Subject: Mutant Protection Plan goes live!
It’s a small start, I know. Just one participant this time, although we expect to be able to resettle up to a couple of families at a time when we hit our stride. Most often I think they will be families, but I’m sending you a single individual this first time. Her name’s Angela Jenkins and she is the first mutant we will be attempting to resettle in a new location and with a new identity.
Starting small gives us a chance to all settle into the project and gives us time to clarify our roles. We have several potential MPP participants staying with us here in Westchester, so we’ll be able to expand fairly quickly, if all goes well with this initial resettlement. Of course, with our Vermont contingent consisting of two representatives each from Alpha Flight and the X-Men all ensconced in my house in Peru, a couple of FBI agents visiting part-time, and you as our psychiatric consultant, it may feel a little bit like overkill to Ms. Jenkins. I’m sure you will all be careful not to overwhelm her.
You’ll meet Ms. Jenkins tomorrow, Ethan, when my people bring her to your office. They traveled with her to Vermont yesterday and are helping her to get acclimated to her new surroundings. Her actual training in her new identity will not begin until later this week. We’re giving her a little time to just assimilate all that’s happened, as well as a chance to get accustomed to the Vermont weather. Ms. Jenkins has lived in the South all her life.
She’s 28 years old, single, and had been living until two years ago in Newport News, Virginia. Her gift is precognition. As you know, it’s a difficult gift for many to handle. Precogs often have difficulty distinguishing dreams or random thoughts from true visions of the future. Ms. Jenkins, however, does not seem to have that problem. Her predictions have always been accurate and she always seems to know her visions for what they are. Her form of the precognitive gift appears only to work for catastrophic events or serious danger, so she has not used her gift to acquire wealth, as have some precogs we’ve encountered.
Ms. Jenkins’s gift was helpful in her work as a paramedic. Her colleagues always knew they could count on her to assess whether a site was dangerous to enter or not. She managed to use her gift in her work for a long time without anyone suspecting that she was a mutant. I think she was generally viewed as someone particularly observant and adept at assessing danger. Unfortunately, she made the mistake of disclosing to a trusted coworker how she really managed to make those predictions. Paramedic teams work very closely under stressful conditions, and often form strong collegial bonds that can feel more intense than the average working relationships. I’ve seen that kind of thing happen with my X-Men as well, for similar reasons. Usually it’s a very positive part of working in a close team, but it can lead to misjudgments, to trusting a colleague unwisely.
Ms. Jenkins was relieved when her colleague responded positively to her disclosure, and he promised to keep the information to himself. He didn’t keep that promise, however. Word traveled among her coworkers and then into the general community. She was subject to stares and name-calling over a period of months, but hoped it would just blow over and the community would accept a mutant in their midst. Then her home was attacked by anti-mutant thugs. Luckily her gift warned her of impending disaster there, and she didn’t come home that night. Attempts to get law enforcement involved made clear that she could not safely remain in Newport News or environs. She did try moving – to Washington, DC – but her mutant status has become known again and we are convinced that she will need a new identity as well as a new home this time.
Accompanying Ms. Jenkins to Vermont are Scott Summers (code name “Cyclops”), whom you now know (after years of hearing me talk about him) and Kurt Wagner (code name “Nightcrawler”), a recent addition to the X-Men team. Two representatives from our affiliate team in Canada, Alpha Flight, will meet them in Peru: Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier and Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski. Ms. Jenkins will be resettling in Canada, in London, Ontario. Unlike my X-Men team, Alpha Flight is an agency of the federal government in Canada, and their representatives are working both with Canadian government agencies and the FBI to coordinate all international paperwork and procedures. Martin Kline and Alan Green will be the FBI contacts. I’m not sure that you will need to have direct contact with anyone but Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Ms. Jenkins, but perhaps you should meet the others.
I should probably warn you that Nightcrawler’s appearance is very distinctive. I know with your extensive experience with mutants this won’t present a problem to you, but you might wish to speak to your receptionist about him in advance. Perhaps you can have her arrange a private place for Scott and Kurt to wait to see you, rather than in a more public waiting room. Other than in your office, I don’t think this will be an issue. Kurt will spend most of his time at my house in Peru and he should be able to travel unnoticed to your office, given that it’s not unusual to be very covered up during March in Vermont.
