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Birthright (Part One)

Written by lfan :: [Thursday, 06 September 2007 08:52] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 02 December 2012 20:17]

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 Birthright

Part One

by Lfan and Conceptfan 


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WRITTEN FOR SGI COLLABORATIVE WORKSHOP 3.1
DOWNLOADED FROM  http://www.superwomenmania.com/storybank
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"I'm glad I'm not walking tonight," thought Miles Harbinger as he
peered at the storm.  From his position, seated behind the wheel of
his automobile, the windshield wipers sounded like a thudding heart-
beat as they swept back and forth.  Even at top speed, they were
only able to offer limited visibility.  Thick, dark clouds above
dumped endless gallons of rain and the unforgiving wind blasted it
against the outside of the pick-up truck.  A roll of not-too-distant
thunder rumbled through the cold wet air.  It was bad enough that he
had to be on the road on such an awful night.  At least it was warm
and dry in the car.
 
He stared at the dimness ahead.  His headlights barely illuminated a
few yards in front and the moon and stars were no help behind all
those storm clouds.  A fork of lightening offered a brief glimpse of
the shape of the landscape beyond the limited range of the car's
lights:  the featureless scrub on either side of the black highway,
the low hills on the horizon, the short, bare tree by the right side
of the road a hundred yards further on…
 
"That's weird," Miles muttered to himself.  Out here, it wasn't
normal to see a tree - not even a thin, short tree with no leaves -
growing right up by the side of the highway.   "I don't remember
seeing a tree there any of the hundred or more times I've driven
this road," he thought.  "Maybe it was a trick of the lightning."
 
He was all set to forget about the strange sighting when another
massive electrical discharge in the heavens resulted in a long,
crooked finger of brilliant blue lightening almost directly
overhead.  It lit up the ground like an arc-light, but for only a
fraction of a second.  That was long enough for Miles to see that
the shape by the side of the road was not a tree.   It was a person!
 
He slowed down, partly because of the poor visibility, and partly
because on such an horrendous night in such a deserted location,
only the most heartless of people could ride past a lone, walking
stranger without at least inquiring about their welfare.   He lent
forward, squinting through the rain-splattered glass, blinking each
time the wiper-blades flashed across his vision, waiting for the
moment the car got close enough to the figure for him to be able to
see it in his headlights.
 
Finally, he saw it take shape from out of the rain-blurred
gloom.  Definitely a person.   The first thing he noticed about the
figure was that it was female.  From the moment the shape became
discernable as human, it was instantly recognisable as belonging to
a woman.   There was no mistaking those curves, regardless of the
lighting and weather conditions.   The outline of the form stirred
something deep within Miles; a reaction that owed more to biological
pre-programming than conscious thought.  It sparked two fresh
strands of conjecture in his mind.
 
The first of these new trains of thought was concerned with why the
woman appeared to be wearing some kind of figure-hugging outfit and
not something more appropriate such as a raincoat.  This question
was side-lined by the second notion that entered his mind at that
point: "I wonder if that body looks as good as I think it will up
close?"
 
As he neared, he was able to make out long hair.  The night was too
dark and the hair too wet for him to tell if it was straight or wavy,
or to guess the colour, but it hung in dripping bunches either side
of her face.   She was looking straight at him now.   He was close
enough to make out her features.   She looked like she had a pretty
face.   Very pretty, he realised as he let the car start to
decelerate.   Stunningly beautiful in fact.  Such sexy rich
lips!  Large, bright eyes, a cute nose... and... That body!   It was
every bit as gorgeous as he had hoped!
 
She was wearing a strange red top.  The material looked as thin as a
typical T-shirt, and yet, even in the dim light, it seemed to
shimmer.  The neck was cut in a deep "V" shape, at the centre of
which a staggering amount of wonderfully firm-looking cleavage was
clearly on display.  Either side of that erotic valley, two large,
round breasts deformed the shiny cloth, stretching it in ways that
made Miles' pulse race.  He could even see where the points of her
nipples were tenting the fabric at the crown of each magnificent
mound.
 
It took all his mental strength to tear his eyes away from her
chest.  His reward was a glimpse of a small, flat waist, the
narrowness of which only made her spectacular breasts look even more
spectacular in contrast.  Around her hips was some kind of white
skirt.  Short enough to show her bare knees and most of her long,
attractive legs, yet long enough to cover her thighs, it looked even
more out-of-place than her top.  The whole outfit resembled a 1950s
cheerleader.   Didn't she know it was 1983?  He wasn't sure what
struck him as stranger: the fashion or its inappropriateness to the
weather.
 
One thing was for certain: under-dressed and out-of-style, she
looked amazing.  The car ground to a halt right next to her.   Miles
hurriedly wound down the driver's side window.  He blinked away the
raindrops and braced himself against the cold wind that immediately
assaulted his face as he looked out and found himself staring at the
mysterious woman's faintly-muscled, smooth flat abdomen.  Just above
lurked those big, twin globes.  He started to raise his eyes towards
them.
 
Just at that moment, she started to bend at the waist.   Suddenly,
he found himself gawping right into the endless wonder of her
pendant cleavage.  He felt the jolt of excitement through his body
that such visions of sexual perfection invariably provoke.  He
shifted momentarily in his seat as his pants became a lot tighter
around his groin.   The glimpse of erotic paradise passed as she
lowered her face to the car window, but its effect on Miles would
never completely fade.
 
Her beautiful face came slowly into view.   She looked about twenty-
one years of age; a little younger than him.  Strands of her hair -
not blonde, but not completely dark; he could see that now - were
matted to her skin, but if anything, that just made her seem even
more sexy.   Her complexion was perfect, and somehow radiant even in
the rain.  She smiled, a smile that seemed almost bright enough to
penetrate the black storm clouds.  Two sets of immaculate, gleaming
white teeth, so straight and square, were set within those
delectable lips.  Miles felt a lump forming at the back of his
throat to match the other lump that had already formed in his jeans.
 
First impressions, Miles knew, are important.   She'd certainly made
one hell of an impression on him.  He needed to make sure he made a
good one on her.
 
"Are.. Are-" That wasn't his voice!   Where had his voice gone?  He
cleared his throat.  Then he blushed.  Then he realised he was
blushing and blushed even more.  He felt beads of sweat forming on
his forehead, despite the bitter, rain-soaked wind.  "Come on,
Miles!" he chastised himself.  "Don't blow it!"  He took a deep
breath to calm himself, and found that he was inhaling her scent, a
delicious sweet, floral fragrance that did anything but calm
him.  With enormous effort he tried to speak once more.
 
"Are you OK?" he asked, feeling a huge sense of relief that he
managed to get the words out intelligibly and in something
approaching his normal voice.  The woman nodded.   She had
understood, and had deigned to reply!   He used the small dose of
confidence that gave him to ask another question:  "What are you
doing out here?  Engine trouble?"
 
"Engine trouble?  Yes, I suppose you can call it that!" she chuckled,
the smile not leaving her features.  That was the first time she
spoke to him.   Her voice was as lovely as her looks.  Melodic,
sweet feminine tones caressed his eardrums whilst the sight of her
lovely lips moving and her sexy teeth flashing treated his
eyes.  Her warm delicious breath wafted over him along with her
words.
 
"Can I..." Miles almost didn't dare ask the question.  But he simply
had to.  "Can I offer you a ride somewhere?"
For a terrible moment, the young woman did not reply.  She seemed to
be considering her options.   It was all he could do not to throw
open the door of the car, get out, fall to his knees on the soaking
wet ground at her feet and beg her to accept.   Then, it
happened.   The single greatest moment of Miles Harbinger's life.
 
She said: "Yes, thank you."
 
Miles's heart was pounding in his chest as he raced to open the
passenger door.  He stared at the woman's long legs as she strode
confidently around the front of the car.  He tried hard... so hard...
not to stare at her chest as she climbed in.  She hesitated for a
second, as if unsure whether she should close the door or not.  He
couldn't tell if she was waiting for him to reach across and do it,
but eventually, she pulled it shut herself.
 
Miles drove off down the highway.  Controlling the vehicle was a
real challenge.  The atrocious weather and the poor visibility
demanded that he keep his eyes on the road as much as possible.  But
his eyes were being pulled away by forces too strong to
resist.   The mysterious woman's skirt had slightly risen up her
round, silky thighs and the chance of catching a glimpse of her
beautiful legs kept causing him to flick his gaze towards her
lap.  Worse than that, her straight, confident posture as she sat
next to him meant that her fabulous, large firm bust was thrust
spectacularly out.  Looking momentarily out of the corner of his eye
- as he did a dozen times each minute - he could see an acre of ripe,
desirable feminine cleavage, not to mention the wondrous profile of
her breasts, which was so pleasingly revealed by her tight clothing.
 
Appreciating that the combination of silence and his ever-growing
sexual tension was potentially disastrous, Miles was glad to have an
obvious conversation-opener.  Talking to the beautiful girl also had
the advantage of giving him an excuse to look at her, although, as
he reminded himself, he had work hard to restrict his staring to her
face whilst she was looking at him.
 
"Um... where are you heading?" he asked, trying too hard to sound
cool, but nonetheless doing a pretty good job of not sounding a
quarter as nervous as he actually was.
 
If his passenger felt any discomfort at being the object of his
frequent, lustful glances, she did not show it..  In fact, she
seemed quite happy to engage in conversation, turning her gorgeous
face towards him and flashing her dazzling smile, making it harder
still for him to concentrate on the road.   "Er..." she hesitated,
as if she was considering whether she could share some piece of
private information with him, "Can you take me to the nearest town?"
 
"Louisburg?" Miles asked.  He knew this stretch of highway well, but
he'd only ever passed through Louisburg.  He'd never had any reason
to stop there and didn't know anyone who lived in the town.
 
"Yes, that's fine," his passenger smiled.
 
"Have you got family there?" Miles sought to keep the conversation
going.
 
"No... er," she looked downwards for a moment.  The wonderful smile
even faded.   Suddenly, she seemed sad for the first time since he'd
encountered her.  "They're... They're a long way away..."

Furious with himself for asking the wrong question and breaking the
mood, Miles gave up trying to get her to talk for a while, and
concentrated on the road, and, of course, stealing alternate glances
at her legs, torso and face.  Over the next few minutes, she seemed
to recover from her brief moment of unhappiness and the smile
returned to her features, although in a slightly dimmed
form.  Outside, the rain and wind showed little sign of easing
up.  The occasional low rumble of thunder in the sky told of a storm
that was still some way from exhausting itself.

Seeing a familiar neon sign looming dimly out of the gloom ahead,
Miles glanced down at the gas tank gauge.  He still had almost a
quarter-tank, but it wasn't the kind of night to run dry out on the
highway.  He flicked on the indicator lights.  "I gotta pull in here
to get some gas," he told his stunning passenger.  Then, he had a
wonderful idea.  "They've got a pretty decent diner - do want
something to eat?"
 
"Eat?" she asked, as if surprised by his question.

A little taken aback by her response, nonetheless, he persisted:
"Aren't you hungry?  I sure am."
 
"Hungry?" said the girl.  Then perhaps as a result of seeing his
disappointment, she smiled warmly again and said "Er, yeah, sure."

She followed him into the diner.  In the harsh, bright light of the
restaurant, she looked even more beautiful than she had in his
dimly-illuminated truck.   There were two other customers, both men
in their late forties, drinking coffee up at the counter.  They both
turned as Miles and the young woman entered, swept their curious
gazes briefly over Miles and then stared, goggle-eyed at his
voluptuous companion, following her graceful walk across the
room.  She merely smiled warmly at them and paid them no further
regard.  They seemed happy enough just to gawp.

Miles led the way to a table and she followed, but then stood as if
unsure what to do until he gestured to her to take a seat.  A
waitress came over, smiled at him and nodded in cold courtesy at her,
handing them two menus.  The woman's eyes flicked rapidly over the
list of offerings.  Max read through the options for a moment and
then asked "So, what are you going to have?"

"Um... what are you having?"  she countered.

"Well, I'm going to have the fillet steak, but I reckon you'd
probably be more interested in the-" Miles started.

"-I'm having the fillet steak too," she interrupted.

She used the same tactic for her whole meal.  When the waitress came
back to take the order, the beautiful stranger refused to nominate
her choices until Miles had ordered what he wanted.  Then she
announced she would have the same.  The same side of fries.   The
same mustard.  The same carbonated soft drink.   It was as if she'd
never been in a restaurant before, had no clue what to do and so was
copying his every decision.

When the food arrived, she stared at her plate unmoving for a
moment.  Slightly unnerved, Miles picked up his knife and fork and
wished her "Bon Apetit!"  She immediately took her own cutlery in
hand.  But she didn't take any food.  Not until Miles had cut a
piece off his steak and placed it in his mouth.   Then she did the
same.  The "Mmmmmm..." sound she made after the first few mouthfuls
was of her own creation, but ever other action was a carbon copy of
Miles.  When he speared some fries with his fork, she did
likewise.  When he dipped a piece of meat in mustard, she performed
the identical action.  He put down his knife and took a sip of his
soda, and so did she.  she copied everything, right down to swirling
the last piece of steak around the empty plate to soak up the excess
juice.

"That was wonderful," she smiled as they finished almost
simultaneously.
 
"Always tastes better when you're hungry," Miles observed, "And you
certainly were hungry!"
 
"I was?" she asked, in a tone which suggested she believed he could
provide the answer where she couldn't.
 
The waitress came over to the table before he could think about it
any further.   Miles ordered apple pie and ice cream for two,
without bothering to canvass his companion's opinion.  She seemed to
appreciate that, rewarding him with an extra bright smile that made
him forget about how strangely she was behaving and simply admire
how beautiful she looked.
 
She loved the dessert.   And the coffee.  When the check came, she
seemed disappointed that she couldn't ape Miles' actions in
paying.  "Don't worry about it.  My treat," he smiled.
 
"Thank you," she said, in a way that made his knees weak.
There was only another ten minutes of highway before they got to
Louisberg.   The town looked shut for the night.  Even the lights in
the store windows were off.

"Where do you want me to go?" Miles asked her.

They were driving past a deserted, darkened movie theatre
entrance.  "Er... here is good." she said, not sounding at all sure
of herself.

If she was intending to get out, Miles realised he didn't have long
left in her company.  If ever there was a time in his life to take a
long shot, this was it.   He summoned up every last shred of courage,
grabbed one more glimpse of her amazing figure and came right out
with it:  "Have you got somewhere to stay for the night?"
 
"Um, well, no," she admitted, casting her eyes downwards as if
ashamed by the lack of planning.

Outside, the rain continued to hammer down.  The wind howled, even
stronger than before.  It was an horrendous night, but the elements,
Miles knew, were on his side at that moment.  "This isn't the kind
of night to be wandering around looking for a motel," he pointed out.
 
"What's wrong with this night?" she asked him, her tone genuinely
innocent.

Miles assumed she was joking, and played along.  "You mean, other
than the fact that it's freezing cold, pissing with rain and blowing
a gale?" he chuckled.
 
"Cold?" she questioned, before hurriedly adding "I mean... yes it is
colder than usual for... er... here..."
 
Her reactions, not for the first time, were confusing him.  But he
decided to proceed with his primary mission nonetheless.   "You
know..." he started. "You could always stay at my place
tonight.  It's just down the road... I can give you a ride into town
in the morning..."
 
She paused for a moment, perhaps weighing up the pros and cons of
the offer or perhaps realising that it was the only offer she
had.  Either way, she came to the conclusion Miles would have sold
his soul to hear.  "Thank you," she said in that sexy voice.  And
then she gave him the brightest, most irresistible smile he had ever
seen.
 
Miles lived forty miles from Louisberg, on the other side of the
river.  He drove on through the driving rain, stealing frequent
sideways glances at his beautiful companion for the first three
dozen miles until, inevitably, as his eyes drifted upwards from a
quick scan of her fabulous bust - the thousandth of the night - he
found his line-of-sight unexpectedly aligned with hers.   She had
caught him looking!  Miles started to feel the sting of his cheeks
reddening with embarrassment.  But she merely held his gaze for a
moment and smiled warmly, as if to say "I know you're checking me
out, and that's fine by me."  The colour of his face returned to
normal, but the thumping of his heart increased in tempo.  He had a
feeling the four miles to home would feel like the longest four
miles he had ever driven.
 
Outside, the wind continued its furious assault.  Miles peered
forward, using the brief moments of clarity afforded by each sweep
of the windshield wipers, waiting to see the distant lights of the
river-bridge.  His house was only a few hundred yards from the other
side, and the lights were a familiar sight for him at the end of a
long night-time drive.  He calculated that, given the exceptionally
poor visibility, he would probably get to see the first distant,
twinkling dot in around two minutes.
 
Just then, the woman turned to him and asked, in a dead-pan voice
"Is your vehicle amphibious?"
 
"What?" Miles chuckled.
 
"We are coming to a river," she said.  He wondered how she knew
that.  Had she seen a sign by the road?  He didn't think there were
any...  
 
Then she really astonished him.  "And the road across it is closed."
 
"How do you know?" he asked, a little uneasy.  He was certain he
hadn't passed any signs for the last fifteen miles.  And the bridge
was still over a mile away.
 
"You can't see the board, can you?" she asked.
 
"The board?" said Miles, totally lost.
 
"There is a large, rectangular board attached to a barrier that has
been placed across the road by the river.  On the board it says
'BRIDGE CLOSED DUE TO HIGH WINDS.   Use McKeen Crossing.  Take side
road back to highway then 15 miles East.   Strictly no public access
to bridge.'"
 
"You can see a sign.... by the bridge.... from HERE?" Miles asked,
amazed.
 
She seemed not to notice the depth of his surprise.  "Underneath,"
she carried on, "it says 'Sign printed by Solomon Signs' but I guess
that's not important because it's written in much smaller text than
the rest of the message."
 
"You're kidding me.... right?" Miles asked.  The first light of the
bridge had just become visible up ahead.   He couldn't tell yet if
the bridge really was closed, not from this distance.  Of course, if
it was, then he would, as she said, have to drive back onto the
highway and cross at McKeen.  He'd be almost spitting distance from
home, but still have to drive over thirty more miles to get
there.  But... there was no way that his companion would have been
able to see any sign from two miles away on a sunny afternoon, let
alone a filthy night like this.  Maybe she knew the area and was
guessing that the crossing would be shut.  Maybe she was just
teasing.  In the five years that Miles had lived on the other side,
he couldn't recall a single occasion when the bridge wasn't open, so
he continued to drive towards it.

"I don't believe it!" he said, shocked, almost exactly a minute
later.  He pulled the car up to a stop just a few yards short of the
red-and-white stripped barrier that had been placed across the
entrance to the bridge.   Right in front of him, illuminated by his
headlamps, was a rectangular sign.   Printed on the sign was the
message his passenger had predicted, word-for-word.   Miles had to
strain to try and make out the "Solomon Signs" bit.  The
manufacturer's name was a little to small for him to make out
without leaving the dry warmth of the vehicle.

He turned to the woman seated beside him, looking her directly in
the face this time.  "Did you come by here earlier?" he asked.  "Is
that how you knew about the sign?"

"No.  I just have better eyesight than you," she said, matter-of-
factly.  Then she smiled, and Miles, who had been about to tell her
it was impossible to read a sign at night from that far away,
suddenly lost the will to argue with her.  "So is this vehicle
amphibious?" she asked again.  This time, the question at least had
a context, even if it still lacked a basis in reality.
 
"No, that's the other model.  This is the one that turns into a
giant robot," Miles answered, flippantly.

"Robot?  I didn't know that technology here was-" she started.

"-I was joking." Miles put her out of her confusion.  "No robot.  No
hover pads. No ejector seats. No James Bond gadgetry at all.  Just
good ol' American automobile engineering.  We have to go back onto
the highway down to McKeen... be about another forty-five
minutes."  He pulled the gear-stick into reverse and started to back
away from the "BRIDGE CLOSED" sign.

"Wait!" said the woman.

Miles released the accelerator.  "What is it?" he asked.

"You want to get to the other side of the river?" she sought
confirmation.

"My place is just on the other side over there," he pointed. "But
the only way of us getting there dry is to drive down to the next
bridge like the sign says."

"You don't have to go to McKeen," she said with yet another
devastating smile.  "I can help!"  She turned away from him and
opened the door on her side.  Before Miles could even ask her what
the hell she was doing, she jumped down onto wet tarmac.  "Hold on,"
she grinned, and closed the door.  Miles looked at the rain drops
pelting her beautiful face through the passenger side window.  Then,
she ducked out of sight.  He wondered if she was adjusting her boot,
or perhaps scratching her knee.  What on earth was she doing down
there?  He decided to scoot over to the passenger seat from where he
might be able to see.

He got halfway there when the frame of the car began to
creak.  Miles froze.  Then the creak became a groan.  "What the f-"
he started to say.  His words were cut short when the passenger side
of the car suddenly, but smoothly, rose three feet into the air,
tilting the front seats to a thirty degree angle so that Max slid
back into the driver's side, sitting his shoulder against the inside
of the door.   "Ow!" he yelled.

"I told you to hold on!"  It was her voice.  And it didn't sound as
muffled as he might have expected.  "Are you hurt?" she asked.   She
didn't sound like she was outside the closed passenger door.  Her
soft feminine tones seemed to be coming from... from.... from
underneath!  Was she jacking up his pick-up?   But she hadn't taken
the jack out of the trunk.  And she wasn't carrying one under her
tight sexy outfit.  And he'd never come across a jack that could
lift one side of a yard off the road inside a single second...

