The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 4 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Chapter 4:  Rebel

Summary:

Lorna Dane’s mutant powers reawaken through a painful device at Mesmero’s behest. When she comes out of it, she has a choice: remain a meek girl or save her heroes.

Author’s Note: This chapter is one I’m both most proud of and most worried about how it’ll be perceived given imagery and allusions used. It’s based primarily on X-Men #49, 50 and 51; her introductory issues. Here’s pics from my re-read to prep this chapter: https://imgur.com/a/xBTxGJO.

Crucifixion. Resurrection. A cross. The sight of this green teen girl splayed out on a techno-slab conjured images and themes long-admired by the majority of this country. The rulers. The humans. The bigots. It represented a tiny package of convenient morals to assuage hurt feelings in themselves while denying them in anyone they considered ‘the other’.

It did not represent Lorna Dane.

She screamed. Hair floating. Arms twitching. Magnetism fastened her wrists to the circles of her cross-beam, harder than any pair of handcuffs. For three seconds – three loooooooong seconds – she endured. Writhing, shaking, gnashing her teeth, clenching her eyes shut, she endured. Her heart thumped wildly to keep up with her ever-growing limits.

100 volts. 200 volts. 350. 450. 500. 1000. As the voltage climbed, it cleansed all traces of her old self. Her meek self. Her naive self. Her sheltered self, twelve hundred miles from home. Alone. All this power devoured her innocence as swiftly as remnants of her brown hair dye fizzled in puffs of dark smoke. Through it all, she uselessly tossed in her bonds for any give she could take.

Crackle! Crzzzz! The machines spit electric fire up and down a metal stake holding their captive. Even those who built this travesty mistook the machines themselves for this visual spectacle, but no. It came from the flesh and blood bound within. Every cell of Lorna Dane’s body hummed as the tech agitated their genetic cores. Microscale pokes and prods made the cells lash out. Their violence erupted in the shape of raw energy blasting all about her. Her whole world blossomed in emerald shades… and through that miasma, she saw her abductor.

Mesmero. With a giant M on his belt, a long cape and absurd helmet, it puzzled Lorna how this man in a joke of a costume could inflict such suffering on her for his so-called noble cause. How he could claim to be superior while watching her struggle with a joyous smirk.

“The genius that was bequeathed us by the magnificent Magneto shall bring forth from this feeble shell – a being powerful beyond all others! And our invincible leader!”

This ‘feeble shell’ glowered through her pain at the monster. That’s what he was. Not man. Not mutant. His lack of respect for a girl he claimed to prize second only to Magneto himself came through clear in his words. He did not see her for her. He saw her for what he wanted her to be. Another thing he could control. Another puppet to dance on his whims. An object he could use as he desired, under a righteous guise.

The genetic stimulator buzzed with its first signs of salvation. Its whining, crackling chorale built to a deafening crescendo, and finally… silence. Lorna breathed deep and heavy. Her sweat sizzled into clean vapor off her tired limbs. At last, freedom. Freedom to use these new powers for a bit of revenge.

Or so she thought. Then she saw them.

“Behold! She stands before us now – the omnipotent empress of all evil mutants! For within her runs the blood of he whose name is sacred unto us!”

The X-Men had failed. Her heroes, the team of rebellious youths who righted wrongs with their tremendous mutant gifts, fell before Mesmero and his men. They stood as slumped, pale imitations of themselves. Angel’s glorious feathery wings hung low. Cyclops cast his ruby red visor downward. The hulking Beast hardly seemed able to move much less fling cars.

But the worst of what Lorna saw? Jean Grey. The fiery redhead who so often showed how women could fight just fine among the boys, now stood quietly behind their leader.

Witnessing their defeat, Lorna had a choice. One playing in her mind as she listened to the villain of this moment spout off another trite line to massage his own ego.

“Yes – now may I reveal that she is – daughter of Magneto – and Queen of Mutants! Hail, glorious queen!”

Play the part. Be the queen. Or step aside, be her old naive self and watch her heroes die right in front of her. Perhaps before her time through gadget hell, she might have left it to the X-Men to save her. Not anymore. Mustering some courage, she stepped forward with her arms high. She took on a dark, menacing mien – an easy task for her after suffering through eternal seconds of agony. It burned fresh in muscle memory, so hot that when she gazed on her allies and looked into their dreadful eyes, she did her best to assuage their fears by contorting her fingers into a pair of devil horns.

