Shine

Textual Poaching Alert: Marvel owns everyone and treats them poorly. HOWEVER. They are the only profiters in this shell game.

From whence this? The snippet of dialogue below. I don't know if this is a very good Emma Frost (a character I wish I could do well); most people seem too put off by the politics to say. But really, not all mutants vote Democrat.




From New X-Men 116

"I saw children cut into wafer-thin slices. I watched a gifted ten-year-old pianist search for his hands among the broken glass. That monster must die."

"Killing our enemies was Magneto's Way. He's dead, Emma. You were there. His philosophies died with him."

"Oh, come on, Jean. Humans made those Sentinels to kill mutants. That... thing in your cells gave the order."

"I know. And Genosha is gone. So the only way now is the Professor's way. We need your strength and brilliance to help us recover from this."

"We all knew something like this would happen in the end. They're wiping us out!... Enough. I've called a taxi telepathically, Jean. I've become the perfect Faberge killing machine for a reason... And that reason is surely not to wave the flag of X-liberalism."

"What makes you such a bitch, Emma?"

"Breeding, darling. Top class breeding."





"ETA is twenty minutes, people. Put your seatbelts on, your seatbacks up, your trays in their upright and locked position, and Wolverine, you can consider this your personal 'no smoking' sign."

They won't ask me about it.

It's all right. They couldn't do it when Xavier was around, either.

I've been poked and prodded by McCoy and his toys. I've given blood, urine, and a few other bodily items - Harry Winston would be crying at the loss.

Xavier has tested my telepathy as Jean Grey has my patience. Wolverine stalks around me like he wanted to play rock-paper-scissors with his claws and my twenty-four karat fist. Scott Summers skulks around like a wraith, much to everyone's consternation but my own, never saying anything but never out of sight.

They have asked me innumerable questions about radiation exposure and oxygen deprivation and whether or not I need to use the lavatory while I'm in my diamond form.

But they won't ask about that.

They want to know my blood type, but they are afraid to ask what I was doing in Genosha. There's an expression concerning an elephant on a sofa that's applicable here, I think.

They are afraid of the answer, of course.

Oh, they know I was in Genosha to teach. Teaching is something that I enjoy doing, another thing at which I can excel. After the demise of the Massachusetts Academy, Genosha seemed the place to be if one wanted to teach little mutant boys and girls how to properly appreciate their gifts.

The part of the story that is so scary to Xavier and his minion is that I was teaching those children how to enjoy their gifts for their own sakes, not for everyone else's. I wasn't training those children to be warriors; I was helping them to outgrow their fear of their own powers. To be proud of whom they were and not feel that they had to apologize for having had the temerity to be born a step ahead on the evolutionary scale.

Pride. Self-confidence. Self-acceptance. Lessons the vaunted Professor Xavier has never managed to impart. Has never wanted to, really. How else can you control a group of young, talented, brilliantly powered minds and bodies if not by encouraging their belief in their own inadequacies? (Millions of child and spouse abusers know how to do this. You'd think Xavier would have come up with a more creative method.)

Granted, too much pride is not a good thing - the late, still-missed Hellions were nothing if not proof of that. But if one is being honest - and I am always honest when the advantage is mine - Charles has turned these brilliant potentials into self-doubting flunkies.

I did not achieve my success in this world by lying to myself - I understand perfectly clearly how little separates me from Jean Grey. We are of an age, we are both telepaths, we are both beautiful. The difference is that Jean is afraid of her telepathy while I revel in its power. She is afraid of the scope of her abilities - a fear that long predated any exposure to the Phoenix Effect - and while she has grown past those fears to some extent, her early training still hobbles her.

Fear is healthy, but only if you are aware of them and master them. Else you are just a coward. Look at Robert Drake, perpetual man-child. I would not trade my freedom from those fears for _anything_ and I will always be stronger than Jean because of that.

As might be imagined, the first step to freedom is to escape the prisons of your own making, to control your fears. And the most important step in that regard is to understand that not only are you not a freak, but that you are also not a menace. It's not impossible that I could mind-wipe somebody while I sneezed, but that certainly hasn't kept me out of crowded rooms.

It is no small task to convince teenagers - self-conscious to the point of distraction even under the best of circumstances - that their mutations don't render them outsiders. Living among the humans doesn't mean being exactly like them, contrary to Xavier's preaching. It's not about whether you look like everyone else; it's about not wishing that you did in the first place.

