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The Towers' Syndrome – Chapter 3

Written by papayoya1 :: [Sunday, 21 January 2018 10:28] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 21 January 2018 10:50]

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Sienna Towers is a biologist working on a classified project around the fragments of a comet, who wakes after a three-month coma only to find herself "enhanced". She has been trying to understand what has been happening to her since then, but while she continues at it, she decides to let things escalate a little, which will be bad news for some…


Chapter 3

Sienna got to the lab later than usual after her meeting at Atlantis Medical, so most of the cars were in the parking lot by the time she exited hers. Aaron’s bright red Mustang was easy enough to identify. He had never been an early riser, so his car was parked close enough to hers, in the section farther from the door and where those that got late were forced to leave their vehicles.

It was a classic. At least, that was what he had bragged about when he showed up with it half a year back. Sienna found it gaudy.

She was still feeling very mean at what had happened at Atlantis, which was probably the reason why naughtier than usual thoughts ran through her head as she was walking by the Mustang. Realizing that no one was seeing, she looked again at both sides and then smiled evilly.

“Why not?” she muttered.

The tree started groaning as soon as Sienna began applying pressure to it. It was a massive oak, but to Sienna's pleasure, it did not seem to be able to resist her new strength. Her biceps were bulging slightly, letting her know that this was probably the time she was using more of her newfound power.             

Still, it was clear enough that the old, proud tree was no match for her new abilities. Sienna moaned slightly as she felt the wood begin to crack and the tarmac begin to bulge as the roots of the oak started breaking through it. Lifting a car over her head had been wild, but there was something about uprooting a tree that beat it. That she was doing it while still not pushing her new strength to the limit was particularly arousing. 

So, rather than rushing it, Sienna slowed down, enjoying every second of the experience, feeling her unfathomable strength beat yet another obstacle with ease. A final shove ensured the tree would fall in the right direction. Aaron’s Mustang never stood a chance as the heavy trunk fell into it. Taking a peek over her shoulder as she moved towards the door, Sienna did not think that it would be repairable.

The incident with Aaron’s car took most of the conversations of the day, leaving her remarkably alone. She still enjoyed listening to his disbelief at what had happened and at the insincere shows of sympathy from the rest of his colleagues. Well, at least he had got more respect out of a damaged car than she had for being in hospital three full months.

Seeing Aaron in the break area when she went for her routing sandwich, Sienna could not help herself from throwing some salt into the wound.

"Hey, Aaron. Saw what happened to your car. Shocking, right?"

Her tone was purposefully cheerful, making Aaron look at her with anger.

“Look at the bright side of this. You can now get a decent car with whatever the insurance company pays you” Sienna added.

“You fucking bitch!” Aaron let out.

"Oh, am I Aaron? So what?" Sienna said, turning and getting back to her table.

She was surprised to see Sarah stopped by her desk a few minutes later.

"If you keep behaving like an autist bitch you will never get anyone to like you, Sienna. Then, it all comes to tears when you get sick, and no one cares about you." 

Sienna looked over the rim of her glasses at the skinny redhead.

"Oh, I'm over that now, thank you," she said. "I realized it was stupid to give a damn about what people like you thought about me. Only the weak care about the opinion of lesser people. And I'm not weak." 

"You are hopeless, Sienna," Sarah said, hate noticeable in her voice.

"Am I? You hated me from the moment I set foot here. I've always known that you could not stand the fact that I was way brighter than you are, but I did not realize just how much this corrupted you until I woke up from the coma. The truth, though, is that as I was saying before, I do not care. Now, if you don't mind, I need to do the work you are too stupid to take care of" 

“Bitch.” Sarah said, turning and stomping all the way to her desk.

Sienna's hearing let her follow the multiple conversations that ensued over the next couple hours. By the time she was left alone in the lab, everyone else already knew about the contents of her chat with Sarah. Sienna did not mind. It would prevent her from having to tell it personally to the rest.  

Her workday was as productive as the previous two, having to stop for a while to make a plan on how to approach her work for Prometheus from a certain point onwards. If she kept on making such progress, she might give the rest of the team a too good glimpse of what she was already investigating on the side. Considering their opinion of them, she did not think they were very likely to get anything meaningful out of it by themselves, but there was no point in running unnecessary risks. 

