Sean Cassidy absolutely hated to fly if it wasn't under his
own power, or with himself in the pilot's chair. But when Emma had
abandoned her Massachusetts Academy, she had taken her private jet
with her, leaving Sean to resort to commercial transportation. He
also knew he had little in the way of advantage. Betsy was at his
side, but they both knew if it came to a psionic confrontation between
the two, Emma would have the advantage there as well. Sean could turn
the advantage to a win with Banshee's scream, but he sincerely hoped
Emma would not escalate the situation to that level.
Simply put, he planned to beat her to the punch -- get in, contact
the new mutant, and get out again with the new mutant safely under
And God help Emma Frost if she tried any of her old tricks to get
Emma Frost chuckled to herself, as Bumpkin drove Jono, Monet and
herself to Kennedy Airport. She admitted with bemusement that she
had made an oversight. Or, rather, she had discovered the advantage
to having not forced the Generation X kids to join her when she returned
to New York. Jubilee, Angelo, and Paige, were not privileged rich
kids. They were able to relate to kids of their own station far better
than Monet could, or Jono could from their position of privilege.
She would have to rectify that situation as soon as possible.
In the meantime, though, if her affluent appearance was offputting
to this new contact, she had an ace up her sleeve.
She quietly sat back in the seat, listening to Monet and Jono discuss
who their new contact might be. Beside her, Tessa was on the phone,
attempting to secure accomodations for them. "Oklahoma City is the
best we'll be able to do, Ms. Frost. Only place within 100 miles of
our contact with four star accomodations."
"It will have to do, then."
Bobby knocked on the edge of the doorway. "Hank, you decent?"
"It's ten am, Bobby. Of course I'm decent."
"Well," Bobby said with an air of mischief, "One never knows. Last
I saw you, you were looking for Cecilia and..."
This got Bobby a beaker thrown at him, which he caught, laughing.
"Seriously, I need your help."
"I have tried to persuade our Cecilia that this would be a good opportunity
for her to see the less -- chaotic side of being an X-Man first hand,
but she is immovable and refuses to accompany you." Hank shook his
shaggy head slowly, looking faintly disappointed. "She is, I'm afraid,
quite stubborn." Then, he grinned goofily, and added, "Whatta woman!"
"No, I'm good going by myself, Hank, honest. I was just hoping you'd
make reservations at a hotel for me, so I could get a move on that
much sooner." He already had a duffel bag and a garment bag slung
over his shoulder.
Hank nodded. "Very well. You have my cellphone number. Call me in
an hour and I'll let you know where you'll be dwelling for the duration
of your scouting visit."
"You're the greatest, Hank, man. I owe you one."
"Indeed you do. You can take me out for beer at Harry's when you
"Done." Bobby turned and pelted for the door as he heard the cab
honk for him. "I'll see you in a few days."
"Best of luck, to you!" Hank called.
"I'll need it!" Bobby called back before the door slammed behind
Once safely on the road, Bobby closed his eyes. The Professor hadn't
mentioned it, and that lack of acknowledgement was all Bobby really
needed. There were more organizations than the Xavier School and the
Xavier Institute interested in contacting new mutants now. He doubted
X-Force would care, nor what remained of X-Factor after Havok's death.
But Banshee had raised holy hell telling the Professor that his plan
had finally backfired -- that Emma Frost had showed her true colors
and gone back to the Hellfire Club.
Bobby doubted it was as simple as that. He'd been there when Emma
had awakened from her coma. He'd seen the horror and shock in her
eyes when she'd found out that the first Hellions had been murdered
in cold blood.
He'd seen the regret. He'd heard from Jubilee, despite the girl's
outward condemnatioon of her, that the White Queen had developed compassion
and genuine concern for the new students to which she had been entrusted.
It just didn't fit that she would go all the way back to the
dominatrix bitch who had kidnapped Kitty Pryde after all this time.
As a result, Bobby Drake expected to run into Emma in Oklahoma, taking
a less 'villainous' approach at swaying this newly manifested mutant
to her camp.
Bobby decided that whether he would stand by and permit this would
depend solely on whether Emma's change of heart had been as thorough
as Charles and Sean would have him believe. He knew very well that,
with rare exceptions, when someone reformed and joined the ranks of
the X -- they usually stayed reformed.
