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She didn't notice it at first. It just got mixed up with all the dirty torn newspapers and chocolate wrappers splayed out on the floor. She took her seat on the bus as she had done a thousand mornings before and stared out of the window at a world making its reluctant way to work. Another minute or two passed before she even glanced downwards towards her feet.
And there it was. A glossy, thin, colourful A5-sized leaflet, just to the side of her right shoe. The sort of thing she'd normally ignore. She was just about to look away, when something caught her eye. That something was three words. Three words that were enough to make her stop instantly and examine the paper. Printed at the top of the page, in the same font as the following text, was her name. Her full name.
"Sally Jane Gordon." she read it for a fourth time. No, she hadn't been seeing things. The leaflet seemed to be addressed to her and her alone. She bent down and picked the sheet up off the dirty ground and examined it. It looked liked it had been mass-produced with a thousand other identical pages and yet, it bore her name. The coincidence was remarkable.
She studied the text. "Amaze your friends and family! Find a happier and more confident you! Be the envy of your colleagues! Change your life in minutes with the remarkable new Transfomatrix 4000 System (TM) available only from Unreal Services. Be amongst the first to benefit from this revolutionary discovery!"
The next paragraph began "Come and see us at our studios: Suite 12, Tall Building, Main Street. Office hours: 10:30AM-4:00PM Monday-Friday. Closed weekends. Please do not bring any pets or food into our offices. Parking at your own risk." Tall Building! She felt a shiver run the length of her backbone. That was where she worked. In fact, she had walked past the door to Suite 12 on the way to her office hundreds of times. But she had never noticed a sign for "Unreal Services". Intrigued, she squinted at the little piece of shiny paper once again.
Underneath the address, in a smaller font, she read "This leaflet entitles the person or persons named above to one free treatment with the Transformatrix 4000 System (TM). Offer valid only for named party or parties. Proof of identity may be required. Free treatment available only on Tuesdays and Thursdays before 10:45am." She smiled, thinking of the tiny window between the Unreal Services office opening at 10:30, and the offer expiring at a quarter to eleven. And only applying two days a week - Tuesday and Thursday.
And then the smile evaporated. Half past ten was when she habitually took a coffee break. More often than not at that time, she also visited the snack machine - the snack machine located down the corridor, just past the door to... Suite 12! And wasn't today a Thursday? It was uncanny.
And weird. Because there were too many layers of coincidence. The leaflet must have been produced by someone who knew her or had seen her at work. But if this mystery person wanted her to visit Suite 12 so badly that they had gone to the lengths of printing a flyer, why had he or she just left the paper on the floor of a bus instead of actually handing it to her, or placing it on her desk? It was pure chance she had taken the particular seat that she was in. She scanned the floor. She couldn't see any other similar pieces of paper under any of the other seats.
The tiny document occupied her thoughts all morning. It prompted a thousand questions each of which seemed to lead to a hundred more. In short, she was intrigued. Fascinated. Hooked. She took her usual 10:30 break and walked down the corridor towards the snack dispenser. But she stopped before she reached the vending machine. Right in front of a door labelled "Suite 12". A tiny, very missable. engraved brass plaque beneath proclaimed "Unreal Services."
She knocked, but there was no reply, so after a brief hesitation she opened the door and walked through. The first thing she saw was a youngish man sitting at a desk, with his back to her. On his head, he wore a pair of stereo headphones with exuded the tinny, hissy sound of a heavy techno beat. No wonder her knock had gone unanswered! The man was sitting at a computer, his right hand clutching a mouse, his left lying out of sight under the disk, presumably resting on his knee.
She took a couple of steps into the room. Now the young man's head was no longer blocking her view of the monitor. The big, expensive-looking screen was completely filled with an image. It was a drawing, in the style of a comic-book, of a young woman with an impossible figure - tiny waist, huge breasts. Her costume was minimal and had been drawn so that her ridiculous chest appeared about to burst out of it at any moment.
Sally barely noticed at first, but the girl in the picture, as well as supporting the no doubt considerable weight of her own bust, was also holding a large passenger vehicle, like a bus, over her head. The picture suggested that the grapefruit-chested young woman was actually enjoying herself, showing off both her unrealistic figure and her strength.
The artist had drawn a series of... she looked more intently... bullets. From the lines included to depict movement she could see that intention was to show the bullets were coming at the girl from all angles and bouncing off her. Especially off her ultra-voluptuous breasts. Sally realised she'd disturbed the young man during a "private moment" with his computer.
She tutted to herself at the adolescent fantasy on the display screen and wondered how she could best go about the task of attracting the rapt viewer's attention. Then, she noticed another feature of the scene in front of her: the guy's left arm was moving very slightly back and forwards. He was rubbing his groin, through the material of his trousers, under the table.
Sally thought for a moment about creeping back out of the door she'd entered from, such was the discomfort the young man's masturbation caused in her. But she countered that in her internal debate with the strongly-felt notion that it was he, rather than she, who deserved to be embarrassed. Keen to let the awkward instant pass, she cleared her throat loudly.
The intended target of her call for attention turned, caught sight of her and then in sheer panic, spun his chair back to his computer, clicking frantically on the mouse in his hand, trying and failing until the fifth or sixth attempt to minimise the picture window he had been studying with such great interest. As he quickly tore the headphones from his ears, he crossed his legs as subtly as anyone could under the circumstances and finally rotated to face her, his complexion displaying the bright red signature of deep embarrassment.
"Can I help you?" the young man asked, making a poor stab at trying to sound professional.
"I've come to ask about this free treatment offer," Sally began, placing the leaflet she was still holding on the table top between them. "What exactly is the Transfermatic four hundred?"
"The Transformatrix four thousand" the young man corrected her, more than a little too patronisingly for someone addressing a potential client who'd just caught him playing with his genitals whilst looking at a computer-screen image of fetishist comic-book art.
"The T4k is a revolutionary discovery that can change your life in minutes." he continued, passionlessly delivering and overly-rehearsed script.
Sally was beginning to near the exhaustion point of her patience. "I know that. That's what it says here," she said angrily, pointing to the leaflet. "Can you tell me what it actually involves? Is it a vitamin supplement or what?"
"A vitamin supplement? No, no. The T4k is totally new concept. There's nothing to swallow. It works by light."
"Light?" Sally was confused. "Is it a tan treatment?"
"Oh, no, no. It's more like a battery torch. The process requires a beam of light to be directed at the recipient for a few seconds."
"And that's it? So, what's it do then?"
"It acts on a cellular level."
"To do what, exactly?"
"Well, in non-technical terms, to improve."
"Um, well, everything really.... I think."
"Well, to be honest, it's not really been tested yet. You're the first customer."
She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You mean you haven't even tried it out on yourself?"
"Not yet. I was waiting to see how it affects other people first."
"And you expect me to be your guinea pig?" Anger rose in her as she spoke. "You think that I'm going to subject myself to some bizarre scientific experiment just because it's free and you tell me it will improve me without actually saying how? Well, forget it. You can shove your Trans-wotsit four million where the sun don't shine!"
"Transformatrix four thousand."
Sally snorted her disgust with both the correction and its provider. "I think I've wasted enough time here." she announced, turning on her heels and striding towards the door. She heard something clicking behind her, and assumed it was the young man using his computer once again. A strange, low throbbing sound briefly reached her ears and a wave of warmth seemed to pass through her body.
Confused, she spun back to face the source of the click and saw the young man holding a small, green cylindrical device in his hand. "Too late now!" the man said, smiling triumphantly.
Sally was stunned. "What the hell have you done?". A couple of seconds passed. The gleeful face she glared at changed expression in stages from victorious through perplexed to disappointed. She repeated her question, her tone demanding an answer.
"If you have to ask," the young man replied, miserably, "then it doesn't work."
"Doesn't work? What did you think that... that... thing-" she pointed to the device he was still holding "-was going to do to me?"
He hung his head, his mumbled words barely audible: "Make you beautiful and superhuman."
Sally burst out laughing. "You were hoping your magic torch was going to turn me into your fantasy? You should stick to looking at pictures and playing with yourself!"
The young man blushed bright crimson. "The guy in the shop promised me it would work." he protested, on the verge of tears.
"Looks like someone's been ripped off!" Sally chuckled. "Well, I'll leave you to your toy and your.. er... viewing." she announced. This time, she made it to the door and out to the corridor uninterrupted. She took the first five steps back towards her own office. And then she collapsed to the floor.
That's it for me. Next writer has to decide what happens next. Does Sally wake up super or is the transformation a slow process? It's all yours!
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"Stupid geek." Sally muttered as she walked back to her office "Stupid 'magic' flashlight musta hypnotized me into passing out... If that weirdo so much as TOUCHED me while I was out, he's gonna regret the day he bought that weird flashlight."
Returning to her office and taking a seat in her cubicle, Sally noted with relief that she'd just barely made it back on time. Her boss was a stickler for coming back from coffee and lunch breaks within the time period specified for each in the rules of conduct. Taking too long on one's coffee or lunch breaks was cause for getting your pay docked and if someone was late getting back too many times, their job would be in serious danger.
Checking her clothes, Sally was glad to note that everything was still buttoned and zipped as it should be, no more dishelved than she might expect to be after spending a short time on the floor. She wasn't feeling any aches or pains that might be attributable to sexual abuse, so she figured that the geek had been completely unaware that she had passed out right after leaving suite 12... Actually, she felt pretty darn good. The slight ache in her right wrist that she'd been feeling lately(and hoping wasn't the start of carpal tunnel syndrome) had completely cleared up, as had her aching neck.
It took a few hours of working at her computer before Sally realized that her mind was much sharper than usual. She had processed twice as many files this morning than she usually did in an entire day. More than that, she remembered every detail of the files she had processed as though they were open in front of her to read. Could there actually be something to that Transformatrix 4000? It defied common sense....
At lunch time, Sally went down to the street and got a hot dog from a street vendor. As soon as she finished it, her stomach rumbled and she realized she was still hungry. She ordered a jumbo hot dog this time and gobbled it down. She had completely eaten two more jumbo hot dogs before her hunger was finally sated. Ignoring the vendor wishing her a healthy pregnancy, Sally hurried back to her office and got to her cubicle just in time to avoid the wrath of her boss the clockwatcher.
"What the heck is happening to me?" Sally wondered
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As Sally typed, she pondered if that Transformwhachamacallit could possibly have caused this change in her. Everything was so clear to her now! It was like someone had suddenly lifted the flood gates to her---
"Wait! Oh my God!" Sally giggled to herself at the sudden realization that as her thoughts were wandering she was still working feverishly on her work without missing a beat! Stopping for a brief moment to double-check her work, Sally confirmed that all her calculations were correct. "Holy Crap! My brain can multi-task too!" Sally thought to herself as she then an idea popped into her head.
Stopping momentarily for a second and slightly pushing the adding machine aside, Sally took a short breath and ran down the next page of figures with the same pace as before but this time verifying the calulations in her head.
"Present Value of $123,900 amortized over 12 years.........7.54% ARM over 7 years with 2 points.......Monthly payments of 10 year construction loan at 6.05%......"
Sally grinned as she her eyes dropped down the page without a moments hesitation, reading and processing calculations faster than she'd previously even been able to READ them before.
As she got to the last page, Sally beamed at the fact that she had just finished her entire day's work. "And in only 19 minutes and 48 secs!" her mused to herself, marvelling at the fact that she knew the exact amount of processing time without even glancing at her watch.
"This is incredible! I'M incredible!" Sally said to herself as she suddenly wondered what to do now. As if on queue, a familiar rumbling came from her abdomen. "Hmm, I wonder if that hot dog guy is still there" as Sally grabbed her purse and snuck towards the door, gripping the knob and turning it slowly and quietly to avoid attention. While it seemed to stick, Sally managed to get it open and slip undetected outside.
As she stepped into the hallway and walked past the "Unreal Services" door, Sally had an inkling to walk in and tell the geek what had happened and ask why she was so hungry now, but the little pervert kinda weirded her out. Besides, he had done this....something.......without her consent and she was still pissed!
"No, screw him!" thought Sally as she suddenly heard a muffled sound of her boss screaming. Sally quickened her gait and descended quickly down the stairs not trying or wanting to her her bosses lastest rant, whatever it was!
"WHERE THE HELL IS GORDON? WHERE IS SH---HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE DOORKNOB!" screamed Mr. Repus as he walked over and bent down to inspect the solid brass doorknob which was now mangled almost beyond repair.
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Sally could barely hear Jerry the hot dog man. She was wolfing down her 10th jumbo dog, and was still famished.
Jerry was looking back and forth, up and down the street.
"Did they bring back Candid Camera? Is this some kinda stunt?"
His words barely registered.
"More!" Sally grunted, between gulps.
"Hey, lady, I need more, too. Like more cash. This ain't some fancy restaurant. I don't take plastic."
Sally didn't usually carry that much cash. You couldn't be too careful. Credit cards were replaceable, and the banks would always cancel any charges if they were lost or stolen. But cash? When that was gone, it was GONE.
Swallowing the last gulp, she came momentarily back to reality, and back to wondering what the hell was going on. First the mind thing, like she was one of those mentats in DUNE. Then this crazy hunger. First at lunch and now….
Hunger pangs seized her again.
"Polish sausages. Hot pretzels. Whatever you got."
Sally reached to open her handbag, and the strap came off -- just like that. Her wallet and personal effects scattered all over the sidewalk.
She reached to retrieve her stuff -- first her wallet, then her pills, then her makeup. Her compact slipped out of her grasp at first, so she grabbed hold of it more forcefully -- and it broke.
She cursed again, then stopped and stared at the broken compact. The case hadn't just come apart, it was crushed. Foundation had squirted from the sides.
She remembered the geek. His picture of a woman lifting a car. Breaking a compact wasn't in the same league as lifting a car, but --
Could T4Kbe real, after all? It had seemed like a joke this morning, the sick joke of a sick kid.
