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THE SHE-HULK – Part 4

Written by castor :: [Saturday, 23 April 2016 16:20] Last updated by :: [Friday, 06 May 2016 22:21]

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9 days since last incident

“How strong are you?” Jennifer said.

“What?” Bruce said.

They were sitting and eating an informal breakfast of waffles and cereal. They were in a lab Washington a couple of days after the last outburst. Still in a lab. This one, at least, had a window.

Jennifer was officially able to leave anytime she wanted, but …

“I figure that at some point they’re going to take me to some place and lift up tons of weights and all that.” Jennifer said.

Bruce shrugged. “No exact numbers, but I think I once heard someone said 100 tons. You know pressing a dumbbell is not real accurate. What I learned, what I figured out over time is: the angrier hulk get … um … the angrier that Hulk is, the stronger it gets. Also the Hulk sometimes talks like that and it kind of rubs off.”

“Huh” Jennifer said “Not feeling that angry right now.”

“Well, that’s not a bad thing.” Bruce said.

“Not feeling a whole lot to be honest.” Jennifer said.

Jennifer had called her office and had requested a “medical leave of absence”. Holloway agreed, considering her condition. She wondered: even if she will ever return, would she have a spot there? Holloway didn’t seem like a man who admired distraction of any kind. She shook her head. Such was life.

And there was Roy too. She hadn’t called him. She shook her head again.

Bruce considered: “Something in you is causing this and I kind of suspect that once you work it out..work it feeling it will go away

Jennifer shrugged “But no idea what that is, do you?”

“That’s not me telling you as a doctor anyway.” Bruce said “Just as an amateur psychologist.”

“Physician cure thyself.” she replied smiling.

“What can I say?”

“Do I get like a costume?” asked Jennifer.

“Don’t get a costume.” Bruce said “They always say they look cool in pictures but, really, it’s just good lighting and photography. I mean walking around … you look ridicule.”

Jennifer laughed.

*****

Crusher walked into Dancy’s office.

“Got a mission for me?”

Dancy grunted, looking at a door.

Crusher sighed internally. When people saw him and saw what he did, they assumed he was ex Navy Seals, ex CIA … ex-something, very big and bad. SMOZ. Actually he wasn’t. He was a street kid from Detroit, grew up poor and wanting better things. He didn’t even join the army as such: just one day, when he was 17, he got an offer to join a fighting force in South America that was paying top dollar for what amounted to killings in Columbia and he took it. He made about 5 times what a regular soldier did in the army

Now, 15 years latter, he was a balding, a little stout and one of the most dangerous men in the world.

He was a mercenary – well anyone a mercenary as most everyone works for money – but people looked down at him. He worked for Dancy, he took Dancy’s money, but Dancy didn’t really respect him and, when he looked at the aging tough man who thought probably he could take him in a fight, he didn’t respect him back.

“More like an opportunity.” Dancy said.

“I know you lost a lot of money on that partner’s deal.” Crusher said “But I don’t think you need my investment.”

“Not quite.” Dancy said “Not quite. What I am offering is very different. You’re not a blind man, I assume, you may have noticed the appearance, in recent years, of figures such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America etc.”

“Yeah.” Crusher said “You expect me to join them?”

“You may have also noticed the appearance of their counterpoints: the Abomination, Loki, the Mandarin and the list goes on. Foes to tangle with them. Yes their plots haven’t really worked, but that’s a matter of time and effort. Chance after chance, gamble after gamble, roulette may be a high risk game, but when it pays off it does it big.”

“You want to give me a metal suit and make me the guy who beats up Tony Stark?” Crusher said “Not interested.”

“No suit. No metal. My scientists are developing a serum, a procedure to test and improve people, to turn them into supermen, if you pardon me. We want you to be the first … to lead them.”

Crusher paused: “What’s the catch?”

“No real catch.” Dancy said “Oh yes … you may die from it, obviously. Fatal heart attack, but look at you Crusher: what are you? What have you become? what can you accomplish?”

Crusher looked at him as one would at an ant. It should be noted something important of his character: he was not by trade a cruel man, nor a sadist. Though he performed the most barbaric acts imaginable, he took no particular joy or solace in it. It was merely the job

“Modestly rich.” Crusher said “Rich enough to retire to some Caribbean isle. I ain’t rich enough to have a bunch of bikini babes, but a couple more jobs and I will be.”

