Superstarter, Part 1
Written by HikerAngel :: [Tuesday, 10 December 2019 00:35] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 21 December 2019 14:05]
Thanks to ChaozCloud for the original idea, to Larafan for the editing help, and to Fats, Larafan, Woodclaw, and the rest of the Superwomenmania team for building poll functionality in stories and really making this happen. You guys are awesome! :)
Hannah bit her full lower lip and tucked a lock of long, blond hair behind her ear as she hovered her mouse over the “submit” button. Before she could think about it any longer, she clicked. She prayed she had done well enough to make it to the second round. If her application were successful, she would have a chance to be the first superheroine created by the newSuperstartersite on Superwomenmania.com.
Hannah had always imagined being a superhero. She loved the idea of helping people and wanted to go to medical school after college. She couldn’t imagine anything better than having the power to help thousands, even millions with her superpowers. Chances of winning were astronomically slim, but she had to try. The thought was too appealing not to.
Almost exactly one year ago, Ultraman and Galaxy Girl had found two alien devices that documents written by the Xinth, now extinct, claimed were capable of turning collective imagination into reality. The greater the numbers of those imagining, the greater the effect.
The Xinth were a race that died out in mysterious circumstances millennia earlier. Their technology was far beyond anything that earth had seen, and much of it was beyond comprehension. Fearing that the technology could someday fall into the wrong hands, Ultraman and Galaxy Girl had destroyed most of it, leaving only the devices that they felt they could safely use--like the imagination tools.
Ultraman and Galaxy Girl, along with the rest of the Fairness Team, had worked with the wonderful team at Superwomenmania.com to develop an online experience that would utilize the devices to create two new superheroes. The superhero team was excited about the project because it gave them an opportunity to handpick new superheroes to join the ranks of the Fairness Team. They could choose the candidates, based on online personality tests and submissions, to ensure that only the people that they knew could handle the powers would receive them.
Superwomenmania was excited about the project due to the prodigious levels of publicity it would receive. The advertising revenue alone would be worth billions.
Today was the application deadline. Superwomenmania had worked in partnership with the Fairness Team to develop enormously complex algorithms that were designed to sift through the hundreds of millions of applications, narrowing it to a few hundred.
From there, the partnering organizations had formed a team of seven psychologists that was ready to begin reviewing the 333 finalists. The psychologists would whittle the field down to the final twelve. The Fairness Team itself would select the winners from those twelve after a trial to test their worthiness. In the end, there would be two winners—one recipient for each device. The prospective winners were referred to by the media asThe Two.
Once the selection of The Two was finalized, the voting public would log in to the Superwomenmania SuperStarter page and choose the superhero-to-be that they wanted most to empower, imagining their powers while reading updates on the superhero of their choice. Each week, the votes would be funneled through the alien devices, and the superhero of their choice would be empowered accordingly. Upon hitting each voting milestone, the public would then be able to vote on the next milestone or challenge presented in the newest poll.
During the voting, the intensity of individual powers would be based directly on the number of votes received. For example, if only one person selected that his/her superhero had telepathy and telekinesis, then that power would be so weak as to be unnoticeable. If, however, 100 people chose it, it would be an extremely strong ability.
No one was exactly sure how powerful The Two would become since the Xinth devices had never been used, but the records from the extinct civilization had made it appear to work in this manner. Superwomenmania had assured the world's governments that things would remain under control. Besides, the Fairness Team was backing them up. The team of superheroes was there to handle anything that might go wrong.
Hannah screamed in excitement as she opened her email. Her application had been accepted! She was a finalist for SuperStarter! Her chances of being one of The Two were still slim, but her odds had improved from one in 600 million to one in 167. That was worth some excitement!
Congratulations! You have been selected from 619,984,112 applicants as one of 333 finalists for the SuperStarter project on Superwomenmania. You will be asked to participate in an interview before a board of seven psychologists. That interview, in combination with the psychological and other testing from your initial application, will determine whether you are placed in The Two.
Congratulations again and good luck!
~Superwomenmania and the Fairness Team
Hannah sat nervously outside the closed door in the Hall of the Fairness Team. She knew that the team of seven psychologists was inside interviewing one of the other candidates. She chewed her full lip and rubbed her slender fingers over her skirt out of nervous habit.
She had opted for a professional but stylish outfit. The tight top showed no skin but displayed every curve of her toned, nubile young body. She wanted to show the committee that she had the body to make a good superheroine but didn't want to create concerns about immodesty either. She knew that striking the right balance in the testing process would be critical... which is exactly why it what so was so nerve-wracking!
As she waited, she visited the restroom for the third time in the past hour. She looked in the mirror, checking her makeup for the tenth time today. She was a beautiful girl. Her blond hair was full and vibrant, shimmering in the sunlight that streamed in from the skylight above. Her eyes were a bright, brilliant blue. Those features, in combination with her high, curving cheekbones and full pink lips, gave her a sunny, cheerful sort of beauty.