She had to check it out now, she knew. But she'd better be careful. Really careful, if this was going to affect her body as much as her mind. She finished gathering her stuff, and headed for the nearest ATM, where, oh so carefully, she withdrew $100. She returned to the hot dog stand and ordered Polish sausages and pretzels -- a dozen each, hoping they'd be enough. Jerry looked at her funny, but took her money and handed her the bag of munchies.
She headed back to the Tall Building, stuffing her face along the way.
The geek was only a front for somebody, that much was clear. He'd talked about some "guy in the shop," and had seemed genuinely surprised that his magic torch or whatever hadn't seemed to have worked.
The door to Suite 12 was locked. She fiddled impatiently with the handle, and it came off -- deformed.
She looked up and down the hall. Nobody had noticed.
Sally pulled the door open carefully. Maybe she could have ripped it off, but she didn't want to experiment with stuff like that -- not yet, and certainly not in plain view. She had to find out who was really behind what had happened to her. The geek would know that, at least, point her in the right direction.
The geek was gone. So was his computer. There was no sign of anybody else.
Damn, damn, damn!
Sally wolfed down another Polish sausage.
Her mind was racing, considering all the possibilities, all the alternatives.
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As soon as her breasts burst free of their confinement, Sally felt her sleeves become tight and then burst asunder, releasing softball-sized biceps. The rest of her muscles grew as well, her clothes getting shredded by her rapidly increasing muscle mass, revealing rock-hard six-pack abs. She also grew taller and her short blond hair grew down to her waist. As her growth ended, Sally gazed in awe at herself in the bathroom mirror. She had transformed from a woman who was puny and small-chested to a superbusty muscle goddess.
Sally flexed her new muscles a bit, marvelling at the power she felt surging through her body, a body which was not hidden at all by her destroyed clothes, of which only her panties were still intact. Sally quickly realized why she had been so hungry, her body had been stockpiling raw materials for this growth. She spent some time admiring her new physique in the mirror before she thought about what to do next.
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Her palms brushed over her nipples and each one immediately responded by growing harder and even larger. A tingle of sexual excitement ran through her body. It was as if her chest, as well as becoming so much bigger, had also become vastly more sensitive.
After a few moments, she reluctantly stopped caressing her mounds and, panting slightly with arousal, examined the rest of her body. Her arms were huge! Great lumps of muscle surrounded her limbs. She touched her enormous right bicep with the fingers of her left hand. It was so hard! Like rock!
Her new muscles felt strange to her fingertips. Not electrifying as her breasts had done, but different from anything she’d ever encountered before. It was as if she was radiating energy. She could almost sense a tiny vibration coming from her arms. When she stroked her enormous thighs, the sensation was even stronger there.
Suddenly, she realised that the vibrating was intensifying. Soon she was visibly shaking all over. She felt unsteady. She needed to sit down, but there were no seats in the company bathroom, except for….
Sally staggered into a toilet cubical. By now she was trembling like washing-machine on “spin” cycle. She could feel her massive legs about to give way beneath her and hurried to sit down on the closed lavatory. There was a crash behind her. Something was wrong. She was too low. And she found that she was wet. Her hand felt something cold. When she brought it up to her eyes, she saw it was a large chunk of smashed toilet bowl.
“Oh my god!” she thought. “I’ve just shattered a lavatory by sitting down on it too hard! What the hell is happening to me?” She had barely felt the destructive impact. Meanwhile the vibrations in her arms and legs continued to become stronger. She could feel them in her stomach too.
There was another strange feeling. Like a current of energy of power, flowing from her limbs towards the centre of her body, as if something was being pulled inwards. Now she was violently trembling all over. “So this is what it feels like to be a pneumatic drill,” she thought, on the verge of panic.
Her eyesight was dimming too. She thought she could see the muscles on her arms changing shape, as though she were morphing like a character in a science fiction film. “Oh god! What’s happening to me?” she thought. Then, everything went black.
She didn’t know how long she’d been out. She opened her eyes, and found herself staring at the lavatory ceiling. Expecting to feel groggy, she sat up slowly, only to discover that there was no nausea. In fact, she felt terrific, as if waking up from a long, satisfyingly deep sleep.
She was surrounded by pieces of smashed toilet, lying in a large puddle of cool water. Her only garment, her panties, was soaked through. She placed an arm on the ground, to help herself to her feet and that was when she noticed. Her arm had changed. Completely.
Gone were the enormous, well-defined balls of muscle that had appeared before her latest blackout. But her arms had not returned to the familiar shape they’d had until that morning. They seemed longer, more shapely with only the subtlest hint of musculature beneath their silky surface.
And that was another thing. Her skin felt incredibly soft. She examined each of her arms in turn, amazed at the perfection of her complexion and the total lack of any blemishes. Turning her attention to her legs, she saw a similar change had affected them too. They were longer, more curvy than before, with recognisable, but discrete, sexy muscles that offered a glimpse of power beneath that oh-so-feminine exterior.
She checked the rest of her body. Her abdominal definition was still clear, but again, less obvious than before. Tight, taut and flat, her belly now looked like it belonged on a glamour model who spent a couple of hours in a gym every day. As for her breasts… They were as large and prominent as they had been when she’d passed out in the toilet cubical. But now, on her more womanly frame, they looked even bigger.
The two big spheres of feminine flesh stood as if held by an invisible force-field, high on her torso, not so much proud as outright arrogant as they thrust outwards. And so firm. Sally stroked them in awe. So big. So beautifully shaped. So solid. So good to touch.
Standing up, Sally looked down over the top of her magnificent mounds, down at the floor. It seemed further away than before. Had she grown taller too? She caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror above the washbasin, and caught her breath. “God, I’m beautiful!” she thought. “But how am I going to get out of here without any clothes? Just at that moment, the door to the corridor began to open.
Sally hadn’t noticed the puddle of water that had now stretched from the toilet bowl her body had destroyed as far as the door. And under it. And onto the carpet outside. But one of her colleagues, walking past, had noticed the dampness underfoot and the small splashes as he stepped on the wet area. Immediately he called the janitor.
The middle-aged maintenance guy was just entering the bathroom, mop and bucket in hand, to find the source of the water leak, as Sally was considering her next move. He saw her and froze on the spot, the bucket and the mop he’d been carrying falling to the floor as he unconsciously dropped them. His jaw hung open. He seemed paralysed, as if unable at that moment to do anything other than stare at the largest, proudest most erotically perfect pair of breasts he’d every seen in his life.
Sally panicked. She crossed her arms across her chest, a manoeuvre that succeeded only in hiding her nipples and the tiniest portion of her breasts. It also made her already awesome cleavage even more noticeable. Totally freaked out, she ran out of the bathroom, past the immobile janitor.
She ran down the corridor. Everywhere, people stopped their work routines as she sped past. Telephones, documents and coffee cups were dropped by shocked staff as the newly-created sex goddess streaked by, a fast-moving vision of pink perfection.
She reached the stairs, and still in a state of shock and panic, tore down them and then dashed through the entrance lobby of Tall Building, despite the surprised yells of the security guard. She reached the heavy glass door to the street and tugged at it.
There was a screech of tortured metal as the door’s heavy duty hinges tore clean in half, simply unable to resist the power of Sally’s pull. For a second, she held the entire door in her hand, by its handle, supporting the considerable weight without noticing any strain. But she needed that arm to cover her chest.
She dropped the broken door, hurrying to reposition her hand over her big left breast. The portal dissolved in a shower of shards of glass which sprayed over her body. She looked down, expecting to see her legs covered in dozens of cuts, but saw none. How was that possible?
“Miss! Hey miss!” she glanced over her beautiful smooth shoulder and saw the security guard headed towards her. Panic overcame her once more. Too much was happening to her, too quickly. Her brain made a split-second decision to get the hell away from there. Her legs obeyed it.
With a single bound, she leapt down the stairs that lead from the sidewalk up to the entrance to Tall Building, her knees hardly bending at all to absorb the impact. She caught sight of the newly-broken paving stones beneath her bare feet before she started running again.
She didn’t know where she was going, but decided she’d feel safer on the other side of the street. In her flustered state, she didn’t bother to check the traffic before she sprinted out into the road. She knew she was going faster, faster then she’d ever ran before, and she clung to that fact as she hoped that the security guard wouldn’t be able to catch her.
She did not notice the bus that was speeding along the road. The bus driver didn’t notice her either. Even if he had, he would never have estimated that she was moving quickly enough to have gotten into the path of his vehicle. By the time he realised that he was on a collision course with her, it was too late. Far too late. He slammed on his brakes, and closed his eyes with a sense of dread.
Sally turned her head just in time to see the bus looming up on her. Her mind filled with terror. A fraction of an instant later, the front of the big passenger carrier smashed into her.
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"I should be dead..." Sally muttered as she took in what had just happened, then had a realization "No... I shouldn't. I'm SUPER now!"
Sally experimentally pressed her hand against the metal surface of the bus, and giggled as it gave way before her like a pillow, though unlike a pillow, it retained the impression of her hand after she removed it.
"Just how strong am I?" she wondered
Sally spotted a convenient car nearby and easily lifted it over her head with both hands. It was so light! Finding a balance point she removed one hand from the car, supporting the entire vehicle with one hand while flexing her other arm.
"Mmmmmm. I am sooooooo powerful!" she grinned "I wonder how far I can throw this..."
Sally gently lofted the car with one hand like a basketball and it flew down the street until it crashed into a building down at the end of the street, miles away. The transformed woman was starting to feel aroused at the use of her super strength, no longer even caring that she was naked on a city street.
"F-FREEZE!" a shaky voice ordered and Sally turned to face a cop aiming his gun at her "Y-You're under arrest! Surrender or I'll sh-shoot!"
"ME!? Under arrest?" Sally laughed at the thought of a gun hurting her, considering she'd barely noticed getting hit by a bus a minute ago. "You're going to need a lot more firepower than that popgun to take me in, little man."
Sally took a step towards the cop, her foot cracking the street as she stepped, and the police officer fired. Sally gasped as the bullet bounced off one of her mighty breasts, it felt good.
"MORE!" Sally ordered "Shoot me more! Shoot my supertits with your pathetically weak bullets!"
The cop obeyed, firing more shots into Sally's huge, invincible breasts, causing the superwoman to sigh in pleasure as each bullet futilely expended its energy against her soft titflesh without doing any harm.
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He tossed a copy of the tabloid onto the conference table. "SUPER GIRL ON RAMPAGE" proclaimed the front-page headline, above a grainy photograph of Sally Gordon lifting a car over her head with one arm. Strategically blurred, the photograph managed to obscure certain anatomical details without concealing the fact that the young woman was stark naked.
One of the field supervisors seated around the table cleared his throat. "Sir," he said, somewhat defensively, "as you know, these manifestations are apparently random. We have no way of anticipating when or where the next one will occur. Something like this was bound to happen sooner or later. We can't expect to keep a lid on this situation forever."
"I know that." The chief took off his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. "But I was hoping that when this did become public, we'd at least be able to say that we know what's causing it and that we've got it under control."
He sighed. "Let's review, shall we?"
He pressed a key on his laptop. Four headshots of young women -- all strikingly beautiful -- appeared on a screen behind him.
"Actress Jessica Alba," said the chief. "Passed out on the red carpet going into an awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Model Summer Montabone -- lost consciousness during a photoshoot in Dallas. Singer Avril Lavigne -- collapsed on stage during a concert in Seattle. Olympic gold medallist Jennie Finch -- fainted while pitching a benefit softball game in Tampa.
"Each of them was rushed to a hospital. Each of them woke up within half an hour, feeling refreshed, energetic, and -- ah -- very hungry. Within hours, each of them began to manifest enhanced mental acuity and physical strength. Currently, their strength levels are -- well, off the charts, and still increasing. Those are the high-profile cases."
He pressed the key again; four more headshots appeared on the screen. "Then there are these other manifestations: a waitress at a Hooters restaurant in Akron -- a cheerleader at Texas A & M -- a high-school history teacher in Indiana -- and now, this Sally Gordon. Same story -- sudden loss of consciousness, a feeling of vigor and alertness upon awakening, followed by the rapid onset of superhuman capabilities. And all within the past ten days.
"Now so far," the chief continued, "we've managed to keep this from the general public. These young women are understandably anxious to know what's happening to them, so they've been willing to let us sequester them in one of our facilities for observation and testing. But we obviously can't keep them there indefinitely. Some of them already want to leave. And now we have a loose cannon in the form of this Sally Gordon."
He looked around the table. "So what do we have to go on? Not much. We don't know why this is happening -- or why it's only happening to good-looking young women in their twenties -- or why it's happened to these young women in particular. We've scanned their DNA -- gone over their personal histories with a fine-toothed comb -- even asked whether they use the same brand of skin lotion or eat the same breakfast cereal. All dead ends. There seems to be no vector, no common denominator -- "
"Excuse me, sir," interrupted a young man seated near the far end of the table, "but I think I've found a common factor."
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Jenkins cleared his throat. "It's, uh, it's U ... G ... F," he said, pronouncing the initials slowly and distinctly.
"And what,' asked the chief, "is U ... G ... F?"
"Well, it stands for 'Uber Girl Frenzy,' sir," Jenkins replied. "It's a website for, uh -- " He read from the screen of his laptop -- " 'for fans of femmes with powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary men.' It's for -- guys, mostly, who like to fantasize about super-powerful women. They discuss characters like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, the Bionic Woman -- they write stories and post artwork -- "
"And how did you find out about this site?"
Jenkins' face reddened slightly. "Just -- ah -- following a lead, sir," he mumbled. "Anyway," he continued, "it turns out that all of these women -- well, they've all been referenced on this site."
"What?" barked the chief. "Do you mean to say that a bunch of fanboys have found out about these manifestations?"
"Not exactly, sir. It's more -- complicated than that. You see, all of these women were mentioned on this site before the manifestations began."
The chief blinked. "You'd better explain that, Mr. Jenkins."
