Written by marknew742 :: [Tuesday, 03 May 2005 06:12] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 19 December 2012 08:36]
Author's Note: The events in the story occur after Brandi 3 and before those described
in Brandi 4, available at http://www.thevalkyrie.com/stories/marknew/index.htm But you figured
that out for yourselves, didn't you!
Mark is hard at work, as usual, seeking to gain an upper hand over his perpetual nemesis, Brandi, and her new sidekicks, Mandi and Randi. Brandi has become nearly all powerful and has subjugated the entire world to her evil and selfish whims. Protected by his force field, Mark has escaped her rule, for now, but he is a prisoner in his secret laboratory, not daring to leave his protected abode.
An unusual disturbance in the force field catches his attention. Has Brandi discovered him? He arms himself with a few weapons he has developed, but he knows they will prove hopelessly inadequate against Brandi's vast powers – powers she gained only by stealing Mark's own brilliant inventions. If only he had more time. The fluctuations in the field are becoming more coherent. Something is vibrating at great speed, duplicating the frequencies in the field. No! He's doomed!
“So THIS is where you've been hiding, you fiend!”
In an instant, strong hands grip Mark and lift him to the air. He cringes. “Don't kill me Brandi. Please!” he cries out.
“Brandi!? I'm not Brandi!” she replies.
Mark turns his head. “Supergirl! Thank heavens!”
She smiles. “You won't be so happy when I bring you in to justice – as an accessory to the destruction of Superman by your partner in crime, Brandi!”
“My partner! She's not my partner. She's a thief, an evil vixen. She stole everything I've ever made, everything I had.”
“Do you deny that you gave her the powers that enabled her to destroy my cousin and enslave billions?”
“It was my work, my genius, yes, that empowered her. But I never intended to do that!" Mark thought quickly. "I sought power, yes, but for myself, so that I could help the forces of good to fight against evildoers! Really!"
Supergirl lifts him around to face her and searches his face. "Hmmmm. You may be telling the truth. But I doubt it. Your heartbeat is elevated. Look at you sweat!" She wrinkles her nose.
"Oh I am telling the truth. I am! You must believe me."
"I'll think about it." She puts him back on the ground and looks deep into his eyes, then around at his lab. "What are you doing here?"
"Why, this is the only way I can continue my work, so that I can develop a weapon that will defeat Brandi. My force field shields me from her super-vision, and should have kept me invisible to yours too. I'm amazed you found me."
"It was pure happenstance. I found you only because I had been hiding in the Phantom Zone. Your force field has no effect on the inhabitants of that zone. A supernova disrupted the zone and I had to escape; otherwise I would have been trapped forever. I could not bear to live on a world where a one-armed Superman (see Brandi 2) lived only to serve Brandi until a careless squeeze of her legs crushed him – poor man." She stifled a sob. "Now that I have returned I have no choice but defeat Brandi and her evil cronies, otherwise I will be enslaved by her myself."
Mark nods sagely. "Yes, but she is far more powerful than you. She defeated Superman with no effort at all. And as a girl … "
"I am much more powerful than Superman!" she says defiantly, then in a softer voice. "That was not widely known. He wanted it that way."
"Of course," Mark says. "But may I ask, how –
"From my years on Argos, of course. Having lived under a yellow sun from the time he was a baby, Superman's muscles never truly developed beyond the strength of a Kryptonian infant. I, on the other hand, was a teenaged girl before I gained super-powers. My muscles were many times stronger than his, as a young woman's are compared with a tot's."
"How interesting! And yet his muscles seemed very impressive."
Supergirl sighs. "I feel really guilty giving away his secrets –"
"I am a scientist. I must know this if I am to help you."
"Help me? What help can YOU give ME? I am Supergirl."
"And your powers are far inferior to Brandi's. You won't last five minutes against her without my assistance." Mark looks at her closely, his eyes lingering greedily at her prominent bust. "I must know everything about you – and Superman – if I am to help you defeat her."
Supergirl's mouth tightens with displeasure at Mark's evident interest in the non-muscular portion of her anatomy. But did she have a choice? "Implants," she said, simply, then clarifying slightly, "Superman's, of course."
"So, yours are completely natural?" Mark asks, still staring.
"What, exactly, ARE you talking about?" Supergirl replies crossly.
Mark blinks. "Your muscles. Naturally."
She glares at him. What presumption! She could incinerate this putz with a momentary flash of heat vision. But that would accomplish nothing. Who cares if he survives? Brandi's defeat is far more important. "Completely," she says.
"I will have to run a few tests. It will take me some time to set up the equipment. Please feel free to look at my laboratory while you wait, but don't touch anything. I'm afraid I'm not used to having visitors." He looks around nervously at the array of pornographic images displayed on his computer screens and the obvious stains on the furniture. He quickly moves to shut down a couple of the nearer screens.
"Don't bother. I've seen it all from the phantom zone. I'm NOT impressed with you, Mark. Not with any part of you," Supergirl says testily. "Just get to work."
Mark looks at her and sighs. "Right. I suppose you have. You know, a man has needs and –"
"Spare me. This is your TV?"
"Yes. I can observe Brandi's edicts on that screen. There's only one channel: BNN, the Brandi News Network. An internet connection is too risky but that's unnecessary now. None of the independent sites are left."
