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Volume 4 -- Supreme Reflections -- Lorna Dane

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Lorna Dane
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Lorna’s Reflections (AN: Takes place after issue 88)

I’m so not ready for this. I’ve never been ready for ANYTHING like this. Why me? Why do I always get stuck with these insane burdens? I’m not a superhero. I’m not a leader. I’m a teenage girl with teenage problems. I should be worrying about boys, homework, and the next big name on Dancing with the Stars. But I’m not normal. I can’t be normal. I’m a mutant who happens to be the biological daughter of Magneto. If bad luck was a professional sport, I would be in the hall of fame.

The ruins of Magneto’s citadel was now the dominant structure on the Genoshan landscape. The once proud building that Magneto had crafted with his powers using tons upon tons of metal had been reduced to rubble. The destruction wrought by the Cambrian and the battle it caused was extensive. It didn’t just destroy buildings. It destroyed a fragile balance that had been carefully maintained since Magneto became ruler of this tiny island nation.

Lorna had the responsibility if not the misfortune of maintaining that balance. Her father, Magneto, was a complicated man with a lot of pent up frustration. He had been prepared to wipe every man, woman, and child off the face of the Earth. That’s how embittered he was after a lifetime of experiencing human conflict. He spent years seeking to destroy a world he saw as corrupt. He would have kept seeking had Lorna not entered the picture and reached out to him, appealing to that lingering sliver of humanity that her mother once experienced.

She left her whole life in America behind to stay by her father’s side. She joined him because she was the only one who could keep Magneto from completely losing himself in his rage. For a while, Lorna succeeded. She worked with her father as he built a new nation on Genosha. It promised to be a nation where mutants could come and live peaceful lives apart from human oppression. That promise was essentially broken when Magneto sought to use the Cambrian to make mutants more powerful so they could dominate humanity. The ruins of that broken promise were now symbolized in the ruins of his citadel. Under a full moon in the late hours of the night, she traversed the mangled ruins in a solemn daze.

Damn you, father. Why did you have to do it? Why did you have to destroy everything we had worked for? I thought we were helping each other. You helped me embrace this new life on Genosha and I helped counter that burning hatred in your heart. Either I didn’t do my part or you flat out lied each time we seemed to share a moment. Did you really expect the Cambrian to fix everything? Did that monster drive you crazy or just tap some darkened piece of your soul that was already there?

I wish I knew the answers. I wish I had half the resolve the X-men or even the Brotherhood seem to carry with them. They’re both strong enough to know when they’ve gone too far or haven’t gone far enough. I obviously lack that talent because I’m not like them. I wish I was and I’m working hard to catch up with them. It’s failures like these that remind me just how much longer I have to go.

At no point in my life did I have any conditioning to prepare me for what I would face. My half-siblings, Wanda and Pietro, were groomed by Magneto from a young age to join his battle. My ex-boyfriend, Bobby Drake, had an adventurous spirit that helped prepare him for what he would face with the X-men. Even guys from the Brotherhood like Blob had that Texas rodeo to make the transition into this life easier. Even though I have some pretty potent mutant powers, I never developed the nerves to use them in the ways that mattered.

There was no major conflict to toughen me up in my early life. I was born to a single mother in New York City. I grew up in a less than threatening neighborhood in a painfully comfortable middle class environment. Even though I never had a father growing up, my mother more than made up for it. She loved me and provided for me as well as any child could ask. She was kind, loving, and well-educated. She had a Masters in humanities from BostonCollege and held some pretty high positions for a number of non-profit humanitarian organizations. She had a very big heart and she imparted a lot of that heart to me over the years.

If my mother had one flaw during those early years it’s that she was overprotective. I know a lot of kids think that way about their parents on some levels, but I think I can safely say my mother qualified. She would do things like put duct tape around anything with a corner and add extra padding to my toys. She kept my bed in her room for the first several years of my life and on more than one occasion, I would wake up with her just watching over me. I didn’t understand why she was so protective at the time. I just assumed that’s because she loved me so much. I had no idea there was a much darker reason for her unique brand of parenting.