The devil horns. So simple. So misunderstood. Like them. Like mutants everywhere. What the old guard mistook as some perverse allegiance to the devil, up and coming teens knew its true meaning: a ward against the evil eye. Resistance to toxic authority, to a tin man with an M on his belt and a big head who sought to possess her and failed.

It was a minor gesture. One she hoped the X-Men would notice. Even if they didn’t, she needed to keep up her act. Absorbing the ludicrous despot’s manner of speech, she concocted a few lines and rattled them off as best she could.

“Now I understand the strange stirrings within me that tortured my soul almost from my first conscious moment! For, my father’s blood, though unknown to me, could not be silenced! Yes – I know my calling now! I am your – queen!”

The X-Men trembled. Mesmero’s followers kneeled. They bought it. Every one of them believed every word. That moment, right then, she knew she had it. Her opening.

Power coursed through her veins. Electric might sparked over her arms, slammed into her chest, danced through her light minty hair – its color drained to a paler shade than when her ordeal began. Mere feet away, Beast’s Mini-Cerebro fumed. Overloaded wires. It couldn’t take her energy. Hotter, brighter, it only took seconds – three seconds – before the brand new device exploded. Blue shards flew everywhere.

Ever since they took her, Mesmero’s men described her in many different ways. An M-II weapon. A living goddess. Empress. Queen. From a simple girl living a simple life, to some kind of evil master unto herself, her captors clearly had high ambitions for how they could purge her innocence and use her for themselves.

Too bad she had other ideas, and it all came down to one thing: that damned cross. Her captors may have seen it as a symbol of rebirth, but Lorna felt something different. She felt her ancestors. She felt good Jewish men and women who lived, and loved, and suffered and died because they dared to defy Roman law. Because they sought to be more than what people told them to be. Because they were special, and they showed it.

For all their bluster, Mesmero and his men were no different. They simply thought they could keep the body and kill her soul.

They failed. She still lived, whole, and she would make them pay for what they did. As she unleashed waves of force on those who claimed to worship her, she took on a mantle all her own. One that belonged to her by birthright.

Rebel.

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 4 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 3 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Chapter 3:  A New Age

Summary:

A teenage Lorna Dane watches a fight between the X-Men and Magneto on TV and wonders: why can’t she be one of them?

Author’s Note: This chapter takes a tense shift from past to present tense. I realize this is generally a bad idea, but I think present tense works better for what I’m trying to do. Anyway, this is a ‘fanon’ chapter, and I explained its inspiration on AO3 if you wanna see what it is there.

She watches them on TV. These superhumans. These homo superior. These X-Men. Their faces play over and over on the screen in sheer radiant glory, blasting debris, icing roads, tossing boulders. One majestic mutant soars to heights under his own power that only an Angel could dream to reach. Each of the boys – and one girl, she reminds herself – take to action with a youthful rebellious zeal only teens could bring.

An apocalypse. A revolution. The dawning of a new age filled with awe and wonder. People call these strange times many things, but as she looks on, Lorna Dane asks herself one simple yet important question.

Why not me?

She hides herself in hair dye. Chestnut waves roll down her shoulders, obscuring the painful truth of an emerald lie teasing her with the idea of becoming something more, something different, something special and better than a meek girl sitting in her living room. She wonders why her hair couldn’t stand for more than a rare condition inherited from a father she couldn’t even remember. Just enough strangeness that people might mistake her for a mutant. Not enough to be one.

A pitched battle between good and evil rages on the tiny box in front of her. Lorna bears witness to a scowling man in red and purple as he lifts whole cars off the ground. She imitates his motions, dreaming of the power to make them sail skyward as he did. The thrum in her fingers dissipates when she sees the Angel weave between those cars. Darting up, dodging right, all with the grace and finesse of an avian god. His gloriously fluffy feathery white wings pin to his back as he spin-dives into his foe.

For a moment, this Magneto looks finished. He topples over, rolls backward, electricity sparking along his body. Another lad’s crimson optic blast rushes toward him at the speed of light. Blink of an eye. But then, Magneto recovers at the very last second. A wave of his arm sends the blast into Angel, knocking him out of the air.