"Fine. I will submit to any tests you require. Let me know when you're ready." Supergirl flies to the screen and sits in front of it, immobile, while Mark assembles his equipment with fierce concentration.
Days later he is finally ready. His face is haggard from lack of sleep and only hurried meals. Supergirl is as fresh as ever.
"You truly are a wonder," Mark says, his hands trembling in front of her, his inhibitions lost. "I only wish –
"Forget it," she says coldly. "What do you have to give me?"
"I don't know if it will work, but it's the best I can do. Brandi has your powers multiplied trillions of times, at least. If the elixir she stole from me works on your body, you would leapfrog her in power, but alas it will not, at least, not as you are currently. As Supergirl, you are as invulnerable against its effects as you are to any other normal substance. However, if you are exposed to a red sun and lose your powers, then the elixir should have its intended effect and give you the same powers it gave to her. And when you are under a yellow sun once again, you will be as far superior to her as you are now to any earthling."
Supergirl nods. "That is a good plan. If it succeeds, Earth will be greatly in your debt."
"And you?" Mark adds hopefully.
"I will let you live," she replies, reducing an empty glass beaker in front of her to a puddle of molten glass.
"OK, OK. That will do," he replies quickly.
"One small problem. We are on Earth, light years from the nearest red star. How will I be exposed to a red sun?"
"I can take care of that. I can simulate the necessary radiation signature in this room. I have already made the necessary modifications to the lighting."
"You work quickly," she says. "I am impressed – with your inventiveness. It's a good thing that technology never fell into the hands of any of my enemies."
Mark grins. "Even Lex Luthor does not have my scientific genius." He begins to laugh, then cuts himself off and adds quickly. "Or my dedication to using my powers only for the good of mankind."
Supergirl raises an eyebrow skeptically. "Right."
"Now, when I activate this program, this room will be bathed in the equivalent of sunlight from a red sun. You will lose your powers, only temporarily of course."
"Don't forget that," Supergirl warns.
Mark clears his throat. "Yes. Once we are sure you have lost all your powers I will give you the elixir. It should work almost instantly to multiply your powers, but to be sure you should remain under the red sun influence for at least 24 hours so that your yellow sun invulnerability does not purge your body of the effects. You will," he sighs, "be fully super-powered during that whole time, thanks to my formula. When the changes are fully incorporated into your system, I will restore the yellow sun environment, and then you can leave, safely, and defeat Brandi."
"How do I know you won't use the elixir on yourself and then, ahem, take advantage of me?"
"If I could make myself super, don't you think I would have done so already?" Supergirl puts her hands on her hips, waiting for Mark's explanation. "My original formulation contained certain minerals I could no longer procure – no doubt Brandi made sure of that – nor can I replicate them in my laboratory. My male body cannot assimilate this version, but it should work on you."
"So, then, when you escape, you intend to empower yourself?" Mark stares at her. "I cannot allow that to happen, of course. Not to a man with your … proclivities."
"What proclivities?! I am just a normal man!" Supergirl crosses her arms in front of her chest and nodded. "So, you too will deny me the fruits of my invention?" he says angrily.
"You are not meant for such power. You will only abuse it."
"You have no right to decide that!"
"The world out there as it is now is all the evidence of my 'right' that any person should need. No. You can stay in this little room forever, or entrust me with the future of Earth. The choice, Mark, is yours."
Mark glances at the TV screen. Brandi is announcing a new edict, a new Thought for the Day. He shudders. As galling as Supergirl's paternalistic – or is it maternalistic? – superiority is, Brandi's rule is many times worse. "Very well. I will proceed when you're ready."
"Then let's begin."
Mark nods. He types several commands into a computer and the lighting changes hue. Supergirl gives a slight cry and then her erect stance slumps slightly, her breasts, unhelped by either super-strength or a brassiere, suddenly sag within her costume. She blinks several times and walks unsteadily, unused to the effect of gravity. Mark walks forward to hold her so she doesn't fall. Supergirl makes a quick move to push him away, but with her normalized muscles it has little effect on Mark. Her body is soft, girlish. He smiles, enjoying this little victory over his Kryptonian visitor, the only one, it appears, she will allow him. "I didn't want you to hurt yourself," he says, explaining.
"Your consideration is noted," she replies, "and so is the location of your hands. The formula, please."
"Not yet. We must make sure that your invulnerability is completely gone."
"I can assure you I have no superpowers. Your hands would be dust now if I did."
Frightened, Mark lets go of her. Supergirl nearly falls, before catching herself on a chair and sitting down. She is about to snap at him again when she stops herself and says more gently. "All right. Maybe I deserved that. I won't hurt you." She closes her eyes. "Just, please, give me the formula as soon as you can. I don't like being … normal."
"Neither do I," he replies, seeking her understanding. She meets his look but says no more. "Perhaps a glass or two of wine would be a good test."
"Wine?" She thinks a moment. "Why not?" she replies, as he pours a large glass. "I thought you were going to prick me with something. No, just a little." She takes a few sips, then, at his urging, drinks more. "This is good," she says, smiling.
"It's one of my last bottles of Cabernet. I'm glad you like it." He joins her with a glass and refills hers. "It's a bit dry, but not at all presumptuous. Can you taste the blackberry, with just a touch of oak?"
"Yes!" she giggles. "I LIKE this!" She finishes the glass fairly quickly and he refills it. "NO! I really shouldn't. I'm not used to it."