“You ain’t going to make it.” Dancy said “One of these things – these jobs – is going to get you caught. You’re going to either get killed or to prison. That’s your fate and you know it. You ain’t walking out, but what if you had something more: a new power, a new chance. What if you could take it, free of charge, and then retire to that island. Who would stop you?”

“It’s Russian roulette.”

“Such is life.” Dancy said “Such is life.”

*****

Bruce was looking at a blood sample. No real change in the last couple of days, which surprised him. He had a working theory that he could be the Hulk a maximum of about 6 hours before the biological and radiation that powered him was spent. But this …

“How are you doing Bruce?” a voice said.

“Fine Natasha.” he turned looking over.

“Have you found anything interesting?”

“Nothing.” Bruce said “But it’s the interesting kind of nothing.”

“This must be a new definition of the word I am not familiar with.” Natasha said “I was curious, since you’re in town, would like to get a bit to eat …?”

Bruce sighed: “I have tons of stuff to do and nothings to check out. It’s my job of sort. Are you still …?”

“Kinda.”

“Look Natasha.” Bruce said “There is someone sweet inside of you. Someone who will make someone happy. Isn’t there some widowed guy somewhere you have to go protect, with an adorable moppet you can fall in love with?”

Natasha shook her head.

“You can do something. There is nothing stopping you.” Bruce said “Be a normal person. Make a friend, a boyfriend, someone who shares your love of Russian literature – which I am just suddenly projecting on you. Do that and come back.”

Natasha shook her head and sighed walking off.

*****

There weren’t weights yet, they were testing her stamina. She was running about 50 miles an hour that, in the scheme of things, isn’t all that fast. The Hulk got around by jumping, which she wasn’t doing, but she was running on a large treadmill.

She had been doing it for like a couple of hours and she wasn’t tired. That was the test of course: to see when she got tired. She wasn’t in the slightest, but she was kind of bored. They had put some music on, but it wasn’t doing much for her.

She talked to the nice attendant: “Can I like listen to a podcast or something?” she asked “Like Marc Marron?”

“I’ll See if I can make that happen.” the lady smiled “It shouldn’t be all that hard.”

It was then that the functionary walked in. “Ms Walters, I have a request for you.”

“I am doing this test already.”

“No, not like that. It appears that the president wants to meet with you.”

*****

Dancy looked out his office window. Mr. Brill was with him. “I want Walters dead. I wanted it for a while, but I was holding back. However I think that, by now, events have swiped any connection between us.”

“That may be difficult.” Brill said “I suspect that killing the president would be easier.”

Dancy grunted. “Until our program is operational … Well, if we can’t kill her right away we can test her. Test what she’s capable of. Yes, that’s a useful measure of something. Good to establish perimeters. If we fail at least we learn.”

Brill nodded weakly: “Do you want to use Mr Crusher?”

“No” Dancy said “Let's hold and see how he plays on our deal. I was thinking using some real back channel connections with the Five Rings. They like to import things into the country and we can get them there. They provide a strike force, 10 men or so.”

Brill nodded looking at him.

“What do you think of the crown?” Dancy said as he wore the golden mantle.

“It looks good on you sir.”

*****

“Most people don’t really get how good Connecticut pizza is. Not any of that fake tomato stuff, but good honest clams. I grew up on it” Sharon said.

Mary smiled. She was with her mother at a local New Haven nightspot and enjoying the night. Sharon McPherson was a former model (not quite a supermodel, but she had graced some magazine covers), but the kind of model who was pretty down to earth for all of it She was wearing casual jeans to a casual diner place despite – probably – ranking somewhere among the 300 richest people in America now. She was also, Mary noted, the kind of person who could eat whatever she wanted and never get fat. At close to 50 she looked as thin and tight and, though her hair had some grey, Beautiful as ever.

“So, how’s school going?”

“Okay.”

“Friends?”

“I don’t have any friends.”

“Don’t say that. I am sure you have plenty.”

“Not really. I am just a little …”

“Little girls always say that, but never believe it. You’re a beautiful young woman with a bright future.”

“I am sure some man interested in my fortune will tell me that. I am sure for some halfway fleeting moments I will believe it … but really …”

Sharon shook her head: “In other news, my battle with your father is over, as you heard.”

Funny, Mary thought, you talk about goldbrickers and she brings up her relationship with her father. “Yeah”

“My partner … died … don’t want to talk about it. Made my peace with him, financially. It’s done.”

