Epic X-Men #19

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Epic X-Men # 19: Polarizing Situations

*A week since Pyro and Blob’s arrest*

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(Sorry about the look of Storm in the pic, but I couldn’t really find a casual civvies pic that matched the set up have. Hope ya forgive me)

“Em’, was this all really necessary?”, Jean asks as she, Emma, and Orroro continue down the sidewalk looking through other store windows while carrying multiple bags of expensive clothes.

”Yes, dear. The both of you have been wearing your same ten outfits for too long in mixed styles that frankly didn’t look as creative and stylish as you both think. I set aside money specifically for this occasion”, Emma says while she continued her pace. “Be grateful I included your input on the kind of outfits you both are comfortable more comfortable wearing than simply the trends that would highlight features like Storm’s white hair and your red hair.”

”I see that you aren’t entirely comfortable with Emma buying outfits for the both of us, but it’s a kindness that makes Emma feel better. I don’t see the harm, as long as she doesn’t go too overboard”, Orroro chimes in.

”Well, I know you won’t be in objection. You don’t have a job or parents to get money from. I can buy my own clothes though and I’d rather not someone else’s money be spent on something worth so much that I’d never be able to pay back”, Jean said.

”Nonsense. Think of these as late emergency gifts. Hell, if need be, you can pay me in different favors with powers like yours if you feel that uncomfortable”, Emma says dismissively. Before Jean could protest further, they hear crowds of screaming as a car flies at them. Without hesitation, Jean catches the car as Emma and Storm see Iron Man fly by as if he were tossed away.

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”Tony?”, Emma exclaims before Jean drops the car she caught and gets in front to catch two more flying their way. Iron Man then whizzes past at high speeds, dodging multiple objects thrown his way.

”I can't get a good read on what’s going on while catching vehicles. Emma?”, Jean asks just as she catches a bus filled with terrorized people and lowers it.

”I am trying to maneuver past the crowds of minds....but something is scrambling my telepathy, making it difficult to get a good idea of what’s going on”, Emma says as she focuses her powers on the general area.

“I will fly ahead. Jean, try to maneuver the crowds away from the chaos. Emma, keep contact with the three of us“, Storm says as she takes off while undressing to reveal her superhero costume underneath her clothes in case trouble began. Flying past different objects, Storm could feel the electromagnetic fields began to increase as she got closer to the area....a sensation she hadn’t felt since her battles with Magneto.

“Incoming!”, Storm suddenly hears as Iron Man rams right into her helplessly by an invisible force.

Dazed, but not out, Storm desperately summons her winds to slow her and Iron Man’s falls.

”Thanks, ma’am. You know, if we make it out of this alive, we should have some nice one-on-one time”, Iron Man says once Storm lowers them safely.

”Another time, perhaps”, Storm says, pushing him behind her while she summons a great wind to halt the vehicles in mid-air before dispersing the winds to drop them. “What has happened, Iron Man? Has Magneto come?”

”No, but the person doing this might be connected. Storm, right?”, Iron Man asks. When Storm nods, he continues as they both take flight, “Pleasure to meet ya. I could definitely use some back up for this one.”

When the two get to an intersection, they find terrified young woman with flowing green-hair and electromagnetic energy encasing her in a bubble protecting her from incoming bullets from police. She was surrounded flying metal and large objects made of metal. In a further distance, a crowd of people watch the action unfold in a sort of morbid curiosity.

”Chief, our bullets aren’t getting through”, one of the officers say.

”Keep firing! We ain’t letting these mutants bully us”, another says.

“Why don’t you idiots take a hint? Leave!”, the girl yells as a wave of magnetic energy encasing the area, frying electronics closest to the epicenter and throwing the metal a good distance before they get pulled back by the magnetic energy building inside the girl.

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“She’s a mutant. You think you could get her to talk things out instead of wrecking the entire block?”, Iron Man asks as the two watch it all unfold.

”I don’t think so. The resulting electromagnetic energy has encased her in a shield, not unlike Magneto’s. She seems to scared to listen to reason. We must clear the area to allow her to calm down.”, Storm says observing the overall situation. It was at that point she contacts Jean and Emma. “Jean. Emma.”

”We see it in your head, Orroro”, Emma says in her head.

”We got this”, Jean says after Emma.

”My friends will do what they can to reach the young lady. Until then, help me get bystanders away from this scene”, Storm says.

”Sounds good to me. I will take the outer area, you get the inner area”, Iron Man says before the two take off to fulfill their tasks.

***********************

*down on the street*

First those creeps chased her that one time last week. Now, she was being chased by police. Why can’t anybody take a hint and just leave her be? These were the thoughts that floated in Lorna Danes head as she cried from the stupidity and anger of all these fools. She wouldn‘t usually other with idiots, but considering how they continue to bother her, it feels unavoidable. Despite her power clearly keeping them at bay, never had Lorna felt more helpless.

”Lorna Dane....can you hear me?”

Lorna looked up at the crowd, looking for the one responsible for the voice she heard. Great, she was going crazy, now.