"Oh why not! It'll be your only chance, you know. You don't have to be a superhero tonight."
"Ha ha! No, I guess I can't be!" she laughs and drinks it down. She puts her hand on his knee to steady herself. "You know, Mark, it was so funny watching you from the Phantom Zone, you know. Here you are, thinking you're so isolated, so protected by your little force field, and all of us, heroes, criminals, random people caught up in the zone by chance, all of us able to watch you whenever we wanted! It's like the whole world was our TV screen, the whole universe! Ha ha ha! Nobody had any privacy from us! Even now they're watching. Watching me get drunk. Me, Supergirl! Ha ha ha. With my sagging tits! Ha ha! But who cares. I mean, they see us, but they can't do anything. They're stuck there. And you see me, but you won't do anything. You won't dare, 'cause you're totally scared of me. Aren't you Mark? Ha ha ha! I've scared the SHIT out of you, haven't I?"
"Awww, poor Mark. Such a frightened little bunny rabbit! Ha ha ha. Working away, fiddling with your little machines, your computers. And it NEVER works! And meanwhile you just make OTHER people more and more powerful. Brandi, your little friends Sandi and Candi. Your little 'enemies' Mandi and Randi. And now I'm next! You poor boy! Poor little boy."
"I am not a poor little boy. I am a great inventor. A brilliant inventor!"
"You're a man sitting in a little prison cell, that's what you are. You can't go anywhere. You can't do anything. You're all alone here!"
Mark stares at her. She stares back. "Awww, that's kind of sad, isn't it?" A tear drops down her cheek. "I'm so mean. Come here. Let me give you a hug." Mark stays put. "Awww, come on, Mark. I'd come over there, but I'd probably just fall on my face! C'mere! I mean it!" Mark stands up tentatively. "That's it. I won't hurt you! I need a hug too! Nobody ever gives Supergirl a hug. Supergirl's much too scary!" Mark bends down and hugs her. "That's right. Awww, that's nice. Yeah, put your head right here. Poor baby." Supergirl wraps her arms around Mark and slides off the chair and Mark follows her down to the floor. "Hee-hee. It's more comfortable down here, isn't it?"
"Yeah," he says, holding her more tightly.
"You know, my dress – I mean my suit – is feeling a little tight, and the cape is all wrapped around me. Can you help? Yeah. OK. Heh-heh. Yeah, right there. Oooops. Mmmmmmm … "
Many hours pass.
There is a loud groan and then a soft whimper. “Oh, my head!!”
“Huh?” Mark walks over to her.
“My head. It's pounding! I'm dying.”
“You're not dying. You're hung over.”
“Hung – Shit!”
“Um … well.”
“What happened last night? Where's my suit?”
“Over there. You took it off.”
“This cape. It's all twisted around me.” She stands up awkwardly, holding her cape around her body. It covers from the top of her breasts to just below her hips.
“I put it there. You were cold.” Mark points it out. He is wearing just his briefs.
“You – turn around!”
“But I –
“Turn around – ow, my head! Too loud!” She speaks more softly. “I can't remember anything. Did we do … anything last night?”
“Yeah, we – I … don't remember either.”
“Right." Supergirl looks at him carefully. "Well now, Mark. If I got drunk last night, and I'm hung over now, I think it's safe to say I'm not super right now. Hmmmm?”
Mark looks at her, then looks away. “Well, perhaps. But we can't be too sure. If we wait another 24 hours …”
“NO! This is long enough!" She covers her eyes. "Does it have to be so bright here? Oh, my head! I need that elixir now." She grabs Mark and becomes frustrated when she can't even budge him. Her cape flops down leaving one breast bare. "Damn this!"
Mark glances at the sight of her bare nipple, then gently removes her fingers from his arms, looking down at the marks her nails made on his skin. "Easy, please." She covers herself and he continues to look at her body, its pleasing shape still readily apparent through the outline of her red cape. He knew it couldn't last. At least she seems not to remember anything. He sighs. "I have it right here. It won't taste very good. Perhaps some breakfast first?"
"JUST … GIVE … IT … TO … ME!" she yells, then holds both hands to her forehead and sways, moaning in pain.
Wordlessly he retrieves a glass filled with a lime-colored liquid and hands it to Supergirl, who eagerly takes it with both hands. Mark looks longingly as she raises it to her lips and drinks it down, not even pausing for a breath until she finishes. Then she takes a deep breath. "I don't feel anything!" she says crossly.
A thrill courses through Mark's veins. Could he have been wrong? Perhaps they could –
Suddenly her face relaxes. A long, happy sigh emerges and her posture improves, the muscles in her legs and shoulders subtly change shape and her breasts rise miraculously, lifting the cape wrapped around her higher, all the way to the level of her hips. Mark stares as her body evolves from attractive to stunning, from well-shaped to voluptuous, from heart-pounding to heart-stopping. She raises her hands in the air and leans backwards, stretching in pure pleasure, her breasts pointing in the air like missiles, her cape molded to her form. Mark's eyes goggle at the sight. Supergirl opens one eye to look at him. An instant later, she is in her suit once again, every seam, every fold perfect, every hair in place, eyes fresh, bright and flashing with anger. She turns to face him, her hands on her hips, one foot slightly forward. "Now I remember everything, Mark. Everything."
"Y-you do?" he says nervously. "W-wasn't it nice? The nicest evening I've had in … that I've had." Her eyes narrow. "N-now be careful. Y- your powers are f-far greater th-than ever before. Y-you may not b-be able control everything at f-first."