Hannah had a lithe, toned body. She was slender and athletic with lean, defined arms and legs. Her curves were not dramatic but were dynamic enough to captivate male eyes with ease. She had never wanted for potential suitors, though she hadn't dated much and had never gone further than a kiss with those she had.
Hannah, in both appearance and personality, was the wholesome, yet stunningly attractive, girl next door.
Satisfied with her appearance, she was about to walk out of the bathroom when she heard the flush of a toilet and the clack of the stall door opening. Another girl came out of the stall. She was, in many ways, Hannah's polar opposite. At least as gorgeous--probably more so--she had a dark, dangerous appeal. Raven locks cascaded over shoulders to mid-back. Penetrating green eyes checked her own appearance in the mirror, much as had Hannah just had. The girl's eyebrows were downward sloping, lashes long, cheekbones prominent and edgy. Her lips were lush and the lipstick she was applying, crimson.
As the girl puckered and spread her lipstick, Hannah checked out the body of her probable competitor. It was breathtaking. Prodigious breasts pressed her daring crop top into voluptuous bulges. The girl's bare stomach was svelte but ridged with sexy striation. Her hips and ass flared outward in a dynamic, rounded, and sensual shape. Her legs were sinuous and smooth, traveling for miles before ending in high spike heels. The girl worked out--that much was certain.
This girl smoldered with sexuality and was dressed to show it. Her dark, seductive charms were a stark contrast to Hannah's angelic, ethereal beauty.
Hannah hoped that her more modest approach impressed the judges more than this girl's shock-and-awe style. The ebony-haired vixen noticed Hannah staring in her direction and turned to her. She looked at her competitor up and down and smirked.
"I'm Serena. Nice to meet you," the girl said, a predatory gleam in her viridian eyes.
"Hannah. Likewise," Hannah responded instinctively.
"Six of the seven psychologists are men. You know what that means, don't you?" said Serena, raising an eyebrow.
"What does it mean?" asked Hannah, honestly confused.
"It means that they don't stand a chance against me. I'm going to be their first choice," she said as she adjusted her breasts in the cropped blouse to show more cleavage. "It also means that you have a pretty good chance for yourself."
Hannah realized what she meant and blushed.
"And once I get to the voting, I'm going to be the most powerful heroine in the Fairness Team," Serena smiled broadly as if already counting on her victory. "Good luck, Hannah. I'll be pulling for you in the battle for second place."
Serena strode confidently out of the bathroom, hips swaying in mesmerizing fashion as if moving to a slow, sensual beat.
Three hours and fifteen minutes later, Hannah stood before the psychology board. She could feel sweat beading on her brow from the pressure of three hours of rigorous grilling. She felt that she had done well, however, answering all of their questions openly and honestly. She had seen nods of approval from the team following her responses to many of the questions. That had to be a good sign.
"So if you heard a dog barking in a burning house and a prisoner screaming for help while being beaten by the other inmates in a prison, where would you go first?"
"If I'm forced to choose between a dog and a person, I would have to help the person first, regardless of what that person may have done in the past. Besides, a burning house is very likely to attract attention and get firefighters there in time to save the dog. If I were actually a member of the Fairness Team, I would attempt to contact them about the dog. Many of them are pretty speedy and could probably get there in time..."
Hannah's response seemed to satisfy the judges, so she let out a slow breath of relief.
"One final question, Hannah."
Just one more question? Thank the Lord! She listened eagerly, energized by the knowledge that this was the last one.
"If you found a case full of money in Antarctica, an international territory where there is no one government entity to turn it in, what would you do with the case?"
"Well, if there were no authorities to turn it in to, I suppose I would give the money to charity, to help people," Hannah said, answering honestly.
"Which charity would you choose?" asked one of the members of the panel.
"I would choose a charity that gives food to the hungry. Without food, many of the other things that different charities address are irrelevant. Adoption, psychological welfare, homeless shelters, and other things like that are great causes, but if someone dies of starvation, the rest is irrelevant."
More nods. Hannah was pleased with her performance. She hadn't been stumped, hadn't felt that she had answered poorly. Maybe she did have a chance at being one of The Two. Her heart soared at the thought. All of that power at her disposal and job were all she needed to do was help people? She couldn't imagine anything she would rather do with her life...
"Thank you for your participation today and good luck!" the lead member of the panel told her. Hannah smiled in relief and left the podium on the stage. As she walked toward the door, Serena entered, apparently next up. Serena winked at her as she walked by in a confident strut.
Serena arrived at the podium and leaned forward, giving the men to her right a tantalizing look at her magnificent cleavage.
"Serena Serpent, correct?"