A cold wind blew over the rubble of the citadel and Lorna hugged her shoulders through a wave of shivers. Genosha never really got that cold, but walking in the shadows of all this destruction was enough to send a shiver down anyone’s spine regardless of the temperature. The young woman had to stop for a moment and gather herself. It was times like this she missed her mother.

“Mom…I’ve never needed your overprotective love so badly,” she said with a strained voice.

I took her for granted. There’s no easy way around it. Even if I didn’t understand her reasoning, her heart was always in the right place and I forgot that on one too many occasions.

When I was ten she took me overseas to Paris where she was attending a human rights conference with Amnesty International. For a kid my age, human rights weren’t all that interesting. If there weren’t toys, cartoons, or animals involved I quickly got bored. I think my mom wanted to show me the merits of her work so that I would appreciate them. The only thing I ended up appreciating was the weather because I refused to be cooped up in buildings with all these overdressed adults talking about things I could care less about. So I did what most kids would do in that situation and tried to find my own entertainment.

While we were outside the conference center, I wandered off into the streets of downtown Paris. I was in awe of everything I saw. Every building was almost like a work of art and it made me want to explore even more. It really didn’t dawn on me that I had wandered too far. I was so excited that I honestly didn’t feel an ounce of concern. I kept walking through the crowds until I ended up at this restaurant. Right along the curb, there was this mime doing all these little tricks for people passing by. Some were creeped out by him. Some flat out ignored him. I was neither. I was ecstatic. I laughed and cheered as if I was walking through Disneyland. The mime was really nice to me. He smiled and did these tricks for me. I was having a lot of fun.

Then out of nowhere, I heard this scream from across the street. It was my mother. She literally came running after me at full speed in heels and a pants suit, nearly causing at least three traffic accidents in the process. I was shocked and so was the mime. By the time my mother reached me, he was already backing away. I was upset, but I didn’t have much chance to vent my frustrations because my mom literally scooped me up in my arms and held me as if I was a life raft in the middle of the ocean. At first I was upset. Then I discovered that she was actually crying.

“Thank heavens you’re alright, Lorna! Please don’t ever do that to me again! Don’t ever wander off where I can’t find you! Don’t ever make me worry about losing you!”

She must have said that exact string of words at least ten times. I’m pretty sure we got our share of odd looks as well and it’s a good thing I didn’t speak French either because they probably thought we were crazy or something. I wanted to tell my mother that I was just exploring. I didn’t want her to make a big deal out of this. But with the way she was hugging me, there was nothing I could possibly say. I was completely silent the whole time and I don’t think I said another word for the rest of the trip.

Moments like that helped set the stage for how my teen years would develop. I came to accept my mother’s overprotective nature as part of my life. I didn’t question it. I didn’t try to figure out if there was an underlying reason. I assumed blindly that my mother had her reasons and I didn’t need to know. That was another mistake on my part and one that would really come back to bite me once my mutant powers manifested.

Some of the metal around Lorna shook. Her festering emotions often roused her powers in chaotic ways. It didn’t happen often, but when it did Lorna hated it. Her world was in chaos. She had control over so little of what brought her to this point. Being surrounded by the metal shards of the citadel was probably not the best place for her, but there was nowhere else for her to be at this point.

Taking a deep breath, Lorna settled down and fought to regain her poise. She clenched her fists and took control of her powers. At first the metal around her shook even more. After a few more seconds, it ceased. It wasn’t the first time her powers flared up during a time of distress. It wasn’t even the most destructive…not by a long shot.

As I entered my teen years my mom did step back a little so I could grow. I’m not sure if this was her choice either. She had been dealing with some health issues that I thought were just minor at the time. I had no idea it was so much worse than that. How could I when my own body seemed to be turning against me?

Being in an overprotective environment, I lacked the social skills most kids my age had. By the time I was 15 and entered high school, I was so far behind that I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed. That’s not a good environment to be in when you have latent mutant powers. It was only a matter of time before they flared up. I wish I could say it happened during something traumatic or terrifying. That seems to be the case with a lot of other mutants. Not me though. My powers first showed up during an stupid Algebra exam.