"Oh really?" She spots a microwave oven with lead shielding and focuses her eyes on it. A purple beam shoots from her eyes and instantly vaporizes the entire oven. The air around it glows with the brightness of the sun and then a wave of heat passes through the laboratory. Mark staggers in the shimmering air and nearly faints before the air conditioning cools it. She purses her lips into a kiss and gently sucks, drawing Mark to her through the air. He crashes against her unyielding body, stuck to her like a fly to flypaper, his features contorted in pain. She closes her lips and he falls to her feet. "Yes, perfect control! Much better than yours last night, Mark." She lifts him up effortlessly and holds him with one hand, her arm outstretched. "And this is under the equivalent of a RED sun! Wonderful! She will never defeat me!"
"I hope you appreciate what I've done," Mark says.
"Oh yes! I won't forget ANYTHING you've done," she responds quickly. “Now, turn off the red sun. I want to see what my FULL powers will do.”
“But Supergirl, we really should wait. At least 24 hours.”
“I don't know what other clever scheme you may have, Mark, but I'm not taking ANY chances with you. The sooner I leave here, the safer I'll be. These powers are amazing, and they're mine now. No 'yellow sun' will take them away. I see you as the threat – you and that Brandi. No one else can harm me now. You are fortunate that I've taken an oath not to kill. Otherwise you would a small pile of cinders already.”
“Supergirl, please. I'm warning you. If you'd only –
“You know, Mark, I don't need your permission, or 'your' yellow sun. There's a great big one right outside. I'm out of here.”
She turns and bursts through the walls of Mark's laboratory but even with all her power, Mark's force field stops her. She sighs, vibrates her body at the proper frequency and disappears.
Mark takes a deep breath. He hurries to the force field generator to readjust the settings to a continually changing random frequency and then works on other controls, setting up a distortion field to mask his location even further. If Supergirl prevails she must never find him again.
And now, all he can do is watch. He turns his attention to BNN. “All Brandi, All the Time” For once, it is exactly what he wants to watch. But who will he root for? Brandi is evil, whimsical, mysterious and exciting. She always takes advantage of him, always frustrates him. But she fascinates him too, thrills him, both for the challenge of defeating her and the danger of losing. And then there's Supergirl – beautiful, sexy and good. So good. Although not THAT good in bed.
Mark pulls out a bag of popping corn, then stares at the charred spot of the table where his microwave oven used to be. He sighs. He'll have to build another one. For now, it will have to be TV without the popcorn.
Supergirl emerges suddenly into sunlight, deep in the Rocky Mountains. She spreads her body out in the clear mountain air and quickly feels the power building in her, more power than she could have ever imagined. She scans the world and in less than a second finds her target. She streaks eastwards through the sky to confront her, but then pauses. The sun is still working its magic. It will be another 15 minutes until she reaches her full strength. She should wait so that she is fully prepared for any eventuality. But there is one way to accelerate the process. She flies to the top of the Earth's atmosphere and bathes directly in the sun's rays, unfiltered. Yes! Oh yes!
Meanwhile, at the BBC (Brandi's Broadcasting Corporation), a bored technician notices a sensor indicating a flying woman. He quickly adjusts the nearest camera to begin filming her so that the footage will be available for "Brandi Today" and then returns to his magazine until he notices, out of the corner of his eye, that the flying woman is not the raven-haired Goddess, but a blonde supergirl. He panics. BBC rules require that he report this unauthorized use of a Brandicam to capture pictures of other beings immediately, the penalty for which might be death. More worrisome is that Brandi herself announced that all superheroes were no more months ago and he has just filmed evidence that She was wrong. And worst of all, he knows it. He thinks quickly. He moves the camera back to his original position and then deletes the recorded images. He counts to ten. Has he done it? Is he safe?
"Technician 10742, will you explain yourself?"
He whirls around. It is the dreaded Mandi. "Mistress!" He stands and bows as low as he can without falling over.
"The title is Your Very Most Excellent Mistress. Another grave infraction!" she says sternly and then giggles. "You will have to be punished MOST severely indeed." She lifts the technician into the air by his chin. "Why have you deleted Brandicam imagery?"
He struggles to speak. "De pikshus wah no of de godss," he says, barely coherent.
Mandi releases him and he falls to the floor. "What?"
He falls to his knees and says. "Your very most excellent mistress, it wasn't Goddess Brandi. It was Supergirl."
Mandi explodes with anger. "Supergirl is dead, you nitwit." She brings her fist down on his head, collapsing his skull and splattering brains, blood and bits of bone everywhere. "Ewwww!" She finds the cameraman's jacket and wipes off her bloody hand. "Disgusting. But I DO love my Dynamitam muscles!" She walks out of the room and instructs an orderly to clean the mess, then tells another to bring a phone and connect her with the Goddess.
"Goddess Brandi, I just killed someone for erasing your images from one of the sky cameras. I thought you'd want to know."
"Good work, Sweetie. Did you find out what heresy it was working for?"
"Um, no. All he said, uh, was that it was images of Supergirl, not you. Which is impossible, because you killed her. Right?"
Brandi's voice turns cold. "I never said I killed her." In an instant she is standing beside Mandi, who is momentarily unnerved. Mandi curtsies and kisses Brandi's hand. "I said the so-called superheroes were gone. I only killed some of them. Supergirl just disappeared."
