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StarTroopers – Episode One

Written by shadar :: [Monday, 19 March 2018 03:35] Last updated by :: [Monday, 19 March 2018 09:22]

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StarTroopers

Episode One

The Train Job

Tuesday

Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA

It was a cool but clear day in May when I got the call that a new Uber candidate was heading my way for testing. I’d picked this isolated region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to take advantage of a particular natural resource of the area — a railroad track that carried coal trains down to the Midwest power plants. Very few people lived in the area — mostly retired loggers and grizzled hunters and northern wilderness lovers who could be trusted to line up behind the EarthDefense Project. Who would keep what they saw local.

The trains came through twice a day, each with six engines, each giant locomotive weighing 200 tons, their combined pulling power enough to haul a hundred and fifty cars full of coal, some of them weighing 150 tons. The overall train weight was greater than 20,000 tons, and the trains often ran at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour — which was one hell of a lot of momentum. But that’s what it took to challenge the strongest of our newly-minted StarTroopers.

The Uber who was coming for testing today was named Ivanka. No last name given. She was supposedly arriving at noon. I had no data on her, so she was probably Russian. The Russians were just starting to train their own Ubers, but they’d reportedly sent a half dozen to the US for early training in our program.

I put a call into Dispatch to request the 12:15PM coal train be set up for training. Special train engineers were assigned to these runs, and they in turn ensured a “crash dummy” engine was attached to the front. For safety reasons, the train crew took up residence in the aft-most engine and strapped themselves securely in place.

Some daredevil engineers actually enjoyed the work, despite the two derailments that had taken place early in the program. This was likely the only chance they’d ever get to personally see an Uber in action.

It was nearly eleven when I received a text message from the lead engineer. He was slowly bringing the train up to speed and was all setup for the training session. Satisfied that I’d done what I could to prepare things, I pulled on a heavy jacket and boots and drove my pickup to the train crossing where I’d told Ivanka to meet me. She’d had a surprising strong accent on the phone. Russian for sure.

All the Ubers had been trained in handling extremely heavy objects before they got to me. My sequence was one of the last parts of the program and was designed to prove they could use their tremendous strength without creating unwanted damage. It was my job to task them with stoping a massive train without damaging anything but that lead engine.

I parked my truck a hundred yards from the tracks to be safe, and walked over to the crossing to await Ivanka’s arrival. I was always nervous when meeting a new Uber. The concept of a young woman having that much power was still both scary and exciting as hell. I remembered only too well how immature and impressionable I’d been in my twenties — the age of most of the Ubers. If not for joining the Navy, I probably would have grown up in prison. Instead, I fought my way into the SEALS, and they’d made me the man I am today.

A sharp sonic boom jerked me from my wandering thoughts, sending the birds in the trees squawking as they fluttered into the sky. Squinting up into the noon sun, I saw a tiny object circling, seemingly miles overhead, moving at fantastic speed. I waved my arms, an act that would have been futile if I was trying to get the attention of anyone with human eyesight. It was unlikely that even a drone could pick me out of the thick trees, but the Ubers all had amazing eyesight, far better than a drone’s.

As expected, the object quit circling and dove straight for me, coming really fast. I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes as her supersonic shock wave nearly knocked me off my feet, sending dust and leaves flying in all directions. I opened my eyes to see a young woman dressed in red descending slowly, feet-first, her miniskirt lifting high over her waist to reveal long, slender legs and a tiny red thong. A white cape floated behind her, mingling with her long red hair. Like some of the other Ubers, she was wearing a costume that came right out of the comic books.

She landed in front of me on the crossing, her hair and cape and skirt falling back into place as if they’d never been disturbed. She stood there casually, her hips tilted, her head bent slightly to one side as she studied me with what could only described as insolence. Unlike all the other Ubers I’d met, her eyes were bright green instead of blue.

To say she was beautiful would be a gross understatement. She was stunning.

6 17c

While everyone had feared that extreme power might go some of the Uber’s heads, so far psychological profiling had been successful in selecting trained professionals who understood the role they were to play in Earth’s defense. They understood both the limits and opportunities of physical power, and for the most part, they took their enhancement in stride, at least as much as anyone could. They’d all been military or police or intelligence professionals before entering the program.

Yet this girl looked different. She was more attractive than most, and was taller than average, standing well over six feet. But unlike the other Ubers, all of whom carried a fair bit of muscle, she was as slender as a model. Her long red hair and striking green eyes complimented a beautiful face with high cheekbones. Her golden shoes, lacing up over her strong calves, combined with her her short skirt to make her long legs look amazing. She looked as if she’d been born to wear this fanciful costume.

