Madam Frost, Telepathic Detective

August 16, 2015:

For a few weeks Emma Frost has been using her telepathic skills and political contants to gather information about the Purifiers. Soon the Black Team of the X-Men will act. (Emits by Nate Grey)

All over NYC


NPCs: NYPD Commissioner Stein, several Purifiers


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The mission sounds exceptionally simple, though it is in fact incredibly difficult and complicated. The Purifiers have proven themselves an implacable, ferocious, and incredibly pernicious threat. When dealing with any threat, the first that must be accomplished is to understand and identify the enemy. And so has begun the mission: to locate and identify the Purifiers. Stripped of their secrecy and anonymity, with their names, their powers, their numbers and supporters known, they can be faced. They can be exposed. They can be stopped.
At least, that is the goal. Accomplishing that goal, however, has been difficult, complex, and frustrating.
The assumption made by the members of the Black team was that with the subtle application of telepathy, they could glean all they needed to know from the minds of Purifier agents, and simply work their way up through the ranks of the organization to find and expose the intel they required. It hasn't quite worked out that way.
The Purifiers have learned the lessons of other terrorist organizations. They have adopted cell structures to limit the exposure available from any one agent, or even any action team of agents. They have secreted their communications, using the most advanced technologies available to them to assure that even as orders are passed to cells, those cells know nothing of those passing their instructions and commands. In this way, they have done all they can to remain secret and anonymous, to assure that they cannot be identified or exposed.
They may be blinded by hate, but they are not a stupid enemy.
Emma has had to go to great lengths in her efforts to obtain more information. And she has not been able to act alone. Her telepathy enables her to identify individual agents of the Purifiers. So too, with care and attention, she is able to identify when they will be communicating with higher-ups, and what means will be used for those communications. Emma has then had to pass that intelligence back to the others working with her, so that cybernetics experts can apply their own skillsets to the efforts to track and identify the sources of those communications. And still others have been needed, with careful timing and coordination, to seek out and track down the people behind those communications.
The process continues. It is a laborious effort. Some in Emma's life have begun to notice the hours she is spending elsewhere. She is attending fewer gatherings of the Hellfire Club. She is attending fewer meetings and being seen less at the offices of Frost International. Only a handful of people - the members of the Black team - know where Emma has been, or what she has been doing. But her absences and differences in activity have been noticed.

It is truth despite the boldness of their attacks the Purifiers are organized as a terrorist network of fiendish complexity. It seems they are expecting and ready for a government crackdown on them. Or maybe just prepared for infiltration by superhumans. Whoever designed their operational procedures and financial has studied the methodology of Hydra, Cobra and other successful large terrorist networks, and added a few improvements.
Rank and file know only a few fellow 'soldiers' and their commanded, and even so most times they use false names. The cell leaders meet only when masked, they receive orders through Unternet email servers, untraceable to even the best hackers in Emma's employ. Their bosses and recruiters are men and women using fake identities, possibly disguised.
But slowly patterns form. Most Purifiers are members of the Friends of Humanity, a political party directed by Graydon Creed and inspired by the racist rantings of William Stryker and other racist preachers. Oddly enough, most of them think the Purifiers are completely separated from the Friends of Humanity. But that is party line, what their cell leaders and recruiters say, not any original thought by them. In fact the average Purifier has very little ability of original thought. It feels as if they have been recruited due to being particularly narrow-minded and prone to fanaticism. This hints to a vast network able to do psychological profile and testing, which by the way, the Friends of Humanity do systematically among their affiliates to 'discover muties trying to infiltrate'.
Most notoriously suspicious was the fact many members of the SRD were FoH, and virtually all of them were also Purifiers in secret. A few who were FoH and not Purifiers were racists that were unwilling to break the law. Again, it hits of a very throughout profiling and careful recruiting. The NY SRD overreached, however, they are finished, or at least undergoing heavy restructuration with the main responsible of the Mutant Town debacle facing some criminal charges and countless civil lawsuits. Many that Emma had identified as Purifier organizers and middle management died when Mutant Town was bombed. A bit of a waste of work, but they got what they deserved.
Many of Purifiers received extensive military training in camps in Texas, Montana or even outside the US. A few of them are ex-military, and actually imparted training. Always using false names, however.
Patterns. Purifiers are to report 'suspicious' activity to their superiors, the cell leaders send reports. Sometimes the suspicious person vanishes, or changes attitude. Often a civil leader, local politician or city administration, or reporter. They receive threats, or are beaten up. Most often they change attitude and stop being vocal advocates of mutant rights or denouncing the Purifier actions. Discovered mutants are outed, beaten, sometimes grisly murdered.
And the New York PD is notoriously inefficient pursuing the Purifiers. This is strange, because Emma has found very few cops truly sympathetic of the Purifier actions. It hints an organized interference coming from the upper echelons of the NYPD.

Given the level of apparent involvement with the FoH, Emma cannot help but turn that information over, and suggest further operations to infiltrate that more public organization's face with similar covert methods, to track where such profiling information is being shared, who has access, and who could then be using that access to recruit Purifiers. Unfortunately, give the impossibilities involved, those efforts will fail.
The NYPD, however, is a public organization, limited to the resources available which are and must remain elements of public record. And that makes it possible to use those same methods to much greater effect to track down those within the NYPD responsible for the interference which is handicapping NYPD response to and investigation of the Purifiers. It won't be enough, of course. But nothing short of their eradication will ever truly be enough. For now, perhaps it will at least be progress.