"Oh. Then, uh, maybe he was telling the truth?" she asks tentatively.
Brandi sighs and vaporizes the bloody body with her heat vision. "Maybe it was. So, the recording was from Brandicam S-369814." She turns her head slightly and looks up through the building's walls in the air. "Why there she is, sunning herself in orbit. Well, I'll have to ruin her little vacation. We'll show this one live, Mandikins. Keep the cameras on me so that the world can see me destroy another one of its false 'gods'."
"Yes, Goddess. I'll call a Tech right away." She looks at Brandi and smiles.
Brandi taps her foot. "Well? What are you waiting for?"
"I, uh …."
"This will be over in a flash, Mandi. So get your Tech, make sure it positions the camera, and THEN I'll take care of her. If you wait until I leave it will be too late and I will be VERY upset, even with you, Sweetie." She pats Mandi's cheek.
"Y-YES, Goddess," Mandi says, terror suddenly in her eyes. "TECH," she yells at ear-splitting volume. Twenty-seven nerdy men and women run to the room, filling it to capacity, their hands covering their ears. Mandi picks the least ugly of the group, explains the job and dismisses the rest. After bowing to Mandi and kissing Brandi's foot, he crawls to the control station and maneuvers the camera.
"All RIGHT, then!" Brandi says, and streaks into the sky to confront her foe.
Supergirl watches Brandi streak toward her. It's a bit soon, five minutes still until she reaches her full power. But she must be strong enough already – assuming that dreadful Mark hasn't botched it. Already her enhanced super-duper-vision can see right through his pathetic defenses. His punishment will be next, once Brandi is history.
"So, you're back!" Brandi says, already in front of Supergirl. "I never thought you'd dare."
"Oh I do dare, you little witch!" the blonde superhero replies, her hands on her hips, her chest thrust forward proudly. "And I'm here on behalf of all of us, dead or alive, that fought to make justice prevail."
"Spare me," Brandi says, rolling her eyes and then grabs Supergirl's wrists, preparing to twist her arms into a pretzel before carrying her off triumphantly back to the Earth's surface to humiliate her in front of the entire, watching planet. But something is wrong. She struggles to turn Supergirl's wrists, but they remain immobile.
"What's the matter, evil vixen?" Supergirl says, grinning. She twists out of Brandi's grasp and turns the tables on her, easily bending Brandi's arm behind her back.
"Ow!" Brandi exclaims, equally in pain and shock. "How did you – ugh!" Brandi groans as Supergirl drives her fist into Brandi's neck, then hurls her into outer space at near light speed, spinning chaotically at the rate of billions of times per second.
"That should take the edge off," Supergirl says, happily, and flies straight to Brandi's headquarters, where she addresses the planet's citizens. "People of Earth. Your nightmare is over. I, Supergirl, have come to free you from your servitude to the evil Brandi and her – "
Before she can finish, Brandi has righted herself and is streaking back to Supergirl to rejoin the battle. She drives herself at ultra-speed into her foe's body, but nanoseconds before she collides, Supergirl catches her and holds her fast like a fly in amber.
– henchwomen, Mandi and Randi." She holds Brandi up to the camera. The raven haired girl pushes against Supergirl's hold but is as helpless as a fly in amber. "This is your so-called 'Goddess', or, in truth, your oppressor. Murderer of millions, enslaver of billions. Would any punishment be too great for her?" Supergirl cocks her head. "What? You are silent? Has she so cowed the human race that even now, when I hold her helpless you still fear her. What do I have to do?" She glares at the camera. "Watch this, then, you frightened Earthlings!"
Supergirl lets go of Brandi and stands back, arms clasped behind her back, daring Brandi to make the next move. “What's the matter? Has the 'goddess' lost her so-called divinity?”
“You're nothing but an insolent, empty-headed blonde slut!” Brandi shouts, and slaps the waiting Supergirl. The loud clap of Brandi's palm on Supergirl's face shatters the glass windows of the studio but does nothing to Supergirl's face, which does not even redden. Brandi follows the slap with blow after blow from her closed fists, summoned up in murderous rage at an ever increasing tempo. With each one, Supergirl remains completely still, not crying out in pain, not even blinking, until Brandi's rampage ends abruptly with her staring at her foe in disbelief.
“Weakling! I have the same powers as you now, PLUS my own!” Supergirl says simply, scornfully and loudly enough for the Brandi News Network microphones nearby to transmit all over the world. She grabs Brandi by the ear and yanks her head down, then up, then left and right and then lifts her off the ground, her pincer-like grip immune to Brandi's attempts to remove it. Supergirl pulls off Brandi's white “goddess” dress, baring her round, upturned breasts to the amazed audience. “Here is your goddess! Laugh at her. Mock her. You're free!” she calls out to the watching billions. “Free.”
Supergirl listens with her super-hearing. There is hardly a sound in reply. No cheers, no applause. Not even a sigh of relief. The entire world just watches, silently. “What's wrong with you people? What do I hear? You think this is a trick? That Brandi is putting this on to test your loyalty? I am Supergirl! You are free! You're safe now!” She punches Brandi in the stomach, the "goddess's" face erupting in pain. “This is no joke, people. Look!”. Supergirl hits her again and again. “See? See? She's history. Don't you understand that? I'M the powerful one here, not her!”
