DISCLAIMER: The characters, save Aiko Carey,
belong to the Marvel Comics Group and are used without permission
for the sole purpose of entertainment. Aiko Carey belongs to Indigo,
and should not be used without his permission.
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ARCHIVE: Usual rules apply. Carte blanche, go ahead. Otherwise,
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Matt Nute, Redhawk, and Mughi (nobody
you know) for help researching some of the Nietsche quotes I used.
To Frito for being a beta-reader par excellence, and to Falstaff for
some New Mutants backdata that was important to some of this story.
POST DATE: June 7, 2000
Emma Frost was awakened by someone politely calling her name.
[~Miss Frost. Excuse me. Miss Frost.~]
The White Queen stretched languidly, and raised her hands to her
face to lift the sleeping mask. [~Yes, Tessa, what is it?~]
[~Monet asked me to wake you. She says there's something in the
... radio room that you should see.~]
Emma nodded, slipping soundlessly out of bed. Sebastian Shaw mumbled,
slightly disturbed by the motion, then turned and went back to sleep.
[~Tell her I shall be down directly. Have a pot of coffee sent
down, and my usual breakfast.~]
[~Very good, Miss Frost. Jamaican Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Kona,
Emma paused thoughtfully, padding toward the bathroom on bare feet.
She considered the question as she turned the spigots and waited for
the steam to indicate her shower would be hot enough. [~Sumatra,
Tessa. And thank you.~]
[~Very good, Miss Frost.~]
Emma stepped into the steaming water and closed the telepathic connection.
The "radio room" was where the Hellfire Club kept their version of
Cerebro -- a device designed on Xavier's own mutant-detecting computer.
And if Monet thought this required Frost's personal attention, then
she had found something unique and interesting.
Emma smiled as the hot water washed the languor of sleep from her
mind and body. The four months since she had returned to the Hellfire
Club with Jonothon Starsmore and Monet St. Croix at her side had been
fairly uneventful, save for re-securing her position as White Queen.
Selene, sorcerer or not, was no match for Emma's psionic abilities.
And Hellstrom seemed willing to hold the rest of his people in line
Monet had been flourishing in the Fifth Avenue Mansion the Hellfire
Club called home. The rich surroundings suited her, as did being away
from the riffraff back in Massachusetts. DaCosta's attentions had
not hurt in the slightest ... and Monet's returning them distracted
the boy sufficiently that he frequently forgot to be suspicious of
Emma and Shaw's activities. She might have a turncoat White Pawn in
her ranks before long, at this rate.
She and Shaw often discussed playfully making a bet whether that
would be so.
Starsmore, unfortunately, had not been doing quite so well. His grasp
on his psionic abilities was much improved. He was proficient enough
now to send the length of the house without much difficulty -- this
was practically a quantum leap from his previous ability to speak
telepathically. He was impatient, but making a concerted effort not
to let it discourage him from his efforts. He knew he was making progress,
even if he had not yet developed sufficient control over the psionic
energy that roiled within him to reconstruct his face. And while Amara
Aquilla and Marie-Ange Tolbert now occupied the mansion as well, and
fawned over him -- he remained unmoved by the girls' affections. His
single-minded devotion was to restoring his body. And Emma knew, at
that time, he would likely, since she remained in his thoughts, attempt
to return to Paige Guthrie -- or seek to bring her to the Club.
At which point, Paige would refuse, and Emma would get to see where
Jono's loyalties really lay.
The duration of her reverie was sufficient for her to finish her
shower and return to the bedroom. Sebastian sat up in bed, regarding
her with a sleepy, sloe-eyed smile. "Good morning, Emma."
She leaned to favor him with a kiss and the scent of her gardenia-fragranced
skin, warm from the shower. "Good morning, Sebastian. Would love to
stay and have -- breakfast -- with you," her smile indicated more
than merely breakfast, "but it appears Monet's found something on
the seeker system."
Shaw's brows lifted, and he reached for his black satin obe. "Really,
A potential Hellion?"
Emma chuckled throatily. "Depending on what she's come up with."
Shaw grinned. "You have taken well to getting back in the saddle,
Emma's smile remained on her face, though her eyes filled with ominous
thunderheads. "I should never have left it, Sebastian." She let fall
the white robe, and stepped nude into her closet, smiling as she heard
Sebastian's back-throated growl of appreciation, and the accompanying
rustle of the bedsheets.
The closet was full of clothes -- all white -- but no two alike.
After some thought, Emma chose a form-fitting white dress with a matching
lightweight overcoat. The fabric was thin enough to hint at the shadows
of her legs when she walked, and snug enough to accentuate the curves
she cultivated to speed men's hearts. White stockings and pumps completed
the outfit. Her hair went up into a loose bun, with calculated wisps
falling against the back of her neck and in front of her ears.
She glanced over her shoulder one more time at Sebastian, then went
out to begin her day. The servants all greeted her with self-effacing
politeness. She strode to the end of the hall and descended the stairs.
