Written by Darala Starr :: [Monday, 09 December 2019 15:08] Last updated by :: [Thursday, 12 December 2019 17:39]
Mayor Tina Carter Prince took in a deep breath and focused. There were a stack of proposals on her desk from the Governor’s office, and she would have to read all of them. And it seemed this feat would take more strength than bending steel.
“Okay,” Tina told herself, “just take one page at a time.”
Tina picked up the first folder of papers and flipped it open when all of a sudden the intercom on her desk came to life. Mary’s voice said, “Mayor, Tina? Sheriff Keys is here to see you.”
Tina sighed and put the proposal back down on her desk and pressed the reply button on her intercom.
“Thank you, Mary, you can send him in.”
I’m not sure how much to tell him about how I gained my strength, Tina thought. He saw me lift the car and bend the bumper. I shouldn’t have showed off like that. He’s going to have a lot of questions.
Tina battled briefly with herself on how much, or how little to say. But the truth was he would have a lot of questions for her, since she demonstrated her super strength in front of him. And there would be no denying what he saw.
Discretion, Tina, she thought. Use discretion.
The door to her office opened and Sheriff Tim Keys stepped in with a pleasant smile.
Tina smiled warmly, “Good morning, Sheriff, very nice to see you. Please, have a seat.”
Sheriff Tim nodded and sat down opposite her desk.
Tina decided to lead the conversation in the hopes of keeping it short.
“I, uh… have quite a backlog of paperwork I’m supposed to get through this week, so you’ll forgive me if my mind is a little scattered,” Tina said.
Sheriff Keys said “Oh, yes, sure… I understand. I, uh… am a little scattered myself. I think I slept for about thirty-six hours straight. Missed a whole shift.”
Tina looked at him quizzically. “What do you mean?” she asked.
Sheriff Keys said, “The strangest thing happened, Mayor. I was at home, getting ready for bed, when I smelled something in my kitchen. There was a gas, or something hazing the room. I thought something was burning in the oven, but it was shut off. After that, I went to sleep and didn’t wake up for thirty-six hours.”
Tina asked, “Are you all right?”
Sheriff Keys said, “Yes, I think so. But while I was blacked out, someone took my keys and stole my squad car.”
Tina leaned forward in her chair. “Then what happened?” she asked.
Sheriff Keys said, “Well, they crashed my car into a tree. Must have been out joyriding.”
Tina was startled, “But, Sheriff, I saw…, I mean, you saw….”
Sheriff Keys said, “Saw what? I don’t know what you mean, Mayor. All I know is I was out cold and my squad car was stolen.”
Tina didn’t know what to make of this. Very carefully she said, “Was the damage very bad?”
Sheriff Keys said, “Well, that’s another funny thing. The front bumper looks like it may have sustained some damage, but then may have been straightened somehow.”
Tina said, “So, you didn’t see me… do anything… at all?”
Sheriff Keys chuckled and said, “Well, Mayor, I don’t have the foggiest idea what you’re talking about. I haven’t seen you since we caught that former deputy Brown who kidnapped your assistant, Mary.”
Tina felt deeply unsettled and said, “Yes, well… I suppose I was thinking about something else. It’s not important.”
Sheriff Tim said, “You know, Mayor, I have to tell you… I heard the craziest story from Sheriff Diana about you and Jason Prince. Heard that both of you somehow have superhuman strength.”
Tina did her best not to react to what he said.
“Superhuman strength,” Tina answered. “That sounds rather fantastic.”
Sheriff Tim said, “It does. She told me that Jason Prince left her cell holding cell by bending the steel bars apart with his bare hands. And she also said that you straightened those same steel bars, Mayor! No one on Earth can possibly do that! Add to that our former deputy Brown who also claims you and Jason possess otherworldly strength and speed. All together, it makes me wonder.”
Tina said, “I don’t think there’s any reason to take what former deputy Brown says seriously. He’s clearly out of his mind. He kidnapped Mary at gunpoint.”
Sheriff Tim said, “True enough. But seeing you and Jason Prince out there in your fitness clothes… you’ve got some serious muscles. Both of you look incredibly strong. It just got me wondering if what they said… might be true.”
Tina smiled kindly, wondering then if her arms muscles were perhaps bulging beneath her ‘Mayor’ business clothes.
“Well, I would say Jason and I are both very, um… fit. But as far as having super strength, I would chalk that up to very active imaginations.”