Investigating telepathically the NYPD is time-consuming but not difficult. After all, they are all technically within Emma's range. The 11th precinct in Mutant Town is an excellent place to start because it is an interesting mix of useless cops (burned out, incompetent and a few racists reporting to the Purifiers) and some that are genuinely trying to help and find their efforts hindered at every turn. They are also quite frankly undermanned and underfunded, and again it all seems to point to the higher ranks of the NYPD.
In fact everything points to Commissioner Alfred Stein. And this is strange because Stein is not a member of the FoH, and in general in the past he always took a positive stance in regards to racial issues. In fact, it was by his initiative (a few years ago) the 11th precinct was formed in the middle of Mutant Town.

Once the central point of interference is identified, Emma's work takes on a new level: she must discover why Stein has so changed his activities and stance on the matter. And the best way to do that is inside that man's own mind.
Once Emma is able to locate Stein, she awaits the simplest of opportunities: sleep. She waits for Stein to finally go to sleep, and then seeks to slip into his mind, exploring his thoughts, his dreams, his memories and his fears, to find out what he has been doing, how he has been doing it, and most importantly /why/ he has been doing it.

Emma sinks into a mind eaten by guilt and worry. Stein is taking pills to sleep, and his drug-addled dreamscape is strange and would be hard to navigate for less expert telepaths. Even Emma needs a few minutes to reach into his true memories and unveil the truth.
Stein is no racist, and he despises the Purifiers, hates them. But he is being blackmailed. The story is simple. His daughter married a man that looked solid, an ex-military working as engineer for an oil corporation. He seemed a solid, trustworthy person. He joined the Friends of Humanity a year or two after marriage. Not something Stein would approve, but the FoH are a legal organization and outwardly they don't encourage breaking the law. But soon after, he also joined the Purifiers.
Stein received a call over a year ago. His son-in-law threatened him with hurting his daughter and grandsons if he didn't do what he was told. Resistance led to a video where his two year old granddaughter had her legs broken and his daughter Anne was badly beaten.
So Stein has been following the instructions of a local Purifier leader called Greg Yost, and Stein thinks Yost is the leader of the Purifiers in New York. Yost is forcing him to promote Purifiers to positions of responsibility within the NYPD. The terrorists' crimes are ignored. Crime evidence vanishes. And the 11th precinct is sabotaged into uselessness.

As agreed when she began, Emma passes all of this information, too, to the rest of the Black team. It seems they have an opening. Now, they must devise just a bit more effort and direct it in how to handle this particular obstruction. Somehow, Emma imagines allowing the children and grandchildren to die is not a solution the inhabitants of Xavier's dream are going to find acceptable, even if she herself did.
The first order of business is to make sure that the intelligence is accurate. That requires finding Yost, and getting a good read on him and his knowledge of the situation. Additionally, they'll need a similarly accurate read on Stein's son-in-law, and they'll need to coordinate that intelligence to locate the family and manage a covert rescue mission.
Hardest of all, they'll need to coordinate that rescue with removing Stein. The man never meant any of this to happen, but he has been coopted once, and he'll frankly need to just resign and take time with his family after this is over. Additionally, they need to know every last act he has committed, and find the documentation for that and Stein's own corroboration, so that as many of those acts as possible can be reversed, Purifiers removed from the NYPD.
This isn't going to be incredibly fast, and not remotely easy. But it can be done.

Unfortunately Stein is wrong. Yost is only another cell leader within the Purifier structure in the region. He receives instructions from mysterious leaders through email, meets other cell leaders while wearing a mask, and only knows about a dozen other Purifiers. Although those are city hall employers and local businessmen. A support cell, with a membership more interesting that the usual thugs. And removing them will hurt the Purifiers at least a little as they will lose local influence and access to hideouts.
As for the Commissioner lost daughter and son-in-law, they seem to have vanished. Telepathy is useless to find them, because neither Stein or Yost know where they are. But her contacts serve her here, because the man left a paper trail that leads to a little village in the Texas desert. A kibbutz-like community created and sustained by the FoH called Untainted Grove.

Once Emma has sufficient evidence on the Purifiers Stein has placed under duress, and those connected to Yost, she directs that intel to the rest of Black team, and informs them of Untainted Grove. Then she mobilizes additional resources to map out and explore Untainted Grove, and prepare a rescue mission there. Her hope is that the others of Black Team will be prepared to assist, or that other X-Men can be utilized in the rescue. But she knows her job is to provide all of the intel she can, which will include tracking all of the paperwork on that community. Further financial analysis should also help secure evidence against Yost and his attached cells.
Once Emma has enough - short of going to Untainted Grove herself - she will finally get in touch with Nathaniel directly, face to face. He, she and Elizabeth started this. He needs to be made aware, because whatever their response here, it must be coordinated and planned. Emma cannot do the action response all by herself, and she knows it.

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