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The Towers' Syndrome – Chapter 15

Written by papayoya1 :: [Saturday, 25 August 2018 15:33] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 26 August 2018 08:32]

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Sienna meets Nemesis


Chapter 15

Sergeant Velasquez did not know too well what to do. Orders had stopped making sense a few minutes ago and he and his fireteam were wandering without too much purpose around the base grounds.

In his close to ten years in the army, he had never lived such a chaos. They had been in alert for hours and when the order to deploy had finally come, about an hour ago, it had been clear that the top brass was nervous. Things had got increasingly confusing since then. The lack of information about the supposed enemy or the objective of their deployment had been bad enough. The total lack of orders over the last ten minutes had been much worse. And there he was, fully armored, armed to the teeth, incredibly jumpy and without knowing what to do.

It was in this state of mind that Velasquez heard the high-pitched whistle. His brain needed a second to process before he yelled:

“Incoming!”

There was no time to react. The explosion was massive, its shockwave sending Velasquez flying thirty feet backwards. The sergeant needed a few seconds to react, still stunned after the explosion. He could barely hear the screams around him over the loud whistle he knew was only inside his head. When he finally managed to sit down, still uncertain whether all his bones were in one piece, Velasquez was appalled at the sight of the massive crater in an area that had been formerly teeming with soldiers just like him.

The size of the chunks of debris and the distance from the pit told about the magnitude of the explosion. What the hell had they been hit with?

The answer came into view a second later, even if it took Velasquez quite longer to believe what his eyes were seeing. Hovering a few feet over the crater, but right at its center was a woman. She was gorgeous, a ravishing blonde with a better than perfect anatomy that was covered by the tightest two-piece black outfit. This on itself would have already been remarkable at Bixley, but it could not compete with the fact that she was floating, her feet over twenty yards over the bottom of the crater.

Judging from her look, the woman was quite less surprised at the fact that she was flying than everyone else. Velasquez felt a shiver running down his spine. And then, the woman just floated forward.

The loud whistle in his years started fading as the entire scene unfolded. It was soon replaced by the sound of gunfire. It did not take him long to find some of his comrades, the ones that were closer to the edge of the depression in the tarmac, shooting their rifles at the hovering woman from the different positions they had ended up in after the blast.

The flying had been wild enough. Seeing bullets ricochet off her curves as if his fellow soldiers had been shooting at a heavy armored vehicle instead of a skimpily dressed woman was even crazier. All the reaction they managed to cause in her was a smirk. Even if a woman so gorgeous, the expression felt both cold and evil. Velasquez’s fears were magnified when the smirk was accompanied by a chuckle.

Her bare feet touched the tarmac an instant later, her slow hovering bringing her to a graceful landing just ahead of the first group of soldiers. A few of his comrades had decided to stop and flee by then. Velasquez could not blame them. Some others were still fighting despite the shock.

He heard more shots and understood that no well-trained army soldier would have missed from such a close distance. Still, the woman just strutted forward, apparently unconcerned.

She reached the first soldier a few seconds later, a pale boy with white-blond hair that was lying on his back while he tried to insert a new magazine in his rifle. She did not even stop, shoving him out of the way with her toes much like someone getting a flea dog out of the way. The boy was sent flying with such a force that his body cleared the base, starting its descent well beyond Velasquez’s sight.

By the time she got to the position of two other comrades, Velasquez realized that he had emptied his bladder. There was no more shooting. Even the bravest among his fellows had realized by now that it was useless.

This time the woman stopped, even if only for long enough to crouch and raise a second later with the throat of a soldier firmly grasped in each hand. She kept raising the two bodies well after she had finished standing up, holding them a couple of feet off the ground with the same effort it would have taken him to hold a balloon.

Her smile widened, showing her perfect teeth in an expression that conveyed as much disdain as cruelty. Her right arm shot backward an instant later, throwing one of her victims over her shoulder, his body shooting back at such a speed that Velasquez could not hold any hopes of his landing to be anything but fatal.

She then focused her attention on the sole man in her grasp. Velasquez could see him kicking her in rage, but his combat boots were not more effective than the bullets had been just a minute ago. The woman let another strangely audible chuckle out and reached for his stomach with her free hand. Even from the distance Velasquez could have sworn that he had seen the flick. The man’s body was thrown back violently, swaying back with the same violence as her unyielding grip around the soldier’s throat prevented him from shooting away from her.

The soldier was still moving, but it was obvious that there was no fight left in him. The woman released her grasp around his neck and let him drop to the ground. He balled in front of her first and tried to kneel later. It was his last mistake. The casual backhand sent him flying a couple hundred yards. The lack of any screams told Velasquez that he was probably dead the moment her fingers touched his head.

