Earth Beyond, Part Two
Written by shadar :: [Saturday, 21 January 2023 21:17] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 28 January 2023 04:16]
Earth Beyond, Part Two
After having jumped for several kilometers in a single leap to land in a nearly frozen lake, then spending a quarter of an hour on the bottom, I finally made it across to the far side to climb out under the trees. Standing there in the icy wind, feeling my clothing slowly turning to ice in the freezing temps, I couldn’t help but smile. I should have been hypothermic, but the wind flowing over me just felt fresh and clean and wonderful. Refreshing.
Wandering deeper into the thickening forest, I ran my hands over the rough trunks of what looked like chestnut trees, a sense of wonder filling me. To my amazement, these were what we used to call American Chestnut trees — when they still existed. Every single one of these trees had succumbed to the blight back on Earth-1. Shoots still came up and new trees started to grow there, but the blight would always find them and they’d die back while only a few feet tall.
But there was no sign of blight here. I saw only healthy chestnuts, a whole forest of nothing but virgin chestnut trees.
As strange as it sounds, it wasn’t until this moment that the full impact of where I was crashed in on me, signaling that my integration with my Avatar was mostly complete now. Here I was, standing on a version of Earth where everything was a little or a lot different from my world, but it was still Earth.
I’m a tree lover, the son of a bonafide tree hugger who was in turn the daughter of a man who’d mourned the loss of the beloved chestnut trees of his youth, sharing the regret of their loss to the day he died.
My thoughts turned to home as I realized that my extended family had probably gotten the news by now that I’d been killed in the attack on our Lab. They would be grief stricken as they remembered me, for better or worse, yet they would never know that I’d passed on to this world where I can walk around in a virgin chestnut forest while living in the mind of an Avatar made by an alien race. But then, other than through belief, no one knew what happened to their loved ones in the afterlife.
I’d always figured that waking up inside an Avatar would come with lots of clumsiness and long periods of learning how to operate such a foreign body. That it would feel unnatural and robotic in some way. Foreign to the point of being some kind of organic machinery.
But it wasn’t like that at all. Yesterday morning, I’d been an aging man in an increasingly creaky and achy body, and now I’m very young, alive and healthy beyond my wildest dreams. I felt so comfortable and warm and cozy and just so amazingly healthy. Had I ever felt so good? I couldn’t remember a time.
And yes, I’m in a female Avatar, but I’m starting to feel at home in some ways despite that, thanks to the amazing powers that Miranda had dialed in — which I still didn’t fully understand.
What I did know was that I needed to master my new abilities, whatever they were, before I got into a fight with the Neanderthals again. And most importantly of all those, I had to figure out how to fly.
I already knew I could. Or at least, that I had some kind of ‘stabilizing’ or ‘levitation’ ability. Thinking back to the moment when I’d punched that tank hard enough to send it tumbling, I realized that I hadn’t moved backward an inch even as my fist caved in the heavy bow armor. It felt completely natural in that moment to hit it that hard, yet it was physically impossible that the tank had gone flying while I’d remained standing in place given my negligible weight. Yet somehow I’d instinctively frozen myself in space while delivering that blow, transferring all my power to the tank.
That was encouraging. It said I had the reflexes and muscle-memory in this Avatar to do things my brain could not yet comprehend. And some kind of hidden power.
The trick now was to somehow channel that power to levitate at will. Which was easy to say, but I didn’t have a clue where to start.
I tried pointing my arm upward while envisioning I was soaring up into the air, willing myself to fly, sort of like in the comics. Nada.
Second try was to rise on my toes and push off. That worked to send me flying upward through the trees, only to fall back moments later, bouncing off limbs before finally hitting the ground flat on my back. Just a really big jump and an uncontrolled crash, just like back in the city. All it proved was that I had really strong legs. But then, jumping is completely instinctual, and completely dependent on muscle-memory. Miranda’s memories in this case.
Next I tried tensing my abs and butt and squeezed my legs together without jumping, working my way around my body as I tensed this or that muscle, imagining I could channel its strength into powering my flight. Flexing and straining and willing myself to lift off, I was surprised by how large my muscles became when I worked them. Especially given how slender I was overall.
But still… all that effort earned me another nada.
Frustrated, I sat down on a small boulder to pick up a rock about the size of a softball. It was smooth granite that had been polished in some long-ago stream bed. I gave it a hard squeeze and it exploded to dust in my grip. That was pretty cool, having that kind of grip strength, but it didn’t get me any closer to flying.
Curious, I pulled my knees up to my chest, thrilling to my youthful flexibility, and gripped one knee as hard as that rock, and then harder yet. It didn’t hurt a bit. In fact, other than my knee being so small and less fleshy, it felt no different than holding myself back on Earth. Yet my grip was obviously rock-crushingly strong.
That simply confirmed what I already knew — that Miranda had included some kind of invulnerability in her Avatar. How the Illuminate could generate such a thing in these life-like Avatars was beyond my imagination.
Exploring further, I hopped off my sitting rock and tried another experiment. I opened my arms wide to grab the boulder, which was the size of a compact car, and lifted it off the ground — easily. It obviously weighed a whole bunch of tons, but I could actually toss it up and down in my hands, my slender body revealing waves of tight muscle.
Holding it high over my head as I studied my sculpted arms, so beautifully feminine yet so strong, I carefully started leaning backward, and was somehow able to balance all those tons as my body got radically off balance. I kept bending backward further and further until my hair was draping on the ground and my upper body was nearly horizontal, feet still flat on the ground, the boulder resting on my chest, with my abs a maze of absolute perfection as they supported me, and I was still able to balance the boulder.
That defied physics, which said I was using some stabilizing force from inside my body to offset the weight of the boulder.
Even stranger, that effort fired off a teasingly pleasant sensation between my legs. Somehow, this ‘stabilizing ability’, which had to be some kind of flight power, was responding intuitively to my effort, but it also made me strangely horny. Which itself was both a familiar and very unfamiliar feeling.
It was also a major clue.
But after setting the boulder down with a ground-shaking Thud, I still couldn’t figure out how to use any of that to actually lift my body weight off the ground to fly. Which should have been trivial after lifting and stabilizing that boulder.
Clearly, whatever this force was, whether it was merely a matter of muscle memory or something else, it was a reflex that Miranda had designed into her Avatar to let me use my new strength. But given I’d obviously never flown before, I had nothing to draw upon to channel it into flight, other than that strange tingling sensation.
Clearly, I had to find a way to create totally new reflexes and muscle memories in order to actually fly.
Given that tensing skeletal muscles and wishful thinking hadn’t done the trick, and with that tingling saying I was getting warm in more than one way, I knew I was getting close. Which given this Avatar was Miranda’s design, made sense. She’d been a very sexual woman based on what she’d shared with me, even though we were just close work friends. As a female, she obviously had different responses to arousal than anything I knew about, along with much better control of her pelvic muscles. She would have arrived inside this Avatar with full mastery of those skills.
