A part of Ric Carlisle had honestly wanted to turn on some music, smooth his fraying nerves out a bit before they crumpled like paper under the burden of an eraser, but he got the feeling it would only lead to him putting a bullet in the Blackbird's radio, and he didn't feel like funneling any funds Beast's way to help pay for it. He looked at his iPod like he would look at a sample of smallpox; his headphones had been tossed Frisbee-style away onto one of the couches. His thoughts were on the X-Men, dead, injured, or totally worn out to the point of being one, the other, or both.
He loved Beast, but at the same time, Alaric had grown to detest the methods used to champion what he stood for; first, Dallas Green had left, weeks ago, and then after he did the morale of the X-Men had slowly sagged and fallen to the point where, when a mission finally came, Alaric had no desire to come along. It seemed that many of the OG second-generation team members had felt the same, and so it had fallen to Alexander Smith (a broken man in his own right) to lead the team. And it had been an unmitigated disaster.
And then Ashlynn: in one swift moment, the Phoenix Force had been unleashed, inflicting who-knew what kind of damage on Las Vegas and the people around her. Ric had heard the stories from his father on what Jean Grey had done to the people she had confronted, how Warren's charred corpse had taken the better part of two days to come back from the dead even with his Cheyarafim ring at his back. How no one - no one - who Jean cornered survived. Not the best, not the brightest...certainly not any mutants who were less than that.
And now Ashlynn was losing it, right in front of their eyes, and nobody had any idea what to do.
"I know what to do, Alaric."
Ric looked up, but didn't turn around to see Warren: he knew his father was standing right in front of him, looking like almost his mirror image except with blonde hair instead of black; his resurrection ring was on his middle finger, as opposed to Alaric, who wore his on his right. Otherwise, what with Warren's vastly slowed aging processes, they could be twin brothers. In a way, that was kind of cool, Ric decided. Growing old with his father, as opposed to growing old after the fact. But then there was the possibility that Warren could always outlive him, one way or the other--
Back to the present. Warren's tone suggested nothing good about his idea, and now Alaric turned around and stood up. His father was still an inch or two taller than him, but they could look into each other's eyes effectively enough. Something glistened in Warren's eye: regret? Fear? Anticipation?
"I can't kill her, Warren. I won't."
His face was understanding, but even as the billionaire playboy opened his mouth Ric knew what his father would say. Even with that knowledge, it didn't soften the blow.
"We have to kill her, Alaric. We can't risk it happening again. I can't risk..."
His voice broke, and he looked down regretfully for a second, breaking his staring contest with Alaric. The son sighed and sat down again, running his hands through his black hair: his resurrection ring pressed against his head and then hit leather with a soft ploomp as his hands dropped like a puppet with cut strings. Warren sighed, too, and though there were no footsteps Alaric felt as though his father was slowly drifting through the ship.
"I loved Jean, Alaric. More than anything, I loved her, and in a lot of ways I still do. But I saw what the Phoenix did, to the people I loved, people I cared about, people I hated, people I never even knew existed. I know what you're going through; I know where you are, and I'm sorry you have to be there. I just...God, Ric, I'm sorry. But it's like I said. I just can't risk it."
There was a sudden crack through the tinny air of the Blackbird as Warren reached out and snapped his own son's neck quickly and brutally; Ric slumped and tumbled out of the chair, and Warren, letting out the breath he had been holding shakily, lightly kicked his son's body out of the way and sat down at the controls.