It wasn’t some test that would have determined my future. It was just a test I didn’t study enough for. I came in knowing I was behind and really stressing since it was close to midterms. I tried to stay calm, but then I actually saw the test and it all went downhill from there. I was so paralyzed I began to hyperventilate. My palms got sweaty and my head started throbbing. At first it felt like a migraine. It was like there was this pressure around me pushing down on me and I didn’t know how to push back. It got worse and worse with each passing moment. I was so frustrated I didn’t notice that all the metal in the room started shaking.

Eventually, the pressure was bearing down on me so badly I had to push back. And by push, I mean I clenched my fists and outright shoved. When I did, all the metal that had been vibrating literally flung itself across the room. Since everybody’s chairs were made of metal, it caught them all by surprise. The whole room turned into a scene from a ghost movie and the only one not terrified was me. When it was all over with the metal from the chairs, pens, and paperclips had converged in the center of the room right in front of me into this twisted metal ball. It was at that point it finally dawned on me. I was the one doing this. That pressure I felt wasn’t a migraine. It was my powers.

It was probably the most confused and frightened I had ever been. It could have been a lot worse if someone knew it was me, but nobody managed to connect the dots. As far as they were concerned, this was just one of those bizarre events that couldn’t be explained. The only positive that came out of it was that the exam was canceled and I would get to retake it. But grades were the last thing on my mind. I had a much bigger problem to stress over.

When I got home that day, I locked myself in my room and curled up on my bed. My mom was still at work and I had no one else to turn to. I must have laid still in a fetal position for a full hour. The whole time I kept feeling that same pressure. I didn’t know what to make of it and I kept praying that it would go away. When I finally accepted that this thing wasn’t going anywhere, I stood up and confronted it. I tried to be brave for once. That same adventurous spirit I had back in Paris that day hadn’t completely left me. I’m glad because I needed it to get a grip on myself.

For the next few hours I experimented. I figured out that by pushing and pulling on this pressure I could make metal move. It wasn’t all that coordinated at first, but it was a start. When it erased my ipod I figured out that this was some kind of magnetism. A few internet searches later and I was convinced. I was a mutant. I didn’t know how to take that. All about mutants at the time was that they were a hot button issue. People were really afraid of them and after what happened at school, I couldn’t blame them.

When my mom got home that day, I told her everything. I figured this wasn’t something I could keep from her and that she would be loving and understanding like she always was. That was another bad assumption on my part. When she saw what I could do, I could literally see all the color in her face disappeared. It was like she saw Jesus himself. I don’t think she said a word for a full ten minutes. She just stood there, her hand over her mouth gasping.

At first I was really worried. Was she really that disgusted with me? Was me being a mutant going to destroy our family? All sorts of dire outcomes went through my mind. My fears were somewhat laid to rest when my mom finally threw her arms around me and hugged me like she always did. That made everything a bit better. She also started sobbing uncontrollably.

“My little miracle…my special little girl.”

Again, I didn’t understand and I didn’t care to. I know now that my mom figured out the truth long before I did. I could have probed deeper. It would have been the perfect time to ask all these burning questions about who I was and where I came from. I’m pretty sure my mom would have told me the truth as well. I could have learned that Magneto was that father that day. My mother didn’t lie to me. I just never demanded the truth. I was comfortable not knowing…too comfortable.

The old adage of ignorance being bliss crossed Lorna’s mind. She scowled herself for being so weak. That was one trait neither her mother nor her father seemed to pass onto her, at least during her early years. She may have had an adventurous side, but she was weak. She avoided unpleasant truths. She tried to work around every conflict, seeking to cope rather than to resolve. It was a lousy way for any teenager to carry themselves, regardless of whether or not they were a mutant.

She could not be weak anymore. She was the daughter of Magneto and that carried with it a lot of burdens. She had to be strong to bear those burdens. In a show of such strength she raised her hand and clenched her fists, tapping the magnetic forces around her and using them to manipulate some of the rubble. In front of and around her several piles of metal levitated and gathered in a small clearing. With skill and poise that so often seemed to escape her, she intensified her powers and merged the metal into a thick, fluid-like mold. It was an impressive display of power and one she used to show only sparingly.