Clearly then, the problem was in my brain.
Experimenting further with tensing this and tensing that, which usually wound up involving my abs and my butt, which was obviously wrong, I finally concluded that I had no idea how to activate my inner muscles. I’d long ago been told that consciously controlling pelvic muscles, the so-called Kegels, was hard for most women without training and practice.
Yet every woman did it instinctively during orgasm. Which I had zero experience with from the owner’s perspective.
I tried to imagine how that might work though, which took me back to this amazing woman I’d briefly met at the University, and to my delight, thinking about her caused my boobs to firm up and swell a little as my nipples got hard and tingly and rose to point upward. That felt awesome, especially when an even stronger needy, tingling sense of desire began to grow inside, which made me feel kind of floaty. But it faded away before I could figure it out.
Still, it really felt like I was on the right track now.
I struggled to keep my hands on my hips as I tried to bring that brief sense of arousal back again, trying to recapture it. But all I got were a few twinges and a tingle or two that seemed to be distributed rather than at the usual place, and that was it.
Amy had once told me that while male arousal was dirt simple and focused and overly easy, it was way more complex for women. She’d talked about activating her Kegel muscles and how those contractions of pelvic muscles were the source of a fair bit of her pleasure during orgasm, but only if everything worked in unison.
I’d never said anything to Amy about this long-ago student who I’d met during my first year as a Professor, but my thoughts now took me back to that amazing evening in a campus bar in the 70’s, before I met Amy, when this statuesque blonde at the bar started bragging openly about her Kegels. It was the kind of thing that only happened in the safety of campus bars, and since she was sitting next to me, I couldn’t resist taking the bait.
I still kind of fit in with that crowd, what with being a newly minted Professor in my late 20’s and very fit, running ten miles a day and lifting weights. First year Assistant Professors like me were a thing for some students, given we’d been just like them a matter of months earlier.
So after I explained that I was teaching Intro to Bio-Engineering this term, and keeping my cautious inquiries strictly focused on body mechanics and anatomy, I got her attention. She leaned close to whisper in my ear that her technique was to envision there was a straw in her vagina and that she was trying to suck liquid up through it, clenching her muscles in waves to pull it up.
I leaned back to stare at her, searching her face to see if she was bullshitting me, but she stood by it. I found her description both intriguing and wildly sexy as I imagined her doing that — except with something much more substantial than a mere straw. I had no idea the human body was even capable of such things, and I’d studied anatomy for two semesters as an undergrad.
It didn’t help that this young woman, who was majoring in Exercise Physiology, was seriously hot, with long blonde hair and a tall, athletic body and on the university track team. Why was I surprised that she was also an athlete when it came to sex?
I kept asking questions about how she specifically mastered that technique. How she managed to get control of muscles that women struggled to connect to.
She apparently thought I was doubting her. “Well, if you don’t believe me, I’ll have to demonstrate. I’m Star Michaels, by the way.” She held out a calloused hand, the mark of a pole vaulter, which I’d just learned was her sport. Her handshake was very firm and confident.
“And so you are,” I replied. “I’m Charles.”
“How about I demonstrate the technique. Do you have a few minutes to spare?”
By the time I recovered from my jaw bouncing off the bar, I found myself standing in my academic office, which was almost next door, with the door closed and locked, the building empty this time of night, watching as the most impressive example of womanhood I’d ever seen took off her clothes. She seemed as comfortable in the nude as when dressed, but then, pole vaulters don’t wear much when competing to begin with. She told me she could only properly demonstrate the technique if I provided a suitable ‘straw’. For science, of course. Did I mind?
Lord, you have to love college girls, and most of all athletes like her. I would never admit it, but I hadn’t become a professor just to teach. Mostly, yes, but working with students at this age can be exciting given they have just bridged the boundary between the end of adolescence and adulthood, and they were living on their own without parental restraints, often for the first time. That usually leads to a lot of exploration combined with a sense of youthful openness that rarely lasted past graduation. But it spawned some truly amazing young women like Star, who was aptly named.
If she wanted to be the professor and I the student tonight, then I was fine with that. Very fine.
Despite all of that happening 40 years ago, not to mention on a different Earth, I remember every detail. Starting with being totally blown away as I sat on a narrow chair, wildly turned on, as she lowered herself over me, burying my face between her boobs as I grabbed her very muscular ass. She quickly moved my hands to her quads as she leaned back a bit to put those pole-vaulting thighs to work, rising and falling on me in long strokes, getting the two of us into the groove, everything nicely lubricated. The girl had skills.
Her strong thighs felt incredible bunching beneath my hands as she rose and fell, her smooth, silky skin stretching so tightly over such gorgeous muscles — she said that beyond pole vaulting, she was into dance as well as a cheerleader. I was smitten. If there was anything hotter than pole vaulters, it was cheerleaders.
Then, just when it was starting to get really good, she paused in the middle of her stroke, and began to show off her Kegels. I was astounded as waves began to ripple inward along the length of her vagina, working in a rhythm that actually seemed to draw me in and out. She kept doing that, faster and faster, essentially milking me, yet no other muscles on her body seemed to be working except those strong quads beneath my hands. It was suddenly too much as I tried to lift myself from the chair, thrusting, trying to control the rhythm like any man, only to have her tense up inside to freeze me in place, unable to move. Holding me so tightly that it almost hurt.
“Please, let me do the work, Professor. This is all about control. My control not yours.”
I slumped back in my chair as she resumed her demonstration on her own terms. Her face soon began radiating that beautiful agony that said she was about to orgasm, those vaginal waves coming faster and faster, and then she suddenly began screaming: “I’m Suuuppppeeeerrrrgggiiirrrlll.”
She went crazy on me as she screamed that over and over, her inner strength still working me in waves, sometimes so tightly that she nearly lifted me off the chair by my dick before she slammed herself down on me. She obviously liked it hard.
I tried to hold up my end, only to have my chair collapse beneath me, dumping both of us on the floor in a tangled pile of arms and legs and too much blonde hair as I came harder than I’d ever done before. So much so that I was able to keep going without pausing, wanting more of her in the worst way.
But she pulled away from me. Rising to stand over me with legs spread, dripping on my face, she started to get dressed, leaving me a few strokes away from exploding a second time.
“Just file this moment away in your bio-mechanical engineering file, Professor,” she said sweetly. “What I felt like. How strong I am inside. How my muscles work. Hopefully you’ve learned something that will be useful some day. Maybe if you specialize in engineering some sex toys. And if you don’t say anything about this little demonstration, neither will I. You know, doing it in your office and all.”
She fastened her skirt as she smiled down at me, still nude from the waist up. “I see that you have some talent for sex, at least for a Professor. More than most. But I don’t think we should do this again. Dangerous for you.”
