Birth of the Undead – Adapting, Chapter 2
Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 27 August 2022 05:02] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 27 August 2022 20:21]
If Kara had thought that the next few days is going to be tougher, she was right. But she had no idea how MUCH tougher it would become. The moment she woke up she felt her entire body aching from top to toe, and while it was expected, it was unpleasant. She was a bit concerned that she might not be able to keep up, and she conveyed her concerns to Bruce when she came down for breakfast, who merely chuckled.
“Body aches are good. It means that we seem to be on the right track. The pain in your muscles indicate that it has gone through stress and tear, and that it is actively trying to repair itself. Once the muscle fibres are repaired they should be in a stronger state.”
That lifted Kara’s spirits. “So it’s working!” Bruce grinned “Yes, though we need to observe a few more days before we can be certain.”
“So, that means that I can do more today right? Lift heavier weights, do more reps?” Kara took three healthy slices of pancakes and plonking them on her plate, before attacking them. “Not yet. When your body is repairing itself best to let it heal first, before you tear them apart again. It’s a continuous process.”
Kara half-pouted as she put another dollop of syrup on her plate. “So… what are we going to do today then?”
“I was thinking that given your initial exertions, maybe a little relaxation today might help.”
“How was the session yesterday?” Vampirella asked without looking up as heard the Kryptonian young woman making her way down the steps into the cavern. Vampirella had placed herself seemingly into an impossible position as she twisted her body so that her legs are now in the sky, supported only by her toned arms cradling one of the benches. All in a thin, tight orange swimsuit-styled workout suit.
“Tiring. Bruce figured I needed to ‘wind-down’ a bit before doing another ‘sprint’. His words. How in Rao’s name are you doing that?” Kara tried to make head or tail about the entire posture, before squatting down to look directly at Vampirella’s face. “Yoga?”
Vampirella merely lifted her head up slightly to look at Kara, seemingly not even feeling the strain of doing so. “Partially. A combination of what I learned from the locals here and mixed with something that I created on my own. Makes me a bit more flexible both in combat and in bed.” She winked at Kara, who merely frowned. “So I gather that Batman had told you the intent for today?” Seeing Kara’s quick nod, she righted herself and proceeded to give take her through a number of stretches and flexes.
This Kara thought she should be able to do MUCH more easily, but though she managed to get herself into the few postures by copying Vampirella’s own moves, even that took some time as she had to fight past the pain of coaxing her taut muscles to stretch and twist the way she wanted, her entire body now seemingly protesting each and everyway by giving her aches and tightness that she had never felt on Earth before when she was fully powered.
“Come on now. Stretch to the max, Kara.” Vampi just smiled at her ward as she herself was sitting comfortably with both her own legs split open to both sides, her entire torso flopped to the front with her arms propping up her head, as she observed Kara struggling and eventually doing the splits herself. “I thought you said this was easy?”
“Relaxation he says. Regulate my training he says. Makes things more interesting he says. Yeah right.” Kara complained under her breath in between grunts as she struggled, and finally got into her split stance. “Who comes up with all this stuff?”
“Come now, it isn’t THAT hard.” Vampi’s emerald eyes seem to sparkle at Kara’s pout, noticing her wincing slightly as the Kryptonian woman tried to keep her stance stable.
“Says the one who has superpowers.” Kara tossed a sour remark back, though Vampirella just laughed good-naturedly. Shaking one finger, the raven-haired beauty replied “Now, now, that is not true. I’ve always been quite flexible even, and this has helped me to avoid some of those attacks that came at me from different sides. Imagine having to dodge shots while weaving around canyon valleys. Not very different from what you used to do, most probably.”
“I’ve always been able to do that… while flying.” “That I have no doubt, and at speed too I assume. But given that you are building your core now, consider as an opportunity to continue sharpening your existing strengths? Besides…” She adjusted her stance back towards a cross-legged sitting position “since when do you let this little challenge hold you back? The vaunted Supergirl? The ultimate "Girl of Steel"? Unless you’re giving up already before you’ve even begun to push yourself.”
