Written by castor :: [Tuesday, 21 May 2013 06:06] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:31]
Chapter 4: A Black Spot in the Void
(with special thanks to Dru1076 for proofreading and editing)
He was a small man. In all senses. A small petty man. He hated America. Always hated it. Despite or perhaps because the fact he was born there. As long and far as he could remember. Hated Canada, hated El Salvador. Most terrorist’s main goal was terror … to create fear. Most also loved. They had wives children and genuine affection. It was part of what made them.
Not him. Especially since it started.
Arnold Stang worked on the docks, a good union job that he quietly hated. When it started that had all changed. He figured out how to work the banks software to give him all the money he wanted, or needed. But that wasn't enough. He needed more than currency could buy.
He needed to make the world suffer. When he looked up at the sky, he realized most of all: he needed to make *her* suffer.
He knew her basics. Scraps. In the 1880 A British botanist noticed then when he cleaned seeds in water they tend to be organized if spun. This same principal led to the discovery of the atomic bomb. And so it was with her.
Once he knew the basics of how she worked it was simple. It wasn't quite a technology, but even still, he could do it. Create a bomb that would destroy the world itself. It would have been childsplay. Easier in fact then the small devices he had created. However he didn't want that … he merely wanted her to be gone.
And this time he would do it.
He owned a large warehouse in the south city. The kind of place that superheroes fight dozens of henchmen. But he had none, he couldn't be bothered with people. He had rigged it so that her senses could not quite pierce it, but at the same time hopefully not notice the blind spot.
This was important. He knew what the police knew but kept hidden, what the media knew too … maybe the public just didn’t want to see. She had killed people. At least 20 he knew of. Terrorists some, robbers too, but at least 5 were people who had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time … and to save another she had ended them. That was the worst part; for he knew she felt no pity or remorse for any of it.
And if she found him he had no illusions …
That was perhaps his great strength: He had no illusions.
Selma was nervous. She and Karen had gone out drinking. She had done that before. They nuzzled each other in a quiet bar. The alcohol could affect her, but it couldn't quite get her drunk. And she wasn't. This was a shame, because situations like this were really suited to alcohol.
They took a cab to her place, though Selma could have driven. She worried about her place … was it clean enough? In the cab Karen kissed her, grabbed her really hard. Selma caught the subtle smile of the cabby before digging in to her prize, a hand between her legs … a caress upon her thigh. It was so real. She had felt women’s thighs of course, and this was the same, yet different … oh god so different.
It took 3 minutes 22 seconds to get from the cab to the apartment … or an eternity. Karen pushed the door open, pushed her inside. It took them 43 seconds to get undressed. A shorter eternity. Selma watched Karen’s breasts appear, then held them in her hand. They were hers. Hers. Only hers. She put her mouth on them and suckled, like the infant she had never been.
Karen smiled. "You want me"
"God yes" Selma replied. It was the first time she had ever used the word god. And she meant it.
Karen paused for a second. She had no illusions. Selma was the great beauty here. Karen was plain. Not quite a nobody … but … Selma wanted her. That somehow made Karen want her more. She smiled, and led her beauty to the bedroom.
Where they made love. That was the word for it. Touched all places, rubbed their sexes, felt there essence. It was beauty.
They orgasmed surprisingly gently. Selma realized that in the abstract she had gotten to greater heights … but somehow this was better.
Starhawk walked into Daison’s office. That was the first clue something was wrong. Daison had never actually seen her walk. He had seen her up close on the ground, or hovering … but never walking.
"You wanted to see me."
"’Been trying to reach you for two days" Daison said impatiently "Is something up? Like something in Africa … or …"
Starhawk nodded. Which meant she lied. "Something like that."
"Well … I’ve been trying to figure out the aquarium device … the sonic gun."
Starhawk nodded. She hadn't quite decided what to do. But taking this madman out was a primary concern before she did anything else. This was important … she had to save the people. She liked them. "Got any leads on who?"
"Not who … but I’ve an idea. You first appeared 6 months ago on February 12th."
Starhawk nodded "That’s when I first appeared."
Daison replied "How did you get to earth?"
Starhawk sighed. "I have said before: I don't wish to talk about that."
Daison sighed then. "Well someone knows the answer. February 20th, there was a robbery at the Chicago university research lab. High energy pulse weapon was used, knocked out security. You weren't there, but you were when a building collapsed near wriggly field on March 15. Some type of harmonic resonance … no idea how that works. March 17, a smoke cloud comes out of a factory on Huston Street. No idea what that was … ”
Starhawk was confused. "What you’re saying …"
"About 16 of these incidents," Daison continued "and that’s just the ones I know about. Hell, before you came to the city things like this didn't happen. Most of these look like, well … accidents. But they’re just not explained, or explained too neatly. I calculated the number of major accidents like this has quadrupled since last year … and that’s beyond any statistical norm I can see."
