Emma Frost #9

Issue Date: 
May 2004
Story Title: 
Mind Games - part 3: Outrageous Fortune

Karl Bollers (writer), Carlo Pagulayan (penciler), Dennis Crisostomo (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Greg Horn (cover artist), Cory Sedlmeier & Stephanie Moore (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Emma and Troy grab a cab, overjoyed to have made a heap of cash from the casino. As they are driven, Troy’s mouth gets the better of him, so Emma shuts him up with a firm nudge to the ribcage. Once out of the cab, Troy asks what the problem is and Emma replies that she wouldn’t make a very good psychic gambler if everyone knows about it. Troy says he’d love it and sure wouldn’t keep it a secret. Emma wonders if it’s time for a change of tact. They call at Lucien’s place and Troy hands over the cash. However, Lucien wants another five grand by tomorrow; accrued interest. Afterward, they return to their apartment to find it has been trashed. Troy’s landlady appears and says they must leave, as they’re a danger to the other occupants. Troy packs his bags, but Emma has other plans. She kisses him and says they’ll head back to the casino and win big. That will get Lucien off their backs. Troy, however, is more interested in kissing her again. Later, at the casino, Emma finds her abilities don’t extend to machines and she fails at craps but she has an idea. She takes an empty chip holder to the cashier and makes her think it has five grand in it. She pays up, but the security cameras catch everything and they are all hauled in front of the boss, Mrs. Faulkner, who sacks the cashier and kicks them out. Leaving the casino, Tory asks Emma if she fancies a road trip to New York. Before she replies, Stu and Milo appear, and they mean business.

Full Summary: 

(Boston, Massachusetts)

Buoyant over their good fortune, Emma and Troy grab a taxi. The driver asks where they want to go. Troy hands over a $100 bill and says, “First star on the left and straight on till morning; keep the change.” Piles of cash lay all around them and, for the first time in a while, Emma is truly enjoying herself.

As they drive away, the driver says they must have had a lucky night at the Royale. Troy leans forward and says that luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. The pretty young thing next to him is possibly the world’s first, what he calls, psychic poker expert. Alarms flash in Emma’s mind and, as the driver gives an inquisitive glance, Troy continues. He tells the man that she won nineteen consecutive rounds of poker. She knew the exact cards the other players were holding.

Emma interjects, explaining that he should pay no attention to her overly-talkative boyfriend. He’s way past his banana daiquiri limit. Troy wonders what she’s talking about, but Emma gives him a healthy nudge in the ribs with her elbow, which shuts him up. Moments pass as the cab heads past Boston’s neon skyline. “Did you just say I was your boyfriend,” Troy asks.


The couple exit the cab, with Troy wondering why Emma got so cheesed off. He asks if it’s really that big a deal. Emma replies that it is. She won’t make a very good psychic gambler if everyone on the planet knows she’s a psychic. Troy says he only told the cab driver. He’d be majorly psyched if he could do the things she can and sure wouldn’t keep it a secret. Maybe he’s right, Emma thinks, as they head towards a brightly lit doorway in a quiet area of town. Secrets were a way of life back home and maybe it’s time to play things differently.

Troy presses an intercom button as a CCTV camera watches them both. Inside, Stu and Milo are surprised to see who’s calling and their boss, Lucien, tells them to buzz them in. Troy gingerly opens the door and finds Troy, shirtless, laying into a punch bag. His hair is long and unkempt and he sports a goatee. He also has a vertical scar over his left eye, which appears to have been blinded. After a couple more shots, he turns to Troy and tells him that he shocks and amazes him. Milo and Stu flank him, both bandaged as an after-effect of Troy’s frying pan attack. “I so wasn’t expecting you today,” Lucien adds.

Troy nervously explains that he has some really good news for him. Lucien eyes up Emma and asks who she is. She introduces herself, though Lucien appears nonchalant at her presence. He tells Troy he is owed ten gees and, every time he sends poor Milo and Stu to collect, he’s always there to give them grief. Tell me about this good news, he asks.

Troy produces wads of cash from his pockets and asks Emma to show him the rest. “Ten thousand dollars, count it,” he says. Lucien takes the cash and replies that this isn’t good news; this is very good news. Troy says that he told him he was good for it. The two men break out in momentary laughter before Lucien stops and looks a little more serious. Troy asks what the matter is. Lucien says that there’s the matter of accrued interest on his debt, amounting to five thousand dollars. Troy doesn’t have that kind of money, but Lucien takes the ten gees and says they’ll collect the balance tomorrow. Milo and Stu step in to prevent Troy from approaching their boss, as he asks how he is expected to come up with five grand by tomorrow. The same way he came up with ten, Lucien replies. He turns and continues his exercise as Stu tells them to get moving.

(Troy’s apartment, later)

Emma and Troy return to their pad, only to find the place trashed. The bed is ripped to pieces, every drawer has been rifled through and all Troy’s belongings are strewn across the floor. They blame Milo and Stu. A woman named Miss Wexler appears at the door and tells Troy he must move out. He can’t stay there any longer, as he’s a danger to the other tenants. She adds that he shouldn’t even bother asking for his deposit back.

