The Towers' Syndrome – Chapter 12
Written by papayoya1 :: [Sunday, 20 May 2018 12:07] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 20 May 2018 15:34]
Sienna starts neutralizing the threat on her.
“Come on, we need to back everything up!” the supervisor screamed. Miles did not like him. Truth be told, he did not like any of the morons Larkin had brought from her lab that had spent the last four weeks bossing them around, for they were not even half the scientists that Miles and his colleagues were.
Danvers leaving had certainly been a blow to morale. He had been the last bond pulling them together after the initial series of dreadful events and the immediate takeover from the Feds. Images of Sienna breaking into the lab and killing his colleagues with her bare hands still haunted him at night. And, even if he had not admitted it to the shrink that questioned him every day, the nightmares didn’t even stop when he was awake during the day.
They had all liked Sarah, and the Feds got there too late to prevent them from seeing her corpse.
There was some backlash after that woman Black let them know about their new working conditions. Things got even worse when Larkin and her team took over. They were anything but courteous, and their constant questioning of every single step in their research was incredibly annoying. It all had held together because of Danvers. He had given them purpose. He had shown them the path towards retribution. They had taken on the task of killing Sienna, or whatever it was she had become. And they were close to shattering when he was secretly pushed out of the project.
Miles had been about to quit, and Aaron would have followed. So would have many others. But then, they had learned that the Feds were not kidding. The threats on their families had not been vague. The mental image of Sienna Towers breaking into his home and grabbing Lucy by the throat had troubled him since then. So he had kept working, with the hope that this was the best way of ensuring safety for his family and himself. Until everything had gone to hell about an hour ago.
No one had told Miles what the evacuation was about. He did not need to ask, though. There was only one possible cause of evacuation for a secret lab that was working on a weapon to kill a former colleague turned superwoman. And thinking about it terrified him.
The lab had the latest when it came to security and fail-safes. Everything was backed-up in real time and the protocol to keep samples in different locations was even obsessive. But still, the progress they were making was so astounding that just losing a couple hours of research was a tragedy. The drills started to make sense now. They had gone through them twice per week ever since the project started. And so, he knew they were still twenty minutes away from being ready to leave without losing precious data.
Armed men, looking way more dangerous than the security guards he was used to, started rushing through the aisles, some heading to the first floor while others occupied strategic choke points in different areas of the lab.
When the firing started, Miles broke. His pants became instantly wet.
Security Team Alpha had been assigned to the main entrance. They were one of the teams that had been briefed on the foe they were about to face. Most of their colleagues were in there just to keep the scientists in line and did not need to know.
Major Baer could not be more confident of his men as they manned the main gate. All of them were sharp, thinking more on the possibility to avenge their fallen comrades that on the incredibly bad odds they were facing.
They did not have heavy weaponry. The secrecy of the mission had required it. All they had was an ace up their sleeve. Or two, if one counted for the number of available weapons.
Floodlights lit the road heading towards the facility. His men stood their ground, alert for any intruder while keeping an unsuspicious enough look just in case anyone else just drove by.
When the danger came, it was not from the road. The fact that she came from above did not leave any doubt about her identity as the enemy.
Sienna landed gracefully some fifty feet away from the line of guards. She had taken it easy on her way there, her speed limited in this occasion by the expected resistance of the magnificent party dress she was wearing. It was hardly the most appropriate outfit to storm a secret research facility, but she had not wanted to waste time looking for something else to wear.
“A power plant!” she said cheerfully to the astonished men. “That’s ingenious!”
“Stop!” Major Baer barked.
“You know that’s not going to happen. I’d offer you the chance to get out of the way, but honestly, it’s easier just to get you out of the way myself,” Sienna said as she took a step forward.
The six men aimed their weapons at her just then. Sienna did not feel threatened at all, but she had also learned not to be overconfident. Despite the late hour, her super powerful eyes showed her the scene as if she were under the brightest daylight. It did not take her long to identify the two agents that carried the strange looking weapons that she had now come to respect for her earlier painful experience.
Without saying anything, Sienna extended both arms and opened her palms. An instant later, the two toy-looking rifles flew in her direction, easily breaking from the officers’ grip and snapping some fingers in the process. Sienna was soon holding both weapons and smirking at the men. Their disconcert was amusing.
“Oh, you really thought you stood a chance? That’s so adorable!” she said as she closed her hands around the weapons, crushing them into mangled piles of steel.
With no warning, Sienna pushed her lips out and started blowing. She did not unleash a deadly hurricane, though. If anything, the product of her lungs resembled more a blizzard, even if she tweaked it to be mild enough not to blow the agents away and so cold that they froze on the spot, every single liquid particle in their body turning into an iced version of itself. A few seconds later, half a dozen men had been turned into ice statues of themselves, the area around them completely frozen.
“Wow,” Sienna said with amusement to no one in particular. “I’ve been dying to try this one ever since I found out about it!”
She was taken out of her trance by a sniper shot hitting her left breast. It ricocheted harmlessly as any other regular shot had since her second transformation. For an instant, Sienna reflected about the reason slow time had not kicked in. She guessed that her subconscious had discarded the shot as a threat and wondered if things would have been different if the ammunition had been of the harmful variety. She was pretty sure her survival instinct would have prevailed.
She was about to shrug the shot off and go on when she thought about something. She was a bit concerned and looked down, finding out that her fears had been founded. The silky black fabric of her wonderful dress was torn, the skin of her glorious breast clearly visible through it.
Sienna felt her blood boil in an instant. Considerations about the convenience of having shown into an assault in designer clothes were less relevant than the rage she felt at the consequences of having been attacked. Her blue eyes pierced the night and soon found the source of the slight. As a matter of fact, the sniper quickly readied a second shot and fired again with equally impressive accuracy.
This time, however, the bullet did not hit her. Instead, she held it between her thumb and index finger and observed it with curiosity, crushing it into a coin as she realized that this stupid object was responsible for the ruin of her attire.
She discarded the offending slug over her shoulder and shot to the sky. A second later she was standing in front of the sniper, who had been trying to cover his position in the roof of an auxiliary building. When he raised his rifle to try and shoot her again, Sienna easily grabbed it by the barrel and ripped it from the sniper’s hands.
With barely a thought, she nonchalantly bent the rifle in two and fixed her scowl on the now terrified officer.
“Dude, you made a huge mistake,” she said, her teeth clenched.
