Written by Darala Starr :: [Wednesday, 17 July 2019 20:41] Last updated by :: [Thursday, 18 July 2019 10:08]
Darala ran faster than she ever had. Her speed was tremendous, her stride mightier than a stallion! She leaped over walls without missing a stride, heading away from the edges of the town and back into the forested area where her ship had landed.
Her wristband communicator came to life and she heard the ship’s computer voice.
“Darala Starr, I see you approaching very fast.”
Without breaking her superhuman speed, Darala said, “The Torellian somehow modified the transponder into a bomb. It’s getting very hot in my hands. I’m having a hard time holding it,” Darala shouted over the rushing wind in her ears.
“Then there’s no time to lose,” the ship’s computer answered. “You’re almost here!”
After another half mile of Darala’s superhuman speed brought her to the ship where the main outer door slowly opened. The heat from the transponder was growing impossibly hot and Darala could no longer hold it.
“I can’t hold on any longer,” Darala said.
“Quickly,” the ship’s computer said, “Place it in the airlock, just inside the outer door! Hurry, Darala!”
Darala carefully placed the device on the deck inside the airlock. He heat had become unbearable in her hands and she was all too glad to get rid of it.
“Now,” the computer said, “stand back. Far back!”
Darala asked “Computer, what do you mean? What are you going to do?”
“No time for questions, Darala Starr! Get back now.”
Reluctantly, Darala stepped back away from the ship as the outer door closed.
“Wait,” Darala said, “what are you doing?”
“The only thing that can be done,” the computer said. “Goodbye, Darala Starr.”
And a moment later, the ship’s engine roared to life, the hull lifting suddenly above the ground. A strong wind filled the area and Darala squinted to see through the dust as the ship lifted higher and higher.
“No, wait!” Darala cried. “Don’t leave me here!”
A moment later, her ship vanished in a vertical lift, disappearing into the sky.
“Computer?” Darala said into her bracelet. “Computer!”
There was no response, just the sound of those creatures called birds in the afternoon air. Darala stared into the sky, the emptiness staring back at her.
A moment later, Tina’s car pulled off a rough-hewn path and stopped awkwardly between two trees. Jason, Tina and the Torellian alighted quickly.
Darala turned to them, her eyes wide. Jason ran to her side.
“Darala, what’s happened?” he asked.
“My ship,” Darala said, trying to catch her breath. “The tranponder… it was too hot, I couldn’t hold on to it anymore. I placed it in the airlock and… the ship left without me!”
Darala looked into the sky above, her eyes searching desperately for the ship.
“Computer,” she said into her bracelet. “Computer?”
There was no response. A terrible silence fell over them and suddenly, Darala began to cry softly.
Astonished, Jason eased his arms around her, and pulled her close.
“Oh, Darala. It’s going to be okay. It’ll be okay.”
Tina rushed over and put her hand on Darala’s shoulder.
“Darala, we’re here for you. Jason’s right, it’ll be okay,” Tina said. “You can stay with us.”
Darala wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “No, it won’t. If I can’t get home, I’ll die here,” she said.
Jason looked her in the eye and said, “Darala, you’re asuperwoman. There’s no one on Earth that can match you! You’re not going to die here.”
Suddenly, the Torellian appeared next to them. “Doctor Darala Starr is right. She will not survive an extended stay on this planet. She needs to return to Tau Ceti Alpha.”
“I don’t understand,” Jason said.
Darala said, “Jason, the longer I stay on Earth, the more my bone density will decrease. In this much lesser gravity, my muscles will atrophy and my strength will fade. My lungs will loose their capacity and my blood flow, heart, vessels will constrict. I’ll weaken and die, Jason. A very painful death.”
“But… how long?” Tina asked.
Darala shook her head, wiping more tears from her eyes.
“I don’t know. Years. Maybe not that long.”
The sheer weight of this hit Jason hard, and he felt tears in his eyes. His heart heaved and an ache like he’d never known filled him.
“Darala,” he said, “I love you. And I will stay by your side no matter what. I’ll be with you.”
She looked into his gaze and threw her arms around him, pressing her body into his. Jason could feel the great power of her arms around him, but there was total control. He was in no danger from her strength.
“Besides,” Jason said, “None of us knows how much time we have, Darala. I suppose we’re all in the same boat.”