Brandi laughs between groans of pain. “My people are very well-trained. Except for you, Mr. Collins. Yeah, you in Topeka. I heard you laugh!” Mr. Collins shudders in horror at the mention of his name and immediately shuts his mouth. He drops to his knees and begs forgiveness. "Too late, Collins!" she says, and before Supergirl can stop her, Brandi vaporizes him with a long distance blast of heat vision.
"Noooooo!" Supergirl grabs Brandi's dark hair and begins to twirl her around by the hair, faster and faster. "You devil! You mustn't be allowed to continue!" Supergirl lets go and Brandi rockets through the ceiling into the open air. Supergirl flies after her and overtakes her, stopping her with her body. The camera follows until another camera located just outside takes over. Supergirl holds Brandi's torso in her hands, one on each side of her body. "You're too powerful to imprison, and the phantom zone is unstable. My only alternative is to kill you, to crush you to the size of a pin."
"So the mighty Supergirl will break her oath never to kill?"
Supergirl closes her eyes. Can she do it? She must. She has no choice but to destroy her. "Yes. If this is my destiny, then may the gods forgive me!"
Perhaps in answer to her prayer a cloud passes and the sun breaks through, drenching Supergirl with even more energy, more strength. She closes her eyes. She has never been so powerful. It will be so easy to destroy her evil foe. But she feels no pleasure. In fact, she feels almost sick. A strange feeling passes through her.
Brandi watches impassively, waiting. "Well, Supergirl? Having second thoughts?"
"No … I –" She presses in on Brandi's body, feeling its hardness, its invulnerability.
"You can't do it! Your silly moral code stops you?" Brandi says, taunting her foe gleefully, even now, in her last moments.
Supergirl frowns, her arms shaking with the effort. Then she pauses.
"No, wait! That's not it.” A smile slowly spreads across Brandi's face. "Your hands feel different. Lighter." She smiles more broadly. "Weaker." She reaches down and puts her thumb and forefinger on the back of Supergirl's hand and pinches … hard.
"Oww!" Supergirl cries. She looks down at her hand. Bright red beads of blood well up and then drip down, falling four hundred feet to the ground. The wound heals almost instantly.
"Still super, I see," Brandi observes and pinches Supergirl again, opening another wound. Supergirl gasps and looks at her in shock. “Oh yes, still super, but not as super as me!" She squeezes Supergirl's wrist with the same two fingers and Supergirl cries out again in pain. "Not even close!" Brandi easily twists out of Supergirl's failing hold and disappears for a moment, only to return in a new white dress. She pins both of her adversary's wrists with one hand and looks into the camera. "Supergirl said I was history. Oh yes, I am! I AM history. Your history. And your future." She looks at Supergirl. "Oh just listen to her whimper. What a little baby you are!"
"What are you going to do to me?" Supergirl asks, her voice suddenly small and quivering.
Brandi smiles broadly. "Listen to your pathetic champion! All she cares about is herself. None of YOU matter to her! Get it? Well, you you know what? You don't matter to ME either! But I matter to YOU! Yes. Things are going to be a little different around here! I've been too easy on you. There wasn't NEARLY enough wailing and mourning from you when you thought little blondie was going to destroy me. So there's going to be a little ceremony. Blondie is going to declare me Goddess over Earth and tell you all EXACTLY what she thinks of you. And then you're going to start praying. To me! You're going to learn lots of prayers to me. Hundreds! By heart! And some of them will be very, very long. Understand? Anyone makes a mistake, that's death, instantly. When I say something, I want the ENTIRE planet to say "YES GODDESS BRANDI!" Very loudly. If you don't, that's death." She raises an eyebrow. A faint cry of "YES GODDESS BRANDI!" permeates the land. "That's right. Again. And again."
Supergirl starts to cry. "What's happened to me?"
"Hmmmm. I can guess. You got your powers from Mark, didn't you?" Supergirl says nothing. "ANSWER ME!" Brandi squeezes her wrist and crushes it.
"That sounds good."
"Fr-from Mark!" Supergirl says, looking down at her flattened wrist. It heals quickly. Brandi crushes both wrists, even more firmly and Supergirl cries out again more loudly.
"You're forgetting something important, Supergirl." Brandi mouths the words, "Yes Goddess Brandi!"
"YES GODDESS BRANDI!" Supergirl says, her wrists still in agony as Brandi keeps up the pressure.
"Louder," Brandi says casually.
"YES GODDESS BRANDI!!!" Supergirl shouts.
"Better. Now, his little serums don't work on me anymore, because I'm already invulnerable. So my guess is he only got it to work on you by putting you under a red sun environment, right?"
Supergirl nods, then, too late, shouts, "YES GODDESS BRANDI!" while Brandi crushes Supergirl's fingers together. She starts crying until Brandi lets go.
"And everything worked fine, until that last burst of sunshine. When it hit you and your full powers returned, they nullified the effect of Mark's serum. Very naughty of him not to warn you."
Supergirl sniffles while her fingers return to normal. "He DID warn me, G-GODDESS BRANDI," she adds, unsure of the correct protocol, "but I didn't listen."
"What a shame. For you. For Earth. And for Mark. When I find him. Where is he?"
Supergirl searches for him with her super-vision. "He's … I can't find him. I thought I knew … but my vision can't penetrate his defenses. GODDESS BRANDI."