He didn't want to scare off this new prospect, but he was determined
to see for himself what the deal was with Emma. Why not do both
He settled in to close his eyes. His powers would inform him by the
ambient heat around him when they approached the airport. In the
meantime, Bobby thought, I'm going to need all the rest I can
April wasn't especially warm in Custer City, so when Aiko woke, he
shivered when he crawled out from under the handmade quilts and staggered
sleepily to the shower. It was Friday, and the only day of the week
Aiko regarded with anything resembling hope. It meant that if he survived
this school day, he'd be able to come back to Banji's house and hole
up in or near it for the entire weekend, thus sparing himself the
jibes and jeers of his so-called peers.
He padded quietly down the stairs on socked feet; it wouldn't do
to wake Banji. She taught afternoon classes and did what little the
high school considered extra-curricular activities, before driving
the 75 miles to Cheyenne and teaching night school there.
A breakfast of corn flakes -- God, what I wouldn't give for a
croissant or a bowl of Chocolate Sugar Bombs, Aiko lamented, and
then it was the three-quarter mile trek to school. I'm just glad
Banji's not teaching at the high school or I'd really be in bad shape,
having a godmother who's a teacher. He shook his head ruefully.
Count my blessings where I can get 'em, I guess. He straightened
his shoulders, lifted his chin, and prepared to deal with the tribulations
the day would hold.
Skateboarding was not a pleasure in Custer City; it was just ...
slightly faster than walking, and gave him a slight advantage over
the kids who walked. The kids who had bikes were, unfortunately, another
"Hey, hey, Jimmy! Look! It's the freak!"
Oh God, here it comes again. Aiko sighed, and pushed a little
harder off the sidewalk, so he could get what little head start he
could against the boys who approached.
"What's the matter, freak boy? Scared to deal with some real men?"
Don't answer them. Don't answer them. Don't answer them. Aiko
whirled, flipped them the finger, and called, "I'll deal with some
real men when you can find me some, Tad!"
"You little --"
And the chase was on. If I have to put up with this Akane Tendo
routine every day, I may as well make the most of it. For the
first time since he'd arrived, Aiko Carey found a reason to smile.
In fact, he felt positively invigorated!
Fortunately, since he was skateboarding into the rising sun, the
glow that suffused his body went unnoticed.
"Monet, shortly after we land, you will fly ahead to the high school.
Tessa and I have already enrolled you as a new student. You will attend
classes and learn what you can about our new manifestation, discreetly,"
"Of course, Miss Frost."
Bobby Drake whistled cheerfully as he drove his rented jeep toward
the little burg the pocket Cerebro was pointing him to. He knew he
had a youthful enough face to pass for a high school kid if need be.
Cerebro wasn't really sanguine on the details. The damn thing's
been a little on the fritz since we rebuilt it after Bastion. Even
Charles couldn't amplify the signal enough to pinpoint it exactly
this deep in the boonies. So I get to do the undercover thing and
use my looks to their advantage. Who'd'a thunk? Normally it's a nuisance
to look this young; the guys needle me to death when we go out to
Harry's to tie one on. But today, he felt certain, it'd serve
Sean Cassidy made a plane-to-ground phone call to the Department
of Education. "I'm just confirming our appointment for this afternoon.
I will be with Miss Braddock, doing career training for any interested
students. We've been working our way through the Midwest, and we're
making a special effort to not over look the smaller towns." He glanced
at Betsy and shrugged. This better bloody well work, he thought
in Betsy's general direction.
[~You're a natural actor,~] Betsy smiled. It had been her
idea to take this approach. It was a lot simpler than coming in with
all mutant powers blazing and stirring up the community. Besides,
this is a tiny little hamlet. Their nearest hospital is 16 miles away.
They've got all of one police officer, according to my research. We
don't want the town population to decide we're a threat. If we seem
to have the welfare of their children at heart, they'll have more
reason to trust us. Hopefully.
There weren't skateboarding hills, or big ramps to jump his board
off, but Aiko suddenly found himself in higher spirits. He felt like
he could run circles around the local yokels all day and never get
tired. But he knew he couldn't disappoint Banji -- so it was off to
school. Still -- this ray of hope gave him something to keep his spirits
up all day. They'd undoubtedly come after him again, and he could
show them how they did things in San Francisco.
Monet St. Croix sighed. I'm surrounded by philistines. The
girls looked at her with envy and hatred. The boys looked at her with
unveiled lust. All except for one -- the dark-skinned, exotic looking
boy in the back row who resolutely kept his nose in his history book.
This may make my task easier.
[~Ms. Frost -- it's a very small class, and one student is quite
obviously an outsider.~ I don't dare check the pocket seeker device,
though. It's a little obvious.~]
[~Keep me posted, Monet.~]
[~Of course, Ms. Frost.~]
- (biography) - (discussion)
- (stories) - (pictures)
- (links) - (updates)-