That seemingly gave the necessary push to the young woman, who followed suit quickly with a narrow stare from her own azure blue eyes. “Who says anything about giving up? What else you got there?” She immediately regretted it when Vampirella responded by tossing a challenge back by changing her posture back into one where she did a handstand, before flipping both her legs over and having both feet resting on the top of her raven-haired head.
“Taraksvasana. Handstand scorpion. Helps your abdominals, shoulders and back muscles while improving your balance. Close your mouth and start on the posture, Kara. I don’t have all morning. Besides, if you really put your mind to it, you can actually bend and fold yourself so that you can actually lick your own pussy lips too. I can show you how if you really want it…” Vampirella laughed out loud when she noticed the rising colour in her young wards cheeks as she heard the naughty remark, and instead just worked harder on her next stance.
“Ahh… .now THIS is the life.” Vampi spoke to no one in particular as she luxuriated in the Wayne Manor’s outdoor pool as she laid floating in water, warmed-up from the summer sun shining on it throughout the morning. Only an elaborate and extravagant house such as the Wayne Manor does one have both an indoor and an outdoor pool for its habitants to indulge in depending on the weather, though for the owner the latter formed more of a facade to keep up his worldly appearance rather than his own, natural regular use.
And the outdoor pool’s design’s intent does show that it is more of the appearance rather than practicality. The shape of the pool is such that it was more like a small, irregular shaped small lake with cascading waterfalls coming down landscaped rocks, and wooden bridges crossing over both ends and a wide canopy of trees which must have been planted years before Bruce was born, as their branches and leaves seemingly covering the entire area over and around the pool offering some sense of privacy. The only thing missing would be to have koi fishes swimming freely underwater, though that would have defeated the purpose of having it a swim-able pool anyway.
The two women had just concluded their morning exercises (or based on Kara’s own words, “Vampirella’s quest towards humiliating me”), having done at least ten different postures ranging from the simplest to the hardest, though Vampirella had assured Kara there are more to come should they “get bored.” Especially that one where out of spite for Kara, the Drakulon had bent and folded herself by balancing only on her butt and actually licked her lower nether regions. Just like she promised.
Kara had declined Vampi’s invitation to join her for a dip at the Wayne Manor’s olympic-sized outdoor pool cum relaxation area, still trying to get to terms with all the aches and sores that are so unfamiliar to her, and so the depowered girl from Krypton watched from one side of the pool while dipping her feet into the water, while her trainer took a few laps at her own leisure, even doing some simple hand lift-ups by holding onto one of the faux-stone bridges and hauling herself up in quick succession, the tensing of arms and the ridges of her abdomen prominent as she did so. The seemingly smallish bulges everywhere on the Drakulon’s athletic body indicated that the stretches and flexes were so effortless that it didn’t even grow to its full-size, to warrant the use of her full-strength.
That scene wasn’t lost on Kara as she looked at Vampirella, then back at her own body. True, she still looked slim, lithe though with a little more body fat all about, but given that she has to start all the way from base, she was inwardly concerned how long this would eventually take for her to get to the physique that she truly craved. Bruce had told her that it normally takes months, even years of consistent training for many fitness contestants to achieve what they want. Which meant to become as huge as Bruce himself or her cousin, a long while more.
The young woman was so lost in thought that she almost missed her trainer’s callout to her until she waded over to look upwards at her next to her submerged feet.
“You’re missing the point of having a pool, Kara.”
“You’re one to say. Don’t you have one at your place?”
“Too lazy to maintain; upkeep is a bitch, so I had it drained. Besides, I can always drop by here anytime I want to have a dip anyway.” Vampirella hauled herself upward and out from the pool to sit next to her ward. Looking at the depowered Girl of Steel, she chuckled slightly. “Still feeling unsure about all this thing?”
Kara just scoffed at that comment, but before she could reply she noticed Vampi staring at her body as her emerald guys glew a bit bluish hue, an indication of her use of x-ray vision. “Wait. What are you doing? Are you checking me out?”