The next few years could qualify as lost years for me. My mother fully accepted me being a mutant (how much Magneto had to do with that acceptance I may never know), but those overprotective instincts of hers remained pretty strong. Since she was in the business of human rights, she knew better than anyone how rough mutants had it in this world. She didn’t want that life for me so she insisted that I never use my powers outside our apartment. It seemed simple enough. I didn’t want to abandon all hopes for a normal life. I had no idea it would practically impossible on every conceivable level.

Being a mutant and not using your powers is like having wings and trying not to fly. It just isn’t possible. I found this out time and again. I would go to school every day feeling this pressure that nobody else was feeling. Every instinct told me to push back. Sometimes it would be as simple as reaching for a pen or something. I would start to use my powers only to mentally slap myself. I can’t count how many times I came close to blowing my secret. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t screw it up.

As if suppressing my powers wasn’t taxing enough, I spent so much energy trying to keep myself in check that I forgot to develop my already abysmal social life. I literally had no friends. It wasn’t like I didn’t have the chance. It helped that I had looks going for me. As I’ve seen with my half-sister, Wanda, the Lensherr family is pretty generous to women when it comes to beauty. I had a few guys come up to me and flirt, but I always found somewhat to blow it. I would either freeze up or say something totally foolish that they would think I was mentally impaired or something.

It wasn’t entirely my own buffoonery that held me back. The thought of getting close to anybody and potentially revealing my mutant status always worried me to no end. My mom was adamant. Nobody could no. If I told one person, then they were going to tell someone else. Keeping a secret like that really makes it hard to relate to someone, especially if they’re not a mutant. I was the only one dealing with this pressure. How could I possibly open up about it? If it weren’t for the internet I probably would have stayed socially crippled.

I needed some outlet and since my mother wouldn’t let me open up to anybody at school, I did so anonymously online. There are all sorts of these mutant support groups on the web. I wasn’t the only one dealing with this and it was nice being able to reach out to others. For a while my computer was my entire social life. All the social support I could ever want was right there on the internet. Well…maybe not all, but it did open the door to a new world. It was in that world that I met a very special boy named Bobby Drake.

Lorna casually swirled her hand, making a series of gestures as she directed the magnetic energy around the mold of metal. From that metal, a few shapes emerged. One in particular stood out. It was the smiling face of her first love, Bobby Drake.

The sight of his face bought a smile to her own. Bobby Drake was the lighter side of her excessively serious life. He represented a period in which she laughed and smiled more than she ever thought possible. He was the first real connection besides her mother that she ever experienced. It had a profound impact on her life and not just emotionally. Her love affair with Bobby Drake would help send her life down an exciting and dangerous new course.

I’ll never forgive my hormones for getting the better of me, even if it was worth it in the long run. At first Bobby was just this anonymous boy who I chatted with on this mutant forum. He was really funny and really flirty. He also happened to give some pretty good advice when it came to dealing with mutant powers. I enjoyed talking to him so much that I started structuring my whole afternoons around him. It was only a matter of time before deeper emotions crept in.

It started when he forwarded me a picture of himself, revealing that he was Iceman from the X-men. That came as a huge shocker for me and it got me a little overly excited. I was so excited I forgot my mom’s rule about telling others my secret and sent him a picture of myself. I still have to stop myself from laughing every time I remember his reaction. He later describes it as scientific proof that the internet isn’t all mindless fantasy.

Chatting online soon turned to phone calls. Phone calls eventually turned into a meeting. That meeting then turned to an all out relationship. It happened fast, but nowhere near as fast as I wanted it to be. There was so much I had missed out on being this socially isolated misfit. Bobby did more than anyone else to bring me up to speed and to say it was exhilarating would be a gross understatement. Being with him released all these pent up emotions that I had never been able to express. For what he did for me and everything he helped me with, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.

