————— Somewhere in Manhattan —————

“Pass it over,” said the skinny blonde girl reaching out to the guy standing next to her. He looked quickly toward the entrance to the dead alley he and his gang were standing in. Satisfied they were not being watched he pulled the needle of a syringe out of his arm and passed it over to the girl.

“Here ya go Kiden,” he said, “but take it easy, last time you took way too much, the rest of us only barely got a buzz with what you left.”

She reached out for the used syringe but before she got it a hand reached out and snatched it away. “In that case, I’ll go before her,” said another guy in the gang.

“Prick,” yelled Kiden, stepping forward and grabbing for the drugs.

“Hey, hey, hey sugar. Take it easy, you’ll get your turn,” said the guy who had offered her the needle in the first place. “Draco has a point, I don’t trust you when it comes to this stuff.”

She shrugged him off and leaned back against the wall of a dumpster, “Fine, whatever.” She greedily watched the guy who had jumped the needle queue on her as he shot up. God she needed this hit she thought. She had had a rough night on the streets last night, fighting a homeless guy for a spot under a shop entrance. It had rained hard and she really wanted the spot. She huffed a bit, realizing suddenly how stupid it was to regard other people as homeless. Technically she was too. Well, at least she had been for a week.

She had run away from her home in the Bronx last weekend after a huge fight had erupted between her Mom and her stepdad. Her stepdad had hit her Mom and Kiden had smacked him hard over the back of the head with a metal ladle. He had spun around and smacked her back, sending her spinning into the fridge. Her Mom had gotten up and somehow managed to calm him down. The coward had then broken down in tears, saying he was sorry that he loved them both and he was just angry about losing his job. Her Mom had then put her arm around his shoulder and led him into the living room. Kiden was left on the kitchen floor still stunned from the attack. Her Mom had not even glanced at her as she left the room. That was the final straw for Kiden. She had silently gone to her room, packed a few things and left home.

She had been in Manhattan since, sleeping where she could and buying or stealing what she needed. She had soon discovered that it paid to be in gang if you were going to live rough. A nineteen year old girl was a prime target for all sorts of crap. She had sort of fallen in with Draco and Mickey and they seemed to like having her around. Well Mickey did at least, she was one hundred percent sure on that.

Draco finished with the syringe; she couldn’t help but feel pissed that there was less than a third left in it. She took hold of it and started to find a vein on the underside of her arm. It was getting more and more difficult; it was bruised by earlier hits.

“Is that all you want from life darling?” came a voice from the alleyway entrance. Kiden silently cursed, Draco forgot to check, too high probably and now they were busted and she was holding the God-damn needle. She turned, expecting to see a cop or something. She was instead quite surprised. A woman was standing there wearing very little. Black high heels, a pair of PVC hot pants, also black, a black corset and her hair jet black hanging in ringlets around her pale face. In other words, Kiden thought, a prostitute. She became mildly annoyed that someone like that dared to criticize her life choices.

“I’m sorry but nobody really asked you,” said Mickey halfheartedly, his face slack as the drugs started taking effect.

“Oh sweetie, I don’t care,” replied the hooker, “Besides I was talking to the young girl.”

“Yeah well, what he said,” snapped Kiden, she was now really angry and wanted to just get high and slip out of reality. “And if you’re here to offer a share on your street corner, shove it! I’m not desperate enough to have to start pulling tricks.” A small voice in the back of her head stated that she was not desperate enough yet. She silently told it to shut up and get ready to be drugged stupid. “And I don’t need a pimp for protection either, my peeps look after me now,” she stated putting her arms around the drugged up Mickey. He didn’t notice.

A smirk appeared on the face of the hooker and she pulled her black feather boa up around her neck, exposing an indecent amount of cleavage Kiden thought. She stuck out her chest a little bit then cursed herself for getting self conscious in front of a prostitute.

“My name is Janet,” said the woman “and you I believe are called Kiden Nixon.”

