her powers of telepathy and precognition in service to Mariko as she had before under STRIKE. Her martial skills exponentially increased by the merging with Kwannon at the cost of some of her psychic power, Psylocke takes a markedly different approach to combat than she had as a member of the Psi-Division. Now she is more prone to fighting at close range, using her telepathy in combat in the form of her psychic knife. This, Logan has told her, is a risky way to fight without healing powers like his, but Psylocke responds that it feels right somehow. Time will tell if that 'rightness' will have a cost.
Psylocke is half-Otherworlder, but her powers are genetic in origin, classifying her as a mutant. She is potentially one of the most powerful telepaths on the planet, though she is currently operating at only half power.
While telepathy is common in the Joint Venture Universe, each telepath takes a different approach to the use of their powers, practicing different specializations and excelling in different things. In large part thanks to her merger with Kwannon, Psylocke is primarily a telepathic illusionist and combatant, and specializes in psionic deception or various forms of psychic attack:
Clairvoyance: Psylocke's first power ever to manifest was the ability to receive random, brief precognitive or postcognitive glimpses of the past or future as it pertains to her. Though these are few and far between, she does continue to experience them even after her body swap.
Telepathy: Psylocke's primary power is the ability to affect and manipulate the minds of other sentient beings. She can read minds, and communicate mentally with others over long distances. When she uses her telepathic powers, a butterfly-shaped "mask" of psionic energy appears over her eyes.
- Telepathic Tracking: Enhanced psionic senses enable her to track other sentient beings by their unique thought patterns, particularly if they are thought patterns she knows well, or ones that mean her harm.
- Mind Control: Psylocke can temporarily control the minds of others. Though it originally required intense concentration, this has become easier for her since her body swap with Kwannon.
- Telepathic Illusions: She has the ability to create realistic, multi-sensory illusions. She most commonly uses this to make herself invisible to human eyes, create the illusion that she looks like someone else, or to create experiences in the minds of others of events that are not truly happening.
- Telepathic Detection: She can scan large areas (roughly three square miles) and detect minds, both friendly and hostile, in her vicinity. She can also concentrate on the brainwaves of specific people to learn of their condition.
- Mental Paralysis: Psylocke can stun people telepathically, temporarily immobilizing or paralyzing them.
- Memory Control: Psylocke can alter the memories of anyone in her vicinity, either creating illusory memories that feel as real as actual experiences, or inducing partial or total amnesia. After her experience with Tom Lennox, however, she is loathe to use this ability.
- Psycho-Blasts: Her original offensive power, Psylocke could project psionic force bolts which would have no physical effects, but instead affected a victim's mind in order to cause pain, paralysis, unconsciousness, or even death.
- Astral Projection: Like most telepaths, Psylocke can project her astral form from her body onto either alternate physical planes or into the astral plane. In the astral plane, she can mentally create psionic objects and manipulate the aspects of her environment, feats only possible by the most skilled of psychics or sorcerers.
- Psychic Focus: Betsy possesses a unique ability to focus and channel her telepathy into exceptionally powerful piercing attacks, which can penetrate even the strongest psychic defenses. During a battle between Excalibur, Black Tom Cassidy, and the Juggernaut, her "psycho-blasts" actually succesfully pierced the psychic protections of Juggernaut's helmet and caused him psychic injury. Her psychic weapons can achieve much the same effect.
Psionic Weaponry: Described as "the focused totality of her telepathic powers," Psylocke can create weapons of pure mental energy, by intensely channeling and focusing her psionic powers into her hands. These psychic weapons (usually a knife or a sword) are said to be the ultimate physical manifestation of her powers, which she typically plunges into the minds of her targets directly. She often uses them to disrupt the neurons of her foes by driving the glowing "blade" of mental energy into their skulls. Like her psycho-blasts, these psychic weapons can cause pain, paralysis, unconsciousness, or even death. Uniquely to the psychic wraponry, she can also use them to shatter telepathic effects on others, such as mind control or telepathic power inhibition.
Telekinesis: To the best of her knowledge, Psylocke possesses no active telekinesis; she cannot fly, fire telekinetic force bolts, erect force fields, or manipulate objects from a distance. However, some of her psychic abilities and weapons have definite physical components to them, impying that she may possess the latent potential for telekinesis outside of these weapons.