And with that admonishment, she was gone, leaving me panting for more. Back she went to her world of cheerleaders and pole vaulters and the amazing abilities of young, athletic women.
I learned a short time later that her nickname actually was ‘Supergirl’. A name that even showed up in her yearbook and stayed with her when she went on to become a Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader the next year. I was blown away when I saw her being featured as ‘Supergirl’ in an NFL press release about the rookies on the Dallas squad. She was the hottest one of all.
Most people I’m sure assumed her nickname was due to her athleticism on the sidelines or the way she looked, blue-eyed athletic blonde and all, but I had an inside viewpoint. She was without a doubt the closest thing I’d ever come to meeting a real-life superwoman. Very inspiring.
And now, in this absolutely bizarre turn of fate, I’m here on this new and strange version of Earth and living inside an Avatar that is an actual and whole Supergirl. And I was drawing inspiration from that long ago University encounter. Because I was now convinced that this would be exactly the kind of thing Miranda would have built into her Avatar, given she surely was an expert in her own way. Tying her flight power to pelvic muscles nobody could see her using.
Unfortunately, I was clueless about how to start. That long-ago demonstration by Star hadn’t given me any insight into how she was doing it. Just that it was all about pelvic muscles.
I knew next to nothing about vaginas and the various associated muscles from an owner’s perspective. Only that some women were very talented. Whatever knowledge I had gathered in the heat of passion over the years had always been lost during my higher personal priorities at those moments.
Still, I found it remarkable that some long ago event might have prepared me for life on a different planet — while in a synthetic Avatar body of great power. And while I was actually dead on my own version of Earth. Very weird.
But at least that memory had given me a different approach to work from, and so I began my struggle to connect to those inner muscles in that ‘sucking on a straw’ mode. At first I was worse than useless at it. I had no idea what I was doing or how to connect to those muscles, and mostly found myself just missing my familiar machinery.
I worked my abs and butt and the muscles of my inner thighs, which was nice in several ways, but I still wasn’t flying. Like all humans, I lacked even a trace of muscle memory related to levitation, and in my case, I was doubly handicapped without having experience with controlling pelvic muscles.
I needed something to help focus my efforts. A prop. A toy. Something for my muscles to work against, to get some feedback, sort of like the Kegel Balls I’d heard about.
Looking around, I saw rocks and sticks. No way I was sticking those into myself. Scanning with my eyes wide open as I brushed my blonde hair away, I was surprised to find I could see far more clearly and further than I ever had before. And that’s how I found a section of rusted iron bar that someone had tossed into the woods. Under a pile of leaves. Another mystery.
The thick bar was nasty, scaly and badly rusted, but I quickly scraped it down with my fingernails and then rubbed it until it was bare, smooth, shiny iron, marveling that I was doing that even as I did it. Thanks to a long-ago sculpting class I’d taken as an undergraduate, I started using my fingers to work the cold iron in the ways I’d once learned to work modeling clay. Which I quickly found was just as easy to work with.
It felt so bizarre yet so wonderful to just smush and shape the iron with my fingers, my hands feeling incredibly strong, the muscles of forearms so defined, the tendons on my hands and wrist standing up like steel cables. Even better, a touch of that inner tingling returned as I worked. All while I was trying to shape it into something that looked like the kind of sex toy I imagined a super girl might use.
After a few tries where I mangled it and had to start over, I eventually managed to create something that looked roughly like a dildo, albeit a little oversized. Which made me chuckle. I was still a guy in my head. No such thing as too big.
My working theory now was that, given how easy it had been to move gracefully, right from the start, my Avatar must have a lot of reflexes baked in. If so, then I must have all of Miranda’s reflexes and muscle memory. I just had to connect to them.
I’m not going to share my initial difficulties, which are kind of humorous, but it wasn’t long before things got slippery and that initial strangeness faded and it started feeling really good. I tried not to think too much about what this must look like as I concentrated solely on that cheerleader’s straw analogy. Because if that didn’t unlock the secret to flight, then I was out of ideas.
Hours passed and the sky was starting to get light in the east by the time I finally started to connect to my pelvic muscles enough to let me draw that toy in and out a little bit without touching it. Kind of like a traveling wave of clenching sensations. I was hardly in that cheerleader’s league, but my chunk of old iron was getting a bit squished whenever I managed to properly grip it.
The last was amazing — clearly my superstrength wasn’t limited to my arms and legs, which was kind of weird to even think about. But I’d reached the point by then that whenever I got things working well enough to kind of pull it in, sucking on the straw, a wild surge of tingling warmth radiated through my body and my feet kind of felt lighter and my whole body seemed to glow. I was positive now that I was close. But whether this ended in flight or merely in orgasm, I had no idea. Maybe they were combined.
If so, that would make flying in public a bit awkward. No way a control freak like Miranda would have planned that.
The sun was coming up and shining through a low opening in the trees by the time I finally fumbled my way to the edge of ecstasy, which was so intense that I couldn’t resist leaping up to wrap my arms and legs around the trunk of a chestnut tree as I used a big knot on the side of the tree to finish the job. My passionate screams seemed to move the Earth beneath me as every corner of my body joined into that ecstasy in ways I’d never known before. I was so overwhelmed by the extreme pleasure that I actually soared upward — and ripped that huge healthy tree right out of the ground.
While the tree alone had to weigh 50 tons, it had to have taken many times that to rip the roots out the way I had, but at that moment I was so lost in orgasmic pleasure that I was shaking the entire tree with my passion, which started a comedic stampede of squirrels from overhead.
Those long moments of ecstasy turned into minutes of blinding pleasure that flowed up and down in waves until the entire tree gave up the unequal contest of strength and the thick trunk snapped in half, sending the root ball flying one way as the upper trunk and branches fell on top of me, landing with a great crash of tons of wood and many angry squirrels. I still wasn’t done as I thrashed around beneath the shattered tree for another few minutes as all my previously unreachable pelvic muscles continued contracting in waves.
I had just enough presence of mind left to focus on exactly how those muscles were working, what was making them contract, how those nerves felt, how to sense the muscles. How to control them. Now to create that wave.
By the time I finally crawled out from under the downed tree, dazed and amazed, my hair and clothing a mess, the squirrels were all bitching at me for wrecking their home. I felt bad for them, but for the first time, I felt completely comfortable in this female form. I also had learned what a female orgasm was all about from a super girl’s perspective, thrilling to the feel of powerful muscles working inside and how that tied into pleasure.
I removed the now very mangled chunk of iron and crushed it into a ball to conceal the evidence before I flipped it toward the lake, easily a three hundred meter backhand toss. If I ever play softball again, I’m going to be a killer pitcher. Literally, as in supersonic.
Struggling to keep my focus on my newfound skills as my arousal slowly faded, I used the muscle control I’d just learned to keep everything warm and wet as I closed my eyes and imagined flying while gently clenching my Kegels. Working them in waves, concentrating, I gave a shout of triumph as I actually felt my feet leave the ground.