"Well, sir, the site features a discussion forum called 'If Only She Were Super.' It's where members talk about specific women they'd like to see gain super-powers. Some of the -- ah -- nominees are celebrities, others are what you might call 'girl-next-door' types. And it turns out that every one of the celebrities who have manifested super-powers so far -- Jessica Alba, Jennie Finch -- they were all mentioned beforehand on this forum."
"What about the others -- the waitress, the cheerleader ...?"
"They're not mentioned by name, but they're all here as well. The evidence is circumstantial, I admit, but -- well, I've printed out the entire forum, sir. Take a look for yourself." Jenkins slid a folder toward the head of the table.
"So you're telling me," the chief said slowly, picking up the folder and beginning to read, "that something, somehow, is making these fanboy fantasies come true?"
Jenkins shrugged. "It looks that way, sir -- unless you think it's all just a funny coincidence."
"I don't," said the chief decisively, continuing to read. "I -- Great Godfrey!" His jaw dropped. "Here's a misguided lackwit who wants to see Paris Hilton gain super-powers!" He shuddered. "God help us all if that ever happens!" He put down the folder. "All right, Jenkins -- you and Agent Bennett start looking into this right away. Find out everything you can about this site and its members. I.D. every woman mentioned in this forum. Oh, and I want the name of the site's administrator -- what does he call himself?"
He picked up the folder and squinted at the first page of the printout.
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"I understand your frustration, but it's really for your own good."
Denise puffed out her cheeks at the last. She'd certainly heard that before since her stay at their facility. Up until now she'd been cooperative and quiet. She'd been subject to their prodding and probing without complaint. Now, when they won't allow her a simple phone call to her family, she'd had enough.
She remembers how hot she'd been waiting for her carpool to take her to her new teaching job at Clear Lake High School. Being that it was such a large campus and in a much better neighborhood was surely a step up from the inner city work she had done. Inner city was okay when she was single, but her husband insisted that they move somewhere safer. Safer for their daughter.
The August heat pressed around her like a damp sheet. The Texas sun had crested the treetops nearly an hour ago. Denise looked down the suburban street. She recoiled her hand from the mailbox realizing how hot it gotten all the sudden. Her neighbor waved an offer of coffee at her from his front porch. Coffee in this heat?, she thought. She waved it off and noticed his house began to shift at a strange angle. Lights dance in front of her eyes. She felt her hip strike the ground and all her weight followed. A car pulled up to the curb where her head rested.
"Denise! Oh my goodness..."
"Fine, I'm leaving."
"We can't let you do that, Denise. We have strict orders..."
"I'm sorry, but this is no way to treat human beings."
As Denise began a setermined march from her quarters the soldier in charge barked an order to the door guard. The result was a large blast door slamming into place, and blocking Denise from her escape. Apparently they haven't been paying attention the last few days.
Sergeant White turned to his detail and breathed.
"I think that ought to do the..."
The hall filled with an incredible cacophony of screeching and moaning. Turning with covered ears, White's froze to look at the blast door. A bulge groaned from the center of the door. Like practiced, White ordered his men to their posts along the corridor. Weapons designed to put down giants without lethality were at the ready. Fingers poked through moving bubble and wiggled for purchased. Finally, a seam ripped through the door. A satisfied Denise watched as, with slow purpose, she parted the thick curtain. The protal widened much more than necessary before she stepped through.
White barked another order and the hall filled with heavy buzzing sound. Wire leads wrapped about Denise and megawatts of energy tickle over her skin. Her eyes fluttered as goosebumbs raised over her arms and chest. A canister rolled to her feet. White ordered his men to mask as a seeping gas crawled long the ground toward the young woman. The yellow cloud grew and encompassed her. As she breathed, Denise could feel the effect it was having inside her. Her nerves tingled and she became something not unlike being tipsy. The added effect was welcome. Her goosebumps traveled to her nipples. Her hair felt like it was electrified.
Denise heard another series of barking from the sergeant. A wave of seared along her hip. Another lanced over her back. The icy-hot licks over her skin, the tingling in her body, the electrifying goosebumps were all beginning to overwhelm her senses. Denise's breath labored. A sharp inhalation brought come of the soldiers off their feet. White grimaced. He punched a panel on the wall. The floor beneath Denise melted away. The Par-Las flared to life under her disintigrating what was left of her clothes and sending her over the edge. Denise let loose a moan that shook the walls. Her toes curled and her hands gripped chunks from the walls.
"Enough! Oh God, enough, please!"
White gave the cease fire. The Par-Las flickered to a shut-down. The gas canister had long since been dissapated from Denise's breathing. The laser grid died from power loss. The soldier's tazer systems disconnected leaving Denise in a tangle of wires. She floated languidly to the floor. Her toes alightly gently on the Par-Las surface hissing. She bit her lip. The wire she pulled from her body. A sheen of sweat glistened and she rolled her head to one side. White was finally shocked.
Through heavily lidded eyes Denise spoke, "Okay, you win. Just...just promise you'll do that again one day." :oops:
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Like she ever did anyway.
The clouds broke and for a moment it was just her, basking in the rays of the hot sun, miles and miles above the earth. She slowed to a stop, admittedly a little awkward at first, as she was fairly new to this whole defying gravity thing, but for once in her life no one was watching.
It was just her up here. No prying cameras, no paparazzi, no bodyguards, and no horny teenagers to force a smile for.
Not that she wasn't smiling right now, that is. In fact, she felt as if her smile would never leave her face. And who could blame her? At 24 years old, most people could settle for being one of the wealthiest women in the world, a major movie star, a pop-culture icon, and a costar in the hottest video since Pamela & Tommy.
But this is something entirely different. This is something that they don't just put in the side column of the Star or a half minute spot on Extra. All the fortune and fame and partying and social scene and all of it don't mean anything anymore.
She adjusted her position in the air and took off again with just a slight flex of her thighs. This time she zoomed downward, almost blindingly fast, but confident that she wasn't even near exerting herself. She wanted to take her time to make sure she had control of this whole thing first. Control was everything to her. Without control, you were nobody - a one-hit wonder - an honorable mention on Yahoo News at best. That certainly wasn't her and it never would be. She was determined to not only control this, but to master it.
She approached Chicago in almost an instant and had to pull to a quick stop in order not to fly right into one of the taller buildings. Still unpracticed, she just barely missed the southern edge of the Hancock building, getting close enough to the window panels to reach out and touch them had she wanted. Wouldn't that have been a thrill to the people inside, she mused. To see her, of all people, floating in mid-air 60 stories off the ground. She giggled at her imagined reaction, and fought the urge to actually go through with it. There would be time for that later.
For now, she needed some clothes. While she has never had a problem with her nakedness, she certainly didn't think it would be appropriate to walk the streets of downtown Chicago in her birthday suit. Exciting, but not appropriate. Don't give them the whole package yet. Give them something to want. Control.
She settled atop an apartment building, just off of Addison. She wasn't quite sure of her plan yet, as she wasn't very familiar with this end of Chicago and she hadn't really considered getting from place to place without clothes yet. She squinted against the mid-day sun and scanned the storefronts around the street... then the block... then the next block after that. It didn't take her long to see a fashionable corner department store about 6 blocks away. She took to the rooftops, quickly gliding over each one to get her closer and closer to her destination. Moments later, she was on the roof above her desired location. A utility door was easy enough to open and she was inside a long corridor with what she imagined was filled with offices.
Luckily, attendance seemed to be scarce, and she chalked it up to an afternoon lunchbreak, given the time. She quickly moved to the service elevator down the hall and got off on the top floor of the actual department store. She looked around and quickly assessed what she was looking for - lingerie. Moving carefully enough to not be seen, she grabbed a few different articles and made her way to the dressing room, somewhere she was very familiar with.
Dropping her cargo off, she finally slowed down and with a deep breath turned around to face the three full length mirrors around her.
Her signature smile reappeared as she gazed, almost in awe yet again, at the sight of her own body. She was used to others staring at her. She'd grown quite attached and dependent on it, actually. It felt good to know that people were watching, imagining, wondering... just what it was like to be her or be like her or be with her. She relished in being undressed with men's eyes. Knowing people went to bed dreaming of her turned her on like nothing else.
Now people wouldn't be able to help but stare.
She had been gorgeous before. She had set the standard of everything that the american media portrayed the perfect woman to be. Now she was so much more than that.
She giggled as she held the first bra, lacy and black and her normal fitted size, against her chest. The sheer extreme in the differences were almost rediculous at this point, as if one were to put Angelina Jolie's bra on a 10 year old girl. Still amused, she slipped the it over her arms, and brought it around her breasts. She slowly wrapped it around tighter and tighter and watched it stretch around her back. She could hear the material stretching almost to the point of breaking, and she felt all the small rips in the back seams when she actually connected the clasp. She laughed out loud at the sight of herself as the tiny bra that had so easily held her before the change was screaming 'no contest' against her new boobs. She put her hands on her hips, took a deep breath, and watched her little top explode into shreds of fabric, unable to contain the what was held underneath. God, she was going to love this.
She had grabbed a bigger bra, this one a dark red and one that was more appropriate for her breasts, and slipped it on a little easier. While still straining a bit, she was confident that it would hold, and if anything would make her tits look even fuller. She pulled on a matching thong and high heels, fully intending to maintain the control that she's always had and desired right from the get-go. Once more she admired herself in the mirror, this time turning and marveling at how buff and especially tone she had become since the change. Always having been naturally fit and maintained it constistantly, she knew at this point she would be able to give any fitness competitor a run for their money. Gone were her scrawny arms, now replaced with sleek muscled biceps - nothing huge - but at least she felt like she looked as strong as she had become.
Happy with her shopping trip, she pulled back her long blonde hair, flashed her confident 'attitude' smile one more time and marched out of the dressing room and into the store. Pushing off lightly with her toes, she hovered into the air and went over the fourth-floor balcony, loving all the attention as every eye in the house set on the sexy barely-dressed woman floating down from the ceiling of the department store. She set down in the middle, adoring the gawking shoppers, the women dropping bags in shock, and then men's eyes growing wide with lust.
She casually walked out the front lobby entrance and looked around at the street before her. She pretended to ignore the sounds of cars crashing into each other at the first sight of her. She pretended to ignore the cameras being whipped out and pointed in her direction. She pretended to ignore the sounds of people's heart's pumping faster as they stared at every visible inch of her incredible body.
It was time for the world to meet the new, the super...
[note: this is my first published story attempt, written way too late at night and totally unedited and proofread. I just did it for fun and in hopes that someone might pick up on this series again. Hope you enjoy it!]
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The 3:15 bell rang, signalling the end of the final period. As the other students handed in their quizzes and left the classroom, Bobby Franklin approached the teacher's desk.
"Mrs. Brennan?" he said. "I was wondering if you knew whether Miss Henderson will be back any time soon."
The substitute teacher smiled sympathetically. "I doubt it, Bobby. The principal told me I should expect to be filling in for her for the rest of the school year."
"Well ... I got her a get-well card. Do you have an address where I can send it?"
"That's very thoughtful of you, Bobby. I don't have her address, but if you drop the card off at the main office, I'm sure they'll forward it to her along with the rest of her mail."
"Okay, I'll do that. Thanks, Mrs. Brennan."
"You're welcome, Bobby. Have a nice weekend."
Bobby walked out of the school building and toward the baseball field. Warm afternoon sunshine lay on the rolling green countryside, but the perfect May weather did little to dispel the cloud of worry and guilt that had hung over him for the past week. Something had happened to his favorite teacher. He didn't know what -- but he was afraid it was all his fault ...
* * * * *
On course registration day, back in September, Bobby had learned that he was enrolled in Miss Henderson's AP American History class. A novice teacher, fresh out of graduate school, Miss Henderson was passionate about her subject and full of enthusiasm at the prospect of teaching it. Her eyes shone as she described the drafting of the Declaration of Independence; she beamed as she listened to her students re-enact the debates on the ratification of the Constitution. Conscious of her youth, she dressed conservatively, even by the standards of this small midwestern community. Her auburn hair was invariably pulled back in a severe bun; eschewing contact lenses, she wore a pair of horn-rimmed glasses; and her hemlines never rose more than an inch or two above her knees.
Still, Bobby decided almost immediately that she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever known. Other boys lusted after buxom cheerleaders; Bobby admired the elegance of Miss Henderson's petite, small-boned frame. Her austere hair-do, in his opinion, perfectly framed her oval face with its upturned nose and clear green eyes; and her horn-rimmed glasses, he thought, gave her a sophisticated, intelligent look.
Bobby had never had much interest in history; he already had enough credits in the subject to graduate, and had signed up for this course only because his parents had insisted on it. ("It will look good on your transcript," they told him.) But within a week, history had become his favorite subject. He not only completed the assigned readings conscientiously; he did as much additional reading as he could, so that he'd always have something to contribute to class discussion. Miss Henderson was careful not to play favorites, but Bobby was certain that she was calling on him more often than the law of averages would dictate.
"That was an excellent closing argument, Bobby," she told him one day, after he had argued for the plaintiff in a re-enactment of Fletcher v. Peck. "Why, if I'd been on the Supreme Court, you might have persuaded me to cast a dissenting vote!"
"Thanks, Miss Henderson," Bobby replied, allowing himself an awkward smile -- which broadened into a wide grin the moment he was out in the hallway.
When the spring sports season rolled around, Bobby -- a center fielder on the varsity baseball team -- learned that Miss Henderson was a baseball fan. Having grown up in a town near Boston, she naturally rooted for the Red Sox -- which, here in Indiana, definitely put her in a minority. Bobby would gladly have walked through fire for Miss Henderson, but he wasn't about to switch his allegiance from the Indians to the Red Sox, even on her account. Still, he read up on the team and its vicissitudes, so that he'd be able to engage Miss Henderson in small-talk during the minutes before or after class.
One afternoon in April, after a strained ligament had obliged him to miss a couple of days of school, Bobby approached Miss Henderson after class.
"Excuse me, Miss Henderson," he said, feeling as nervous as he'd felt back in his sophomore year when he'd asked Lisa Davis to the fall dance. "I was wondering if you could take a couple of minutes to show me the material I've missed?"