Visibly quite happy with the overall situation, the impossible blonde woman rested her hands on her hips and scanned the ground around her. Velasquez paralyzed in fear the moment her deep gray-blue eyes set on him. He could feel almost as if her gaze was piercing him. Out of instinct, he reached for his rifle and took aim. It was his last conscious action.

The woman’s cold eyes suddenly shone brighter than the sun. Velasquez could not even yell as every cell in his body started burning at once.

*=*=*=*=*

Sienna did not slow down as she reached Bixley base and landed in the middle of its grounds. The world around her exploded violently, and dozens of soldiers were thrown around by the blast, a consequence that Sienna had not been expecting but welcomed anyway. It was hardly the first time she had underestimated the effect of her power in the flimsy world, but rather than feeling ashamed at her lack of judgment she found the entire situation amusing.

The episode with the jets had worked well in Sienna’s ego, but she was still feeling a little mean about the latest stages of the fight with the tanks. The soldiers in the yard paid the price, as Sienna devoted them more attention than they probably deserved and dealt with them one by one after getting out of the crater she had herself created.

Dealing with individual humans was still one of her favorite sports, even if she knew they were so much below her now that there was hardly any challenge when doing so. The fact that she had been one of them until a few weeks back had a lot to do with it, of course. In a way, they were still fairly similar to her, even if they looked like inferior copies. And so, overpowering them with ease was still one of the best measures of what she had become.

She sent a downed soldier flying with a casual kick and then lifted two by their throats, easily getting rid of the first over her shoulder. The second still had some fight in him, and she enjoyed hurting him after he tried to kick her with all he had. She vaporized the fourth grunt as he lifted his rifle against her and proceeded towards Building 9 with a sensual strut, scanning the area ahead of her, looking for some other source of entertainment.

If anything, Bixley base was vast, filled with training grounds, barracks, hangars and all sorts of other buildings. Her enhanced vision and superhuman hearing had given Sienna all she had needed to find that the defensive pattern ended up focusing on Building 9, so she did not need much of her superior intellect to conclude that what she was looking for was there.

She turned her neck slightly as she advanced, lining her picture-perfect nose with a group of half a dozen soldiers that were trying to flee. Her lips were already puckered by the time they noticed her. She did not even put too much effort as she blew them a kiss and sent them a hundred feet backward, where their short flight was stopped by a tall hangar wall.

Her ears caught four heartbeats hiding right behind a transport truck. She did not even need to activate her sonar to find the soldiers’ precise location. All she did was to turn her palm upwards as she took a mental hold of the heavy vehicle. It was soon floating twenty feet over the tarmac, exposing the very shocked soldiers. A cute flick of her wrist was enough to flip the truck on itself and toss it on top of a new group of victims.

“It’s so easy” Sienna muttered as she kept ambling in the direction of the heavy metal door with a large 9 drawn on its center.

She might have limits, but these limits were so out of reach to mere humans that they were as good as non-existent. She was so close now. So close to everything she had ever wished for.

Her hand flashed to grab four of the bullets that had been shot at her by a soldier that had thought that he had managed to hide from her view behind a parked jeep. She opened her palm to observe the pellets as much as to let everyone know what had happened. Then, she tossed them back in the direction they had come in quick succession, hitting the sneaky shooter thrice in the torse and once in the forehead.

In a matter of minutes, Sienna would break into Building 9 and learn about what Fiona's pesky colleagues were working on. This was as much as saying that she would disable any plans they had and take care of anyone that could represent even the slightest threat on her in the future. And once that was done, the world awaited.

She had already given it a glimpse of what was coming when she had stopped in the city to pick up some clothes, but no matter how astonished the people had been, they still did not know what was coming.

She was so close to it now. Soon, the world would have no option but to kneel before her. Sienna longed for the moment. Her entire life she had known she was better than them all, but the world had managed to push her into a corner. The time had come for her to push the world back and take her rightful place. Her superior intelligence had opened the way for her. And she would take it ruthlessly.

It was time for the world to get rid of mediocre leaders. It was time for the world to be ruled with a steady hand. Her hand.

A quick burst of her heat vision took care of three more stragglers just before she reached the heavy twin doors. Her perception from the air that the building resembled some sort of hangar was confirmed by the sight from the ground.

Sienna could have easily broken through the doors, as she did back in the power plant. Her sensitive ears easily caught the panicked screaming on the other side of them and she decided on a more climactic entrance.

So, instead of just walking forward, Sienna placed her slender fingers in the crack where the two heavy plates joined and started to push them apart.