The man reached for his sidearm, which Sienna promptly addressed by making it so hot with a mild release of heat vision that he had no option but to toss it away, groaning at the third-degree burns in his fingers.
“Do you know how much I loved this dress? I even paid for it, for God’s sake!” she said as she took a step in his direction.
He tried to flee, but it was the easiest thing in the world for Sienna to grab a fistful of his tactical gear and lift him a couple of feet from the roof, holding him as if he were a rag doll.
The sniper babbled something and then kicked her, his boot harmlessly bouncing off her flat stomach as so many others had before. Sienna shook the man with a movement of her wrist, achieving her goal of making him dizzy enough to stop fighting.
Her eyes moved from the man’s now terrified face to the hole in her dress. She then frowned and reached for her chest with her free hand, sighing as she did so. The rest of her dress soon tore, exposing her divine figure.
“I guess I was not coming to a party, after all. My birthday suit will probably be more suitable for a raid,” she said.
Then, Sienna set the man gently, making sure that he landed on his feet.
“You know what the problem with god-like powers is?” she asked him in an annoyed tone. “Nothing seems to keep up with you!”
Just then, she grabbed the man by the back of his head and pulled him towards her. She could tell he was fighting back, but only because of his expression and his complaints. She was not in the least slowed down by his efforts, so soon his face was right where she wanted it to be: by her left breast.
“You were trying to get me here with your bullet, weren’t you? You guys are good; I have to admit. You are not very resistant, though.”
Her breast, probably the softest part of Sienna’s anatomy, did not yield a fraction of an inch as she pushed the man towards it with unfathomable force. After all, the softness of her mound was still orders of magnitude harder than what a regular human could handle. So, the other end of the equation had to give in: the man’s skull.
Sienna moaned as she felt the man breaking against her. She was slow and deliberate, not giving the final push until it was obvious the man was gone. She let the lifeless body drop to the roof and looked down at the gore in her bare skin, realizing that never before she had been so sadistic with any of the men she’d killed. She shrugged disinterestedly.
She would need to find another dress. For now, she guessed she was in for another naked rampage. It was hard to be bashful when one had her body and her power, so she just ignored the minor inconvenience and she prepared to get back on track.
A quick look down showed Sienna that her designer high-heeled sandals were still on. She arched an eyebrow and decided to keep them on for as long as they lasted. She guessed she would have to get rid of them sooner rather than later. A super sped movement of her hand took care of the gore still in her flawless skin.
From her vantage point of view and with her super keen sight, Sienna soon located a stream of security guards pouring out of one of the gates in the main building. She could have easily fried from the distance, but where was the fun in that?
Her sandaled feet soon left the roof as her body soared toward her new targets; she was mindful about the heels of the latest piece of her attire as she landed right in front of them, bringing them into a sudden halt.
Sienna placed her hands on her hips and let a loud laugh out when she saw that her nude appearance had caused both fear and lust into the eight men. The two leftmost ones were among the first to recover; she spied through the corner of her eye how they started a flanking movement as if this was going to do them any good.
Apparently bored by their action, Sienna just turned her neck to get a straight view. Her eyes then lit up, illuminating the surrounding area with a reddish hue. She did not hold back this time, the twin beams that formed in her pupils easy enough to see to anyone in miles. She did not just burn her targets, but completely disintegrated them, switching her heat vision off as soon as it became evident that there was no single particle of them left.
The remaining six men soon raised their assault rifles to take aim. Not in the mood for being shot, Sienna extended a palm and turned it down, taking control of the rifles and men and forcing them to bring their weapons down with a fraction of her telekinetic power. She then snapped her fingers, forcing the guns away from their holders and making them drop to the ground.
The officers were not lusting for her anymore. Instead, they were both startled and terrified. Sienna opened her palm again and guided one of the tactical rifles towards her, catching it with style as it reached her hand. Looking at it with curiosity, she opened her eyes a bit wider and mocked:
“So, is this supposed to be lethal?”
She did not offer further warning before turning the rifle towards the men and shooting it from her hip. The last thing she required was precision, being as close to the agents as she had been. The gun roared loudly as it shot a stream of bullets in the direction of its former owners. As soon as they reached them, men started to drop to the ground one by one. Not having enjoyed Sienna’s invulnerability to bullets, there was no doubt about their condition once the rifle clicked, letting her know that she had exhausted the magazine.
“Ok, I guess it is. For you, that is.”
The initial lack of success in even slowing her down drove the security team to change tactics. Sienna could see some more men hesitating at the gate and suddenly heading back inside. The heavy doors closed in a loud metallic bang, making Sienna chuckle.
“As if that was going to stop me!” she muttered.
She was about to head for them when she decided to do a last scan of the courtyard. It was apparently empty, but Sienna’s superhuman senses were too keen too sharp to be fooled, so she could hear the breathing and accelerated heartbeat as soon as she set her mind to it. She did not need to put too much effort to find the owners of the two hearts behind of a parked Jeep with the logo of the company that owned the plant. She could have ignored them, of course. After all, they were as dangerous to her as a couple of stray ants. But after so many days keeping a low profile, Sienna was on the mood for a good stretch.
Turning gracefully on herself, Sienna faced the pointless hiding spot and headed towards it at a lazy pace. Her high-heels clacked in the tarmac as she advanced, her increased weight helping make the sound more noticeable in the silent night. She could only imagine the terror running through the minds of the agents as they heard her getting closer; the thought filled her heart with glee as she kept strutting towards them.
Despite her slow advance, she was soon standing next to the car, the hearts accelerating so much that Sienna feared the men were going to die of a heart attack even before she could devote some attention to them. Their breathing was now so heavy that she wondered if even someone that was not blessed with her super acute senses would have been able to notice them already.
Sienna did not say anything. Instead, she just dropped to a knee and reached for the vehicle, placing one hand in the front wheel arch and the other under the chassis, looking for a centered enough point. She stood back up, the car following as if it had not carried any weight of its own. Sienna continued the movement and stretched her arms, holding the car over her head and revealing two crouched men, dressed like the officers that had just attacked her but lacking their valor.
In a way, Sienna was disgusted by them. It was not as if she had had any respect for the man she had so easily swatted, but at least they had tried. These two, on the other hand, were lesser versions of the very low beings she had faced already.
“Good night,” she said as she smiled at them.
