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Transformatrix 4000 v2.0

08 Feb 2007 17:18 #8257 by ultragirl
Transformatrix 4000 v2.0 was created by ultragirl
Hot air rushed over Collin's skin when he opened the door to the masterbath. His arm raised to cover his face.

"Whoa! Shit, honey! Are you okay in there?"

He backed into the bedroom rubbing his eyes clear of the steam. Denise emerged from the bathroom rushing at her husband.

"I'm so sorry! Are you okay. I just thought it would be faster than a towel. I'm running so late-"

"Faster than a towel? What the hell?"

Denise looked over her husband's face checking for burns. He was a bit flush, but she was relieved to see he was okay. She used a hand towel to wipe his red cheeks dry.

"I was using my heat vision in the mirror to dry myself. I just didn't think anyone would walk in."

"You used your heat vision, on yourself, and didn't burn anything?" He she his head in amazement. "I don't know how much I can take of this."

Denise looked at him as he finally opened his eyes. She smiled up at him. He tried to look upset, but broke when he thought of what she'd done.

"Good God, Denise. Post a sign next time! It's not like I can hear your eyes burning." They both laughed.

"Girl scouts honor." She promised him. She sealed the deal by presenting her two fingers.

"Wow." He dropped his head. Denise went about her business getting ready. "So it didn't hurt or anything?"

She turned to him and winked. She looked down at herself. Two beams lanced from her eyes into her skin. She traced it up her thigh and over her stomach following a path to her right nipple. She concentrated as much energy as she could on that point turning it white hot before blinking the power off.

"Not a thing."

Once he was able to gather himself, he could see the fading glow of the burn line up her body. Her nipple was still very hot.

"So, you can pick up the girls today?"

"Wha-"

"The girls." Denise turned to the mirror applying what little make-up she used these days. "You can pick them up?"

Collin blinked. He admired his wife's perfect rear while she was bent forward over the sink. "Ya-"

"You know I appreciate it. I'd do it, but I have to run by the testing facility today."

He looked into her reflection. He had lost the taste in his mouth with those people ever since they had taken Denise there.

"Why?"

"They have some new weapon they want to try out on me." She sighed. "Look, this is important. Someone has got to exert some control over these girls. Do want me to keep getting called off to police up another power corrupted teenage girl?"

"No, of course not. I just don't understand why you have to be the test subject. Didn't they do enough testing when they had you?"

"Apparently not. And it's me because among the original they seem to think I'm the most powerful. THey figure if they can hurt me, they can hurt the lesser of us."

Denise cradled Collin's head in her soft hands. They were always soft. Collin loved that.

"This is important, Collin. For them, and for us. I want a normal life for us."

"I know." He loved her. He said so.

"Thank you for understanding. Tonight, I'll make it worth your while, okay?"

Collin smiled. Denise's body blinked. When Collin's brain caught up, she was standing in the costume Lois had given her. Collin had told her it reminded him of Wonder Woman with thigh highs. She'd reply that Wonder Woman was a sissy. He didn't doubt that with her. She turned in front of him.

"I love that costume."

"I know." She kissed him on the cheek. "Tell the girls mommy loves them and will be home soon."

"I will. Don't have too much fun."

"Like they could ever hurt me!"

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08 Feb 2007 17:19 #8258 by ultragirl
Replied by ultragirl on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Denise turned her naked form over on the testing table. She'd been so busy lately that she'd forgotten what it was like to really relax. Trying to get everything back to normal had been a daunting job, even for someone of her astounding abilities.

With the academy opening up, she was looking forward to teaching again. There was still some clean up to do, however. Kara and Jill had settled in together. DeAnn was enjoying the spotlight. Amber had finally gotten things figured out for her. She was proud of Amber for that. She wondered whatever happened Janet.

"How are we doing in there, Denise?"

"Mmm. A little lower, please?" She gave them a lazy thumb up. "This feels soooo good."

They bragged about their latest generation of Par-Las technology as being twenty times more powerful than the last. She absolutely believed them now that she was being subjected to it’s energy output. The beam pulsated into the curve of her lower back. It felt warm and was just short of giving her a deep massage, but she wasn't about to complain.

"What is her core reading?"

"There is a slight rise, sir. Nothing more than mild fever, really. I'd plus up the power, but it's about maxed out as it is. At this point, I don't think it's going to matter much."

"No," Major Thomas sighed. "Shut it down. Back to the drawing board."

"Come on out, Denise. We'll get your impressions and let you be on your way."

She slowly got to her feet. She looked like she just woke up. The Major noticed that her body seemed more defined and tight as of late. He dismissed it as the TM ray’s effects.

"Man, I needed that!" Denise alighted into the air, stretched, and shook her long hair out. Her body was still holding a slight, but fading glow. She floated over to her clothes and gathered them up. The Major waved at her to hurry up.