“Interesting outfit,” I said as I walked closer to her, struggling to remember the comic book character her costume reminded me of. “Mary… ah, Marvel, I presume?”

She tilted her head further as she stared into my eyes, slowly running her hand along her bare thigh. I found myself staring down at her hand, imagining it was mine, my heart racing, blood pounding in my veins. Nobody yet understood why all the women with the correct gene sequence for enhancement were so damned attractive.

“No, Mary Marvel not approve of me,” she finally replied, her accent strong. “Can’t change back into normal girl with bolt of lightning.”

“Well, you aren’t the first to play around with costumes,” I said, struggling to control my racing emotions. “I’ve seen dozens of variations on Supergirl, but you’re my first Mary Marvel.”

She slowly traced her gaze down my body, pausing just below my waist. Given she could look through clothing, that made me self-conscious as I felt the blood rushing low on my body. I struggled not to blush like a school boy. What the hell was it about these Ubers that I found so attractive? After all, the weakest of them could crush me like a baby bird.

“Don’t think you asked me here to ogle, or amuse yourself.”

I lowered my eyes as I reined in my thoughts, hoping my body would follow. “No. It’s only your powers that we’re here to explore.”

“Good you have that straight. Besides, sex would be fatal. For you.”

“Who said anything about…?” I started to say as I swallowed hard, knowing my body was sending out its own messages. This wasn’t starting off very good.

“I can hear blood pound. See through clothes. Taste hormones.”

Now I really felt uncomfortable. All the other Ubers had tried to put me at ease, but this girl was doing the opposite.

She sighed. “So what grand plan you have, Mr. Ex-SEAL hotshot? Was told to meet you at tracks in godforsaken nowhere.”

I held out my hand, hoping to take control of the conversation. “How about we start over. I’m John Phillips. I’m so glad to meet you, Ivanka.”

She shook her head as she kept her hand on her bare thigh. “Not good idea, John. Shaking hands. Can’t guarantee have much left of yours when done.”

“Right,” I said, as I quickly pulled my hand back. Clearly, she hadn’t been through Gentle Training yet. Or she’d failed it. Some Ubers couldn’t tone their strength down far enough to keep us Normals safe. They had to live separately from us. Which was OK given their job was to kill aliens.

Turning, I struggled to lift a short section of steel rail that lay beside the tracks. It was a section of the same kind of rail the trains ran on. I’m in good shape, but it was hard to balance ninety pounds of steel as I walked over to offer it to her. After a brief pause while she watched me struggle, she reached out to take it lightly from me, holding it casually with two fingers.

“You don’t have to do anything fancy with it,” I told her as I shook the strain from my arms, amazed as always how easily an Uber could handle the rail. “This is just a QT to make sure you’ve got all your mojo.”

Some of the Ubers had developed a problem — often during the full moon, but occasionally at other times — when their fantastic strength and much of their invulnerability would fade away. Not their flying ability, however, which had resulted in several injuries from supersonic slipstreams. Even worse, an Uber had recently died on a firing range when she failed to realize how rapidly she was depowering. The M1A1 tank’s sabot round had gone clean through her. The word had since gone out to do a quick test of any Uber’s powers immediately prior to a dangerous test. It wasn’t a matter of just taking their word for their power level. The QT was now mandatory.

Her mouth tightened as she lightly balanced the rail on her palm. “Maybe I shove this up ass of bureaucrat who dreamed this up.”

“Hey, I know it’s all government bullshit,” I offered. “I mean, you’d know more about your power level than any test could tell me, right?”

Her eyes flashed red, sending waves of heat washing over me. “I would.”

“But despite that, I have to call an abort in to the train engineer if you don’t pass the QT.”

“Idiots…” she said disgustedly. She tossed her cape over one shoulder as she placed her palms on the ends of the steel rail, holding it tightly against her breasts. Her eyes focused on mine as she began to press inward, her slender arms growing amazingly defined, the tendons across her wrists and hands turning into steel cables as the tortured steel rail began to give off an earsplitting scream. I stared at her chest as the rail slowly squished between her flattened palms, the hard steel folding up and over itself as it bulged outward, looking for all the world like it was made merely of soft clay.

I clapped my hands over my ears to protect them from the horrible squealing sound. I’d administered this test a dozen times, but I’d never seen anyone use such strength. Most Ubers just squeezed or bent the rail a little bit, just enough to prove they were empowered. Even then, they were apologetic for showing off. It wasn’t their style, nor was deliberately intimidating anyone.