"I'd be happy to," she said, sitting down at her desk and opening the thick textbook. "We were discussing the causes of the Depression -- "
At that moment, the wail of sirens drifted through the open classroom window. Bobby and Miss Henderson turned their heads just in time to see three fire engines racing along the road that led past the school. It had been unseasonably humid lately, and in such weather it was not uncommon for spontaneous combustion to set fire to one of the grain silos that dotted the countryside.
Miss Henderson stood up, gazing out the window with an intent yet faraway look in her emerald eyes.
"Bobby," she said, "there's something I have to do right away. But you must promise never to tell anyone what you're about to see."
"Sure, Miss Henderson. What -- "
Miss Henderson had already taken off her glasses. Reaching behind her head, she removed her barrette, allowing her wavy auburn hair to fall loosely about her shoulders. Buttons flew in all directions as she pulled open her blouse, revealing a snug blue garment underneath. Within moments, she had transformed herself into a super-heroine straight from the pages of a comic book.
"I'll be back in a few minutes, Bobby," she said. "Those firemen are going to need my help." She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "I know my secret is safe with you." And with a light spring, she leapt through the window and flew off after the sirens ...
Bobby blinked. "Sorry, Miss Henderson. I was just -- thinking about those fire engines."
Miss Henderson nodded. "Yes, I hope it's not too serious. I'm sure we'll hear all about it on tonight's news. But let's get back to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff ..."
That evening, after finishing his homework, Bobby logged on to Uber Girl Frenzy. Hmmm, he thought, scrolling down the forum index, no new posts today. He hoped that the administrator wasn't serious about shutting down the site. Bobby had discovered UGF less than a year ago, and it provided his only contact with others who shared his fantasy of super-powerful women.
His eye fell on the forum title "If Only She Were Super." On a sudden impulse, he clicked on the "Post Reply" button and started composing a description of the daydream he'd had that afternoon in Miss Henderson's classroom -- taking care to omit any identifying details. He read over what he'd written. It sounded pretty good. He corrected a couple of typos and then, after a moment's hesitation, clicked on the "Submit" button. Logging out, he felt rather proud of having made his first post to UGF -- and somewhat ashamed of having revealed a private fantasy about his history teacher.
And then came a fateful afternoon several weeks later ...
Bobby remained seated at his desk as the other students filed out of the classroom at the end of the period. Miss Henderson was erasing the blackboard. Surreptitiously, Bobby took the Transformatrix 4000 out of his bookbag. A jumble of memories rushed into his mind -- the strange coupon that had arrived in the mail, entitling the bearer to "One Free Trial of the Amazing Transformatrix 4000" ... the dark and narrow shop at the strip mall where Bobby had gone, driven by curiosity, to redeem the coupon ... the odd, gnome-like proprietor who had presented him with the device (which looked disappointingly like an ordinary flashlight) and described the remarkable effect it could bring about ...
Sitting at his desk, Bobby could hardly believe that he was actually about to go through with this. He remembered a summer afternoon -- he was six or seven years old at the time -- when he had gone out into an empty cornfield and shouted "SHAZAM!" at the top of his lungs ... just on the chance that it might draw down a bolt of magic lightning that would transform him into Captain Marvel. Now, his heart beating rapidly despte himself, he pushed the switch of the Transformatrix 4000 into the "ON" position and directed a feeble beam of yellowish light at a spot between Miss Henderson's shoulder blades.
Well, he hadn't turned into Captain Marvel back then ... and the light appeared to be having no effect on Miss Henderson now. She turned around just as Bobby was slipping the gadget back into his bookbag.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Bobby," she said. "I didn't realize you were still here. Is there something I can do for you?"
"No, thanks, Miss Henderson," Bobby said hastily. "I was just -- looking for my calculator." He stood up and slung his bookbag over his shoulder. "Well ... see you tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow. I'm looking forward to your presentation on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution."
But the next morning, when Bobby arrived at school, he learned that Miss Henderson had passed out in the hallway just outside her classroom around 3:30 the previous afternoon -- just a few minutes after Bobby had left -- and taken to the Midvale Hospital. Mrs. Brennan, a pleasant, grey-haired lady who had retired from teaching the year before, would be covering her classes until she returned.
That was eight days ago ...
* * * * *
[More to come. Give me a few minutes ...]
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"Yeah. Thanks, Mom."
Bobby wandered into the living room and threw himself on the sofa. He picked up a copy of People from the coffee table. Jessica Alba was on the cover. Bobby had been looking forward to the release of The Fantastic Four. Jessica Alba was bound to look amazing in spandex -- though it was too bad she was playing the Invisible Woman instead of Supergirl ... or Power Girl. Now that would be a movie to see!
The article reported that Jessica Alba was still resting after passing out at an awards ceremony the week before. Apparently something similar had happened to a number of other young women recently. The Surgeon General attributed it to a virus, triggered by stress and overwork. He emphasized that its victims recovered fully after a few days of rest, but he urged that any woman who fainted for no apparent reason should be taken to a hospital immediately and the authorities notified.
Hey, Bobby thought, that must be what happened to Miss Henderson -- so the Transformatrix 4000 had nothing to do with it!
Grinning with relief, he picked up the remote and turned on the TV. CNN sprang to life on the screen.
" -- continuing live coverage of the breaking story in Chicago, where heiress and media icon Paris Hilton is literally bringing downtown traffic to a standstill -- "
The screen went dark. Bobby looked up. His father was standing by the sofa, the remote in his hand and a worried look on his face.
"Bobby," he said, "these gentlemen would like to speak with you."
Bobby stood up and turned to face the two men standing in the doorway. Dread settled in his stomach like a stone. Dark suits, dark glasses, badges in hand -- it was just like the movies.
"Thank you, Mr. Franklin," said the taller of the two. "If we could speak with Bobby privately ..."
"All right," said Bobby's father. "Bobby, you tell these men what they need to know." he gave his son a look that clearly meant We'll talk later, then left the room.
"Hello, Bobby," the taller man said, as he and his partner sat down in the armchairs facing the sofa. "I'm Agent Evans and this is Agent Ortiz, and we're with the National Intelligence Bureau. Now don't worry, son -- you haven't done anything wrong. But we think you might be able to help us out with an investigation we're conducting ..."
* * * * *
In a cavernous room with walls of steel and a floor of reinforced concrete, a dozen leotard-clad young women were working out. It was a scene such as one might observe in any exercise room -- except that the weights were cubes of solid steel four feet, five feet, six feet to a side. In one corner, a slender blonde was performing a set of bicep curls with a steel cube, nearly as tall as she was, labeled "40 TONS." In the center of the room, a rangy redhead lay on a concrete bench, pressing a barbell with weights the size of tractor tires. And in another corner, a petite brunette was pulling down a bar attached by a titanium cable to one of the largest weights in the room. It was clearly costing her some effort, but she managed to raise the massive cube as high as it would go, and then lower it gently to the floor.
"Impressive, Miss Henderson," commented a sandy-haired young man in a laboratory coat, who was making notes on a clipboard. "That was sixty tons -- an 18% increase over yesterday. Pretty soon we'll have to start using the electromagnetic equipment in the next room to calibrate your strength."
Jill Henderson shook her head, smiling incredulously. "I still can't get over it," she said. "I've always been such a tiny thing -- and now to find that I'm strong enough to lift a tank ... By the way, I haven't seen Denise all day. Where is she?"
The young man looked down at his clipboard. "Denise has -- gone home."
"Without saying good-bye?" Jill was surprised -- and a little hurt. She and Denise had arrived at the facility on the same day, they were both high-school teachers ... It was inevitable that they would bond quickly.
"Well, she was quite eager to return to her family," said the young man. "After all -- we can hardly keep you ladies here against your will ... even if we wanted to."
"Still ..." Jill thought back to the conversation she and Denise had had over coffee in the cafeteria just the day before ..
"And this," said Jill, showing Denise another photo from her handbag, "is my AP American History class."
"My!" Denise exclaimed. "Who's that big ol' handsome boy standing behind you?"
"That's Bobby Franklin. He's a real sweetie. He's got a huge crush on me and he thinks I don't know it."
"Well, girl friend, if he had a crush on you when you were wearing that Miss Grundy outfit, just imagine what he'd think if he saw you in that leotard!"
"Stop it!" Jill blushed, but she couldn't help stealing a look at the sleek new musculature of her arms. "I want to get back to my students. My seniors will be graduating in a few weeks. I wouldn't want to miss that. What about you?"
"Yeah, I miss teaching, but I miss my husband and daughter more. I realize this is a government facility and security measures are necessary yadda yadda -- but I'm tired of communicating with my family through the stupid encrypted email system they've got set up here. Damn it, I want to hear their voices!"
"So have you told your husband about the new, improved Denise?"
"Well, I told him I've got a big surprise for him when I get home!" Denise replied, grinning mischievously. "He begged me to tell him what it is, but I said 'Honey, I can show you better than I can tell you!'" Her grin faded. "He asked if I was pregnant. I had to tell him I'm not, but it got me thinking -- we do want more children, and ... well, do you suppose this transformation has affected my fertility?"
"Good question," said Jill, who hadn't considered that aspect of her situation. "You should ask one of the doctors here. Hey, maybe your next child will have super-strength!"
Denise rolled her eyes. "Don't go there, girl friend. Laurel just turned two. I can just imagine the temper tantrums I'd have to deal with if she could throw the furniture as easily as she can throw her alphabet blocks!"
As they stood up to leave, Denise's eyes fell on a snack machine standing at an angle several feet from the wall. "Look at that," she said disapprovingly. "Someone must have restocked it and then just left it there."
Approaching the machine, she stooped and slid her right hand, palm upwards, underneath it. As she stood up, the heavy machine rose with her, wobbling somewhat precariously in her hand.
"Denise, be careful!" Jill cried.
"Shhhh ... This trick calls for perfect balance and concentration. Please, ladies and gentlemen, no flash photography." She carefully lowered the machine into its proper location against the wall, then stepped back and bowed theatrically. "Ta-da!"
"Brava!" Jill giggled, clapping her hands. "Bravissima!"
Denise shrugged with exaggerated modesty. "It's all in the wrist," she said, winking.
Jill came out of her reverie. "Sorry -- I was just woolgathering. You know, everyone here has been so kind and helpful, and I'm extremely grateful for everything you've done for me over the past week, but -- well, I think I'd like to be leaving soon, too. Who should I talk to about that?"
"I'll have Dr. Klyburn see you tomorrow. She can help you make the necessary arrangements. But we'll be sorry to see you go."
"And I'll be sorry to leave. Thanks, Ben. See you tomorrow."
As Jill headed for the exit, the sandy-haired young man made a note on his clipboard:
Transfer J.H. to Stronghold? See Dr K.
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The Par-Las device which had been used on Denise earlier had been designed to incinerate humans and melt their equipment into slag. Against Denise's invulnerable body, the Par-Las device had only been sufficient to induce continuous orgasms, and lots of them. Enough to temporarily drain her strength(which for an ubergirl like her, would probably be in the hundreds) While Denise had been exhausted and half-asleep in post-orgasmic bliss, she had been transported to Stronghold and placed in the heavy-duty restraints in the small cell. She had hung in the restraints for a while, but had now grown tired of the novelty, as well as no longer being physically tired, her full super strength back in force.
"Okay, I'm not feeling so mellow anymore." Denise said loudly, hoping someone in the control room could hear her "So could someone let me out of this neo-bondage rig? I mean, sheesh. What's the deal?"
"Sorry miss," came a voice from a hidden speaker "But you are far too dangerous to be allowed free."
"Far too dangerous!? I haven't hurt a single person in my life, not even since I gained my powers, and considering how strong I am now, it's pretty scary how easily I could hurt someone by accident."
"You attempted to escape, therefore you are dangerous."
"You military dimwits had no right to hold me in the first place! I'm not in the military so you can't give me any orders, I've committed no crime, so you've got no right to imprison me!"
"You destroyed governemnt property during your escape attempt."
"What, that stupid door you dropped in front of me? I'm a teacher, you nitwit, so I think I know a little more about certain laws than you do, such as the fact that if someone's committing a crime against you like illegal imprisonment, there's a lot of things you're allowed to do in order to free yourself, including smashing a hole in the wall of your cell, if you're capable of doing so. Now, my patience is wearing just a bit thin so let's make a deal: You release me from these oversized manacles and allow me to leave the facility and go home, and I promise not to tell anyone about your little project studying me and the other women like me who've gained superpowers. If you don't release me, I'll just have to free myself and I can't guarantee anything about what I might say after I get out of here."
"Good luck. Those restraints and the cell you're in are made of the strongest metal known to modern science. No force on earth short of a nuclear warhead can damage them. They're completely indestructible. You're not going anywhere."
"Completely indestructible, eh?" Denise smiled "Since I became super, I've broken a bunch of things that were supposed to be indestructible, and since you don't seem too keen on letting me go, I'll just have to let myself out."
Denise flexed her mighty muscles and began to pull against her restraints. For a few moments, they held firm, but then the restraint encasing her right arm began to groan. Pouring on even more power, the restraint began to crack. The cracks got larger until, with a shout of effort, Denise's arm tore out of the not so indestructible cylinder. Denise took a moment to flex her newly freed arm, showing off her mighty bicep and mugging for the cameras, then started to work on freeing her other arm as an alarm began to sound. The second restraint quickly met the fate of the first and Denise did a double-biceps pose before going to work on the cylinders encasing her legs, digging her fingernails into the supposedly indestructible material as she tore the metal cylinders open, freeing her legs.
With her restraints destroyed, it was time for Denise to break out of her cell. She punched the wall in front of her and left a dent in the metal. Then she punched again, and again. This wall was far tougher than the steel one she had ripped through previously, but it would still meet the same fate. Denise soon discovered one of the reasons it had taken so long to rip through the wall: It was four feet thick. She discovered this when she finished ripping all the way through the door and observed exactly how thick it was.