”Except you aren’t, darling. My name is Emma Frost. I can see in your head the ridiculousness of the situation, but unfortunately, the change will have to start with us”, Emma said calmly.

”Us? Are you gonna Force me to join your stupid war, too? Or are you some weird mutant cult thing?”, Lorna asks aloud.

”No. We just want to keep everyone safe, yourself included. Right now, my friends are funneling people away from you and we had asked Iron Man to concentrate getting people to safety instead of on you”, Emma said to Lorna.

”I told him repeatedly to leave me alone and that I’m not with those crazy mutants on the news. He just kept coming and...isn’t he supposed to be the hero who can tell the difference between evil and innocents”, Lorna said frustratedly.

”Hate to break it ya, dear, but even the mightiest heroes like Captain America are human at the end of the day. Like you and I. Do you yourself mean to make all this damage?”, Emma asks rhetorically.

“No! That’s what I keep telling everyone! They won’t listen! Why won’t they listen?!”, Lorna asks.

”Cuz they are scared to a fault, hun. Still, we are trying our best to rectify that problem, but we need you to work with us at this moment. Please, try to calm yourself. Breathe in.......breathe out.”

Lorna follows Emma’s advice, letting the commotion become nothing but background noise. Soon, the objects begin to slowly lower down to the ground until the sphere of electromagnetic energy disappears.

“Very good, fear. Now, what I need you to do next is head down the mental path I am setting for you. Through this path, you will avoid police and my friends and I will take you anywhere you want to go”, Emma says as Lorna sees the path before her that she would follow to freedom.

********************

*Above the city buildings*

“Storm. Lorna has been led to safety away from law enforcement. Jean and I will head over to meet her while you help Tony wherever you can”, Emma says before ingraining the location in Storms head and breaking the telepathic connection.

“Iron Man, my friends have calmed the girl and taken her away from the area. She is no longer a threat”, Storm relays to Iron Man.

“Ya know, Fury expected me to take her in for interrogation....but you guys aren’t gonna let me. Are you?”, Iron Man asks.

”This was not an attack from Magneto’s Brotherhood. It was the result of stress put on a newly born mutant who had no training over the use of her out-of-control abilities. Our telepaths confirmed it me“, Storm explains.

“Aka Emma Frost was involved?....Fine. I will trust your word, but if more people are harmed from this, all bets are off”, Iron Man warns before the two continue assisting law enforcement in clean up and getting innocents medical attention.

**********************

*at a diner nearby*

”What am I gonna do? The police are looking for me and I’ve literally nowhere else to go. I used up what was left of the money I took from my parents and now, even Iron Man is looking for me”, Lorna says with her head in her hands.

”She will have the special chocolate chip pancake special, dear. Though we will need more time for our orders. For now, you can just get us all a round of orange juices. No pulp. Thanks”, Emma tells their waiter with a wink when he comes by. “Jean, dear, would like anything? My treat, as usual.”

“I’ll take whatever”, Jean says dismissively as she thinks of a way to help Lorna without scaring the poor girl off. With the way the brotherhood had been preying on the girl, Jean felt it probably wasn’t a good idea to offer her a place at the mansion right that moment. “Would you maybe like to contact your folks? You could use my cell.”

”Thanks, Jean, but no. Not until I have a plan and the guts to tell them no when they inevitably try to get me to come home again. The Brotherhood has actually been on my butt since before I left home. Broke into our house demanding I go with them and....god, this is so stupid!“, Lorna says angrily, causing the lights to flicker from her resulting anger.

”Lorna, whatever you do decide, we will help”, Jean says earnestly.

”Why? Who even are you people? What do you want with me?!”, Lorna asks exasperatedly.

”Simple. We want you to join our school. Unlike the bozos, we actually won’t take your choice away. But our main goal is to fill it with many mutants like us. I’m just gonna get you the omelet, Jean”, Emma says nonchallantly.

“Of course. More ‘join my totally not cult’ advertising”, Lorna says with a huff.

”Emma! Ugh, no, Lorna, she didn’t mean it like that. She means that we wanted to help you in more ways than simply getting you out of trouble. Like she said, we won’t take the decision from you. If you need us to take you elsewhere, we can do that! Emma has the money and we are just as capable of defending ourselves as you are, with plenty of friends who would come running the second we call. I promise, whatever you decide will be your own”, Jean explains desperately to mollify frightened young woman.

”.....Whatever. Give me the whole song and dance you prepared”, Lorna says after a sigh.

”Well.....”, Jean starts nervously as she was suddenly feeling like she was being tested. One wrong move and she could drive her off. Despite her promise, Jean did feel the best place was Xavier’s, but she couldn’t simply take that decision away from Lorna.

”Jean, dear. Leave the advertising to someone who has been taught in the business field since she could learn to talk. Look, Lorna, Jean may be trying to mince her words, but if you can’t already tell, I am not one to dance around the subject. Face it, you’re pretty much screwed on your own. Sooner or later, the Brotherhood will find you and you may just have spent all your lucky stars on the different conflicts you survived up to this point”, Emma said as she sets aside the menu to give Lorna her full attention. Neither Jean nor Lorna uttered a word as Emma went on. Emma was in business mode, now. “That collateral damage you caused on that street could get worse until you start practicing. You could practice on your own. Good luck creating your own controlled environment. Try not to hurt anybody there.”