Opening my eyes wide, I laughed as I floated around like a helium balloon, gently bouncing off the trees. This was awesome!
I began to work on landings and taking off until I could do it as light as a feather, and then worked on navigating around obstacles, with my mistakes unfortunately snapping off several more of those magnificent trees and pissing off more squirrels, which this nut forest was full of. I could fly with great force, all from tensing just a few intimate muscles.
Before long, I was flying fast (and hitting fewer trees) as I shot off in this direction or that, bouncing off trees with my legs, spinning upward like a top, hovering upside down with only my hair touching the ground. I went back to that first boulder and lifted over my head to balance it on one finger — while floating. For a few moments anyway.
The rest of the day as thrilling as I kept practicing, and by the time the sun was getting low in the afternoon, I was able to maneuver through the trees at very high speed, dodging them like I was in some kind of Star Wars movie riding speeders through the forest on Endor or whatever. All powered by clever contractions of inner muscles I’d never had before.
And then it was dark again and I was finally ready to put my newfound ability to work. I buttoned up my long leather coat and floated upward, high above the tree tops and into the moonlight to slowly fly across the lake and over the city. Staying about a kilometer high, I searched the streets below for any sign of other humans.
It felt so awesome to levitate over the city lights this way, those gentle inner contractions keeping me warm, drifting along as I worked to keep from falling or climbing too high.
I could freaking fly! I wanted to shout it to the heavens.
I was also impressed how well my night vision worked. Good enough to see everything in the streets of the city in detail, especially when I tried to study just one thing, at which point my vision seemed to zoom in until I seemed to be only a meter over someone’s head. I swore I could even see through some things, just like I had those leaves back in the forest.
What I found were bear-men everywhere, and occasionally some people who looked like a cross between Neanderthal and human who had less fur and higher foreheads, but they still didn’t look human.
After circling the city a dozen times without seeing any sign of Homo Sapiens, I began to expand the radius of my search, covering the nearby countryside. Still nothing.
It didn’t bother me at first that I didn’t find any other Avatars. It just felt so incredible to fly so freely that I never wanted to land again. Keeping myself on the edge of arousal wasn’t hard now, and it added a pleasantly warm tingle to the effort. So much so that I just wanted to sleep in the clouds. To live in them. To never come back to ground. To never lose this feeling.
But after a while, I reminded myself that flying was just a tool. I really needed to find where all the people we’d sent here had gone. And given I’d seen no Avatars during my search, it was time to go to Plan B.
That involved my letting them capture me to take me to wherever they took the others.
But instead of surrendering to some gang in the mean streets, I headed for the big building on the hill that looked like a Capital. I figured I’d just walk in the front door and give myself up. As long as nobody tried to rape me this time, I’d cooperate, given I knew they couldn’t hurt me.
Still, it wasn’t easy giving myself up after that first encounter. But I reminded myself that I can walk through iron-reinforced walls. I could fly. I was strong enough to bend iron. Even in places that shouldn’t be strong. I was unhurtable.
I was now Miranda’s idea of Supergirl, and Miranda had been very clever.
I eventually floated down toward one of those graffiti-covered alleyways that ran everywhere. I wasn’t ready to reveal to anyone that I could fly. Flying was literally my ‘get out of jail free’ card.
Unfortunately, the lights and darkness and all the buildings disoriented me when I got low, so much so that I came down way too fast. I grabbed an iron fire escape to slow myself down, but ripped it off the wall of an alleyway before smashing feet first into the brick pavement, hitting so hard that the impact sent me tumbling forward to auger face-first into a wall.
Pulling my head out of new a hole in the bricks as I quickly leaped back to my feet, I saw two circles of crushed bricks where my boots had landed. Looking around to see if anyone had seen my crash, I was glad to find I was alone. Because that had been one crappy landing.
I dusted myself off as I fastened the top button on my leather jacket, not wanting to reveal anything that would encourage more bad behavior from the locals, and stood tall as I walked out of the alley into a wide poorly-lit street. The Capital building, or so I called it, was a bright beacon of light a few blocks ahead.
Nobody was out and about this late at night. The city appeared completely dead, yet likely hundreds of thousands of people lived here given the size of the city. The only sound was the soft padding of my leather boots on bricks as they began to give way to larger and grander sections of stone and marble, all of which became meticulously clean. They seemed to take a lot of pride in their Capital.
Soon I was under the bright lights and approaching a set of white marble steps that rose way up to the entrance, easily a hundred steps up. It felt kind of neat just to walk, my slender legs and lithe hips and flexible body moving like poetry. I wasn’t sure how much of that was merely being a young female, and how much was Miranda’s Supergirl, but I was enjoying the sensation of moving with such grace.
I’d just reached the first steps when a bright flash and a streak of light came at me from ahead and to the right, along with the very loud BOOM of a huge rifle. That was instantly erased by an immense explosion that felt as if someone had kicked me VERY hard in the chest. The next thing I knew I was laying on my back a hundred meters from the steps as men with rifles ran toward me.
A quick glance down showed that my coat was shredded, as was the “S” on my blue tunic, revealing my left boob. Leaping back to my feet to gather up what was left of my coat as I tried to cover myself.
I never saw the second round coming. It hit my chest as well, blowing my arms outward as it tore away most of the rest of my coat and tunic, both of which filled the air with burning embers.
I pulled myself from the wreckage of a storefront that I’d been thrown back into, standing essentially nude from the waist up now as I was suddenly assaulted with more of those huge rounds, which apparently had explosive tips. Two hit my back and a third shot hit my sternum, with more sparks flying everywhere.
I clenched my fists, tensing myself as I worked on making myself immovable, but I couldn’t activate my flight power. That still took quiet concentration. Meanwhile, more rounds slammed home to explode, blowing me this way or that, my hair flying as I crashed into walls and the pavement and buildings and monuments, again and again. It wasn’t hurting me, but this was getting old fast.
Obviously the soldiers remembered what I’d done to that tank, and they weren’t taking any chances.
Angry but even more determined now, I started climbing the steps, standing when I could, crawling when the explosions knocked me off my feet, my fingers digging grooves into the hard marble to hold on. Soon smaller caliber bullets began peppering me from three sides, dozens of them and then hundreds, tearing holes into what was left of my skirt. A lot of the rounds came from below to pepper my backside, with another exploding round blowing my left boot off.
The idea of arriving to meet their leaders while nude wasn’t comforting, but on the other hand, they were learning that they couldn’t hurt me. Eventually they’d either quit shooting at me or find something else to attack me with.
The moment I reached the top of the steps I discovered the ‘something else’. A cannon with a barrel big enough to stick my head into. It flashed and belched smoke as the massive shell plowed into my abs to double me over and send me flying backward for blocks, almost to the alleyway I’d first walked out of. My skirt was pretty well shredded now, but the waistband was somehow hanging together. Both boots were gone along with everything else.