In her mind’s eye, it’s her deflecting that blow. Her feet lifting off the ground. Her cape billowing in the wind. She sees green all around her, on her, inside her, rippling like a force of nature.

Then, her mind drifts to other thoughts. Kinder thoughts. Gentler thoughts. She wouldn’t have to use such a wonderful gift for fighting. She could build things. Create things. From the tallest skyscraper in the world to the most elegant statues of these mutant heroes she could imagine, Lorna could mold each scrap of metal into precisely what she imagined. She could show everyone what a boon these mutants were.

… If she had the parts. She doesn’t have the parts. Her hands shake because her heart can’t. Tears stream down her face. She doesn’t understand the hole buried in her chest. Why she can’t fill it. Why the images playing in front of her press upon that void but don’t quite fit, tapping at the edges, slipping at the corners.

In those moments, she thinks about the man in red and purple. An outcast among his own kind, she knows he wreaks havoc and causes trouble for his fellow mutants. The X-Men wouldn’t fight him if they had no reason. Yet, she can’t help seeing some part of herself in him. His defiance. His rage. His spirit, burning as if guided by some higher calling. He glows so brightly that she finds it hard to believe all those horrid things people call him on the news. Murderer. Monster. Despite them all, one insidious label sticks out most of all: Mutie.

That word. The M-word. The reason her parents insisted she hide her green to make herself look normal, mundane, ordinary, like everyone else. The reason she sits inside the house while bigots and haters march along city streets, denouncing the future.

Not her future, of course. Her little quirk of color means nothing. ‘Minor detail’. Even Dr. Moira said so.

But it doesn’t stop her from wishing, and dreaming, and thinking. Her eyes light up. What if she could be part of something greater? What if she had the power to set an example, to right the world’s wrongs, to become her best self while standing beside friends who saw her green hair and loved her for it? She reaches out to the screen… and pulls away when it crackles.

When it spits sparks. When the picture flickers in and out with fiendish abandon. She mentally chides herself for not remembering her mother’s warnings about how sensitive these so-called technological wonders truly were. One wrong touch or one hand in the wrong place set them off in a smoldering heap. Like a good girl, she leans back in her couch and waits for her chance to see her mutant heroes once again.

Wishing she could join them.

The Polaris Chronicles – Chapter 3 – salarta – X-Men (Comicverse) [Archive of Our Own]

Psst. Psst. Hey @a-ard.

What about an X-Men/Marvel Arthurian legend AU where Polaris is the Green Knight?

As Green Knight, she’s sent by her sister Scarlet Witch (playing the role of Morgan le Fay) to test the X-Men (Camelot/Knights of the Round Table) and their leader, Cyclops (King Arthur). Professor X is, of course, Merlin.

Not sure who Gawain would be though. Maybe Jean Grey? It’d be kinda fun to see a scenario with a female character’s loyalty and chastity tested. :}

Hello! This is one of the things I stumbled across recently and needed to post here. It took a fair amount of time to get all of this together, because not only are the images scattered, but I wanted to make sure they were the best quality I could find.

All of these pictures are from something called BurlXMen, a burlesque take on these X-Men, including some genderswap versions of male characters. They were taken at San Diego Comic Con 2016.

There are more pictures out there. Because I’m a Polaris fan, I only bothered with pictures including her, and I left out minor variants. If you’re a fan of one of these other characters, it’s worth your time to check around (including at the links for photographers given below) for more pictures of them.

Now for the credits. First, the cosplayers.

Jean Grey/Phoenix – Ivy Doomkitty
Emma Frost – Castle Corsetry
Magneto – Wendy Waagenaar
Mystique – Elisa Teague
Jubilee – Vivid Vivka
Rogue – Miss Chrissy Lynn
Gambit – Milynn Sarley
Polaris – Jessie Blaufus
Cyclops – Amanda Lynne
Wolverine – Krystle Starr

Next, the photographers.

Con Woman Photography
Justin Andrew Davidson
Jody Cortes 
Michael Greening
Eurobeat Kasumi

Aaaand… I don’t know the photographer for the last one. I got it from Nerd Ninja on Twitter.