Homo sapiens sapiens tend to approve of mutants like you. For one thing, you are small and thin and still look fifteen even though you are almost twenty. For another, it’s a known fact that you can stop any mutant from using his or her power by nothing but your presence. And hiring you to enhance security during mutant related court hearings only requires asking and a negligible fee. Not even a hint of persuasion.
Seeing you perched in the third row in a court room has become a familiar sight to lawyers, judges and spectators by the time Pyro’s trial arrives. The notorious terrorist and self-proclaimed Brotherhood lieutenant – many mutants come to observe during the seven weeks of proceedings. Even more are present for the passing of the sentence. While the state has been diligent in terms of security measures specifically crafted for this soon-to-be convict, both judge and jury and several victims’ relatives continue to be relieved to see you sitting harmlessly on your bench and block the power of every single mutant in the room.
You prevent other mutants from accessing their power. It tends to make people forget that you are a mutant, too. It’s a grave mistake, and so is the fact that hardly anyone has thought about the consequences of this fact: It has been years since human scientists were your primary caretakers. While it’s true that Professor Xavier died before you could meet him, you have lived at Xavier’s School for the Gifted since the evening of the Alcatraz attacks. At the very school where the faculty finds ways for every willing mutant to control their power. Even, no, especially the most dangerous ones.
There is another fact that no one ever seems to have thought through sufficiently for all that it became public knowledge on the very first day of the trial. Robert Drake handed over the terrorist not commonly known as St John Allerdyce under the stipulation that the man he claimed under oath and the defendant’s startled gaze as a former friend come to no harm.
Until this last day, he hasn’t.
Oh, a guard may have shoved him a bit or yelled at him or gripped his shoulder in an unfriendly way during transport. He may have been given second-rate food and been showered in derogatory words. But until he stepped into the court room one final time not an hour ago, Pyro has indeed remained unharmed in every way Iceman intended.
This changes the moment the judge adds something to the words you’ve all been expecting: “Incarcerated for life.”
On its own, this sentence would hardly have drawn so much as a protest from Bobby even if he hadn’t seen as well as spoken to some of the parents and spouses and children and siblings of people Pyro has killed. You know he and Hank have made suggestions for a cell that will contain the man even if he should somehow manage to produce sparks.
But the judge doesn’t stop there. The world halts as the addendum echoes off the walls. As well as a bi-monthly injection of the cure.
Using you to strip people of their power for the sake and the duration of the trial is one thing. Employing syringes in the heat of battle is another. This, every mutant in the room understands at once, topples and crashes Pyro’s future outlook clearly into and well beyond the category of suffering harm.
It will amount to torture.
Fact: You can strip mutants of their powers.
Fact: Robert Drake warned the state in general and the judge in particular not to cross a line.
Fact: You do not like the vaccine being forced on anyone if there is a chance the effects might be permanent.
As soon as the sentence is spoken and the bailiff is instructed to administer the first dose in front of witnesses like an executioner, Iceman stands. He doesn’t look at Pyro, who has remained stoic, haughty and resentful throughout the trial but whose hands have now started trembling and whose face has gone grey with dread. Voice tight, posture coiled with anger, Bobby informs the room at large: “You shouldn’t have done that.”
Fact: The younger X-Men were like older siblings that raised you.
Fact: You’ve lived at Xavier’s for nine years. You can control your range.
There is ice forming in the tiniest cracks in the stonework. Within seconds, there is dust and people covering their faces and a gaping hole in the wall.
Fact: The mutants who are not part of the Brotherhood look to Ms. Munroe. They look to Wolverine. They look to Kitty. They look to Bobby.
When the dust clears, court officials who will only just start to feel their feet again will look around them to find their prize defendant and every single mutant spectator gone.
You wonder if it’ll be the nice woman who lent you a handkerchief when you cried during the twenty-fourth day of the trial who will find the sheet of paper on your bench seat. You didn’t exactly have much time, so the message consists of less than twenty words: ‘This was your one chance to show us you could deal with us by due process. You’ve blown it.’
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