Her side work focused on broadening her knowledge on Prometheus, beyond her area of investigation. Being it a highly classified project, information was heavily compartmentalized. It was nothing she could not solve by breaking into the research of some of the other teams. Apparently, her ability to hack into their systems had also been enhanced by her recent intellectual improvements. 

She was in the parking lot back at 2 a.m., chuckling at the sight of Aaron's Mustang under a massive oak, and knowing more about minerals and the composition of comets than she would have ever thought possible for a Biologist.    

Memories of her conversation with the guy at Atlantis in the morning came back to her as soon as she sat behind the steering wheel, making her feel mean once more. She wanted to hurt him. She wanted to. Sienna had never been that aggressive before, but knowing what she was capable of had apparently awakened this new attitude in her.

She did not know where to find the guy, but the thought of him made her to quite naturally take the highway exit to Wayward, the unanimously considered worst neighborhood in town. Wayward’s main street looked like a war zone, making Sienna reflect for an instant on how the same city could feature such different places like this and the neighborhood where she lived.

She stopped her car by the sidewalk, in one of the only spots in town where it was easy enough to find a parking spot. Sienna could already feel glances fixed into her Prius, but she knew she still was on time to make her mind up.

She pondered about the situation for a moment, wondering if what she was planning to do was ethical. But the truth was that she had not even planned it. She had just got there out of instinct. And she knew why. She wanted to learn more about herself. And, after three days, this meant learning more about how she compared to others.

She was smart enough to know what that implied, and why she had chosen that particular spot in town. She could not fool herself.

"I'm not going to attack anyone first,"  Sienna told herself as if this settled the matter. She knew it did not, but still reached for the handle and opened the door.   

She lost her glasses and bun as she stepped out of the car and started walking confidently down the street, feeling glances setting on her.

She walked slowly, casually, the high heeled boots she had put on making an easily audible tapping noise as she moved. Three blocks later she decided to make herself even more inviting and made a left in what had to be the less well-lit alley in the area.

Her enhanced hearing soon identified another pair of footsteps following. She smirked and kept on advancing, moving slowly enough for them to catch up with ease, should they want to. She wanted to.

She was about to reach the middle of the alley when another man stepped out of a corner and stood in her way.

"How cliché,"  Sienna thought, feeling way less intimidated than any other woman in the world would have in the same situation.

She stopped, placing her hands on her hips and smiling. It unsettled the man in front of her, a huge guy with a clean-shaven head and a pretty noticeable Celtic cross tattooed on the pale skin of his forearm.  

“Oh, is this the Nazi section, then?” Sienna asked mockingly, making the man recover his threatening pose.

Wayward was the drug trafficking neighborhood in the city. And it was famous enough to have inspired a couple of Hollywood movies of the type no city wanted for itself. Quite stereotypically, the ghetto was divided by the gangs that operated on it, wars among them frequent enough to make the murder rate in the city have a comfortable position amongst the top 5 in the country. Sienna had never been in the area before, but the looks of the guy in front of her did not leave any doubts regarding which gang owned the streets she was walking in now.  

People only got Wayward to sell drugs, buy them, kill or get killed. Now, Sienna was here to experiment.

"Shut up, bitch."

“Bitch? I’m just taking a walk” Sienna replied, not a single trace of concern in her voice.

“What are you doing here?” the big man asked.

“I told you. Enjoying the sights” she replied, opening her arms to point at her surroundings, making him even angrier.

Sienna heard first and felt later the breath of the two men that had followed her into the alley. They were very close already. The man blocking her path took a step towards her. Soon, two pairs of muscled arms grabbed hers and pulled her backward. The tattoos on the forearms that were holding her were similar to the one in the man across the alley, indicating the same allegiance. The heights of the men differed, one being as tall as the brute in front of her while the other was considerably smaller.

Sienna followed along, not feeling threatened, which visibly unsettled her attackers.

"I asked you what you are doing here," the big man said, getting much closer.

Still not showing any fear, Sienna replied:

"I went out for a walk. I enjoy the hugs and everything, I really do, but if you don't mind, I will get going."

The man had already reached her. He used a hand to move her long blonde hair away from her face as he reached for her chest with the other, feeling her fullness. His expression left no doubts about the thoughts running through her mind.

"I don't think so," the Nazi said. He was practically drooling, which Sienna found disgusting. 