“How…?” stammered Kiden, shock coursing through her as the woman spoke her name.

“That really doesn’t matter,” replied the woman “I just came here to warn you. You are not as safe as you think you are. People are looking for you and one of them is close.”

“What, who? Is it my Mom?” spurted Kiden, letting a little bit of hope enter her voice.

“No I’m afraid not. These people are slightly more dangerous than your Mom honey,” said Janet. “They will try to sweet talk you first, but it will all be a show. If you don’t believe me now, you will later. When you turn them down, and believe me you should, they will not be so nice the second time around.”

Kiden strangely found herself believing the words this woman was saying. She thought she could feel a tingling in her head but put it down to needing a hit. She found herself warming to this woman, wanting to make her happy. She shook her head trying to regain her composure and skeptical state of mind. “So you’re a hooker who tells fortunes now?” she jibed.

The woman called Janet just smiled. “Here is my card,” she said handing a small piece of paper to Kiden. The girl snatched it quickly, making sure she stayed out of reach of the woman. “When it happens and you realize I was right, call me. I can protect you so much better than these idiots.” She walked off and disappeared around the corner.

“Since when do hookers carry cards” yelled Kiden. She looked at the piece of paper in her hand. What a dumb name for a hooker, she thought. Black Queen, how original.

————— The Hellfire Clubs Private Jet —————

“God I hate flying,” moaned Ursula December as she clutched a paper bag to her mouth. She had felt nauseous since they had taken off from the Hellfire Club’s private runway at JFK airport.

“Deep breaths honey, deep breaths,” replied Eve in a bored voice. She wasn’t even looking at Ursula instead she had a nail file out and was busy refining her already perfect, red lacquered nails. “Pilot,” she said over a small intercom, “What is our E.T.A.?”

“About five more hours Miss Eve,” came the crackled radio voice of the pilot.

Eve sighed. “God I hope one of these turns out to be a teleporter,” she muttered so that the other two people in the cabin could not hear.

She dropped the nail file onto the polished wooden table in front of her seat and looked over at the two mutants she had gathered for Sebastian’s little project. Alan was sitting beside the now ex-stripper Ursula trying to comfort her. From the way he was wrinkling his nose she guessed that Ursula did not smell too good right now. Throwing up was so common. Bored she got up and wandered over to the bar that was securely set against one side of the cabin. She lifted down a crystal decanter of port and poured herself a glass. “Alan, would you care to join me?” she asked gesturing toward the young man with another glass.

“Um, aren’t we supposed to be doing something when we get there, like for your boss” he asked.

Eve laughed and poured him a glass anyway. “Yes, I guess we are but that will not be for a while. Let us have a little relaxation.” She walked over to him and handed him the glass. She smiled, noticing how his eyes kept being drawn down to her hips. She watched as he sniffed the port then took a sip. He raised his eyebrows in appreciation and settled back into his chair. Ursula threw up again and leaned back in her chair with an exhausted look on her face.

“Back with us Miss December?” she asked, smirking.

“Ugh. Yeah I think I’ll be ok for now,” she replied. Ursula lifted her hair up and searched in her bag for a hair tie. Eve now noticed that Alan was watching Ursula out of the corner of his eye. Eve felt a jab of annoyance run through her. She analyzed the feeling and suddenly felt highly amused. She couldn’t believe she felt jealous of him looking at another woman and not her. He is a good looking guy thought Eve, but not her type. Still she would be damned before she was thought to be the second best looking woman in the room. Especially to one who stank of puke. She leant forward to pick up her nail file from the table. This of course gave Alan a perfect view down her red, Chinese silk top. She sat back up and saw Alan blushing furiously and looking anywhere but at her. She smiled to herself and took another sip of port.

“So um, what is the plan when we arrive in Ireland then?” piped up Ursula.