After having dealt with the gunships, the tanks, and the fighter jets, the bulky doors felt like a piece of cake. Sienna was soon rewarded with a loud screeching sound as the metal yielded and the doors started to slide on their rails, breaking their brakes. She did not stop until her arms were stretched entirely. And then, she smiled and pushed her chest out as she took the first step into Building 9, her last speed bump before world conquest.

The hangar was vast. She did not need long to find out her next destination: a rather smaller door on the opposite wall that led deeper into the complex. Between it and Sienna lay the army’s last line of defense, if it could even be called that.

The machine gun nests and piled-up dirtbags felt hastily assembled and the men manning them looked far from ready. Their resolve was even worse, which told Sienna that they were all aware of the type of foe they were facing by now.

She widened her smile and raised her voice, making it reverberate in every corner of the spacious room.

“I could offer you to give up and leave, but what would be the point?”

Twin supercharged beams emitted from her eyes an instant after she finished her sentence. They met one of the impromptu trenches with precision and blew it up with a roaring explosion, starting hell.

Dozens of rifles and machine guns roared a second later. Sienna was as unconcerned about the hailstorm of bullets as she had been with anything the humans had been able to throw at her so far, but after a few seconds letting them bounce without consequence off her fantastic anatomy, she decided to try something else.

Extending her arm, Sienna opened her palm and kept it facing forward. The barrage went on, but bullets stopped hitting her. They stopped mid-air instead. Soon, the pattern of hovering slugs took a spherical shape around Sienna, and it became clear that the superwoman was creating some sort of shield around her. By the time the soldiers realized about the futility of shooting at her, and the rate of fire started to decrease, Sienna was holding hundreds of bullets in place just with the power of her mind.

A sharp movement of her forearm sent them back in the direction they had come, the increased speed she had put into them making them tear through any protection elements the soldiers had placed between them and their attacker with ease.

Sienna chuckled as she resumed her strut along the now silent space. The target door was pushed out of the way by a simple kick, leading Sienna through an uneventful narrow corridor and then into a smaller open area where there were soldiers once more.

The fact that they were not even ready or bunkered told Sienna that she was already getting close to her final destination. The elation she felt made her more playful, and she had already learned that she tended to look for more physical contact with her victims when that happened.

The soldiers were not even trying to attack her. Most were too confused to react. The rest were trying to get out of the way. It was too late for them, of course.

Sienna pushed a couple of troopers away with disdain, sending them crashing against opposing walls with enough violence not to have to wonder about their deaths. A couple more she kicked. A casual backhand sent three broken bodies spiraling along the room as her lips were already releasing a gust of freezing wind on two fellow soldiers that were trying to hide.

Sienna was half the way from the elevator doors she was heading to when a light on top of them blinked, and they opened. She smiled when she saw the big man stepping outside of the cabin.

He was huge and muscular, his no-nonsense expression and crew haircut showing Sienna that he was someone that was not used to have people messing with him. Despite her considerable improvement in height thanks to the comet, the man was still probably a full foot taller than she was. His biceps and pectoral muscles smoothly bulged under the tight-fitting black T-shirt, and his camouflage pants were also much more fitting than she was used to seeing in his kin. He was a monster of a man. Sienna could not have been any more unimpressed, though.

Sienna could not prevent a chuckle when she saw the big man head straight against her in an angry walk. Not finding any reason not to, she resumed her swagger towards him. She did not need her enhanced vision to see the hate in the man’s face as he advanced towards her. Sienna found it funny and resolved to take her time with him.

The sturdy man and the gorgeous woman kept closing the distance with each other. When the man was finally at arm's reach, Sienna reached for his chest and shoved him to the side using only a fraction of her strength. She intended to send him flying across the room, but to keep him alive and mostly unhurt. She was about to enjoy her last moment of indulgence before breaking into the latest secret facility working against her and putting an end to the remote threat it represented.

Sienna's expression changed, full of surprise when the man stayed in place.

“What the f…” Sienna started saying.

And then, a mighty fist punched her in the stomach, and she felt pain for the first time since she had been hit by the comet-based bullet. It was not a mild pain. To Sienna, it felt like being run over by a bus… way before she had had her first contact with the rock, that was. She lost all the air in her lungs and, an instant later, she was flying backward. It was not mild. Her body shot at high speed and broke through the first concrete wall as if it had not been there. Curiously, this did not hurt her at all, but the pain in the stomach was still intense, and it had not yet receded by the time she hit the second wall and broke through it all the same. Sienna was too startled to use her telekinetic powers to slow her flight, so she broke through a third wall and was soon in the open air. She did not stop until her back hit a Humvee and sent it rolling on itself. Sienna hit the ground and groaned, the pain still so intense so that she could not stand up right away.