“Good.” Mary said “That was tense.”

“Your father is a very complicated man. We talked when it was over. He’s obsessed.”

“Roxxon. He should be. It’s a big important company.”

“There’s something different. While we were talking, Hiller mentioned something of a new obsession. It’s not a girl or anything, but there’s something right now he is obsessed with.”

“How do you know that?”

Sharon shrugged: “He had men in the org chart somewhere … something about what they found in Colorado. He wasn’t sure what.”

“Ancient Indian artifacts in an Indian burial ground?” Mary said.

“Well,” Sharon said “You should care a little. I maybe out of the loop now, but you’re still there. Kinda.”

Mary said: “I got school to think about and, you know, all my friends and such …”

Sharon took a piece of pizza. “Roxxon, as you mentioned, is your future. You’re attached to it and, like I said, I don’t hate your father. I don’t think he killed Hiller either, no matter the rumor. Hiller was always a little fishy: where did he got the capit … but the point is: I think that a company that gets too big and too blind becomes a nail … and the world can pound it down.”

Mary paused, not answering.

Sharon chewed her pizza. “Want some more diet coke?”

*****

12 days since last incident

“Does the president usually meet with people who rush into apartment fires?” ask Jennifer as she waited outside.

“The president doesn’t usually meet with anyone.” the smiling government official, named Stevens, answered. He worked in protocol and had met her outside the lab to take a limo to the rose garden where the president would briefly congratulate her on her good deeds. “Except congress. And the extraordinary.”

She did her best to smile. Jennifer was wearing a suit – a nice double breasted number with a light red coloring that made her look a bit like Jackie O. She looked very odd as a 9 foot tall green woman. Very odd indeed. The tailor had done his best, but didn’t quite understand what proportion did at this height to the eye. As the arch of the pantheon a straight line would appear curved, on a woman this big the angles didn’t quite match.

They sent an extra large limo that, like all limos, did hid the fact that it was a former ordinary car. This one looked to be a van. Well, it’s the thought that counts. Jennifer had been in many limos. She wondered if it had peanuts. She got in opening the door.

“Thank you.” Stevens said.

“I wanted to be helpful.”

The car drove off, out of the hospital grounds.

“So, tell me about you, Mr. Stevens.”

“Me?”

“Sure” Jennifer said “We got some time.”

“Most V.I.P.s, don’t particularly care about the little people and … well …”

“Ha Ha Ha!” Jennifer laughed “That’s, I think, the first time anyone has made that joke … and I am not even being vicious.”

“After college – I went to Williams and Mary – I started working for a senator's campaign, my – father knew him – that translated to working for the presidential campaign which lead to …”

There was a giant sound of a strike in the air from behind them.

Jennifer grabbed Stevens in her arms and cradled him as, a second later, an explosion rocked behind them with a loud shriek of death.

Jennifer shook her head: “You okay?”

“Be calm, the police will …” Stevens said.

“Are you forgetting who you’re talking to?” she put him down, kicked the door open and raced out of the car.

Steven paused “Oh yeah.”

*****

Jennifer got out of the car and assessed the situation. They were on a flower lined ring road in Washington, she didn’t know exactly where. She wasn’t familiar with the city. Traffic seemed to have either stopped or moved away.

She was standing next to a semi-ruined limo. The driver and the other passenger seemed fine. About about 20 yards behind them there was a largish pickup truck and – in the bed – a man with a bazooka.

Hah.

In that moment she felt pain and heard the sound of machine gun fire as she got shot. It hurt. A bit. She turned and saw a large van in front of the car and five men with large machine guns shooting at her.

Huh.

She looked down. She was hurt, but she wasn’t out and, as she ran towards them, wasn’t even particularly slowed. She could already feel her body healing her wounds. This was weird, so was the looks on the gunmens’ faces as she got there.

The van started up just as she did, but she reached down, grabbed the bottom of it and lifted.

One of the gunmen put his weapon against her breast and shot just one inch away from her body. It clinked, not even breaking the skin.

With barely enough strength to mention, she turned the van on its side. It weighed a couple of tons and, for a split second, she thought about it: what was her life now? She shook her head: it wasted time.

The gunmen were okay: two of them were out of the truck and circled around her peppering her with bullets. Three others rolled out.

She did she grabbed one of the guns, she would have bent it or something, but time-she simply threw it away … two miles away.