One of the men tried to stand up in a rush, only to trip and fall again in his butt. The other seemed to be just petrified.
Sienna rolled her eyes and decided that she had had enough of them. They had taken a full minute of her time, way more than such insignificant creatures deserved.
So, without further thought, she tossed the jeep at them, hearing them crunch under the vehicle she had so easily held overhead.
After so many days holding back, the warm-up felt nice. It was time to get the job done, though.
A stream of bullets bounced off her chest and stomach as soon as she turned back and faced the building where all the action was taking place. Sienna did not need to long to find the two men manning the machine gun nest on the second floor. She sighed as a new burst hit her with the same lack of success as the first one.
“Will they never learn?” she muttered while she pondered on how to reward her attackers.
Sienna ended up crouching once more and reaching out for the jeep she had just tossed. Not concerned about looking graceful, she just let the fingers of her left-hand crush through its metallic underside as she took a good hold of it. Bullets kept ricocheting from her back as she stood up and lifted the jeep over her head as if it were a balloon. An instant later, she tossed it towards the spot her attackers had chosen.
The vehicle flew faster than any known missile and burst into the building, making a whole section of it explode just out of the kinetic momentum it carried. She had, of course, hit the precise spot she had been aiming to, so there was no need for her to check for any survivors.
Chuckling, she started a finally uneventful stroll to the main gate.
The courtyard had been lost. Alpha team and the reinforcements had been defeated, although the word obliterated was probably more precise, if Kowalski believed in what he had heard. He had not told his men, but he knew what to expect from the fight that was about to happen. And his hopes of ever seeing any of his loved ones were long gone. But he also knew his mission. And he hoped that by executing it flawlessly he would be able to give the eggheads the time they needed to evacuate and carry with them the knowledge they needed to defeat the monster that had just killed over a dozen of his friends.
He had thirty-two men, the rest of the special forces that had been deployed in the plant. The remaining security agents were there only to keep order among their guests.
The men were in position, thirty-two rifles aimed at the tall steel gate. He was proud of their professionalism and their determination.
The wait was almost worse than what was coming. No one moved from position, but he could feel the nervousness rising. And finally, the enemy was at the gate.
The loud metallic bang as the gate shook in its foundations startled the waiting officers. The door banged a second time. And then a third. Kowalski froze when he realized what was happening: she was knocking.
He was among the few that had been exposed to the full brief on this monstrous woman, and as much as he wanted to be hopeful, he also knew that a steel door should be no obstacle for her. And so, even if his men did not realize about it, he understood what was happening: she was playing with them.
He had been expecting her to push the two heavy halves of the gate apart. This was not what happened. Instead, the metal started bulging. He was shocked when the bulge started taking shape and he recognized a woman’s body in it. A second later, the metal could not withstand anymore and it tore with a sickening sound, revealing their attacker, who stepped confidently through the remainders of the gate.
She stopped, placing her hands on her hips as she gazed at them, looking almost as if finding only thirty-two opponents was insulting. Kowalski rushed his next move. A push of a button released thousands of volts of tension in the wet metallic surface the naked superwoman was standing on.
The discharge was wild. So much that its rumble and sparks were easily felt by all in the spacious entrance. Being in a power plant, they were not at risk of running out of energy, so the intense current went on for several seconds. The woman was certainly taken by surprise. That’s all the effect their attempt seemed to have on her.
“Electricity? Really?” her voice boomed in the cavernous hall, sounding much louder than it should have.
Her eyes glowed red right after. Kowalski was ready for hell. It turned out she was selective. Seeing a woman shoot energy beams through her eyes was astonishing. Understanding the control and precision she had used was way more dreadful. For Kowalski had not needed much time to realize what she had done. The three randomly placed men that had been holding the modified rifles had been accurately disintegrated along with their weapons by her carefully aimed energy bursts.
“I’m rather traditional when it comes to weapons,” the woman said with an unmistakable mockery in her voice. “I very much prefer the variety that cannot hurt me.”
Kowalski did not need to order his men to attack. Twenty-nine automatic rifles starting shooting at will.
Knowing that she no longer had to be concerned about the officers’ weaponry, Sienna relaxed and enjoyed the barrage. She put some attention on the spots where she was hit at first. After a while, she just relished in the invigorating effect that hundreds of bullets bouncing off her skin could have. In a strange way, it felt like being massaged.
She had learned her lesson, though. Business first and pleasure later. So, rather than reveling on the situation, she made her mind up to deal with it quickly. For that purpose, she extended her index finger and slowed time enough to manage her next task comfortably. Soon, she was flicking bullets back at their shooters, making sure that each slug hit the same man that had fired it at her.
The pellets deformed as she pushed them back, but even if their aerodynamic properties were lost, the force transmitted to them by her simple gesture was enough to make them several times deadlier than when they had been originally shot.
A bit more than a dozen lazy gestures later, half of her attackers were down. She went back to normal time and felt the barrage had lost much of its initial intensity, partly because of the drastic reduction in the number of shooters and partly because those that remained standing were starting to lose their faith on their ability to harm her.
When the agents finally realized about their fallen comrades, everything came to a halt. Sienna brought one hand back to her hip and looked at them with disdain as she let out yet another laughter.
“I think this is the moment when you try to flee” she scorned.
Most of the agents remained in place, though, too startled to know how to react.
“No?” she asked aloud. “Well, it’s not going to make a difference!”
Sienna opened her arms wide and then brought them together, palms wide open. The clap was deafening, even for her. The pressure wave advanced quickly and ruthlessly. An instant later, every single cop in the spacious entrance was dead. Those that remained in one piece were the luckiest among them. Sienna chuckled when she saw that even the walls on both sides of the large room had cracked and sunk as a result of her everyday gesture.
Her fashionable shoes, the last remnants of her attire, had been lost when she had walked through the steel gate, so Sienna was stark naked as she got ready to continue with her raid.
She had to admit that finishing the guards at the gate and waiting in the entrance hall of the plant had felt great. Her erect nipples could witness to that. Being fair to herself, she had to question her statement to the FBI woman earlier that night, when she had claimed that she did not enjoy killing people.
The truth was that Sienna thoroughly enjoyed releasing her newfound and vast power and that the restraint she had imposed on herself over the last few days had made her eager to unleash her wilder side. And why not admit it, her wilder side enjoyed finishing the lives of the lesser beings that had shared species with her not so long ago as the most visible way to exhibit her recently acquired status.