Soldiers were pouring out of the Capital and down the steps and out of the alleyways, all of them armed to the teeth, all headed my way.
Now I was really starting to get pissed. I was trying to give myself up and they were determined to kill me. So I decided to jump over them.
Taking off at a run toward the Capital, I leaped high to sail over the soldier’s heads. It wasn’t flying, only jumping, and some of them were quick enough to shoot up at me with smaller weapons, with some of their bullets ricocheted up through my legs into sensitive spots, which wasn’t so great, but I still managed to land at the very top of the stairs, a full two blocks from where I’d jumped. I started to run inside the building the moment I touched down, heading deep into a large atrium with a high, domed roof.
They all stopped firing at me now, not wanting to shoot into their own Capital. My ass was hanging out of my torn skirt with only a narrow strip covering the front of me as I ran up yet another set of steps, heading toward some distinguished looking Neanderthal men wearing fine gowns and jewelry. Obviously these were the guys in charge.
They looked terrified as I approached them, backing up as a bunch of guards in bright armor rushed to protect them. Instead of firearms, they were carrying huge swords, lances, axes and bludgeons of various kinds, each weapon many times larger and heavier than their human equivalents. They came at me from all sides, hacking, stabbing, hammering on me. But I managed to hold myself in place, tapping into Miranda’s reflexes.
One man swung a huge sword that could have decapitated a buffalo, and I let it shatter against my slender neck, likely breaking the man’s arm. Another brought a huge hammer down on my head, the blow traveling through my body to crack the marble beneath my feet, but I just stood there, trying to smile as I proved they couldn’t hurt me.
But they continued hacking away at me, with iron-tipped arrows coming from somewhere to bounce off my skin, of of them sticking in the corner of my eye. A moment later, a giant Neanderthal swung an axe into my back as another stabbed upward between my legs with a huge sword.
That did it. I’d finally had enough. I started grabbing every weapon they came at me with, jerking them away from the huge Neanderthals that wielded them, bending and crushing them into so much junk. Soon enough, all the guards were disarmed, and I’d crushed their horrible weapons into a jagged ball of pressure-welded iron and steel, points sticking out like an Iron Throne.
Turning back to approach the robed, elder men again, I dropped to kneel in front of them, prostrating myself to give myself up and to hopefully look less threatening.
The grandest of the men waved his useless guards away as he stepped toward me to speak in very passable English.
“What is your name, Sapiens? Why are you here?”
I was about to answer ‘Charles Stamworth’, when I caught myself. I certainly didn’t look like a Charles. “Ah… I’m Charli. Charli Starr. I just arrived. I mean you no harm.”
“Then why did you destroy one of our armored trucks yesterday, and injure a dozen Nanders? One of whom died. Their squad leader. And how could you jump like that? How could you defeat my guards? You Sapiens are all very strong, but not like you are.”
“May I rise? And how should I address you, your honor?”
“Of course. Rise. Not that I could stop you. I am Prefect Goggalentra.”
I got smoothly to my feet to see the way the men were staring at me. No surprise there. Only a few threads of my torn skirt remained of my clothing.
The older men had the higher brows and softer features that made me think they were Nander and Sapien hybrids, now that I knew what they called themselves and what they called me. The light in their eyes was very different than the brutes in the street.
I just stood there, hands on my hips as I stuck my chest out a bit, tensing my pecs a bit to lift my boobs further. I was starting to have some pride in how I looked. And even more in what I could do.
“I’m not trying to cause trouble,” I said. “In fact, I came here to give myself up, but your soldiers tried to rape me when I arrived yesterday. I didn’t start that fight. I merely registered my complaint at being treated so poorly. I apologize for wrecking your armored tank thingy and very sorry for the dead man. But he was the one trying to rape me.”
The men quickly began conferring with each other in their native language, and after a few moments the Prefect turned back to me.
“Given you seem much stronger than the others, yet you say you intend to surrender, I’ve told my men to bind you in chains. You’ll then be taken to a holding cell with the others until I have heard from the soldiers who first greeted you . Once we get to the truth of your words, we will perhaps meet again to talk after that.”
And with that, he turned to walk away, dismissing me.
The guards immediately rushed forward to begin wrapping me in heavy chain, from my ankles up to my neck and back again, up and down, layer after layer. I must have weighed 500 pounds by the time they snapped a massive padlock over the ends to hold it all in place. The only good news was that I was dressed again — albeit in iron.
Once that was done, a huge guard with bulging biceps the size of my head grabbed me and tossed me over his shoulder, seemingly unconcerned that I weighed more than a quarter of a tonne. He then walked off with a bouncing gait to head out the back of the Capital and into a low-slung building made of impressively thick stone that I quickly realized was their prison. From there he carried me down several long ramps to a sub-basement lined with cells that had bars which gave off a weird bluish glow as if charged up with high-voltage or something.
Someone switched off the bars at one large cell, and the door opened so the oversized Nander could toss me in like a gunny sack. I landed hard on my back with the clank of chains. Then the guards locked the door, turned on whatever made the bars glow, and trudged back through a reinforced doorway and up the ramp and out of sight.
“What did YOU do to piss them off?” a man asked in British English.
Rolling my head back, I saw two human men approaching, both in their early twenties and extremely handsome. Behind them was a cute girl who looked like she should be in high school, her brilliantly red hair and freckles saying she was of Irish heritage. She was wearing a yellow leather jacket and jeans, with the men dressed in flannel shirts and jeans.
They were obviously Avatars.
“I’ll get you out of that,” the red-headed girl said in California-accented English.
She kneeled beside me to grab the huge padlock that fastened the ends of the chains together. “Their locks are crummy. Low carbon steel with only primitive hardening.”
She squeezed the lock in her right hand as strong tendons and sharp-edged muscles stood up along her forearm. The steel gave off a low groan as it started to squish in her grip. She was young, just a skinny thing, but the steel didn’t know that.
“You’re damn strong for a pixie. What are you in, 9th grade?”
She laughed. “Don’t let the visuals confuse you. I’m 98 years old, or I was when I died. Figured since I’d missed most of my teenage years while being sick and in the hospital with cancer the first time around, I’d like a replay. Miranda didn’t want to make my Avatar this young, but I insisted. Didn’t realized I was also going to wind up as Wondergirl or whatever.”
“What are you three in jail for?”
The girl shrugged as she continued mangling the lock in her grip, her hands looking ridiculously strong. “Just for being here. The low-brows and the powers that be around here want to control us. They gather up everyone who arrives to stuff us in cells until they transfer us to the villages. Which are essentially fancy concentration camps.”
I saw her continuing to strain, the steel scrunching up more and more in her grip, but the hasp failed to snap open.
“I thought the locks were crummy?” I said.
“Not this one, apparently,” she grimaced, crushing it further. It barely even looked like a padlock now.