“Tis’ bitch enough for the three of us?” the man to her right said, his breath smelling really sour.

“Her corpse sure will” a raspy voice to her left said.

This was disgusting. She had known Wayward just by reputation, never before in her life having crossed her path with such lowly scum. So, she had not known too well what to expect. Well, the reality was beating any preconceptions she might have had. 

"Oh, I'm not interested. I don't fancy Nazis, thank you" she said in a tone that her attackers were not expecting of anyone in her position.

Sienna knew that she was going to cross a line. A big, red line. Finding out about her new condition had been great. Everything she had found out since waking up at the hospital had been great. But using her newfound strength on another person… it was an entirely different matter.

She knew it was way too late to change her mind now. She had walked herself into a situation where she had known there would be only one possible outcome. She knew she should feel ashamed of herself. But she just felt so good. Besides, the reality about the scum threatening her had greatly relieved her initial concerns.

There was no way out now, in any case. The Nazi in front of her quickly confirmed it by saying:

“Not interested, huh?”

He immediately punched her in the stomach. She could not tell if he had pulled his punch a bit or if he had hit her with all his strength. It did not make a difference to her. It was not that she could not notice the punch. She did. She did feel a slight pressure, but it was not painful at all.

At least, not for her. Sienna had felt something breaking, but it had definitely not been in her body. The large Nazi seemed to be as surprised by his bruised knuckles as for the fact that she had not even bent an inch in pain.     

“What the fuck?” he muttered, throwing a punch with his other hand.

This time it was directed at her face. Years of conditioning made her close her eyes. She wished she hadn't. Once more, there was no pain. There was not even a slight movement of her neck as the heavy blow hit her. She was sure that he had not pulled his punch now. Something else broke. 

Sienna had already rationally expected what had happened. After all, she had tested herself against harder challenges than the man in front of her. Still, feeling his punches breaking against her was wonderful, much better than anything she had accomplished so far. Her nipples proved it by hardening and showing through the thick fabric of her top. 

In any other circumstance, at any other time, Sienna should have been terrified if her path had crossed her three attackers. Not anymore. The power rush was terrific, and she knew that she was getting lost in it, drunk by it. She tried to tell herself that it was just a field test, but she knew it was so much more than that.     

"I've known girls in high school that hit harder" Sienna said with disdain at the man, who was now looking at his bruised hands with some anguish on his face. 

In a casual movement, she moved her arms apart from her body, pushing the two men that had been trying to immobilize her to the sides, making one of them trip and fall, hitting his head in a dumpster. They could not understand how in the hell the blonde bitch had been able to shrug them off like that. They could guess what happened next even less.    

"Here, let me show you how it's done."

Sienna pulled her punch in the last second. It was a good move, since seeing the results of her half-hearted attempt, she could not imagine what would have happened if she had hit him hard.

The man's stout body instantly bent as her delicate first hit him square in the stomach. There was a sickening wet splashing sound as something broke at the impact. She would not be able to find out what it was immediately since the man's massive frame was sent flying over forty feet before it crashed into one of the walls of the alley. There were a few moments of silence, Sienna being just as surprised as the two assaulters that were trying to get back on their feet on either side of her. Their attitudes to what had happened were considerably different, though.            

"Oh wow!" Sienna muttered. She wondered what would be the condition of the man, but it was indeed worse than she had intended.  

In any case, Sienna was more excited at the result of her casual action than concerned for the wellbeing of the thug. Once more, she knew that she could have rationally expected the results of her punch. After all, she had been able to lift thousands of pounds with ease, and heavy or not, the man would not weight more than three-hundred. But still, seeing a large, muscular and very threatening man being thrown so far just by hitting him… it was thrilling. She could feel the power in every inch of her body now, and it was intoxicating. Any ethical concerns she might have had were more than forgotten. If anything, Sienna was wondering how in the hell she had managed to wait three entire days before trying this.

She did not have too long to enjoy her first knock-out, in any case. To her right, the first goon to get up was holding a knife in his hand but not looking as confident as anyone else in his position might have.

“How did you do that, bitch?” he asked, looking close to a nervous breakdown.

“Want me to show you?” Sienna replied, smiling at him and taking a step in his direction.

“Don’t take another step or I swear I’ll cut you, bitch” the man said.