In any case, she was not in the facility to indulge. She was there on a mission. The fact that she would be able to satiate her cravings was only a very welcome side effect.
The corridors were pure chaos. Yellow lights flashed as an alarm blared, letting the people on the research floor that the evacuation had entered a new phase. One where every man had to take care of himself.
Suddenly, the thorough backup process was forgotten and the task of packing and labeling with care the latest samples felt much less important.
The anarchy seemed to have also affected the security guards. Most of them wandered without purpose along the aisles while some of their sharper colleagues prepared to face the unidentified threat, taking post in front of the stairs that gave access to the lower floors.
There was little real information about what had happened down at the entrance. Other than the shakes and the distant screams and shooting, all that had transcended were rumors, talk about a monster that had viciously annihilated their comrades.
In the end, the danger did not come from the stairs. The corridor’s floor cracked first and burst upwards later, large chunks of the heavy concrete spreading around and harming those that had been closer to the point the monster had chosen to emerge.
Those that had been running had lost their footing and were fighting to get back to their feet as they turned to look at the emerging threat. The agents that had been guarding the stairs tried to pivot and aim their guns at the new menace. They were all dazed for an instant since the looming monster looked very little like a horrible beast. Instead, they faced a naked woman of such utter perfection that she appeared to be sculpted by Greek Classics seeking the ideal for beauty.
Her hands were on her hips as she floated a couple of feet over the hole she had burst through. It took most of those in direct sight of the creature a second to forget about the sublime body and notice the look on the woman’s face. Those that did were invaded by a sudden terror as they felt like vermin being observed by a vindictive god.
It was too late for them already. The woman’s sultry lips parted and pushed out as if to give a kiss. It was the kiss of death. An instant later, a deadly gale invaded the corridor, violently pushing people back. A few brave souls managed to weather the sudden storm by taking hold of pipes, railings and corners, their feet pulling into the wind’s direction while their arms held for dear life. Their efforts were short-lived since the deadly storm’s intensity soon increased ten-fold when the woman realized that she had been too mild in her initial effort.
The corridor was now clear, save for the stack of disfigured bodies piling up at its end. Out of all the implications of her new strength, the power of her mere breath was still amongst the ones that amazed Sienna the most. The thought that she could wreak such havoc simply by blowing was so astonishing! It certainly put in perspective what she had become and her new relationship with the world.
Sienna set her bare soles in the corridor, a couple of paces ahead of the spot where she had emerged and brought her hands to her hips once more as she pondered her next move. The mix of security uniforms and white coats in the group of men she had just wiped out confirmed that she was in the right place. The power plant was vast, but her new perceptive powers had soon pointed out to the small contingent of workers that were taking care of the only operational generator and the much larger assembly of people in the opposite side of the plant. The cover was resourceful. Sienna guessed it would have cheated anyone without her vast array of abilities. But she was beyond being cheated now. People could have no hopes of hiding from her, escaping from her or fighting her, especially now that she was aware of her only weak spot and was taking the necessary precautions to protect it.
Sienna strutted down the aisle. There was nothing to distract her before she reached her latest victims and the first corner. What laid beyond could only be described as a maze of sub-corridors and metallic doors, each only labeled with an unhelpful code formed by a letter and three numbers.
The thought that leaving at least someone alive for questioning could have been a wise move ran through her head. Luckily, she had other options available.
Sienna stopped, closed her eyes and focused. An instant later, the special awareness she had self-described as a sonar kicked in and started laying out the massive structure where she was in detail. Soon, her mind hosted a three-dimensional map of the research facility within the power plant, including the location of every person in it.
Sienna smiled as she determined her route through the man-made maze. She realized that whoever had designed the construction had taken great care in making it as confusing as possible. The layout was such that most routes required unnecessary detours, forcing anyone trying to get to certain destinations to walk through multiple doors and choke points.
Sienna was not just “anyone”, though, and she was not in the mood to humor the cunning architects of the secret plant.
The puzzled reaction of the three people in the first room she broke in amused her as she walked through the wall and got into it through a path they were not expecting. Their white coats and skinny frames identified them as members of the research team rather than the security one. Sienna did not recognize any of the three, so she guessed that they would be members of Dr. Larkin’s group rather than ex-colleagues of her recycled for the new project.
The terror was evident once the initial surprise was over. Sienna realized that they knew about her, which was logical if she considered that they had spent the last weeks working on a weapon to kill her. This knowledge made crushing them more justified, even if she would have done it no matter what.
One of the men, the one that was closest, seemed to have a bravery attack just then. Sienna realized that the pole he was struggling to lift was a coat hanger. Seeing him defeat his weakness, remarkable even for a human, and brandish the heavy rod at her was almost commendable. And the look of defeat and fear, once the hanger bounced off her without even making her flinch, was adorable.
Still, he tried again. This time the pole never hit her. Without even the need to slow time down to intercept its course, Sienna grabbed the makeshift weapon mid-flight and seized it from the man’s grip with a casual move of her wrist. She held it still for a second, locking her gaze in the scientist and smirking. He realized what was coming. There was no way he could stop it.
Sienna did not even put significant intention in her swipe. It did not matter. The man was not merely thrown back by the blow, its force so violent that it made him burst before he hit the wall.
She was not in the mood of wasting too long with unimportant underlings, so she just turned her head towards the second researcher and simply let go a burst of her heat vision, keeping the intensity low enough for the man to gradually burn rather than just vanish in a pile of ashes. This had the sought effect of raising the third man’s terror to the point where he just paralyzed, back rested against the opposite wall.
Sienna was as proud of her new powers as of the little time it had taken her to completely master them. In a way, it felt as if her DNA changes had come with some sort of genetic memory on how to use them. It was certainly convenient.
Leaving the second man’s smoldering skeleton aside, Sienna looked back to the last occupant of the room she was on and started walking in his direction.
“You are on my way” she simply said.
He did not seem to be able to gain enough command of his muscles to get out of it. Sienna did not say anything else and simply kept going, her superhuman body soon meeting its infinitely weaker counterpart as she prepared to walk through yet another wall.
The man finally gained back control of enough muscles to scream. He did so as Sienna’s voluptuous chest pushed him mercilessly against the concrete, breaking his ribcage first and smashing him into paste as she kept advancing, apparently unaware of the obstacle.