“Yes, and in any case, I think your body is functioning normally, your cells seem to be repairing itself quite well.” Vampirella checked Kara out from all over her body, before shutting them off. “And I can see that you’re heading my advice, keeping a container of red juice nearby.”
“Can’t very well go around attacking Bruce, or worse, Alfred in the house now, can I?” Vampirella just smiled “Actually, I want to ask you about something actually. If… when I go back to my, you know, normal life, is there anyone, or anyway that I can try to get some regular supply of, you know…”
“Ah yes. If you would like a steady supply, a local contact in town will help, so I will be sure to set that up for you through my network. However, anything that you obtain through a bloodbag is still not ideal, so if you want anything fresh…”
“Not going to happen. I will figure out other means for that.” Vampirella looked at the Kryptonian girl, and bit her tongue as she noted the determination in her blue eyes. “As I was saying, if you want anything fresh, I am willing to provide you some. Would that suffice?”
The non-verbal reply would have to do, for now.
“So, what’s next?” Kara tried to steer the conversation away from the current one, her unease at having to discuss her new dietary requirements apparent.
“Well, I’m supposed to test your ability to fight today. But before that, I was wondering if you’re starting to display any Vampiri tendencies?”
“You mean other than the bloodlust? None that I could think of. Unless you are talking about these?” Kara opened her mouth, which brought a chuckle from the vampire. “What?”
“The fangs are fine I know even if they are not THAT much longer than usual; and the need for blood is obvious too. Is there anything else of note? Like, maybe these?” Vampirella raised her left hands, closed her fists and reopened them to reveal a set of claws. Calling them claws however is a little dramatic, for upon closer inspection it looked more like her fingers and fingernails have fused together, before lengthening and sharpening. It definitely looked like Vampirella could slice through a human body. Or even steel, given her current Kryptonian-level strength, if she tried.
Kara mimiced the Drakulon, but there doesn’t seem any noticeable change to her hands or fingers.
“Try to imagine them lengthening and sharpening and see?” Kara closed her eyes, seemingly took in a deeper breath, and then repeated the gesture. There still wasn’t any changes that she could feel, or that she could see, but Vampirella stared intently at her fingers and remarked “I can see a slight change to your fingernails. It does look slightly shaper. Try scratching on something?”
Kara looked about for something nearby, before she made an evil grin and instead clawed on the pristine tile surrounding the pool. When she lifted her hands, both women did see a few lines cutting on the surface, though it wasn’t strong enough to cut-through.
So, nothing really major.
“What about this?” Vampirella stood up and placed both her hands on her hips in a typical superhero pose. Just as Kara was wondering what was going to happen she gasped involuntarily as she saw a pair of bat-like wings sprouting suddenly from Vampi’s back. The latter then gently flexed her back and the wings just expanded to its fullest, and then Vampi was able to somehow get it to curl to the front and cover herself like a loose cocoon.
While she had seen wings on superhumans before, Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s are actually separate tool attachments to their bodies with a harness, rather than being a part of their actual bodies. To see a pair like this on another being was definitely a first for Kara, who stood up and padded over to have a closer look at them. While the features looked bony from the outside, similar of that of the bat, but the skin stretching and covering the area is at least a few milimeters thick. Sensitive too thought the young woman, as Vampirella giggled slightly causing her wings to shudder slightly as she ran her fingers experminentally around and about the membrane & the bones.
“How in Rao did you do that?”
“Part of my Vampiri attributes, though I imagine you don’t see it as often, on Earth.” As if to emphasise the point, she flapped her wings which created a huge gust of wind to blow across the entire place while she elevated into the air. Floating and standing in the air for a while, she then dropped gently back onto the ground.
“So… does that mean all Vampires have wings? They can all fly?”
“No. At least, I have never seen another that is able to do what I am able to here on Earth. These used to be my normal mode of travel for medium distance and not a particular quick way of getting around, but it’s optional now.”