Ivanka wasn’t done even now. The steel gave off a softer, duller squeal as she dug her fingers deeply into the mangled mass and then pulled her hands apart, the steel screaming once again as she tore it into two ragged pieces. Both chunks were smoking and red-hot as she held them at arms length, her green eyes boring into mine.

“That satisfy pencil pusher?”

Who in the hell was she, I wondered? All the other trainees had been strong warrior women who’d long-ago learned to downplay their strength and fighting skills. Long before their enhancement, they’d learned how easy it was to intimidate a man you could kill with a single blow. Was this just a Russian thing? The intimidation.

“Should I toss it where?” she asked.

I struggled to rein in my racing thoughts and focus on my job, but my thoughts still raced as I tried to decide if the other Ubers had been capable of this. Probably.

She sighed when I didn’t answer and casually tossed the mangled steel chunks over her shoulders and into the bushes.

I struggled to pull myself together. “Ah… this, ah, test is both simple and hard, Ivanka,” I began. “I’m… ah, I’m going to ask you to stop a coal train, but without derailing it or damaging anything except the lead engine, which is a derelict. The distance it takes you to stop the train without derailing it will determine your score. Shorter distance for higher scores. Once it has stopped, you will disconnect the lead engine and set it on that siding over there.” I pointed to my left. “Then the rest of the train will resume its journey with its cargo intact.”

“So… what are the fucking rules?” she asked, acting as if she was completely bored.

“What I just said. Don’t damage the tracks or derail the train. That means you can’t stop it too fast. You have to figure out the rest on your own. That’s the point of the exercise.”

She sighed. “OK. How much it weigh and how fast will be going?”

“Weight is about 20,000 tons and speed will be something above 70 mph.”

Her eyes opened wide, and then she laughed softly. “You think I really am fucking Mary Marvel?”

“You don’t have to lift it, Ivanka, just stop it. This is a test of your flight ability, your self-control and your ability to improvise. At least until the train is stopped. Then, as I said, you have to move the lead engine. It weighs 200 tons.”

“Oh, that’s all… I thought you supposed to challenge me,” she said smugly.

I took an instant dislike to her attitude. All my other subjects had been eager for this test. Disciplined and full of Yes Sirs and No Sirs.

“Exactly what was your profession before mutagenesis?” I dared ask.

“Expert in European history and languages.”

“That’s it? No field experience?”

She shrugged in reply. “Done other stuff. Can’t talk about.”

I was getting worried now. Was she really prepared to become a planetary protector? She didn’t fit the mold.

My thoughts were interrupted by a distant train horn. “Per the conditions of the test, I can’t say any more,” I said while turning to head toward the safety of the woods. “The object of the test is for you to figure out how to preserve property and still stop the train.”

The pounding roar of diesels was clearly audible now and approaching fast, which sent me scurrying faster. Glancing back as I reached the tree line, I saw the arrogance in Ivanka’s green eyes as she stared at the onrushing train. She tossed her white cape behind her, but otherwise stood there casually, still acting as if she was bored.

Meanwhile, down the track, plumes of smoke belched from the diesel stacks as the engineers poured on full power. I covered my ears to protect them from the deafening roar of the engines and the pounding of the wheels. Ivanka looked so frail yet so determined as she stood in front of that massive train.

Most Ubers manage to stop the train in less than a mile, which was impressive as hell given the train not only weighed 20,000 tons and was going 70mph but the six engines were putting out a combined total of 16,500 horsepower. The engineers were required to stay throttled up all the way until the train had slowed enough that their wheels began spinning. The dummy lead engine was always badly dented in at the front, but otherwise there usually wasn’t any other damage to the train. That was the goal.

The massive engines approached in a terrifying wall of steel, the locomotives growing huge a moment before crashing into Ivanka, the scene an amazing one that I would never get used to. And that’s when things went very wrong. Instead of sweeping her away like all the others, the lead engine instantly buckled in half and then exploded upward to somersault forward down the tracks, bouncing end over end as it disintegrated. Behind it, the second engine ripped apart as well, sending bits and pieces of yellow-painted steel flying everywhere. The five locomotives behind that went in all directions, some somersaulting, others flying to the side as they derailed with a horrific roar. The coal cars behind the engines kept going as Ivanka remained standing in the middle of the crossing.

Hitches tore apart as the cars began derailing, left and right, cars flying off into the woods. One car rumbled by in front of me before upending against the trees, spilling its hundred tons of coal. Other cars roared through the woods behind me, knocking down trees before flipping on their sides to dump their loads, others exploded over the top of stopped cars in front of them. Still the cars kept coming, crashing and derailing and tumbling on their sides as the wreck went on and on, seemingly endlessly.