She was, of course, aware, and felt a tingle at yet a new proof of her vast superiority over the puny humans. She was covered in dust and gore as she broke into a new corridor and faced three stunned security guards that had been running without too much purpose.
She waited for them to go on the only logical course of action. They soon had their handguns drawn and started firing on her. As usual, most bullets ricocheted in random directions. That was not all that happened, though. By the time the guards had realized that her mouth was shut, and her cheeks puffed, Sienna pushed her lips out and started spitting the bullets she had been catching.
Her tongue precisely guided slugs into her lips at a faster pace than any automatic rifle. The bullets, spat with several times their initial momentum, burst rather than tore through the guards, their lifeless bodies dropping on the floor a second later.
Sienna chuckled as she headed towards the next shortcut, exhilarated at the entertainment possibilities of her new condition. A super sped spin on herself got rid of the different elements staining her flawless skin, as she consulted the three-dimensional map her superhuman mind was updating in real time and smirked at the latest insight.
Like everyone else, Miles was not concerned about safeguarding their latest progress anymore. Instead, he was just drifting along the aisles, choosing different groups to follow as she cursed once more the intricate system of rooms and corridors that made evacuating almost impossible.
Miles had been given an electronic map on his first day at The Plant, as they had got to call the facility. A month later, he had barely managed to learn the path from his accommodations to his designated work area without the need of it. Now, without his cell phone on him and far away from the area he was familiar with, he was utterly lost. His best option was to trust someone else knew what was going on, but after having shadowed three different groups he became convinced that everyone was as clueless as him.
He stopped for an instant, resting on the wall to take some air. He had never been in shape and being close to a nervous breakdown did not help. The shivers came back as soon as he stopped. Memories of Sienna’s antics back at Eclipse came back to him, only this time it was him in her way rather than some other unlucky colleague. Cold sweat started replacing the perspiration caused by his unaccustomed physical exertion.
The thought that his former colleague was now even more dreadful was close to blocking his muscles. His wrist started shaking uncontrollably when flashes of her confrontation with the SWAT team reminded her that what he had seen in the lab was minor compared with what she could do now. As a senior member of the research team, Miles had access to all the available footage, even if he wished he had not.
Knowing that she was here, in the same prison where he had been held over the last four weeks, was so anguishing that just thinking about it made it hard to breathe.
Miles took a deep breath and conjured to escape. He would get out and live to fight another day. He would find a way to kill this monster. As much as he hated Larkin, her methods had worked. The progress they had made over the last days had been amazing. They had given the FBI the means to hurt Sienna significantly already. A bit more time and they would find the way to destroy her once and for all!
He was about to get back to running when the wall to his right burst, chunks of plaster and brick spreading around him. Miles shrieked when he recognized a hand emerging from it. A woman’s hand. Its twin broke through the wall to his left and an instant later, both closed on him, trapping him against the surface with an incomprehensible force.
He was stuck in position for a second. Then, the force intensified, and he felt his back breaking through bricks as he was dragged into the adjacent stance. Of course, the experience hurt. However, his mind forgot about the pain in his back and limbs when he was thrown on his back and saw the naked figure of Sienna Towers looming over him.
“Hello Miles!” she said cheerfully.
He froze, unable to move any muscle as his bane smiled evilly at him. He could not prevent thinking on how perfect she looked though, so different from the bookish researcher he was used to. And yet, it was easy enough to recognize Sienna. In a way, it was as if someone had taken Dr. Towers’ original form and sculpted it like clay to create a superlative version of it.
Sienna felt joy at the sight of one of her foes, now lying at her toes, completely at her mercy. She did not have any consideration at all for Miles’ capacity as a scientist, so she did not consider him dangerous in that way. The source of her satisfaction was different: she really loathed him as a person.
Sienna realized that this was the first time since her ascension that she faced the situation. It had been different with Danvers. She had been utterly disappointed in him, to the point where her initial admiration had turned into despising. But other than his misplaced arrogance, which she now knew was a defense mechanism to cover for his lack of talent, Sienna had had no personal animosity against him. So, she had hurt him for as long as she had needed to get the information she required. Once it had been clear that the man had nothing else to offer she had not seen necessary to prolong his considerable anguish. She had even shown the mercy of breaking his neck before disintegrating him. The truth was that she would never know, but Sienna guessed that being vaporized must be considerably more painful for a human than most of the other deaths she could deliver.
Miles was different, though. Together with Aaron and Sarah, he represented the bullying she had faced ever since she had set foot at Eclipse. The fact that they were so worthless as researchers had made it even worse. Admittedly, Aaron had been the worst, but Miles and Sarah had been close contenders.
Sienna almost regretted having dealt with Sarah so quickly, back when she first raided Eclipse, even if she guessed that the redhead must have had a different view, after having forced her into the comet’s chamber with her.
She had a new chance with Miles, and she realized that she was craving for retribution. After all, her new power entitled her to deal with anyone who wronged her from now on, but also to get payback from anyone who had offended her in the past. Never having been a popular person, the list was long. Sienna smirked in anticipation as she recalled events from her past that required some closure. And she would have it. After all, that was her right as a goddess.
The most immediate opportunity was lying at her feet, so without further delay, she crouched and closed a hand around Miles’ jaw, pulling him with her as she stood up.
Miles was a short man. Even when Sienna had merely been 5’2”, she had stood up almost as tall as him when on heels. Now that her divine body was a full foot taller, Miles barely came up to her buxom chest.
“Miles, Miles, Miles,” she said with a hint of a threat, her steel grip preventing him to move his mouth and respond. “I guess that now I finally understand why everyone called you midget,” she said, referring to the nickname she knew he hated.
He babbled in reply, her grasp not letting him respond.
“I know how Aaron and you like some good tits, but it’s kind of rude to keep staring for too long. Here, let me help!” she mocked, moving her arm upwards and raising his form half a foot so that she was staring him directly in his eyes, the effort of holding him in position barely comparable to what it would have taken to keep a party balloon in place.
Sienna could hear the heart rate and smell the urine in his pants, so she knew she was dealing with weak material, but still, she strived to bring the panic up as many notches as possible. It all started with a tightening of her grip, her fingers closing just to the point of resistance of Miles’ jaw. An ounce more of strength and it would shatter.
“I hope you can appreciate the effort I’m making here. Can you imagine how hard it is for me not to break you at once? Well, I guess you can’t. Let me put it like this: how long do you think you would be able to hold an ant between your fingertips without crushing it?”