Sheriff Tim nodded and scratched his head. “I suppose you’re right. Well, I’d better get back on patrol. Heard there was some kind of break in at the Lock and Key. Seems the owner, you know, the strange little weird guy…”
“Looks like he may have skipped town,” Sheriff Tim said.
Tina tried not to chuckle. I guess you could say that, Tina thought, figuring by now the Torellian was about to enter his own galaxy from Darala’s ship.
After that, Sheriff Tim Keys stood up, said goodbye and quietly left.
Alone in her office, Tina felt disquieted at what Sheriff Tim had said about someone stealing his cruiser. She thought back to that day on the road, lifting his car and then straightening the steel bumper. He was right there watching her do it! So either he suffered some sort of memory loss, or the man who looked like Sheriff Tim was…
Julia Warren! The shapeshifter, Tina thought, suddenly feeling a cold chill in the room.
A moment later, there was a knock on the door.
Tina said, “Yes, come in.”
Mary stepped into the office and said, “Mayor, what was that all about?”
Tina looked at Mary kindly and said, “It’s nothing to worry about, Mary.”
“Does he know about your… strength?” Mary asked.
Tina said, “I don’t think so. And it’s best if I keep it that way.”
Tina stood up from her desk and walked toward Mary, stopping just a few feet away. She gently put a comforting hand on the young woman’s shoulder.
“You see, Mary, what I have is a gift. And I’m responsible for being a good steward of that gift.”
Mary said, “But, Mayor, you’re like a real Wonder Woman! You could go out there and….”
“And what?” Tina asked. “Mary, believe me, it’s tempting at times to show off in front of people. And, I’m afraid I’ve already done that too much. But it takes real superhuman strength not to show off. And please, promise me you won’t say anything to anyone about Jason and I. I’m giving you my trust, Mary.”
Mary nodded. “Of course, Mayor, I won’t say a word.”
Tina smiled and said, “Thank you.”
Mary said, “But if, say, there was a need for your strength, you would use it, right?”
Tina crossed her arms, her muscles tightening beneath her business suit.
“Okay, Mary,” Tina said. “What’s going on?”
The young woman straightened her glasses and said, “Let me show you.”
A minute later Tina and Mary were standing in the basement of the building. It was a small space with a bare concrete floor and stone walls. Daylight crept in through small rectangular windows and a free hanging light fixture with a bare light bulb was not far away.
Mary said, “I found it by accident, there in the corner behind the water heater.”
In front of them was a safe, about four feet tall and two feet wide. It looked old, with dust and cobwebs on top of it. On the face of the safe was a handle with a latch next to it for a key. Presumably one would put the key in, turn it, and then turn the handle to open it.
“It looks really old,” Mary said. “I looked everywhere for the key, but, no luck. Who knows where it is.”
Tina nodded and squatted down to have a better look at the lock. She could feel the tightness of her slacks against her super muscles in her legs, her satin panties gripping her hips beneath them.
Mary said, “So, do you think you can open it, Mayor?”
Tina stood back up and said, “I’m not sure I should do this, Mary.”
Mary said, “But don’t you want to know what’s inside? Maybe it’s something important. Besides, this is your office now, you should know what’s in it.”
Tina considered this and decided the young woman was right. Tina said, “Mary, you’re absolutely right. Now, I have no idea how strong this lock actually is… but I’ll give it my all.”
Mary grew excited and smiled brightly.
“I know you can do it, Mayor!” she said.
Tina smiled and then stood tall. “I’ll need you to take a few steps back, Mary.”
Mary excitedly took two large steps back.
Tina closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, concentrating, pushing her chest out, feeling the strength within her rushing in to her muscles. She exhaled slowly, and then gently rocked her hips into a lunge stance facing the safe. She wrapped her fingers carefully around the thick handle and then placed her other hand flat against the face of the safe.
Mary felt an overwhelming excitement in her stomach about what was going to happen next.
Tina took one more deep breath, and with explosive strength, pulled against the handle! At first it seemed nothing was happening, but only a few seconds later there was a deep creaking in the center of the door, followed by sharp, stabbing cries of distressed metal. A moment later, the steel handle began to deform in Tina’s grip, slowly pulling away from the face of the safe! The lock let out a terrified squeal as it began to pull free, the steel bending quickly in Tina’s super grip!
The handle was slowly bending upward; more and more parallel with the ground now, and the flat of Tina’s other hand was beginning to indent the face of the steel!