“Be my guest” Sienna said, moving a pace further and cornering the man against the wall. It was delicious to see him trying to retreat from her despite the fact that he was bigger and holding a weapon. Being able to intimidate him was just exhilarating.

“Get back, you fucking whore” the man yelled.

"Don't call me that again" Sienna said, more confident than ever while taking a step further. 

No longer able to get back, the man reacted in the only way he could. She could see that he had tried to stick the knife into her with all his might. It was far from being enough. Sienna chuckled when she felt the tip of the knife cut through her clothes and stop against the impregnability of her skin. This was even better than taking a punch without flinching, she thought. Of course, she had already known that this would happen. She had tested herself against knives at home. She would not have let the man so far, had she not.

Not worried at all about the consequences, Sienna did not do anything to block the next couple of attempts from the thug. She moved her left arm to stop the fourth one, though. The man tried to break free from her grip, but Sienna's left hand was holding his forearm with a vicious force, not letting him move it an inch forward or backward.

"Drop the knife," she said casually.

The man did not comply, which worked well enough for Sienna since it allowed her to do the next thing she was planned.

Closing her fingers into his forearm, Sienna smiled evilly when she started to feel bones breaking, making the man drop his weapon as he let out an anguished yell of pain. Once more, being able to break a man’s bones with such ease was logical, seeing what she had accomplished already. It still made her feel more empowered than anything else she had done before.

"Fucking whore," he said between sobs.

"I told you not to call me that," Sienna said, pushing the man against the wall. He had been merely a couple of feet away from it but still hit it with such force that he momentarily lost his breath. 

Sienna grabbed him by the side with one hand and said:

"That is going to cost you a rib."

She pushed her thumb down as she finished saying it, enjoying it when she felt one of the man’s ribs break under the enormous pressure. Her smile widened as the man yelled in pain. Sienna knew that she was being sadistic, but there was nothing she could do to stop herself now. It felt just too good. The power rush was too intoxicating.

Her hand naturally found its way to the man’s throat, wrapping her fingers around it, making her chuckle as the man unsuccessfully tried to pry them open. Following her instincts, Sienna just moved her arm upwards, easily lifting the man from the ground until his feet were dangling a few inches over the ground.

Once more, she should have been prepared for it, but Sienna could not help but feel exhilarated at the situation. The man was way lighter than many of the things she’d lifted and tossed so far, but being able to hold a dangerous looking type so easily was rousing.

The thug tried kicking her, his reinforced tip boots hitting her in the thigh but not hurting. Judging from his groan, the act had not been so painless to him.

"Tell me, how does it feel?" Sienna asked, waving the man in her hold a bit with a flick of a wrist. "How does it suddenly feel to be powerless, beaten by someone, intimidated? I'm really curious."

The man just groaned in response. Sienna smiled and was about to tease his some more when her hearing detected a metallic click, making her hair stand on end. She was about to turn when there was a new noise. This time she did not need any enhanced auditive capabilities to hear it since the band echoed loudly in the alley. It was followed, shortly after, by a sharp sting in her back, making her cough the air in her lungs and drop the man she was holding. It stung. It stung like hell.

Sienna swiftly pivoted on her foot, facing her attacker. The third guy, the one that had blacked out after hitting his head in the dumpster, was back on his feet. And he was shaking as he held a gun, still aimed at her.

Sienna could still feel the pain in her back and suddenly feared the worse. She did not have time to reach back with her hands and check the extent of the damage, though, since danger was still imminent. 

She mentally cursed herself for having been so naïve. Of course, they would have guns. Most people in Wayward would. And of course, she had no clue about how she would fare against them. After all, the last thing she had thought about over the last few days had been on shooting herself with a gun. It was not as if she owned one, to start with.

Her expression might have shown her doubts, her momentary fear since the shaking man smiled like a madman. She raised her hand and started to say:

“Sto…”

His finger pulled the trigger once more. It was like being punched in the stomach, the impact so violent that it made her bend and drop to one knee. A metallic clank made her look to the side as she regained her breath, the pain still intense. She could easily find the golden shell on the ground, a couple of feet to her right. It was clearly deformed, but pretty much in one piece.   

Sienna reached under her shirt with one hand and felt the impacted area. The touch of her fingers made the sting sharpen. There was no blood though.