"Are you hurt?" She repeated the question, her lovely voice full of
concern now.  That confirmed it.  She was definitely under the
car.  He answered her "No, I'm fine" both to allay any worries she
might have and to keep his masculine pride in tact.  In truth, the
bruise on his arm was painful, but he was much more concerned by
whatever the hell was happening under his pick-up.

"Good," she said.  She seemed genuinely glad to hear the news.  That
was a positive sign.  "Now make sure you're holding on this time!"

There was that creak again, and the angle of the vehicle tilted
still further.  "Whoa!" Miles exclaimed, involuntary as he was
pressed further against the driver's door, the passenger side of the
pick-up rising a further two feet.   In a moment's panic, he
realised that the whole truck was going to roll over if it tilted
any more.

"Hang on!" she shouted, apparently from right underneath him.  The
creaking returned, louder than ever.

"Here we go!" she called.  To Miles' great relief, the car began to
rotate back towards level once more. The groaning of the chassis
continued unabated until the vehicle was about half-way back to
horizontal.  Then it faded, as if whatever strain the frame of the
pick-up had been under was now diminishing.   He stared out of the
windshield at the barrier across the bridge.  Something wasn't quite
right about the view...

Then, suddenly, he understood what was wrong.   He was looking down
on the barrier.  The car was tilting back to straight again, but not
because the passenger side was being lowered.  The other side of the
vehicle - his side, where he was sitting - was being raised to match
the new height of the passenger side.  In the space of a few seconds,
the pick-up truck was parallel to the road once more.  Only now,
something, somehow, was holding it about six... no, wait... seven
feet above the tarmac.

What had she done?  Had she used a pair of ultra-fast, ultra-
powerful hydraulic lifters?  And what had that got to do with the
bridge being out anyway?  Curiosity got the better of his unease and
confusion.  He shifted his weight so that he was no longer leaning
against the door beside him.  For an instant, he was gripped with
the fear that his sudden, clumsy movement might have unbalanced the
car from the lifters, or whatever was holding it up, but evidently
it was well-supported because the whole thing felt as steady as it
normally did on the road.  Gingerly, he pulled on the latch that
opened the door beside him.  Seeing nothing beside the car or under
the wheels, he carefully began to lean out so that he could look
underneath.

The sight that greeted Miles as he lowered his head beneath the
bottom of his pick-up would stay with him for the rest of his
life.  The beautiful girl was under there alright.   She was
standing under the centre of the vehicle with her arms were raised
high, palms upturned.   He couldn't help but notice that his pick-up
truck, with him seated inside, was resting on her hands.  There were
no hydraulic lifters.  No jacks.  Just the stunning young woman in
her revealing outfit.  And she seemed, for all the world, to be
holding his truck over her head.

"What... the.... fuck?...." Miles panted, staring in disbelief as he
hung out the side of the car.

"Oh, hi!" she grinned at him, as if nothing out-of-the-ordinary was
occurring.   "You'd better get back inside and close the door if you
don't want to fall into the river."

"How... the... hell..."

"I'll explain everything in a minute.   When we're on the other
side."

"Did... you.... pick up... my.... truck?"

"In a minute.  I promise I'll explain in a minute.  Just get back
inside and close the door now."

"Are... you... carrying... the... truck.... now?"

"Well... I don't see anybody else under here, do you?  Close the
door and I'll tell you the whole story once we get across the
river."

"Across.... the.... river?"

"Close the door and you'll see."

This must be a dream, Miles told himself.  A freaked-out dream.  Any
moment, I'll wake up back in bed, and none of this will be real.  I
should have known!  I mean, look at that girl... holding a pick-up
truck like it weighs as much as a carton of cigarettes... she's so
hot, I must have dreamt her up.  No way would a chick that gorgeous
smile at me the way this one is.

"You really have to close the door so you don't fall out into the
river," she insisted, with a reassuring smile.

Something about the thoughts of dreams that were filling his mind
and that intoxicating smile of hers broke Miles out of his
trance.  Before he fully realised what he was doing, he found
himself complying with her request, and hauling himself back onto
the driver's seat.  Having done that, he thought, he might as well
close the door too.

"Hang on!" she called up.  Then everything seemed to lurch.  He felt
himself being pressed back into the corner of the car seat.  Then he
looked through the glass panel in front of him.

"Oh... my.... god....." he breathed.  The barrier was shrinking
beneath him.  The whole length of the closed bridge hove into
view.  They were going up!  Up, into the air!  Twenty feet...
thirty.... forty.... Higher than the highest span of the bridge
itself!  The "CLOSED" sign vanished below the bottom of the
windshield.  Then the entrance onto the bridge.  Forwards... they
were moving forwards.... He would see the deserted bridge a long way
under his car, and the black river beneath that , far, far below
him.  Somehow, they were crossing the water.   Was she doing all
this?  What a freaky dream!

The far bank soon came into view.  If it wasn't for the darkness of
the sky and the thickness of the falling rain, he would have been
able to see the roof of his house.  They passed over the end pillar
of the bridge and then slowly, they started to descend.  The pick-up
truck came down so smoothly, that Miles felt as though the road on
the far side was rising up to meet his wheels.  With the gentlest of
jolts they came to a halt.  The tarmac still looked too far away,
and Miles realised that the truck he was sitting in wasn't yet back
on the ground.  There were still about seven feet up.

That was confirmed a moment later by the girl shouting "Hang on,
I've just got to lower it back down.  Right hand first...."

"Whoa!" Miles yelled as the passenger side of the car tilted quickly
ground-wards whilst his side stayed at the same height.   He grabbed
onto the steering wheel to prevent himself sliding across the front
of the car.

"Left hand now!" she called.  Miles felt the seat beneath him
dropping away and himself falling after it.  And a moment later,
with hardly even a bump, the car was flat, its tyres resting on the
road once again.  Miles bounced slightly in his seat as he readapted
to the restored normality.

Suddenly, she was opening the front passenger door and climbing in,
her long legs lead recapturing his attention immediately.  She was
dripping wet, but it was instantly clear that the moisture on her
hair and her face and her clothes was rain, and not sweat.  She
turned, rubbing her palms, asked "Do you have anything for me to
wipe my hands on?   It was a bit sticky under there, and I don't
want to leave dirty prints all over your vehicle."

Miles looked, and saw that her hands were black with engine oil and
road grime.   He flipped open the glove compartment under the
steering wheel and pulled out a well-used rag-cloth, offering it to
her.

"Thanks," she smiled, clearing the worst of the filth onto the rag.

"Um... I think I'm the one who should be thanking you..." Miles
said.  "But I'm not entirely sure what just happened....  Did you
really lift up my pick-up?  With me inside?"

She nodded.

"How?" he asked.

"By..." she started, "well, by lifting it.  The same way you lift
anything.  It's just that I can lift a bit more than anyone you
know."

"A bit more!" Miles spluttered.  "You lifted my whole truck and you
didn't seem to be struggling!"

"OK, OK.  I can lift A LOT more than anyone you know."

"Like... how much?" asked Miles, ready to believe just about
anything.

"I wouldn't want to say," she answered, enigmatically.

Miles didn't press for a more definite response.  Instead, he had
another mystery to clear up: "So... how did we get across the
river?  I mean, you didn't walk, did you... unless you have forty
foot long legs or something...."

She laughed.  "No, I don't.  I just have normal-looking legs."  They
looked anything but "normal" to Miles.  "Exceptional" would be a
much more accurate label, he felt.

"Well then," he persisted, his curiosity far from satisfied, "how
did we get across?"

"I flew us."

"Flew?" Miles gasped.  "As in.. like a... like a bird?"

"Well, I don't have wings, as you've probably noticed, but other
than that..."

"You can fly?"

"Yes."

"By yourself?"

"Yes."

"Without jet-packs or engines or propellers or... or.. or...."

She looked deeply into his eyes.  He felt as if he was being
trusted.  "Yes.  I can fly.   I can lift trucks and I can
fly.   Look, um, there's something you should know about me..."

"You mean, besides the fact that you can lift a pick-up and fly it
across a river?" Miles said, his humour a poor attempt to hide just
how freaked out he was.

"Well it is connected with my... well I guess you'd call them my
'special abilities'.   You know how earlier you couldn't believe
that I could see that the bridge was closed because you thought we
were too far away?..."

"Let me guess," quipped Miles, operating dangerously close to
making-a-fool-of-himself territory, "you flew out of the car,
checked out the bridge and returned so quickly I didn't notice
anything?"  What else could he do, with all this incredible
information running around his brain, and an unsettlingly beautiful
woman to impress, but try and be funny.

She chuckled.  "No," she corrected him, "I just used my eyes.  I can
see a lot further than you can, especially in the dark.  But, now
you mention it, maybe I could have tried the other trick.  I can
move pretty quickly when I want to.   That, and all the special
things I can do-"

"-There's more?"

"Please," she asked, gently, sincerely, "let me finish."

"Sorry," he said, calming down.  "It's just... all a bit much for
me."

"I know," she smiled.  "You're doing really well so far.  There's
just one more thing..."

"Yes?" he asked.  No more wisecracks.  This time he waited patiently
for her to speak.

"I'm not from here," she said.

"Oh, I know THAT," Miles said.  "I got that from your accent
straight away.  I've got you pegged as Maryland or maybe-"

"No.  I mean I'm not from this planet." She said, calmly,

"-Delaware or...  What did you say?"

Miles' jaw hung open.  She merely smiled.  "This is my first night
on Earth.  I'm from another planet... far away from here," she
explained.

Miles said nothing.   "Are you alright?" she asked, softly.

"S-s-sorry," he stammered.  "I- I- I'm just a little shocked.... I
mean, if you hadn't done... done that thing with the car... I'd
think you were nuts.  But, with everything that's happened... now I
understand!   You didn't know what to order in the diner!   You
didn't even understand what being "hungry" is!  And you asked me
what was wrong with the weather tonight... like... like you didn't
know this kind of rain is so rare...  And you didn't have anywhere
to stay in Louisberg... It all makes sense!  Oh my god, you... you
really are from another planet!"

"Yes, I really am.  And I don't know anybody here.   You were the
first person I met."  She giggled, girlishly.  It made her seem
anything but alien to him.  "In fact, you're the only person I've
met.  You've been so kind to me, that's why I wanted to help you by
taking you across the river."

"That was a big help," he said. "Even if the whole thing has freaked
me out...  My house is just two minutes' drive this way.  Er, unless
you'd prefer to fly us there?"

She laughed.  "I prefer sitting in here.  With you."  The way she
said the final two words made his pulse race.  Apart from everything
else, she was, above all, an exceptionally beautiful woman.  Miles
was both flattered and excited by her apparent interest in him.

"It'll be even nicer at home," he commented.

"Then let's go there," she agreed.  "And I'll tell you my whole
story."

Miles turned the key in the ignition to start his car up once
again.  "I've just realised something!" he said.
 
"What?" she asked, sweetly.
 
"I... I don't even know your name!  Mine's Miles, by the way."
 
"Miles.... Miles.... Mi-les.... Mmmm-iles.... That's a beautiful
name."  She said.
 
No-one had ever called his name beautiful before.  Then again, no-
one had ever made it sound as beautiful as she had, rolling the word
around her lovely mouth...
 
"Thank you," he said, putting the car into gear and heading down the
road.  "So, what's yours?"
"You wouldn't be able to pronounce it.  It requires internal muscles
that you don't have," she replied, sadly.

"You have internal muscles that I don't?" Miles inquired, allowing
himself to be side-tracked by his ever-fascinating companion once
again.

"Oh yes..." she said,  "Lots of them.  In quite a few parts of my
body.   Maybe I can demonstrate some of them for you later..."

"Oh... my.... god....." said a voice in Miles' head.  Somehow, he
managed to retain enough control on his lust to keep
driving.   "So..." he said, deliberately switching the topic back to
its more innocent origin, "what can I call you?"

"Well, my name is El@£#%&.  But like I said, you wouldn't be able to
pronounce it."

"Elak.... Elux...." he fought to replicate the strange sounds she
had made, but he knew it was a lost cause. "You're right!" he
admitted.  "I can't."   He pulled off the road, parking the car in
front of a modest two-story home.  "This is it!" he announced.  "My
humble home."   He still didn't know what to call her.  As he was
about to open his door, he had a brainwave.  "Do you mind if I call
you 'Elizabeth'?" he asked.

"Not at all, Miles." she said, grinning. "Actually, I like
it!   Especially the way YOU say it...."







"So," said Miles, carrying two steaming mugs of cocoa over to the
kitchen table where Elizabeth was sitting.  "I guess you've never
had hot chocolate before."  He placed one drink in front of her and
sat down with the other facing her.

She took a sip.  "Wow," she breathed.  "You have so many flavours
here!  I guess it’s because you guys have to eat all the time..."

"...And you don't?"
 
"No, I get plenty of energy from the sun."
 
"O...K...." said Miles.  "Then I won't offer you anything else to
eat."
 
"Oh no!  Please do.  It's all delicious.  And besides, I prefer to
respect the local culture..." she said.
 
"Local culture?  Oh, right.  So... um... do you make a habit of
visiting alien planets?"
 
"Actually, no.  This is my first.   I studied Earth at school, so, I
guess when I decided to run away, this was the obvious place to
come."
 
"You ran away?  From what?"
 
"From people who wanted to harm me because of something my father
did... It sounds crazy, but..."
 
"Actually, it sounds just like Earth," said Miles.  "So, you got
away alright?"
 
"Yes, they followed for a while, but I'm a pretty good navigator,
and I managed to escape.   My ship sustained some damage.  At the
time I thought it was nothing, but the landing equipment failed
completely.  I crashed nearby where you first saw me.  My ship... it
was totally destroyed.  I'm stranded here.  I... I can never go
home!"  For the first time, Miles saw deep sadness in her gorgeous
face.
 
A crystal clear tear welled in the corner of her left eye until it
had gathered enough strength to roll down her cheek.  Instinctively,
her reached over the table and tenderly brushed it away.  "It's OK,"
he said.  "I'll make sure you're OK".
 
"Oh Miles!" she threw her arms around him, hugging him with deep
gratitude.
 
After an hour or so of telling each other their stories, Miles
yawned.   "I've been awake for nearly twenty hours," he excused
himself.  "I have to get some sleep.   You can take the bed in there,
I'll crash on the sofa."
 
"Thank you," she smiled.  Ten minutes later, he was fast asleep on
the couch.  Not needing sleep at all, Elizabeth sat on the bed in
his room, watching the dawn break outside and the rain finally
subsiding while she patiently waited for her host to wake.




It was midday by the time Miles awoke.   For a split second, he
smiled at the thought of the strange dream he'd had involving a
beautiful woman from another planet who had picked up his truck and
flown it across the river.  Then he remembered that it was no dream,
and his smile grew wider.   He noticed that the door to his bedroom
was closed and assumed she was still asleep so he tiptoed to the
bathroom to perform his morning ablutions, spending considerably
longer than usual making sure his hair was neatly combed.  From
there, he made his way quietly towards the kitchen and began the
coffee-making process.
 
"Mmmmmm.... what is that SMELL?"  Elizabeth's sweet voice almost
startled him.
 
"Coffee," he explained, turning around to see her walking into the
kitchen.  She was still wearing the unusual, but very flattering
outfit she had worn the previous night.  Miles caught his breath and
tried not to stare, but it was hard.  "Want some?" he asked her.
 
She didn't know how many sugars she took, so he suggested one.  He
placed the cup of almost-boiling hot liquid in front of her, and
before he could say anything, she put it too her lips and emptied it
in three large swallows.  "That was lovely!" she said, placing the
cup back on the table.
 
Miles was stunned.  "Didn't that... burn you?" he asked.
 
"No, heat doesn't affect me.  I guess you would normally wait for
the drink to cool then?"
 
"Well, I'd let it cool," Miles started, "or at least sip slowly for
a whi- What did you say?  Heat doesn't affect you?  Is that only for
stuff you swallow?"
 
"No, it's in general... internal and external.  I guess you'd say
I'm immune to hot and cold," she explained.
 
"Wow!" breathed Miles.
 
"But that's just it!   It's all so... so strange for you!" she
observed.  "I have to learn how Earthlings react so that I can fit
in here." she told him.  "I need someone.... I need YOU... to teach
me the ways of this planet.  Will you teach me, Miles?  Will you?"
She looked at him across the table, fixing him with her disarming
smile, her eyes so bright and clear, locked on his.
 
"S...Sure!" he said.
 
"It may.... I mean... I may..." she said, her voice low and sexy,
"...take some time for me to learn everything."
 
"That's fine.  You can stay here as long as you like."
 
The words were already out of his mouth before he realised he'd said
them.  There were no regrets, however, a moment later, as Elizabeth
beamed from ear to ear, jumped up from her seat, dashed around the
table and threw her arms around his head.  He was still seated as
she stooped over him to hug him.  He could feel the firm warmth of
the shelf of her impressive bust under his chin, and feel the silky
softness of her cheek against his forehead.  His nostrils filled
with her lovely scent.  "Oh, Miles!" she breathed.  "I'm so lucky I
found you!"




That afternoon, Miles suggested they go for a hike.  The weather had
cleared up, and the autumnal sun was doing its best to make the
world bright and warm.

"What's a 'hike'?" Elizabeth wondered.

Miles explained. "Of course, if you're tired after your journey..."
he added.

"Tired?" she asked.

Miles smiled.  "All I'm saying is that it's a long walk.  Me, I'm
used to it, but maybe you're not and you'd prefer to-"

"-Let's go for the hike." Elizabeth insisted.

Two hours later, they were picking their way up the side of tree and
rock covered hill.

Elizabeth had spent most of the trek exclaiming how beautiful
everything was.  She was particularly interested in the wildlife
they encountered.   She was overjoyed with her first sighting of a
squirrel, even when Miles told her "They're not as cute as they
look!"

Miles needed a rest.  They had been walking, uphill, for ninety
minutes.  Elizabeth was a few yards ahead, having clambered onto a
large slab of rock.  He reached the edge of the massive chunk of
stone and hauled himself onto it, pausing for a moment to catch his
breath before climbing back to his feet.

"Miles!" cried Elizabeth, turning around to look down on him.  "Are
you alright?"   She sounded genuinely concerned.

"I'm fine," smiled Miles.  "Just... catching... my... breath...."

"Do you need medical help?" she asked.
 
He chuckled as best he could in his breathless condition.  "No... I
just need a few minutes' rest.  I guess you don't tire as easily as
us Earth folks!"
 
"No, I don't," she agreed.  "But I need to learn to take rests like
you so I can fit in."  She sat down beside him on the dusty rock and
listened to Miles' respiration and heartbeat slowly returning to
normal.
They sat in silence for a minute or so, looking out over the lower
slopes of the hill.  "It's beautiful here," Elizabeth observed,
breaking the quiet.

"I've been coming here for years," Miles confessed.  "It's one of my
favourite places."

Elizabeth turned her lovely face towards his and gently stroked his
arm.  "Have you ever brought anyone else here before?" she asked.

"No," he admitted. When he turned towards her, he suddenly noticed
that their faces were very close.   She was still stroking his
arm.   "There's never been anyone I've wanted to share it with...
until now."   She smiled, that wonderful, bright, beautiful smile.

Miles leant his face into hers, and kissed her.   Not a long,
lingering kiss.  Just a preliminary touching of lips; a test to see
if there would be any reaction.  There was a very definite
reaction.  Elizabeth kissed him back.  A longer, and more insistent
kiss than the first.  He put his arms around her, and she did
likewise.  Her felt her chest pressing against his, felt the
pulsating throb in his groin.  He felt her tongue against his lips
and slightly opened his mouth.

She kissed him deeper and more passionately than anyone had ever
kissed him.  He responded with his own tongue, exploring her perfect,
warmth mouth.  Her hands began to roam over his back.  Her cupped
her astonishingly firm rear and rubbed his palm on her thigh.  She
placed her hands on his backside and pulled him closer to her.  He
ran his fingers through her soft, long hair, caressed her shoulders,
her hips, and traced the outer curves of her splendid breasts.

He was gasping for air when the kiss finally ended, but he managed
to find enough breath to ask her: "Elizabeth, do people on your
planet make love?"

Miles spent the next hour learning that the answer was "yes".    It
was the finest hour of his life up to that point.
 





Four weeks later....
 
Miles Harbinger groggily awakened as tiny beads of light streamed in
through the slats of his vertical blinds striking his
face.  Instinctively, as was his custom for the last four weeks, he
draped his arm playfully over the pile of covers lying next to him,
but suddenly realized it was that -- just covers!  Miles quickly sat
up in a daze, trying to clear the cobwebs from his eyes and
head when he was startled by a familiar and angelic voice from
across the room.
 
"Hello, sleepy head!"
 
Miles turned around to see Elizabeth standing in the doorway,
wearing a tiny grey tanktop and a pair of pink silk
boxers.  Elizabeth smiled sweetly as she sashayed across the
room, holding a cup of coffee as she walked over to the blinds and
opened them slightly, letting her fabulous figure bathe in the
sunlight like some kind of angel.  Her blond hair, her skin, her
eyes -- everything about her -- seemed to glow and bask in the
natural sunlight that now illuminated his bedroom.  Miles only could
stare at her as her eyes flashed with a
brilliant fluorescent blue spark before two tiny beams of heat
vision struck the contents of the mug she was
holding.  Elizabeth grinned as she quelled her heat vision. In a
matter of seconds, the room wafted with the sweet scent of
percolated Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee as the steam poured out of
the freshly heated mug.
"Coffee's ready!" she sang, as she set the steaming mug down on the
nightstand and sat on the bed next to the man she'd fallen love
with.  She bent over and gave him a good morning kiss, relishing in
the feelings she had for this Earthling.
 