“Ahhhhgh!” Tina cried out with effort, feeling the lock fight her the last few inches. But she summoned more strength, demanding the steel obey her strength, feeling the awesome tingle of arousal in front of her tight satin panties.
With a terrible moan and then a sound like dry ice on metal, the steel finally surrendered and the handle broke free in Tina’s grip!
Tina’s chest heaved up and down from the incredible effort, her blouse gripping tight against her chest. She dropped the mangled steel lock on the floor of the basement with a sharp clang.
Mary stood with her eyes like saucers, her mouth hanging open. Tina brushed her hands off and said, “Well… I suppose that should do it.”
With the lock ripped from the safe door, there was no resistance at all. Tina opened the safe door and they both looked inside. There was an old, sealed, manila folder and nothing else.
Tina reached in carefully and pulled it out. She gently unsealed it and found a stack of handwritten papers. They were dated some twenty years earlier. Additionally there were some old, black and white photos. Tina took a peak at one of them, and saw what looked like a picture of a flying saucer in the sky above Pleasant Valley hills.
“Mary,” Tina said, “Please hold my calls for a while. I have some reading to do.”
Jason Prince was in his black shiny Dolfin shorts and tank top at the gym, being careful not to show off too much or reveal the full measure of his superhuman strength. It was difficult not to. With his bare hands he could easily arm curl a 500-pound bar for dozens and dozens of repetitions. Or squat two tons of steel. And during his routine he understood just how frustrated Darala must have been when she was there just a few years earlier on her first Earth mission.
Jason grabbed 100-pound dumbbells and began doing shoulder flys with what seemed like total ease, and he could have doubled the weight… if dumbbells actually went that high.
“Mmmmm… nothing like a pair of little black Dolfins,” Lisa Chase said, staring at Jason’s shiny short shorts and his steel hard legs. She was at the check in desk at the gym with her coworker Christy Haynes.
“Lisa!” Kristy exclaimed. “Quiet down.”
Lisa grinned impishly and said in a low voice, “I don’t care. Jason Prince is the sexiest man on the planet. And the strongest.”
She continued staring at Jason, locked in a trance with the man she could only compare to Hercules.
Jason finished his set and lowered the massive 100-pound dumbbells carefully to the rack. It seemed that his immense strength had not diminished at all since Darala left. Jason turned and then noticed the two young women staring at him from the check in desk. Lisa smiled at him and said, “Hi, Jason. Great workout! You’re so strong!”
Jason smiled politely and then decided it was time to go. Since he was unable to unleash his full strength in the gym, he would stop on the way home and grab a large bar of steel from the scrapyard. Once he obtained privacy, he would bend the bar, exerting the fullness of his strength.
Jason walked past the desk to leave and Lisa said, “I really like your shorts!”
Jason nodded politely and then left the building. It was getting more and more awkward at the gym with these your girls staring at him. He was married to and in love with Tina, and nothing would ever change that. Jason even wondered if he should stop going to the gym, and find ways to exercise in nature. Lifting boulders, trees, bending massive steel bars, running distances and leaping over tall fences. It seemed he would have to come up with some new way to stay in shape.
Jason was about to sprint off and head for home where he knew he could see his beautiful wife Tina and they could spend more time….”
“Hello, Jason Prince,” a woman’s voice said from behind him.
Jason turned slowly, now seeing Sheriff Diana Dunn in uniform approaching him. She looked at him appreciatively and said, “Nice shorts.”
If it was supposed to be flattery, Jason wasn’t in the mood any longer.
“Next time I’ll wear sweats,” Jason replied.
Diana smiled and said, “Relax, Mister Prince, I’m only playing off the young women at the desk. You must get that all the time.”
“Too much,” Jason said. “Now, what can I do for you? I’m assuming this is not a coincidence.”
Sheriff Diana said, “No, Mister Prince, it’s not. I, uh… came here because I need your help.”
Jason asked, “What is this concerning?”
“Maybe you and I can go somewhere less public and talk about it,” she said. There was something in her smile that caught him off guard.
Jason said, “Sheriff, I have a better idea. Let’s meet at the Mayor’s office where we can discuss this together with my wife, Tina. You remember Tina.”
Sheriff Diana grinned, “Of course. How could I forget the Wonder Woman who straightened steel bars in my jail with her bare hands. After you preceded to pull them wide apart yourself, Wonder Man.
Jason flexed his chest muscles, the fibers rippling beneath his tan skin.
“If you want to talk, you’ll find me with my wife at her office. Excuse me.”