Darala looked into Jason’s eyes, her own eyes wet with tears. Still, her beauty was breathtaking, the feel of her skintight lycra intoxicating.
Darala said, “Thank you, Jason. I….”
“Darala Starr,” a voice said from her bracelet. “Darala Starr are you still there?”
Darala’s face lit up. She spoke into her bracelet.
“Computer? Computer, is that you?”
“Who else,” the computer said.
A moment later, Darala’s spaceship appeared almost out of thin air, hovering over the landscape and then carefully descending toward them. They all backed up and made room so the craft could land safely.
Darala jumped for joy, leaping thirty feet in the air and coming back down into a perfect pose.
“Wow,” Tina said. “I’ve never seen you dothatbefore!”
The outer door to the ship opened slowly. The transponder was gone.
“Computer,” Darala asked, “Where’s the transponder?”
“It’s detonated safely in space. It’s no longer a threat to anyone. Now, we can go home.”
Darala smiled, “Yes… home.”
Slowly she turned back to Jason and Tina. Tina was crying softly, her arms folded across her chest.
Darala embraced her and said, “I am going to miss you, Tina. You’re my very good friend. I will never forget you.”
Tina hugged her tightly back. “Don’t be a stranger,” she said, choking up.
Darala turned to the Torellian and gave him a pointed glare.
“As for you…” she said, then shook her head. “I can’t take you with me. You’ll die instantly on Tau Ceti Alpha.”
The Torellian raised his right hand and said, “I’ll behave here on Earth. I’m promise. No more games. I’ve learned my lesson.”
Jason said, “I’ll keep an eye on him.”
Finally, Darala moved to Jason and they kissed deeply and desperately.
“Darala,” he said. “Please don’t go. Stay with me. We can live our lives here together.”
She kissed him again, the two of them locked in a passionate cage. Finally, she backed off and unfastened her silver belt. She carefully folded it over and then handed it to Jason. He looked at the belt in his hands, then back at her. She smiled at him, her beauty like a bright light.
“Dear Jason, keep this for me,” she said.
Jason took the belt and then nodded. “I will.”
Tina suddenly appeared and handed Darala some folded clothes.
“These are for you, Darala. Two pairs.”
Darala turned them over in her hands: t-shirts and those wonderful satin shorts.
“Thank you,” she said. “I think I’ll wear these on the way home.”
Finally she turned and walked toward the ship.
Darala entered the outer door, and very slowly, it closed behind her.
Jason broke down and sobbed. Tina grabbed him and pulled him into an embrace and he gripped her tightly back.
“It’s okay. It’ll be okay,” she whispered in his ear.
A moment later, the ship lifted from the ground, hovered, and then began to ascend faster and faster until it became a blur, a tiny spot and then nothing at all. The sky was empty.
Jason looked down at Darala’s belt which rested in his hands. That beautiful silver belt.
“Why did she give this to me,” he wondered out loud.
Tina said, “I think she was trying to tell you something.”
Jason hung on to Darala’s belt tightly in his hand. Looking one last time into the empty sky.Weeks had passed and Darala wandered around the ship in her T-shirt and satin shorts. She loved the way they sat high on her waist and showed off the full length of her powerful legs.
The computer said, “Darala Starr, you do look amazing in those Earth fitness clothes. I can replicate more of them them for you.”
“Yes,” Darala said, “I would like that. Different colors, too! Red, blue, and gold.”
Darala thought about Earth. About Jason and Tina, but mostly about Jason. She missed him deeply and there were many times during her flight that she wished she could turn around and go back to see him... to bond with him. Even thought he was human, she believed the experience would have beenexhilarating.
She also thought very much about her superhuman strength on Earth and all the feats she was able to perform; how she was able to lift such great weights and with her bare hands she was able to bend steel. Her Tau Ceti physiology of course made this possible, but she could not deny that her physical training back home added to her already advantageous might.
“And how are you feeling, Darala?” the computer asked.“Since you asked me to increase the atmospheric pressure, slowly over time, I’ve made those adjustments so that your body can acclimate,” the computer said.
“I feel wonderful,” Darala said. “Better than that.”
Darala took a deep breath, allowing that additional pressure into and then out of her lungs. Watching herself in the digital mirror she was impressed at how large her chest swelled when she breathed in like that.
And then an idea struck her.
“Computer,” Darala said. “Can you replicate for me a bar made of Tau Ceti steel?”
The computer said, “For what possible reason?”