"Good Morning!"  Miles finally replied after breaking from the
passionate good morning kiss, thinking that life could not get any
better!  A couple of weeks ago, he was single, and while his life
wasn't awful, he never could have guessed he could be as happy as he
was now.  Here he was, an average Joe...in love with a gorgeous,
superhuman girl who seemed also madly in love with him.  One who
would do anything for him -- including making him coffee.
 
"Honey, I didn't know I had coffee in the pantry.  Thank
you!"  Miles said as he reached for the steaming hot mug and blew on
it gently.
 
"Oh, you didn't have in the house, so I went and picked some up."
 
"Picked it up?  It's 7:00 in the morning, where did you
go?  Oh, Albertson's is open 24 hrs, that's right!"  Miles replied,
seemingly answering his own question as he went to take an initial
sip of java.
 
"No, I remember you said last Thursday that Jamaican coffee was the
best, so I flew there this morning and picked the beans myself!  Is
it good?"
 
Miles almost choked on his coffee, coughing three time, caught off-
guard by the seeming absurdity of her last statement.  But if the
last three weeks had proven anything, it was that his new girlfriend
made a living of accomplishing the absurd and doing the
impossible.  Miles coughed a couple more times before setting the
coffee cup back on the nightstand.
 
"Honey?  Are you ok?" asked a genuinely concerned Elizabeth as she
gently rubbed his back.
 
"Yes, just a little overwhelmed at your...umm...surprise!"  Miles
said sheepishly.  "So aren't you tired?  How long did it take you?"
 
"Oh, silly!  You KNOW I don't require much sleep!  After our third
time last night, I slept for a good thirteen minutes!  God, it feels
so good to get a good night's sleep!  Well, you looked so cute, and
I didn't want to disturb you so I took a little flight and that's
when the idea hit me to surprise you with coffee!"
 
Miles did the rough math in his head, remembering that they had
finished up around 3:30am.  "So if you took off around 3:45, you
flew to the Caribbean and back in less than three and a half
hours?!?"  Mile was impressed.
 
Elizabeth smiled almost embarrassed.  "Well, not exactly...when I
was flying there, I made a few stops.  I stopped a purse snatcher in
Sloth Carolina....a building fire in Horlando...and then when I got
to Jamaica, I stopped a gun fight between two gangs in Kingman!"
 
Harbinger could only smile and take a sip of coffee trying to
suppress my laughter at my invincible girlfriend's only apparent
weakness -- geography!  Still, he was proud of her accomplishments
and intrigued by her excitement as she told me the details.
 
"Miles, it was so wonderful!  It felt so good to help those people
with what I can do here!  It made me want to do more to try and help
as many people as I can!  I know that sounds kinda weird, but its
hard to explain..."  Elizabeth said, almost ashamed at her
altruistic thoughts.

Miles looked at her and smiled, thinking of the fictional legends in
his mind -- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman -- and their selfless
acts to help others.  Sure, they weren't real, but Elizabeth
certainly was!  And she was just as fast as a speeding bullet and
more powerful than a locomotive!
 
"Liz....I understand, and I would expect nothing less than that from
you!  You are amazing!"
 
Elizabeth squealed in delight as she leapt atop of him and playfully
pinned him down on the bed.  
 
"So what do we do now?"
 
"Well, first....UNHNNNN...... we have to get you a
costume...ARGHHH...... and a secret identity!"  Miles said,
struggling playfully in vain against her star-born strength.
 
"That sounds fun!  But, honey, I was talking about number
FOUR!"   Elizabeth said coyly at her lover as she rocked teasingly
against Miles's swollen member.
 
"Honey, you are SUPER!"
 
"You know it, baby!  You know it!"  Elizabeth cooed as she slithered
down atop Miles and kissed him passionately.




 
Five months later....

Miles walked into the house after another hard day of work, anxious
to see his super soulmate even more so than usual.  A yellow rose --
her favorite -- dangled from his eager hand.

"Elizabeth!  Liz?  You HERE?"  Miles called out loudly, more out of
habit than necessity.  Miles knew perfectly well that Elizabeth
could have heard a faint whisper --- from seven blocks away -- just
as easily as his call for her.  Still, no response.
Miles sighed in mild disappointment as he picked up the remote from
the mantle and turned on the TV.  

"...and just to recap tonight's top story, France -- as well as much
of Western Europe -- is breathing a collective sigh of relief,
thanks to the efforts of the superheroine, SuperNova, who averted a
potential nuclear disaster today at the Phenix Nuclear Plant.  It is
estimated that without SuperNova 's help, the facility would have
suffered a, and I quote, a catastrophic event likely resulting in
the deaths of thousands with the potential fallout death toll in the
tens of thousands.  Once again, the world is indebted to you,
SuperNova.  Now for all of us here at Chann--"

CLICK!

"Is that for me?"

Miles turned around quickly to see Elizabeth -- SuperNova --
standing in his living room.  His eyes could not help but roam as he
looked her costume up and down, trying to be subtle but failing
miserably.  It had been almost five months since he and Elizabeth
had adopted the SuperNova moniker for her and designed her costume,
but he was still entranced, almost hypnotically, just as much as the
first time he had seen her put it on.
The black, shiny lycra and spandex fabric clung to her every inch of
her upper body like a second skin, fabulously displaying every
subtle -- and not-so-subtle -- muscular curve in her back and
arms.  The stellar "star pattern" on her costume was hypnotizing,
especially sections that were warped and given depth by Elizabeth's
frontal assets.  A silver and gold sash wrapped tightly around her
waist, draping sexily to her long and perfectly proportioned
legs which were poured into a pair of silver boots which clung
tightly to Elizabeth's shapely calves.  God!  She was a true
superheroine if there ever was one!
"Miles?" she asked, almost giggling embarrassingly, as she knew the
effect her costume had on him -- and almost every other red-blooded,
heterosexual male on the planet.

Miles quickly came out of his brief catatonic state and smiled,
extending the rose to her.  "I saw on the news.  They said you saved
thousands of lives.  I'm so, so proud of you Elizabeth!"

Elizabeth took the flower gently from him, taking a shallow
sniff, her ultra-sensitive sense of smell allowing her to savor the
equivalent scent of an entire valley of yellow roses.  A smile
washed over her face.

"Everything I do is because of you!  Without you I'd have been on my
own on this planet, not knowing what to do.  I NEVER want to be
apart from you, darling..."

"Liz, neither do I!"  Miles said as he crouched down on one knee and
took a diamond ring from his pocket, slipping it onto her
finger.  "This isn't much of a ring for someone who can probably
make a 30 caret diamond with her bare hands and some coal, but its
the best I could do with my salary!  That is, unless, you wanna tear
your way into some bank vault and float me a loan..."

"Miles, I dunno what to say....."  Liz stammered.  Eventhough she
had only been on Earth for  six months -- six months to this day --
she knew of the Earthly tradition called 'marriage'.  It was similar
to the sacred vow of X$c£ik@a on her planet and was the ultimate
recognition of love between two people.  Two people like her and
Miles!!

"On Earth we say 'Yes'..."

In a burst of superspeed, Elizabeth raced over to Miles and embraced
him as they kissed and levitated off of the floor, spinning
playfully.  As they released their lips from one another, Miles
looked at her and grinned "So that's a 'No'?"
"Yes!  Yes!  Oh Miles!  God, Yes!!"
 


 
 
10 months later...

Miles descended into the basement of their home, carrying a steaming
cup of coffee, finding Elizabeth slumped in a chair in the corner of
her make-shift laboratory.  Beakers, books, and computer printouts
were strewn everywhere in an uncharacteristic display of messiness
that Miles had NEVER seen in his wife's work.  Immediately, Miles
thoughts shifted to those of concern that everything was ok.

"I thought I would return the favor, and bring YOU some coffee this
time."

"Awww, how sweet!!"

"But I gotta admit, I didn't fly to Jamaica to get it.  Although the
Albertson's I bought it at IS on Columbia St!"
 
Elizabeth snickered.  In the last 10 months, her sense of humor as
well as her knowledge of world geography had become far more
acute.  She got his little joke.

 "Thanks for the thought but I probably shouldn't have it..."

"Is MY coffee THAT bad" Miles said, trying to instill more humor in
the conversation.
Elizabeth's eyes began to well up as she stared at Miles for a
seemingly interminable length of time.  Miles heart sank as he
feared the worse --- some new unstoppable supervillian...some alien
STD that she had contracted...some inter-galatic affair that she was
gonna come clean with....

 "Liz...what is..."

"I'm pregnant!"  the young superwoman blurted out as she began to
smile and laugh, choking back tears of joy.

Miles fears turned immedaitely to elation -- with a dose of shame
for thinking of the last possiblity -- as he dropped the coffee cup
and ran over to hug Elizabeth.  They both hugged and cried for
almost a minute.  They were both excited, albeit a little
apprehensive, over the possibilities.  It wasn't like interstellar
pregnancies were common topics on ANY planet!

 "Liz.....will the children be...um....you know....normal?"

"Well, that's what I've been doing is research on that very
question.  All my genetic research shows that the children will have
a 98.76% chance of not displaying any types of powers like me"

"Why is that?"  Miles said, almost disappointed.

"Well, our children will have half-human, half alien
DNA.  Ironically, despite what I can do on this planet, Earthlings'
DNA is stronger and more dominant.  The code in my DNA that allows
me to do all this stuff by using the sun's rays as an energy
catalyst will be made dormant by your DNA.  So, our children will
grow up normal.  Although...."

"Although what?"

"It might be possible for me to eventually force their human DNA to
go into remission and allow the alien DNA to take control over thir
bodies."

"But... altering DNA... isn't that impossible?"

"Well, Earth technology might not have advanced to that stage, but
back on my home planet we did that sort of thing all the time.  I'm
pretty sure I could figure out a way using materials/equipment
available on this planet."  Lizabeth began to think about the
concept, her computer-like brain processing information rapidly as
she thought aloud.  "I could create a quirkafleeg induction
debalancing serum that would allow my genes to become
dominant.  Then our children could develop powers like mine under
Earth's sun.  I dunno...I'll have to do some more studying."

"So our child could have powers like yours?"

"Yes, I'm pretty sure the theory would work..."

"Powers JUST like yours?"
 
"I see no reason why not..."
 
"ALL of your powers?"
 
"Sure!"
 
"Wow!  It's all WAY over MY head... but, I don't think we should
rush into anything.  I just want our child happy and healthy."
 
"You're right, my love.  I'll work on the serum, but we'll keep it
until we think she is ready!"
 
"Or HE"
 
Liz flashed a sheepish smile, "Honey, my race is only capable of
same sex reproduction.  Males give birth to boys and the females
give birth to girls...."
 
Miles looked puzzled as she shook his head, trying to picture the
concept in his head.
 
Liz wrapped her arms around her husband and gave him a playful kiss.  
"Congratulations!  It's a girl!!"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ten years later...
 
"Evelyn!  Angela!   Snack time!"  Elizabeth's sweet voice echoed
across the back yard, calling her children into the house for
cookies and milk.  Her two daughters responded at once to the
familiar tones, stopping their game of Princesses and Horses much to
the secret relief of Miles who had been playing the part of the
horse, crawling around the yard on all fours whilst his daughters
sat on his back.  As the girls run inside, he stood up, pressing his
hands into the small of his back and stretching his spine for a few
moments, recovering from his exertions.  The role of "Horse" in
their games seemed to get more demanding every weekend.  Miles
wasn't sure if that was because the girls were growing bigger and
heavier or because he was getting older.
 
"Oh boy!  Chocolate Chip!"  The high-pitched squeal of Evelyn, their
oldest child was clearly audible out in the yard.
 
"Yay!  Chocolate!" echoed Angela, their other offspring.
 
'Don't they ever tire?' Miles wondered, exhausted but content to see
his daughters happy and healthy.  He made his way inside.
 
"Don't forget to drink your milk with the cookie, dear," Elizabeth
was reminding one of the kids as he entered the kitchen.  Miles
looked at his beautiful wife and the two wonderful children she and
he had brought into the world and, as he did several times every day,
offered a silent prayer of thanks for that rainy night when he had
first met her.  Now, more than a decade on, he simply could not
imagine what his life might have been without her.
 
"And where do you think you're going?" Elizabeth asked Angela who
had left the table and was halfway to the door, "You haven't
finished your milk yet!"
 
"But I wanna get my doll from the yard.  She's hungry too!"
 
"Well, she's just going to have to wait until you're finished,"
smiled Elizabeth.
 
"But I want her now!" little Angela pouted.
 
"I tell you what," Miles intervened.  "If I go and get your doll,
will you finish up your milk?"
 
"Thank you, Daddy!"
 
Miles smiled and headed back out into the yard.  He quickly spotted
the doll lying on the grass and strode towards it.  Bending low to
scoop up the toy, his eye was caught by a strange red
glint.  Curious, he dropped down onto his knees, carefully brushing
aside the grass with a sweeping motion until he finally saw the
source of the sparkle.   It was about the size of his finger, but
geometrically rectangular in shape, bright red and made of a strange,
semi-transparent material.  At first he thought it might have been a
part of one of the children's toys that had fallen off, but when he
picked it up between his thumb and forefinger, he felt a peculiar
tingling sensation spreading up his arm from the point of contact
and immediately dropped the object.
 
"Daddy, I finished my milk!  Where's my doll?" Angela demanded,
bounding out from the house, followed by her sister and mother.
 
"Here," said Miles, picking up the toy and handing it to his
daughter.  While the two girls resumed playing, he turned to
Elizabeth.  "Honey, what do you think that is?" he asked, pointing
at the ground where he had seen the strange red object.  "That's
strange," he said.  "I was definitely there a minute ago."
 
"What was?" asked Elizabeth.
 
"The thing I want to ask you about," Miles replied.  "I thought it
might have come off one of the kids' toys.
 
"What did it look like?"
 
"Well, it was red... I think some kind of plastic.  About the size
of a finger, but square...  Elizabeth!"  The look of concern and
then fear on his wife's face as he innocently described the mystery
object shocked Miles.  "What's wrong?"
 
"That... that thing you saw.  Are absolutely you sure it was there?"
she asked.
 
"Yeah, sure," Miles confirmed.  "Why?  Do you think you know what it
is?"
 
"Miles, you need to think very carefully about this.  Are you
completely certain you saw that thing it that exact spot before?"
 
"Definitely sure," said Miles.  "What is it?   Why are you being so
serious about it?"
 
"Did it move at all?  Or vibrate?"
 
"Well, when I picked it up I did feel this kinda tingle in my
arm..."
 
"Oh Miles!" Elizabeth burst into tears.  Instinctively, Miles threw
his arms around her.
 
"What is it honey?   What's wrong?"
 
"That red thing wasn't from the kids' toys," Elizabeth sobbed.  "It
was from my home planet."
 
"Your planet?  How do you know?"
 
"I... I can feel it," she said, tears streaming down her beautiful
face.  "They've found me.  Oh Miles!"  She wailed.
 
"Elizabeth, I... I don't understand," said Miles.  "What's wrong?"
 
"That thing..." she sniffed, "they're common on my planet.  The name
for them translates as 'long-distance eliminator'.  They travel the
galaxies, looking for their pre-programmed target and then..." She
burst into fresh floods of tears.
 
"And then... what?" Miles asked, now dreading the answer.
 
"And then they eliminate.  Oh Miles!"
 
"Eliminate?  You mean, it was sent to... to... kill you?  But...
you're invulnerable!  You can't be hurt!"
 
"I can't be hurt by Earth weapons, Miles.   That thing works by
emitting a certain kind of radiation that isn't normally found in
this solar system."
 
"Radiation?" asked Miles, fearfully.  "Oh god, no, the children!"
 
"It's OK... it... it won't harm them," she sniffed.  "Or you.  Your
human DNA will protect you.  It was sent for me and me only."
 
"How do we stop it?"
 
"Miles," Elizabeth said, through her tears, "it's too late.  I can
feel it eating away at me from the inside.  It's in my bones, my
skin... everywhere..."
 
"No!" cried Miles.  "No!  It can't be!  We'll get you to
hospital.  They can treat you and-"
 
"Miles," she interrupted him, suddenly calm.  "There's nothing
anyone can do.   Believe me, I know.  The process is
irreversible.  I'm dying, Miles."
 
Now, it was Miles who cried.  "How... how long do you have?" he
asked.
 
"An hour," she said, "maybe a little more."
 
"No!  NO! NOOOO!"
 
"Miles, please, not now.... Let me spend this time with you and the
children... together... my family... all together.... Oh Miles!  I
feel so weak..."
 
Miles scooped up his beautiful wife in his arms and carried her,
tears flowing down his face, to their bedroom, laying her down on
the bed, and then lying down himself, next to her, his arms around
her.
 
"M..Miles..." her voice was so quiet!  Her skin was pale too, much
paler than he had ever seen it before.   "There... isn't... much...
time..." she croaked.  "Remember... the.... serums...."
 
"I will, Liz, I will."
 
"When the girls are adults...  Promise me, Miles....  Let my
daughters fulfil their destinies to become all they can become."
 
"I promise."
 
"I love you Miles,"
 
"I love you,
Elizabeth.   Elizabeth?  Elizabeth?!?  ELIZABETH!!!  NOOOOO!!!"

 
 



Five years later.

Miles Harbinger did not deal well with the death of his wife and
neither did his eldest daughter.   For Miles, coping with two
motherless, teenage girls by himself was a challenge that he was not
well-suited for.   Evelyn was especially difficult to deal
with.   Where father and daughter should have found the strength to
cope with their grief from mutual support, they argued
instead.   The more Evelyn questioned his authority, the angrier he
became with her.   She began to flout his rules with increasing
frequency, convincing herself that, because her father would find
some excuse to shout at her regardless, she might as well do
something worth being shouted at for...

Meanwhile, Angela, the youngest daughter, took an opposite path,
desperately trying to maintain the flow of parental love and
approval by pleasing her father.  He was all to happy to lavish on
her the praise and attention that her sister was missing.  It did
not take long for the members of the family to settle into fixed
patterns of behaviour: the harassed, angry, tired father, the good
daughter and the bad daughter.   With time, Miles came to see
everything that Angela did as wonderful while he poured scorn on
everything Evelyn was involved with.

Drink did not fill the huge emotional void at the centre of Miles'
being.   But it did numb the pain of his failures with his eldest
daughter.  And it did let him fall asleep, alone and unfulfilled,
night after lonely night.  It also quickened his temper still
further, so that the slightest provocation would result in him
shouting at Evelyn.  She, meanwhile, gave him ever more reasons to
be angry with her.  Sometimes, it seemed that she chose her actions
with the primary purpose of upsetting her father.  And all the while,
Evelyn grew more and more jealous of her younger sister's close
relationship with him.

A few weeks after Evelyn's fifteenth birthday, she and a couple of
classmates were hanging out in the car park of a shopping mall a
block away from school.  As had already become a Wednesday morning
tradition for the group, the girls were cutting classes to drink
sodas, bitch about all the things they hated and share a packet of
cigarettes.   She knew her father would be furious to learn that she
wasn't at school, which was why she enjoyed being there so
much.  Besides, she felt free with her friends, with no-one to tell
her what to do.

Not like Angela.   Her sister.... Little Miss Perfect.   Evelyn was
sure Angela would hate being in a situation where no-one was telling
her what to do.  No... Evelyn could imagine her now.  While she was
being free, Angela was probably sitting at her desk in class, bent
over some text-book, with all her energy focused on whatever the
hell her teacher had told her to focus it on.  Evelyn took the
smoked-up cigarette out of her mouth, dropped it on the floor and
ground it beneath the toe of her shoe, imagining that the butt was
her sister's text-book.

In fact, Angela wasn't bent over a book.  At that very moment, she
was on her feet, at the front of her classroom, delivering a word-
perfect presentation to the class.  As she reached her final
sentence "...and THAT is why my favourite American is Abraham
Lincoln." she turned to look at her teacher in expectation of the
praise she was certain she was about to receive.

"Thank you, Angela."  The younger Harbinger girl beamed at her
teacher's words.  "Class, that was a great example of everything a
presentation should be.  Well done, Angela."

Angela headed back to her seat with a happy grin.  "I love school!"
she thought.





Over the next two years, Angela blossomed into one of the most
successful and popular students to ever grace the school, whilst
Evelyn spent more and more time in the mall car park with her group
of fellow black sheep.  The teachers would shake their heads and
tell each other how strange it was for one sister to be such a
perfect pupil whilst the other was such a disgrace.  Miles Harbinger
lost count of the number of times he was summoned to see the school
Principal because of yet another of his eldest's infractions, just
as he lost count of the number of certificates of merit and trophies
that his youngest brought home.  Angela, he would tell the few
people who listened to him in life, was destined for great
things.  Meanwhile, his other daughter, he hardly dared admit even
to himself, was in danger of ending up on the wrong side of the law.

He did not have long to wait for his predictions to be fulfilled.

It was the start of the summer after Angela's fifteenth birthday,
seven years after Elizabeth Harbinger had died...



"...and so, it is my pleasure to present this award to --- Angela
Harbinger!!"  
 
Angela squealed as she covered her mouth in surprise in response to
the raucous cheering that erupted and echoed throughout the assembly
hall.  Angela stood proudly at her seat, soaking in the moment for
a few brief seconds, before she proceeded to the auditorium stage to
accept her award from Principal Kingsley.  As she scuttled through
the row and down the aisles, Angela was greeted with a series of
hugs and congratulatory pats on the back from her peers, as well as
one overzealous pat on the front by Ben Evers.
 