The vampire casually uncurled the wings until it was back to its expanded form on her back, the length is about twice the length of her arms each side. For such a large and wide appendage, they are surprisingly flexible. Vampirella remarked “Try to imagine them sprouting from your back; see if it works.”
Kara did try, though she wasnt’t sure if she was doing it right. She tried to push both her arms back, and tried tensing her shoulders thirty ways to Sunday, but she didn’t feel anything on her back nor did any additional spring out from behind.
“You need to take your top off. How else would the wings be able to unfold and expand?” That made the colour rise in Kara’s cheek again; she turned around meekly and with her back against the vampire, rolled-up her top towards her shoulder blades before retrying.
Nada, and even with Vampirella’s keen eyesight this time, there doesn’t seem to have any changes to her back. So chaulk one more item out on potential ability.
“There’s one other thing to try.” The raven-haired woman man made a mental command, and in seconds the large wings receded back into her back. “But to do that, we need to do something.”
“And what’s that?”
Vampirella grinned “We’re going shopping.”
“Are you sure about this? I thought Bruce said not to leave the Manor for anything…” Kara found herself being guided along by Vampirella as they walked down Gotham’s high-street block. Having been dropped off by Alfred at one of the chic shopping locations, that the raven-haired vampire knew her way so well around the place confirmed Kara’s suspicions that she’s a regular patron.
Kara wasn’t surprised that the woman had changed into something more appropriate, trading away her wet bikini for a relatively simple short, dark grey dress with matching leather jacket and boots. Though a far cry from her regular skimpy red slingsuit or the Kryptonian red and blues, the tightness of her clothes was still apparent; her prominent nipples poking up from her dress confirming that she was not wearing any undergarments today.
After all, it wasn’t that long ago that she herself had pulled that kind eye-candy party-trick just to be a cock-tease.
“Don’t worry. I’ve gotten Bruce’s permission to take you around the city today, and I’ve got your back too. As a bonus we even get to spend his dime to get you something nice. After all, you need to something to look the part of a ‘cultured intern’ at Wayne Enterprises, don’t you think? ”
“I don’t get it. Why do we need to go out to do this?”
“Taking you out for a spin for some new clothes, and see if you can work some of the magic of your own.” With a wink, Vampirella gently guided her into one of the boutique stores selling footwear and boots even as Kara remained confused.
It was in there that Kara realised what she was on about. While they do have the Wayne name and credit card to throw about, Vampirella obviously had other ideas. When paying, Vampirella had turned on the charm for a while just like anyone else, trying to look for a great deal from the male supervisor. But then there was the precise moment that she seemingly locked eyes with the manager, holding her gaze, and Kara could see the red-tinged glow in her eyes as she told the person that she was the perfect Influencer that she should get everything free. The desired effect seemed to have taken hold as he just checked-out their purchases without charge, as she desired.
“Now you try.” Vampi egged Kara on when they shopped at the next boutique store. But how the heck does one even start to do this, let alone without any sort of practice? Taking a deep breath, Kara decided to just give it a go. Taking her choice of blouse and pencil skirt, she approached the cashier to have it rang up the till.
“Uh… Hi!” The slightly plump woman behind the cashier looked at her with a slight smile. “Those are some really beautiful earrings you’ve got there. All of you dress-up so well. I wish I could do the same too…”
The lady looked at Kara and remarked “Honey, with your figure and those four-figure clothes you’re wearing, I’m sure all those boys out walking will immediately fall head-over-heels the moment you step onto the pavement.”
“Really? Thanks for the vote of confidence. Err… would you happen to give me a discount for these? I mean… if it’s not too much…” The lady just laughed. “First time? Well, we might have a little bit here and there, but what you’ve chosen is the top of the line from our latest summer collection, so, sorry young lady but no can do.”
“Really? I mean…” Kara cast a sideway glance at Vampi who was merely sitting at one of the seats, pretending not to notice but at the same time hearing everything. “Are you SURE you won’t be able to do anything? Wouldn’t you want to do that just for me?”