The moment Denise finished going through the wall and was fully in the hallway outside, the floor beneath her melted as she felt the intense pleasure that came from heat that only an ubergirl like her could enjoy, her leotard vaporized in an instant though her perfect skin remained unblemished. But Denise was no fool, and this time her mind wasn't addled by whatever gas had been used before she'd been subjected to a Par-Las the first time. This time her mind was clear and she knew she couldn't indulge herself in the pleasure she was feeling, not if she wanted to see her family again. Fortunately, the solution was so simple, she wasn't sure why she hadn't done it the first time. Denise slammed her foot down through the Par-Las panel, smashing the inside and sending megawatts of electricity into her body, not as pleasurable as the Par-Las, but a good consolation nonetheless.
Suddenly, the lights flared and went out, before being replaced by dim emergency lights, and the klaxon also stopped. It took Denise's hyper-acute mind only moments to deduce what had happened. Her destruction of the active Par-Las device had caused a short circuit that had knocked out power in the facility.
"The hazards of having a place built by the lowest bidder." Denise mused "Wiring done on the cheap, no doubt. My tax dollars at work... or not." she chuckled "Now to get out of here."
Denise started walking down the hall but didn't get far before she was confronted by a group of soldiers armed with some rather unusuual rifles.
"Ma'am, please surrender and allow us to escort you to a new cell." the lead soldier ordered
"Surrender!?" Denise laughed "You think you can hurt me with those popguns?"
"These are not ordinary guns, ma'am. These are to ordinary guns what an ordinary gun is to a BB gun. They're advanced prototypes capable of penetrating any armor, including your body."
"If you really believe that, then fire away, cuz you'll have to kill me to stop me from leaving here. But I'm not worried. I'm confident that nothing you have can hurt me." Denise assumed a classic comic book power stance, hands on her hips, legs spread, chest thrust out.
The soldiers fired, the advanced guns accelerating the impregnium alloy bullets(the slugs made of the same metal that was used in the cell Denise had just escaped from) to speeds 4 times as fast as the fastest bullet ever fired from a conventional firearm. These bullets could punch clean through tank armor, but they merely bounced off Denise's naked body, though they did tickle a bit and the ones that hit her breasts actually felt good. Good things seldom last, and this barrage was no exception, as the soldiers soon ran out of ammo.
"Like I said, popguns." Denise smirked "Now, I just have one question for you soldier boys before I leave: Are we underground or are we in a building above ground?"
"What does that matter?" one of the soldiers asked
"Silence you idiot! Don't answer her!" the officer barked an order
"It actually matters a lot to me." Denise answered "If we're above ground, I can just keep smashing through walls until I get outside, but if we're underground, I have to either find an elevator shaft or just smash through a bunch of ceilings until I reach open air."
"Retreat!" the officer ordered but Denise leaped forward like a striking cobra and grabbed him before the soldiers could move a mucle
"Not until you answer my question." Denise said as she lifted the officer in the air with one hand "Are we above ground or underground? Keep in mind that while I don't want to hurt anyone, if you lie to me or refuse to answer, you will find out how much pain I can cause with strength that can mangle the so-called hardest metal in the world.
"We're above ground!" the officer answered
Denise wasn't fooled for a second. Her hyper-acute hearing allowed her to hear the officer's heartneat, which was not only fast, but skipped a beat when he answered her question. Denise knew that this was the sort of thing that made lie detectors work, the body's unwillingness to let its owner get away with a lie.
"You're lying." Denise growled and took the officer's right pinky between her thumb and forefinger "You said we're above ground. Is that your final answer?"
"Yes." the officer answered
"Wrong answer." Denise said in a flat tone and casually broke the officer's pinky, drawing a scream of pain from him.
The officer kicked at Denise but his boots failed to make an impression on the naked supergirl
"Now," Denise continued "Does anyone ELSE know if we're underground or above ground? And keep in mind that for each lie, this guy gets another finger broken."
"Don't answer!" the officer shouted
"Nothing more from you, you liar. If you say one more word, I'll crush your fingers to pulp, instead of just breaking them. Now, who wants to save this guy from becoming a lefty?" Denise took another finger between her thumb and forefinger. No one spoke "Don't keep me waiting." Denise snapped the finger she held, bringing another scream from the officer
"We're underground!" one of the soliders blurted out. Denise could hear that his heartbeat was fast, but steady
"That's correct. Next question, which way is the nearest elevator shaft?"
"Straight down this hall, the way we came."
"How far down are we?"
"This is the seventh level down in the complex, but the first level is a hundred and fifty feet below the surface, there are two more levels below us!"
"Very good, you win. Your prize is this guy's continued health, and the chance for him to regain full use of his hand."
Denise gently lofted the officer at the others, who were knocked down coushioning his fall. Denise casually stepped over them and started walking down the hall towards the elevator.
"Your career is over, private." the officer growled as another solider started to wrap his broken fingers with a first aid kit
"With all due respect sir, there's no way we coulda stopped her." the private answered "She knew you were lying the moment the words came out of your mouth. She tore her way out of restraints and a cell made of the hardest metal science has ever developed, our new guns didn't even scratch her, in fact, I think she enjoyed getting shot by them. At least this way, damage to the facility will be minimized. She won't be smashing through the ceilings, and she won't dig a tunnel through solid rock to the surface, something I'm sure she's strong enough to do, so the facility won't be further compromised. Some repairs to the elevators and elevator shaft might be needed, but considering how powerful she is, I'd say that's getting off lightly."
Not caring about the conversation behind her, Denise walked to the elevator and ripped open the doors with no effort at all. Now, the question was, should she climb up the shaft, making handholds as she went using her immense strength, or just drop down to the bottom of the shaft and then leap upwards all the way to, and maybe through, the top of the shaft like The Incredible Hulk does in the comic books?
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He had just returned from responding to a breaking story in Chicago... reports had it that Paris Hilton of all people had been creating a small riot in the downtown area. However, by the time he had arrived, the commotion had passed and most onlookers couldn't clarify whether it had been a clever promotional hoax or whether it had even been the rich heiress herself. The only steady information he could get out of anyone was that the woman in question had flown off towards the east and no one had heard or seen her since. He was frustrated that he hadn't gotten much of a solid lead yet on this Transformatrix story he was trying to follow.
As a reporter, he was trained to question everything until he got facts. The movie Memento summed it up best: "Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts." And as a respected journalist, he worked off of facts, not recollection, which was ironic given that he had the most perfect photographic memory in history.
This was neither here nor there, but aside from a few previous exceptions, it had essentially been proven a fact that he was the only one who could leap tall buildings with a single bound. He'd done it. Many times, in fact. More powerful than a locomotive? Why certainly! He had changed the course of mighty rivers, let alone saved quite a few derailed trains. Faster than a speeding bullet was certainly a given... that is, if he even bothered trying to outspeed them in general. And he had left it to fact that he had been the only person capable of flight.
So how would he explain the woman who was standing in mid-air in front of him?
He was sitting atop the globe of the Daily Planet, collecting his thoughts for the day and relaxing after his flight when he heard a feminine clearing of the throat off to his right. Normally he would expect the sound to be Lois, but that would rely on the sound coming from below him, where the service entrance leads to the Planet's roof. No, this was definitely coming from his right, and sure enough there was a breathtakingly beautiful woman calmly floating 22 stories above the busy Metropolis streets below.
She must have noticed his surprise, because a coy smile formed on her lips as she removed her hands from her hips and crossed them across her ample chest. "Superman, I presume?"
"Um... I... Yes, I am." He wasn't sure why he was so taken aback by this, given the super-villians he had faced before. It wasn't so much that she was flying, but it was her cool confidence that she seemed to emit. She naturally posed with such an assurance that almost challenged him. "How may I help you, miss..."
"Donovan. DeeAnn Donovan." she said, as she looked him up and down, stopping briefly at his trunks, and then finishing the once over. "And I hope you don't mind if I help myself."
She flew closer to him as she teasingly brushed her finger down her tiny bikini top, over a very large and very firm breast. Clark's breathing became heavy as he took this incredible woman in. He stood up slowly as she set down and stepped closer, her staggering body right in front of him. He felt himself responding more than he knew he appropriately should, but couldn't help himself. "I'm... I'm sorry, young lady... I don't think you should..."
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DeeAnn took a deep breath and flexed her awesome pecs, causing her already huge tits to swell even larger. Her tiny bikini top had already been stretched to the limit by her super chest and it was no match for the forces now exerted against it by DeeAnn's twin orbs of power, the fabric ripping apart in and instant and fluttering away in the wind, giving Superman a perfect view of two huge, naked supertits. DeeAnn smiled wider as Superman's erection grew ever larger, despite being confined by his trunks.
"Why Superman, if I'm not mistaken, you find me very attractive." DeeAnn continued "Your heart's pounding like a Kryptonian jackhammer, your supercock just gets larger by the minute, I can tell you're aching to grasp and squeeze my invincible tits of steel, yet you don't move a muscle. What could be the problem? OH! I know, you don't want to ruin your boy scout reputation by doing something naughty in public. Don't worry. I know just the place, follow me Superstud, and you will know what it's like to fuck a woman of steel who can take everything you can dish out, instead of that fragile weakling Lois Lane."
DeeAnn floated up into the air and started flying away. After a moment's hesitation, Superman followed. He needed to know more about this woman, where she came from, how she got her powers... not to mention doing something about his super hard-on. After several minutes of high-speed flying, DeeAnn and Superman were in a rocky wilderness area, far from anything or anyone, and they landed next to each other.
"There's no one around for miles." DeeAnn said seductively "Now you can do something about those urges you're having. Squeeze my supertits as hard as you can, you can't hurt me. Then we can move on to more."
Superman hesitantly reached out and grasped DeeAnn's huge breasts. He squeezed harder and harder, and the only reaction he got was DeeAnn moaning louder and louder as her. DeeAnn was getting more and more aroused the harder Superman squeezed her breasts and she was hungry for more, she started pulling at Superman's shirt, working it off of him and exposing his manly, muscular chest, then she started tugging at his trunks. She couldn't think of anything that would prevent her from taking Superman's cock of steel into her equally super pussy.
(But the writer can, such as the fact that she might not be the only ubergirl hot for Superman's body. Just a suggestion, totally up to the next writer whether to run with it or not)
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"I -- I'm sorry, miss," he stammered, blushing. "I --"
"What's the matter, sweetie?" the lovely brunette pouted. "Here I am, the only woman on Earth you can make love to without crushing her to death -- except for your jailbait cousin -- and you're turning me away?" She stamped her bare foot in exasperation, setting off a tremor along the rocky hillside. "What are you holding out for -- Lois Lane?" She turned and wrapped her arms around a boulder the size of an SUV. Effortlessly, she tossed it a dozen feet into the air, then caught it lightly in one hand. Drawing her arm back, she sent the enormous rock flying like a shot-put toward a distant mountain. "Can Lois Lane do that?"
"As a matter of fact," said a voice above them, "she can."
Superman and DeeAnn looked up. A female figure was silhouetted against the bright afternoon sun. One hand rested lightly on her hip, and in the other was balanced the boulder that DeeAnn had just hurled skyward. The figure descended gracefully, casually flinging the huge rock aside as if it were a crumpled paper cup.
"L -- Lois?"
She had discarded her high-heeled shoes -- or else they had fallen off during her flight -- but otherwise she was dressed exactly as she had been when Clark had spoken with her that morning -- pleated white skirt, silk blouse, pinstriped jacket.
"Hello there, Smallville," Lois drawled with a smirk, amusement shining in her lavender eyes.
"Lois, it's not what you think. I swear -- this woman -- she --"
"Save your breath, Superman. I saw the whole thing with my telescopic vision on my way here." She snickered. "Kind of like an in-flight movie. Lucky for you I'm a serious journalist, not a tabloid hack. Now step aside -- I've got business with Miss Donovan here." She stepped forward, raising her right arm.
"Lois, no!" Superman seized her wrist in alarm. "If you two start brawling, there's no telling what kind of destruction you could cause with your super-powers. Surely you can settle this in a civilized manner --"
With a casual flick of her wrist, Lois sent Superman sailing over her shoulder and into the face of a cliff. Stunned, Superman slid a dozen feet down the rock wall and collapsed at its base, loosened stone falling all around him.
"Well! Somebody thinks pretty highly of himself, I must say," Lois grinned. "Sorry to disappoint you, but I wasn't about to start a super-catfight with Miss Donovan here. For your information, I was reaching for my pen." She extracted her favorite Mont Blanc from its perch behind her ear.
"So what do you want?" asked DeeAnn, her arms folded defiantly across her otherwise uncovered chest.
"I want to ask you a few questions, Miss Donovan. The story of the century is about to break wide open, and I want my name on the by-line -- not that of a certain hack from Kansas." She shot a meaningful look at Superman, who was still lying, dazed and incredulous, amid the heap of rubble at the foot of the cliff.
Lois continued. "You're not the only woman who's gained super-powers recently -- as you can see. I have leads on four others, and I've got a contact at the CDC who says the government's trying to keep a lid on at least fifty more. I have no idea how this happened to me, or to any of the others -- but if I can hear your story, maybe I can pick up a clue."
She smiled at DeeAnn. "So what do you say? Put something on, and let's get a cup of coffee."
DeeAnn tilted her head, considering; then she shrugged. "Why not?" She glared at the recumbent Superman. "My plans for the afternoon have ... fallen through."
She stooped to pick up Superman's shirt, which was still lying where she had dropped it a few minutes before, and pulled it over her head. She rolled the sleeves -- long and loose on her -- up to her elbows. The hem lay about six inches above her knees. "Good enough," she remarked, inspecting her impromptu mini-dress. "There are plenty of pictures of me on the internet where I'm wearing a lot less than this!"
She turned to Lois. "Okay -- where do you want to go?"
"Well, I know a quiet little coffeehouse in Seattle --"
"Last one to the Space Needle buys!" DeeAnn sprang into the air, paused a moment to get her bearings, then flew off westward at super-speed.