She was satisfied when tears started forming into Miles’ eyes. Sienna knew she could not waste much time. After all, she was there on a mission. But dealing with Miles was so tempting that she was willing to take a minimal risk to get her reprisal.
It only took Sienna a minimum flick of her wrist to toss Miles backward, making his body fly over fifty feet down the long corridor before it landed with a loud thud. Smirking, she swaggered as she slowly moved in his direction.
It turned out that Miles had more stamina than Sienna had initially thought. She was about half of the way from him when he managed to stand up while groaning. Of course, he turned in the opposite direction from her when he started limping away. And of course, he was shocked when Sienna materialized in front of him out of thin air.
He could not avoid crashing with her. He might as well have crashed into a wall, his bruised body falling on his butt as he bounced back off her nude form. Sienna crouched once more and grabbed him under one armpit, her fingers crushing bone on purpose as they dragged him up. He shrieked in pain as she shoved him against the wall, the crash leaving him momentarily without air.
Sienna took her time to stalk her prey, keeping a hand on her hip as she took the two steps that separated her from the terror-stricken man. And just when she thought he could not surprise her, Miles launched a punch at her.
She was amused as she let the blow hit, the sound of knuckles cracking not lost to her ultra-sensitive hearing. Miles groaned.
“A punch? Really, Miles? After all you have seen me do?” Sienna asked, placing an open palm in his chest and pushing him against the wall, taking care of not breaking him too soon.
“Do you want to see what a real punch looks like?” she then asked, tightening the fist of her free hand and launching it at Miles.
He yelled. Her fist never hit him, though. Instead, it caved in the heavy concrete wall, her arm stuck as deep as her elbow.
“Come on! This is not how you will die!” she said. “Give me some credit for originality, will you?” she then mocked.
Sienna had not expected his bladder to still have any capacity, but Miles wet his pants a bit more.
“Come on, Miles. You are starting to get even more disgusting than I thought you would!”
“Why are you doing this?” Miles babbled between sobs.
Sienna pushed him a bit harder against the wall, his ribcage threatening to shatter. Then, she lowered her voice and said:
“You messed with the wrong woman, Miles. Aaron, Sarah, you… the rest. If I had given a damn about you, you would have really managed to make my life miserable. And why? Only because I was so much better than you that I reminded you of your own limitations. So, you resorted to the power of the pack picking on the one that stood out. And you know what? You could have succeeded. The world is unfair like this. A mass of mediocre people grouped together can blind a shining light. Only you terribly misjudged your victim. I was always so much better than all of you together. And now, finally, no one can question it!”
“I’m… I’m sorry Sienna” Miles finally said.
It made her laugh out loud.
“Of course, you are. You will not be the only one”
Sienna then pulled the man from the wall and shoved him gently to the middle of the corridor. He raised his eyes, questioning her with his glance.
“You know what? I think I will keep you. As an icon of my achievement,” she said. In front of her, her former colleague did not know what to make of her announcement. Her lip then curled into an evil smirk and she added: “Nothing can preserve a body like cold.”
Sienna’s breath was soft but glacial, frost quickly forming in the stretch of corridor around her. Miles tried to react, but it was too late. All he managed to do was to raise his hands up, the icy wind freezing them mid-movement. By the time she was done, the short scientist had been turned into an ice statue of himself, the position of his hands and mouth being witness of the horror he had felt while he died.
“I don’t know where, but I’m keeping this somewhere” Sienna muttered, satisfied.
She had wasted some time with Miles, but it had been worth. Now she had to catch up, but thankfully, she had the right skillset to do so. If anyone had been observing the situation rather than trying to get as far away from her as possible, he would have seen Sienna disappear as her body moved at a speed far greater than what a regular human eye could follow.
During the next thirty seconds, a dozen walls burst as Sienna flashed through them. By the time she stopped, having reached her destination, there were forty-one additional corpses in the facility, although the state they were in would have barely qualified them as such. It turned out that when she was moving at close to full speed, the merest touch of any of her body parts with a regular human carried enough momentum to make him burst on contact. Sienna was amused by the discovery and by the time she had broken into the sixth room she stopped shoving people around and started touching them with her fingertip instead, marveling as the initial phases of the explosion started taking place.
In which point during the process she had become a sadist, Sienna did not know. But she could not deny anymore that she enjoyed causing death. She did not have even the slightest moral reservation about it.
The last wall she had burst through took her to the spot she had identified as the main research lab when she had scanned the facility. The stance was way wider than any other she had seen in the building and was quite taller too. Sienna guessed the lab took about the height of three floors, even if there was only one level. She was standing on an elevated platform, at the height where the second floor should have been, her hand resting on a railing as she observed the frenzied activity below.
Needless to say, all that activity had now come to a halt, every pair of eyes in the lab now trained on her. Sienna could see that many of the researchers had already left when the evacuation had started, but still the space below was quite busy. She recognized some faces from Eclipse, next to some others that she guessed would be from Dr. Larkin’s new team. And she recognized the fear in their eyes.
“Hello, my fellow researchers” Sienna addressed them, her lungs projecting a much stronger voice than a woman should have had, carrying her message to every corner of the lab with the power of a PA system. “I was told there was a lot of talent gathered her” she went on. “I also learned that you guys have been working hard over the last few weeks, trying to kill me. I thought it would only be fair to reciprocate. I hope you will forgive me if it’s not nearly as hard for me.”
Sienna’s eyes glowed red as she chose her first victim. A white coated man she did not recognize ignited an instant after being hit by the bright beams, inaugurating the murder fest. Sienna picked an individual at a time, favoring a surgical approach rather than a more unconstrained one. It achieved her goal, the fear in the lab getting to levels where it could almost be smelled.
She scanned the room with elegance and precision, adding to the body count at a pace way too high for any of the scientists to comprehend and still way lower than what she was capable of. She wanted them to see as she kept finishing them. She wanted them to understand the futility of their efforts and her utter victory over them. Some tried to reach for the doors. Others attempted to hide behind their desks or some other pieces of furniture. It did not matter to Sienna. To her, the four-dozen people below were as good as sitting ducks.
By the time she was done, there was a single living soul in the floor. Sienna’s feet left the platform and gently rose until she cleared the railing. Then, she slowly hovered towards her chosen victim, the man she had singled out. She wanted him to feel her ultimate power, so she made her drift through the air slow before she landed with grace a few paces in front of him.