What the hell had that been? Sienna’s mind was racing through the options as she noticed a weird feeling crawling inside her body. When she recognized the fear that was born out of uncertainty, Sienna felt a moment of intense rage. She was beyond fear!

Jumping to her feet, she scowled at the visible opening in the wall of Building 9 and got ready to charge back inside. She did not need to. The muscular man appeared out of thin air some thirty feet in front of her.

Sienna connected the dots at the speed her superhuman mind allowed her. For an instant, she had feared that she might have lost part of her power, even if her breaking through the walls suggested that she still retained at least part of it. Now she knew that this was not the case. She felt as strong as ever. Only the man in front of her seemed to be equally strong, if not stronger.

“How is this possible?” she said in an angry tone. “I was four months in a coma before waking up with my full power!”

"You'll have to ask the eggheads down in the lab," the muscular man said. His voice was as powerful as his build. "You may not be as brilliant as you seem to think, Dr. Towers. Four months feels like a massive waste of time when the guys managed to do everything in twenty-four hours. I bet you'll be interested in knowing how they managed to outsmart you" he added.

Sienna felt more hurt by his taunting than by his punch.

“Oh, I certainly will. I bet they will be interested in meeting me to” she said between clenched teeth, making it sound as threatening as she intended to.

"You'll first have to go through me, though," the man said.

“That seems easy enough to do” Sienna replied and launched herself towards the soldier, getting her fist ready.

Sienna, the brilliant scientist, the cold-minded thinker, was not reasoning anymore. The rage she felt at having been hurt and having had her talent belittled demanded a quick response, and after days of obliterating anyone that stood in her way, her instincts were telling her to do the same with this man.

At super-speed, she closed the distance with the man in a fraction of a second. Then, she launched a powerful uppercut to his jaw. It never hit there. Moving with a skill she had only seen in Hollywood movies before, the man deflected her punch with his left arm and connected his own hit in her cheek with his right.

The punch in the stomach had hurt. This one was much worse. Sienna was airborne again, shooting across the base at high speed as her mind felt blocked by the impossibility of what was happening. Her flight stopped when she broke through yet another wall and in a different building, this time a real hangar with two attack helicopters on it.

She stood up faster this time, even if it was as hard as it had been after the first punch. An oozing feeling made her brush her backhand across her mouth. She frowned in deep anger when she saw the bluish fluorescent fluid on it: her blood.

Letting out a loud shriek, Sienna shot through another wall and exited the building, looking for her attacker, mad with fury.

She did not need to go far. The big man was waiting for her just outside. Every cell in her body was asking Sienna to charge again. She stopped in the last moment, wary of what had happened the last time she did.

“You are not so brave now that you don’t have the upper hand, do you?” the man asked.

“Who are you?” she asked, her voice barely concealing her rage.

"Major Joseph Rivetti, Navy Seals," the man said.

Sienna processed the information. So, they had taken an elite soldier and turned him into a super-soldier. But how? She was undoubtedly smarter than anyone the government might have put together to work in this project, and even if they had the advantage of reusing her research, she could not imagine how someone could have fast-tracked the four-month process that turned her into what she was in less than twenty-four hours one.

In any case, there were no doubts about the fact that the man facing her enjoyed the same benefits of the comet she did, and this was a change of landscape. A massive shift in scenery.

“What do you want?” Sienna asked, trying to make some time as she thought about what to do. She was not sure about the course of action for the first time since her transformation. And the reason for that is that also for the first time, she was not sure that she could prevail.

“Oh, that’s easy. I want to finish you” the man said. “I would normally not hit a woman, but that’s not a problem with you. You are a monster!” the man said.

Sienna hesitated. Rivetti charged. She waited, hopeful that being on the reacting side would give her some sort of advantage. It did not. Rivetti threw a punch straight to her face. Sienna saw it coming and crouched, only to realize that it had all been a deception. Rivetti's fist never moved where she was expecting it. Instead, his open hand grabbed the back of her head and a strength she had not felt for a long time pushed her down, where the man's knee was waiting. The howl could be heard in the entire base. Each and every one of Rivetti's strikes was harder than the previous ones, and Sienna was starting to feel helpless. The feeling intensified when a sharp blow in her back sent her face down into the tarmac, her body digging through it until she was two feet embedded in the ground.

