St. CROIX twins: Page 2 of 6

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7th May 2007

Despite them being born into a Moroccan family of wealth and influence, Nicole and Claudette St. Croix had anything but a happy childhood. As an ambassador, their father did not have much time for his four children, and he would usually spend his little spare time with his favorite daughter, their older sister, Monet. Additionally, their mother was taken away too soon, when their brother, Marius, manifested his mutant power to feast on other people’s bone marrow, turning him into the hideous creature called Emplate. On top of this unfortunate series of events, Claudette grew up to be autistic for reasons unknown, with Nicole trying to look after her twin as good as possible.

By the time they were eight years old, they went to check out some noises coming from Monet’s room, only to discover that Emplate had returned home. In his company was a red-skinned female with spiky hair, who looked almost as freakish as he did. When Nicole demanded to know where Monet was, Emplate gloated that he had taken her away and that they would never see her again. Not paying attention to the autistic Claudette, Emplate realized to late that she drew a circle around him with a piece of chalk, thus opening a dimensional portal to banish Emplate from Earth.

Their evil brother and his strange companion gone, Nicole feared their father’s reactions when he would discover that his favorite daughter was missing. Suddenly, though, she reached an idea. Using their own mutant power to merge with each other, the two eight-year old twins became a 16 year old teenager looking exactly as Monet. [Generation X #40] Somehow, the merger even enabled them to duplicate all of Monet’s super-powers as well. However, the twins hadn’t accounted for her own absence and, naturally, their father was heart-broken just the same. Instead of mourning for his oldest daughter, he was now left wondering what fate had befallen the missing twins, especially as “Monet” wouldn’t speak a single word about what had happened.

It’s not quite clear what happened over the next few months, however it seems that the Aborigine mutant, Gateway, took an interest in “Monet,” and apparently trained or tutored her somewhat. She did not interact with anyone else, prompting her governess to suggest to ambassador St. Croix to send “Monet” to Xavier’s school in America. However, he was still too upset to send the last of his children away.

Eventually, the techno-organic creatures called the Phalanx attacked and, while her governess tried to hold them off long enough for her charge to escape, “Monet” put up no struggle when the Phalanx captured her. Along with several other young mutants, she was being examined by the Phalanx in an attempt to find a way to assimilate mutants into their collective as easily as they could assimilate humans. While the other prisoners argued among themselves what to do, “Monet” snapped out of her catatonic stupor. Not only was she able to use her analytical skills to discover a traitor among them, but she immediately took charge of the group and broke them out of their cell. Still, they were trapped with one of the Phalanx aboard a freighter and, if not for the unlikely grouping of Banshee, Jubilee, Emma Frost and Sabretooth arriving in the brink of time, they youngsters would have died. [Uncanny X-Men #316-317, X-Men (2nd series) #37]

Following the incident with the Phalanx, Xavier decided to open a new class for mutants in training, though not at his mansion. While the mansion in Westchester was renamed to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, the new Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters was opened up at the old Massachusetts’s Academy, with Banshee and Emma Frost serving as Headmaster and Headmistress. “Monet” immediately showed off her wealth by buying her classmates new clothes [Uncanny X-Men #318] or by having three truckloads of furniture moved from the St. Croix estate in Monaco to her new home. She also adopted a somewhat snobbish attitude, making it pretty clear to the other students that she considered herself superior to them. This also showed in her choice for a codename, the first letter of her name – M. It represented everything she considered herself to be, elegance and perfection.
On the first day at the new school, suddenly Gateway appeared on the campus. At first “Monet” thought that he wanted to continue her training, however she soon understood that he had come to warn her about Emplate’s imminent return. Within the hour, Generation X ran into the villain when they picked up another mutant student from the airport and they barely survived the encounter. Gateway used the distraction of the battle to teleport to the villain’s lair, where he helped his captive, Penance, to escape, only to drop her off at the Massachusetts Academy.