Jason turned and began to walk off, the bright sun shining off his shorts, tank top and bronze skin.
“I’ll see you there,” Diana said, and turned toward her squad car. She looked back over her shoulder, watching Jason go, assessing him with her eyes. What a specimen, she thought.
MEANWHILE, IN OUTER SPACE:
“Please, Doctor Starr! Do not banish me to my home world! I cannot go back!”
The Torellian was pleading with Darala as she held his arm firmly. She had him just outside one of the escape pods for the ship, its hatch open, ready for its mischievous cargo.
“I really hate to waste a good pod on someone like you, Torellian, but you’ve left me no choice.”
The Torellian squirmed.
“But, but…. I can change, I swear! I won’t cause any more trouble.”
“And what do you think will happen if I take you to Tau Ceti Alpha? The gravity will crush your bones like brittle pieces of wood and your lungs will collapse. You won’t last ten seconds on my planet,” Darala said.
“That is why you must return me to Earth,” the Torellian said.
“Out of the question,” she said.
The ship’s computer also said, “Most certainly out of the question. We are long overdue back on Tau Ceti Alpha.”
Darala said, “So, Torellian, you can climb into this pod, and I will set your course for home. You’ll arrive there in….”
The ship’s computer said, “Exactly fourteen Earth months.”
“Months!” the Torellian protested. “I’ll starve to death!”
The ship’s computer said, “On the contrary. You’ll be placed in a light state of suspended animation. As a result, you will hunger only when you arrive back home.”
Darala smiled. “You see, it’s all been taken care of.”
The Torellian lowered his head and stared into the small confines of the waiting escape pod.
“I don’t suppose I have a choice,” he muttered.
Darala said, “No, you don’t. Now… get inside.”
A moment later, the computer said, “Darala Starr, I’m receiving a message. It’s from Earth.”
Darala’s whole expression changed. “Earth? That’s not possible.”
“Normally I would agree,” The computer said, “But in this case it is happening. The message is being received in one small data pack. I will decode and play back the message now.”
On a holographic screen the video message began. And at first, Darala was hoping to see Jason or Tina. But instead she saw….
“Hello, my dear, powerful, Doctor Starr.”
Julia Warren’s sinister face filled the holographic screen.
“By now you must nearly be home on your very heavy planet. I, as you may have guessed, am still here on Earth.”
Darala folded her arms across her chest, her muscles rippling with tension.
The message continued as Julia said, “Regretfully, you and your friends destroyed my laboratory and work in the mine, and for that you must all pay a price. Even that little runt Torellian whom I’m certain betrayed me. He will also pay.”
The Torellian swallowed nervously.
Julia Warren’s face hardened and suddenly morph-changed into Tina Prince.
“Now, Doctor Starr, I have some business with your dear friends Tina and Jason. Since you refused to give me your life support belt for the impartation of strength, it looks like I’ll have to extract it from their very DNA.”
Her face morph-changed back to her original Julia expression.
“Jason Prince is a very promising candidate for providing me with what I’m after,” she said. “He’s an extraordinary specimen.”
Darala’s muscles grew harder as anger rose within her.
“Well, Doctor Starr, I must go. I have a lot of work to do as you can imagine. The next time you see me… I should be much, much stronger. Perhaps even a match for you. Goodbye.”
The message finished and the picture disappeared from the display.
Darala waited in the near silence of the ship. She slowly paced to the other side of the escape pod bay and planted fists on her hips, now staring out a viewport into the vastness of outer space. A billion stares stared back at her.
“Computer,” Darala said, “Take us back to Earth.”
The computer said, “Darala Starr, I cannot do that.”
Darala said, “I didn’t ask. I gave an order.”
The computer said, “But Darala, we are dangerously overdue back on Tau Ceti Alpha. The assignment council will not be….”
Darala’s voice was loud and hard as iron. “Computer, this is my mission and I am in command of this ship. I am ordering you to return us to Earth. Immediately.”
There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Finally, the computer said, “Very well, Darala Starr. But I am making an official log entry that I oppose this decision.”
Darala said, “That’s your right, computer. But this shape shifter presents a threat to Earth, and by extension, Tau Ceti Alpha. She must be stopped.”
“I understand,” the computer said.
The Torellian breathed a long sigh of relief and Darala gave him a sharp, pointed glare.
“Don’t think this means that I trust you one ounce, Torellian” Darala said.
The Torellian lowered his gaze and didn’t say another word.