Starhawk looked down "Did I save them?"
"Not always." Daison put a hand through his hair. "That plus the occasional big crime … I just don't know."
Starhawk guessed. "Why would someone do this? Greed. Pride?"
Daison growled. "Not money, not terrorism. Compulsion maybe … but the real answer involves you."
Starhawk was confused. She wanted to get back to Karen to save her from this. “Me?”
Daison nodded "The technology used in these things had to come from somewhere … we couldn't even see most of it because it’s too advanced, and may never see it. But you’re the only alien on the planet. If that’s what you are. They did it challenge you. I assume to stop you, or maybe just a test … or, maybe …"
"Out with it"
"Or maybe," Daison added, "Just to make you look better."
Starhawk had on occasion faced foes that she had not let live. There had been a reason. There was none now, but she wanted to end this treasonious FBI agent.
"No."Daison sighed "I believe you. But who else knows about your technology? Is it like in a ship? If it is I would make sure it safe, protect it … and trace from there."
Starhawk shook her head. "No ship that you could see."
Daison sighed. The press assumed that she was Supergirl, Wonder Woman … something like that. But the more he met her, the more he knew, he realized she was something *else*. Daison sighed "Well whatever it is, whatever I don't know … nutrition docking station or whatever … find it. We found the bomb. Then he used the sonic cannon. He knows we know. And that makes him more dangerous then ever"
Starhawk nodded. "Agreed."
She paused for a second "Give me the list of targets you have, please."
Daison handed it to her. A second latter she handed it back. Shen then flew out the window, breaking it into a thousand peices.
Daison went over. "Should’ve known that would happen."
Inside the bank Karen sat at her desk and smiled. There was no-one in particular to smile to. It was a quiet day. But she smiled.
"Someone has a girlfriend," Michael teased.
"Come on," Karen snapped back at her co-worker.
Michael knew her secret-not that precisely it was a secret. What he didn't know was that she would have fired him for teasing like this; it was a good enough reason. He had actually worked in the bank trade longer then her. He had better connections. But she would have. Yet she covered it with a smile.
"Who is she? Some girl with an army haircut and tattoos?"
Yes he would be fired. Or maybe transferred.
Karen laughed and doodled on her note pad as she avoided his questions for a few minutes. She went and got a drink of water.
When she turned around she saw that Michael had been incinerated.
Starhawk flew through the air. Whomever or whatever was behind this must have something in the city. She had thought she could triangulate the location.
That much was obvious. She extended her senses as far as she could … then extended them farther. Her body tingled, looking almost as if it wasn't there. No … no … wait a second. There was something … but it was in shadow.
She flew down to examine it. Carefully. She knew that if they had the sonic cannons or something else they would use them. They couldn't stop her. Nothing on Earth, or any world, could stop her. However, They could slow her. If she had to make a new body that could give them time to escape. And if they escaped then no matter how long she lived, she would never know true peace in Karen’s arms.
So she was careful. She saw powerlines. Maybe they depended on that. Maybe if she took them out it would set off an alarm … that however could be helpful.
So she extended her hand through a transformer and cut off power to the area. This included a hospital. But they would have backup generators. She hoped they did.
She had hoped that would provoke a reaction. But it didn't.
She nudged closer. Then realized something. She landed on the ground, cautiously, in a dirt lot. She didn't want to create an earthquake. But the earth was fairly soft, so she started to dig.
In superman comics he just span through the air to do this like a tornado. She worked by putting her hands in the grounds and pushing. Faster. Faster and stronger. She was about a mile away, and had dug 100 feet under the ground. This was the safest way she could think of. There should be no major tremors until she was right under them … which 10 minutes later she was. She paused … and pushed.
The movement was like a masterstroke. She pushed forward, lifting and flying through the gigantic earth like a dynamo, 100s of tons moving with a force that had never been seen. It caused a massive rumble throughout the city as for a second she flew … and in a second she was on the earth.
Where the building had stood, the force had destroyed it.
Around in the rubble she could now sense there were 20 guns. Most likely pointed once in a radius around her, even down … but her movement had dislodged them. They were powerless and harmless.
However no one was there. No one. Her target was gone.
She extended her hand, her energy burst outward and destroyed every ounce of building, every sonic tank in an intense inferno, and then snuffed it out. Whatever mischief they were up to, they were gone.
But then she realized where they were.