While everyone was still trying to make some sense of all that had happened, “Monet” surprised her teachers by being able to run the sophisticated computer system of the mansion when she programmed Emplate’s visual image into it “from memory.” This was just the tip of the iceberg, though, as the image was just meant to illustrate a theory that she had come up with her analytical skills. Pointing towards several similarities in appearance, she reasoned that Penance must have been Emplate’s prisoner, him having taken on some of her traits after feeding of her for a prolonged time. [Generation X #1-3] Actually, “Monet” had already seen the red-skinned female in Emplate’s company before, on the day that the real Monet had disappeared; this was just her way of letting the others in on what she knew, making sure not to spill her secret and reveling in her superiority at the same time.

However, as time went by, M’s teammates noticed several oddities about her. At times, she would do things one would associate more with a little child than a teenager, such as climbing trees or drawing into a coloring book. Even the entries of her diary were mostly sketches with a few cryptic words scribbled next to them. [Generation X #1, 7, Annual ‘95] On the other hand, there were also several times when “Monet” would completely zone out, nobody being able to communicate with her, not even move her. Usually these incidents happened when a task involved some hard thinking or analysis, prompting her teammates to assume it was some sort of necessary concentration phase for her mutant power to work. [Generation X #5, 9] Basically, though, it was merely an outside expression of either the aspects of Nicole or Claudette gaining temporary dominance over their shared body.

Banshee tried to talk to “Monet” about her catatonic spells but, as soon as he brought up her family background, she ran away, trying to avoid further questioning. By the time she returned to the school, Emplate had attacked and captured everyone there. In front of her startled teammates, the villain addressed “Monet” as his “little sister,” thus revealing her relation to him. Due to the timely arrival of Bishop, and Penance turning on her former master when he least expected it, Emplate was forced to flee. [Generation X #12-14]

It seemed that Generation X had emerged from their second encounter with Emplate unharmed - all except for one. Emplate had bestowed Synch with his ability to feed on other people’s bone marrow and, still under the villain’s influence, Synch was en route home, to kill his own family. Naturally, Generation X went after him and, while Husk wore Synch down, in the end it was “Monet” who defeated him. She dared her possessed teammate to duplicate her powers, not just the superficial ones such as strength, flight and invulnerability, but also what lay underneath them. Apparently, Synch couldn’t handle the dual nature of the merged individual, and the resulting feedback shook him back to his senses. The incident once again proved how little was known about M and, trying to get some answers, Emma Frost tried to probe her student telepathically. However, “Monet” was able to block her teacher’s attempt to read her mind. [Generation X #15-17]

When the powerful Onslaught made his move and started to attack New York city, Emma Frost was one of the first to sense the danger. Still traumatized by the loss of the Hellions, she kind of snapped and brought Generation X to a safehouse in Canada. There, she took telepathic control of them and made them feel happy, so that they wouldn’t question her decision. However, this also left them vulnerable to an attack by the Toad, as they could not fight back anymore. At that point, “Monet,” or actually just Nicole St. Croix, managed to enter Emma’s mind. The teacher barely recognized the astral form of the eight year old girl as her student, but listening to what she had to say, Emma realized that protecting the kids by taking away their freedom was not the right decision and let them go. After the Toad was defeated, the students soon forgave Emma. After all, she had only been acting out of concern for their well-being. [Generation X #18-19]

When the Beast guest-lectured at the Massachusetts Academy, he witnessed one of M’s catatonic spells first hand. Actually, the class was writing an exam and “Monet” finished the test within four minutes. Having to wait for everyone else to fill out the test sheets, she zoned out once more, and ripped her test page apart, creating an origami model of an old mansion from it. Quite concerned, the Beast told Banshee and the White Queen that he had seen this condition before - he suspected it to be autism. [Generation X #21] He couldn’t have known that it was actually two girls sharing one body, with only one of them being autistic.

“Monet” refused to see a psychiatrist, though, claiming that her father had already made her see numerous doctors after first manifesting her powers. She even convinced Banshee to agree that she wouldn’t have to be examined yet again for the time being. [Generation X #23] Yet, when “Monet” spent Christmas Eve together with the other girls and Emma Frost, she told them there was much cheering and celebration in Monaco on the day she manifested her powers. She even claimed that the crowd called her a small angel; clearly a fairy tale story that originated from a child’s mind. The evening was interrupted by Emplate, who revealed himself only to her, but not the other people in the room. Turned out that she was able to see mutagenic auras too, and he even tried to get her to feed off other people the same way he did. [Generation X #24]