"Hey, wait up!" shouted Lois. She glanced over her shoulder at Superman. "Sorry, Smallville -- gotta fly!" And with that, she leapt into the air.
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"And that's about as much as I know." she said, very quietly so that no one except Lois could hear her. "Once I'd, um...finished changing...I had superpowers, and I was even beefier than I was before." She took a sip of water and then asked "Do you have any idea how this happened to us? I mean, I assume this is how you got your powers, too..."
Lois nodded. "It is. The warmth, the fainting, the hunger, the growth, and then the powers - what you've just described is exactly the way it was for me."
"You said you knew of other women like us?" DeeAnn asked. "I know about Paris Hilton, and...Sally Gordon - who are the others?"
"I don't have much info on the fifty that the Government may or may not be looking after somewhere," said Lois, "but I do know of two others - one of them I've only seen, flying over the city, and that was before I got my powers. I don't know who she was...the other is an Amber Slater, a schoolgirl back in Metropolis."
"How'd you find out about her?"
"Well...two other girls and two teachers from the same school have also been changed. As that seemed to be a focal point, a friend of mine, Linda, managed to get herself a job there as a substitute teacher. Amber was one of the girls in her class, and when she started changing, Linda got her out of there and took her home."
DeeAnn smiled. "How do you know this Linda didn't get affected too?"
"Well, she already has superpowers. Linda is Clark's cousin. I know that doesn't mean that she can't be affected, but...can you imagine just how powerful she'd become if she did?"
DeeAnn shook her head, amazed. "An infinitely super Supergirl...wouldn't that be something?"
"It would indeed." said a voice DeeAnn didn't recognise. She looked up to see a rather plain-looking dark-haired young woman standing next to their table. Before she could reply, Lois offered her a seat.
"Join us...it's alright DeeAnn...this is Linda."
DeeAnn found that difficult to believe. This smartly-dressed girl seemed so small, and so...ordinary. "You, um...don't look much like you do on tv." she said - immediately feeling embarrassed at saying the first thing that come into her head.
"DeeAnn's one of us." Lois explained.
"I see." Linda smiled, and offered her hand. "How long has it been since you changed?"
"I was changing through the night...this morning, bam! Superpowers..."
"What are you going to do with them?"
DeeAnn paused. She hadn't really thought long term. "I don't know...no idea."
"I was hoping you'd help us find out what's behind all this." said Lois. "No pressure, but Linda and I need all the help we can get."
"I'll think about it." DeeAnn replied.
Lois nodded. "Alright...Linda, any news?"
Linda shook her head. "I've been all over, no sign of Paris or Sally. But...there is this." Linda reached into her jacket pocket, and pulled out a small coupon, handing it to Lois. "This was in my desk when I got to school this morning.
Lois finished reading the coupon, and then handed it to DeeAnn, who did the same. ""Linda Lee - Amaze your friends and family! Find a happier and more confident you! Be the envy of your colleagues! Change your life in minutes with the remarkable new Transfomatrix 4000 System (TM) available only from Unreal Services. Be amongst the first to benefit from this revolutionary discovery! Come and see us at our studios: Suite 12, Tall Building, Main Street. Office hours: 10:30AM-4:00PM Monday-Friday. Closed weekends. Please do not bring any pets or food into our offices. Parking at your own risk."
"Have you been there?" she asked.
"Not yet. I wanted Lois to see it first."
"A Transformatrix..." Lois mumbled. "Sounds interesting. Someone must think you need improving."
"If this is the thing you're looking for," DeeAnn asked, "and you let it change you..." She fell silent, as suddenly she could hear voices in her head...screams for help. "Can you hear that?" she asked, looking up...to find Linda and Lois gone. Leaping to her feet, she called out "Hey, wait!", again attracting the attention of everyone in the restaurant. For a moment, she felt very self conscious...but then she remembered - she was a superwoman now! She shouldn't let herself get embarassed in front of these people. DeeAnn smiled - before bolting from the restaurant at superspeed and heading into the corridor. "Linda? Lois?"
A moment later, the door to the ladies was opened, and out stepped Supergirl and...Ultrawoman? DeeAnn remembered that superhero's brief appearance in Metropolis...but it couldn't be..."Lois?"
"No time to talk." was her new friend's reply. "Decide now - go back to trying to get a fuck from Clark...or come with us, and make a difference."
DeeAnn didn't know what to do. "I...I'm no superhero..."
"That's not what that logo on your chest says." replied 'Supergirl'. "Clark'll want that back, by the way."
DeeAnn glanced down at the costume she'd 'borrowed' from Superman...and smiled. "Then he'll have to fight me for it. I'm sticking with you."
"Then let's go...Superwoman..."
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"I'll handle the poor little rich girl," Supergirl said. "You guys take the other one."
Ultrawoman and Superwoman nodded, deferring to the more experienced superheroine and continued flying to the second disaster area while the girl of steel descended to land in front of the barely-clad woman on a rampage.
"This destruction ends right now!" Supergirl ordered. "You can't use your powers like this. you're going to answer for all the havoc you've wrought."
"We'll see about that," Paris Hilton answered. "I was sorta hoping Superman would show up, but you'll do. A fight with you should be just as newsworthy."
Paris Hilton grinned, she was clad only in high-heeled shoes, a lacy thong, and a singed and torn bra. some of the damage to the bra looked like it had been the result of bullets, but the skin beneath was unmarked.
"Newsworthy!?" Supergirl gasped "You caused all this destruction for PUBLICITY!?"
"That's right," Paris replied. "I'm showing off the new me. And a fight with the legendary girl of steel should be good for a whole lot of publicity."
"You can't just abuse your powers like this. Having so much strength is a responsibility. You have to use them to help people."
"Don't make me laugh! Power is as power does. Just because you feel the need to help people doesn't me I have to. It's easier to get big publicity by fighting a bigtime hero like you and Superman than it is by fighting rank and file no-name supervillains."
Paris Hilton walked up to Supergirl and slapped her with incredible power, sending her flying through the air for 20 feet before the maiden of might arrested her own flight and shot back towards the superhuman heiress, slamming her fist into Paris' bare belly. Supergirl was very surprised to hear her opponent laugh.
"Please tell me that isn't the best punch you've got." Paris mocked. "Now try my brand."
Paris threw a punch of her own at Supergirl's unprotected belly.
"OOOOOOGGG!!" Supergirl cried out as all the air was driven out of her lungs and she she was doubled over by Paris Hilton's super punch.
"Guess you're not as super as everyone thinks," Paris laughed. "Or maybe I'm even more powerful than I thought."
"I- *cough* was holding back with that first punch." Supergirl said as she straightened up, favoring her aching belly. "I was afraid of hurting you, but now I see I'll have to pull out all the stops to take you down."
"Then pull away, super-girly, because I've got a feeling I'm gonna wipe the floor with you."
Supergirl raised her hands to grab Paris but Paris apparently had a similar idea, and the two ubergirls found themselves locked in a test of strength, struggling against each other. For a moment thinsg seemed even, the two superbeings crushing concrete to sand beneath their feet as they each pushed against an immovable object, then Supergirl's hands started to be slowly forced downward and back. She struggled to push against the amazing power while Paris smiled.
"THIS is the strongest girl in the world?" The super heiress chuckled. "The maiden of might? The princess of Power? BAH! There's no steel in you, SuperWEAKLING!"
With that insult, Paris Hilton forced Supergirl to her knees, concrete crunching as the Kryptonian was forced down. Sweat beaded on Supergirl's body as she struggled to regain her feet, but to no avail.
"I'm going to crush you," Paris smirked. "By the time I'm done with you, there will be no doubt that you have been utterly defeated by someone who surpasses you in all categories. The media will talk about this fight for weeks, maybe months, maybe even YEARS!"
Paris suddenlyjerked Supergirl to her feet and released her hands, before the girl of steel could react, Paris had her in a bearhug, her arms pinned to her sides, her breasts pressed against Paris' much larger orbs.
For our first round of crushing, I'll start with your fabled tits of steel, a fable I will disprove with my bigger, stronger, powertits. Feel free to scream, if you want."
Paris started to tighten her bearhug and Supergirl could feel her breasts being compressed by Paris Hilton's prodigious chest.
This can't be happening! Supergirl thought My supertits can leave perfect impressions in solid steel, and yet this publicity-crazed brat is defeating them with her own!
Supergirl groaned in pain as Paris' bearhug tightened further. She struggled to get free but the heiress held her in an iron grip.
"H-help me." Kara groaned out
"Begging won't help, Superwimp," Paris mocked her. "There's no one to help you. You're in for a world of pain and everyone will know just how badly I beat you up."
"H-help... Sh-she's too s-strong..."
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"Are you alright?" Dee-Ann asked the young heroine as she kneeled down beside her. Supergirl, struggling to breath, tried to say something, but the pain was too much and she could only nod. "Don't worry - I'll deal with her."
"You'll stop me?" she heard the now-recovered Paris laugh. "I almost crushed Supergirl just by hugging her...that's how powerful I am. Not even Superman would be able to stop me!"
"Maybe not." DeeAnn replied. "But I can. Whatever changed you has changed me too."
"Then we're an even match." Paris said cockily, placing her hands defiantly on her hips.
"Not quite. See, I started out strong. You didn't. I'm willing to bet that you're no match for me at all."
"We'll see, won't we?" Paris suddenly leapt into the air, and charged DeeAnn at superspeed. DeeAnn simply smiled, before summoning up all her strength and laying into Paris with an almighty punch that sent the heiress straight to the ground - embedding her in the concrete.
DeeAnn watched as Paris slowly got to her feet. "Why?" she asked. "Why have you done all this? Do you know how many people you and your friend have killed?"
Paris raised her hand to her lip, before examining it. "I'm bleeding...dammit, they've been shooting at me and the bullets've been bouncing off...now you've made me bleed..."
Paris looked up into DeeAnn's eyes, and gave a weak smile. "We're better than they are." she whispered. "We're strong, and powerful...they're not. They break so easily..." Paris started to giggle, and DeeAnn struggled to fight the urge to punch her again. It took her a split second to actually register that Paris suddenly wasn't there anymore - having leapt into the air and taken off as fast as she could. DeeAnn was about to follow when she heard Supergirl groan behind her. A nervous crowd was starting to form around the fallen superheroine, and DeeAnn knew that she had to get her out of here. After mouthing the word 'coward' up at the sky, she made her way through the onlookers and knelt down beside her new friend.
"Tell me where to take you." she said quietly.
"Home..." came a whisper so faint that only someone with superhearing could have detected it. "M-my apartment...I'll direct you..."
"Alright." DeeAnn lifted Supergirl up into her arms as gently as she could, before taking to the sky...
"Is there anything more I can do for you?" DeeAnn asked the battered Supergirl, now lying on the bed back in her apartment. "I feel awful just...dumping you here..."
"If it weren't for you, she'd have killed me." Supergirl replied horsely. "You've done more than enough for me..."
"I still think we oughta get you to a hospital..."
"No...it's alright, it'll all be healed in a few days. And then I am definitely following up on that Transformatrix thing...next time I see Paris Hilton she won't know what hit her..." DeeAnn smiled - the memory of the look on Paris Hilton's face after she'd punched her was something she'd treasure for years. "DeeAnn...under the bed, there's a chest. Could you pull it out?"
DeeAnn knelt down, and effortlessly dragged the large wooden chest into the middle of the room. "Now what?"
DeeAnn did as she was told, the chest swinging open to reveal..."Your spare costumes?"
Supergirl nodded. "Spares, and other designs I've tried out and ditched. You're welcome to any one you want. I figure it might be best if you have a full costume, rather than go around exposed like that."
"Linda, I don't know what to say..."
"Kara. Call me Kara, that's my real name."
DeeAnn smiled. "Kara...this is all so weird..."
"I can imagine..."
"One minute, I'm...me...the next...a superwoman..."
"Don't feel pressured to take a costume." Kara said. "I don't wanna force you into being a superhero..."
"I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't..." DeeAnn replied. "Knowing that I could have made a difference, but just didn't...aha! How about this one?" She pulled out a perfect copy of Superman's costume, and changed into it at superspeed.
"Perfect." Kara told her. "You look like a real superwoman." DeeAnn grinned, and examined herself in the bedroom mirror. "I guess Clark'll ask me to fix this for him..." said Kara, pointing to the ruined half-costume that DeeAnn had stolen from Superman.
"What?" asked DeeAnn, turning back to Kara. "Oh, no no no. Like I said, if he wants it, he'll have to fight me for it. And now that Paris has proved that I am stronger than him...well, he might never get it back." She glanced at herself in the mirror one more time, and nodded, before closing up the chest and sliding it back under Kara's bed. "I can't tell you how much this means to me."
Kara lifted up her hand, and DeeAnn squeezed it gently. "Lois'll need some help. I'll come by and see you later, alright?"
"Alright...thanks again, Dee..."
DeeAnn smiled, before leaving Kara alone in her bedroom and leaping off the balcony. As she flew to rejoin Ultrawoman, she giggled as she remembered her earlier attempt to seduce Superman...and realised that making love to her probably would have killed him...
Bobby fell backwards onto his bed at the end of a very long day, and sighed with both relief and worry. The two agents had left hours ago, and thankfully they hadn't asked him for anything other than his thoughts on Miss Henderson - what sort of person she was and how he thought she might react in certain situations. Of course, Bobby had given his favorite teacher nothing but praise, but they still wouldn't tell him where she was. They wouldn't even confirm what the school secretary had told him, that she had been taken to Midvale hospital.
And then, after they'd left, he'd turned on the tv to see what could almost have been one of his dreams live on screen - Supergirl and another superheroine he didn't recognise battling a buff superpowered Paris Hilton, while elsewhere Ultrawoman had returned and had chased off another superwoman.
It was starting to add up. What he'd seen on the tv was exactly what the device he'd used on Miss Henderson was supposed to do to any woman it was used on. That, and the news that Jessica Alba had, in the words of one journalist, 'forcibly discharged herself from hospital' had gotten him to thinking that maybe Miss Henderson did now have superpowers...that he was the one who had given them to her, and that maybe he'd gotten her into a lot of trouble.