- Telekinetic Weapons: Psylocke's psionic weapons can damage a target either physically, mentally or in some cases, both. Where her psionic weapons only manifest as a faint glow, Psylocke's telekinetic manifestations produce visible radiance in the physical world. Thus, she can use her psychic katana as a makeshift light source in darkened areas.
- Telekinetic Katana: Psylocke can manifest a telekinetic katana blade composed of raw psi-energy at will, which can cleave through solid objects, even something as dense as carbonadium, as well as operate the same way as her psychic blades.
- Telekinetic Archery: In addition to swords and knives, Psylocke can create psionic bows and arrows. The psychic arrows operate in a similar fashion to her "psycho-blasts", but must be aimed and shot, rather than simply being fired from her mind. She can also manifest psionic crossbows with bolts that act like grappling lines, allowing herself and others to travel along it.
- Butterfly Shuriken: Psylocke can create butterfly-shaped throwing stars out of psychic energy that cause physical and mental damage. If they strike an enemy's spinal cord, they can result in complete paralysis. These are small and easy to manifest, so they are her preferred ranged weapon.
- Telekinetically Enhanced Condition: Psylocke can enhance her speed, strength, agility and reflexes to super-human levels through her latent telekinesis.
Master Martial Artist: Psylocke has been classified as a master martial artist, though the specific fighting arts she has mastered have never been revealed. Presumably, as Kwannon was a top assassin for the ninja clan known as the Hand, both she and Psylocke are is skilled in various Ninjutsu techniques, such as Taijutsu and Kenpo. Thaks to both women's respective combat training, Psylocke's fighting skills and techniques far surpass those of the either average Hand Ninja or SHIELD Agent. Her skills have been said to rival those of a ninja grandmaster. Psylocke has also received additional training from various members of Clan Yashida, including James Logan and Kenichiro Harada. She is also very well versed in the use of most conventional Ninja weapons and tactics, making her excel at stealthy, silent movement, infiltration & concealment, escape & evasion, covert operations, espionage, and acrobatics.
Bionic Eyes: Described as "a gift from Spiral to her favorite toys," both Psylocke and Kwannon each possess a pair of bionic cameras in place of their eyes, which record a constant feed of video and transmit it to a private channel on Mojoworld, enabling Spiral to tape everything both women see and hear in real time. The cameras automatically adjust themselves, able to zoom in or out at either woman's will to view things in perfect clarity up to a mile away in optimal conditions. They can automatically adjust for any light level, from blinding direct light to near-absolute darkness, and are immune to optical irritants that would impair most people's vision, like dust, smoke, or blinding powders.
Pilot: Betsy Braddock is an experienced pilot of both civilian and British military-grade aircraft, including an SR-71 Blackbird much like the X-Men's.
Power Split: Psylocke and Kwannon "share" a pool of psionic power between the two of them. Before the body swap, Kwannon was merely a low-level empath with the ability to form psychic weaponry. Psylocke's telepathic power, on the other hand, was originally measured at somewhere just below that of Jean Grey or Professor Charles Xavier. Now, although she possesses the ability to form psychic weapons, Psylocke possesses far less versatility in the use of her powers than she had with STRIKE or Excalibur, mostly only using them for detection, illusions, and combat. In addition, her range has been significantly decreased; where before she could sense happenings all over the British Isles, now she can only detect minds within a few miles of herself without assistance.
Close-Range Combat: Partly due to her reduced power and partly due to the merger with Kwannon leaving her with slightly more aggressive tendencies, Psylocke has become something of an "action junkie", preferring close-range melee combats to striking her targets at range. This change in tactics makes her more formidable up-close, but can also be exploited to lure her into a melee fight with a superior opponent rather than a ranged battle where she would have a clear advantage.
Dark Side: Kwannon was the Hand's top assassin; while not an evil woman, she was certainly far more ruthless and bloodthirsty than Betsy herself. Betsy has inherited these traits, and with the knowledge and understanding of ninja tactics she acquired from Kwannon, she has become more prone to manipulating others as well. She has even changed her style of dress into a darker, more form-fitting, provocative wardrobe, the better to distract her opponents with her new body and set them up for a surprise attack. She has even used this seduction tactic on her allies in Clan Yashida. Psylocke is aware of this darker side of herself and is attmepting to counter it, but her current instincts are much more predatory than her old ones.