“Why don’t I just open these chains myself. You should stand back. Links are likely to go flying.”
The girl looked at me as if I was daft. “You’re wrapped in four layers of chain, and the chain they make here is pretty decent. I can get this.”
I started to strain against the chains anyway, and they quickly tightened so much they began to sing. The girl quickly stood up and backed away as I ramped my strength up, actually having to exert myself a little bit this time, putting my legs to work, trying to open them, building my strength until the chains began to snap and shatter, sending bits of broken steel flying all around the cell. The ripping, pinging, snapping noise of breaking chain grew even louder when I opened my arms wide as well.
Once the four layers of chains were all broken, I stood up to shake the last links off, only to notice the very interested looks on the men’s faces as the remains of my skirt fell off too.
The red-headed girl just frowned at me.
“You know, I could have broken that lock if you’d just given me a few more moments. Now you’ve broken all this chain, and maybe we could have used it for something.”
“How can you be that strong?” I asked.
“Same thing I was going to ask you.”
“Wait a minute. You said you’re 98? I remember you. I got called in after midnight to scan you across. A few days ago. Your name is Mabel. Mabel O’Malley, PhD.”
She nodded. “Particle Physics from MIT. Quit teaching a few years ago. Brain still worked, body didn’t. Dying sucks. Don’t recommend it. Sorry to get you out of bed that night. Despite being in the Lab’s hospice, dying on a schedule is hard.”
The young men came forward now, trying to be polite with their eyes, but failing.
Mabel shrugged off her yellow jacket and handed it to me, revealing a sports bra beneath. I pulled her jacket on and managed to fasten the bottom few buttons, but there was too much of me to close it over my chest. But at least it kind of covered me. Mostly anyway, with the open edges clinging to my firm nipples. Unfortunately, the bottom of her short jacket barely descended below my ribcage.
It was only now that I realized how tall I was compared to other humans. A head taller than the men.
One of them tore a wide strip of fabric lengthwise from a red blanket, and kneeled in front of me to wrap it around my hips a couple of times before tying it with a big knot to hold it up. My abs were still bared and the makeshift skirt was very short, but a least I was proper again.
“You’re a gentleman. Thank you.”
“I’m Harold Augstein, Astrophysics from Stanford.”
“Charli Starr, Bio-Medical Engineering from University of Florida. But more recently, Chief of Scan Tech at the Avatar Complex.”
“What are you doing here?” the man with the British accent said. “And why hasn’t anyone else come through in the last day?”
He came closer. “I’m Fred Hutkins, Material Science from University of Leeds. Did you say Charlie? From the Scan Lab? As in Charles Stamworth?”
I cringed. So much for fooling anyone with my new name. “Yeah, that would be me. I figured I’d change my name given I don’t look like a Charles any more.”
“Why are you here driving the most impressive Avatar I’ve seen yet? As in, drop-dead gorgeous. Not to mention the strongest. None of us were allowed to change genders during the transport to our Avatars. I’m told a few asked, but Miranda limited us to becoming younger, better versions of our former selves. And why hasn’t anyone else arrived today?”
I sighed. “Fred, Harold, Mabel, I have some bad news for you. First of all, nobody else is coming. Not for a long time anyway.”
“The Heaveners really did it, didn’t they?” Mabel asked.
“Yeah, near as I can tell they killed everyone in the complex except me, and I had to do a live scan to escape. They’ll chalk me up to suicide, I guess. And then I’m betting they blew the place up, so maybe there is nothing left now. They were better armed than our Security, by a long shot.”
“Live scans are impossible,” Harold said.
“No, just not recommended. Very painful. The drilling of holes into my skull during the prep was incredibly painful. But I’d already been shot and they were about to finish the job, so I grabbed at the chance to come here and live. Or whatever we call this.”
“So who else escaped?” Harold asked. “Did Miranda make it out?”
“Even worse news. She was shot in the head while trying to get to the Scan Lab. So she wasn’t scannable. Given that her Avatar was the only one in the system at the time, I came across into it.”
Harold nodded. “So that explains the gender swap.”
“But what kind of Avatar is this,” Fred asked, walking around me to study me. “We’re supposed to be bound to our original bodies, only younger and healthier. That way its not such an adjustment given we’ve been young before. But your Avatar is amazing. Not the least for your apparent power. I doubt if Mabel would have been able to break the chains that way, and she’s already off the charts. And a male in a female body? Isn’t that confusing?”
I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, tell me about it. I’ve spent the last day working on that. But at least I can do this now.” I lifted my feet from the floor to cross my legs and proudly float in mid-air.
“Jesus,” Mabel said. “That wasn’t on my list of options, or I would have signed up in heartbeat. You can actually levitate? Fly?”
I nodded. “Short story is that Miranda believed the Heaveners were coming to shut us down, so she stayed up for two days straight at the end, working on this Avatar design in case she had to escape. This was her lifeboat. Given she had the override codes, she apparently maxed out every parameter. Alarms all over the place. But it was a huge scramble at the end after she got shot, and I didn’t have time to change anything.”
“Miranda was an artist for sure,” Mabel said. “But she clearly broke every rule to make this Avatar.”
“Life and death can limit or liberate your options. And if it means anything, when I arrived here in her Avatar, I was wearing a costume with a big “S” on my chest. Miranda had apparently gone ballistic given the threat of the Heaneners, creating an over-the-top design for herself.”
Mabel shook her head as tears welled in her eyes. “So the lovely Miranda is truly dead and gone. As is the entire Avatar program. We’re the last.”
“Maybe,” I nodded. “Certainly for a while. Its anybody’s guess how the Illuminate are going to react. Build another Complex with better security, or say the hell with our Earth and move on? There are a lot of other Earths, or so they tell us.”
“Yeah, but none that they’ve found that have an evolved technological capability who haven’t already nuked themselves back into the stone age,” Harold said. “Apparently that’s the norm. Anyway, I studied everything they told us since they arrived and even had a couple of interviews with one of them. Our Earth is very special to them. We are their great hope for many other Earths. After all, fostering the scientific advancement of promising species is their thing. This isn’t the only alternate Earth they are taking intellectual talent to.”
“So how do you know about the other Avatars if you’ve been locked up here since you arrived?” I asked.
“We’ve set up a crude video link between the main camp at Granchester Meadows and here,” Harold said. “To reduce the trauma of new arrivals until the Nanders move us to the camps. We’ve been talking. They’re coming up here in a few days to take us there.”
“So the Nanders collect everyone who arrives and locks them up at first? That’s not very friendly.”
“They do. Seems our arrival is always pretty dramatic. Lightning and thunder. We all arrive here in Central City. So what made them chain you up that way?”
Shrugging, I said: “I took exception to the way I was being handled which ended with my punching out one of their tanks. I also killed a Nander who was trying to rape me, although not exactly intentionally. I’d just arrived and was suddenly female and was being raped and I didn’t know my own strength and I kicked him in the balls too hard.”