“Honey, I only work here, and I have another three mouths to feed at home. Trust me I know that it’s tempting, but no go.” Kara realised that it’s not going to help her case further, and she meekly surrendered Bruce’s credit card over, even as she could hear Vampirella trying hard to contain her own laughter at the back.
“So you say that Kara had not exhibited other Vampiri-abilities then?”
“As far as I could tell.” Batman frowned slightly at that. He was already out patrolling when Vampirella checked in that evening, and he’s taking the call through a wireless device partially linked to his cowl. “I’m not sure if it’s really that she doesn’t have the abilities, or that we haven’t found the right trigger point to make them show up, if you know my meaning.”
“I thought you goaded her on through three stores to try out that Jedi-mind trick.” “Four. I’m not sure whether it’s her nature or what, but she doesn’t seem to be able to… ’command’ people very well. Two brushed her off, one even looked at her as if she were crazy, and I think she just kind of gave up.” Hearing the chuckle over the other end, the Dark Knight smiled at that thought of the secret Supergirl being talked down to.
“With that said, I tried to do my OWN influencing on her, when we sat down later for coffee. Even though I tried to push my thoughts through, I realised that now it’s almost close to impossible to penetrate her mind.”
“Oh?” Now that’s an interesting thought. To be able to shield herself from mental commands and psionic attacks? That would be an interesting development.
“The funny thing was, I don’t think she realised what she was doing. I could see that when I tried it, her brows furrowed slightly before it became relaxed again. I felt as if… as if her mind sensed the probing but rather than resist it by building a storng barrier, it just decided to give in to the attack by bending and absorbing the probe. It was as if her mind became a plaible dough, bending in line but not breaking or giving in, and seemingly able to take any psionic attacker on a wild goose chase. Even this is a first for me.”
There was a slight pause as Batman gathered his thoughts. The entire thing sounded Asian zen-like, the stuff of Bruce Lee’s ‘Be Like Water’ philosophy. “Well, in any case, at least it wasn’t a total loss, given that both of you had a good turn around town finding the most fashionable?”
“Oh, we have that down pat, though I must say that it will take sometime for our little sweet, innocent Kara to adjust. No matter the temptation she only managed to pick out one outfit for herself. Top to toe. Says that she has to ‘keep up appearances’ as well.”
“That makes sense. Wouldn’t be possible for a paid intern who came from an orphanage to suddenly buy $500 handbags and $1000 shoes, can she?”
“True. And then… there is something else.”
“The first was that she stopped an attempted burglary, and the second was that she gave money to one of the street urchin plying the streets.”
“Well, we were going down highstreet towards the cafe on the corner when we saw a 20-ish guy tailing another woman closely, and then just grabbing her handbag and running off. Towards our direction. Kara just casually sticked out her leg and tripped the guy, sending him sprawling onto the ground, and then when I grabbed the handbag I saw her helping the guy up and pushing him off the other way.”
“I saw her shove a ten-dollar bill into the guy’s hands before sending him on his way. And the way she reacted… I thought it came more from instinct than anything else.”
Batman didn’t know what to make of it, though he does acknowledge in his mind that some people actually resort to petty theft due to tough situations they might be in. Hence he reserves his most devastating punishments on those who are indeed the cause of all the crimes in the cities.
“And the second?”
“She gave another ten dollar bill to a street urchin who had tried to pick-pocket us. Or rather, me. Before I could reach towards my back and try to catch hold of the girl, who couldn’t be more than seven or eight years-old, Kara’s hands instead reached out and grabbed hold of mine, and insisted that we just continue walking and allow the little girl take that twenty-dollar bill from my pocket. Later when I asked her why, she replied ‘I might not be able to save her at the moment, but at least I helped her avoid being beaten and tortured today should she have failed to bring back anything tonight.’ Given the sligthly wetness that I saw in her eyes, I didn’t pursue the matter.”