Darala paced slowly back and forth, her hands on her hips.
“An experiment,” she said.
“Is this why you requested me to add atmospheric pressure to the ship?”
“Yes,” Darala said.
The computer said, “Very well. Please give me specifics of the bar to manufacture.”
Darala thought about it and said, “Three earth feet by one half an inch thick.”
“I am replicating the item now,” the computer said. “Keep in mind, Darala, Tau Ceti steel is far, far beyond the strength of Earth steel which you were quickly able to overpower.”
“Yes, I understand,” Darala said, now standing in front of the digital mirror, admiring her legs and hips in those wonderful shorts.
A minute later the computer said, “Darala, the bar is ready.”
From a hidden panel in the wall of the spacecraft, there came a gleaming bar, exactly to her specs. Darala picked it up and felt the weight of it. It was heavier than Earth steel, which was expected. And if course it was far stronger and a comparison wasn’t even worth making.
But Darala wondered if what she had in mind was even remotely possible. She turned the bar over in her hands and then placed her hands shoulder width apart, holding the bar parallel with the ground in front of her chest.
“Darala starr,” the computer said, “I admire your ambition.”
Darala said, “Ambition has nothing to do with it.”
Darala closed her eyes and remembered how it felt to bend steel on Earth—how the metal seemed so malleable in her hands and the way it cried audibly from the stress of her Tau Ceti strength. It was euphoric in every way. One could almost say it was as close to the feeling of 'bonding' that one could experience.
Darala gently rocked her hips back and forth in those satin shorts and found a strong stance. She exerted her strength on the bar. More and more strength. Her arm muscles were bulging, her shoulder and chest muscles harder than rock. But to her dismay, it seemed impossible. The Tau Ceti bar was unflinching in her grip. But Darala dug deeper, focusing harder, imagining the bar bending in the middle. She quickly reset her grip on the bar.
Focus, Darala,she thought.Focus on your strength, not the steel!
Darala drew a large breath into her lungs, the increased atmospheric pressure now feeling more and more comfortable and invigorating. She reasserted her power stance and with a shout, unleashed all her might. A moment later,Darala heard a soft, muted cry from the bar as the metal ever so slightly began to bend right before her eyes!
Exhilirated, Darala used more focused strength and to her own astonishment was able to continue bending the bar until it was nearly at a forty-five degree angle. Almost. The last few degrees of the bend she cried out loudly in the room expending all of her strength. The steel audibly responded with a stressful cry and screech. She’d reached her limit. Half out of breath Darala's face lit up with excitement.
The computer said, “Darala Starr… your feat of strength is remarkable! You were able to bend the bar at a greater than a thirty degree angle! Are we to conclude that adapting to greater atmospheric pressure increased your strength?”
Darla stood in front of the digital mirror, seeing the angle of the bar in her hands, the gleam of her shorts and the hardness of her arm and leg muscles.
“Computer, make me a dozen pairs of these shorts. I’m going to wear them to the Tau Ceti training center. Because I have a lot of work to do,” she said. And then she lifted her arm and flexed her bicep which was already large from her exertion against the bar. The muscled responded immediately, the peak of it rising massively.
She squeezed it even harder and incredibly, it grew the tiniest bit more. The euphoric feeling was overwhelming her now.
“I wonder if I might spend some time on Tau Ceti Delta,” she said.
The computer said, “For the benefits of even greater gravity and atmospheric pressure, I presume.”
Darala smiled brightly and said, “You read my mind.”
“You were right, Darala,” the computer said. “You are the Tau Ceti Superwoman!”
In the weeks after Darala left, Jason found himself in a depression. But one night while he was at home alone he wondered about Darala’s belt. Having just come from a run, he was in his favorite Dolfin shorts and tank top. He walked in front of a mirror and drew that silver belt around his waist. He fastened it and it adjusted to his size, cinching in the top of his shorts nicely. He looked at himself in the mirror and put fists on his hips.
And ever so slowly, the belt seemed to be glowing the slightest bit. And as it did, Jason felt something – a strange and wonderful feeling in his chest. His breathing was more empowered. He lifted his arm and flexed his bicep. And as he stared at it, he imagined it growing and forming a powerful peak. And all at once he seemed to understand.
“Looks like I have a lot of work to do,” he said, a big grin crossing his face. “I will see you again, Darala Starr! I will see you again.”