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A Terrible Idea 10

There was only one convict Jennifer didn’t know how to handle.

They called her Ice Queen.

Jennifer sat at her desk, still not sure how she was going to get Ice Queen to join the team. She’d poured through Ice’s history, through her rap sheet, through all the information that was to be had about the woman — both online and off.

There were threads about her on the subreddit OldSuperheroHistory, there were interview transcripts, Youtube videos, and all sorts of old Metahuman Affairs files.

But the fact was, Ice Queen hadn’t been active for a long, long time. She’d been popular back in the 80’s, when the line between heroic vigilante and dangerous villain had been thin.

Ice Queen had killed plenty of super villains and thugs — illegally, but not un-popularly. The public didn’t turn on her until she started killing superheroes.

Eventually she’d gotten caught and thrown in jail, but one important question had never been answered: why did she do what she did?

She had a son, but he never visited her and she never talked about him. She’d killed supervillains, but she’d also killed regular thugs, regular citizens, and superheroes. Her killings had seemed vigilante-ish for a while, but before long they lost all pattern. The killings were madness; Ice Queen killed whomever it was convenient to kill.

She strutted into Jennifer’s office, her orange prison uniform almost form-fitting, as if it was a comfortable and normal thing to be wearing. Jennifer sat there, staring Ice Queen down.

Only one guard accompanied Ice Queen. As soon as she was seated, he left the room.

Sloppy, Jennifer thought. She opened her drawer a little bit, and made a mental note to put more guards on Ice Queen.

“You wanted to talk to me?” Ice Queen asked.

Jennifer put an elbow on her desk, leaning in. She wasn’t going to act calm around Ice Queen. She wasn’t even going to try and be subtle in her manipulations.

She felt a need to show strength. When faced with the threat of chaos, a show of strength was the best way forward.

“You have a son,” Jennifer said.

Ice Queen’s face didn’t show emotion. “I do.”

“You haven’t seen him in… How long?”

“I don’t know.”

“And that doesn’t bother you?”

“No.”

“You don’t think it bothers him?”

“I don’t care.”

In truth, Ice Queen in many ways evinced traits that you’d expect to see in your standard, garden-variety sociopath.

But there was more to Ice Queen than that. It was one of the reasons supervillain fans found her so fascinating: her son had given the police testimony that his mother was good, that she’d shielded him from a hateful father.

In her civilian identity, Ice Queen had been a social worker, who had been seeing a therapist. There were audio recordings of her crying, of her saying she wanted to do good in the world.

Frankly, there was no way Ice Queen could have been born a sociopath. Not even Jennifer believed a sociopath could fake it so believably.

So, she was faced with two questions. One, how could she get Ice Queen on the team? And two, what had happened to Ice Queen, to turn her into this?

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