He kept replaying the Supergirl/Paris Hilton fight in his head...Supergirl had almost been killed. If Paris and that other girl were going to use their powers purely for their own gain, then they needed women like Ultrawoman and this other superwoman to fight them.
Miss Henderson would do that. She wouldn't misuse her superpowers, she'd try to help people. Bobby was certain of that. Still, he felt awful for what he had done to her, without her knowing. If only he knew where she was...
"Are you Bobby?"
Bobby sat bolt upright - as a beautiful, powerfully-built young woman climbed in through his bedroom window. "Who...what, I?"
"Relax, relax." said the woman, closing the window behind her. "It's alright, I wouldn't hurt you. You are Bobby, I recognise you from the picture Jill showed me..."
"Who...what picture? Who are you?" Then he realised - Miss Henderson's first name was Jill!
"Ny name is Denise...and I need answers to a few questions..."
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There was a pause. Then a voice -- cautious, hesitant. "Who is it?"
Agent Evans held his badge up to the fisheye. "National Intelligence Bureau. Open the door, Mr. Wexler."
Another pause. "Er ... just a moment." Agent Evans glanced at the business card thumbtacked to the door -- DARYL WEXLER, COMPUTER REPAIR, WEB DESIGN -- as deadbolts snapped and chains slid back.
The door opened a few inches. A face -- pudgy, unshaven, bespectacled -- peered out. "What do you -- ?"
Agent Evans strode through the tiny foyer, followed by Agent Ortiz. "Mr. Wexler, we have a -- holy shit!"
Agent Ortiz, a step behind him, whistled softly. "This guy's got one serious jones."
One side of the studio apartment was taken up by a long workbench cluttered with monitors, hard drives, and other computer parts in various stages of disassembly. There were a few nondescript pieces of furniture -- a sofa bed, a table, chairs, bookshelves. And the walls -- every square foot -- were covered with posters, magazine covers, and newspaper clippings, all devoted to one subject.
The room was a shrine to Paris Hilton.
Agent Evans glanced at the table. There, unsurprisingly, lay the newest issue of US magazine. Paris Hilton seemed to be smirking at him from the cover, alongside the words SUPER HOT -- OR SUPER, NOT?
Agent Evans frowned. If the spoiled brat wanted to play coy about having super-powers, that was fine with the NIB. But sooner or later she was bound to go completely public, and they wouldn't be able to do a thing about it. To say nothing of all the other super-women who seemed to be popping up everywhere. And the ones in quarantine -- how much longer could the Stronghold contain them? The NIB was working round the clock, planting disinformation, distracting the public with conflicting reports, trying to keep a lid on the story -- but it was like fighting the Hydra. Sooner or later -- probably sooner -- the whole house of cards was gloing to collapse ... and so was the chief.
Agent Evans cleared his throat. "Mr. Wexler," he said, "we have a warrant to search these premises, and another for your arrest -- "
"What for?" Wexler squeaked.
"Using a medical procedure not approved by the FDA, and practicing medicine without a license."
Wexler looked blank for a moment; then comprehension dawned in his myopic eyes. "It's true, isn't it?" he said eagerly. "She's got super-powers, doesn't she? I knew it!" Somewhat self-consciously, he adjusted the front of his trousers.
"We'll ask the questions, Mr. Wexler. Cooperate, and things will go much easier for you -- I promise." He showed Wexler a sheet of paper. "On April 22nd, you posted this at a website called Uber Girl Frenzy." He read aloud: "I think Paris Hilton with super-powers would be so hot. She's kind of skinny, and an airhead, but her spoiled, self-centered attitude would make her a perfect super bad girl, IMO ...'
"Yeah, so what?"
"Just paint in the details for us, Mr. Wexler. You then received an email from 'Genrefan' ... when, exactly?"
"I dunno. Three or four days later, maybe."
"And how did he instruct you to pick up the Transformatrix?"
"I was supposed to go to the back room of a little second-hand book shop on Publishers Row. It was just a hole-in-the-wall. Some guy would hand the gizmo over to me."
"An elderly man? Short, bald-headed? Big tufts of hair growing out of his ears?"
"Yeah. He looked kind of like Yoda."
Agent Evans nodded. So far, Wexler's story matched what the kid in Indiana had told them.
"So he gave you the Transformatrix. Where is it, by the way?" Wexler averted his eyes. "Mr. Wexler, we do have a search warrant."
"It's in that shoe box on my workbench." Agent Ortiz opened the box and took out a gadget, apparently identical to the one Bobby Franklin had given them. "It doesn't work any more," Wexler said as Agent Ortiz bagged the device. "I tried it on this girl who works at Borders, and this totally hot student at Northwestern who hired me to set up a website for her ..."
"Let's talk about Paris Hilton, Mr. Wexler. How did you get close enough to use the Transformatrix on her?"
"It was all arranged for me. The Yoda guy gave me a round-trip plane ticket to Los Angeles, and explained how she was going to be attending some kind of award ceremony. He wrote down the address and the time and everything. He even gave me a press badge so I could mingle with the reporters and papparazzi outside the theater."
"So you went. And then?"
"She showed up -- just like the guy said. Our eyes met for just a second while she was walking up the carpet, but I swear she smiled at me."
"That's nice. So then you zapped her with your little ray-gun and ...?"
"And nothing. She just went into the theater. But the guy told me that the Transformatrix would have a delayed effect." Wexler shrugged. "That's it. I flew back to Chicago the next day. But then all these stories began to appear in the news -- "
"Thank you, Mr. Wexler. That will be all for now. We're going to impound your hard drives, and of course we'll be taking this." He held up the evidence bag containing the Transformatrix. "Oh, and we'll want the name of that book shop. Don't leave town -- we might want to talk with you again."
"I -- I'm not under arrest?" Wexler seemed oddly disappointed. "But -- but you have to arrest me! It'll be in the news -- and then she'll know I'm the one who gave her super-powers!" His eyes lit up. "Maybe she'd come to thank me in person! Oh, man -- "
Agent Evans's cell phone beeped. Gratefully, he stepped into the foyer and shut the door behind him.
"Hey, Dwight. This is Agent Boggs."
"Wade! What's up?"
"A ton of shit has hit the fan, that's what. There's been a breakout at the Stronghold, five or six super-women are mixing it up in Seattle -- oh, and some high-school cheerleaders in Metropolis are putting on a half-time show you wouldn't believe."
"And the chief?"
"Hospital. Bleeding ulcer."
"Twelve-fifteen local time. Agent Garciaparra won the pool."
"Damn!" said Agent Evans. "I was only off by four hours!"
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Denise nodded. "Jill's a regular superwoman now. Speed, flight, strength..." She smiled. "Sometimes in the morning, we'd work out together, playing catch with a tank...never realised how light they were..."
"A t-tank? You're joking...right?"
Denise's smile widened. "I'm not joking. These hands have torn apart the hardest substances known to man as if they were nothing...well, to me, Jill, and the others, they are nothing."
Bobby didn't know what to say. "Wow..." was all he could manage.
"Wow is right...but you know what? As great as these powers are, and as fantastic as I feel...I'd give it all up to be able to hold my husband and my little girl again..."
"But why don't you?" Bobby asked. "You're free now. Why have you come here?"
"Oh, I'm free now, but they know where I live. My house is surrounded by waiting armed guards and even though I'm bullet-proof now...my family isn't. I won't risk their lives."
"So...what are you going to do?"
"Work on finding that facility where they're holding Jill and the others, and get them to leave with me...except I've no idea where to start..."
Bobby thought for a moment. "When I asked at school about her...I was told her mail was being forwarded on..."
"Where to, did you see?"
Denise sighed. "If I can get them out...make all this public and force someone in authority to accept us as normal citizens again..."
"Have you seen the news?" Bobby asked. "Paris Hilton's one of you...she was tearing up the city."
"Oh God...I was afraid of something like that. The girls I met at the facility were all nice - I don't think any of them want anything other than to go back to their old lives. But if psychos like her start getting superpowers..."
"I've ruined everything, haven't I?" Bobby said suddenly.
"Er...what makes you say that?"
"Between Miss Henderson and me...you're a teacher...if you found out one of your students had had...fantasies about you...had acted on them, and given you superpowers...what would you do?"
"I don't know." Denise replied. "I mean, I assume it's someone in my class...I like what's happened. OK, the guns and the soldiers and not being able to see my family, that all sucks. But having these powers is...simply amazing. I guess it would depend on who the person was who did this to me." She smiled. "You're worried about how she'll react when she finds out..."
"Bobby, she likes you...more than she lets on, I think. And she loves what's happened to her. Look...could I see that site you posted on?"
It took Denise just a second to read the post Bobby had written on the UGF website, while Bobby himself sat next to her, now thoroughly ashamed of himself. How could he have been so selfish as to put Miss Henderson in danger like this?
"But...there had to be more than this." Denise said quietly, bringing Bobby out of his thoughts. "How did they get your home address to send you the coupon?"
"Can I see the coupon?"
Bobby shook his head. "The shop manager kept the whole thing."
"But you remember where that shop is, right?"
"OK then..." Denise logged off the computer and smiled at Bobby. "Then how about we go down there?"
"Now would be best...I imagine a flying woman would cause less of a stir at night...we go there, find out all we can, then go to the school and get the forwarding address they had for Jill."
"Break into the school?" Bobby asked.
"Sure...how do you think I got your address in the first place?" Denise smiled. "Don't worry, I won't get you into trouble, and you'll be back here before dawn. I'm offering you a chance to see a real superwoman in action...what do you say?"
Bobby didn't reply for a moment. "Look, you're embarassed. I understand. I'm your favorite fantasy come to life - but I don't have time to waste. I wanna see my family again ASAP. Now, are you coming...to help me save Jill?"
"Well...when you put it like that..." Bobby replied. "After what I've done, it's the least I can do."
"Right." Denise suddenly scooped Bobby up in her arms, and looked down at him. "And I don't think you've ruined anything between you and Jill. If anything, I think she'll be flattered...when you explain it to her."
Bobby, lying helpless in the arms of a beautiful superwoman, was too stunned to reply.
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... for a moment.
"Wait a second," he said suddenly. "You've got super-vision, right?"
"Well -- yes ..."
"So can't you use your super-vision to locate this place? I mean, if you broke out of it, you must know where it is, right?"
Denise shook her head. "It's not as easy as that," she replied. "I was being held in a special underground facility. I think they put me there because I said I wanted to go home." Anger flashed in her eyes. "They said we were free to leave whenever we wanted, and I was naive enough to believe them. Long story short, I broke out of my cell and started climbing up an elevator shaft -- digging my fingers into the metal walls and pulling myself up like a rock-climber.
"About halfway up, my fingers slipped -- but instead of falling back down the shaft, I just ... floated in mid-air. Suddenly I could fly -- or maybe I'd had that power all along and hadn't realized it, I don't know. Well, I shot upward -- faster than a speeding bullet, to coin a phrase -- and punched right through the top of the shaft. Solid steel, at least six inches thick, and I burst through it as if it were tissue paper."
Bobby nodded, hanging on every word. This was just like one of those stories posted at Uber Girl Frenzy.
"But I couldn't slow down at first," Denise continued. "I just kept going up, up into the night sky until I was -- I don't know, miles above the ground. I could see the Earth's curvature, just like in the satellite pictures, and the patches of light from the big cities. It's funny -- I've always been afraid of heights, my husband even has to hold my hand during airplane trips ... but now I wasn't at all afraid of being thousands of feet up in the air. It was ... wonderful.
"But I'd gotten turned around -- I'd lost my bearings, and I had no idea where I'd been held prisoner. I figured they'd expect me to head for home, so I flew here instead. Jill was my best friend at the clinic. I guess I just wanted to talk with someone who knew her ..."
Bobby nodded. "I'm glad you did. But I doubt you'll find her by breaking into the school and looking up her forwarding address. Whoever is holding her -- and all those other women -- wouldn't leave such an obvious trail."
Denise grinned. "Good thinking. Jill was right about you." Bobby blushed. "So what do you suggest?"
Bobby thought for a moment. His eye fell on a copy of the Daily Planet lying on the floor. "Maybe we can call on the power of the press," he said. "If we could get a reporter from a big newspaper like the Planet to listen to your story ..."
"Good idea." Bobby found the Planet's toll-free number under the masthead and took out his cell phone. Following the recorded instructions, he deftly enrtered a series of numbers and letters.
"This is Clark Kent," announced a recorded message. "I'm not available at the moment, but -- " Bobby broke off the connection.
"Let's try Lois Lane," he suggested. Again, his fingers darted over the keypad. He handed the cell phone to Denise. "Maybe you should talk to her."
* * * * * * * *
A cell phone beeped half a continent away. Lois Lane's gloved hand reached into the pouch in her cape and pulled it out.
"Ultrawo -- I mean, Lois Lane," she said. She listened intently to the words that poured into her ear. The speaker's story was somewhat disjointed, but Lois's journalistic instincts assured her it was true. "Welcome to the club," she said presently. "Yes, that's right -- me, too ... Where are you, exactly? ... All right, I'll be there in a minute."
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That was the only thought going through Bobby's mind. After years of fantasising, suddenly there were two beautiful superwomen in his bedroom. And one of them was in full costume - Ultrawoman, no less!
"You're exactly what I've been looking for." said Lois, after Denise had explained her story. "It doesn't explain what's really behind all this, but it does explain the disappearances."
"Will you publish it?" Denise asked.
"If you do that, won't whoever runs this facility maybe...move it somewhere else?" Bobby asked. "They might even hurt these women..."
Lois grinned at him. "Don't worry about us, kid. We're pretty tough. But they might move them...you said that device used on you knocked you out long enough for them to move you..."
"Right." replied Denise.
"What I don't get is...there are fifty superwomen in that compound, right?"
