|Tara Trask - deceased|
Tara Trask, once a professor of gender history at Bryn Mawr College, became a wanted terrorist. A mutant with the power of astral projection, she had an unexpected connection to both Mother Askani and Gideon Faraday. Taken into SHIELD custody in a catatonic state following the defeat of Taygetos, she died quietly some weeks later.
Name: Tara Trask
Occupation: Former college professor, terrorist. Currently in SHIELD custody.
First appearance: May 25, 2007
Tara Trask was a professor of gender history at Bryn Mawr College, specializing in the history of women in warfare. An attractive woman in her late forties, she was an inspiring teacher and a noted historian, but her personal life was a mystery to most of her students and colleagues.
Thirty years previously, Trask struggled through the manifestation of her mutant powers, a form of astral projection that crossed not just space but time. It was involuntary, but she found herself wandering most often to the Askani's time period, drawn to Askani herself. Unfortunately, when she projects across time she is completely unable to communicate with the person whose mind she visits. Even a psi as strong as Askani could never sense her watching, so Tara quietly witnessed much of the Clan's history, right to the end. Her lack of ability to do anything but watch would later shape her response.
When Askani died and transferred her astral self back in time and to Nathan's mind, she was no longer there for Trask to connect with in the future. Because of the temporal paradox, Trask's loss of contact with Askani actually happened ten years prior to the events with Nathan, although Trask did see memories of Nathan in Askani's mind. For Askani, the two things were happening simultaneously. Trask continued to project herself involuntarily to Askani's time even after Askani's death, and saw what came after armageddon.
Trask, in the current day, set about trying to do something about the future she saw. For ten years, she selectively mentored choice students, attempting to pass on Askani beliefs and customs in a form adapted to the current century. The adaptation, unfortunately, was very loose. She saw their 'what is, is' philosophy in a way that would have left Askani herself aghast. In Trask's mind, 'what is, is' meant that you were responsible for yourself and to yourself. Only people who followed the same rigorous philosophy could be trusted, because only they could be trusted to maintain their own integrity as individuals.
By creating her version of the Askani sisterhood, Trask was hoping to create a tradition that could survive the coming conflict and give those worthy of survival a fighting chance. Unfortunately, she also became intolerant of weakness and rather cold towards the suffering of others. An early association with Gideon Faraday and his particular brand of ideology further shaped her approach.
After her initial meeting with Nathan, she used her abilities to creep into his mind for months, to examine his memories of the Askani. Unfortunately, this led to an instinctive defensive reaction on his part, trapping her in his mind when his shields inverted. Nathan was badly shaken by these events, but continued to see her from time to time, hoping to convince her that she had misinterpreted Askani's philosophy.
Unfortunately, her activities were far more dangerous than he'd realized. She masterminded an assassination attempt against T'Challa during the Wakandan king's visit to New York, and later tried the same thing with Istvan Barath. Three X-Men were in Budapest at the time on a consulting job and averted the assassination. Simultaneously, Trask used Ilyas Saidullayev, whom she had lured away from Magneto using her abilities, to lure Nathan to Chechnya in hopes of giving him one more chance to reconsider and join her. After a violent confrontation in which she shot Nathan in the back, Nathan and Jean fled a Russian airstrike, leaving Trask unconscious and Saidullayev fending off Russian helicopters.
Now a fugitive, she continued her operations. An assassination attempt against a mutant Russian archbishop was successful, following in her previous pattern of striking against pro-coexistence targets and revealing that she had recruited even from among those close to the X-Men. She also learned of a mysterious project, linked to Mistra, called Taygetos, and took other members of her group to investigate it. In the subsequent encounter with the X-Men, Trask was directly responsible for acquiring the information she would need to investigate it further (and preventing the X-Men and SHIELD from doing so).
The X-Men next encountered her in Wakanda, manipulating events to bring about an invasion of that country as part of a more wide-ranging plan involving a Taygetos-initiated assassination of T'Challa. Though she was confronted by Emma Frost, it was in fact a trap for whoever came after her, and Carly Alvarez was able to fell Emma from behind, leaving her unable to intervene directly in the later events in the Wakandan capital. Just before this, she revealed to Emma that her interest in Taygetos was primarily a way of forcing further contact with Nathan.
Afterwards, she remained in hiding, emerging only when she perceived Taygetos to be a threat to Nathan's life and attempted to kidnap him to keep him safe. Having already lost Saidullayev in Wakanda, she then lost William Moses to a counterattack by Irene Merryweather, a disciple of Esther Morrow's.
Her next major strike was against Hungary. Working with a Preserver cell, she targeted both a new university program for telepaths and the Parliament building. She was betrayed by Tanya Callery, and many of her people, as well as the Preservers, were taken into custody (mostly notably Hunt and Alvarez). With nowhere else to turn, she struck a deal with the man known as Alpha, head of the Taygetos program and helped him try to entrap Nathan, whom she blamed for gutting her organization.
Her choice to ally herself with Taygetos would prove her undoing. After one failed operation, she was on-site when the X-Men's strategy to destroy the program was put into play. Although she attempted to win her way free by using her powers to manipulate the young operatives, she was defeated on the astral plane by Jean, who destroyed her astral form. Catatonic, she was taken into custody by SHIELD and died a few weeks later.
As mentioned above, Trask's mutation was basically psionic, a form of astral projection. Over the years, she perfected her ability to project her astral self across space - she could visit the mind of anyone she chooses and even influence their psyche to an extent. She couldn't control their minds, but she could make strong subconscious suggestions that anyone with a 'normal' mind would find difficult to ignore; it often manifested as her encouraging emotional reactions or thoughts that were already there, 'pushing' her target to a more drastic reaction than they would ordinarily have manifested. Her temporal wandering was always spontaneous, limited, and uncontrolled, always with that wall between her and the mind she was touching.
X-Men Mission: Becket - off-camera
Reunion Monticello - off-camera
Heretics - off-camera
Formerly socked by: Alicia