When my mom found out about my little online romance, she was pretty upset at first. Then I told her that this was an X-man. Bobby was the kind of guy who understood what I was going through, not just as a mutant but as a teenage girl in general. I think my mom would have been more upset if it had been anyone else, mutant or non-mutant. I also think she was starting to feel her illness creep in because she didn’t put as much energy into overprotecting me as she used to. I think she really wanted me to have some an emotional connection with someone other than her. Again, I didn’t understand her reasons and didn’t care to. All that mattered to me was having a relationship and being able to enjoy it as any normal teenage girl would, even if normal was a relative term.

For the most part, Bobby and I shared a romance that you could probably write a few books about. He was the hero and I was the adventurous girl looking to break out of my shell. He showed me how to be stronger than I had been up to that point. He showed me how to embrace my powers and not think of them as a burden. He also showed me the joys of intimacy. Being young hormonal teenagers, it was bound to happen and I’m glad it did. It allowed me to truly feel something special with this boy.

Oddly enough, my mom was okay with it. I know that’s pretty strange because most mothers cringe at the thought of their little girl lying naked in a bed with another boy. But my mom wasn’t most mothers. She had her reasons and even though I rarely questioned them, the truth was bound to come out sooner or later. Once it began, my world began to crumble.

Lorna clenched her fist again. Another round of tension came over her. This time it wasn’t just frustration that consumed her. Anger was the dominant feeling for once. In most respects she was not an angry kind of person, even with her father’s temperament being the stuff of legend. It was only when that painful sense of helplessness consumed her that the rage built up inside her.

With her powers, she changed the shape of the metal once more. This time she formed two faces instead of one. They were the faces of her half-siblings, Wanda and Pietro. They were an inescapable part of her life now. For a time, they were the bane of her existence because they set the stage for the horrors she would face.

In one night my world started spinning out of control. While I was on a date with Bobby, my long lost half-siblings paid me a visit. They didn’t send an invitation or anything. They just dropped right in and started ruining my life. They didn’t do it with their powers or with some exotic form of mind control. They didn’t have to. They had something much more potent on their side…the truth.

Somehow, the figured out that my mother was very sick before I did. I’m guessing they stole her hospital records, but whatever they did it turned my world inside out and upside down. Even though Bobby rescued me from being harassed more than I cared to be, the secret was out.  Suddenly, my life wasn’t just a struggle to accept who I was. Now it was a struggle to cope with the possibility of losing my mother.

The night after that date, my mother came clean. She told me she had cancer and had been trying desperately to get it treated. But things were shaky at her job because her illness made it impossible for her to travel. If she got fired then we would lose our health insurance and if we lost that, she would have no hope. I cried myself to sleep every night after that, agonizing over the idea that my mother may one night go to sleep and not wake up. Even Bobby couldn’t help me with this. His solution was for me to join the X-men and have Xavier provide for her. He even helped me come up with my codename, Polaris.

But I was in no position to start playing hero. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my mother. I couldn’t divide my responsibilities to the X-men and her. Bobby understood even if he didn’t like it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t give the X-men serious consideration, but then something else happened that I didn’t expect.

First, my mother lost her job. It was just as we feared. Now her health was in worse shape than ever. At first I scrambled to help out. I was prepared to drop out of school and get a job that had insurance. That was sure to be an unpleasant process from the very beginning. For a few days I came within seconds of calling up Charles Xavier and asking for his help. Then my darling siblings came to me again. They said they could help my mother if only I helped them. I was in a bad position. I should have known better than to take their word for it. But I was so desperate I wasn’t thinking straight. The promise of a treatment that could stop my mother’s suffering was too great to ignore.

So with that decision, Polaris was officially in business. I joined Wanda, Pietro, and Magneto in his uprising. That’s where I finally learned the next round of unpleasant truths. The secret of my heritage had come out. Magneto, the man Bobby described as a mutant version of Lex Luther, was my father.

It filled in a lot of missing pieces that I had been contemplating for years. It explained why my mother was so overprotective of me. She was afraid I would fall into the same habits that he did. Then when my powers emerged, she was afraid he would come after me. She had seen first hand how he became such a tyrant. She didn’t want that to be part of my life. In terms of reasons, my mom had some pretty damn good ones for being the kind of parent she was. By that same token, I had some pretty lousy reasons for going along with him in the beginning.