Mabel scoffed. “Appropriate ending for a rapist if you ask me. But that’s going to cause problems.”
“Yeah. Last night they shot me with everything they had as I tried to enter the Capital, which is why I wound up nude. Had a cool outfit when I arrived. I gave myself up in the hope they’d toss me in with everyone else, which seems to have worked, but not until they worked very, very hard to convince themselves that they couldn’t kill me.”
“You punched out a tank?” Fred asked. “And you can levitate? Impressive.”
“Yeah. Apparently I’m Miranda’s idea of Supergirl. She was going to come here and protect you all.”
“Didn’t think the Avatars had that kind of bandwidth,” Mabel said. “Miranda gave me the impression she was pushing the limits with me. Not to mention putting the oldest person scanned into the youngest Avatar she’d ever designed.”
“That said, I think you should put your feet back on the floor and act normal,” Harold added. “They don’t have electronic surveillance abilities yet, but they come and check on us frequently. Best to keep what surprises we have until we need them.”
“And I’ll tell them that I broke you out of the chains,” Mabel said.
“So you’re especially strong?” I asked her.
“Compared to the others, apparently. But word is that Miranda has been making females stronger and stronger for years, and more significantly very recently.”
“What Fred and I were told by Granchester,” Harold said, “is that we male Avatars are about as strong as the average Nander, and always have been. Which is pretty damn strong. Benching more than a thousand pounds they said. Also, everyone has always been mostly unhurtable. Except to those explosive bullets of theirs. A few Avatars have died that way.”
I slowly shook my head. “Amazing. I worked in the program for years and never knew any of this. Miranda was always a force of her own. She was very much trusted by the Illuminate. She controlled all the designs.”
Harold nodded. “Apparently she had her own agenda with inverting the usual physical dominance of males. There was no indication that’s an Illuminate agenda. They only talked about knowledge. So this had to be Miranda’s agenda. And even though she and I talked about a lot of things as she was designing my Avatar, she never even hinted at any of this.”
“And given there was no feedback,” I added, “dimensional barrier and all, no one could know. Miranda and I were friends and colleagues, and I never got the impression that she knew anything beyond how to create Avatar designs that the aliens would then build. And in the end, she created a Supergirl Avatar to inhabit herself. Which I wound up in instead.” My stomach started to growl. “By the way, do they feed us or is that part of our invulnerability? Not eating.”
“They do, and it’s about time,” Mabel smiled. “We see them as Neanderthals, which they are, but they aren’t primitives. They have many skills, including growing food and cooking and building. Their cooking is pretty awesome if you like meat and vegetables. They can be quite clever with their recipes. So forget any prejudices you might have arrived with.”
“How say?” I asked.
“While the low-brow’s IQs are all likely well under a 100, their low-tech society works pretty well. Think 1920’s tech on our Earth for a rough reference, minus the more esoteric thinking ala Einstein. Lots of practical, manual skills. Farming and so forth. Basic iron work. Firearms. Construction. Some vehicles with what appear to be diesel and gasoline engines. You mentioned a tank.”
“Some of them seem to be hybrids with humans.”
“Yeah. As opposed to the low-brows, the high-brows seem to be in the normal human IQ range. One of their scientists visited us here yesterday, and he seemed quite intelligent. Granchester says they learn very fast. Very eager to learn.”
“So, how do you think they’ll react if I broke out of here?”
Fred laughed. “Try touching the bars and find out.”
Mabel chided him. “Don’t you listen to Fred. It hurts like bloody hell. Think Grand Mal seizure combined with the most intense pain imaginable. Leaves you on the floor convulsing for many minutes, wishing you could just die. Yet we aren’t permanently injured after it passes. Needless to say, nobody touches the field twice.”
“Pretty clever for Nanders, given we’re otherwise unhurtable.”
“It’s alien tech, Charli. Not home grown. Some kind of concession to the Nanders to keep control of us.”
“Wonder if it will hurt me?”
“I wouldn’t try it, Charli,” Mabel said with a vigorous shake of her red head. “I tested it. Just a quick touch. I’ve never felt pain anywhere close to that in 98 years of living, and I’ve been through a lot in my long life. Four children by natural childbirth. Surgery without effective anesthesia when I was young. Got shot in the lung once. But nothing like this. Awful. Horrible. It’s designed to be permanently traumatizing.”
“Still… I’m something special. Might be different with me.”
“That’s what I thought at first too,” Mabel laughed. “Despite being strong enough to crush rocks in my bare hands and bend steel, it totally zapped me. But if you still insist on zapping yourself, please take off my jacket first. The plasma tends to burn clothing to ash and I really want that jacket back when you’re done with it. You might enjoy walking around mostly nude, but I don’t.”
I unbuttoned her jacket and peeled it off to hand it to her, leaving just my skirt.
Mabel shook her head. “You may very well be the most perfect woman I’ve ever seen, Charli. Like gravity doesn’t even work on you.”
It felt strangely good to bare my chest, not the least for the way Harold and Fred reacted to my nudity, which made me wonder if I’m continuing to integrate with Miranda’s Avatar. Starting to think more like she probably did.
I shook that thought away to look back at the glowing bars. “I’m going to test this out. Not going to let the Nanders tell me what I can or can’t do.”
Mabel rolled her eyes. “Put a man in a woman’s body and what do you get? A pushy, stubborn bitch. There are ways to solve problems other than with raw physicality, you know.”
“Maybe, but I’m a very physical kind of girl. I arrived with an “S” on my chest, remember? Before it got shot off by those exploding bullets.”
“At least that explains walking around bare-chested. That’s a guy thing.”
I undid the knot of my sarong-style red skirt and handed it to her as well. “There, is that better? I just don’t like worrying about clothing, which doesn’t last anyway.”
Fred and Harold nodded as they grinned at me, their eyes on my chest.
I turned my back to them as I walked over to the bars. The blue glow that surrounded them was like nothing I’d seen before. More like plasma than electricity. Reaching out with both hands at chest height, I opened my arms as I moved closer yet, feeling my nipples beginning to buzz and get hard as the almost touched the bars. Did everything turn me on now?
I took a deep breath, and before I could chicken out I grabbed two of the bars.
My muscles instantly contracted in spasm as an explosion seemed to come from inside my body, my strong arms pulling me closer to slam myself bodily against the bars. A wild buzzing sensation started in my boobs and then spread inside me as I began to shake so wildly that I couldn’t resist plastering as much skin as possible against the bars. Drawn to it like steel to a magnet.
Except… I wasn’t exactly feeling pain like Mabel had said. Instead, my entire body exploded into some kind of weird orgasm that felt so good it hurt. Opening my mouth to scream, nothing came out but steam as I shook wildly, unable to let go. Rubbing my pubic bone along one of the bars as sparks flew, I suddenly had this wild desire to take one of them inside me. If I hadn’t been shaking so wildly, I might have found a way, but as it was, every square inch of my body seemed to be orgasming from head to toe. I couldn’t think, I could only thrash around, so lost in mindless pleasure that I went blind, my brain freezing on the single frantic desire for more. And more.