Troy tosses things into a blue holdall and Emma asks him what he’s doing. He replies that he’s getting out of Dodge, fast. Emma is surprised and asks where they’ll go. Troy says anywhere that isn’t here. “Troy, you can’t be serious,” says Emma, upset that her life is taking another turn for the worse. He tells her he’s dead serious. It’s not like he wants to leave, but he has no choice. He’s been evicted from his apartment, he can’t go back to work for the restaurant and Lucien wants another five grand.

He stops talking as he sees a strange expression on Emma’s face. Without a word, she holds him by the shoulders and gives him a long, lingering kiss on the lips. Troy is a little dumbstruck. Emma finally tells him that they’ll head back to the casino and she’ll do the whole psychic thing. They’ll win big and Lucien will be off their backs. Troy barely seems to comprehend a word she says. “Check,” he replies, “Can we do that again?” Emma smiles. ‘Men!’

(The Royale Riverboat Casino, Boston Harbor, 12.06a.m.)

It’s the early hours of the morning. Emma and Troy find themselves back onboard the floating casino but, unfortunately, they’re hosting a poker tournament. It doesn’t matter to Emma, though; there are other ways of making money. She is seated at a one-armed bandit and concentrating on the spinning reels. Troy stands behind her, arms folded, and says, “Should I even bother asking?” Emma is just testing the water to see if her so-called ‘abilities’ can affect machines. She asks Troy to zip it while she concentrates.

The first pull shows two bells and the number seven; not exactly a promising opening. Troy wants to leave but Emma isn’t finished yet. She places another quarter in the slot and pulls. The reels spin once again and she focuses on hitting three of a kind. Cherries, cherries, cherries, she thinks. The reels come to a halt and Troy’s face lights up. “Emma! It worked, we won!” he cries. Emma winces. She points to the reels to reveal a plum, an orange and a bar. “I think someone needs contacts,” she says. Troy could have sworn they were cherries and Emma recalls her previous use of this ability. She had intentionally caused a newsvendor and a waitress to see what she wanted. Now, she’s gone and done the same to Troy, completely by accident.

This gives Emma an idea and she grabs him by the hand and leads him to a craps table. 007 always made the game look so easy, so she tells Troy that she’s betting on the number eight. As she slides a pile of chips onto the passline, she thinks that she could try and trick the dealer into thinking that she’s rolling the number eight, but there’s no guarantee that she can trick everyone watching. So, she thinks, she’ll fool the dealer into thinking she’s placing a bet for five hundred dollars instead of just five. It leaves a fair amount of chance but, if she wins, the payoff will be worth the risk.

The dealer does indeed see five hundred dollars and Emma rolls the die. The crowd look on as she rolls a nine. Two more rolls only bring up a five and a seven. Troy grabs his forehead as they realize they’ve crapped out. They leave the table and Emma asks how much money they have left. Only the bus fare to New York, Troy replies. Emma then has another idea and asks Troy to hand her the casino chip holder.

She leads him by the arm to the cashier, but Troy asks why they’re going to cash in their chips when they don’t have any. Emma asks him to trust her. She pushes the chip holder to the cashier and tells her she figured they’d quit while they were ahead. The cashier takes the empty holder and begins to hand over stacks of bills, adding up to five thousand dollars. The look on Troy’s face is one of astonishment. Emma thanks the cashier but turns to see two suited security men standing ominously behind them.


Emma and Troy are seated in the owner’s office, alongside the hapless cashier. Behind the owner, Mrs. Faulkner, is a bank of screens showing the casino to be heavily monitored. She says that she runs a tight ship, but she can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why she pays to have spotters positioned throughout the casino to detect illegal activity such as theirs. Despite such precautions, she has found the human eye can be unreliable. It can be tricked. But the camera; the camera sees all.

She shows a playback of the cashier, Sylvie, handing over piles of cash for an empty holder. “Sylvie, you’re fired,” she says. Sylvie protests her innocence, explaining that she’s never seen her fellow detainees before tonight. She swears on the lives of her kids. Mrs. Faulkner points to the door and says her heart goes out to the brats. However, it appears she was a willing accomplice to a feeble attempt at robbery.

Emma stands up and tells Mrs. Faulkner that she’s telling the truth. Desperation sets in and Emma explains that they’re magicians and conned her using sleight of hand. Mrs. Faulkner has no time for this and orders them off her boat or she’ll show them some sleight of foot.

(The South Boston Piers - 3:10 a.m.)

Troy and Emma leave the confines of the casino and head outside into the night air. Emma apologizes for blowing it and suggests trying another casino. Troy says it’s too late. The rest will be closed at this hour. He says he wasn’t kidding about New York earlier and asks if she’s up for a road trip. Emma doesn’t quite know how to respond and finds the decision must wait. Milo and Stu appear from nowhere and open their jackets a little to reveal that they are both carrying pistols. They point to the open trunk of their car and tell Troy and Emma that their luck just ran out.

Characters Involved: 

Emma Frost

Troy Killkelly

Cab driver


Milo and Stu

Miss Wexler

Royale Casino customers

Royale Casino staff including Sylvie

Royale Casino security staff

Mrs. Faulkner

Story Notes: 

Troy’s quote, “First star to the left and straight on till morning,” almost quotes J.M. Barrie's “The Adventures of Peter Pan,” only he wrote “First star to the right.” The phrase was also used at the end of Star Trek VI by Captain Kirk.

“007” is, of course, British secret agent James Bond.

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