Pain was starting to fade away by the time Sienna stood back up, somewhat comforted but mad as hell. It was obvious that the thug had not expected that, his shaking increasing because of her recovery. He was nervous enough to miss the next shot, despite being no more than twenty feet away from her.

Sienna decided not to give him a fourth chance and charged at him. His body was shot backward with violence that not even her first punch to the leading Nazi had been able to get. The splashing sound was sickening as he crashed into the wall, some ten feet over the ground. And then, it stayed there, the body not falling immediately.     

Sienna would not have needed to see the wide red streak the corpse left on the wall as it slid down to know that the man was dead.

She stopped, looking at the scene, panting. For all she knew, this was the first man she ever killed. With the pain of the shots still present, it was hard to feel sorry for it, though. Instead, Sienna just straightened and pulled her shirt up, to find a noticeably bruise in her stomach, in the spot she had been hit. She guessed she had a similar one on her back.     

The last few seconds had been incredibly intense, producing a flood of contradictory feelings and thoughts in Sienna's head. The last thing she had been expecting when she had driven into Wayward was pain. And the pain had been there, and in high amounts. This was frustrating. But at the same time, finding out that being shot had merely produced a bruise was a remarkable discovery. She was still debating how she should feel about it all. The fact that she had killed a man made the complete digestion of what had happened even harder.  

A pained moan made her turn. Seeing the second thug trying to crawl away in agony was a welcome sight, if anything because it gave her something to think about other than what had just happened.

Sienna straightened her back and pushed her chest out as she confidently walked towards him. A few seconds later he was dangling from her grip once more. This time she had grabbed a fistful of his T-shirt and was holding his curved body in front of her face.

She thought of something to say but not finding words; she just slapped the man. Sienna was very mindful of the strength she applied, having seen what happened when she let go. Still, the man's face shot violently to the side, and a dark bruise started forming on his cheek. Sienna smiled when he saw the thug spitting a couple of teeth.      

Without further word, she just backhanded the man’s face in the opposite direction, using a similar amount of force. The results were equivalent. A quick look at the formerly threatening Nazi showed her a badly beaten and psychologically defeated man.

“Ho… how?” he muttered.

It made Sienna chuckle. She pondered how to answer to that. Shrugging, she just said:

"Same thing you do. The law of the strongest."

She let go of the man, who collapsed on the floor, barely managing to sit on his knees. She knew what she had to do. Still, cold blood murder was not something she was used to. Grabbing the man’s head with a hand on each side, Sienna took a deep breath, let the air out in an extended sigh and then moved her hands in a swift gesture, snapping the man’s head.

Her high heels tapped on alley's uneven surface as Sienna calmly walked the forty feet that separated her from the body of the leader of the group, the man she had punched first. She knelt to his still body and reached out for his throat. No pulse. It was kind of expected, and it meant that her shooter had not actually been her first victim.

“So, I can kill a man with a punch” she muttered. Her tone was flat, but she was genuinely impressed at the finding, especially considering that she had not put all her strength into it.

Standing back up, Sienna turned and walked back in the way she had come, heading towards the main street and her car. She was surprised at not feeling worse at what she had just done. Sienna knew that she was considered cold, arrogant and antisocial, but no one would have ever considered her violent. And now, here she was, having killed three men and looking back at the experience more from a learning perspective than from a moral one.

She knew part of it had to do with the type of men she had killed. Had she not been special, they would have had no problem in raping her first and killing her later. As a matter of fact, they tried, hitting her, attacking her with a knife and shooting her with a gun. They were scum. The world would be better off without them.

Part of it did not have to do with the profile of her victims, though. There was a darker reason, related to the rush of power she had felt, to the fact that she had not looked at them as their equals. Her mind worked hard to suppress any regrets that this realization might have brought, though.

So, by the time Sienna reached her car, noticing the looks of surprise of those that had seen her walk into the alley a while before, she was analyzing what had happened merely from the perspective of what it had taught her about her new condition. There was a trace of a smile on her face as she started the Prius and drove back to the highway. 

Half an hour later, steering her car backward in her driveway, the only idea on Sienna's mind was that it was urgent to learn the most about her new condition. What she knew was great already, but she had the feeling that it was only the tip of the iceberg.

When she stepped out of the car and found a FedEx package by her door, she smiled. Ripping the packaging open with the ease of someone tearing a piece of paper, her smile widened when she saw the DNA sequencer she had ordered.

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