I stood frozen in place behind a very large tree as three coal cars headed right for me, the middle one slowly skidding to the side. I couldn’t go left or right so I dove for the ground behind the big tree, hoping it would stand when so many others hadn’t. My life started to flash before my eyes as the middle car raced directly toward me, only to magically come to a stop a few feet in front of the tree. I lifted my face from the dirt and shook off the leaves to see a statuesque blonde standing just in front of the tree, her arms braced against the rusting red paint of the coal car.

It was Rhian, the very first Uber I’d ever tested.

She stared at me as the huge, rusted rail car jerked several more times as other cars hit it with a glancing blows. Coal went flying over us to strip branches from the tree to shower me in coal dust and leaves.

Rhian d3

I didn’t care. I was gawking slack-jawed up at Rhian, amazed as always by her fantastic strength. The flex of her chest had torn open most of the snaps on her black plastic dress to reveal a pair of boobs that were several cups larger than I remembered. She was breathing deeply which caused the fabric of her dress to stretch on every inhalation.

“You… are you OK… John?” she gasped.

I opened my mouth to answer, but nothing came out. All I could do was watch her chest rising and falling, knowing she was holding 150 tons of railroad car and coal on her back. A wild mix of emotions raced through me, my fear fading as it was replaced by growing arousal and then an adrenaline surge so powerful that it wasn’t just my hair that was standing on end. I was so freaked out that I began to shake. All around me the air was filled with the crashing roar of rail cars smashing into the woods all the way back down the line. It seemed like they’d go on forever.

“Yeah… yeah… thanks, I… aargh…” I cried out as a sharp pain stabbed the left side of my ribs. “Jesus… thought I was really a goner this time.”

“You sure…?” she asked again, her eyes narrowing as her blue irises flashed brighter as she scanned my body. “I think I see broken ribs.”

I stepped back as the massive steel wheels of the coal car rotated slowly a few feet in front of me, bearings grinding. Those wheels weighed a thousand pounds each and could cut a man in half, yet I still couldn’t tear my eyes from Rhian’s amazing chest. “I’ll be OK if ribs are all that’s wrong. You saved my ass. Thank you!”

“You’re very welcome. Now, do you want me to set this down anywhere special? It gets heavy after a while.”

“Hell… just put it anywhere,” I waved, looking around at all the wrecked cars and mountains of spilled coal. “Christ, what a mess.”

Rhian pushed backward as she used her coal car to plow a path through some of the wreckage behind her. She finally bent her legs as she leaned backward to set the massive car down with a groaning crunch, her abs flexing with amazing definition. Turning, she gave the car a final push with one hand to straighten it out. Then she stood up straight while twisting her slender shoulders left and right to relieve the strain, her movement enough to snap the last buckle of her top, leaving the latex clinging to her hard nipples.

She gestured behind me.

“So. who’s the red-headed idiot?”

I turned to see Ivanka hovering while holding the two engineers at arms length, her hands gripping the back of their railroad coveralls. Her red costume was torn to shreds, one breast fully bared, her shoes ripped away to leave bits of golden ribbon around her ankles. She stank of diesel fuel.

My anger rose as I saw the engineers dangling helplessly in her hands. They were banged up and bloody, but breathing. “You idiot! What part of “don’t cause any damage except to the lead engine” did you fucking not understand? I mean… Jesus Christ! I could have been killed if not for Rhian here.”

She casually dropped the engineers, who landed in the spilled coal. One of them cried out as he clasped his knee in agony. That really pissed me off. If she was this careless, this uncaring, then she couldn’t be trusted to fight in an urban setting. I was about to tell her she’d flunked the test when Rhian stepped around me to face Ivanka.

“You just failed, you know that,” Rhian said.

“Exactly who do you think I am?” Ivanka demanded. “One of your silly American meteor rock freaks?”

I stared at Rhian’s tightly sculpted back, marveling not for the first time that despite her fantastic muscular definition, she was still deliciously feminine. Her black outfit wrapped skin-tight over the cutest, tightest backside I’d ever seen, all of which which made her look ridiculously hot standing there between me and Ivanka.

“Given you just flunked out of the program,” Rhian continued, “that’s exactly who you are now. Just a freak.”

The words were barely out of Rhian’s mouth when I was blinded by a flash of red light. The coal around Rhian’s feet began to smoke as an incredible wave of heat rolled over me, singing my hair. Ivanka was blasting Rhian with her heat vision!