We anticipate that Ms. Jenkins will spend about a month in Vermont, learning all about her new identity and home and undergoing some key changes to her appearance. As we discussed, I think it will be helpful for her to meet with you frequently during that time. My layman’s view – informed, however, by telepathically acquired information – is that she is in great need of your assistance. I’m concerned that Ms. Jenkins seems unable or unwilling to hide her gift effectively, and I worry that she will have trouble settling into her new identity. I had explored with her the possibility of joining the X-Men rather than living in hiding, but she’s quite adamant about wanting to live what she calls a normal life. I’m concerned that she not only seems traumatized by the violence she has endured but also appears not to be wholly reconciled to her gift, or to being a mutant. I’d appreciate any insights you have on how we can make the transition easier for her, as well as your thoughts on whether longer term therapy is advisable, once she’s settled in Canada. I’m assured by my contacts at Alpha Flight that a trustworthy therapist can be found for Ms. Jenkins in her new home. If she does continue in therapy there, I would ask that you consult with the new therapist.
Thanks again for participating in this important project.
Subject: Reply to: Mutant Protection Plan goes live!
Hello, Charles. Thank you for the background information on Ms. Jenkins. It was helpful to know something about her before we met. We’ve had three sessions this week, and will continue to meet regularly as long as she is in Peru. She has waived doctor-patient confidentiality in order for me to tell you how she is progressing, and in my professional judgment she has given informed consent for this purpose. I trust to your discretion, but for the record I am saying now that it is essential that what I tell you of our sessions go no further.
I am writing complete case notes, which you may review at some point if you think that would be helpful. Here, I will just give you the highlights.
Angela Jenkins is an attractive and well-spoken young woman. Tall and graceful, with red hair and very pale skin, she appears younger than her 28 years and has a delicate and almost fragile appearance. She is in fact very strong physically and my medical examination found her in excellent health.
Ms. Jenkins does indeed seem to be, as you suggested, insufficiently reconciled to her gift, and to the fact of being a mutant. She has on more than one occasion revealed her mutant status unwisely and inappropriately, after resolving not to do so. She is quite sure that she wants to pass as normal, and rejects any options where she would live in a manner or a place where she could be open about being a mutant. Yet she also seems incapable of the kind of discretion required to hide in plain sight, so to speak.
I think she will need longer term therapy for a number of reasons and I will help her to find an appropriate therapist in her new home, when she is ready to move. One goal she herself has identified is to try to understand better why she has sabotaged herself in this manner. She would like to understand this so as to figure out how to avoid it happening again. I think that’s very important for her emotional and physical safety. Also, from a practical point of view, if all the effort that your people and the governments of two nations are putting into her resettlement is not to be undone, she will need to get a handle on this.
My initial impression is that some of Ms. Jenkins’s ambivalence is of the same character as that you and I have often discussed. Mutants often have very mixed feelings about their gifts. They enjoy having unusual talents and can profit from them in many ways, both psychic and practical. Yet they are also intensely aware of how reviled their class is in our society and have a difficult time applying a label to themselves they’ve previously only heard derisively. Ms. Jenkins told me that the first time she said aloud, “I am a mutant” she felt like she was standing at the edge of an abyss, with no choice but to step forward and fall into it.
It was a vivid way of describing emotions you and I both have heard expressed many times. Since most mutants grow to mid-teens or later before they come into their powers, they have internalized society’s anti-mutantism rather thoroughly by the time their gifts initially manifest. They are then faced with the rather daunting task of assimilating into their sense of self the almost archetypical otherness they associate with being a mutant.
For Angela Jenkins, though, there is another factor contributing to her ambivalence about her mutation, beyond the need to integrate her mutant status into her sense of self. Her gift itself is an ambiguous one. It’s very useful to her and has helped her to get out of dangerous situations on many occasions. On the other hand, it’s a frightening ability to know about catastrophic events in advance, and she has often known of great disasters she has no ability to prevent, leaving her with a feeling of helplessness. Ms. Jenkins has a sense of constant apprehension of calamity about her. I think working on ways to become more comfortable with the nature of her gift could be another goal of therapy.