Another pause. Another food for thought. A goddess who retains her moral compass and her compassion for all things living despite being a mortal now. Maybe she is different. Perhaps she is truly worthy of his trust.
“Oh, before I forget, did you find out anything from what I shared with you previously?”
“Ongoing as we speak. We should have something soon.”
“I thought this would be something that you would want to take up on your own?” Batman merely smirked before replying “On things like these I rely on the real professionals. And in this case, I believe we have the best.”
<NEXgen Pharmaceuticals, night>
Located in the middle of the country in agriculture country, the sprawling campus is but one of three major labs of the company. However it is the one largest in size and staff strength, given that this lab happened to be the one that had a breakthrough in seeds cultivation and genetically modified food. While this topic remains highly debated, none can dispute the fact that this breakthrough had led to a boom in the agricultural industry, especially for the various cash crops such as soybean, corn, canola and the like, where such crops yield are much better given that they are now more resistant to pathogens and herbicides. With such rapid and widespread use had also led to this particular lab getting a disproportionate amount of funding and staff strength within the agricultaral heartland of the country, and researchers work tirelessly to both modify and improve their existing products, while continuously searching for a new breakthrough.
Given that it is located in the middle of nowhere, as many city folks would term it, it also meant that many people would actually regard this facility to be slightly lax on their security. And from the facade that would seem to be the case – save for the two guardhouses on the two ends of the complex and some random security going about the place, there wouldn’t seem to be anything very high-tech beyond the usual keycards and thumbprints access. However, those who worked there will know that there are layers upon layers of additional security that was built-into the internal network to deter and stop hackers, so much so that for anyone to get in, it might have been easier to break into the Pentagon. After all, the directors of the organisation does know a thing or two about security, given that they do deal with trade secrets after all.
Though that doesn’t mean people are not prepared to give it a try. In this case, the person has decided on the boldest approach there is.
This particular summer evening saw most of the complex’ offices dark and empty. It was a Friday, and for many it was an opportunity for people to take some time off for a few weeks, or maybe simply leave earlier just to go for some outdoor activity, or just to hang out in town about ten miles. However, there are still the rare few people who would continue to work late due to their project timelines, or that they simple didn’t have a life beyond work.
Hence when a white Toyota Corolla sedan rolled up to the gate and tagged through the barrier, none of the security members batted an eyelid as it went pass security. The woman driving the car brought the car to a stop about twenty feet away from the main entrance, and she moved nonchalantly across the parking lot before tagging in again to get through the main entrance and walked passed security and the metal detectors confidently without a hitch. That she didn’t even seem to be carry anything with her beyond a handphone, tucked in the backpocket of her skinny jeans, doesn’t even seem curious to the security team, who just let her pass without another look.
The woman took the elevator up to the third floor, made her way to one of the partially-lit open offices and turned-on one of the desktops towards the far right corner, as she was informed. Belonging to a group of in-house IT technicians, it would have the necessary administrator access into the entire internal network, if one has proper access to get in first. Pressing a key to bring the machine back online, the woman reached into her sneakers to extract a small USB thumbdrive and inserted it into the USB port. This triggered an automatic program which quickly searched for the hidden history of past keystrokes used on that machine until it found a simple match of user ID and password within seconds, of which it then automatically punched in the necessary details on the login screen, and very soon the woman has access into the company’s network.
The woman then copied a small executable file onto the desktop screen, and then proceeded to run the program. The screen froze for all of two seconds, and the program vanished immediately after that. Smiling to herself, the woman got out her handphone and texted to a secured chatgroup. “The meal is ready.” In all of ten seconds, the reply came “Will bring the guests.”
Job done, the woman then extracted the thumbdrive and crushed it with her left foot. Taking what’s left of it, she deposited it into the trash can as she came out from the elevator at the lobby while walking out. Despite all the security cameras around, she still strode about and out confidently, and proceeded to drive to her extraction point that is a private hangar, where a private jet was waiting.
It had taken Selina Kyle all of thirty minutes to complete the entire operation.