Arnold looked around. Why did it have to be a bank? This was a cliché he was above. Still he was there. He had noted the irony that he had in fact already stole close to 180 million dollars from the institution and that they where none the wiser.
His three associates were around the bank taking hostages. He only needed one hostage but there were standards. If he was lucky, taking many might prove a distraction. But there was only one he wanted.
He looked her as she lay on the floor with the others. Pretty, he guessed others would say, but not amazing. Still, there she was. And here he was, finally.
"They’re all tied up, I don't want to wait till the police come … lets get moving," Fox said. Fox was one of the three men he had hired for appearances sake. He hated them of course. Even if they got of here with the money he would kill them, just perhaps out of spite. But for now, he indulged their petty desires "Go into the vault.”
In the meantime his not-so-bright compatriot Laurence was helping Arnold setup.
There were 10 hostages on the floor. He looked toward Karen, who huddling in a corner sobbing. Not even the bravest of them all. Pathetic. He walked over.
"Hello dear" he smiled at her knowing the smile would make her terrified "We’re not trying to rob the place. Not really."
"Then why … why are you here? Just go."
"I am here to stop her."
Arnold truly smiled. He would have pleasure. He would enjoy this.
He pointed out to his devices.
"The first gun, we already tested. That will destroy her. Leaving only molecules. But that’s not enough. I knew it wouldn't be enough. The second … the second thing is a heavy, heavy magnetic containment field that will prevent her from growing a new body. The last time it took her 54 minutes to do that before she regained conscious, but this will keep her in suspended animation.
Karen looked over at it in dumb shock. She couldn’t figure it out. Maybe this was something to do with sadism …
"Maybe I will find a way of actually destroying her. I am not sure it exists. But still she will be gone. Defeated … lost to …”
Arnold was then vaporized in less then half a second.
Standing there, with a hand where his chest used to be, was Starhawk.
Karen had never remotely been this close to her before. She had seen her in the sky, but not this close. So she looked at her closely.
Starhawk ignored her and extended her hand toward the devices. They both exploded into metallic rubble. She looked at the henchmen.
"Don't kill them," Karen said. And she meant it. Meant it with more force then she imagined. She wanted them to live.
Starhawk stood down, and looked at her.
They were outside of the bank in an alley behind the building. There had been panic and noise. They stood looking at each other.
"I love you." said the Starhawk. "I love you …"
Karen had recovered but perhaps not all that much.
"You do, don't you," said Karen. And she realized she loved her back. For the first time the thought had even crossed her mind, though she felt largely the same at each point in their journey.
Karen considered. Was she betrayed? She had suspected that the tractor thing was a cover. Plenty of people in Chicago made money doing things they didn't tell other people. She had accepted that and gone forward. She had even, on a cynical note, thought perhaps that’s why she had come to her. Now she knew. But not everything. "He wanted to …"
"… Destroy me molecule by molecule then contain me in a magnetic field.” Selma paused "I was relieved when I heard it. It would have worked … but only for maybe a day before I figured a way out. But I am glad, as he probably would have killed you before then, and that."
"Are you an alien?"
"No." said Starhawk "That’s one word for it, but not the right one. Not a god either … not precisely. But somewhere in between. I existed in a space outside of that. Then I saw earth one day and wanted to come.” She continued adjusting herself "I spent 200 years just examining it … outside of time. I watched cities grow, plants … and then I realized I could … enter. I became this. But I was the wrong word. For I did not think of myself. And then I did."
"I loved humanity and when I took shape I discovered myself … which lead me to want not just to fly around and feel … but to help, for one thing. To become your comic-book hero Starhawk, and to become human"
Karen touched her face. It was warm. Godlike. "How does that feel?"
"Like the moon and the stars. I can't tell you how old I really am. I had no concept of time … but no more a concept of how alone I was. Now I have you"
Karen leaned into kiss her neck. "That’s so sweet. Now I have to adjust to being Lois Lane, I guess."
Starhawk smiled. Karen realized that she had never seen her do that in all the images of her.
"And now that’s complete."
The change was instantaneous this time, a flash of light. And Karen saw her lover.
The first thing that Selma did was giggle. Nakedly giggle. Her boobs, Karen noted, sagged just a tad more.
"I’m human now. 100 percent. That’s all over. It’s all done. Before I played around with things … but now, now I want to get fat. I want to grow old. The Starhawk stuff is over."
"Do you want to die?"
"Not right now … but yes"
Karen paused and started to cry.
Selma stopped, and ran to comfort her, holding her. "What’s wrong?"
"This is still not human. Its still not. Your not supposed to want to get fat"
"Plenty of people do. French people …"
"Your not supposed to want to die!"
And Karen had her there.