Another gun went off beside her, but missed. She grabbed it as he held on. It broke in their collective grasps leaving a small stock in his hands.

She turned to see three gunmen. She had the broken gun in her hand and tossed it at them. All three flew back 50 feet and scratched on the ground.

Huh.

She looked around: the guy with the broken barrel punched her. She recognized the punch and turned toward him.

Another punch. She felt punched. She saw that was happening, but felt nothing. She paused and looked down as he started to rapidly punch and kick her body.

He took out a knife and started to slash at her. Nothing.

She looked at him: “Please stop.”

He kept at it.

“Please.”

He aimed the knife toward her face.

She extended a hand and grabbed it: “Pretty please.”

She crushed it in her hand, leaving twisted metal between her fingers

The terrorist or whatever looked at her: “What kind of demon are you?”

“The kind who has a thing going.”

The man turned and ran.

Jennifer turned herself as she heard more noises. It was the police coming around trucks, cars, sirens and helicopters. Then she heard another blast as she was directly hit by the bazooka.

*****

Creel went to a bar He didn’t usually drink in bars in the middle of the day but, well, he was thinking about his future. Beer was often good for that.

“Hey get a load of this.” said a guy at the bar, who was looking on the phone “Hey turn on the TV.”

Creel looked up at it.

“The situation is developing in southern District of Columbia, where a group of armed men appears to be taking on the figure known only as the She-Hulk.”

On the screen he saw the figure of a woman fighting armed men – not the most skilled armed men – actually, to his eyes, kind of sloppy armed men, but men with good arms. They hit her car with a bazooka. They hit her with small arms fire. They hit her straight with a bazooka.

He watched it. That’s what the world was dealing with. He had liked being a tough guy. One who dealt with men hand to hand or with guns. He had done that on four contentions. He was among the toughest guys on Earth: he had beat up Seals for … not breakfast, but he did. Even in the middle of the day in a friendly enough bar, people were giving him distance respect. He was not a guy you wanted to mess with.

This … this was the future. This was how the world was going to turn out.

He finished his beer shaking his head: better get with the times.

*****

Jennifer shook her head and looked down.

She felt the flash and the burn.

She expected to feel nothing

She turned to look and she was fine. Hardly a scratch on her and those were rapidly healing.

She looked and saw the helicopters, the police. Well, she may be invincible, but they weren’t and they were next logical target

The bazooka aimed up at the helicopters above.

She started to to run. She run as fast as she could, flying and leaping as she raced for the bazooka to tackle it.

The warhead hit her right as she was jumping to block it from hitting the helicopter. This didn’t really hurt her but, getting hit in midair, it knock her back 20 feet.

The car drove away as she got up.

“Well, that’s reasonably sensible.” she sighed.

She had a choice here: the immediate danger was gone, she could either go and stop them or leave it to the cops. They were getting away, but that wasn’t the same thing.

She got up and she was off. She could run – they established – at 50 miles an hour and in DC you really couldn’t drive that fast.

The gunmen looked in the mirror: “Oh shit!”

Within two blocks she was there and grabbed the back of the truck. With her strength, speed and some leverage on the ground she stopped and lifted it, kicking one of the wheels off.

She paused.

The gunmen looked at her, but none of them seemed to be putting up much of a fight.

When she looked around, she realized to be right next to a baseball game that was breaking out. There were hundreds of people. Did she saved them?

Probably not, but they started to clap. They started to cheer. They were cheering her. They were heralding this gigantic beautiful woman.

And she smiled.

*****

The Black Widow looked at the files as she talked to the police.

“Five of them are from the middle east, another five are – for some reason – Danish. Strangely enough there's no record of any of them even entering America” the FBI agent Mary Brown said.

She nodded: “And their weapons too.”

“One of them is talking a lot, so we don’t stick the green monster on him again. They were told to get into a shipping box with a sealed envelope. They didn’t burden them with information They flew in the same shipping container – no idea who flew them and how. We found them in Richmond yesterday.”

“Where were they?” Romanov asked.

“Southern Afghanistan.” the agent said “You're free to talk to him, but I believe him.”

“And the people who sent them?”

The agent sighed: “Hard to impossible to get to. I don’t know if we can have a go at it, but that end is going to be hard. This end is going to be long and we may never get to any hard fact.”

Romanov sighed. If they didn’t get anything in 24 hours they weren’t going to get anything for six months.