I quite enjoyed seeing Scott Summers again, and meeting Mr. Wagner. I met with both of them to discuss the next phases of the MPP project, and they have been taking turns accompanying Ms. Jenkins to her sessions here. I understand that Mr. Wagner is staying on, while Scott returns to his teaching and Field Leader responsibilities. I have not yet met the Alpha Flight and FBI representatives, but was given to understand that I will shortly.
Scott and I had dinner last night, before he returned to Westchester. He’s both charming and intelligent, as you’ve always described. I’m impressed by his dedication and commitment to his work and to the project. We also had an enjoyable time discussing literature. His enthusiasm for the earlier Shakespearean sonnets rivals mine. I hope he’ll find his way back here soon as I very much enjoy his company. He does you proud, Charles.
Oh, Charles – one thing I meant to ask you. Angela Jenkins is quite frightened of staying in your home in Peru. She feels it is not adequately fortified and that there is no safe hiding place there. It’s something we can work on in therapy, and will. But to work with her effectively, I need to know if this is purely an irrational fear or if it has some basis in fact. Given the current use of the home, it does seem advisable to have some method for secreting your refugees in the house. I understand it was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Is there somewhere that would make a good Panic Room there? Ms. Jenkins’s fears are an issue for therapy, but this particular concern may also be one that ought to be addressed in a more concrete way. What do you think?
Subject: Reply to: Mutant Protection Plan goes live!
Thank you, Ethan, for your helpful and informative report. And thank you again for participating in this project. We couldn’t do it without you.
I found your insights into Ms. Jenkins’s character most illuminating. I think you are right that her insecurities and fears around her mutation are partly the usual ones we see and partly related to her specific mutation. My impression is that she sees herself as somewhat of a harbinger of doom, and that makes her emotional life an unsettling one.
As I mentioned, I had talked to her extensively about staying in Westchester and joining the X-Men. She considered it but ultimately rejected the offer. Quite telling, though, was her choice of codename if she did stay. Ms. Jenkins told me that she would want to be known as Cassandra.
I’m glad you enjoyed your dinner with Scott. He speaks very highly of you, as well. It’s very gratifying that two people for whom I have such warm feelings enjoy each other’s company. Scott is quite pleased with how the project is progressing and would have been happy to stay in Peru longer, but he is needed here. I’m sure he’ll be back there soon, for short trips.
I understand that Angela Jenkins’s fears are in part related to her trauma and emotional problems, but I’m glad you passed on her concern about a hiding place in the Vermont house. There really is not an effective one at this point, although as you say it was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. I think we ought to have a place more suitable to concealing someone in the twenty-first century than in the nineteenth. It’s really something I should have thought of myself, but it hadn’t occurred to me. The house has been used for field trips and vacations, primarily, and doesn’t have any of the fortifications we have here.
We did build a tunnel between the Blackbird’s landing spot and the attached garage, so that our participants can enter the house secretly. It’s possible that the tunnel itself could be fortified and turned into a panic room, of sorts. I’m not sure.
In any event, it is a good idea to take a fresh look at security in Peru. I’ll be sending another of my X-Men up to do just that. His name is Logan, code name Wolverine. Logan, like Kurt Wagner, is a fairly new addition to our team. He has extensive knowledge of design and construction and should be able to assess security and come up with suggestions for location of a panic room and any other necessary fortification. He’ll arrive there later this week.
Ethan, I’m assuming you have not heard our unsettling news from Scott or you would have mentioned it. Jean is back, or so it seems. A woman who claims to be her arrived about a month ago. She has a harrowing story of surviving the flood and being kept imprisoned by captors she never saw. The story is detailed and credible, her appearance is changed only as one would expect under the circumstances. Most of the team and students seem convinced that Jean Grey is back. Yet I am not. And I can’t really say why. I believe that this woman is an imposter. I don’t know how to prove that, or what to do about it. I don’t know why she is here or what she has planned. I think it will be a very good thing if we have a fortified place to retreat to, should it be necessary. At any time, but particularly when we do not know the intentions of this woman who looks so much like Jean.