I dove behind one corner of a crushed coal car, the pain from my ribs filling my eyes with stars for a moment. Gritting my teeth against the pain, I managed to turn far enough to see Rhian kneeling on the ground as Ivanka continued to blast her. This was not good on several levels. Rhian had a temper and if she snapped, Ivanka was going to get hurt.

I was one of the few people who knew that Rhian had been a member of the CIA’s clandestine services where she’d trained as an assassin. It was rumored that she’d killed a dozen foreign agents with her bare hands, and this was a long time before her enhancement. She might have just saved my life, but beneath that pretty exterior beat the heart of a cold-blooded killer. She’d told me once that men were most vulnerable to lethal force during sex. I didn’t have to hear more.

Rhian’s skin was glowing cherry red from Ivanka’s eye beams, but she still managed to rise back to her feet, the flames and smoke from the burning coal enveloping her. She was shaking off the energetic assault when Ivanka flashed forward to deliver a roundhouse punch to her jaw.

I never heard the impact given the supersonic shockwave hit me like a blow. My chest nearly caved in as the railroad car in front of me tilted backward while the trees flattened for a hundred feet in all directions. I think I must have been knocked out for a moment because when I was able to see again, the air was filled with a cloud of fine black confetti where Rhian had been standing. Rhian’s clothing? Or Rhian as well?

Ivanka was standing a few feet away, in the middle of the circle that her blow had been blasted clean. Her fist was glowing brightly, the upper half of her red costume blasted completely away now. All that was left was her torn skirt and a few strips of white cape.

I had to get out of here. Turning, I began to crawl through the flattened bushes and sheered-off trees, struggling to climb painfully over mounds of coal, my legs shaking so badly that I couldn’t stand.

I didn’t get far before a huge shadow fell over me. Looking up, I saw Ivanka floating above me while holding one of the massive locomotives over her head. She dropped from the sky to push me down on the ground with one bare foot to stand over me, her long legs straddling my waist. I stared up at the torn red panties beneath the remains of her tiny skirt, finding they no longer covered anything important. It took an effort of will to look further up her body to see the 200 tons of good General Electric steel she held over me.

She slowly bent to her knees while still straddling me, her pelvis pressing down hard enough across mine to make me groan. I instinctively reached up to grab her legs, finding that her thighs felt as if they’d been sculpted out of warm, silky steel. She slowly lowered one corner of the massive engine until it was pressing painfully against my broken ribs. I screamed as I struggled with all my strength to get away, but I was completely helpless.

“I have very good control of my strength,” she said, shifting more weight onto my pelvis, her pubic bone pressing painfully against me. “A few pounds more will crush broken ribs into heart.”

“What… good… does… killing me… do?” I gasped.

“Sends message. Don’t fuck with me. I’m not American meteor freak.”

Bright spots began to fill my vision again, and just as I felt myself passing out, there was a loud CLANG and the shadow of the huge engine was suddenly gone, along with the pressure on my body.

I gasped for air as my vision returned. Struggling shakily to my feet, I saw Ariel standing in front of one of the trees that had been snapped off. She was dressed in tight long-sleeve white top and a fashionable pair of jeans with a huge circular buckle. Ariel had come through the program six months ago before returning to college. She was Pre-Med at Michigan State if I recalled correctly.

wheeler venus un011

“Are you OK, John?”

I nodded, amazed I was even alive. Even more that I’d been asked that by two different Ubers today. Unfortunately, the pain in my ribs had gone to the place pain goes when it becomes unbearable, leaving me so light-headed that I felt like I was the one floating on air now.

Ariel’s eyes sparkled as she stared at my chest. “Two broken ribs. Lots of bruising too. Some swelling around your heart. You’ll live if we get you to a hospital soon.”

I started to stumble, but she darted forward to wrap her arm around my waist.

“But right now you’ve got to sit down and put your head between your knees, John. Shock. Your blood pressure is dumping.”

“Where’s… where’s the bitch?” I said, barely able to force the words out. My mouth felt numb.

“Rhian flew off with her, fighting to beat the band. A small army of Ubers are responding to her call for help. And speaking of calls, I’ve radioed for the medics, so if you’re OK for a few minutes, I’m going to go help Rhian until help arrives. This new Uber is strong as hell.”

I started to laugh as my shock slowly morphed into the beginnings of hysteria. “OK? I shouldn’t even be fucking alive. And you’re talking about HER being strong? You, the girl who just tossed a fucking railroad locomotive… somewhere?”