*****

30 hours later

A Nice sting from the roots and they were

“My first guest tonight,” Jimmy Kimmel announced “Is … well, big and green...but she’s not the jolly green giant after a sex change, as far as I know.”

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” he added. “I mean, he's an advertising mascot. Hey, does Jolly Green Giant Advertise on our show? No. Well, then screw it. Our first guest tonight is the Sensational She-Hulk

Jennifer walked out on stage. She saw the audience. It was smaller than you might think. TV does a good job of making maybe a hundred people seem like a giant crowd, but it was here and they definitely were clapping and cheering.

“We love you!” said a face she couldn’t quite make out.

She smiled awkwardly at them and waved back smiling.

“Same.” she said making her way to the stage “All the way.”

She shook Jimmy's hand, having to lean really far down to reach him. He stood up to do it, looking up.

“Nice Grip” Jimmy said.

“I was going to say it.” Jennifer replied “I mean, you're not super buff or anything, but do you work out?”

“First thing first” Jimmy answered.

“HO HO HO”

*****

“So what are you doing to me Dr Andrew?” Crusher said.

Dancy was waiting in another room, watching. Huh, Crusher had learned the names.

“We are going to inject you with a serum that was developed from stuff similar what was injected to the Hulk.”

“I don’t look good in green.” Crusher said.

“It doesn’t work that way. Well, at least the tests on animals didn’t. It lets you rapidly adapt to the environment around you: cold, heat and so on. It's a form of enhanced regenerative qualities, like evolutionary speed chess.”

“Sounds painful.” Crusher said.

“We’re particularly curious of what it does exposed to our radiation source.”

Dancy nodded. He had paid Adams handsomely to leave out the part of how the rats in some version were reduced to barely functional messes, but such was science. Either this would produce a great soldier and weapon or, well, it would be a dead loose end. Either way not the worst outcome.

“Well, let's get to it.” Creel said with admirable restraint.

tThe scientists put him in restraints: “We are going to have you in traction to make this.”

“Yeah yeah, in for a penny in for a pound.”

They hooked him in place and brought the solution to five machines near his body: “We're going to inject you in five places. This is going to sting.”

“I expected that.”

The doctor shrugged: “You're not a bad patient.”

“Thanks, I suppose” Creel said.

“That’s a pinch.” doctor Andrews said “It's the drugs coming in.”

Creel cringed. He didn’t like it but it hurt. As he said, he should have expected that. He was rotated upward 180 degrees so it was standing up. He breathed.

“We're going to give you a couple of minutes for the drugs to effect.” doctor Andrews said.

“Yeah.” Creel replied “I feel thirsty. Dancy.”

“What?” the doctor said.

“Dancy is watching this from a glass mirror or something. I want to talk to him. You said we had five minutes.”

“This is …” another doctor started.

Dancy walked in: “Let's talk alone.”

“I’m in traction here.” Crusher said “It ain’t like I could do anything.”

The doctors left.

Crusher looked at him: “What do you want me? You don’t want me to rob banks. You own the banks, right?”

“Technically speaking no” Dancy said “But yours is a good point. I could buy them if I want.”

“You don’t want money” Crusher said “Goods, drugs, oil … you might want those, but having a big bruiser isn’t something you need that for.”

“I have what I want already.”

“Then power.”

“The only thing worth having. I already have … all of it but, with my wife the haller, they were going to take it. And someone – S.H.I.E.L.D., the government – is going to find what I have and try to get it. They're greedy, so greedy. I need to stop them before they come, before I lose it. Yes, I do want power, but not the power as you might think it, because I have so much already.”

“What are you talking about?” Crusher said

“Do you want me to show you?” Dancy said “Yes, I think I will.”

He leaned over, pressed a big red button. A lead door in front of them opened and Crusher saw something for a split second: a golden crown.

Then he screamed. Screamed like no pain he had ever imagined.

*****

“You did great.” a P.A. said walking backstage at ABC.

“Do you think so, honey?” Jennifer said.

“Real great.” the P.A said “You're a smash … um pardon the pun.”

Jennifer opened the door to her changing room, smiling: “Thanks a lot.”

Sitting on a large chair they had brought in was … Roxy.

“Hi Jen.”

“Security.” Jen said, shaking her head.

“Oh, you have security now?” Roxy said “That’s like … if Superman was president and he had the secret service … I think that’s a comic book.”