It took longer than the previous times to recover. Physically, Sienna was beginning to feel battered. The pain to her ego was much worse. The fear she felt as she removed herself from the depression her body had created was not only for her own wellbeing. That was undoubtedly the main one, an intense panic that started in the lizard part of her brain, the one that took care about survival. But all the way up in her rational mind there was an even worse type of anxiety: the possibility to lose everything she had thought was within her grasp.

Rivetti looked cool as she groaned all the way back to her feet. He did not even rush to hit her again, seeming confident that he would be able to hurt her any time he wanted.

Sienna raced through the possibilities. She did not like any of them. For an instant, she was tempted to just flee and live to fight another day. She could try to find out more about this new foe, to find some weak spots. It was probably the sensible thing to do… but she could not get herself to do it. She was Sienna Towers, the self-proclaimed new ruler of the world. She had the power of a god! And goddesses did not run!

The problem with not running away was that she did not know what to do if she stayed. She examined the man, his calm demeanor as he sized her with his dark eyes. There was an air of lethal efficiency about him. Sienna understood the odds she was facing. This man had been powered up, just like her. But while she had been a scrawny lab rat before being blessed by the comet, major Rivetti had been an elite member of the Navy's elite force. He had probably killed more than one man with his bare hands before receiving the comet's gift, so without the edge of superior strength over him, Sienna understood that she was severely outclassed. Rivetti's attitude suggested that he knew that much too.

"I won't make it easy for you," Rivetti said as he took a step towards her. "You don't deserve any mercy."

Sienna hesitated and was about to step back, but then she held her ground. She might be in for a terrible defeat, but at least she would keep her dignity. She was trying to make her mind up on how to react to the man's next attack when her superhearing caught the cheering in the distance. She turned her neck enough to see a group of eight soldiers standing some hundreds of yards away and following the combat.

She only had to zoom in a bit to notice their animated expressions, arms up as they supported Rivetti. It made her lose it. Her eyes powered up in just an instant, releasing twin and deadly beams that scorched her foe’s supporters and the area around them a second later. Sienna felt alive. Her opponent might be too strong and skilled, but the rest of the world was as much at her mercy as it had been a few minutes before.

“Noooo!” she heard Rivetti scream.

“Were there friends, by any chance?” Sienna teased.

The larger man charged at her in rage. She saw him coming this time. She still could do nothing to stop him, his fist pounding her in the stomach again and sending her through two buildings before she landed in the lobby of a third.

By the time she moved out of the rubble to meet the waiting Rivetti once more, Sienna was holding a man by the throat in each hand. It made the Navy Seals officer stop. Sienna felt very beaten, but also happy at having found a weak spot in the man.

“Are you familiar with any of these two?” she asked, blood dripping down her lip once more.

“Let them go!” Rivetti screamed, looking more serious than he had so far.

"Here, have them!" Sienna said as she tossed the two soldiers towards him with full force. To the Seal's credit, he managed to react an instant before the two bodies hit him. His arms shot out, trying to catch them mid-flight. It did not do them any good. With the momentum Sienna had given them, touching the Major's impregnable skin was all that was needed to make the two bodies burst. By the time everything was done, the soldiers were nowhere to be seen, and Rivetti was covered with red blood.

“You’ll pay for this!” he screamed.

“We’ll see about that!” Sienna replied and let two ultra-charged beams she had been building up all along rip through her eyes.

Her surroundings lit with the sudden change in the air temperature. She was hardly concerned about that. She was more focused on the effects on her target, which was no other than Major Rivetti.

Sienna's nipples got harder against the Zylon top as kept releasing a massive amount of energy, hitting the body of the super-soldier harder than she had hit anything so far. Soon, she started moaning, the energy surge feeling incredibly arousing. She had to cut the lasers a few seconds later, the drain in her reserves already beginning to be noticeable.

Sienna was expecting nothing. Or to be more precise, she was expecting Major Rivetti to had turned into nothing, some fine dust in the air, at most. Her eyes opened wide with a mix of surprise and uneasiness when her foe was standing just in the spot where she had hit him, apparently unaffected by her barrage, other than for the fact that he had lost his military attire.

"You've become too used to your powers," Rivetti said in a cold and angry tone.

Sienna had thought the man had been muscular before. She discovered muscles that she had even forgot existed now that he could see him stark naked.

“But they are useless once you are matched” Rivetti added.

Sienna could still not understand how in hell the man had been able to survive her blast. How could it be possible?

“I’ve played enough with you. Prepare to die, you heartless bitch!” the Major bellowed.