Ariel helped me sit down to lean against her, her long legs wrapping around mine to keep my knees bent, her large, warm breasts pressing against my back. My head quickly cleared as the blood returned. After a few moments I looked up, but saw nothing but shattered trees and wrecked train and mountains of coal. I knew Rhian would have taken the fight out of the atmosphere to avoid collateral damage.

“If I apply pressure in just the right way, I can block the nerves and keep your ribs from hurting. May I try?”

I nodded, and she began to work her hand along my side, feeling through the tape, which hurt a little at first. She found the spot she wanted, and pressed inward with her fingers very hard. I grunted in pain, and then, wonder of wonders, everything along my injured side went numb. Wonderful, delicious numbness.

“Wow! That’s amazing. You’re going to be one hell of a doc.”

“Yeah, if I ever get a chance to go to med school. Who knows how long it will be before the bugs come back. Who knows if any of us will survive their return.”

“Too dark,” I said, trying to smile. “Look on the bright side. We’re alive today, which is a miracle for me. Probably for those engineers too. Sometimes you have to celebrate your wins on a daily basis.”

“I’m a worrier. And now that I’m in the program, I know I’ll be on the front lines.”

“Yeah, but the bugs won’t be ready for you.”

“I don’t know,” she sighed. “That message about the rocks came from deep space. Could have been from a political opponent of the bugs that are attacking us. Or a rival. But surely the bugs know what and how they did it? They are monitoring us, and the Project isn’t exactly secret.”

“The extent of it is,” I said as I carefully dug my phone out of my pocket. I called the Ops Center to give them a brief summary of what had just happened. The Supervisor said a medical chopper had already been dispatched to pick up three injured, and a full-scale cleanup crew was being assembled but was hours away. I was to stay put for now.

I clicked the call off to huddle in Ariel’s warm embrace, her chin resting gently on my shoulder, her warm, silky hair spilling over me. “You don’t really have to stay if you need to help Rhian, Ariel.”

“She’s got help. And if I let go of this pressure point, it’ll hurt twice as much. I’ll stay with you until the medics get here with some morphine and give it a chance to work.”

I was very OK with that. I felt like I was on top of the world. My personal Uber, taking care of me. Holding me together until the medics got here. No guy could be luckier. Not with her amazing body wrapped around mine.


Chapter Two

I walked out of the hospital four hours and a bunch of x-rays later. Ariel had called it right at the scene. Two broken ribs that they’d taped up. I had bottles of Vicodin and anti-inflammatories and orders to stay home until I came for a recheck in a week.

A company driver was waiting to take me home — he told me that whatever was left of my truck was buried somewhere under the train wreckage. He gave me a voucher for a rental car that I could use when I was ready to drive.

I shuffled through the front door of my house, trying not to twist my upper body or breathe deeper than I had to. The second morphine injection they’d given me in the ER was already wearing off. I grabbed a beer and settled gently onto the couch in front of the TV to check the News. The train wreck was the top local story, but nothing was said about our special project, as expected. The railroad called it an accident that was being investigated. Minor injuries to the engineers. Lots of cleanup to do.

I chuckled, wondering how much the railroad was going to charge us this time. Not that it mattered. The Project had bottomless pockets. We were saving the planet from aliens who thought we were tasty morsels, especially when eaten while screaming.

Tearing my thoughts from that horrific image, I couldn’t stop wondering who that red-headed girl had really been. No other Uber could stop a train like that. She’d remained standing in the exact center of that crossing as the locomotives tore apart around her, which said her flight powers were seemingly absolute. But I suppose like everything else, the Uber’s powers are spread over a wide range. I just wish her bad attitude hadn’t been as developed as her muscles. I think she really was going to kill me. But what the hell, she was Russian. It was said the Russian Ubers worked directly for Putin. He was really old now, but he was just as manipulative as ever.

I slowly reached for my laptop, which kicked off another blinding spasm of pain. I tried not to scream as I dragged it over to my lap. I had to write my report on the incident. I’d barely opened up the Word program when I realized I was no longer alone. Ariel floated out of the darkened kitchen to stand in front of me, dressed the same as before, white top and fashion jeans, her blonde hair glowing as if she truly owned a halo.

“Pretty painful, huh?” she asked, nodding toward my taped up ribs. “Back before they dug up the meteors, I broke three ribs once. Fell off a horse. Hurt like hell.”

“Not the first time for me either. But only two this time. Lucky me.”

“Bullshit,” she laughed. “I see the pain in your eyes. Some ribs hurt a lot more than others. How about I fix them for you?”