Some understand this inherently -- the green-haired punks down in the Village do, the unfortunately visaged Henry McCoy (although that could probably be traced back to his celebrity turn with the Avengers). For some, like Angelo Espinosa, it takes a lot longer and then there's Scott Summers who never understood it at all.

I have hopes that, judging by the magazine Jean left lying on the kitchen counter, perhaps Ms. Sugar Kane (ugh!) will make Jonothan Starsmore understand 'fitting in' versus 'fitting among' in a way that I never could. Presumably through hands-on lessons, I hope. His fun may be short-lived, however. From what I've overheard, Xavier has dispatched the three poster children of self-worth themselves (the insecurities firm of Drake, Worthington, and Wagner) to cure Jono of whatever delusions of normal life he might be holding.

Xavier has done his homework; of all the students at the Massachusetts Academy, Jono was the best fit for the X-Men. Paige may have wanted it more (may have - the girl would have sacrificed a kidney for a chance to show that she could ride the bucking bronco for longer than did her much-wiser elder brother), M had the most ability, but it was Jonothan who had the sine qua non of X-Men suitability - a complete lack of self-worth.

I have no doubts that Iceman, Archangel, and Nightcrawler will be most effective at twisting Jono's low self-esteem into a cruel kind of guilt - the three of them couldn't figure out how to live successfully - and permanently - as civilians, what makes Jono think he could? Is he better than they are? Eventually, Jono will knuckle under. Xavier's minions are more persistent than Hari Krishnas in the airports. They give great guilt.

Guilt is the underpinning of liberalism in general, X-liberalism in particular: You feel guilty that you eat well and live a comfortable life (a comfortable life that happens to be a direct result of your working long hours) while some slob lives in a hovel because he spends his minimum-wage paycheck on cigarettes and potato chips... So you agree to hand over a good chunk of your upper-middle-class paycheck in taxes so that the government can figure out a way to channel that money into food stamps... So now the same slob can spend *your* money on frozen pizzas while still spending his own on cigarettes and potato chips... That would be simple stupidity except for the fact that you spend much time and effort convincing everyone else that they are heartless baby-killers if they don't willingly cough up a quarter of their paycheck as well. That makes it liberalism.

Charles Xavier operates on the same principle. He feels guilty that he was born with a beautiful and powerful gift. So he spends all of his efforts on learning how to use that gift to benefit others instead of himself. The recipients - now free to live courtesy of the X-Men, who have defeated the Evil Threat du Jour - still try to kill him and his kind at every opportunity. But like the poor, deluded white collar worker, Xavier works to convince every other mutant that they are selfish fools if they don't join up and help him preserve the safety and happiness of the lynch mobs that would tar and feather him if given half a chance. That is X-liberalism: cutting off your legs so that you don't stand taller than everyone else lest they *feel bad*.

I am immune to liberals - the Frosts have always voted Republican - because I am immune to guilt. Even when I am not in my diamond form, which apparently affects my empathy (insert your own joke her; I have). And this brings us back to why I was in Genosha. Because Magnus, bless his megalomaniacal little heart, was immune to guilt, too.

Magnus and I disagreed on many things. But we agreed on this. We did not steal our mutations; they were given to us. And we put great effort into mastering our gifts - no different than the average athlete or musician. We do not owe it to the human race to ease their fears. We do not owe it to the human race to make them feel comfortable with the fact that we are new and different and, quite frankly, better. You don't expect Yo Yo Ma to stop playing the cello just because he does it better than everyone else, do you?

Magnus and I both understood that there was nothing wrong with enjoying our place on the food chain. If the big fish doesn't eat the little fish, he starves.

So, then, what am I doing here, sitting in the X-Men's Blackbird jet, seatbelt on, seat back up, and tray in place?

For the time being, I'm along for the ride. I had no intention of staying before Xavier popped six shots into Ms. Nova. I have no intention of staying now - I've seen Charles do 'bad things' before, I don't consider this a philosophical shift - but for the time being, it looks like it could be fun. It's been a while since my White Queen days.

I can quite honestly use the opportunities to examine the breadth of my new powers - I can't exactly use Penance's action experience for comparison - and, well, it's been a while since I had any drama in my life that didn't involve teen angst. Summers is just begging to be toyed with. Especially with Jean at home tending to the Professor.

Emma Frost, the baddest of the X-Men's bad-asses. I've killed more people in the past week than any of the X-Men have in the past year.

Who would have thought a petite blonde would end up making the Wolverine look like a pansy?

This could actually be fun for a while.

***


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