Lorna winced at that, telling Jean that the thought of just trekking out on her own had crossed the girls mind.

“The brotherhood guarantees you have mutants with you, so long as you stand with them.”

“Oh, and you guys aren’t like them? The saints of mutantkind have graced me with their presence all of a sudden?”, Lorna says sarcastically.

”We could very well be under the circumstances, but not because we aren’t like them. The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning is very much like that, with a dream that they all currently follow and believe in, but unlike them, his goal first and foremost is to get you to learn to use your powers effectively so that you won’t hurt others, whereas Magneto will groom you to tear down entire civilizations. Do you have thirst for conquest, dear? I would think not considering you have been running for so goddamn long. Once you graduate, your choices will be up to you with the consequences to follow you depending one what you do from that point forward. So, with all this in mind, what will you do, Ms. Dane?”, Emma finishes as the waiter brings their drinks. “Thank you kindly, sweetheart. I have our orders ready to be taken. Now.....”

Jean studied Lorna with after staring at Emma for a bit, feeling every emotion while trying to block out the details of her thoughts, but it wasn’t hard for Jean to see what the decision was gonna be. Despite Emma‘s cold, calculated exterior, she was incredibly effective and persuasive.

**********************

*Xavier Institute for Higher Learning: Danger Room; a couple weeks since Lorna’s induction*

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“I got your back, Polaris”, Iceman says as he travels behind her on his ice path.

“Thanks, Iceman. I’m going in”, Lorna says as she reaches out with her powers and crushes the robot enemies that she came across, with Bobby pinning those flanking her with Icicle spears. As they do, Scott, Hank, and Xavier watch the two steamroll enemy after enemy with little to no effort.

“It’s like I said, sir. Their chemistry in the sessions are incredibly compatible. They are as much of a compliment to each other as friends as they are as teammates”, Scott explains as Bobby puts up an ice wall to block oncoming directions fire from behind while Lorna sweeps the front lines.

“Hmph, their alright I suppose. I still say you and Jean have better communication, honestly”, Hank says gruffly, which made Scott snort.

“Whatever the case, both Mr. Drake and Lorna have proved to be quickly adaptable these situations. Lorna, though.....”, Xavier trails as his anxiety begins to creep further in his mind.

”Charles....”, Moira utters as she walks into the room with an envelope in hand. That single look Xavier saw in her eyes told him everything.

”Lorna, could you and Robert please come up. You both did excellent in your session“, Xavier says in the microphone to communicate to them down below. The two walk up to the Danger Room control room, feeling good about themselves after that successful run they just had.

“What’s the news, Prof? You find us to be so above excellence that it’s made Scott jealous?”, Bobby asked walking in.

”Lorna, do you remember when we took some of your blood when going over your physical health?”, Moira asked as she turned to the young woman.

”Yeah. Why? Have I contracted somethin’?”, Lorna asked worriedly.

”No, lass. You have come off with a clean bill of health....but as far as your DNA, we found a match that Charles and I were suspicious about ya when Jean and Emma brought ya over”, Moira said as she handed over the envelope to Lorna with Bobby curiously looking over it with Lorna.

“It gives us the likely explanation of why Magneto is so interested in you”, Charles says cryptically as starts thinking over more contingencies regarding protecting Lorna.

”God, damn.....I knew it. I KNEW IT!! Why?! WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE HIM OF ALL PEOPLE!!!”, Lorna yelled, causing the electronics to flicker out of control from her raging abilities.

”It’s okay, Lorna. We will be here for ya, no matter what. He ain’t common’ near so long as I have anythin’ to say about it”, Bobby says as he hugs a crying Lorna.

“Professor, what’s going on?”, Scott ask, clearly missing something.

”It’s rather obvious Scott if you take into account the similarities between Lorna and-“

”No, I am not like him. I. Will. NEVER! BE! HIM!”, Lorna says angrily with streams of tears falling across her cheeks.

”Shh, it’s okay Lorna. He didn’t mean it like that”, Bobby said gently as he continued to hug Lorna.

“I swear, if anything else, I will kill that son-of-a-bitch for ruining my life! I swear....”, Lorna trails off sobbing into Bobby’s shoulder.

”Scott, Magneto will come after Lorna because she is his daughter biologically. Which is why it’s all the more imperative that we not only teach Lorna quickly how to control her powers well enough to defend herself, but-“

”-but to train ourselves for an inevitable confrontation with Magneto. I understand, sir”, Scott finishes Xavier’s thought. “Don’t worry, sir. We will be ready before that happens. I swear that to you as well Lorna, we won’t let Magneto succeed in coming after you.”

“Just as I swear I will do everything in my power to show him how much better I am away from him”, Lorna says with finality.

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End Of Chapter