“Well as I’m sure you have probably guessed, my employer has a vested interest in those with special gifts,” replied Eve. She set her nail file down again and leaning forward slightly in her chair clasped her hands in front of her. “Another mutant, like you, has suddenly appeared in County Westmeath in Ireland. We are merely on our way to see if he would like to become part of our little venture. The Hellfire Club likes to help those in need and if the young man we are going to meet likes he can come back to America with us.”

“And if he does not?” asked Alan.

“Then he does not. We are hardly going to force him,” she replied, an amused glint in her eyes.

Alan sat back in his chair. He thought to himself that the chances were likely this young mutant, whoever he was, would certainly be joining them on the return trip. It was Eve, he had decided. In the car on the way to the airport he had had a chance to think. The last two days had been crazy. First he finds out he has these powers, then he is given an amazing opportunity, given some vague outline of what he would be required to do and then introduced to the most fine women he could ever remember seeing.

All this had happened because of Eve. Since he met her his whole life had changed. Yet through all this chaos, this dream he seemed to be living, he had not really questioned any of it. He had just calmly accepted it all and let Eve lead him around by the hand. He was placid and felt like it was all under control.

This was so not like him.

He decided to think this through a bit more. He was beginning to wonder how Eve could make him feel so relaxed in a situation that should really have him fretting. He suddenly thought about what he knew about Eve. Correction, what he didn’t know about Eve. She was a mystery to him, yet when he was around her he could not help but feel comfortable, like they had been friends for a while. He silently wondered if she was a mutant, did she have a power. He mentally gasped. What if she was doing this to him, keeping him mentally pacified with some sort of mind control? He had heard that some mutants could do that.

He glanced up at Eve. She noticed and smiled at him. He felt himself smiling back and silently berated himself for it. He would have to try to keep his guard up around this woman. He sipped his drink and settled back into the soft cushioned seat. He looked at Eve again and let his eyes drift over her. Even if she wasn’t a mutant this would be a hard woman to say no to. And she was so nice. He decided to let his mental meanderings drop and do as Eve had suggested and relax.

The intercom crackled. “Miss Eve, would you like to be served lunch now or later?” said a woman’s voice.

Pushing a button Eve replied, “Now, that would be lovely.” She looked over at Ursula. The young platinum haired woman had turned a hideous shade of green at the mention of food. “Miss December, if it wouldn’t trouble you too much, could you regurgitate in the privacy of the toilet. I would like to retain some decorum while I eat.”

Ursula immediately obliged and ran down the plane to the small toilet.

“Now,” said Eve, “much better”.

————— Shannon Airport, Ireland —————

Alan stared around him. The airport was tiny. Well, tiny compared to something like JFK. I guess it was part of the charm of the country he mused.

“Ok boys and girls, there is a car waiting on the other side of the terminal. It will be taking us to a town called Oldcastle, in Westmeath. We should be there in a couple of hours”. She walked off toward a set of black BMW cars that were waiting across the runway.

“Um, shouldn’t we be doing like passport control or something” asked Ursula, running up beside Eve.

“I guess we could but then darling what is the point of being privileged” replied Eve with a smile.

“Can’t argue with that I guess” chirruped Ursula as she strode ahead to the luxury cars.

“Well I see that Miss December has improved remarkably” said Eve to Alan as he approached her.

Laughing Alan shrugged. “I guess some people really don’t fly well”. Walking beside Eve Alan watched as Ursula ran up to the first car and jumped into the back seat. Eve he noticed was heading for the car behind that. He suddenly felt really embarrassed, should he go with Eve or would that look presumptuous.

Eve made the decision for him. “If you would please take the front car with Miss December Alan. I have work to do and cannot afford the distraction of your presence” she grinned. She stepped away and approached the second car. Alan only realized he was still watching her when he could no longer see her after she closed the door. How am I gonna get anything done with her around he thought. He turned and got into the first car and shut the door. The car drove off followed by two others. Well here goes the first mission or whatever this is he thought.