Angela beamed, revelling in her accomplishment as well as the
admiration that her fellow student obviously felt for her.  She was
the deserving recipient of EastEnd High School's "Student of Year"
despite only being a sophomore and the only non-Senior winner of the
award in the school's history.  Still, no one could argue the point
based on her impressive resume:  Student Class President, Honor
Society Vice President, Homecoming Queen, Volleyball MVP, Basketball
Team Captain, 4.0 grade point average, Drama Club President, Lead
Actress in the Spring Musical, and participation in a number of
civic and charitable organizations, too many to mention!  She was
the epitome of the 'perfect' All-American High School Student, a
rare combination of brains, beauty, and athletic ability wrapped
in the charming and likable personality of talk show host.
 
As she collected the cup-shaped trophy from Principal Kingsley, she
cast her eyes over the other students on their feet clapping and
cheering for her.  The din inside the auditorium was deafening as
she proudly raised the cup over her head like a Wimbledon
champion.  She felt so proud and honored!
 
Angela smiled and turned her head from side to side amidst the
cheers as she held the cup aloft, acknowledging the student body
which had voted for her.  As she scanned the crowd, Angela hoped to
spot her sister amongst the hundreds of faces in the crowd.  She
thought she saw a couple of Evelyn's classmates, but no sign of her
older sibling.

With a sigh and an internal sense of disappointment, she correctly
surmised Evelyn was cutting school once again.  "Why did she keep
doing that?  Wasn't she worried about her grades?  School was
fun!  What could her sister possibly find to do that was more
exciting than school?"

Evelyn was having fun with her friends.  Ever since one of them had
been given a car, they had swapped the mall parking for a variety of
other venues in and around town.  As well as increasing the range of
places they could go, the vehicle had already proved its usefulness
on a couple of occasions when the girls needed a quick
getaway.  Like when they'd been spray-painting swear-words on the
wall of a kindergarten and the caretaker had chased them off
brandishing a rake.  Or when another of them stole a whole carton of
candy from a grocery store and the owner's dog ran down the street
after her, barking furiously....

While Angela was attending the awards assembly, the car was parked
outside a convenience store beside a deserted stretch of highway a
couple of miles outside of town.  Evelyn and the gang were inside,
having the time of their lives.   It was all Candy's idea.  Most of
the worst trouble they got into was Candy's idea.  Candy was the
oldest girl in the group and the most rebellious by nature, and she
usually managed to persuade the others to go along with her
disastrous schemes.  And it was usually Candy's fault when
everything inevitably got out of control...

That morning, Candy had suggested that they should drive to the
store.  She said she'd been in there a few days before and there was
a boy - "just a kid" - that worked there on his own, and he looked
the type that was scared of girls.  She convinced the others that it
would be fun if they all went in together and maybe "like, started
messing around".  The kid wouldn't know what to do, and they could
probably distract him and one of them could steal a carton or two of
cigarettes at the same time...  
 
Evelyn was one of the first to give the plan her seal of
approval.  The others - Rikki, Melissa and Dani - hadn't been slow
in following.  So, they had driven to the store, parked out front
and waited until there were no other customers.  Then the five of
them had marched inside.  For the first few moments, everything had
gone to plan.  There was only the one member of staff, an awkward
young man, just as Candy had said.  They could almost hear the surge
of hormones rushing into his blood-stream as one after the other,
the quintet of attractive, immodestly-dressed young women paraded
past the counter.
 
As they had agreed outside the store, the girls split up once they
had entered.  Candy hung out near the register, pretending to look
at a display of chewing gum packets, making sure she was within the
boy's line of sight, occasionally rolling her shoulders or leaning
forwards so that the easy-to-notice movement of her ripe breasts
under her tight-cut T-shirt kept him distracted.  Meanwhile, Rikki
and Dani made their way, giggling, to the snacks aisle.   Melissa
made a bee-line for the chiller compartments, making her way along
the line of transparent refrigerator door, opening them one by one
and leaving them ajar.   She pulled a can of cola from the last
fridge and, announcing "Fuck, it's hot in here," she held it to her
forehead as if cooling herself.
 
Evelyn headed for the cooking ingredients, scanning the shelves
until she found what she was looking for.  Reaching up, she got hold
of a two-pound packet of flour and carefully tugged it until it
topped from its display.  With a Whumpf! sound, the paper package
hit the floor and burst open, spilling flour across the entire
aisle.   A small could of the stuff rose around Evelyn's
feet.  "Whoops!" she said, barely hiding her laughter.  Finally, the
clerk tore his eyes away from Candy.   He walked out from behind the
counter towards the rising column of fine white powder.  As soon as
he had passed by, Candy grabbed several fistfuls of gum and shoved
them into the pockets of her denim shorts.
 
"Shit, I did it again!" Evelyn chuckled as she tipped another packet
of flour over, doubling the mess.  "Clean up in aisle number... what
the fuck is the number of this aisle?" she called out.
 
"Er, can I help you with that, ma'am?" asked the boy, hurrying to
her.  He passed by the row of open chiller cabinets and hesitated,
torn between two pressing duties.  In the end, he decided to close
the fridges first, and began to make his way along the line, pushing
the doors to.
 
"Hey!  I was just about to get something from there!" Melissa called
to him.   When he looked across at her, she pouted sexily,
temporarily affecting his ability to respond.  Then she began to
slowly drag the can she was still holding down her face.  "What's
wrong with the air-con in here?" she demanded.  "It's so freaking
hot!"  Staring into the stunned boy's eyes, she slowly pulled the
drink down her neck.   Then she reached the neckline of her tank-
top,  licking her lips as she ran the can sensuously over the
contours of her nubile chest, pausing to rub the fridge-cold  drink
in a circular motion over the crown of each of her breasts while her
audience of one stared, utterly hypnotised.  Finally she brought the
cola back to her forehead.  The clerk appeared to have become frozen,
his mouth slightly open, his gaze locked on the front of Melissa's
top, where her now fully erect nipples tented the thin cotton.
 
Whilst the boy was otherwise busy, Candy was taking advantage of his
absence by ramming more and more random items into her pockets, not
bothering to conceal the bits of packaging that stuck out of her
overfilled shorts.  He was so wrapped up in Melissa's little show,
he appeared to have forgotten completely about the spilled flour
until Evelyn called out in mock concern "Oh no!  I don't know what's
wrong with me today!   I'm so clumsy!"   Snapping out of his reverie,
he stole once more lingering look at Melissa's chest and hurried to
the cooking ingredients section.  He was too late.   Evelyn had
found the eggs and by the time he turned into the aisle, there were
dozens of shattered shells littering the floor, the spilled whites
and yolks beginning to blend with the flour already down there.  He
looked down at the mess on the ground, and then back up at Evelyn,
eyes narrowed in suspicion.
 
"You did that on purpose!" he exclaimed, in an accusatory tone.
 
Rather than deny the charge, Evelyn just laughed and, extending her
arm, pointed directly at his groin.  "Oh my god!" she
giggled.  "You've got a boner!".  The clerk's face flushed bright
crimson.  Unsure what to do, he brought his hands over the obvious
bulge in his pants.  "Too late to hide it now, perv!" Evelyn
said.  As much as he thought, he could not come up with a decent
response.  A couple of seconds passed in which he squirmed in his
embarrassment.  Then, a loud rustling and crunching sound behind him
gave him the excuse he craved to turn away from the girl who was
mocking him.
 
The clerk whirled around, and saw Rikki and Dani standing at the end
of the aisle.  Each of them was holding a huge, family-sized bag of
corn chips, which they had opened and were eating by the fistful,
dropping crumbs and larger fragments on the ground all around
them.  Dani pulled a single chip from her bag, and theatrically
sniffed it.  "I think these might be stale," she informed the
increasingly uncomfortable young man.
 
"Company policy forbids eating or drinking in the store!" he cried,
his voice almost trembling as he desperately sought to regain
control over his domain.
 
"Oh yeah?" said Rikki, shoving a large handful into her gaping mouth
and chewing as loudly as she could.
 
"What's the company policy on selling stale chips?" Dani demanded.
 
"Or walking around with a boner?" added Evelyn from behind him.  She,
Rikki and Nikki laughed whilst the Clerk cringed.
 
Meanwhile, Candy had hopped up onto the counter and was now sitting
on it,  reaching up towards the neat stacks of cigarette packets on
display overhead.  From the other side of the store, came the
unmistakable sound of a ring pull on a drinks can being
opened.  Then a loud slurping.  Then Melissa's voice, angrily
shouting "Euch!   Cherry flavour!   I fucking hate cherry
flavour!"  A second later, the half-drunk can of soda appeared above
the shelves, having clearly been tossed from beside the chillers.  A
trail of sticky brown liquid emerged from the open top of the drink
as it fell, before it landed, the remainder of its fizzing contents
pouring out onto the flour-and-egg mix on the floor.
 
"That's it!" the young man shouted, bringing his hands to his head
in exasperation.  "All of you get out!"   He rushed towards the
counter, perhaps to use the telephone to summon help.  As he passed,
Dani reached up and up-ended her huge bag of corn chips into his
hair like confetti and a wedding.  The clerk didn't stop, but he did
make several futile attempts to brush the food off his head as he
headed to the front of the store.   He didn't notice the sound of
another drinks can being pulled open.  But he did hear Melissa
yelling "Cherry again!  Why don't they label these things properly?"
moments before a second soda came spinning over the top of the
aisles, liquid spraying all over the place, some of it staining his
uniform, even though the can itself missed him by several feet.
 
Candy was now standing on top of the counter, casually helping
herself to package after package of cigarettes.  She had run out of
room in the pockets of her shorts, so she'd taken a paper bag from
by the register and was filling that instead.  "Hey!" the boy
screamed as soon as he saw her.  "Get down from there!"
 
Candy stopped mid-bag-stuffing.  "I thought this place was self-
service," she grinned.  The clerk arrived at the counter and reached
over it, his arms just a few inches from Candy's trainers.  She
glanced down and saw the telephone he was stretching for.  Melissa
appeared at the end of the chiller aisle, and Dani, Evelyn and Rikki
were also approaching the counter.  This was the point where the
girls' plan ended.  They'd accomplished their mission targets -
namely, to humiliate the clerk and steal cigarettes.  All that
remained was for Candy to jump down with her bag of smokes and for
all of them to run out of the store, leaving the young man to go out
back to fetch his mop and bucket.
 
But Candy did not jump down.  Instead, she demonstrated her finely-
honed instinct for making a bad situation much worse.   What
happened next was not in the plan.   She hadn't discussed it with
her friends.  In fact, the four other girls didn't even know that
she had her father's gun tucked into the waistband of her
shorts.  Until she lifted up the hem of her T-shirt, offering a
brief flash of her smooth, flat midriff as she pulled out the
weapon.   Then, to a chorus of shocked gasps all around, she pointed
the gun straight down at the clerk's head.  "Move away from the
phone, asshole!" she barked.
 
"Oh shit!" the young man wailed, immediately stepping back from the
counter and throwing his hands up high above his head.  "Don't
shoot!  Don't shoot!  Take what you want but don't shoot!"

"Fuck, Candy!" said Melissa.  "Where did you get that?"

"Shit," said Rikki, almost choking on her corn chips.  "I'm going to
be grounded, like, for life if my parents find out about this..."
 
"No-one's going to find out anything," said Candy.  "Lover-boy here
won't say a word, will you?"
 
"No, No.  I swear!" blurted the clerk, tears in his eyes.  "I won't
say anything... just don't shoot!"
 
"There, see?" said Candy to Rikki.  "Now, shut up moaning and help
me with this," she thrust the half-full-with-cigarette-cartons
paper-bag at Rikki whilst keeping the gun in her other hand trained
on the trembling clerk.  Rikki hesitated for a moment and then, with
a shrug, she dropped her bag of chips, climbed up onto the counter
beside Candy and accepted the bag and got on with the task of
filling it.
 
"What if someone comes?" Evelyn asked nervously.
 
"I'll take care of that," said Dani, walking over to the door.  She
flipped over the "OPEN" sign, so that the word "CLOSED" was showing
on the outisde, then she turned the small knob that bolted the
entrance from the inside.  Dani smiled.  "Well, I guess it's just us
and him now."
 
Evelyn's mind was racing.  Things were getting way out of
hand.  What was supposed to have been just a bit of mischief-making
- knocking some stuff off the shelves and stealing some penny-candy
- was now escalating to a full-blown armed robbery.  Part of her
told her to get the hell out of there, to abandon the others and
run.  But another part of her was starting to warm to the new
possibilities offered by the change in the situation that Candy's
gun had brought about.   There was something else too; something she
hadn't expected:  A buzz.  A thrill of pure exhilaration.  This was
so, so.... so bad.   So naughty!  And so exciting.  Before she
realised what she was saying, she heard herself asking the others
"What about the register?"
 
"I'll get it!" called Rikki.  She'd finished filling the bag and she
placed it down on the counter whilst she dismounted, landing on her
feet behind the cash till.  Her face knitted in concentration as she
narrowed her eyes at the dozens of buttons.  Tentatively, she
stabbed her index finger at a big blue one.  The word "REFUND"
appeared on the register's display but nothing else happened.  Rikki
tried another button.  "SPECIAL OFFER" flashed up on the small
screen.  "Dammit," she cursed.  "How the fuck does this thing open?"
 
Candy was still standing on the counter.  Carefully, keeping her gun
pointed at the clerk the whole time, she dropped to her knees.  Then
she swung her legs out and jumped down, landing right next to the
shivering young man.  "Tell her how to open the register, zit-boy!"
Candy yelled at him, waving the gun near his face.
 
"T-t-the g-g-g-green b-b-b-button!" he blurted, tearfully.  "B-b-
bottom left c-c-corner!   P-p-p-please d-d-don't shoot!"
 
The tip of Rikki's tongue emerged from the corner of her mouth as
she studied the lower right portion of the register's keyboard.  "I
don't see any green bu-  Oh!  There it is!" she announced, jabbing
at a large square button.  With a Ping! the cash draw slid open,
narrowly missing Rikki's waist.  She let out a low whistle as her
eyes settled on the bills stacked in their compartments.   She
grabbed a fistful of ten dollar bills, then paused when she realised
there were no pockets in her ultra-tight designer
pants.  Inspiration then struck her, and she plunged her money-
filled fist down the front of her T-shirt, tucking the cash inside
her bra before returning for a second handful.  The clerk's eyes
began to swing back and forth between Candy holding the gun and
Rikki stashing the cash.  Meanwhile, Dani and Melissa stood by the
counter, watching the unfolding events with amused interest.
 
Finally, Rikki was done.  There wasn't a lot of cash in the register,
which suited her as there was not a lot of space in her bra.  Most
of the bills she had to wedge into her firm, young cleavage.  She
decided to leave the coins when she figured that she didn't have
anywhere convenient to shove twenty dollars' worth of
quarters.  "Let's go!" said Melissa as soon as her friend was done,
her willingness to flee the scene apparent.
 
"What about him?" asked Dani.  "We can't just leave him here to call
the cops as soon as we go..."
 
"Shoot the telephone!" suggested Melissa.
 
"Maybe there's another out back," Dani pointed out.
 
"No!" cried the clerk.  "I won't call anyone!  I swear I won't!  I
swear!"
 
"Shut it, boy," Candy said, only now realising the difficulty of the
situation.
 
"Hey!" called Evelyn from half-way down the "Stationery and Home
Office" aisle.  "I know what we can do!"  In her hand she held a
roll of brown self-adhesive tape for wrapping packages.  The other
four girls turned to look at her, expectantly.  Evelyn strolled up
to the front of the store, clutching the tape.  She walked around
the counter, and re-emerged, dragging a chair out onto the shop
floor and leaving it behind the softly weeping clerk.  "Sit down!"
she told him.  The young man hesitated.
 
"She said 'Sit down'!" Candy prompted, with a wave of the gun.
 
Immediately, he lowered himself into the chair.  "Wh- what are you
g-g-g-going to do?" he asked, terrified.
 
Evelyn was already unrolling a length of tape.  "Put your hands
behind your back!" she told him, and this time, with Candy pointing
the pistol at him, he obeyed straight away.  Evelyn wrapped the tape
around his wrists so that his hands were trapped behind the
chair.   Candy smiled.  Rikki nodded in approval.  Melissa glanced
nervously at the door, saw no-one outside, and grinned.
 
Dani clapped.  "Great idea, Evelyn," she commented.   Evelyn took a
step back to admire her work.  Then she found herself
chuckling.  She started to peel off some more tape.  She couldn't
help laughing.  It was all such a thrill!   She passed the roll of
tape around the clerk's chest and around the back of the chair, over
and over again, wrapping layer upon layer of thick parcel tape
around him, binding him to the chair.    Laughing and laughing, she
moved on to his feet, strapping his ankles together with the tape
and then attaching them to the legs of the chair.  By the time she
was done, he was helplessly tied up, and only a tiny length of tape
remained.  She'd already worked out what to do with
that.  Triumphantly, she placed the last piece over the young man's
mouth, pressing the sides down to make sure they stuck properly to
his cheeks.
 
Muted, and robbed of the ability to move, the clerk made muffled
protest noises and tried to thrash himself free, but the tape
held.  Standing around his chair, the girls looked down on the semi-
mummified boy.  Realising the gun was no longer needed, Candy pushed
it back into her shorts.  Rikki shook her shoulders, letting the
stolen cash settle between her breasts. Evelyn glanced at
Dani.  Dani glanced back at Evelyn.  Something twinkled in both
girls' eyes.  Melissa noticed and suddenly grinned.
 
Candy looked confused at first.  She watched as Melissa made her way
to the front of the chair and slowly bent her head towards the
trapped young man, putting her smiling face close to his.  "What's
the matter?" she asked.  "Cat got your tongue?  Well, that's what
happens to little boys who put the Cherry Cola in the wrong fridge!"
 
"Look!" said Rikki, warming to this new game.  "You've made him
cry!"  All five girls stooped towards the clerk to watch as a tear
made its way down the side of his face.
 
"I know what would cheer him up!" declared Candy, suddenly no longer
confused.  She walked away from the group and disappeared down one
of the aisles, returning moments later clutching a can of whipped
cream.  "Let's give him a make-over!" she exclaimed.   Before anyone
could express their opinion of her idea, she depressed the top of
the can, squirting out thick processed cream into his hair.  The
others shrieked with laughter as Candy emptied the can building up
layer upon layer of whipped cream on top of the boy's head.
 
Dani ran to another aisle, coming back a moment later.  "How about a
topping?" she asked, pouring crushed nuts onto the cream and over
the clerk's shoulders.
 
Rikki dashed off to grab a can of soda.  She rushed back, violently
shaking the drink in her hand.  "He looks thirsty," she
claimed.  "Seeing as he's such a big fan of Cherry flavour, he'll
love this.  She pulled the ring at the top of the can, letting the
agitated liquid fountain out like sticky champagne, drenching the
clerk.  Then she planted the almost-empty can, upside-down, like a
crown into the thick pile of cream on his head.  The remaining cola
poured in trickles down his face, mingling with his tears.
 
Without really thinking about what she was doing, or what the others
would think of her, Evelyn crouched down next to him and placed her
palms either side of his face.  Then she lent her face close to his,
extended her tongue, and slowly licked a strip of cola- and tear-
infused cream from his cheek.  Then she pulled her face back a few
inches, and, staring into his eyes, winked before erotically licked
her lips clean.
 
Melissa giggled.  "I think he likes you," she observed, "But not as
much as he likes me.  He had a raging boner for me earlier."  She
looked down at their victim's crotch.  "Oh," she said, with mock
disappointment.  "It seems to have gone now.  But I bet I can get it
back!"  Melissa swung her leg over his lap, and straddled his legs,
lowering her body towards him.  "I know you like these," she teased,
bringing her tank-top clad chest close to his ever-widening
eyes.  She began to move her torso so that her breasts moved from
side to side right in front of him.
 
"It's working!" cried Dani, glancing at the boy's lap between
Melissa's thighs.   Melissa made a dismissive sound, as if to say
"Of course it's working - what did you expect?" and arched her back,
thrusting out her chest into the clerk's face.
 
"Definitely working!" observed Dani.
 
"I think he's going to bust his fly!" Rikki concurred.
 
"Yuck!  I've got cream all over myself!" said Melissa, looking down
at her now stained and splattered top.  "How dare you touch my
boobs!" She stood up, and swung her palm, catching the clerk's cheep
with a stinging slap.  He gave a muffled moan that was mostly
contained by the tape over his mouth.  Melissa agily lifted her
right leg and stepped over the bound young man's knee.
 
With Melissa no longer blocking her way, Rikki wasted no time
reaching for the boy's belt.  She'd barely started to attack the
buckle when Dani's fingers joined hers, working on the fly whilst
Rikki loosened the belt.  Both girls reached at once for the final,
top button of his pants and between them, they made short work of
it.  It was Dani who reached in and pulled him out with an excited
laugh.  No-one noticed Evelyn slipping back to the Stationery and
Home Office aisle to return moments later with her right hand behind
her back.
 
"Well I hope for your sake you're still growing," giggled Rikki
looking at the clerk's erect penis once Dani had released it.  She
made a point of leaning in to examine it, as though she needed to
get close to be able to see it at all.  Candy copied the cruel joke,
bending her head over his groin, making little pouty expressions at
him, as though she were consoling him on his misfourtune.  Not to be
left out, Dani joined in, also crowding around the helpless boy's
organ, biting her lip like someone fighting to contain hysterical
laughter.  Next came Melissa.  She bent right over his lap, her
tanktop’s low neckline revealing huge portions of her ripe, pendant
breasts, directly in the clerk's line of site.  She moved her
shoulders almost imperceptibly, just enough to induce the slightest
swaying motion in her chest, hypnotising him all over again and
keeping the blood pumping into his utterly exposed manhood.
 