Anger gave way to bitterness as Lorna closed her eyes and swallowed a hard lump of emotion. Growing up without a father, it was always tempting to seek the truth. Few girls ever had to deal with finding out that their father was a mutant supremacist who sought to overthrow humanity and establish a mutant-led rule upon the world. She was still a teenage girl. How could she ever hope to wrap her head around that?

The mold of metal changed shape again under her swirling magnetic powers. This time it formed an oversized depiction of Magneto’s head. Just looking into his eyes was enough to make Lorna tense with a wide range of inner conflicts. Some of these conflicts came close to literally and figuratively destroying the world around her.

I took part in his uprising on Genosha because he promised to provide special treatment for my mother. That almost came back to haunt me because Magneto never planned to leave the world intact. He was going to destroy every trace of human authority on that day. I was lucky the X-men stopped him. I should have gone to them first. They went above and beyond for me even after I screwed them over.

But their kindness only went so far. Sure, Charles Xavier swept some of my problems away with his money. He paid to move me and my mom to this nice house in Westchester that was near this fancy hospital where my mother could get treatment. I didn’t even have to drop out of school. I still got to be a teenage girl. My relationship with Bobby even got stronger for a while because he lived so close by and we could get together more often. It didn’t bother him that I was the daughter of his greatest enemy. Hell, I think that kind of thrilled him, knowing he was with a girl who escaped the sinister habits of her father. I know now that that everything was held together with gum and scotch tape. It was going to fall apart eventually and it came sooner rather than later.

It turns out those expensive treatments Xavier paid weren’t enough. My mother’s cancer was getting worse and the doctors weren’t confident she would make it more than a few months. So once again I got desperate. I couldn’t deal with the idea of my mother dying. I trusted in the X-men and they couldn’t do anything about it. So when Pietro came to me again with the chance to save my mother, I trusted him again. Only this time, I wasn’t going to be as foolish.

I wanted to save my mother. At the same time I wanted to get close to Magneto again because I knew that if he was planning something, I had to be in a position to stop him. I got to be a hero after all and I didn’t need to join the X-men to do it. I admit I didn’t have an elaborate plan to go on. I was basically throwing myself into the conflict and hoping for the best. My intent was to stop Magneto and save my mother. I only ended up accomplishing one of those goals.

It’s not like I didn’t have a chance. Magneto managed to fly my mother to Genosha in one of those transport orbs of his. He had a mutant with healing powers on standby who was supposed to be powerful enough to buy her time if not save her completely. I thought I could make everything better. I would stop Magneto and save my mom all at once. There was just one little detail I didn’t count on.

Lorna had to swallow another hard lump in her throat. This time there was nothing mixed about her emotions. It was pure, untainted sorrow. Without even thinking, her powers changed the mold again. Now the face in the metal resembled her mother. It was a sight that still brought tears to her eyes. This woman didn’t just give her life. She gave her strength. She had mutant powers going for her while her mother was dying of cancer yet still, she showed a kind of strength that would make any hardened hero envious.

She refused the treatment. My mother…she would rather die than compromise what was right. I couldn’t believe it. I was going above and beyond to save her life, but she refused to let me continue. I was two parts sad and ten parts angry. I thought I was doing the right thing for her and for the world. She proved me wrong. In a ways she gave me the strength to succeed that I never would have known otherwise.

She told me about my father. She told me what happened to him. My mother knew before I even did anything that my plan to stop him would fail. There was no way I could defeat this man in a confrontation. He was just too full of hatred and anger. I couldn’t fight him as Polaris. I had to fight him as a daughter. So I did. I trusted my mother one last time and in doing so I may have saved the world.

I got through to my father using both my powers and my heart. I stopped his machine before he could wipe the world clean of humanity. I then stopped his endless rage, appealing to that fading heart that my mother had once captured years ago. The X-men did the rest. Magneto’s spree of anger and hate had finally stopped. I succeeded in one goal, but I was never going to succeed in the other.