I shook my head. “Docs said your pressure point technique won’t work the second time. Bruising or whatever. Ribs just have to heal on their own. Eight weeks.”

“Docs don’t know about me. I have this extra skill. I can heal people.”

I stared at her for a long moment. “No shit? That wasn’t in your file.” I’d never heard Ariel brag before, or show the slightest sign of an ego.

“That’s because I’m a little embarrassed to tell anyone in the Program about it, let alone show them. It’s kind of… personal.”

“I’m still in the Program, Ariel.”

“No, you’re on medical leave. Besides, I trust you to keep my secret. Just between friends. For now anyway. OK?”

“Ah, yeah, sure,” I said, confused. “But healing people? Nobody has ever been documented with that power. Not since Jesus anyway.”

“Would you like me to show you? I can get rid of your pain. Fix your ribs in minutes.”

“Damned right…” I started to say as I tried to sit up, only to gasp in pain, bright spots filling my eyes yet again. I sagged back into the couch to keep from passing out, trying not to breathe much until the sharp pain began to soften.

Ariel floated forward to kneel on the couch, straddling me, her firm breasts the height of my chin. She was very gentle.

“The reason it’s private, John, the reason I’ve haven’t said anything, is that it only works when I’m having an orgasm. And I must also have intimate contact with you at that moment, with you as close to the meteor chip inside me as possible. Obviously that only works on guys.”

I stared at the dark, hard points of her nipples behind the thin fabric of her top as my brain tried to catch up with her words. “You mean… during… sex?”

“Yes,” she breathed. “Some weird kind of energy flows through the intimate connection between us, but only when I’m having an orgasm and only when you are nearly touching the blue crystal. All I know beyond that is that it will heal you.”

I stared into her blue eyes as she looked warmly down into mine, only inches away. A wild flurry of tingling heat filled me, my body getting into it before my brain caught up with her words. “But… but you’re training to be a doctor. Surely not to do this…”

She shook her head. “Obviously not. Kind of ruins the doctor-patient relationship. But I’m not a doctor yet and you aren’t my patient. Technically. I’m just hoping to learn enough about how this gift can be used. Hope you don’t mind being my crash test dummy.”

“But… you know it works? And why me?”

“The first time was an accident. The guy I was dating broke his foot. I fixed it. I mean, I didn’t know that I had done anything at first, only that his foot was perfectly fine when he got out of bed in the morning. It wasn’t until it happened a second time with another injury that I knew it was me. ”

“But… I didn’t think sex was possible. An ordinary man with an Uber?”

“Most of us can control our strength well enough. The myth about us being inviolate or crushing men in the act is just bullshit the Program wants you to believe. Keeps things more professional. Which is cool. Usually.”

I stared at her slack-jawed as she floated backward to hover in mid-air while undoing her jeans, and then peeled them off, her panties joining them on the floor. She had amazing legs. Strong and slender, sprouting from athletically narrow hips. She floated back over to straddle me on the couch again, lifting my hands to place them on her thighs.

“For inspiration,” she winked.

Her skin felt like warm silk stretched over steel as I ran my hands over her, finding her quads were too tight for me to make the slightest impression with my fingers. My mind exploded as my body surged. This was all wrong — she was half my age and a thousand times stronger — but could she really heal me? Anyone?

Part of me wanted to push her away, but I gasped in pain when I tried. “No, Ariel, this isn’t right. I’m way too…”

She leaned down, her lips touching my ear as she whispered: “Shhh. You don’t have to do anything.”

I felt her fingers on the zipper of my pants, taking me out, her warm hand encircling me. “This is all I need.”

I should have told her no again, I should have found a way to stop her. This wasn’t right. But I didn’t do anything. I couldn’t. My heart was pounding so hard it felt as if it was coming out of my chest. I’d never heard of anyone having sex with an Uber. It was impossible. But Ariel said she’d done this before.

My doubts rose to a peak as she guided herself to me, and began to lower herself on me, rocking gently. She was very ready, but even with all that wetness, with her hand tightly around my erection, she was so tight I thought she was going to break me in half. I was about to tell her to stop when she closed her eyes and sighed, and her body gloriously yielded as she took me as deeply as she could. She began rocking herself faster and faster in my lap, her blonde hair swishing across my face as I felt her amazing muscles working, her inner hold on me growing ever tighter as her ecstasy soared. She guided my hands under her top, and I lifted them to her breasts to to help her the best I could, finding that her nipples were hard as steel. Her boobs felt incredible — yielding but firm. I struggled to match her rhythm when she suddenly cried out loudly and began to shake wildly, tossing herself back and forth, my ribs grated agonizingly over each other. I screamed in pain as a blessed cloud of blackness descended over me.