Evelyn was the last to join the group.  Rather than completing the
circle of female heads above the boy's crotch, she ducked beneath
the others, bringing her face close to the throbbing tip of his
penis.   Examining the organ from such short range, she sighed as if
disappointed, her hot breath making his shaft quiver
momentarily.  "Is that really as big as it gets?" Evelyn asked, her
lips almost touching the swollen glans.  "Or can we make it get big-
"
 
She never got to utter the final syllable.  A sudden banging on the
door of the store made all five of them jump.
 
"Shit!"
 
"Fuck!"
 
"There must be a way out through the back!"
 
"Through here!
 
"Quick"
 
"Mmmm!  Mmmmmmf!  MMMMM!"
 
Candy managed to shove the fire escape door open and ran out into
the car park, followed by Rikki.  Dani was third, clumsily knocking
into a stack of boxes as she stumbled through the back
room.  Melissa hurdled the new obstacles and made it through the
door but Evelyn tripped on a box lid and lost her balance, flying
face first to the ground.   It took her about thirty seconds to
recover from the impact and climb back on to her feet.  She limped
to the exit just in time to see her four friends driving out of the
car park.
 
"Shit!" said Evelyn.  She began to limp painfully towards the
highway.  She'd reached the mid-point between road and store when
she saw a black and white patrol car pull into the car
park.  "Shit!  Shit!  Shit!"

 
"Police!   Don't move!   Lie down on the ground and put your hands
where we can see them!"
 
 
 


Without little contact and less conversation, Officer Gregory slid a
manila envelope containing Evelyn's belonging across the desk at the
police station to Miles Harbinger who stood silent and motionless,
almost catatonic with anger over the situation.  Miles scooped up
the envelope and put it under his arm as he followed Officer Gregory
to the holding cell.
 
"Harbinger!  Let's go!  You made bail!"
 
Evelyn hopped up from the filthy cot she was sitting on and walking
unassumingly towards the door, making only brief eye contact with
her father before heading out of the police station with her father
closely behind.
 
For eight minutes and forty-two seconds, there were no words
spoken.  An icy silence spread through the interior the car far
colder than the blistery Fall wind blowing outside.  A different
thousand thoughts raced through Miles mind about what to say and how
to say it.  And what to do now with her!  He was so disappointed and
hurt, not to mentioned concerned about the impending decision of
possibly giving his eldest daughter the key the unlocking the
dormant superpowers she unwitingly possessed.   
 
"Ev.....how di--"
 
"Dad, I'm not in the mood!  Let's talk about this later!"  snapped
back Evelyn, not letting her father even complete his sentence.
 
Miles blood quickly simmered, any remorse and sympathy for her now
ebbing away.  "Not in the mood?!?!  I wasn't in the mood to get up
at 1:30 in the morning and bail your little ass out of jail, but I
did!  I don't care what you are in the mood for!  God, Evelyn!  If
your mother was alive...."
 
Miles trailed off with the statement, again becoming silent as his
eyes filled with tears  thinking about his lost beloved love and how
things used to be with the girls when they were younger.  Growing up,
Evelyn and Angela were such sweet little girls who always was
considerate and did what they were told.  Elizabeth and Miles had
secretly talked often about giving the elixir to them on their
eighteenth birthdays when they felt they would be ready for the
responsibilities of having their newfound powers.
 
But ever since the death of Elizabeth, it had been a spiralling
descent for the eldest Harbinger girl.  While Angela bounced back
from her mother's death, Evelyn had changed and had gotten farther
and farther away from her father.  And now...this was the icing on
the cake!
 
“Aren't you going to say anything?  Don't you have the decency and
respect for your mother and how she and I raised you?”

Evelyn sat staring out the car window staring aimlessly at the
passing scenery, listening silently at every other word but choosing
not speak or even care at what her father had to say.
 
"Fuck you!  And leave Mom out of this!  She deserted us!" Evelyn
thought to herself as she closed her eyes and wished she was
somewhere else.
 
Miles's attention turned back to the road as he continued to drive
them home, glancing over disapprovingly at Evelyn on occasion only
to see her feigning sleep apathetically.  Miles knew that he could
never trust her again with anything, much less the powers of her
mother!  Angela would be the one to carry on her mother's legacy,
not Evelyn.  Yes, he was certain of it!  But how would he explain
the elixir to her?  And to Evelyn as she would surely find out...
 
"Waitaminute!" Miles thought to himself as he gripped the wheel
tightly.  "They never have to know.  I'll just slip Ang the serum
and chalk it up to 'genetics' if she starts exhibiting
powers.  She'll never have to know..."
 
Miles smiled to himself as his plan slowly developed in his
head.  Once again he turned his head to the right to spy Evelyn
turned away from him in the passenger's seat.
 
...nor will she!"
 
 
 
 


 


 
 
On the evening after Angela's 18th birthday which was spent
celebrating with her friends, Miles ordered pizza from her favourite
restaurant.  Evelyn spent less and less time at home and Miles had
long since given up asking her where she stayed most nights.  He did
not include her in the dinner plans, safe in the knowledge that she
was unlikely to put in an appearance.

After placing the order, Miles went up to his bedroom, and, out of
Angela's sight, took a key from his pocket and used it to unlock his
bedside cabinet.  He extracted what appeared to be a thick old
hardback book.  Turning the "book" over, he opened it, revealing it
to be a hidden box cleverly disguised as literature.  In the box was
a single, tiny, unlabelled glass bottle containing little more than
a teaspoon full of a cloudy, blue-tinted liquid.  Miles snatched up
the bottle, replaced the fake book and went back downstairs.  When
the pizzas arrived, he placed them side by side on the kitchen table
and opened the two boxes.  There was no confusing which was the
pepperoni and black olives and which was the ham and
pineapple.  With great care, he pulled the stopper from the tiny
bottle and drizzled its contents over the Hawaiian Special.

Then he walked to the kitchen door and called out into the house
"Angela! Pizza!"  Seconds later, he heard his daughter's quick,
light steps coming down the stairs.

"Bon Appetit!" said Miles as she sat down across from him at the
table.

"Thanks Dad!" Angela smiled, reaching for the box containing the
pizza with her favourite toppings, tearing the first slice off and
opening her mouth wide.


She'd polished off two thirds of her pie when she asked "Dad?"

"Huh?" said Miles.

"Are you alright?  You've hardly touched your pizza..." Angela
observed.

"Oh, sorry, I was miles away.   Don't worry about me.  Just enjoy
yours!" he smiled.

Angela shrugged.  "Well, sure, OK."  She reached for the penultimate
slice from her box.

Neither Miles nor Angela could see it, but at that very moment,
inside the eighteen year old girl's body, a series of remarkable
changes were taking place.  Everywhere her blood came into contact
with the serum she was ingesting along with the pizza, its cell-
structure was altered, losing its human characteristics and taking
on extraterrestrial qualities.  This changed blood flowed through
her veins and arteries, carrying instructions for change to every
single part of her.

She dropped the crust she was about to bite into, a sudden look of
concern on her face.

"Angela?" Miles asked.

"Dad!  I feel... strange.   Like, like my stomach and everything
inside me is moving around... oh my god!  Dad!  Look!  My arms!"

Angela could feel her body altering, seeming to retreat in on
itself.  Now she could see it.  Her arms were becoming
thinner.  Shocked, she glanced down and noticed her stomach
shrinking.  Suddenly, she was wracked with terrible pain as the
alteration process reached its most intense phase.  She could barely
even see with her mind filled with the agony, but she caught enough
of a glimpse of the rest of her body seeming to deflate to be
terrified.

"Dad, what's happening to me?" she screamed in panic.
 
Miles watched, concerned, but far calmer than Angela would have
expected under the circumstances.   "Your mother said this might
happen," he calmly answered her desperate question.
 
"Mom said WHAT might happen?" demanded Angela.

"Your body is changing, Angela.  It's becoming more like your
mother's."
 
"Like my mo-  Oh my god!  Dad!  My breasts!  They're... they're
disappearing!  Look!  They're getting smaller and... Ow!  It
hurts!  Help me Dad!  It hurts!"
 
"Take a deep breath, Angela.  It's all going to be alright..."
 
"It hurts!  It hurts!"
 
"Angela, just hang in there.   I promise everything's going to be
alright."
 
"How do you know it's going to be alright?" Angela screamed.
 
"There's something I've never told you about your mother," Miles
explained.  "You see she wasn't from Delaware like we always said
she was.  Your mother came from another planet."
 
"What?" Angela panted, her face still contorted as her body
continued to change before their eyes.
 
"Angela," said Miles.  "Your mother... my wife... was SuperNova."
 
"Mom was SuperNova?" gasped Angela.  "Are you joking?"
 
"No jokes, Angela.  Your mother was a superheroine from another
galaxy and now it seems you're getting the same powers too.   You'll
be able to follow in her footsteps!"
 
"I'm getting powers?!" Angela asked, amazed.  "But that's imposs-
  Ow!   Ow!   Oh... Oh... Thank god!  It's easing now...  Oh!  My
arms!  They're filling out again... but... look Dad!  They're
different... Oh, I can feel something rushing into them, like...
like... energy.   It's in my stomach now!   Wow!  Look how flat it
is now!  Oh, wait... Dad! I'm getting muscles!  Really hard
muscles!  They feel so... so powerful!  Dad!  Look at my
waist!  It's amazing!"
 
The skin of Angela's midriff seemed to be fluid, stretching as a set
of startlingly defined abdominal muscles appeared to grow before her
astonished eyes.  At the same time her arms began to expand, gaining
shape and countless curves as sleek, feminine musculature exploded
from within.
 
"Oooh, the feeling... it's moving around... it's in my chest now...
I can feel - Oh... My... God... look!  I'm... I'm filling
out!  They're growing again!   This is incredible!""
 
Beneath her loose-fitting T-shirt, Angela's breasts seemed to be
rising from her chest like a pair of identical, round volcanoes
growing on a plain.  Her flesh continued to mould itself around the
constantly shifting shape of her body as the twin lumps swelled and
swelled, quickly filling out her top.  The cotton began to stretch
and distort.  The shape of each of her nipples became increasingly
prominent and then the stitching of the garment began to fail, the
seams under her arms bursting open as her ever-expanding breasts
refused to be contained.  A tear appeared in the front of the
garment, widening as the material succumbed to the eighteen year old
girl's chest until, finally, her mounds ceased swelling.  Where she
had been almost-flat moments before, two magnificent round globes
now stood out from her torso with breathtaking firmness.
 
Angela could not resist the temptation to cup her suddenly-enhanced
breasts, despite her father's presence. "Are those... mine?" she
murmured in wonder.  "They're so... big!  And they feel so firm!   I
look like a model!  And wow!" she exclaimed.   "I've got muscles
everywhere when I move!   Look at my legs!"
 
Miles looked down at his daughter's legs.  He could see slabs of
solid power moving fluidly beneath the skin of her calves and, as
far as the hem of her short skirt allowed, her thighs.
 
"All my fat has gone and there's nothing but this muscle," Angela
surmised. "It's... it's incredible!   Like warm steel!   Oh my god,
I feel so... so GOOD!  And it's still happening!  I can feel it
everywhere now!  Changing me...  And.... Dad!   I can see colours
everywhere... so many colours!  So many more colours than
before!  And... I can hear things too!  Wow!  I can hear your heart,
Dad!  I can smell the pie cooking in next-door's kitchen!  This is
amazing!" gushed Angela.
 
Miles smiled at his transformed daughter.   Ever since Elizabeth had
prepared the serum, he had tried to prepare himself for this
moment.  But the sight of Angela sitting opposite him was even more
astonishing than he could have anticipated.  He had sat down to
dinner with a pretty, healthy, reasonably-fit looking girl and he
was finishing the meal with a goddess of physical perfection.   "I
think we'd better go outside," he said.  Grinning, he added "Be
careful not to touch anything on the way..."
 
"Outside?" asked Angela, still admiring her arms and legs, and belly
and chest.  "And why can't I touch anything?"
 
"If your mother was right," Miles explained, "then you need to learn
about those new muscles of yours!"
 
"You mean... I'm strong now... like SuperNova?  I mean... like Mom?"
"Let's go into the garden and find out!"

"Dad, I feel so... terrific!"  Angela beamed as they headed out into
the yard.  All thoughts of the pain that had wracked her body
minutes before were now gone.  Angela skipped out onto the
lawn.   "It's... like I'm really light.  I can hardly feel the
weight on my feet!"

"Careful, Ang," warned Miles.

"Even on tip-toes!  It's as if I don't weigh anything at
all!  Wow!  Dancing is going to be different from now on!"

"Angela, take it easy!"

"So light... so... Eeeek!  Dad!  Dad!  Look!  My feet... they....
they're... they're hardly touching the ground!"

"That why I said be careful!  There's so much you have to learn
about yourself now.  Best to take things slowly to beg-"  Miles
stopped mid-sentence, and stared, open mouthed, at his daughter.  Or
more precisely, at his daughter's feet.  And the small, but clear
patch of daylight that was visible between her soles and the tips of
the blades of grass beneath them.

"Dad!  Oh my god!  Look!  I'm floating!  Dad?"

"Wow," muttered Miles under his breath.  "It really did work!"

"What really did work?" Angela asked, even though she was two dozen
yards away.

"Er..." Miles made a mental note to never again voice his thoughts,
even in the tiniest whisper, anywhere with a mile of his youngest.
"...The... ah... transfer of powers by delayed natural genetic
processes." he answered.  To his relief, it appeared that Angela had
not yet worked out how to use her enhanced senses to detect a
lie.  Her mother had been a master at that particular
trick.  "Angela," he called, keen to change the subject, "perhaps
you should float down now, so we can test your powers."

"In a moment, Dad.  I just want to try sometheeeeeeeeeeee" Miles
gulped as his daughter suddenly rocketed straight up into the
sky.  In a second she vanished from sight.

"Angelaaaa!" he screamed after her.

For several agonising seconds, he saw and heard nothing.  Then, very
faintly, he detected the sound of her cry of joy.  Louder and louder
he heard her voice.  

"eeeeeeEEEEEEEEEE!"

Then he saw her.  First as a dot in the heavens and then more and
more clearly as she approached the ground.   "I think I'm getting
the hang of this!" she shouted down to her father.  Then, seconds
later, she called out "How do I stop?"

"Angela!  Look out!"  Miles closed his eyes as he saw his daughter
streaking Earthwards like a comet about to slam into his back lawn.

"Look out for what?" asked a voice that sounded a lot like
Angela's.  Only it was right next to his ear.  He opened his
eyes.  His daughter was standing immediately beside him, a huge grin
stretched across her face.

"Angela!" said Miles, relieved.  "I thought you were going to
crash!"

"Oh Dad!" she smiled.  "I was only joking about asking how to
stop!  It's easy, really."

Miles shook his head disapprovingly, but his lips were curled
upwards in an indulgent grin of his own.  "OK, hotshot," he
said.  "Let's see what else is easy for you now.  Fetch me the
lawnmower from the garage."

"But, Dad.  You KNOW I can't move the lawnmower by mysel- oh,
yeah.  Right.  Of course.   Here goes."

"Be care-" he started, but she was already gone.  One second she had
been standing next to him, the next, there was a rush of wind and he
was all alone in the yard.

"Dad!" Angela was shouting from the garage.  Even after years of
marriage to Elizabeth, he was still shocked by the speed at which
she'd got there.  "Dad! You gotta see this!"

Miles raced to the garage, when he got there, he stopped dead in his
tracks and just stared.

Angela was standing in the middle of the garage.  Her right arm was
hanging by her side.  Her left was stretched up over her head and,
resting on her little palm, swaying precariously, dwarfing his
daughter, was the family's John Deere mower.

"Oh my.." Miles breathed.

"It's so light!" Angela giggled, lowering and raising her arm,
moving the huge machine with obvious ease.  Inevitably, such a big
object did not balance well on a platform as petite as an eighteen
year old girl's hand.  "Whoooops!" said Angela as the mower tipped.

"Angela!  Watch out!" cried Miles.

"Don't worry, Dad." she smiled, her other arm flashing out too fast
for him to see, catching the underside of the machine.  "It's all
under control."  Carefully, she placed the John Deere back where it
belonged, on the ground.  "Wow," she grinned, walking up to her
father and giving him a big hug.  "I love this!  I love being so
strong and so fast!"

"Aaaangelllaaaa!" Miles hissed.  "Not..... so..... tight!!"

"Oh, sorry Dad," she said, relaxing her crushing hug.  "I guess I'll
have to be a lot more careful from now on.  I really don't know my
own strength!"

Miles recovered his breath and put his hand on her
shoulder.  "That's not all you don't know," he said.   "Your mother
had other powers too... powers you should learn to control before
you accidentally hurt someone.... or worse!"

Angela looked down at the ground.  "You're right, Dad," she
said.  "I have so much to learn.  But I want to learn it all, so I
can use these powers to save lives, just like SuperNova... I mean...
just like Mom!"

Miles looked around the garage.  At the huge mower she had lifted
with such ridiculous ease and then so nearly dropped.  At the
windows with their fragile glass panes.  At the door that lead to
the main part of their home.   "Not here," he said.  "Somewhere
else."  He stood up.  "Follow me.  I know the perfect place."

"Where are we going, Dad?"

"For a hike."




Miles had no qualifications to be a teacher of superpowers, but as
the only man on Earth to have been married to a superhuman, he did
at least know about all of Angela's new abilities.   Once they were
alone, far from prying eyes and fragile property, he began the task
of telling his daughter about all the amazing things Elizabeth had
been able to do, before Angela got to find out for herself in less
controlled circumstances.  The only trouble was, he had no idea how
his wife had done all the things she had done.

"...Your mother called it 'heat-vision'," he was explaining.  "She
just seemed to squint at something, and these two beams of light
would come out of her eyes...."

"Squint?  What?  Like this?"

"Don't look at me when you do that!"
 
"Sorry Dad.  But I think you're quite safe.  I can't do it.   I'm
squinting at that tree over there and nothing is hap-  Oh!  Oh
wow!"  Two thick red laser-beams shot out of Angela's eyes,
converging on the trunk of the massive, ancient tree.  Miles
couldn't see the spot on the tree where the rays were hitting,
because he was blinded by a red glare.  He could see the black smoke
that rose, and smell the charring wood.  He was about to warn her to
stop before she did any serious damage when, with a sudden "Whumpf!",
the entire tree burst into flames.
 
 
"Oh no!" said Angela.  "There were animals living in that
tree!  Look!  There's a squirrel!  He's going to get burnt, the poor
little thing..."
 
Miles smiled to himself.  Her mother had had a soft spot for
squirrels too.  "Angela, no!" he cried when he noticed his daughter
rushing towards the freshly-started inferno.
 
"Dad, I can't just leave that poor little squirrel to burn to
death!" she shouted over her shoulder.
 
"Be careful!  Please!"
 
"It's OK, Dad.  It... it doesn't feel hot."  Miles could see her
silhouette amidst the flickering flames.  She seemed to be reaching
right into the heart of the fire.
 
"Angela!"
 
"Just a moment, Dad.... Come on, little fellow... come with me."
 
Ten seconds later, Angela was walking back to her father, the
burning tree behind her and a slightly singed, but otherwise
unharmed, squirrel in her arms.  "Dad, the flames.. they didn't burn
me!"
 
"You’re invulnerable," he said.  "Just like your mother.  Oh, and by
the way, your sleeve is on fire."
 
Angela glanced down at her flaming T-shirt.  Nervously, she placed
her hand over the flames, extinguishing them instantly.  She stared
at her unmarked palm.  "You mean... I can't be hurt now?" she asked,
brushing the charred cotton from her arm.
 
"Well, that's the theory," Miles said uneasily, "but promise me you
won't go trying it out!"
 
"Oh, Dad!" Angela smiled.  "I... I don't think you need to worry
about me anymore."
 
"I'll ALWAYS worry about you," Miles said, truthfully.  They
exchanged smiles.  "Now," Miles said, "what are you going to do
about this forest fire you've started?"

"Umm..." said Angela.  "What would Mom have done?"
 
"I think," Miles postulated, "that she would have blown it out."
 
"What?  Like a candle?"
 
"Why don't you try it?"
 
"OK, Dad."  Angela turned to the still blazing tree.  She pushed out
her youthful, red lips, puffed out her cheeks and blew at the tree,
imagining it was a little candle on a birthday cake.
 
A roar rose from her mouth.  For a second, the flames flickered
wildly then died.  The burning tree bent away from them, it's trunk
curving to such an extent that the top branches were touching the
ground.  Twigs and leaves shot away, flying off the mountain.  Then
small rocks began to join them, lifted up by the stream of Angela's
breath and sent hurtling away into the distance.  The thick trunk of
the tree began to creak.  Angela closed her mouth and the hurricane
immediately died down.  The tree returned to upright, and all around
them a million leaves began to settle back to the ground.  "Wow!"
she said.
 
"Wow!" agreed Miles.
 
"This is amazing!" Angela commented.  "I can't wait to show my
sister all these things I can do!"  Then she paused.  Her brow
lowered into a frown as though she were deep in thought.  "Dad..."
she began.  Miles feared what she was about to ask, but he knew he
could not prevent her posing the question.  "How come Evelyn never
developed powers?" Angela inquired.
 