"Good morning, Roberto."
Roberto DaCosta, the Black Rook, smiled solicitously. "Bom Dia, Miss
"And to you, Roberto." She continued down, not giving the young Brazilian
a second thought. He had brought himself down from the level she considered
a threat. Whether Monet had planned it or not, rendering the otherwise
powerful Sunspot complacent was quite a coup.
Tessa was just exiting quietly from the radio room as Emma approached
the door. "Your breakfast is ready as you ordered, Miss Frost."
"Excellent, Tessa. Thank you." She smiled as the aroma of coffee
reached her, and finished her entrance. "Monet? You have something
Monet, who went by Arete as Emma's White Bishop, turned. "Yes, Miss
Frost. We have a contact. By the readings, this one's fairly powerful.
I thought you'd want to be notified at once."
Emma drank deeply of her cup; the first coffee of the day infusing
her. "Well done, Monet. And what can you tell me about the contact?"
Monet's fingers flew with blinding speed across the keyboard. "The
power readings are registering psionic and energy manipulator, Ms
Higher than Jono -- almost as high as yourself." She smiled up at
her teacher. "You can be sure that the Xavier School will probably
be after this one as well, if their seeker device is giving them similar
"Indeed," Emma nodded, nibbling croissant. "And we shall have to
get there first and secure this new contact's acquaintance and trust
first. Where is our contact?"
Monet smiled and hit a key. A holographic heads-up map display flickered
into existence between Emma and herself. A flashing golden pitchfork
icon indicated the Hellfire Club's location in New York City. A little
flickering green arrow tracked across the state, triangulating against
the current location. It finally came to rest in Oklahoma. A few seconds
later, the voice of the computer announced, "Custer City, Oklahoma."
Emma smiled. "Excellent. Pack a few things. We must be in the air
in thirty minutes if we're to beat Xavier and Cassidy."
Monet arched one brow inquisitively.
"Xavier has the original Cerebro, upon which the one at Snow Valley
and this one were both based. Xavier habitually prefers to see the
new manifests himself...or, last such an encounter happened, he did.
You children who became Generation X were a different case entirely.
But the Phalanx necessitated a change from his customary methods of
Frost strode toward the door. "I'll be contacting our tyro about
the Frost Academy directly. Do let Jonothon and Roberto know I wish
them to accompany me."
As Emma strode upstairs, sending a mental command to Tessa to pack
her a bag, she left part of her brain to think. Custer City Oklahoma
is likely to be quite ... off the beaten path. While the affluent
approach may awe our young mutant, it may also offend or put him off.
That means I may need someone else for him to relate to. She sat
down on the bed, and lifted her phone to her ear, dialing one of her
memory-stored numbers. Heaven help me, that Jubilee might actually
have been useful to me in such a situation.
The phone rang at a modest yet opulent villa in Spain.
"Si?" Manuel de la Rocha answered the phone himself.
"Emma!" Manuel's voice lightened with amusement. "What do you need?"
"You know me so well," Emma replied, making no pretense that she
ever called Empath for anything else.
"Sean, luv, looks like you've got a new one." Betsy Braddock looked
up at Sean Cassidy. Her eyes glowed faintly pink-violet.
Sean nodded. "Show me what you have, Betsy, would you?" He thanked
the saints one more time for Jubilee's presence of mind. The girl
might have been a colossal pain in the butt most of the time, but
it had been her former affiliation with the X-Men, and Psylocke in
particular, that had given him the idea to ask her to replace Frost
at the school. We need a telepath, and the damnable
Frost woman took M and Chamber both when she reverted to type!
Had Sean been a less reasonable man, he'd have called up Charles
in New York to say, "I told you so." But he knew also that he was
covering up his disappointment with good old fashioned Irish temper.
Part of him had expected Emma to go back to being The White Queen
... but a greater part of him had, however begrudgingly, developed
some affection for her ... and, worse, begun to believe in her.
"It's out west," Betsy explained. "Oklahoma or thereabouts. This
knock-off you have here isn't as strong as Cerebro, so the magnification
is not as optimum as I'd hope. Not to mention I'm not nearly as --
focused -- a telepath as Charles ... or Emma."
"Can you do any better than 'thereabouts', Betts?" Sean asked, leaning
forward eagerly. "I hate to press you, but you know with Emma havin'
returned to the Hellfire Club, she'll likely be actively recruiting
"You don't know that for absolutely certain," Betsy said reproachfully.
"We have been monitoring the news, television, radio, and the Internet
for any mention that the Hellions had resurfaced and were up to their
"And how public were the previous set of Hellions, hmm?" Sean shook
his head. "She's marshalling her forces, Psylocke. I just know it.
And we have to get to this poor lad or lass first."
Psylocke nodded. "Valid point," she conceded, and turned back to
attempting to triangulate in on the signal from the second-rate Cerebro.
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