Beyond the Rune: What’s In a Code Name?

It’s an interesting day, filled with lots of doubt, crying, and indecision about my future. It’s also the day I picked up my first driver’s licence outside the State of Indiana and I’m shocked–Shocked, I tell ya!–that they actually put an “F” on it for “Sex”.  Even with all the bad stuff happening to me today–and last night, let’s not forget last night–I had one bright spot that made the day shine.

And speaking of shinning…  Today is an important day in my story history.  For today is the eighteenth birthday of The Heartbreaking of Bolder, Colorado, Emma Neilson, making her the next to last member of her graduation class to reach the Age of Emancipation within The Foundation.  And if you’re paying attention, that means there’s just one other birthday from that class to celebrate, and that’s Kerry’s, which happens in two weeks.  That means Emma is probably out getting loaded somewhere–I’m sure she’s got ID that will let her get served–and Annie is counting the days to when Kerry and she can put their names on that wedding licence application.

And speaking of Emma–well, not yet, but just wait!

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”

Helena glanced off into space for a few seconds. “That may have something to do with me.”

“How is that possible?”

“Because my code name is Black Queen.” The sorceress scratched at her right cheek as she continued. “My mother called me that when I was a girl and it stuck with me when I came to school. Once I started going out on Guardian field ops it became my official code name and has stuck with me ever since.

“When I was out in San Francisco right after the first of the year—”

“What were you out there for?” This was the first Kerry had heard of Helena making trips to the North American headquarters of The Guardians.

“Had to do with the operation Annie was on while you were doing the Polar Express.”

“Oh. Okay.”

 

Keep in mind I’m writing of future events, and this one happens after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out with The Guardians and Emma’s and Kerry’s Polar Express.  In fact, this is happening two weeks after those events transpired, so it’s totally legit to speak of them in the past tense.

And what happened out there in the City By the Bay?

 

“Anyhow, when I was out in San Fran a few weeks back, getting intel on our—” She motioned between her and Annie. “—operation, some of the wags in the meeting called you White Queen because of our association.”

Annie gave this news a few seconds of consideration. “Maybe they feel I’m a bit of your opposite.”

“Or maybe they came up with that because a lot of Guardians are smart arses. Anyway, when your code names arrive don’t be surprised if that’s yours.”

The office was quiet for a few seconds before Kerry spoke in a soft voice. “What about mine?”

“Someone at that same meeting mentioned that.”

“They did?”

Helena chuckled. “About a third of the way through the meeting several pictures of your, um, other self, were displayed and a couple of them were of your and Annie together. A couple of people in the room called you the Red Queen and one even said that given your history of pop culture you’d probably appreciate Annie’s and your code name.”

Annie looked to her right once more. “What do they mean by that?”

Kerry didn’t have to think long on the matter once again. “It’s all comic book stuff, even your name, Helena. The Black Queen and the White Queen were members of The Hellfire Club in the X-Men comics. The Black Queen was a student of The Shadow King and was the leader of The Pale Riders during the Age of Apocalypse. The White Queen—” He chuckled. “She’s just a bitch. And she has a habit of not wearing a lot.” A smile slowly formed on his face. “The Black Queen and White Queen also have something in common.”

“What’s that?”

“Their first name: it’s Emma.” Kerry waited for Annie and Helena to exchange looks before telling them the rest. “Specifically, The Black Queen is Emma Steed—named after Emma Peal from The Avengers—and the White Queen is Emma Frost.”

While Annie simply stared at Kerry in silence, Helena seemed to speak for both women. “I’d make sure a certain ginger from Colorado doesn’t discover we’re sharing her name—” She arced her right eyebrow. “At least in a way.”

Annie humphed. “I know I won’t tell her.”

Kerry nodded. “I won’t, either.”

“Now that we know our code names—” Helena pointed at Kerry. “What about yours?”

“Oh, yeah. The original Red Queen of the Hellfire Club was Margali Szardos, who was a powerful sorceress, really big into demons, and the adoptive mother of Nightcrawler. In the Days of Future Past story, Psylocke was the Red Queen.” Kerry shrugged. “Given some of the stuff I know, I can see that name fitting.” He glanced at both women. “Even though I not completely thrilled to have that moniker laid upon me.”

“If I’m going to have the name Emma following me around, you can have a girl’s code name.” Annie smiled as she finished her sentence then turned to Helena. “One last thing: what’s a media team?”

 

The Guardians know Kerry far too well by now and seem to be thinking along the same lines. While I’m certain Helena’s mother called her daughter “The Black Queen” because of her eyes and attitude, she does also link up with her two protegees, the White Queen and the Red Queen, so there’s a lot of Guardian symmetry going on here.  Also, every geeky word Kerry said is all true because you know it is.

I’m also pretty certain he’ll need kid Annie about having a code name for a character named Emma, because… well, don’t mess with little witches who may react badly to Gingers From America.  Yeah, don’t go there, kid.

Besides, you don’t want Annie digging into your comic collection and finding an outfit for you to wear based upon one of your code name’s characters.  You don’t.  And you know it…