"Why do they stay? Anyone of them could tear that place apart in a dozen different ways without breaking a sweat."
"It's the thrill of it." Denise explained. "These powers are all so new to us...we get caught up in pushing ourselves to the limit, seeing how far we can go."
"Except we have no limits..." Lois said quietly. "Since this Transformatrix thing hit me, I've done things that I wasn't even able to do when I first became Ultrawoman...and that's saying something."
"Paris Hilton nearly killed Supergirl earlier." Bobby reminded them. He knew they wouldn't have forgotten, he just felt like he should say something in order to keep up.
"Supergirl'll be alright." Lois replied. "Look, Denise...I wanna run this story, front page, and blow this thing wide open...but I'm not convinced that's the right thing to do."
"What do you think we should do then?"
Lois sighed. "Follow up this lead Bobby's given you, for now. That might lead us to whoever causing this...but it doesn't help the others."
"But, like you said, they're all pretty tough." Bobby replied. "Once they try to leave-"
"Once they try to leave, they'll get that Par-Las thing turned on them." Denise reminded him.
"Not if they all broke out together!" Lois interrupted. "Is there any way to get a message inside? Any contact with the outside world, at all?"
Denise shook her head. "We got daily phonecalls out, but none in. No mail, no television, or radio, or internet..."
"Dammit..." Lois hissed. "Guess I'll just have to run the story, and hope for the best...but right now, we check out that store in the mall where Bobby got his Transformatrix, alright? You ready to go?"
"Sure." replied Denise. "But what about..." She pointed to Bobby. "I promised him he could come...and he does wanna make up for what he's done..."
Lois studied him for a moment, then nodded. "Alright. I guess he can come along. Just one question, Bobby."
"What is it...Ultrawoman?"
"Which one of us do you want to carry you?"
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"What's this I hear," she asked with mock severity, "about your wanting to leave us?"
"That's all right, isn't it?" asked Jill, somewhat taken aback. "When I came here, you said -- "
"Of course it's all right," beamed Dr. Klyburn. "Goodness, it's not as if we're keeping you prisoner -- even if we could. It's just that we're sorry to see you go. You've made such a remarkable adjustment to your ... transformation. You're an inspiration to all of us."
"Thank you," said Jill, blushing slightly.
"But," said Dr. Klyburn, folding her hands on her desk and leaning forward, "I was hoping you might consider staying a little longer -- just a few days. We could use your ... expertise."
"My expertise?" Jill was puzzled.
"You see, a young woman checked in this morning. And when I say 'a young woman' ... well, this girl is still two months shy of her seventeenth birthday. And she's ... not happy about what's happened to her. She needs someone to talk to, and all of our counselors are booked solid."
"But -- "
"Now you took courses in adolescent psychology for your teaching certificate," Dr. Klyburn went on, "and your principal says that you have a phenomenal rapport with your students. As I said, this girl needs someone to talk to, and I'm hoping it might be you. What do you say ... Jill?"
Jill thought for a moment. She was eager to return home, to resume the life that had been so unexpectedly interrupted. But helping young people was her vocation. And it would be ... well, ungrateful to refuse ...
"All right," she smiled. "I'll be happy to talk with her."
"Wonderful!" beamed Dr. Klyburn. "I can't tell you how much this will mean to her ... and us. I'll introduce you to her right now."
Rising, she conducted Jill out of the office and down the corridor toward the cafeteria.
"Her name is Amber Slater," Dr. Klyburn said. "She's a high-school student from Metropolis. Very bright -- skipped a grade back in elementary school, so she's a senior, a year younger than most of her classmates. A cheerleader, I understand. Cute as a button."
The two women paused at the door of the cafeteria. The room was deserted, except for a girl hunched over a can of Coke at a table in one corner.
"Amber," said Dr. Klyburn, approaching the table where the girl was sitting, "this is Miss Henderson. She's a high-school teacher. She can answer any questions you might have about this place."
The girl looked up. "Hi," she said shyly, forcing a wobbly smile.
She was small -- five foot two or so, just about Jill's height, though her figure was more pronounced. A pretty face -- somewhat on the round side -- was framed by long straight blonde hair and highlighted by a pair of large blue eyes. She was wearing blue jeans and a baggy blue varsity sweater.
"Well!" beamed Dr. Klyburn, "I'll just let the two of you get acquainted, then." She turned and strode out of the cafeteria.
"Hello, Amber," smiled Jill, sitting down across from her. She noticed that the girl's cheeks were moist and her eyes were glistening with tears -- though they weren't red. Then she realized: Of course -- her eyes don't feel irritation.
Having counseled a number of tearful students over the past eight months, Jill took care to have a supply of Kleenex about her at all times. Reaching into her handbag, she took out a packet of tissues and handed them to the girl.
"Thanks." Amber wiped her face and blew her nose. Again, she made an effort to smile. "So are you, like, strong, too?" she asked.
"Yes, I am," Jill replied matter-of-factly.
"So I guess you went to one of those transformation clinics, huh?"
"That's how you got strong, isn't it?"
"Actually, I don't know how I became so strong. All I know is, I fainted outside my classroom one afternoon about a week ago. I woke up in the local hospital, and then I was taken here almost immediately. You've come to a good place, Amber. The people here helped me adjust to having super-powers, and they can help you, too -- "
Amber's face crumpled into a mask of distress, and fresh tears began to stream from her eyes. "Can they -- can they make me the way I used to be?" she asked, pulling a fresh Kleenex from the packet.
"Not so far as I know," Jill replied, gently but honestly. "You don't want to be this way?" She was careful to keep her tone neutral, non-judgmental.
"No!" the girl wailed. "I've ruined everything -- with my parents, my boyfriend ... everything! God, why did I listen to those other girls?"
"Tell me what happened."
Amber dabbed at the cheeks, sniffling. "All the girls on the cheerleading squad got these coupons for a free visit to the Transformatrix clinic. It's in an office building in downtown Metropolis. Regina was the first to go. She thought it was for some kind of make-over, but the next day at practice she told us how this creepy guy shone some kind of flashlight on her and the next morning she had super-strength. We all thought she was joking, of course, but then she took us to where all the school buses were parked and she lifted the back of one of the buses like it weighed nothing at all, so we knew she was telling the truth.
"Well, Regina said we should all go. She said, just think of the routines we could perform if we had super-powers." Amber smiled ruefully. "I guess it sounds kind of funny -- using super-powers just to smoke the competition at cheerleading -- but cheerleading is, like, Regina's life. And it did sound pretty cool ...
"Gretchen and Karen went that afternoon, and sure enough, the next day they had super-powers, too. So the day after that all the other girls skipped school to get their treatment. I didn't want to cut classes, with AP exams coming up, so I went right after school." Amber blinked back more tears. "My parents figured I was at cheerleading practice. They had no idea I was taking a bus downtown to get super-powers. They wouldn't even let me get my ears pierced until I was sixteen. Oh, man, I am gonna be so grounded when they find out ..."
"What happened when you got there?" Jill asked.
"Well, like Regina said, there was this guy sitting behind a desk. He kind of creeped me out, the way he kept looking at my breasts -- "
"He didn't try to ... touch you, did he?" asked Jill, frowning.
"No! If he had, I would have walked right out of there. Which I guess would have been a good thing. No, he just had me stand underneath a flashlight mounted to a bracket on the ceiling. That's what it looked like, an ordinary flashlight. Then he turned it on with a remote ..."
Amber raised the Coke can to her lips, but it was empty.
"Would you like another?" asked Jill, fishing some change out of her handbag. Amber nodded. Jill got a Coke from the machine and brought it back to their table.
"So then what happened?" asked Jill as Amber opened the can and took a sip.
"Well, I felt warm all over, and kinda woozy. For a second I thought I might pass out, but I didn't want to give the guy an excuse to grope me. So I put my hand against the wall to steady myself until I felt better. Then I got out of there as fast as I could.
"There was a Little Caesar's next to the office building, so I went inside and ordered a small veggie pizza. I was so worried about what I'd just done that I didn't realize I'd scarfed the whole pizza until I saw the box was empty."
Jill was intrigued. The feeling of warmth, the dizziness, the appetite -- those had been her own symptoms. This Transformatrix -- had someone used it on her? But who? And why?
Amber was going on with her story.
" -- funny, I'd eaten a whole pizza just an hour before, but I had second helpings of everything at dinner. And then after dinner, I went right to my room to see if I'd gotten any stronger. Sure enough, I could lift my bed off the floor with one finger like it weighed nothing. I guess I should have been pretty excited, but I was actually feeling kinda wiped, so I went to bed and fell right asleep.
"The next day at school was awful. I couldn't concentrate in any of my classes. Regina had made us promise to keep our super-powers a secret until the big cheerleading competition that weekend, which was fine with me, but I was afraid I might cause some kind of accident with my strength. I kinda didn't want to see the other girls on the squad, so I skipped practice -- oh my God, Regina must be so pissed off at me -- and I met up with my boyfriend Greg after school and asked him to take me to this pizza place where we hang out."
Amber seemed to be on the verge of tears again.
"Well, I told Greg about the clinic and my super-powers and everything. He didn't believe me at first, and I guess I can't blame him. But one thing led to another, and finally he put his elbow on the table and challenged me to arm-wrestle with him."
A large tear rolled down one cheek.
"I wasn't trying to show off or embarrass him or anything, but he totally freaked when I pinned his arm down. I just wanted to show him that I was telling the truth, so we could talk about it. But Greg's a big guy. He plays football and lacrosse and he works out. So getting beaten by his five-foot-two-inch girlfriend must have been pretty freaky. And it didn't help that some kids at the next table saw it and started making sarcastic comments.
"Greg's face got bright red and he ran out the door. I followed him. I put my hand on his shoulder and he spun around with this strange expression on his face, like he was afraid of me. Oh, God, I just wanted him to hug me, but when I took a step toward him with my arms out, he shouted 'Get away from me!' and ran off down the sidewalk.
"And then I realized -- he was afraid I'd hurt him with my strength. And he was right, wasn't he? I'll never be able to hug anyone again -- not my parents, not my boyfriend, not anybody! Tears were flowing freely from her eyes, and her shoulders shook as she sobbed into her Kleenex.
"Amber," said Jill, putting her hand over the girl's. "Amber, listen to me. Look, you can squeeze a block of steel as if it were soft clay, right?"
"But you're holding that aluminum can without crushing it, aren't you?"
Amber looked at the can, comprehension dawning in her eyes.
"Amber, you're not going to hurt anyone by shaking hands, or hugging them, or ... anything else. As for Greg -- well, he has to get used to the idea that you've got super-powers ... just as you do. Give him time. He'll come to accept the new you. Or if he doesn't -- well, that's his problem, not yours. Amber, listen. You're a beautiful young woman. You're smart and you care about people. Any boy in the world should be proud to be your boyfriend."
Amber smiled ruefully, still skeptical. "Even if I'm a gazillion times stronger thn he is?"
"Boys are funny, Amber. There are probably guys out there who think a super-powered girlfriend would be pretty sexy."
Jill nodded. "I wouldn't be surprised."
Amber grinned. "You wouldn't happen to know any guys like that, would you?"
* * * * * * * *
This has to be a dream, Bobby thought for the dozenth time that evening.
He was lying in Denise's arms as she flew through the night sky above Midvale. Ultrawoman flew alongside them, her maroon cape streaming dramatically behind her. The night air was chilly, and Bobby wished he'd put on a jacket, but it didn't seem to bother either of the women. Bobby glanced down at the rooftops and lawns spread out below him. He'd lived in Midvale all his life, but he'd never seen it from this vantage point.
Now they were following the highway that led westward out of town, passing through fields of corn and wheat, until they arrived at the little strip mall where Bobby had picked up his Transformatrix. Alighting gently on the empty parking lot, Denise set Bobby down. Ultrawoman landed gracefully beside them.
"All right, Bobby," she said. "Show me where you got that gizmo."
Bobby pointed to a narrow storefront between a Chinese restaurant and a Blockbuster. A notice -- SPACE TO LET, CALL 555-2801 -- had been put up in the window. Ultrawoman gazed intently at the storefront for several seconds.
"Nothing," she said presently. "I've scanned every dust mote and cobweb with my super-vision, and I'm coming up empty. Whoever was here, Batman himself wouldn't be able to trace him."
"So, uh, what are we going to do?" asked Bobby. He was shivering slightly, rubbing his hands together.
Ultrawoman removed her cape and handed it to Bobby, who wrapped it gratefully around his shoulders.
"Well, I've got a ... colleague who's working on the Transformatrix angle," said Ultrawoman. "Let's turn our attention to that secret compound where Denise was being held." She turned to Denise. "You say that armed agents are staking out your house?"
"Well, I haven't actually seen them -- I just assumed -- "
"A reporter assumes nothing," said Ultrawoman. "Where do you live, exactly?"
"Landry, Texas. 860 Catalpa Street."
Ultrawoman cast her gaze to the southwest. "A green two-story house with a front porch?" she asked. "The name 'Jordan' on the mailbox?"
"Well, you were right," Ultrawoman said. "There's a DPW truck parked across the street, with two NIB gents inside. They've got surveillance equipment, guns, and some kind of high-tech ordnance I don't recognize."
"It must be a Par-Las. That's the weapon that knocked me out a couple of days ago."
Ultrawoman smiled. "I'm guessing you're tougher now. What do you say we pay them a visit?"
"No! I can't put my husband and daughter in danger -- "
"We're superwomen, remember? We can whisk that truck miles away before they know what's happening. If you don't like the odds, we can call in some friends of mine. I'm sure Kara and DeeAnn would be happy to provide back-up."
Bobby blinked. "Kara" -- that must be Supergirl! And could "DeeAnn" be DeeAnn Donovan, the fitness model? Was she super now? Oh, man, he thought, this just gets better and better ...
"What do you say?" asked Ultrawoman. "Those guys must know where the compound is -- or know someone who does."
Denise hesitated for a moment, then nodded her head, grinning. "I suppose if we ask them nicely ..."
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