“Hello Aaron” she said with a smile.
Her target was as close to a breakdown as she had ever seen. Still, he had managed to get his hands on the gun of one of the guards she had incinerated and was aiming it at her. She did not say anything and waited for him to do the stupid thing. One could always count on Aaron to do so.
He started shooting a second later, bullets ricocheting in every possible direction as they hit her in her stomach, thighs, chest, nose and cheeks, making Aaron’s unsteady aim evident. The gun clicked a few more times by the time the magazine was over.
“You know what, Aaron? This is almost insulting!” Sienna said. “You have been working for weeks on finding out ways of killing me. I never thought much of you, but I would have hoped for you to come up with something slightly better than what you just did”
Sienna took a first step towards her target, moving with the grace of a feline stalking its prey. Her bare feet stepped between the smoldering remainders of the corpses she had freshly created, having adjusted the intensity of her deadly gaze so that they would not turn into ashes.
Aaron took a step backward and was about to trip, but he miraculously managed to stay afoot. Sienna had already gained a couple of paces on him, in any case, and was thinking on how to deal with the man when her ears detected something.
She frowned and looked at Aaron, her expression showing that she was trying to make her mind up. Sienna finally reminded herself that she was there for a reason and that overconfidence had already cost her too much in the past. So, giving a final look to her former colleague, she said:
“You should be thankful I don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like to spend with you.”
Then, she pushed her lips out and spat, her discharge flying at supersonic speed and meeting its target before Aaron could react. Sienna’s concentrated saliva, paired by its immense momentum was deadlier than a high-caliber bullet and tore through Aaron’s face and skull, keeping its flight for two hundred additional feet and tearing through three walls in the process. By the time it lost its initial energy, Aaron’s headless body was starting to drop on the floor.
Angela Larkin was sitting behind her desk, waiting for the inevitable. She knew a hidden office would not stop Sienna. Not after what she had become.
So, when the monster’s hand tore through the reinforced steel of a door that was disguised as a computer panel on the other side, she only raised the gun she was holding and took aim, waiting for the superstrong arm to rip the rest of the door open.
Angela was surprised to see Sienna stark naked as she showed up at the threshold of the torn door. Her movement to raise the gun and aim it to her exposed chest was halfhearted, almost as if she knew what was coming.
Sienna vanished. The next thing Dr. Larkin knew was that a vicious force had gripped her right shoulder and kept pushing, gradually increasing the pain until she was forced to drop the gun. It never hit the floor. A ready hand grabbed it as it dropped.
Angela could not prevent smelling the perfume as she felt a woman’s warm breath by her right ear.
“Is this how you greet your greatest disciple?” it whispered.
“I told you not to go work for Danvers” Angela said, her voice steadier than she thought she would be able to manage.
“You were right about him” Sienna said, still in a soft tone. “Things ended up coming out right, though, don’t you think?”
Sienna let go of her bruised shoulder and walked gracefully around the desk, sitting lazily in one of the chairs on the other side of it and resting her picture-perfect legs on the table. They both knew that Angela was not a threat for her anymore, so there was no point on keeping her physically restrained.
Sienna looked at the gun in her hand; it did not look different than the regular 9mm she had learned was used by the cops. Still, Sienna knew better and removed the magazine, taking the first projectile on it out. It was spherical and looked like unpolished mineral under her superhuman inspection. She had seen that shape and texture before. Memories of the intense pain in her stomach and the possibility of her demise came back to mind with pain.
“You’ve been busy” Sienna said, respecting the work of her mentor.
“Not enough, apparently” Angela replied.
“You never stood a chance” Sienna said. “You were against impossible odds.”
Angela was very aware about what her fate would be, so she saw no reason to hold back.
“You were always bright, Sienna. Your problem was always your ego. It always got in the way when you were about to achieve something great. I could argue forever about our academical achievements, but even if just for this reason, I still am and will always be the better scientist.”
Angela did not like Sienna. She had, at some point. Back when she had recruited her, she had seen both the potential and the danger in the bright young researcher. Angela had embraced her like a mentor and tried to hone the sharp edges in her character. She had been unable to, her mentee’s arrogance unable to accept any correction to her behavior.
At some point the relationship had broken and become purely professional, working out of mutual interest. And while Angela had been enraged at Ray Danvers stealing her most brilliant researcher from her, she had to admit that she had also felt secretly relieved at not having to deal with Sienna daily for some time. Her lab’s outcome had suffered, her quality of life had improved.
She knew that despite what she said, Sienna had left with a single objective in mind: to out-top her mentor. And she had mistakenly chosen Danvers as the vehicle for that. She had tried to warn her about Ray, more out of spite for him than out of love for Sienna. She had not listened.
And now, sitting across the table from her former protégée turned monster, Angela had felt the need to vindicate.
Sienna chuckled, showing her what she thought about her statement.
“Let me differ with you, Angela. You see, by the end of tomorrow, one of us will be dead and the other will be ruling the world.”
Angela should have been scared about the first part of the statement and surprised about the second. She was neither.
“You were always one for ambitious goals, weren’t you?”
“I always thought that goals had to match one’s ability,” Sienna replied.
“You were always such an egocentric!” Angela said.
“Tell me Angela, do you see anything more important than myself for me to center on?”
Angela should have seen it coming. Still, this magnified version of Sienna’s narcissism surpassed her expectations.
“So, what’s the plan? Storm the White House?” Angela asked without hiding the sarcasm in her voice.
“Doesn’t sound so hard, does it?” Sienna replied, winking back at her.
There was some silence as Angela did not find the words to reply. Sienna promptly filled it and went on.
“You don’t want to admit it, but you are way too smart not to see the truth. Once I’m done with you and this facility, there is no stopping me. There is only one way this ends.”
Angela was reluctant to accept it, even if it was hard for her to find arguments against it.
“The world will not follow you!”
Sienna chuckled once more, letting Angela know that her rants were not even having any psychological effect. She felt being treated like a little child that had to be lectured. It was horrible.
“The world follows force, Angela” the superwoman said. “And I will show them force like they have never seen before.”
“You will never get the people to like it!” Angela protested.
“And who said they should? I’m not interested in love. Love is just an overcomplicated path to obedience.”
“It’s not in human nature to obey. You will always be faced with resistance!” Angela yelled, more out of frustration than anything else.