"I LIKE the that sounds! Really? Too bad for you. If you could deliver him to me then I was going to show you mercy. But now I won't." Brandi tows Supergirl back to the building where she left Mandi. "Mandikins. Get Randi in here. We're going on a little trip."
"A trip? Where?" Mandi replies, then her face freezes. "YES GODDESS BRANDI!"
Brandi chuckles. "Very GOOD! Get her!" Mandi runs out. "They're VERY obedient. Not very bright, but quite handy." She looks at Supergirl.
"YES GODDESS BRANDI!"
"That's right. I hope all of you out there are enjoying seeing this little blonde superhero doing EXACTLY what I say! She'll be leaving now, but your Goddess, Mandi and Randi will return very soon. And then you can start learning your prayers. You'll have to drop EVERYTHING to learn them quickly. But I'm sure that going hungry is MUCH better than the alternative of immediate painful death. Yes, I've got LOTS of changes planned. SEE how well you've succeeded, Supergirl, in making their miserable lives better?" Mandi comes in, with a frightened Randi. "Ah, good. Let's go!" She puts her arms around the three of them and launches herself into the air at trans-light speed, disappearing from the camera's view …
… and reappearing 4 billion years in the future. Earth is desolate. A mammoth red sun shines on the horizon. Brandi releases Supergirl. "Here we are! Planet Earth. Everybody off! You're free now, Supergirl!"
Supergirl staggers around. She makes a feeble attempt to fly but can't get more than three inches off the ground. "My powers! I have no powers here!"
"Yes! It's not just sunset, Supergirl. That's the sun's color now ALL the time! It must remind you of your original home!"
"I'll be marooned here!" she cries mournfully.
"For a little while. Until the sun expands and swallows up the earth. That'll be about eight weeks or so. So you won't have that long to wait. Pity!"
"You monster!" Supergirl cries out and hurls herself against Brandi and beats her fists against her. "Owww!" Mandi and Randi look on, shocked.
Brandi grabs Supergirl's hand, more gently this time. "Oh my! Would look at that! You've broken your pinky. And without your superpowers it won't heal now for weeks! You really must be more careful." She places the broken finger between two of her fingers as if to crush it further and then lets it slide out. Supergirl backs away, shaking with fear.
"You mean, Goddess Brandi, Supergirl has NO superpowers at all?" Randi says, looking down at the trembling Supergirl. "She looks so small and weak. And so helpless!"
"That's right sweetie. With your dynamitam-enhanced muscles, you two are now FAR stronger than Supergirl! Go ahead and see!"
Randi approaches Supergirl, who tries to run away, but Randi's longer, stronger legs quickly overtake Supergirl. She wraps an arm around her waist and drags her to the ground. "She IS weak! She's hitting me, but it's like nothing!"
"That's right. And now it's time for my final surprise!" Brandi flies off back into Earth's present and then returns carrying three young men, all thin, wearing thick glasses and with poor complexions.
"Harry, Clem, Martin, welcome to the Year 4 Billion!"
Martin squints. "Four billion? Is that A.D or B.C.?"
Clem rolls his eyes. "A.D., numb nuts! We'd 'a choked from methane gas if it was B.C.!"
Harry stares at Supergirl. "Hey, that's Supergirl!" The other boys turn and stare.
Brandi puts her hand on Supergirl's back and guides her closer to them. "Harry, Clem and Martin work at the computer help desk of the Brandi News Network. Before that they were the founding members of the Screw the Superheroines Club. Of course, that club doesn't exist anymore. I don't allow clubs. They distract people from ME. And all the superheroines and heroes are gone too, thanks to me. But you know that already, don't you Supergirl? Boys, tell Supergirl about your little club."
"Well, we would do drawings, stories, or even plays using action figures, that have one or more of us members … um … actually, you know, fucking superheroines. Especially you, Supergirl," Martin says. “You were always our favorite.”
"We had almost 250 members before Brandi stopped us," Clem adds.
"It was so cool. It almost seemed real,” Harry concludes.
“Well, boys. This is your chance. Supergirl's right here. She has no powers. I'm sure not going to stop you now.” She looks over at Mandi and Randi. They say nothing until Brandi gestures with her hands.
“Oh yeah. We won't stop you either!”
The boys' mouths drop open. “Y-ya mean it?” Martin asks. Brandi rolls her eyes and looks at the sky. Martin nods and goes up to Supergirl. “Well, uh, you heard the uh Goddess!” He puts his hand on Supergirl's neck and tugs slightly. She whirls around and kicks him in the groin. Martin cries out and falls to the ground screaming in pain. Clem and Harry avert their eyes and move slightly further away from Supergirl.
Brandi sighs. “Earth will be destroyed in eight weeks, but I will rescue any of you who manages to 'do' Supergirl more than one hundred times before it does.”
Harry and Clem look at each other. Together they advance on Supergirl. Slowly. Carefully. She positions herself alertly and kicks out at them several times as a warning. They keep their distance. Martin groans again.
“We'd have to do it almost twice a day with her to get saved, Harry? I'm not sure I can do it.”
“She's a good fighter, even without her powers,” Harry says.
“And we're not,” Clem replies.
“Except with action figures,” Martin reminds him from the ground.
“Yeah,” Harry agrees.
Supergirl breathes a small sigh of relief but keeps her guard up.