There it was.  The single question he dreaded more than anything
else in the world.  He'd spent weeks trying to think up a
satisfactory answer, but now it was crunch time, he suddenly felt
very unsure of himself.  But he was convinced that his original
decision had been correct.  Evelyn must never gain her mother's
powers.  He would have to keep the truth hidden from both his
daughters forever.  "Er," he began, "your mother said they aren't
always passed on... something about the balance between earth- and
alien DNA... I don't really understand... it's very complicated...
but that's the way it is."
 
"Evelyn's going to be jealous..." Angela predicted.
 
"Um... " Miles needed to chose his words carefully,  "I don't know
how your sister would react if she knew about your powers.... with
all the trouble that she's been in lately, ah, perhaps it's best if
we keep this a secret from her, like your Mom kept it a secret from
you."  That was good, he thought, using Elizabeth as his
example.  "You could be just like her, having a normal civilian life
and still being the heroine in secret.  No-one but you and I need
ever know..."
 
"I... I don't know, Dad," Angela said. "It would be kinda weird not
to tell her..."

"Does she tell you about what she and those delinquent girls she
hangs out with get up to?" Miles asked, the mere thought of his
oldest daughter's behaviour enough to anger him.

"Well, no..." Angela admitted.

"So," Miles drove for the clincher, "she has her secrets, and now,
you have yours."

"I... I guess so..." said Angela.




 
 
Two years later….

 It was 12:20 in the morning as Angela soared through the night sky
on patrol.  After a hectic day of repairing a dam in Thailand,
stopping a bank robbery in Germany, and halting a runaway train just
outside of Paris, she relished this part of her day!  While her
superhearing could pick up thousands of sounds from the city below,
for all intents and purposes, it was quiet and peaceful.
 
Angela smiled as the wind whipped through her silky trusses,
relishing the feeling of her lithe body knifing through the air
unassisted like a sexy scud missile.  she sighed contentedly.  Of
all her powers, this was her favorite!
 
Angela's downtime this night, however -- like every night -- was
interrupted by the sound of a burglar alarm triggered on the north
end of town about 12 miles away.  With a simple flex of her legs and
shapely buttocks, PowerStar's superhuman silhouette rocketed toward
the scene at superspeed, leaving only a vapor trail in her wake.  In
less than two seconds, Angela arrived above a strip mall and hovered
in place with her arms crossed.
 
"Hmmph...four would-be cat burglars!" Angela thought to herself,
almost disappointed at the sight.  Not exactly challenging for the
world's most powerful girl!
 
PowerStar hovered almost motionless as she watched the four men exit
the back door of the sto-- "No, wait!  They're girls!" surmised
Angela as her supersight easily recognized their female figures even
though they were wearing ski masks in the dead of night.  Angela's
super memory and power of total recall even triggered a sense of
familiarity over one girl's figure in particular.
 
"Oh, no!" sighed the young powerhouse disappointingly as a brief
glimpse with her x-ray vision confirmed her suspicions.
 
Angela waited patiently till the timing was right and the intruders
were positioned correctly before making her move.  As the three
other girls exited the store and quickly got into the car, Angela
decided the timing was right.
 
"Ev!  C'mon!  Let's go, girl!  We gotta get ---" Sarah, the eldest
and supposed leader of the trio never finished her sentence as she
and the rest of the girls were jostled as their vehicle's suspension
whined as it rose from the ground abruptly.
 
Angela held the vehicle in one hand over her head like she was
changing a lightbulb.  
 
"Stay in the car!!" demanded the young superheroine as she gave the
car a brief shake for emphasis.  "We're gonna go on a little ride
here in a bit!"  
 
As Evelyn ran out the door she stopped dead in her tracks, her stash
of stolen iPods spilling all over the ground.  Evelyn stood
motionless at the sight of her 'friends' being detained by
PowerStar.  She was in awe at the young heroine's casual
strength.  She didn't even seem to be struggling even though she was
lifting an entire car.  Over her head! With one hand!!!

Evelyn's brief admiration was short-lived as the young heroine
turned her head and peered angrily at her.
 
"And YOU!  Do not even THINK of moving!!" Angela said with a booming
voice to her unwitting sister.
 
As Angela turned her attention back to the three girls in the
vehicle, Evelyn knew this would be easy to slip away. Sure, it was
shitty to diss Sarah and the girls, but Candy had done it to her,
and it was every girl for herself.  "And fuck lil Miss Superheroine
over there!" Evelyn thought to herself with a smile, knowing she
would just bolt the second PowerStar flew off.
 
As PowerStar gave her legs an all-powerful flex, she paused for
second and scowled at Evelyn.  "Oh, and if you DO think of going
anywhere, Ms Harbinger...I'll find you!"  With that, Angela's
superpowered legs launched her and the 1.5 ton automobile into the
dark night sky in a dimly lit blur of color.
 
GULP!
 
Evelyn almost swallowed her tongue, when she heard PowerStar call
her by name.  "Waitaminute!  How DID she know my name!" she said as
she took her ski mask off in the deserted, dark alleyway.  Evelyn
looked around to see if anyone -- especially HER -- was
around.  With trepidation, Evelyn pocketed her ski mask and took one
step gingerly towards the open end of the alley!
 
"I thought I told you not to move!"
 
Evelyn practically jumped out of her own skin as she heard the words
and saw PowerStar descend with arms folded from the night sky to
land right in front of her.
 
"What??  How?  You left like 10 seconds ago!" said a bewildered
Evelyn.
 
"8 seconds, actually! I'm pretty quick!" replied her sarcastically
confident and ultra powerful sister.  "But enough about me!  Let's
talk about you a little..." PowerStar proceeded, lecturing her
sister in an effort to try to steer her onto the straight and narrow
path.  
 
At first intimidated, Evelyn became more at ease -- albeit bored and
apathetic -- at the young heroine's diatribe on good and
righteousness.  
 
"Ugh!  I'm gonna barf!" thought Evelyn as she tried her best to make
eye contact and appear as she was listening intently and soaking in
everything PowerStar had to say.
 
"...I mean Superman for example!  Of course, he's a fictional
character, but he is the embodiment of good in...."
 
"How much more of this crap do I have to listen to??  Stop
it!  Listen to her!  She might let us go!  LOOK at her!!" begged the
tiny voice inside Evelyn's head as Evelyn re-focused and looked
intently at PowerStar's eyes and listened -- actually listened -- to
her voice.  "Those eyes.....that voice....." Evelyn slowly began to
piece everything together as she now became transfixed on the eyes
of the young heroine standing before her.  PowerStar....
 
 
"Ange?" Evelyn crystallised her thought-process into a single,
monosyllabic question.  "Is that you?"
 
"What are you talking about?" PowerStar frowned.

The way the heroine's nose wrinkled as she knitted her brow
convinced Evelyn of her true identiity.  "I know it's you Angela!"
she exclaimed.

Angela realised that there was no further point lying to her sister.
With a sigh of resignation, she hissed  "Shhhh...   We can't talk
about it here..."  Before Evelyn could react to that, Angela put her
arms around her waist and flew them both away from the scene, up
away from the street.  Landing gracefully on a nearby deserted
rooftop, she released her sibling.
 
"How the hell did you just do that?" Evelyn demanded, as soon as her
heart stopped pounding from the shock of the flight.

Angela sighed.  Dealing with criminals and fighting for the forces
of good for the past two years had reinforced her personal belief
that honesty was always the best policy.  Her father had his reasons
for keeping everything secret from Evelyn, she was sure of that, but
the Truth was more important in Angela's opinion.  "I... I inherited
superpowers from Mom," she began.  Evelyn listened in surprise and
increasing anger, folding her arms under her chest as Angela told
her about their mother's secret identity.

"So..." Evelyn said once her sister had finished, "how come you
never told me until now?"  She didn't wait for an answer.  A second,
much more burning question jumped to the fore of her
thoughts:  "...And how come I didn't get superpowers?"
 
"Dad said it was something to do with DNA balance," Angela tried to
explain.  "Sometimes the powers get passed on, sometimes they
don't..."
 
"DAD said?" Evelyn yelled, her face reddening with fury. "DAD
knows?  And I don't?  You two were going to keep this a secret from
me forever?  You were going to fly around the world as a superhero,
laughing at poor little me?   What about today?  Were you going to
put me in jail and go back to Dad and laugh about me?"
 
Angela was stunned by the outburst. "You were robbing a convenience
store!  And I gave you another chance!" she protested.
 
"What right do you have to give me chances?" Evelyn demanded.
 
"It's not a 'right', it's my DUTY!" exclaimed Angela, furious at her
sister's accusatory tone.  "I have a duty to use these powers to
protect the innocent and stop criminals... like YOU!"   Wasn't that
obvious? Angela thought.  And then she realised.  Doing the "right
thing" wouldn't be obvious to a criminal.  Evelyn might have been
her sibling, but at that moment, she was on the opposite side of the
Good against Bad struggle.  "What would you do if you had
superpowers anyway?  Rob banks?" she accused.  "Maybe it's for the
best that things worked out like this..."
 
Evelyn was not about to accept moral judgement from her little
sister.  The injustice of their unequal inheritance burned within
her.  "Why does it always have to be you, Miss Perfect?" she
demanded.  "Haven't I had a hard enough life, bringing you up after
Mom died...."
 
"DAD brought us up," Angela corrected her.
 
"Dad?"  Evelyn laughed.  "Dad?  Dad didn't have a clue!  He still
doesn't.  I had to do everything for you after Mom died.  It was ME
who made sure your clothes were clean and mended, ME who cooked and
cleaned... You had everything put on a plate for you!  Oh, yes,"
mocked Evelyn "Angela, the golden girl.  Angela the "good" kid....
You had it all so easy!    And then YOU get powers and I DON'T???"
she spluttered.  "And to top it all, you and Dad keep your little
secret from me, laughing at me!"
 
"It.. It's not like that," Angela said, hurt by Evelyn's words.
 
"Yes it is," Evelyn insisted.  "It's EXACTLY like that.  Well, screw
you!  Screw you both!" Angela's face revealed shock at her sister's
reaction.  She opened her mouth to reply, but Evelyn cut her
off.  "Why don't you just fuck off, Angela." she said, anger still
her dominant emotion.  "Leave me alone.  I don't need you or
Dad.  Take your fucking superpowers and your cheesy costume and go
and rescue some kid's cat..."

A tear formed in Angela's eye.  If Evelyn saw it, she was
unmoved.   "If.. if that's how you truly feel..." Angela started to
say.

"Go!" said Evelyn.

Angela leapt into the sky.  As she flew away, the rushing wind dried
her tears, but more kept coming.

 



Three months later...

The scrolling ticker on the bottom of the TV screen read
"LIVE!  PACIFIC VOLCANO ERUPTION... "  Above that was a picture of a
what looked like a river of glowing red lava.  "VILLAGES IN
DANGER.... EVACUATION PLANS HAMPERED BY ROUGH SEAS..." screamed the
ticker, but Evelyn wasn't watching.  She was too busy rifling
through the draws of the desk she had jimmied open.

"Come on, come on... those keys have got to be in here somewhere!"
she muttered as she tossed aside yet more worthless papers.

"Hurry up!  He'll be back any second!" hissed her
accomplices.  Evelyn was well aware that the security guard would be
returning from his hourly patrol at any moment.  It wasn't her fault
that things were taking longer than they had planned.

"You said the keys were in the desk!" she said, angrily.  "Well
they're not!"

"They must be!  The inside man said they always keep them in there."

"Does your 'inside man' even work here?" Evelyn asked, sarcastically.

"I swear this is the last time I do a job with a woman.  It's been
moan, moan, moan since we got here."

"Yeah, well, that's because you didn't do your research proper- oh
wait.  Got them!"  She held up the keys.

Her accomplice snatched them from her and opened the cash box,
filling a small sports bag with bank notes.  "Let's go!" he said,
once all the money was in the bag.

But it was too late already.  The door handle turned.  Evelyn froze,
like a rabbit caught in a truck's headlamps.

"What the f-" said the night watchman as the he flung open the door
and saw the two intruders.

"Don't move!" shouted Evelyn's accomplice.  She glanced over and saw
the pistol he was pointing at the security guard.  There'd be no
mention of guns when they had planned the heist.  This was supposed
to be a nice, easy job with a big reward.

Evelyn's eyes flickered between the two men.  Behind her, the TV
ticker was flashing up new information: "VOLCANO ERUPTION...
POWERSTAR ON THE SCENE...  LIVE!"  If she had turned around, Evelyn
would have seen her sister on-screen, standing knee-deep in the
raging lava flow, apparently oblivious to the red-hot molten rock
swirling around her statuesque legs.

Meanwhile, Evelyn was beginning to realise that she was by far the
most intelligent person in the room.  The clinching proof of that
arrived in the next moments as both men demonstrated their
stupidity.  First, the night watchman ran for the door.  Then, her
accomplice fired his pistol.  She saw the events unfolding as if
they were playing out in slow motion.  She watched the security man
falling, mid-run, collapsing in the doorway as a spray of gore
briefly erupted from the back of his head.

"What the fuck did you do that for?" she yelled at the shooter.

"He was going to run."

"But you didn't have to shoot him in the fucking head!" she
screeched.

"Is he... dead?"

"Of course he's fucking dead, you moron!" shouted Evelyn.

"Oh man... we'd better split!"

"No shit, asshole!" Evelyn spat as they ran out of there.

A pool of blood began to collect beside the dead guard's body.  The
TV news ticker announced "BREAKING NEWS.... VILLAGES SAVED BY
POWERSTAR... DEADLY LAVA FLOW STOPPED..." whilst the main picture
showed images of PowerStar using her superbreath to cool the
supposedly unstoppable tide until it hardened to rock.  But the two
intruders were long gone by then.

It was Evelyn's idea that they split up and lie low separately.  She
told him it was because the cops would be looking for a man and a
woman, and they would be less suspicious if they stayed apart.  The
real reason was that she realised he was a liability and wanted
nothing more to do with the idiot.  They split the money as they had
agreed.  Evelyn took the sports bag, whilst her accomplice stashed
his share in a polythene bag.

Thinking she was better off out of sight somewhere, she checked into
a cheap motel as soon as she got across the state line, and locked
herself in her dingy room for twenty-four hours.

Hunger got the better of her the following night.  Remembering
spotting a snack machine out in the car park, she ventured outside
at around one o'clock in the morning.  There didn't seem to be
anyone around as she strolled up to the machine, put in her coins
and grabbed a bag of chips.  She got back to the door of her room
without seeing another soul as well, so she was doubly shocked by
the large male figure that emerged from the shadows just as she put
the key into the lock.

"Hey, sweet thing," he drawled.  "What's a pretty young lady like
you doing in a dive like this?"

"Trying to get some peace," Evelyn replied, trying to hide her fear
and hurrying with the lock.

"Let me help you with that," said the big man.  Evelyn could smell
the beer on his breath.

"No, it's fine," she insisted.

"Who're you talking to, Bobby Jim?" asked a second male voice.  'Oh
god, there's two of them' Evelyn said to herself as she finally
managed to turn the key.  But the second figure, even larger than
the first, had already turned the corner.  "Well, lookee here!" said
ape number two, blatantly checking her out from head to foot and
then back to head and then down to chest where his gaze rested.  "I
reckon we've got ourselves a nice little party here,"

"Sorry, boys.  I'm not in the mood," Evelyn told them as she opened
the door.  She stepped into the room, and moved to close the door
behind her.  But the first man placed his hand on the panel, holding
it open.

"That's too bad," he said.  "’Cos we are."  He pushed her aside and
walked into her room, followed by his friend.

"What's in the bag, sweetheart?" asked the bigger of the two brutes,
eyeing the sports bag lying on a table.

"Please get out," said Evelyn, her tone anxious.

But he unwelcome guest had already walked over to the table and was
reaching for the bag's zipper.

"I'll call the police," she threatened them both.

The thug didn't respond to the threat at first, opening her bag and
peering inside and the proceeds of the bungled robbery.  He gave a
low whistle as he looked at the bundles of cash.

"Something tells me you ain't so keen to have the police in your
life right now, babe." he said.  "How much you got in here?"

"That's none of your business!" she snapped.

The other thug backhanded her, hard, across the cheek sending her
staggering backwards.  She recovered, despite the stinging pain, and
charged at her attacker. Laughing, he caught her wrists and threw
her roughly onto the bed.  "Looks like we got a live one here," he
grinned, his hands moving to the buckle of his belt.

Evelyn was terrified.  "Look, take the money!" she said.  "Just
leave me alone!"

"I don't think you're in any position to do deals, bitch," said
Bobby Jim, undoing his belt.  The other gorilla shut the door.  And
then he began to loosen his own trousers.

"Help!" Evelyn started to scream, but Bobby Jim leapt on to her and
smothered her mouth with his huge fat, sweaty hand.



Twenty minutes later, the two men left the room, checking that no-
one was outside.



 
 
 

 
Two weeks later.

The sun had been beating down on New York all day, but an unusually
cooling breeze blew through the city that afternoon, making for a
perfect day.  It was almost as if the heavens themselves approved of
PowerStar's presence in the town.   Over at the United Nations
Headquarters, an extraordinary session was already underway:

"...and there can be no doubt that, without your selfless
intervention, the villages at the foot of the volcano would have
been overrun by lava, and countless innocents - men, women and
children - would have perished.   Your quick thought, and
willingness to use your unique abilities to save the lives of fellow
citizens of the world without hope of recompense is a fine example
to us all.  On behalf of all the member states of the United Nations,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you.  PowerStar, we
salute you!"  The Secretary General finished his speech and joined
the applause that swept across the huge chamber.  Delegates of every
country rose to their feet as they continued to clap.  Cheers could
also be heard from the interpreters' gallery.

Angela, resplendent in her costume, stood up and waited patiently
for the applause to die down.  After nearly an entire minute, the
clapping finally began to fade.  She smiled, and the world watched,
enraptured, as she spoke.  "Thank you, Mr. Secretary General," she
began.  "Your words are most kind.  But that rescue is not about
me.  It is about the people - the everyday heroes - who live in
those villages.  These are the true heroes," she gushed, "people
like you-" she smiled at the Secretary General, "-and you-" she
smiled directly into the lens of the nearest camera "who achieve so
much wonder and beauty without superpowers.   I am merely a servant,
helping out in my small way because I can.   I believe that anyone
who is in a position to help is obliged, as a citizen of Earth, to
offer that help whenever it is required.  If each one of us, in his
or her own way can contribute to bringing light into the darkness
of...."

As PowerStar began her speech in sunny New York,  thick storm clouds
were blanketing the sky a few hundred miles away.  Perhaps the same
forces smiling on Angela were simultaneously frowning upon her elder
sister.  It was only four in the afternoon where Evelyn was, but it
was as dark as night.  Heavy rain lashed against the windows of the
latest in a string of motels she had stayed in.  A fork of
lightening briefly cast some light on the grim concrete outside, and
a clap of thunder followed, almost instantly.  The storm was
directly overhead.

Evelyn sat on the edge of the bed in her room, holding a compact
mirror in her left hand and slowly pulling a band-aid from the side
of her face with her right, wincing as she revealed the dark brown
crust of a deep cut that was still a long way from healing.  
Clenching her teeth, she dabbed at the scar with a disinfectant-
soaked swab of cotton wool.  Her wounds hurt, but they had scabbed
over and with time they would heal.  The other damage those two
brutes had caused, the damage inside, was as painful as ever.  
Evelyn knew those scars were permanent.  Nothing could ever make up
for those.

She finished re-dressing her cuts, and switched on the TV.  A news
anchor was reading a storm warning, but she missed the last few
words of it when they were obscured by a particularly loud and
prolonged roll of thunder.  Why couldn't they warn her before the
storm hit, she wondered.  Why did nobody ever seem to give a damn
about her?

"We now go live to New York," announced the newsreader, "where a
United Nations special session in now in progress."

Evelyn bristled as the screen switched to a shot of her younger
sister in her ridiculous "superhero" outfit.  "..but I'm lucky being
able to help so many people all over the world," Angela, or
PowerStar, or whatever she called herself these days, was pompously
riffing.  "I know most people are not so fortunate.  But they can
still make a difference! You don't have to have super-powers to be
able to help people out.  You don't have to fly around the planet to
make it a better place.  You can start right at home, with the
people nearest you.  Every small positive action has a massive
result.  We are all heroes!"  A furious burst of applause belted out
of the TV's loudspeaker.  Evelyn pressed the "Standby" button on the
remote, and flung in across the room.

"Start at home?!?" she roared.  "Help the people nearest
you?!  Where we you, Angela?  Where were you when I really, really
needed you and your fucking super powers?  When you own sister was
almost being killed? You own sister, Angela, who nurtured you and
cared for you when you were nobody, when you had nothing, before you
got your powers!  Where were you when I was getting raped,
Angela?  Where were you?  Too busy telling a bunch of strangers
about how wonderful you are, I'll bet.  Would you have come to
rescue me?  Would you?  Or would you just have sat around in that
stupid costume, having a good laugh with Dad?"

Another clap of thunder ripped through the air.  "Why did it have to
be you, Angela?" Evelyn continued her audience-less rant.  "Why
couldn't we both get powers?  Why couldn't I also be the hero that
everybody loves?   Why did I have to be the helpless one?  The
victim?  If I had even a quarter of her strength, those two bastards
could never have overpowered me.  I could have stopped them from
even touching me! Fuck, I could have killed them with my bare hands
if I'd wanted!  Why couldn't it have been me?  Why?  WHY?"  Evelyn
threw herself down onto the bed as the storm raged on outside.