“No, I won’t. At least, not any resistance that matters,” Sienna responded coldly. “Tell me Angela, what do you know of Project Nemesis?”
The reference to the name made Dr. Larkin’s blood freeze. Her last hope at defeating the monster shattered. How had she learned about it?
“Nothing” Angela said between clenched teeth.
Sienna was observing her with her head slightly cocked, as if monitoring her response.
“I believe you” she said. “It doesn’t matter, anyway,” she added, the words and confidence that Sienna used to disregard Nemesis making Angela understand that she knew enough abut it already. “Let’s focus on what you know, then. I’d very much like to have a conversation about your little project here. I guess I can get all the information from the servers, but I stand witness to the tremendous advancement you’ve done on my original work here, and I think it would be fair to give you the chance to brag one last time.”
“Fiona should not have missed!” Angela said.
“But she did” Sienna replied, apparently unconcerned about the reference to the woman who had almost killed her. “Isn’t it curious how the world’s fate was defined in an instant, merely by a few inches?”
“If I had been given a larger sample to work with, you would not be breathing, and I would not have to stand your smug smile!” Angela finally snapped.
Sienna’s answer was a widening of that smile she was growing to hate.
“See? We are getting somewhere here. Tell me about the sample.”
Angela remained silent for a few seconds, but Sienna waited patiently. She saw no reason to hold back in this front, either. After all, Sienna was right: she could get everything from the servers herself. She was most likely going to check anyway.
She told her about the project set up, about how negative Danvers’ contribution had been, about her surprise at the general lack of talent of his team… and then got into what she liked: the science.
Angela Larkin had never been especially well suited for self-promotion or public relations. This was probably the only reason she did not have a Nobel when someone with considerably less talent like Ray Danvers did. History between them went far back in time, to a period when they had worked together and had a brief affair. Both had had clear priorities, though. So, when Angela found out that Ray had published a paper using some of her ideas and exclusively under his name, their relationship, both personal and professional had broken.
Sooner or later, she had proven that she was better than anyone at getting results. Not interested in the easy money the large corporations offered, she had ended up working in some of the most prestigious universities, building some of the best teams her field had ever offered. What not so many people knew was that she was also in the Government’s short list for projects with “special needs.”
Mjolnir, the grandiloquent project name chosen by her friend Fiona Black, had been the most special of those projects she had ever been involved in. Having Ray Danvers and Sienna Towers involved elevated its reach to new levels, presenting her not only with the most extreme scientific challenge she had ever faced but also with the intricacies of having to deal with some of the important people of her past.
What she found out as her team started working was so mind-boggling that Angela had soon become completely absorbed in the impossible implications to her field.
She realized that talking about it made her forget for a while about the certainty of her impending demise. And so, Angela told Sienna about their success in replicating her experiment in controlled conditions. About their results with guinea pigs. About the difficulties they had to deal with the first specimens.
Sienna was curious when she learned that they had initially eliminated the test subjects by suffocating them.
“You are still a living creature, Sienna” Angela patronized, in what she assumed would be one of her last chances to do so. “Your body does not work like a human’s anymore, but whatever the rock did to you, it cannot change some of the basic principles of life. You consume energy and resources. Vast amounts of them. And your body has no chance but to replenish them. You are alive, Sienna. And this means you can die.”
She could tell that her former disciple had not liked her words. To her credit, she did not question them. Still, it would not have been her if she had not replied.
“It is possible that I can die. But no one can kill me!”
“I can!” Angela said, not able to hold herself.
“Not for too long,” Sienna replied coldly.
There was a minute of uncomfortable science. Sienna then politely urged her to go on. Angela could see that despite of her extraordinary change, there was still a curious scientist inside the woman sitting at the other side of her desk. She could not just neutralize the threat on her. She had to understand it.
Angela told her about their discovery with the guinea pigs. Their reaction when exposed to a second dose of the same rock. The discovery of the wavelength that altered the original behavior. The capacity they had developed to temporarily alter the enhanced tissues. And the race against the clock to weaponize their finding.
She had delivered the first functional prototype to Fiona Black an hour before Sienna had woken up after her second transformation, the federal agent barely making it to the battle in time to see Sienna wiping out the last of her colleagues. And her team had been working incessantly since then to evolve their original design into conventional weapons that Sienna would hopefully not detect.
Once they had found it, the principle was easy. The implementation not so much. It consisted on using treated chunks of the original comet, alloyed with very precise quantities of the radioactive material that would create the proper radiation. The main issue, once they had nailed the alloy, had been shooting them. Way too fragile to be used by a conventional weapon and way too unstable too mix it with other materials like the ones in a standard slug, the only solution had been to resort to the rail gun concept.
“Did the men know that you were giving them cancer?” Sienna asked, feigning amusement even if Angela knew that she had been listening very actively.
“We would have told them if they had beaten the odds when it came to life expectancy.”
“I destroyed the five weapons you distributed amongst the guards here. If I count this one and the one Black used on me, that makes seven. How many more are there?” Sienna asked.
Sienna frowned and stood up, heading to a wall. Angela immediately recognized what she was after. Her former pupil easily disposed of the hideous painting covering the safe and reached for it. Angela should have been prepared for it, but still, seeing Sienna’s fingers dig into the thick reinforced steel as if it were clay was unsettling. It did not take her long to rip the safe open, tearing the door from its supposedly unbreakable hinges.
Sienna reached inside and produced a small fragment of a comet both of them knew too well. Opening her palm to offer it to Angela, she asked:
“I know this is the only fragment in this facility. If you only had seven weapons made, with their respective magazines, where is the rest?”
Angela swallowed hard. She then said:
“I see” Sienna replied coldly. “How much of it?”
“Sixty percent” Angela replied.
Sienna set the small remaining fragment of the comet in the table, then set the gun next to it.
“You did better than anyone could have, Angela,” Sienna said. “Which raises the question: what to do with the spare material?”
“I guess this is up to you,” Angela said.
Sienna took a step towards her and grabbed her gently by her arm, forcing her to stand up from her chair. Her other arm was soon embracing her, pushing her against her steel-hard body.
“Yes, it is up to me,” Sienna whispered.
Angela Larkin had accepted that she was going to die the moment Sienna Towers had set foot in her office. And still, when the moment came it took her by surprise. She did not have time for complex thoughts. So, the only thing she could feel was some relief when she realized that her former pupil was swift.