Sienna pushed her lips out and blew out of desperation. Rivetti was seemingly unaffected by the hurricane that was pushing even the parked vehicles behind him. Then, she switched and started making her breath as cold as she could. Rivetti's nude body began to get covered with frost, which encouraged Sienna to keep going. When he saw him getting trapped inside his own ice statue, she felt some hope. It was short lived. The ice broke, and the powerful Navy Seal kept going, vanishing from view an instant later. Next thing Sienna knew was that she was flying back once more, the kick in her stomach so wild that she had even puked.

Rivetti was on top of her before she could stand up, the building they were at crumbling inconsequentially around them. His bare foot was pushed on her chest before she could react and the next thing Sienna knew was that the man was pushing her down with vice. What saved her was that the major was not yet used to the effect two beings like Sienna and him had on the world around them. So, rather than crushing her ribcage, as he had intended, he only managed to push Sienna’s body deeper into the ground, her back easily breaking through the concrete.

It was all Sienna needed to react and take hold of Rivetti's ankle. She tossed him before he could respond.

Adrenaline rushed through Sienna's veins and pushed her to stand up when this last action worked, and her foe's powerful body was tossed through the wall and through two adjacent buildings, much like hers had been a few times before. Cleaning the blood from her face once more, Sienna smirked as she muttered:

"You are not invincible, asshole."

She knew the man was not seriously hurt. He could not be. After all, she had not even hit him, she had just tossed him around. But having landed her first successful strike against him worked miracles in Sienna’s morale.

Bixley base was starting to look like an abandoned warzone as Sienna scanned for the Seal. Their fight had been so brutal that many buildings had crumbled and a few more were in a terrible state as a consequence of it. She could not be less concerned about that.

Lifting herself in the air as she looked for the naked figure of the superman, she found the time to process some of the things that had happened. One of her first conclusions was that, much as she had feared, her non-physical powers were not as strong as her physical strength. She had already been faced by that when she had tried to crush the tank with her telekinesis and seeing her laser vision or her freezing breath be utterly ineffective against another superman proved the point.

Rivetti had not used any of those tricks against her yet. He probably even did not know how to use them, if what he had said was right and he had only been in his current condition for a short while. Sienna now understood that, while it was frustrating not being to deal with him in that way, she was also safe from any attempts he might do in the future other than direct physical blows.

The problem, of course, was that Rivetti seemed to have enough with his fists and legs to hurt her badly enough. And then, it struck like a lightning bolt.

For all she knew, Sienna should be dead already. The major had barely pulled back in any of his punches. If she had met him back before the comet had blessed them both, any of those hits would have knocked her cold. And she had taken a few. She was barely a fighter, and he was likely to be the best among the best when it came to human killing machines. Sienna could not deny that she had taken quite the beating, but she was still standing, and in the end, none of the blows had had any serious consequences, other than a small trickle of bluish blood.

A theory was starting to form in Sienna's head, and when she saw the rubble moving to have Major Rivetti emerge from it, she shot towards him, ready to test it.

“You are not so brave now, are you?” Sienna taunted, standing a few paces away.

Rivetti chuckled, which worked well enough for her.

“Getting bold? Even you know this was a lucky strike” he said. He sounded pissed. This was good.

“Prove me wrong” Sienna replied.

He did not waste time, which told her that the Seal had felt really humiliated at having been taken off guard. Sienna connected her superspeed to see his fist heading toward her stomach. She did not try to deflect it. She did not try to evade it. She took the full blow, feeling the pain as she bent. She was not shot backward, though. Her feet, firmly planted in the ground, dug deeper as she focused all her strength in staying in place.

Rivetti was not expecting it. Which was precisely why Sienna had done it. Now within her personal space, the larger man could not react when Sienna’s hands reached out and grabbed both his forearms. She pulled him towards her before he noticed. Her knee was waiting, shooting like a spring and impacting without any restraint in the soldier’s exposed groin.

The man’s growl could be heard in the entire base grounds. Sienna enjoyed the impact with wild delight. She had felt something breaking, and it had not been in her body. Letting go, she smirked as Rivetti dropped to his knees and moaned in deep pain.

Her own pain, her own frustration were quickly fading away. Crouching, she closed her fingers around the man’s powerful chin and lifted him with her, bringing his defeated face in front of her satisfied eyes.

He was shocked as his lips drew a word that did not come out:

“How?”

"You are a better fighter," Sienna said. "I have to admit as much. It's logical, I guess. You probably trained day and night over the last twenty years. I, on the other hand, was a nerd. You know what that is useful for?"

Sienna used her free hand to make Rivetti shake his head.

"No? Well, for starters, it helped me realize that for all your power and skills, you were only exposed to sixty percent of the rock. Yes, you are bigger. Yes, you are way better at hand to hand combat. But despite all your talking, when it comes to raw strength, I still have the upper hand."