Eight months later...

"Come on!"  Evelyn pleaded to no one as she opened a sock drawer,
tossing them to the floor individually as she looked for any loose
cash that might be in a hiding place.  She needed cash -- FAST --
and the people she was indebted to didn't really have a lot of
payment plan options.  She was desperate and knew her father was at
work and wouldn't be home till later.  And in his drinking binge
days, he was known to stash money in places and forget about it.
 
"....Come on!  Come on......C'MON!!!"
 
Evelyn's tone took an angrier and more impatient tone with every
passing moment.  She grasped the brass knobs of more dresser drawers,
pulling them open, her hands moving frenetically as she searched for
any loose cash or something that she could pawn or sell or even
trade.  
 
After a few more minutes, her dad's bedroom floor was littered with
the contents of already-opened drawers, clothes and other sundries
strewn all over the place.  The room had looked like a tornado had
gone through it!  
 
"FUCK!" Evelyn screamed as she completed the last drawer in her
fruitless search.  Frustrated, Evelyn grabbed the dresser drawer and
pulled it from the dresser and flung it across the room, shattering
a standing mirror next to the door.  Glass shattered as the pieces
plopped down on the carpet, one shard in particular bouncing to the
side to rest next to a pair of shoes now standing in the doorway.

Miles Harbinger stood unsteadily in the doorway, clothes and hair
dishevelled, his words angrily forced and slurred terribly.  
 
"Evelyn!  What....what the hell are you......you doing?"
 
Evelyn looked more annoyed than surprised as she spied her
inebriated patriarch, disgust and sarcasm overshadowing any form of
sympathy or concern for his current state of disrepair.    
 
"What happened to YOU?  I thought you were clean and sober!"
 
"You don't even know what today is, do you?"  Miles asked of his
daughter as he staggered over to her, his eyes closing heavily and
then re-opening quickly like a pair of Roman shades.  Evelyn eyes
bulged as she looked at him with a quizzical, annoyed look,
obviously not able to answer her father's question.  
 
"Eh, I shoulda known!"  he responded as he shook his head and took
another brief swig from the silver flask he clutched in his right
hand.  
 
"Shoulda known WHAT?"
 
Miles stared at the flask in his hand, momentarily mesmerized, his
distorted reflection staring back at him.  "You know she gave this
to me as a present?"
 
"M-Mom?" Evelyn whispered softly, the tone in her voice suddenly
changing to one of sympathy and remorse.  In that fleeting moment,
Evelyn's mind raced back to memories of her mother and how much she
loved her.  All of Evelyn's angst and hatred was gone in that split
second, sucked away from her soul like an emotional Super-Vac,
leaving the spirit of the sweet little girl that she once
was.  Evelyn's eyes began to well up as she stared hypnotically at
the flask in her father's hand.
 
As Miles looked up at his eldest daughter, an alcoholic rage burned
inside ready to erupt.  "Yes, your mother, you little
TRAMP!!"  Miles shouted as he hurled the silver flask at Evelyn,
just missing her.  "Today...today is the 10-year anniversary of her
death!  But how could I expect YOU -- her greatest disappointment --
to remember!"
 
Her father's words cut through her like a winter chill.  His eyes
instantly drying, any remnants of the little girl she once was all
but destroyed.  Form past experience, Evelyn knew she could not
reason or even argue with her father when he was like this.  And she
wasn't in the mood.  Besides, she still needed to resolve her cash
problem.  
 
"WhatEVER!  See ya round, Daddy Dearest!!"  Evelyn sassed as she
rolled her eyes and attempted to walk around him out of the
bedroom.  Miles, however, stepped wobbly in her path, blocking her
exit as he grabbed her forcefully by her arms right below her
shoulders, trying to root her in place as he spoke.  
 
"I-I-I've had it with your mouth, you little BITCH!  Why did
you come here?  What has happened to you???"
 
Evelyn shook her arms, easily breaking his shaky grip on her.  "What
happened to ME?  LOOK AT ME, you stupid drunk!   I got
attacked!"  Evelyn screamed, getting madder and louder by the
second.  "It was five guys against me!  Look at my face!  You wanna
take a guess who lost?  How bout the daughter WITHOUT superpowers!!"
 
"Ev--"
 
"And speaking of Lil Miss Superheroine, where was SHE?  Rescuing a
cat from a tree while her sister was getting pummelled and gang-
banged in a sleazy motel??  Fuck your little 'Angel'...."
 
SLAP!  Miles hand moved with deceptive and surprising speed in his
drunken state as his open-hand found its mark on Evelyn's already-
bruised left cheek.  Miles stood eyes wide, nostrils flaring,
breathing heavily and purposeful as he stared angrily at Evelyn,
deafening silence washing over the room for a seeming eternity.  He
had never struck the girls -- even Evelyn -- before, but was now
behaving under alcohol-induced emotional reflexes.
 
Evelyn rubbed her cheek softly, refusing to visibly acknowledge the
pain she felt.  No, she would give her father no such
satisfaction!  "Fuck you, dad...." Evelyn said emphatically as
she walked around him through the door.  "And Mom too for giving her
powers!"
 
Nothing could prepare Miles for what Evelyn had just said.  His
blood instantly was brought to full boil as his fists clenched
tightly, hidden veins in his neck now spring to life.  If there was
a line to cross, Evelyn had just sailed over it with a single
bound!  Miles bolted out the door following Evelyn, catching her
just outside the bedroom in the hallway at the top of the
stairs.  He grabbed her roughly and spun her around, thoughts of
retribution and violence pulsing through him as he raised his hand.
 
"Go ahead!  I'm powerless!"  Evelyn chided sarcastically, squinting
and readying herself for her father's inevitable blow.
 
As Miles looked at his daughter with his fist cocked, he couldn't
believe her smugness -- right till the end!  Then suddenly, Miles'
facial expression turned from a fierce scowl to a vengeful smile as
he lowered his fist slowly.  Evelyn looked at him suspiciously as he
began to chuckle -- almost maniacally -- his arms both now at his
sides.  No, Miles wouldn't strike Evelyn with his fist.  He knew a
far better, and more suitable, form of revenge...
 
"Did you ever wonder WHY your sister inherited your Mom's
powers?"  Miles asked rhetorically, a sing-songy, mocking tone in
his voice.
 
"Yeah, Angela told me it was a genetic thing.  Luck of the draw type
of DNA thing..." Evelyn answered wearily, suspecting now there was
more to the reason than she was led to believe.
 
"Haha!  Well...at least you got SOME of it right!"  Miles taunted as
he watched Evelyn's expression become lifeless.  "It was locked it
both your DNA....but guess WHO had the key!!!"  Miles grinned as he
nodded his head and pointed at himself, smiling and completely
content with himself.
 
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
 
"Besides being a superheroine, your Mom was quite the little
scientist.  She invented this serum that would unlock your dormant
alien DNA when you were both just babies."
 
"And she wanted only ANGELA to have it?"  Evelyn shouted, enraged.
 
"No, your Mom wanted both of you to have it and entrusted me to give
it to you when you turned 18..."
 
"But I was 18 first!!  I'm the oldest!!!"
 
"The oldest and the least stable!   Funny thing is...I wrestled with
the decision of not giving you the serum...thinking you weren't
ready for the responsibility.... feeling guilty all these
years.  But now I KNOW I saved all of us the heartache!!  
 
"You BASTARD!  That was MY birthright!!!"
 
"It's a privilege, not a birthright!  You know the ironic
thing?  Even after all your troubles, I still held out hope that
you'd straighten out -- eventually!  But tonight you've finally
convinced me that that isn't gonna happen!  EVER!"
 
"Wait!!!  You mean you STILL have the serum?"
 
"I did...consider it now gone, sweetpea!"  said Miles as he smugly
sneered at his eldest and passed by her to the stop of the staircase.
 
Evelyn felt as if she was gonna throw up.  SHE could have been the
superpowered one!  She could be having all that fun, flying around
and shit!  She could have had the power to mop the floor with those
guys at the motel!  She could have been the one with the powers of
SuperNova!  If not for......HIM!!!
 
In that split second, an all-consuming rage enveloped Evelyn as she
grabbed a decorative candelabra from a nearby console table and ran
up behind her father who was beginning his descent down the
stairs.  Miles heard her heavy footsteps behind him and
instinctively turned around to see what she was doing.  
 
WHAM!!
 
Miles never saw his daughter, save for a blurry glimpse of her after
the wrought-iron candelabra struck Miles flush on his left
temple.  Miles flew backward almost in slow motion, head reeling, as
he tumbled head over heels down the staircase to come to rest as an
unconscious lump at the base of the stairs.
 
Evelyn dropped the candelabra which fell on the carpeted runner with
a dim THUD.  She panted hard, hopped up on adrenaline, and the rage
which still burned like sulphuric acid inside her veins.  "Those
powers are MINE!  And I'm gonna find them if I have to tear this
place apart brick by brick!" screamed Evelyn as she began her
insatiable quest to find her birthright!  
 



 
Angela took one step out of her flat and looked intently at her
watch as she spoke to herself. "Let's see, I have to meet Dad in 3
minutes.  Shouldn't be a problem for Power--“  
 
Angela never finished her thought as she superhearing detected the
newscast coming from the TV across the street.  "...and we're
watching a live feed of a car chase in San Francisco where the
driver has already hit one pedestrian and is showing no signs of
slowing down...."  Angela sighed as she pulled out her ponytail clip
and clutched the top button of her blouse,
 
 "Dad will understand..."  
 
With that, Angela stepped into the deserted alley and ripped open
her blouse, transforming into the heroine PowerStar in less than a
second.  With barely a thought, the young superheroine flexed her
incredible legs, propelling her skyward as a dark-hued blur at
unthinkable speed as she arced over the horizon on a direct course
with San Francisco.
 
*******
 
In a matter of minutes Evelyn had transformed the entire Harbinger
residence into a tornado aftermath scene.  Cushions were ripped open
with stuffing strewn about on the floor.  Drawers were rummaged and
then discarded sloppily on the floor.  Papers and books searched and
then idly thrown about at an incredible rate.  One might argue that
Evelyn was searching so quickly and frantically, she could have
found a bottle marked "Mom's Secret Formula" and not even realized
it!  Still, Evelyn persisted and went from room to room in her quest
for her birthright!
 
*******
 
PowerStar smiled as she stood rooted to the asphalt in front of the
speeding car with her hands on her hips.  Sure she could have
stopped the car with a little more finesse, but this was a little
more dramatic and worthy of the six o'clock evening news.  Besides,
Angela LOVED this stunt -- perhaps more than anything she could
do!  She found it so...FULFILLING!  A perfect casual demonstration
of the unbelievable power she now possessed!
 
As the Chevy Impala bore down on her, Angela couldn't resist a
flirtatious grin and wave of her fingers as if to say "Hi" before
the two-ton automobile slammed into the young goddess at over 80
mph.  
 
BAM!!!  
 
There was a block-shattering impact as the driver's car struck
Angela dead center in an unequal contest of strength and
power.  Layers of manufactured steel and chromium receded and bent
against the superheroine's shapely and indestructible body, parting
like the Red Sea.  Angela savored the sensation of the metal bending
against her thighs and torso like mere blades of grass.  Even the
entire block crumpled like wet cardboard against the young titan's
steely abdominals momentarily before the car's momentum eventually
halted.  
 
As the car came to an abrupt stop, the back suspension of the
vehicle lurched up, launching the driver like a catapult through the
windshield.  At eye-blinking speed, PowerStar took one hand off her
shapely hips and grabbed the unconscious driver as she sailed
through the air like a missile past her.  With the ease of catching
a balloon, Angela's taut arm caught the man and held him aloft with
laughable ease -- all to the thunderous applause and camera lights
that quickly descended on the young heroine.
 
*****
 
With every passing second, Evelyn's search became more frantic and
seemingly more futile.  Only one closet remained, a closet that had
an array of old family heirlooms and keepsakes.  Evelyn did not stop
to reminisce as she hurriedly open one box after another, finally
getting to a box marked "Greatest Treasures" in black marker.
 
Evelyn opened the box and saw a gold painted pine cone Christmas
Tree that she had made for her mother when she was in
kindergarten.  Evelyn paused for a moment as she held up the crude
ornament, reflecting back to when she had given in to her mother --
when she told her it was probably worth a lot of money since it was
gold!  Evelyn snickered -- almost sadly -- in jest to herself
thinking of how her Mother could have probably made a REAL gold
Christmas tree with her powers!  
 
"Her incredible powers!  Power to do just about anything!  Angela's
powers now!  Powers that should be HERS!" Evelyn's demeanor quickly
shifted from one of reminiscence to jealousy and anger.
 
"MY POWERS!" Evelyn screamed as she tossed the contents of the box
on the floor and rifled through it.
 
Angela's retainer....Evelyn's bronzed baby shoes....Angela's papier-
mâché snowman....Evelyn and Angela's Field Day ribbon for the sack
race....Evelyn's favorite book, Goodnight Moon.....Angela's favorite
book, Angelina Ballerina.....
 
PLINK!!!
 
Evelyn's attention was diverted by the dulled metallic sound of a
metallic key that fell from the dust jacket of the Angelina
Ballerina book.  Curiously excited, Evelyn picked up the brass Key
and read three numbers aloud, "One....Two....Seven!  One Twenty-
Seven!"
 
Turning the key over, her eyes focused on the tiny print that read
"New Haven Federal Savings & Loan".  Evelyn's heart skipped a beat -
-- even 3 beats -- at the excitement of her desperate finding.  "A
safety deposit box??  It can't be THAT easy!" Evelyn thought to
herself as she stared at the key, mesmerized by the potential power
she held in her fingers with this key.
 
Easy or not, she had to try!  Besides, it wasn't like her search had
turned up anything else.  As Evelyn picked up, she thought it ironic
that her father has chosen Angela's book to hide it in, rather than
her book.  
 
"Figures!" Evelyn muttered to herself as she clutched the key
tightly in her hand, hoping that this key would work and unlock the
secrets of her mother's powers!
 
 
 
 
 

 
Angela left the appreciative crowds and media in San Francisco with
a dazzling smile and a wave.  "Happy to help!" she called down as
she took to the air.  Within seconds, she was high enough to see the
entire city and the bay spread out beneath her.    She was already
late for dinner with her father, so wasted no time as she turned for
home and shot through the air with agility and speed that aircraft
designers could only dream about.

On the other side of the continent, Evelyn was reversing her
father's car out onto the road.  "I'm sure he won't mind me
borrowing it," she thought.  "It's not like he's in any state to
drive right now, anyway."  Impatiently, she ground the gears,
throwing the car into forward gear as soon as she had backed onto
the road.  The New Haven bank was in town.  She calculated, that if
she was lucky with traffic, she could be there in ten
minutes.  Twelve if she stayed within the speed limit, but she had
no intention of doing that.
 
There were no speed limit issues for Angela as she soared through
the sky above the Nevada desert.  Physical limits, in general, were
not a concept that she had to deal with much these days.  As if to
prove the point, she increased her speed still further.  She was too
high up to be visible from the ground, but at her accelerated
velocity, she was moving far too fast to be spotted even if she had
been flying at an altitude of ten feet.
 
"Dammit!" Evelyn cursed, slamming her fist on the horn.  The driver
of the car in front gesticulated wildly into his rear-view mirror,
making his opinion of her impatience clear.  Evelyn revved her
engine, and pulled out into the incoming-traffic lane to
overtake.  She hadn't checked if the manoeuvre was safe until it was
too late to go back.  She found herself on a high-speed, direct
collision-course with a huge truck.  The air-horn blared as she
turned the steering wheel, cutting back into her lane, almost
clipping the front of the car she just about managed to overtake.
 
Angela was also overtaking a vehicle.  The 747 airliner was just
beginning its descent towards Denver as she minutely adjusted her
trajectory to fly a gentle curve around it, careful not to disturb
the craft with her wake.  She gave a little wave to the pilots as
she passed in front of the plane, glancing over her shoulder to
flash a dazzling smile at the two men who waved back.
 
There was no smile on Evelyn's face.  "C'mon, c'mon" she hissed at
the red traffic light that was holding her up at a major
intersection, just a few blocks from Main Street.  She considered
flooring the accelerator and jumping the lights, but the flow of
vehicles across the junction ruled out that possibility.  Finally
the cross-traffic dried up and her light turned green.  With a roar,
she was moving again.  "Only a handful more blocks..." she thought.
 
"Only a handful more states to cross," Angela told herself as Omaha
flashed by far, far below.  "I'll be home in a couple of minutes."
 
Evelyn barely bothered to park outside the bank.  She steered the
car over to the side of the road, and brought it to a halt, just
about letting the engine stop before she removed the keys and jumped
out.  The front wheel was nearly two feet away from the sidewalk,
but she didn't think about it as she raced up the steps to the main
doors.
 
Chicago... Angela was making good time.  She was glad.  She didn't
like to keep her father waiting, even if she had a good excuse.
 
Just outside the bank doors, Evelyn paused.  The key she clutched in
her hand was not enough on its own.  She would need a cover story: a
reason why she, and not her father in whose name the safety deposit
box was registered, needed to access its contents.  It came to her
in a flash of inspiration.  She smiled broadly, admiring her own
ingenuity.  Then, with a great effort, she dropped the grin.  "Sad
thoughts," she told herself.  "Think sad thoughts...."
 
Meanwhile Angela was smiling as her remarkably fast brain processed
the blur that zipped beneath her as the city of Cleaveland.  She
remembered a young girl she had rescued from a burning house on the
outskirts of the town a few months before.  There were no fires
today, she noticed.  Nothing to delay her any further...
 
"Can I help you ma'am?" asked a concerned member of the bank staff,
seeing the beautiful young woman crying her eyes out in the lobby of
the bank.
"Oh, thank you," Evelyn sobbed, theatrically.  "I...  (sniff)  I
need to see the manager..."
"Take a seat please," said the bank guy.  "I'll fetch him now for
you."
"Thank you, you're so kind." said Evelyn, tearfully.





At last, she was home.   As had become her custom, she swooped down
towards her favourite landing site.  Leaves and branches rustled as
PowerStar disappeared into one side of a group of trees.  Three
seconds later, Angela Harbinger strolled from the other side.

Pulling her key from her pocket, she opened the front door and
gasped.   The house was in total disarray.  "We've been burgled!"
she thought.  She scanned the building with her X-ray vision...
"Dad!" she screamed, rushing at superspeed to the foot of the
stairs.  Her enhanced senses revealed that he was alive, but
unconscious.  She counted at least three broken bones.   Whoever had
broken in must've pushed him down the stairs...  Strange, she
thought, that she could see any signs of a forced entry, but no time
for that now.  She changed back into her costume and carefully
picked up her unconscious father.  Then, flying as fast as she could
without putting him at risk, she set off for the nearest hospital.




 
 
Tears rolled down the young woman's eyes as she sat crying in one of
the lobby's many oversized leather chairs.  Her face buried in her
hands as a well-groomed Preston Masterson, the bank manager,
approached her cautiously.
 
"Miss, here is your father's key.  Again, I'm so sorry for your
loss"
 
As Masterson handed her a cup of water that he had brought over,
Evelyn feigned her morose act of grieving daughter to utter
perfection.  "T-t-thank you!" the young woman stammered as she
gingerly leaned forward, allowing her keyholed tank top to drape
open, as she took the offering from Mr. Masterson.  Taking it in her
hand, Evelyn paused masterfully for effect, her hand trembling like
a wind-blown leaf before taking an apprehensive sip from the
styrofoam cup.  
 
"Miss Harbinger, you must understand this isn't bank policy.  I mean,
your name on the safety deposit box account is not yours, it is
your...."
 
"F-F-Father's!" she blurted with a heart-wrenching sob that turned
more than a few heads within the bank and elicited the kind offer of
a white handkerchief from Mr. Masterson.
 
 "Thank you.  I....I....I'm sorry." said Evelyn in a barely audible
tone as she wiped her nose, her blue eyes still pooled with a sea
of salty tears.
 
"I suppose, based on the circumstances, I can make an exception in
your case.  Please....come with me...." the young man said,
extending a gentlemanly hand to the young distraught Evelyn.  
 
As he led her into the safety deposit vault, Evelyn's heart beat
like a drum in anticipation of the hope of her quest.  She was so
close, she could taste it!  Or maybe that was the metallic scent of
the room they entered -- a mammoth space whose walls were a
patchwork quilt of safety deposit boxes marked with a myriad of
sequential numbers.   As they walked across the marble slabbed floor,
their heels echoed loudly within the sterile  confines of the vault
room.  As she walked, Evelyn looked up and noticed a pair of closed
circuit cameras monitoring the room before burying her face in the
handerkerchief as she blew her nose, maintaining her charade till
the very end for anyone who may have been watching.
 
"One Twenty-Three.....One Twenty-Five.....here we are!  One Twenty-
Seven!"  Mr Masterson said as he inserted his key into the left key
slot and turned it counter-clockwise with a muffled click, pausing
and  offering a hand to Evelyn.  "Miss Harbinger?"
 
Evelyn reached into her pocket and pulled out her key.  She looked
at it longingly, turning it over in front of her gaze.  The etched
numbers 1-2-7 on the key teasingly begging her to hurry and find
out!  Despite her heart almost leaping out of her ample chest,
Evelyn somehow still managed to play it cool.
 
"Miss Harbinger?  Your key, please..."
 
Evelyn inserted her key nervously into the right slot, and took a
deep breath before turning her key clockwise ever so slowly.
 
CLICK!
 