“Well, I'm glad you're all getting acquainted and working out your differences so well," Brandi says. "And you'll have lots more time to spend talking and joking together before that big red sun burns you to a crisp. Oh! I almost forgot. I brought some lunch for the four of you before the three of us return to our present time. I've got three Big Macs Super Sized Meals and one garden salad. Who wants what? Boys?”
Harry speaks right up. “We'll all have the Big Mac's. Hey, McDonald's! Wow! It's been a year since I've had one.”
“Yeah, you can't get them anymore unless you, uh, know somebody. Oooh! Shakes too!"
Harry digs right into his, tossing the wrapping on the groun and stuffing the thick sandwich into his mouth. Clem does the same, while Martin, still in pain, unwraps his more carefully and takes smaller bites, savoring each one. Supergirl takes her salad and retreats about twenty feet away, then eats hers slowly with the plastic fork. After going through about half of his burger in the time it takes Harry and Clem to finish theirs, Martin looks at the paper wrapping and says, "Hey, this says it's a Big Mac-D, not a Big Mac. What's the D mean?"
"Delicious!" says Clem.
"No, the "D" probably just stands for McDonald's, right?" says Martin.
"It means dynamite food!" says Harry.
"Close," says Brandi. "It stands for Dynamitam!" Mandi and Randi start to laugh. Supergirl and the boys just look confused.
"What's that?" says Martin, taking another careful bite. "It doesn't taste any different." He feels his still sore groin.
Harry and Clem look around. "No, it doesn't, but I feel a little funny," he says. Clem looks worried. "Not funny bad, Clem. Kinda good. But funny."
"Me too, I guess," Clem says.
"Yeah," says Martin, slowly eating his last bite. "Hey guys, your acne's gone. And you look taller."
"My clothes feel tight. Except around my waist. Hey!" Harry says. "My shirt's ripping. That was my favorite!"
"Yeah, mine too. But look at you, Harry. You got muscles. Like a fullback!" says Clem.
"My clothes are feeling tight too!" says Martin. "Hey, you guys are getting as big as Mandi 'n Randi. Bigger!"
Mandi and Randi start to pout. "Why are THEY getting so big? How come they get to be bigger than us?"
"Because they're men, sweeties. You don't have to worry. Goddess Brandi won't let them hurt you. Now Supergirl, on the other hand … "
Supergirl looks at Brandi and then at the three men with increasing panic. They range in height now from 6'4" to 6'10", with biceps that would make any bodybuilder very, very proud. She starts backing away further and then breaks into a run. Harry starts after her and even with her 10 yard head start he catches her in fifty yards. He hoists her on his shoulder and carries her, letting her bang her fists futilely against his broad muscular back. "Now this is FUN!" he says enthusiastically. He holds her in front of him, pinning her arms against her sides. "Don't try anything funny this time, little Supergirl. Don't make this any worse for yourself than it has to be." He looks down at his tool, which pulses thick and hard and pushes above the loose waistband of his trousers. "And it doesn't have to be THAT bad, heh heh. Look at that monster thing! Isn't that what you girls dream of?"
Clem and Martin feel theirs and each chimes in, proudly, "Mine's just as big!"
Brandi smiles. "Well, I think my work here is done. Come on, sweeties. Time to go back home." She gathers them together and flies back into the present.
Mandi clears her throat. "Goddess Brandi, may I ask you something?" Brandi nods. "Are you really going rescue those guys if they, you know, 'do' Supergirl more than a hundred times. You're not actually going to keep watch on them, are you?"
"Why, you don't think I could?"
"Oh no, Goddess Brandi. Of course you could. I mean, you can do anything."
Brandi smiles. "You're such good girls. That's right. Of course I could. But I won't. You think I want THEM and their little Dynamitam dicks making trouble around here? Nope. They're history. Or maybe, to be more accurate, we're history – to them."
Randi looks confused. "'Cause they're in the future," Mandi explains.
"Is THAT where we were?" Randi says. "But if were just there, isn't it the past?"
"No, it hasn't happened yet," Mandi replies. "It won't happen until long after all of us die."
"Even Brandi?" Randi asks.
Mandi, horrified, covers her sister's mouth with her hand. "NO! Of course not! I'm sorry, Goddess Brandi. Randi sometimes doesn't know what she's saying."
"But where WAS Brandi – I mean in the future when we were there just now, I mean a few minutes ago? Whatever. If that was the future, and she wasn't there – I mean, won't be there – then –
"Silence you two! I've got more important things for you to do than natter on. Supergirl might have gotten people's hopes up. Well it's time to drive them right down. I'm not going ANYWHERE. Get fifty ministers and preachers. Mostly ones who think they're Baptists, I think, and a couple of Episcopalians, just for variety. Tell them they have to write 300 prayers to me by tomorrow night. Then we'll send them to everyone in the world. EVERYONE. They'll all have to learn them. Man woman boy girl. Everyone! Whoever doesn't know them by heart will die. They'll be tested ALL the time." She rubs her hands together. "Mark thought Supergirl was going to save the world? Well let's see how he likes this!"
Two days later, Mark watches the latest announcements on the Brandi News Network. Somehow all the new prayers just appeared on his computer, even without an internet connection. Does she know where he is? He shivers with fear. He'd better learn them, just in case. And he'd better start to work twice as hard on his new invention, substance K-773. Perhaps that would be the one that works. Time to begin testing it. He'd start with mice.
[There's more in Brandi 4]