Sienna let go of the man and saw him dropping on the ground.

“Did I really hurt you that much?” she taunted from above.

Her kick was way more brutal than any kick she had delivered in this current state. Sienna had drawn her leg as far as she could and had not pulled any strength out as her toes hit the man’s ribcage.

Rivetti's body traveled through Bixley's grounds, the trail of smoke and crumbling buildings marking his path for anyone that did not share Sienna's enhanced senses. By the time he landed, after bouncing off a parked tank, Sienna was already waiting for him.

She knelt and rose his head.

“God! You are messy!” she teased. The Major’s face was bloodied, way worse than hers had been.

He tried to throw a punch to her face, but Sienna saw it coming and deflected it with ease. It was clear that the man was broken.

Spying a group of soldiers in the distance, Sienna had an evil idea and rose holding the man once more.

“I don’t know… maybe your comrades could give you some comfort?”

She did not wait for an answer before she tossed him, Rivetti's beaten but still super-powered body traveling towards the group of soldiers at high speed and tearing through them as if they had not been there. The wall behind them barely slowed him down before he landed in the middle of yet another hangar.

Sienna did not even use her super speed this time. She just strutted toward the building and stepped into it through the hole Rivetti's body had created. He was standing up by the time she got inside, but from his shaking, it was evident that he was not too much of a threat.

To test it, Sienna blew at him. The results were so different from her previous attempt! No longer able to fight back, the Major was sent flying, crashing with yet another wall by the time Sienna closed her lips.

She had to admit that the Seal was a resilient man. He managed to stand up, back against the wall, as Sienna ambled in his direction. She had closed the distance by half by the time he launched him towards her, throwing a desperate punch. Sienna did not even step aside. She just raised her open hand and intercepted the soldier's attempt mid-air, holding the man's quite larger fist in her comparatively small hand.

She could see Rivetti pushing forward with all his strength. She enjoyed not even having to strain to hold him back. When her fingers closed and the man's knuckles cracked, Sienna chuckled as he dropped on his knees in pain. She had not broken his fingers, at least not yet, but it was obvious that she was able to inflict considerable pain.

"You know what? I was even afraid for a moment" Sienna said as she crouched to look at the Major in the eye. "You are a hell of a foe" she admitted. "I guess I had not realized about the full extent of my power until you brought it to the limit."

Sienna’s left hand then closed on Rivetti’s shoulder as she said:

“Still, you should be ashamed of having hit a woman!”

She backhanded him with vice, his head shooting to the side, his body only staying in place because of her firm hold on it. A new slap, now in the opposite direction, made the man moan once more, as bluish blood started to trickle down his lip. He definitely looked like a mess as Sienna stood up, dragging him by the shoulder.

The area around his groin was starting to get purple, letting Sienna know that her first knee had been the most harmful of her blows. As a matter of fact, the man's apparently impossible to match strength had been missing since then onwards.

"It's a pity, you know?" Sienna said. "You are a good looking man. I always liked muscles, even if that was the last thing a girl like me could get. And yours are as good as they get!" she went on in a sweet voice.

Sienna then pushed the Major unceremoniously, sending him into the opposite steel wall. He was shoved with such a force than rather than bouncing, his dense body deformed it, sinking in the steel and staying in place for long enough for Sienna to materialize in front of him.

"I would have gladly fucked you," Sienna said. "You are probably the only man I could have fucked without breaking after the first thrust, of course. But I would have enjoyed it."

She then closed her hand around his darkened manhood and squeezed just a little, getting a loud groan in response.

“I’m afraid you are of not much use anymore, though” she mocked. “It’s not as if it would have worked. Trying to kill each other was never a good start.”

Sienna then balled her fist and punched him in the stomach. She did not hold at all, sending Rivetti a couple of feet deeper into the steel and making him growl.

“Mmmmm” Sienna moaned. “You are still the only thing around I can hit with all my strength without fear of disintegrating, though. It cannot compare to sex, but it’s reasonably satisfying.”

Her first hit the man once more, sending him deeper into the steel.

She placed her hands back at her hips as she observed the Navy Seals Major, the man that had been the closest to stopping her ever since she had gained her powers. Sienna realized about her mistake instantly. Truth be told, Rivetti might have been the mightiest enemy she had had to face, but Fiona Black was still the person that had been the nearest to killing her. Considering that she had been merely a human, it made the feat even worthier.