A few days later, my mother passed away. I was by her beside the whole time. I didn’t pressure her to accept the treatment. I didn’t beg her to hold on any longer than she needed to. Even my father came by and made his peace with her. When she slipped away, it was like a piece of my heart died with her. I cried and I mourned. But I would not live in despair.

My mother had done her part. She was smiling until her final moments, saying she could die happily knowing she did everything she could for me. I was her crowning achievement. I was her gift to this world. Now she couldn’t be overprotective anymore. I had to rely on the strength she imparted to me and find my own place in the world. That place was going to stay with my family though. Despite what my better judgment was telling me, my life would be with Magneto and my siblings. It wasn’t going to be with the X-men.

It was a rough transition to say the least. My relationship with Bobby ended on the spot. All hopes for a normal life were completely out the window. My life was going to be forged in this conflict between humans and mutants. So long as my father and the rest of my family were part of this struggle, I was going to be part of it as well.

My responsibilities couldn’t be greater. I had to be my father’s little angel, appearing on the other side of his shoulder whenever those old voices of hatred and anger tried to influence him. I managed to wean him off the warpath he had been on for decades. I got him to focus on making a better life for mutants here on Genosha where we could live and be free. My mother’s lessons in human rights were paying off. We could make the world better for mutants without resorting to war.

I thought I was doing a decent enough job. Genosha may have been on fragile grounds politically, but it was still a stable environment for mutants everywhere. Magneto was a solid leader. He brought the country together and gave a sense of identity to all the mutants who came here looking to escape the conflict that was engulfing the rest of the world. I thought that would be enough. We could work out all the politics with time. Even though my mother had taught me to pitfalls of those foolish assumptions time and again, old habits die hard. My father was just too ambitious. It took only one mistake on his part to destroy everything we had accomplish.

Sorrow gave way to bitterness. Lorna lowered her hand, ceasing her random manipulations of the metal mold before her. She no longer had the energy to stare at the faces of the past. They were harsh reminders that for all the strength she gained from her mother and her family, she still wasn’t strong enough when it mattered most.

I should have seen the signs. The adjustments on Genosha weren’t without conflicts. There was that alien ship my father suddenly became so obsessed with. Then there were those raids from the naval blockade he tried to turn into an international incident. I even stood by and helped while he tried to turn Senator Kelly and his family into mutants. I thought by going along with him I wouldn’t lose his trust. If my mom were still alive she would have been disgusted by my efforts.

But all those shortcomings paled in comparison to what happened with the Cambrian. Here was something that even Magneto didn’t fully understand. It should have been a red flag whenever he said that this creature or whatever it was would help mutants evolve beyond their limits. I thought that meant it would make life easier for struggling mutants whose powers were difficult to handle. I had no idea that he would end up unleashing such a horrific monstrosity on this world. He didn’t know either and because of our collective ignorance, we all paid a high price.

The Cambrian turned him into a monster. Then it tried to turn every mutant on the planet into monsters. It almost succeeded too. It took both the X-men and the Brotherhood to save the world this time. I was part of the attack and I saw first with my own eyes how this creature was feeding off Magneto’s burning hatred. Even thought I had reached his heart enough to stop the asteroid, I was not strong enough. His hatred was much stronger and because of that he gave in. Even after the Cambrian was defeated, the damage was done.

Now he’s holding up in some room, staring blankly at a wall with a less-than-coherent mind. Charles Xavier worked with some of our doctors to help him. The prognosis isn’t good. Even though physically he’s okay, the Cambrian exacted some serious mental strain. His mind is…chaotic for lack of a better word. He’s showing symptoms of psychosis, hallucinations, and withdrawal. As if my father wasn’t unstable enough, now he may never be the same man again.

That leaves me with a dangerously demented father on an island that is under more scrutiny than ever. Because of my father’s actions, mutant relations may be set back indefinitely. Wanda, Pietro, and the X-men have already had a hell of a time trying to stop an all out war from breaking out. The harder they have to work the more I’m reminded that I’m partially to blame as well. My father was my responsibility. I was supposed to be able to get through to him when no one else could. I should have been able to do that and stop the Cambrian before it started. Now it’s too late.