It took everything within her being to not scream for joy as Mr
Masterson opened the front door and pulled out a long metal safety
deposit box measuring 2 feet long, 4 inches across and 4 inches
deep.  As the manager kindly led her into one of the three curtained
stalls in the far west side of the room, he placed the black box on
the wooden cantilevered table.
 
"Take as much time as you like, Miss Harbinger.  I'll step outside
if you need anything..."   
 
As the black velvet curtain twisted behind his exit, Evelyn found
herself alone finally.  A wry smile crept across her face, believing
that she was only seconds from claiming her birthright.  She was the
oldest, it was hers!!  And no one was gonna keep her from it or stop
her from claiming it anymore!  Evelyn's anger began to seethe as
she thought more and more how her father and Angela had deceived her
all these years...how they tricked her....kept her weak...
 
"Not anymore!"  whispered the eldest daughter as she quickly reached
for the lid and opened it up, closing her eyes as she did
it.  Pausing for a second, Evelyn opened them with a slow squint
before abruptly opening them wide with a somewhat puzzled look as
she saw a Bayer aspirin bottle lying by itself in the safety deposit
box.  Evelyn's heart sank momentarily as she thought that her dad
had either tricked her again or was totally full of shit about the
"magic superpower potion".  Reaching for the clear bottle, Evelyn
held it up, noticing it filled a quarter of the way with a milky
bluish liquid.
 
"Definitely not aspirin." Evelyn said to herself as she felt a
resurgence of hope.  She had for some reason expected the "all
powerful elixir" to be sitting in some magical glowing vessel like
in some Disney fairy tale.  Yet here it was -- or at least seemed to
be -- in a common aspirin bottle.  As she held the bottle up, a
smile washed over her face as she giggled quietly at the irony that
THIS was gonna make her super....unstoppable!!
 
"So much for appearances I guess!"  Evelyn said as she loosened the
child-proof cap and poured it down her throat, swallowing the entire
content of the bottle.
 
Evelyn grimaced as it slid down her throat, the taste of the potion
not unlike warm dish water.  Hardly heroic tasting.  Evelyn gagged
at the taste, coughing repeatedly as she leaned against the
cantilever table, trying to compose herself.
 
"Miss Harbinger?" Mr. Masterson said with a concerned voice from the
other side of the thick curtain.  
 
"Y-y-yes?"  
 
It was the only word that Evelyn get out before her larynx
constricted and tightened, along with the rest of her body.  Every
muscle seized painfully as Evelyn grimaced, suddenly frightened and
unaware what was happening to her.  She was sure from the taste that
it was poison!  "Dad and Angela DID get the last laugh..." Evelyn
angrily thought as her body wailed in pain for a few tenuous and
torturous moments.

Inside Evelyn's body the magical transformation had begun.  Thanks
to the elixir, Evelyn's human DNA had been blunted to the point of
almost becoming dormant.  And now her half alien DNA waged a
lopsided battle inside her body that resulted in a complete
remapping of her very cellular structure.  
 
Nutrient-rich blood was pumped furiously like torrent rivers inside
Evelyn carrying pure strained alien DNA throughout every crevice in
her body, making her powerful.  DNA strands unwove and rewove and
fortified themselves into pure-bred alien perfection.  It was
happening!!!   And as Evelyn's pain quickly subsided, it was
replaced with a new sensation -- a complete metamorphosis as she
felt her body beginning to change in synch with her labored
breathing.
 
"Miss Harbinger?  Are you alright?"
 
Evelyn wryly smiled at the question without answering.  Alright?  No,
she was MUCH better than alright.  And she was enjoying every second
of the feeling that was slowly continuing to erupt from within her
body.
 
Inside her body, lean feminine muscle fibers were shredded, then
resewn into sexy, steel-hard, indestructible muscles bursting with
strength.  Fat cells were mysteriously vaporized throughout her body
as Evelyn felt parts of her body shrink momentarily before re-
inflating with taut and sleek muscles.  God, it felt so good!!
 
Evelyn's lips' emitted a faint moan as she felt a heaviness in her
chest.  Looking downward at her cleavage, she was amazed to see her
breasts receding slowly like a spring tide before suddenly inflating
and pushing forward with unbelievable firmness and size.  Evelyn's
tank top stretched and begged for mercy as her newly enhanced chest
pushed it outwards, filling it wonderfully!
 
Wonderful!  Amazing!  Incredible!  Indescribable!
 
So many superlatives danced in Evelyn's head as the sensation swept
through her body!  Her legs, her arms, her back, her abs, her hands
--- every part of her singing with the same euphoric feeling as the
raw, alien-born power of SuperNova -- her birthright -- flooded into
her cellular structure.
 
As her body transformed into a sexy, superpowered feminine physique
of perfection, Evelyn's brain also underwent a startling
transformation.  Symphonies of sounds and colors raced through her
head as everything now had such remarkable clarity and focus.  As
she looked at her skin, her eyes seemed to zoom in like a high-
powered microscope denoting every hair follicle, every minute
pigmentation variation.  And somehow, her mind seemed to catalog it
all to the last detail.  Listening intently, Evelyn could hear the
heart beats of Mr Masterson, the low-pitched hum of the closed
circuit cameras, even the sound of the tiny cotton fibers stretching
in her tank top!  Her senses were remarkable!!
 
"Miss Harbinger?  Miss Harbinger!!!"
 
Masterson's words meant nothing to her as her transformation neared
its end as the incredible sensation eventually waned into
nothingness.  Almost disappointingly to Evelyn, there was no
powerful afterglow, no dramatic costume change, no magical lightning
bolt.  Just herself, still standing alone in the small room -- same
as before.  But Evelyn was not the same...and would not be ever
again!
 
Grabbing the now-empty aspirin bottle from the table, Evelyn smiled
silently and then closed her hand deliberately around the
transparent container.  The sound of the hardened plastic bottle
popped and crackled easily in her tiny hand as she squeezed it
tightly into a ball before dropping the misshaped wad on the table.  
 
Evelyn's insides stirred at the sight of the mangled plastic and the
thought of how it took no effort on her part made her wonder how
strong she was now!  Sure, it wasn't quite the same as lifting a
railroad car like her late mother could do, but it was a start!  Her
eyes dotting quickly towards the safety deposit box, Evelyn slowly
reached across the table, pulling the two foot long box closer, her
hands resting on the edges.
 
 Taking a deep breath to compose herself, Evelyn began to slowly
scrunch her hands together, the quarter-inch gauge steel immediately
yielding to the young woman's hands!
 
CREEEEEENNKK!
 
Evelyn beamed as the shrill wailing of the metal edges became louder,
her hands bending and folding the edges like soft clay.  No, it was
easier than clay!!  Evelyn watched mesmerized as her hands -- no
bigger than before -- suddenly now were transmitting forces through
them that even metal fabrication machines couldn't!  She giggled as
her hands now began to roll the steel onto itself like wet
dough.  As her hands bent and rolled the metal, it became thicker
and more dense -- seemingly more difficult to manipulate.  But
Evelyn's superpowered assault on the safe deposit box never slowed,
the metallic groan of the metal stirring her even more, causing her
to roll it even faster till it resembled a steel roll of wrapping
paper!
 
"Miss Harbinger, are you.....Masterson began as his genuine concern
for the young lady forced him to circumvent bank protocol's and
barge through the heavy curtain.  Seeing the young Miss Harbinger
holding a unidentiifable wad of metal, a huge smile on her face, the
bank manager began to stammer.   
 
"All ...... right?"  
 
"Oh, Mr. Masterson!  Nothing could be better!!"  Evelyn beamed as he
theatrically dropped the former safe deposit box on the table before
her for show with a resounding thud.  Evelyn couldn't help but laugh
out loud as the manager's face turned a pale white before he fainted
and slumped to the floor.
 
"Yeah, UNBELIEVABLE is right!!"  Evelyn said to the unconscious
figure as she, for the first time since taking the elixir, began to
compose herself and try to assess her new powers.  Prudence would
demand that she go off somewhere and figure out her strengths and
weaknesses, but Evelyn was far too impetuous.  She was superpowered
now who was gonna mess with her?  Besides, she basically had the
same powers as SuperNova now, right?    
 
Extending her hand over the table, Evelyn curled her index finger
and flicked the center of the cantilevered table as hard as she
could.
 
BAM!!!
 
The sound of a pneumatic gun rang out as Evelyn's single digit
struck the one and a half inches of onyx-colored marble.
 
Ping!  Ping Ping!  Ping!  Ping Ping Ping!
 
Evelyn snickered mischievously as the shards of the table shot in
all directions, pinging off the rows and rows of metal safety
deposit boxes inside the room.
 
"I could DEFINITELY get used to this!"  Evelyn spoke to herself as
she grinned from ear to ear, relishing the feeling of super-strength
that energized her whole body now.  She had never felt so strong in
her life.  Still, she knew from the newspapers that super-strength
was only one of the many abilities that her mother possessed.  
 
"Hmm....let's see...."  
 
 Evelyn's eyes focused on one of the walls of safety deposit boxes
as she tried to see if she now possessed PowerStar's x-ray
vision.  As she concentrated, her eyes glowed with a faint orange
hue as more of her newfound capabilities were
unlocked.  Evelyn purred in delight as she saw the front metal doors
become more and more transparent till they were practically
invisible.
 
"Now THIS is what I call window shopping!" Evelyn joked as she began
to scan all the safety deposit boxes on the North Wall.  Layers of
metal peeled away at the young supergirl's whim as she quickly
mastered the intensity and depth of her x-ray vision.  Evelyn took a
mental note of the contents of each and every box as she scanned
them, and tested her super memory by recalling the exact contents of
each and every box.  It was SO EASY!!
 
"Umm.....134...stock certificates and an old gold watch.  156...that
was an antique stamp collection.  194....that was two passports and
some naked photos of some skank!"
 
Evelyn giggled at her little game, marvelling at the total recall
her super-brain now had.  Everything was so clear to her!  
 
She turned her head and continued scanning the west bank of safety
deposit boxes when one particular item made her stop and blink.
 
"Oh my!" whispered Evelyn as she walked over to box #341.  Sticking
out her hand, Evelyn's fingers sunk into the edges of the metal door
with a muffled metallic squeal.  
 
RRRIIIIIIPPPPPP!
 
Evelyn's hand clenched, without barely a thought and even less
effort as the exterior door crumpled in the young goddesses hand
like tinfoil!  With a tug she ripped it from the wall and threw it
on the floor, and then pulled out a thin gauged steel box which she
easily tore open like it was made of wrapping paper.  Evelyn reached
in and grinned as she pulled out a perfect 9 carat diamond ring and
slipped it on her finger.  "Oh you are so mine now!!!"  Evelyn said
as she held her little bauble up to the light.  Yes, these powers
were gonna be fun!!
 
"Hold it right there, lady!!  FREEZE!"
 
Evelyn turned around nonchalantly to see a security guard, with
weapon drawn, aiming right at her.  
 
"Finally, a good test to see how super I really am!" thought Evelyn
to herself as she turned to face the guard with her hands on her
hips.  "And let's just say I don't.."  Ev chided, trying to elicit a
response of some kind from the guard.
 
"Lady, don't make me shoot!"
 
"No....please DO!!" Evelyn snapped back as she walked toward him,
her hands still on her shapely hips.  She could hear his elevated
heartbeat thumping as she walked across the marble floor.  She could
see the sweat began to emanate on his hair follicles with her
telescopic vision.
 
Herman Rhodes thought working as a bank guard was gonna be a piece
of cake.  "No one robs banks these days?" was something he had told
his friends countless times before.  But then again, no one could do
the things Evelyn Harbinger could do now, either.
 
"I'm warning you!!!"  cried Rhodes one last time, his hand visibly
shaking even to those without super vision.
 
"This is gonna be bad for you anyway you cut it, so you might as
well --"
 
BAM!  BAM!!
 
Rhodes got off two shots at only 8 feet away, but couldn't believe
he had missed!  He thought he would hit her for sure, but he must
have missed cause she was still walking towards him.
 
BAM!  BAM! BAM!!
 
Evelyn's hyperactive senses allowed her to hear the click of the
revolver even before the bullet left the chamber of his gun.  It was
like everything had stopped.  No, wait!  Everything hadn't stopped,
she was just moving superfast!  "Too fucking rad!" Evelyn said as
she watched the bullet emerge from the barrel and travel towards
her.  "Ok, invulnerability test coming up!" Evelyn thought to
herself as she tensed herself and was delighted to see the two
bullets strike her in the upper chest, right below her exposed
collarbone.  Her silky flesh dimpled a micrometer before the
bullets' momentum was halted by her invulnerable flesh, causing them
to tumble to the floor as two misshaped little slugs.
 
Evelyn beamed with supreme confidence now, realizing that she was
truly unstoppable.  As she saw the first two shots bounce harmlessly
away, Evelyn concentrated and found she could speed up and slow down
her reaction time at will.  With that, Evelyn proceeded to advance
on the officer, choosing to experience the feeling of being shot in
'real time'.  As the next three shots struck Evelyn in the face this
time, she flashed a cruel smile at the futile gun man, stopping
about 6 feet away from him.
 
Rhodes couldn't believe his eyes as he saw his last three shots
bounce right after that crazy girl's face.  "I KNOW I hit her"
though Rhodes to himself.
 
"That's imposs-s-s-ible!" stammered the frightened security guard as
he depressed his trigger firing his lone two remaining shots.
 
BAM!  BAM!!
 
With minimal effort, Evelyn's two hands became a blur as she caught
the two bullets in mid-air as if they were balloons.  She smiled as
she held her hands out and opened her palms showing Rhodes the two
bullets he had just fired.
 
"Impossible?  No, no!  I'm full of just about every possibility
now!"  Evelyn chortled as she became a blur and within less than
half a second held the 230 lb guard aloft with one hand with his
empty revolver in another.  
 
"You don't look so tough now without your gun, Jumbo!"  Evelyn
laughed as she effortlessly shook the man in her hands like he was
as pom-pom.  "Don't sweat it!  This thing is useless against me
anyways!" Evelyn said as she squeezed her hand around the revolver,
turning it into metallic paste.  
 
As Evelyn looked back up at the helpless man dangling from her
slender arm, she noticed the close-circuit camera that had probably
been recording everything up to this point.  "Hmm...GOOD!  Now I'll
REALLY see what I can do!" thought a super-confident Evelyn as she
stared into the camera for a second or two before melting it to slag
with a blast of her heat vision.
 
With that, Evelyn casually tossed the bank guard against the wall
shattering his back with a sickening pop as she sauntered out of the
safety deposit box room, ready to take on anything and anyone that
would try to stop her from now on, including her little sister!

 
 



"Is he OK?" PowerStar asked the emergency doctor.

"He's going to be just fine.  His arm is broken and a few ribs and
there's some minor contusions, but no head injuries.  I'd expect him
to make a full recovery."  The doc couldn't help but notice the
relief on the superheroine's beautiful face.  "Friend of yours,
PowerStar?"

"Er, no." Angela said,  "Er, that's to say, I think of EVERYBODY as
my friend..."

The doctor smiled. "Can I just say what an honour it is to meet
you," he added.

"Thank you," she smiled.  "Make sure you take good care of him!"

"I'll personally make sure he's well looked after," the medic
assured her, returning to his duties.






As the SWAT team vans arrived outside, staff and customers were
still running, screaming, through the doors of the New Haven Federal
Savings & Loan Bank.  A pair of police officers busied themselves
leading the members of the public to safety, whilst the armed
response men took positions on the staircase leading up to the main
entrance.
 
In the main lobby, Evelyn was holding a large postal sack in her
right hand.  The sack was full-to-bursting with the contents of
various safety-deposit boxes as well as nearly a million in bank
bills of various denominations and, for good measure, several
thousand dollars' worth of quarters and dimes.  It should have
required a forklift truck merely to get it off the floor, but Evelyn
was casually swinging it in her one-handed grip as though it were
weightless, a broad grin on her face.  She glanced to her left and
right, making a final check that she'd taken everything she wanted
from the bank.  Deciding that there was nothing left worth stealing,
she turned towards the doors to leave.
 
Just as she was about to stride to the exit, something made her
hesitate.  A sound, picked up by her ultra-sensitive
hearing.  Someone whispering, on the other side of the doors.  She
narrowed her eyes, and watched, still in awe of her own, new
abilities, as the wall in front of her seemed to fade, and the world
outside became clearly visible to her.  'This X-ray vision thing is
really useful!' she thought to herself as she counted the ten
members of the SWAT team preparing to burst through the doors and
launch a "surprise" assault on her.   Armed police!  Where were they
when she was being assaulted back in that motel?
 
With the exceptionally heavy loot sack still dangling from her right
hand, she placed her left defiantly on her shapely hip and called
out, "OK, boys!  You can come in now!"
 
Right on cue, the double doors burst open and the men rushed inside,
weapons at the ready.  Standing in the middle of the lobby, she
wasn't hard to spot.  The men formed a line between her and the exit,
their guns pointed at her like a firing squad.  Evelyn merely smiled
at them.
 
"Put down the bag!" one of the men shouted.
 
"You want the bag?" grinned Evelyn.  "Have it!"   With an effortless
movement of her delicate wrist, she started to swing the enormously
weighty sack over her head like a lasso rope.  Then she let go,
letting it fly across the room.  The sack slammed sideways on into
the chests of two of the men hard enough to fatally crush their rib
cages and send their corpses hurtling into two others.  As the
foursome crashed down to the ground, the bag fell on top of them,
breaking more bones.  One of the men moaned under the terrible
weight, but he was the lucky member of the quartet.
 
The remaining men opened fire, spraying Evelyn with automatic
fire.  Her clothes began to tear and shred under the relentless
assault as dozens of red-hot bullets, each one on its own enough to
kill a man, bounced from her body.   Her response was to place her
now free right hand on her hip, matching her left hand, and slightly
cock her head to one side, raising one eyebrow as if to say "Is that
the best you can do?"
 
She could feel the multiple impacts all over, but they felt more
like raindrops than deadly ammunition to her.  After standing
motionless under the futile assault for a few moments, she began to
walk slowly forwards towards the men.  A series of ricochetting
bullets, streaming from her head and her ample chest knocked down
two of them before she could reach them.  Only the men's thick body-
armour saved them from being killed by their own fire.
 
Evelyn looked down at the two men, and smiled.  Without removing her
hands from her hips, and hardly breaking her stride, she planted the
toe of her shoe into one of the fallen policemen's side.  The force
of her easy kick shattered bones and ruptured organs as it lifted
him into the air and threw him into the air in a huge arc that
carried him through the doors of the bank and across the
street.  His body hit the side of a building thirty yards away and
fell to a bloody heap on the sidewalk.
 
Ignoring the four men still firing on her, she bent low and grabbed
hold of the second prone man by his flak jacket with her right
hand.  Her left stayed on her hip as she stood straight again,
lifting the helpless cop as if he was as heavy as a sheet of
paper.  Then, in a single, fluid movement, she straightened out her
right arm, releasing her captive.  That simple movement of her arm
was enough to fling him ten yards into one of the remaining shooters
with enough force to kill them both instantly.  She laughed at the
ease of it all as her right hand returned to her hip.
 
 
 
 
 
Meanwhile, across town, PowerStar was being treated to a tour of the
hospital children's ward.
 
"It's so good of you to take time to come up here," beamed a
nurse.  "All of the children are huge fans of you.  I know it means
so much to them to meet you."
 
"Oh, it's my pleasure," Angela said.  "I love children.  The kids in
here are so brave.  They're much more heroic than I am!   If I can
bring just a little joy to them, then I would feel honoured to-"
 
"PowerStar!" A hospital orderly came running up to
her.   "Quick!  They need you in town!"
 

 
 
 
 
The bank looked like a war-zone.   One of the three men left on his
feet was screaming to his surviving colleagues "Get out!  Get
out!"  Evelyn turned slowly to face him, paying no attention to the
machine gun fire he was spraying over her face.  As the last two men
made a break for the door, she stared down her latest victim.  After
a few seconds, his gun jammed, and the stream of bullets
stopped.  The sudden silence was eerie.  The SWAT man stared at her
in fear.  She winked at him, pushed out her thick lips and sexily
blew him a kiss.  Her superhuman lungs created a roaring hurricane
that her lips channelled into a jet of warm air that hit him with
the power of a locomotive, instantly launching him into the air to
slam against a wall ten yards behind where he had been
standing.  Evelyn closed her lips and watched with satisfaction as
he slid down to the floor, leaving a thick wet red trail on the wall.
 
The last two men had made it halfway down the staircase to the
street.  Evelyn became a blur as she ran at superspeed, through the
exit doors, steering a curved path around the escaping duo before
turning around and stopping directly in front of them.  The men
gasped as she appeared to simply materialise out of thin air,
directly in their path, her hands still stationed dominantly on her
hips.   "Leaving so soon, boys?" she asked.  She took her palms from
her hips and grabbed each of them with a single hand around the neck,
hoisting the pair into the air, letting them dangle from her
unbreakable grip.

"Put them down!" said a familiar voice.  Evelyn kept the two men
just where they were as she turned to see the source of it.

"You!" said Evelyn, seeing her sister hovering in mid-air, her arms
folded over her chest.
 
"You!" said Angela, seeing her sister at the centre of the horrific
carnage.
 
"Isn't there a cat up a tree somewhere that needs you?" asked Evelyn.
 
"Dad was right about you," said Angela.  "You shouldn't have Mom's
powers!"
 
"It's a bit late for that now!" Evelyn smiled.
 
"Not if I can help it," Angela snarled.
 
"Oh yeah?   Bring it on..... sis!"


 
 
TO BE CONTINUED.

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