The next thing I knew, I woke up to find I was lying on my back along the back wall of the cell, with Mabel wrapped around me, arms and legs, trying to hold me down. Without thinking, I threw her across the cell as I tried to stand, but only managed to fall into Harold and Fred’s arms. I threw them across the cell as well as I staggered over to collapse in a corner, curling up in a fetal ball, still shaking.
Mabel came over to hug me. I tried to push her away again, but she put her tremendous strength to work to hang onto me.
“I was wrong, Charli. What is extreme pain for the rest of us went just as far the other way for you. Miranda really pulled out all the stops on your Avatar. You got my vote for Supergirl now.”
I turned to see that the bars weren’t glowing any more, although I was having trouble focusing my eyes.
“How long… was I on those…?”
“A long time before you shorted them out. I’m surprised the Nanders haven’t come down to check on us yet. But when they do, they’re going to get real excited. I think it would be best that we get out of here now.”
I tried to nod, but my body was shaking too badly to stand up.
“Guess its up to me to get us out of here then,” Mabel said.
Leaving her yellow jacket next to me as she stood up to walk over to the bars, I realized they looked like iron and were each a couple of inches thick. Mabel grabbed two of them as she started pulling outward, and very impressive muscles swelled across her slender back and shoulders. The iron gave off some creaks and then squeals as she easily pulled the bars apart, pulling them further and further open until she reversed her grip and pushed her arms out to full length, bending four of the bars now.
Satisfied with the size of her opening, she dashed back over to me.
“Ok, we’re fully committed now. But you need to go ahead of us. No telling what we’re going to run into.”
She helped me to my feet as my shaking began to subside, and that’s when I noticed that my boobs were glowing.
Mabel saw my reaction and laughed. “I think you sucked up all the power, but to store it there? Miranda’s got a kinky side.”
My legs felt weirdly numb and disconnected as Mabel helped me walk enough to slip through the opening. There was only one doorway leading out — the reinforced gate that led up the ramp toward the floor above. I could hear heavy boots tromping this way.
“They’re coming. How about we go the other way.”
Mabel followed my look to see a wall formed of massive stone blocks.
“Right. Time for Wondergirl to do some wonder bashing.”
She ran ahead to begin delivering punches to the back wall that send cracks radiating outward for several feet. She punched again, and again in the same place, and a meter-square block of granite shattered, only to reveal some even thicker bars behind it. And beyond that was more stone.
She reached into the hole to grab the huge bars, twisting and tearing them like they were soft plastic, bending them inward, her biceps amazing as she pulled on them, twisting her wrists at the same time to tear them apart and then bending them upward and out of the way. She looked incredibly strong now.
She backed up a ways to launch herself into the opening, crashing into the outer block, cracking it with her head as she scrabbled at it with her fingers, trying to get a purchase to tear it apart. But the hole in the wall was nearly two meters deep now that she’d torn the first blocks and the iron bars out, and it was hard to reach the end to apply effective power.
I saw a way to help despite my shakiness, and staggered forward to grab her legs, sticking my head between to rest them on my shoulders, and started to use her as a battering ram. I gripped her hips with my face in her crotch as I bashed her forward again and again, struggling to find my flight power, smashing her red hair into what turned out to be an even thicker block of stone. My blows gradually grew stronger, enough to shake the walls and floor, and with a final thrust where I got some flight power going, the wall finally collapsed, dropping blocks the size of refrigerators up to the size of compact cars over both of us. Mabel just swept her arms around herself to toss them away as if they were Styrofoam, and we broke through to tumble out the hole and into sunshine.
She held onto me to steady me as I squinted up into the sun, which felt awesome on my face. The sun meant power, and all I wanted to do now was to fly away.
“Ok, everyone, hang onto me,” I shouted in a wavering voice. “We’re going vertical.”
I could hear the Nanders shouting from inside the prison now.
The men scrambled out the huge hole in the wall as the three of them gathered around me to hang on, with Fred’s face buried in my cleavage as I hugged him to me with one arm, my other wrapped around Fred to hold him to my side. Mabel reached up from behind to wrap her arms around my neck and then wrapped her legs around all three of us. That was my signal to go, so I bent my legs and leaped.
We reached the peak of my jump, high over the prison, but started to fall back as I couldn’t quite get the right feelings and inner muscles working now. Too many distractions. We were about to crash back down into the middle of a very angry group of heavily-armed guards when I finally got it right, and launched us back upward with the three of them hanging on for dear life.
Tilting forward to skim just above the rooftops, a cone of mist suddenly surrounded me as I realized I’d put too much into that panicky surge of flight — we were supersonic now. Which was good, given that a few of those explosive bullets arced upward behind us before falling behind and back to the rooftops to explode.
In seconds we were outside the city.
I eased up to slow and drop back through that misty ring of shockwaves again, slowing to subsonic, then slower yet until we could talk.
“So, where are we going?” I shouted against the roar of the slipstream.
“Don’t know for sure,” Fred shouted back, his face still buried. “South I think.”
I carefully held onto him as I turned him around to plaster his back against my front, cradling the back of his head in my cleavage now so he could see, keeping one arm and now a leg tightly around him, my other arm still around Harold. I doubt if I’m quick enough to catch someone falling without dropping someone else, especially this low.
Mabel hung onto my neck with her great strength, her long red hair mixing with my blonde.
“Ok, great, but which way is south?” I asked. “Sun’s almost overhead now.”
“Toward the biggest mountains. When I was talking to the folks in Granchester, someone said something about snowy mountains.”
I turned in a circle to see three different mountain ranges at various distances, but only one of them had white-tipped peaks. So I headed that way.
It was only then that I realized that in my shakiness and panic to leave, I’d left Mabel’s yellow jacket behind, not to mention that sarong skirt.
Unless we found or improvised some clothing along the way, I was going to arrive in the main Avatar camp completely naked.
That thought made me chuckle. They say first impressions are everything… but then, we’re synthetic lifeforms, Avators with human minds, drivers some people called us, despite how real it all felt. Who said the old rules still applied here?
On the other hand, everyone that had come across had either been very elderly and dying of natural causes, or succumbing to some terminal disease, all of them accomplished scientists. 100% eggheads.
That made me think of Amy again, for the first time in many hours. She had dozens of patents to her name and the Chemical Engineering building at UCLA had been named after her when she died while still holding a Professor Emeritus position. I wondered and hoped that she’d be in the first camp we came to.
Odds are that I’m the least accomplished person, academically, to come across. I never would have made the cut through the Selection Committee.
But now I’m the most powerful Avatar here.
What on Earth was Amy going to think of me?
To be continued…