"Yes, sir," she said in exaggerated politeness, an amused smile on her lips. Serena stood in stark contrast to the other candidates, who had been varying levels of nervous and timid. She had absolute confidence as if she already knew she had won and was just going through the motions.
"If you were asked to do something against your personal moral code by the United Nations, how would you respond?" came the first question.
"Well, I would have to weigh the request against my own needs and do what I thought would be most appropriate," Serena said, shifting to give another few male members of the board a flash of skin.
"Describe what you would do if a civilian made inappropriate sexual comments to you."
"I'm not easily offended, so who knows? If he were good looking enough, he might find some inappropriate sexual comments coming back his way…”
Serena watched a couple of the men dab tissues at their foreheads and shift in their seats. She smiled wider.
The ceremony where the twelve finalists were chosen was being televised live across the world. Hannah sat next to Serena in the huge hall, along with the rest of the 333 semi-finalists. The two looked on as the national anthem was played, as Ultraman gave a rousing speech congratulating the participants and stating how much he looked forward to battling evil with any two of them.
Finally, it was the moment that everyone had been waiting for, the moment when they would announce the twelve finalists.
"...And the first finalist is Steve Thompson of the United States!" A young man gave a whoop and jumped out of his seat. He practically jogged to the stage.
"The second finalist is Shi Byun from Korea!" A pretty Asian girl shrieked and covered her face with her hands as she made her way to the stage, overwhelmed with emotion.
They continued to announce names until the audience was waiting on the eleventh to be called. Serena's expression had progressed from amusement... to annoyance... to near-anger as her name was not called.
"Our eleventh finalist is Serena Serpent!" Serena's expression changed instantly--back to her confident, sexy smirk. She rose slowly from her seat and sauntered up to the stage.
"And last, but certainly not least... Hannah Heroikos."
She had won? She had won! The thought seemed to finally sink into her overwhelmed brain as she stood there waving to the assembled crowd like an automaton at Disney World. She could feel the tears well anew in her eyes. Her lower jaw quivered as she was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.
Hannah's eyes went wide. A lump formed in her throat. Tears began to well in her eyes. She rose and walked to the stage, using a slender finger to wipe the tears from her eyes as they began to fall. Her body seemed to be on autopilot as she walked toward the stage, and she seemed to be standing in front of everyone before her mind had finished wrapping itself around the fact that she had made it to the final round.
Hannah couldn’t believe that she was actually shaking Ultraman’s hand! His grip was like iron, and he probably wasn’t even trying. She briefly wondered if she would ever be as strong. As he moved on to the next of the twelve finalists, Galaxy Girl came up to her and gave her a chest-crushing hug. She might need the strength just to survive the congratulatory hugs from the Fairness Team! Oh, my God! This was unbelievable. She had always dreamed of meeting them! Now, not only was she meeting them, she had an opportunity to join them in the Fairness Team! Hannah couldn’t believe her luck, though she was nervous about what the trial would bring.
Hannah looked around at the woods that surrounded the clearing where the twelve finalists stood in a line. She wondered what the contest would be like. She assumed the contest was going to take place here. That suited her just fine. She had been on countless hikes and climbs with her father growing up and could handle herself outdoors. If the trial was something in the wilderness here, she felt that the environment played to her strengths.
Hannah glanced over as Ultraman reached Serena. When he offered his hand, she ignored it, pressed her lush body to his, and gave him a passionate kiss. Hannah’s jaw dropped as she watched Ultraman’s eyes widen in surprise, then close and enjoy it. Eventually, he seemed to come to his senses, and he pushed her back.
“Well, there, that was quite a greeting, young lady. Awfully friendly!” Ultraman gave a nervous laugh, then moved on to the next candidate. Serena smirked as she noticed the visible evidence in the man’s tight suit that proved she had managed to arouse the most powerful man in the universe.
Galaxy Girl scowled at the ebony-haired girl and when it came time to greet Serena, she shook hands rather than hugging as she had with everyone else.
When they had finished greeting all of the candidates, the pair of superheroes stood before the center of the line of candidates. Ultraman spoke.
“Now is the moment you have all been waiting for. The unveiling of the trial...”
“All of you will begin the trial at once. The two who complete it first will win,” Galaxy Girl said.
“There will be a column of glowing blue light that will become visible momentarily. You will see it blasting like a spotlight from the ground into the sky from a point in the far distance. Your mission is to reach the column of light as quickly as you can. You will all start from right here and can take any path you wish,” continued Ultraman.
“Good luck!” Said Galaxy Girl.
With that, they flew off. The finalists looked around at each other in confusion. When was this thing set to begin?
Their unasked question, however, was quickly answered by a brilliant column of blue light erupting far in the distance. The light seemed to travel from the ground forever upward into the sky. It wasn't easy to miss. As long as the skyline was visible, the column of light would be visible.