Another cold wind blew across the ruins of the citadel. More shivers consumed the young mutant. This time she did not hug herself for warmth. She tried to brave the cold. She tried to be strong. It was her strength that was the key to everything that had transpired. What she lacked may have cost her father and this island dearly, but the world wasn’t in ruin yet. That meant there was still time for her to stand up and face this conflict.

So where does that leave me? I failed my father and my friends, but we’re all still breathing. Right now we have militaries from all over the world occupying Genosha to help clean up from the Cambrian. The X-men are working overtime to prevent the United States government from taking more drastic measures against mutants. Wanda and the rest of the Brotherhood are trying to re-establish a working government. The world hasn’t come crashing down on us yet. There may still be hope.

I know I can’t run away from this. A part of me wants to get off this island, change my name, dye my hair, and start over in some remote part of the world. But I’m not going to do that. I’m stronger than that. I have to be. My mother once said that when people stop fighting for a just world than an injust one is always waiting in the wings. I’ll find a way to make this better. I’ll become stronger or die trying. I refuse to believe my father is beyond hope. I refuse to believe our cause is beyond salvaging.

I’m still finding my way around here. I’m slowly but surely learning to be a fighter. When I was dating Bobby, he always said I had the spirit of someone who could make a big difference in the world. I haven’t proven him wrong yet and I don’t intend to. Men like my father are dangerous to leave alone and embittered. That’s why people like me have to be strong enough to reach these tortured souls. If that’s the role I have to play in order to preserve the fragile good in this world, so be it.

Lorna gathered herself in the midst of the cold winds and narrowed her gaze on the mold of mangled metal in front of her. Raising her hand, she used her powers to distort the metal into a new shape. This time it was something small and simple. It wasn’t a face or some image from the past. Instead, it was a symbol of sorts for her role in this crazy affair.

From the metal, a perfect replica of Magneto’s element emerged. Once it was fully formed she directed it towards her and took it in her hands. Clenching it tightly, she looked upon it with conflict and anxiety. Lorna had a lot riding on her shoulders and she was anything but ready.

“Lorna! Hey Lorna, are you out here?” came an unexpected voice in the distance.

Lorna so startled she almost dropped the helmet. She instinctively turned around to see Alex Summers, one of the Brotherhood’s newest members and de-facto leader, approach her.

“Havok…” she said in confusion.

“It’s past midnight in a mountain of rubble. I think we can dispense with the codenames,” he said as he approached her.

His usual authoritative voice waned, sounding less like a leader and more like a concerned friend. Something about that made Lorna smile.

 “So are you going to tell me what you’re doing out here or am I going to have to give Wanda even more reasons to stress out?” asked Alex.

“I could,” she stated flatly, “But I don’t know if I have the energy.”

“Don’t have the energy as in it’s too hard or don’t have the energy because…”

“Whatever you’re about to say, Alex…I’ll assume it’s more accurate,” said Lorna, “And if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not go into details.”

Alex looked at her strangely and then down at the helmet she was holding. To Lorna’s surprise, a strange look of understanding came over him.

“In that case, I’ll head back and tell Wanda you were just out on a walk,” said Alex.

“Thanks,” she said with a smile, “You don’t have to tell her immediately though.”

“Now why would I want to test the patience of someone who can hex me so my insides turn to lit napalm?”

“Because I could use some company right now,” said Lorna, directing her gaze at the helmet as well, “If you’re worried about my half-sister’s temper, let me deal with it. I owe you as such.”

Alex smiled back and fell silent, indicating he was not going anywhere. His presence was comforting. He was just what she needed during a difficult time like this. He stood by her while she clenched the replica of her father’s helmet, reminding her that she was not alone in bearing this burden.

Despite Lorna’s numerous shortcomings, she was prepared to move forward. It was part of her burden and part of her legacy. She was Lorna, the daughter of Magneto. For all the complications it brought her, this struggle was part of who she was. She accepted that now and until the very end, whichever form it may take.

Next Issue: Wanda Maximoff

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