“I don’t want to have to throw you out of here myself.”

“What's happened to you, Jen? Are you still in there?”

“Of course I am in here.” Jen said “We have been over this. How did you get in here?”

“I am modestly rich, if you remember” Roxy said “What's going on?”

Jennifer closed the door behind them.

“I’ve … Well things have changed. I’m the She-Hulk now …”

“We have a gig this weekend: The Starline Club. It has fixed seats.” Roxy said.

“As if you care about responsibility.” Jen said.

“But you do” Roxy replied.

Jenn paused: “This has made me think about where I was and where I was going. I mean: I’m a good lawyer, but it never really made me happy …”

Roxy got up: “Did I make you happy?”

“We never were an item and a woman shouldn’t be defined by a man anyway.”

“I know” Roxy said “But this … this … this isn’t you.”

“Who was I?” Jen asked.

Roxy went up to hold her from behind: “You were this sweet, kind, gentle person … very funny, good sense of humor. You had a power behind it, a strength – not a physical one, but a mental one. You never needed to be able to bench press skyscrapers. You were Jen and I loved you. I never told you that but it's true.”

Jen sighed leaning her head back to go on his shoulder, but landed on nothing. She looked down at him, nearly 4 feet below her. She couldn’t rest her head on his shoulder. “God. What happened to us?”

He took her hands and held them gently – they were much larger than his – he kissed them: “We will figure it out.”

She leaned down to touch his head with her own … and really had to lean down a lot.

*****

Creel woke up and looked around. He was in a recovery room: “What happened?”

He was still thirsty. He grabbed the table next to him and found water. He put it to his lips, felt it flow through him and …

… his entire body collapsed.

He was still alive, still conscious, but in an instant his body was now a 220 pound puddle of blue water on the bed. Translucent

“WHAAATTAA HAPPPENED” he guglred underwater.

He felt himself. He realized that there was no way for a puddle of water to interact with a bed; it would flow off but, somehow, the surface tension around it was making a reasonable shape and he could control it. He experimented moving back and forth, side to side on the bed. Up and down … the bed, like most hospital bed, was at an angle and he could move up the top of it. He moved against the metal railing, felt that and … he knew, he just knew

In an instant he was back in human form, but now made of aluminum. He looked around the room and touched his face. He was shiny, slightly slippery, but human.

He stood up, getting out of the bed.

So, this was how it worked. He looked around the room, saw a plastic cup and touched it. He felt weak as if the dixie cup plastic wasn’t strong enough to stand up, but he didn’t panic. He concentrated again and he was back to human.

“What happened?” he said. He wasn’t angry.

He paused and looked around.

“Shh Mr Creel.” Dr Andrews said, walking in. “So you're conscious.”

Creel extended his hand to touch the doctor's face and grunted: “Not much there.”

“Ahh, interesting.” the doctor make a fake smile.

“Relax.” Creel said “I am not going to kill you. I’m … kind of intrigued by this …”

“From what I observed from the other room.”

“I can absorb what I touch” Creel said.

“Your DNA is letting you rapidly mimic the qualities of substances. I doubt it's full on. You're turning into different elements but …”

“I’m an Absorbing Man now.” Creel said “So that’s my gimmick?!”

He smiled: “It could be worse all things considered.”

*****

Mary had made her way back to New York. She wanted to stop by her father's office to talk to him, to see what was going on. On the way there she thought it was silly, then very serious, then silly, then serious. By the time she arrived and she took the elevator she was sure it was pretty serious. It was a dark night and kind of creepy.

She went to the top floor. The secretary was gone, but the night guard said that her father was still in the building and she had the key code to get in.

She opened the door to walk in seeing a figure silhouetted at the night: “Dad?”

“My darling … my princess … my queen. It's good to see you.” he walked into the light wearing a nice business suit and … a crown?

“What are you wearing?”

He chuckled gesturing: “Look at the city. Look at the world. Someday all of this will be yours.”

“What are you talking about?” Mary said.

“This is … this is the past. It was lost in a war in heaven 90 million years ago, it got buried in a swamp, all of it turned to oil. This is … power. And it's going to take this company right to the top and beyond.”

“You're scaring me dad.”

Dancy smiled “Do you want to be beautiful? Really beautiful. I say nice things, but we both know.”

Mary sighed lowered her head. Softly.

Dancy put a hand on her shoulder: “We can make that happen, now. We will make that happen now.”

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