When the column of light appeared, the twelve finalists startled. A couple of the finalists immediately started along a trail that looked as if it were leading in the general direction of the goal. The rest of them considered before taking a variety of approaches toward that light.
Hannah glanced over at Serena. Serena noticed and met her eyes. She smiled, then jumped forward into a jog, taking the most direct path toward the light.
Hannah hesitated, then followed Serena. This girl seemed so confident, so sure of herself, that Hannah subconsciously followed her lead.
After weaving through trees and crossing a small stream, Hannah stopped in a clearing, gaining a view of the blue light again—in a slightly different direction than she thought. Either she had gotten off course in the woods or the light was changing locations. She sure hoped it was the former. If the destination was always moving, this was going to be a pretty difficult journey to finish!
Hannah looked around for Serena, but there was no sign of the gorgeous girl. She made sure to memorize the landmarks at the clearing, as her father had taught her long ago. It was a technique to be able to find the way back if lost. Once she had memorized the landmarks--the crooked tree, the mushroom log pointing the correct way back, and the boulder at the far side--she reoriented to the column of light and began again toward it in an easy jog. The goal was really far away, and she didn’t want to wear herself out too quickly.
Two hours later, she stopped for a rest in another clearing.
Hannah was almost certain, now, that the light was moving. Every time she entered the woods and her vision was obstructed, she came out again to find it in a different direction. Think, Hannah! Continuing to move seemed fruitless. She was as likely to be going further away from her goal than toward it. Pulling up the bottom of her tight top, which had been provided by the Team, she wiped the sweat off her face.
Maybe moving forward wasn’t the point at all. Of course! Why would the Fairness Team be testing everyone’s physical prowess? They would be receiving superpowers! Physical strength and stamina were irrelevant! This was about being smart.
Hannah thought about it further. What would be the best way to reward people for outsmarting their competition? Probably moving the light all the way to the beginning where they started, she decided. That would reward the finalists for waiting to figure things out rather than running frantically after the goal. The smartest players would simply wait for the light to come to them.
Okay, so if that were the case, how should she get back? She wished she had better marked her trail. Well, she needed to do the best that she could.
She got up from her brief rest and began to jog back the way she came. She eventually picked her way back, watching the beam whenever she could get a glimpse in each clearing. By not aiming for it but simply trying to find her way back to the start, she actually seemed to be progressing toward it. When she finally managed to get back to the clearing where the race had begun, she saw Serena there, the column of blue moving toward her.
"Serena! How did you...?" Hannah started.
Serena gave her a Cheshire smile, and said, "I might have had a bit of inside information from a nice man that runs the Fairness Team project planning division. He was very forthcoming when I had him at the edge of, well, you know... and I held him there until he talked. I just ran into the woods to get the rest of the others to leave too. I looped back after a quarter-mile, and I've been relaxing here for the last couple of hours, waiting for the light to arrive."
"The edge...?" Hannah began to ask when she realized what the sexy girl meant. "Oh!"
"Anyway, congratulations for coming in second place, Hannah."
With that Serena, walked into the column of light and disappeared, transported to Fairness Team headquarters.
Hannah ran up to the light and felt a strange sensation then fell forward out of the beam. Onto a metal floor. A hand reached out to help her up. She looked up... it was Ultraman.
"Congratulations on becoming one of The Two, Hannah!" he said as she put her hand in his. He effortlessly hauled her to her feet. Ultraman whispered in her ear as he brought her up.
"You were my personal favorite, so I'm glad you were one of the winners."
The magnitude of what had just occurred struck Hannah. She was one of The-Freaking-Two YES!!! She had done it! She was going to become a superheroine!
Hannah felt like she was floating. Soon enough, she might even be floating! Her smile was massive. She was the happiest she had been in her entire life!
In contrast, Serena was smiling, but it was a cold, calculated smile. To her, becoming one of The Two seemed more like the start of something than and end of itself.
Ultraman guided Hannah up to a room with a number of media members and cameras. Serena was already there and gave her a nod of acknowledgment.
Ultraman walked up to the podium where Galaxy Girl was already standing and turned to the cameras.
"We have decided onThe Two. These two women have won our contest and will be the newest members of the Fairness Team, empowered by the Xinth devices that we discovered last year!" Ultraman paused for a round of applause. He stepped away from the podium and motioned for Galaxy Girl to continue.
"Let the voting begin! Choose a girl and the power that you would like to give her. At the end of the week, we will update everyone on the changes that the votes have empowered the devices to give. We will also update you on what Hannah and Serena do with what you give them. Thank you for participating!"
Hannah stared into space, having trouble concentrating on the words as she wondered which powers the crowd would give her... and how powerful she would become. She looked over to Serena, who looked confident as ever. Hannah wondered how powerful Serena would become too... and what she would do once she had her powers...
FIRST ROUND OF VOTING