She wondered where Fiona might be. She realized she was eager to meet her again, now that she had served her purpose and brought her to the base. Sienna respected her, and up to some point, she kind of liked her. To her, the fact that she had been able to hurt her despite her vastly inferior condition was something to admire. It was, of course, a reason to kill her too. After all, Sienna was not a sentimentalist and there was no way she would leave anyone with the potential of plotting against her alive.

Otherwise, Angela would still be breathing.

The memories of her former mentor made her focus back on the beaten superman in front of her.

"One of my only friends told me something earlier today that I think is quite suitable for your current situation. I think you will agree with it. I'm sure that right after you woke up and felt all that raw power inside you, you felt like a god. And I'm pretty sure that once you started battering me, you thought that you were unstoppable. Maybe you were even thinking about what you would do once you finished me off. I don't know… maybe they chose the most righteous man around, but one thing I've learned by heart is that power corrupts. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with it! Why should someone like you or me abide by the same rules as the worthless scum around us? Did you think about it? Were you already thinking about the changes you would bring to the world once you got rid of me?" Sienna asked.

Major Rivetti was looking at her through swollen eyes. Despite his lack of response, it was clear that he was following, so Sienna just went on.

"Anyway, I'm derailing. What my friend said was that us… you and I… we have limits. And as much as I hate to admit it, I know she was right. We think of ourselves as gods, but still, we have limits. The reason we feel godly is, of course, that our power is so much above everyone else's, that it is as good as limitless. But we do have needs. We are alive. And this means we can die."

Major Rivetti raised his head a bit, inside his steel "cage," trying to get a straighter look into her eyes.

"The difference between you and me, of course, is that no one can kill me," Sienna said.

She then reached into the pocket of her tight Zylon pants. A second later, she was holding a small and irregular dark sphere between her fingers.

“I don’t know why I’ve kept this along. I destroyed every other sample, but I kind of grew attached to it. After all, it was inside me” Sienna said. “I got it from someone that did a much better job than you did at trying to stop me, by the way” she added.

Sienna then extended her palm and let the ball roll into its center.

“It’s curious, don’t you think? What gave us the power is what can take it away. But of course, you would not understand that, would you? After all, you are nothing more than a qualified grunt.”

Sienna then pushed her lips out and blew a short and strong kiss, shooting the comet fragment at supersonic speeds. The impact penetrated the Major's chest as a regular bullet would have gone through anyone else's. The only difference was that the blood that started pouring in abundance was blue instead of dark red. Major Rivetti's eyes closed a second after the bullet went through his heart.

*=*=*=*=*

Fiona followed Smith up the access shaft. The train cart had been tiny, barely able to hold them both as it transported them down the narrow rails at a frustrating snail's pace. Smith had known the way, and Fiona had not questioned him, following the instructions from Director Stahl to remain silent.

Smith had the hatch already opened by the time Fiona caught up with him in the long ladder. What she saw when she got out was not what she was expecting. Rather than a warehouse or an abandoned building they were in the wild. If one could call the flat farmlands wilderness, of course.

The hatch was behind a short tree, partially hidden by the tall grass.

“Agent Smith. Agent Black” a voice whispered.

Fiona turned, startled. She relaxed when she saw an unremarkable man sitting in the hood of an unremarkable Ford Focus.

“Paulson?” Smith asked.

The everyday man, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, nodded as he stood up and opened the back door of the car. Smith got in, so Fiona followed without asking.

The engine started, and the car rolled slowly along the side road. A full minute later Fiona could not hold it anymore and asked:

“Where are we going?”

“South” was all the answer that she got from the driver, the man her comrade had called Paulson.

Fiona was about to protest when the side road merged with a wider yet still empty one. The thick columns of black smoke were obvious in the distance. Fiona did not need to ask to know that they were in the direction of Bixley base.

“Is it bad?” Smith asked.

Paulson only nodded, but his expression did not leave any room for doubts.

Fiona decided to follow along and remained silent, trying to imagine the horrors Sienna Towers might have unleashed in the large army base. Smith and Paulson did not seem to relax until the driver took the ramp for I-383 and merged the heavy traffic.

“I got you as safe as it gets” Paulson said. Fiona understood that he referred to blending with the crowd. In a world with Sienna Towers, the concept of safety was relative. Fiona, more than anyone else, knew that there was no hiding from her if she wanted to find you. In that context, not standing out was the best they could do.

"Reports from her visit to the city are spreading out already," Paulson said as he pointed at heavier than usual traffic. "There is confusion, now. It will soon turn into panic."

“Will we make it on time?” Smith asked.

“They are not going anywhere without you” Paulson replied.

Fiona was about to ask, but Smith’s look was all she needed to understand that it was better to remain silent.

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