When I awoke, I found myself spooned around her as we lay in the middle of my bed, both of us naked. Her slender body felt silky and warm, but incredibly firm. I traced my fingers over her flat tummy, following the faint grid of superhuman muscle, tight and impossibly defined despite her sleep. I lifted my hand to snuggle it between her breasts, finding as before that they were both yielding and firm, which somehow made them sexier than any ordinary woman.

I shifted myself lower as my body responded to the feel of her breast in my hand, and amazingly, my ribs didn’t hurt. Not even a little. I carefully twisted my lower body to press myself against her pert backside, testing myself, thrilled again to feel no pain. A sense of euphoria from my healed body fueled my rising desire. She felt so slender and young, so delicate yet firm, so small in my arms, her skin softer and warmer than any other woman I’d known. It was hard to imagine that she’d tossed that huge locomotive around like a sack of potatoes. She seemed so impossibly feminine and sexy now.

But my thoughts raced the fastest as I tried to understand how this young woman could have performed her healing magic. Could she really heal anyone she had sex with? What were her limits? A bullet through the heart? No. One had to have blood pressure to have sex. Was this the most amazing Uber power yet? Greater even than strength and invulnerability and flight? No. Not when it came to defeating the aliens. But what an amazing power nevertheless. And what an incredible bedside manner!

She remained soundly asleep despite my touch. My body was moving despite myself, my erection instinctively exploring the space between her legs from the backside. I quickly pulled away from her. No way I was going to try to have sex with her when she was asleep. Or worse, pleasure myself. Bad enough that she was half my age as it was. Instead, I gently crawled out of the bed. Since she still showed no sign of waking, I pulled the sheet and a blanket over her, and got dressed.

This was my bedroom, but it felt all wrong for me to be here. What we’d done wasn’t sex in the usual romantic sense. She’d done her magic solely to heal me. We were just work friends. And as it was, I’d passed out during sex. Hardly a performance to remember.

I felt a sense of loss wash over me as I retreated to the living room, trying mightily to collect my thoughts. I tore the tape from my ribs to probe around with my fingers. Not only were my ribs fully healed, but I felt energetic and strong, which ensured that part of me really wanted to be back in that bedroom with her. I was so ready to be her man and not just her patient. But that would just be wrong.

Instead, I pondered how her healing power might work when there was nothing to be healed? Would it make me healthier than normal? Maybe even stronger? Her body had felt so amazing as I’d snuggled up to her, so much so that I wasn’t completely sure now what was real now and what was a dream. Reality and fantasy got all mixed up around Ubers. After all, sex with an Uber wasn’t even supposed to be a thing. Their natural muscle tone was far too great for any man to overcome. Or so everyone had said. Now that that myth had been proven wrong, I wondered what other things were misunderstood about Ubers? How much of that was deliberate?

One thing was clear, however — this was going to be our secret until she said otherwise. I grabbed my computer and tried to focus my thoughts back on the incident at the tracks. I had to write my report. But all I could see, all I could feel, was Ariel, curled up in my bed, in my arms. All I wanted to do was to rejoin her. So much so that I was having trouble balancing my laptop on my lap.

I savagely pushed those thoughts away as I focused on my job. If I’d learned anything in the SEALS, it was the ability focus in the face of incredible distraction. To tune everything out that wasn’t necessary to do my job. That skill had kept me alive many times.

I typed TUESDAY FIELD REPORT at the top of the Word document, and then just stared at the screen. I knew I had to document yesterday as if it had been just another day in my life. A day with an unplanned problem, an accident, but just another day. I began to outline everything that had happened at the tracks. The red-head. Her arrival, her attitude. The way she’d wrecked train. Threatened my life. Rhian’s rescue. Ivanka’s fantastic punch, even by Uber standards, knocking Rhian out of the picture. Then Ariel’s rescue. I had to capture everything that had happened up to but not including Ariel’s visit here at my house.

My smile grew larger and larger as I typed, filling in the details, knowing this report was going to send shock waves through the program. Everyone would now want to study Ivanka, assuming she was still around or would even participate. Likely she was back delivering her report to Emperor Putin by now, the two of them laughing at us. I didn’t care. Hopefully she was the start of an even greater power that would defend us.

For the first time I didn’t regret my retirement from the Navy. I didn’t miss the SEALS, or the brothers I’d left behind. I was doing something even more important now. I was saving the world. One amazing young woman at a time.

God I loved this job!

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