She appeared in front of Major Thomas smiling and dressed. He jumped at her sudden presents.

"Geez! Please don't do that."

"Sorry." She turned to control room crew. "Thanks, guys! Let me know when you need me again."

She turned back to the Major. "You look so defeated."

"Just have a long way to go. We've thrown things at you that would have nearly killed Superman. You just seem to enjoy it."

"I do." She shrugged. "I also understand the importance of this. Keep trying, Jakey-poo. You'll make a dent in this girl yet!"

"Now you're patronizing me."

"Maybe a little." She winked. "In a way I'm relieved. When you do manage to hurt me...well, I'm not looking forward to that."

They walked through the corridors. The major had taken her arm like a proper gentleman. Denise liked that about him.

“Penny for you thoughts?” She spoke.

“What? Oh, just so much has changed. There are so many questions unanswered.” He passed a quick glance at her face then caught himself glancing at the cutout in her uniform. So did she. He quickly looked up fearing what a slap from her would feel like. Instead, she laughed.

“It’s okay, Jacob. That’s what it’s for. Distraction.” Her laughed faded to a giggle. “Let’s get some lunch while they finish up.”

Hours later, Denise, Major Thomas, and the testing group gathered around a table in a nondescript room. Printouts were presented along with video captures and a file that Denise noticed was new. She gave them her impressions, which were pleasant, and assured them she would be a willing test subject for future experimentation.

“What’s that?” She pointed to the new file.

“That is new information about you that may explain why we seem to be fighting an uphill battle with our testing of you.” A new face emerged from the entrance of the conference room. “Open it.”

“Right.” Denise glanced down at the file for a quick moment. “I’m sorry, but my nerd-ese is a little rusty. What does all that mean?”

One of the lab assistance opened the file. They read over the results with differing reactions as it passed around the table.

“It seems that the old cliché of what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger applies doubly to you, Ms. Jordan.”

“Mrs. Jordan. I’m married.” She corrected. “I’m still not following.”

“The reason we are having trouble putting a dent in you is because you’re adapting to the stimulus too fast. Your structure has roughly tripled in density and efficiency over the course of our testing. You’re becoming stronger in every aspect.” The room gave a collective sigh.

“I can’t say I’m disappointed about that news.” Denise was the only one smiling.

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09 Feb 2007 01:16 #8264 by yaracyrrah
Replied by yaracyrrah on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
[Warning: this is a villain post, in which people go /squish/.

[Also, it's long.]

* * *

The steel door bulged outward and snapped off its reinforced hinges and fell into the corridor with a clang. Then it vanished, vaporized in a split second by thin white beams of incredible heat from the incredibly blue eyes of a newborn supergirl.

Tiffany Roberts had been named as if by fate: she was a brawler born and raised, naturally athletic and chronically abused. She'd been barely 14 when her trusty right fist had put a schoolmate in a coma. Three years in juvenile "corrections" had only amplified her rage. That was why she'd been chosen, though she had no idea that her miraculous transformation had been anything other than luck or fate.

Miles away, Dr. Janet Klyburn watched the results of her improved Transformatrix. Increasing the device's power had been easy: she'd simply had to move the damper that had been built into it. She knew it wouldn't be safe to take it out entirely; instead, as a first try, she'd set it for what her preliminary tests said should be about 400% improvement. She couldn't yet be sure, but the intensity of the new super's heat vision indicated at least some improvement beyond her own and the other transformatrices' abilities. Also the new version had eliminated many of the original's side effects--but it had introduced new ones. The transformation had been prompt and the subject had neither fainted nor needed food, but the more concentrated effect had produced waste heat of several thousand degrees, which had almost killed the subject before she had become empowered enough to survive such temperatures. Also, where the original had enhanced a subject's muscularity moderately, attractively, the new version had enhanced it extremely; Miss Roberts seemed quite pleased with her new physique, but it was not to Janet's taste, though she had to admit it was impressive, and not freakish like many other "enhanced" bodies. Still a problem to be fixed, but a minor one, and otherwise these results made Janet confident that she could safely use her improved Transformatrix on herself. Meanwhile, this new supervillainess, and others to come as necessary, would keep the nascent society of superheroines too busy to worry about loose ends like Dr. Klyburn.

Janet watched, vicariously thrilled, as Tiff laid waste to the empty cellblock, smashing and vaporizing concrete and steel with ridiculous ease. After several minutes for good clean fun, she turned toward the exit and the main event began. She casually walked through the four-inch-thick steel door of the cellblock, bursting a supergirl-sized hole, and mortal eyes beheld her for the first time.

The guard's mind simply skipped several seconds; his body wasn't sure whether to wet its pants or come in them. Her voice amplified the problem: a steaming sultry drawl prompted, "Call for backup before I kill you."

He was too stunned to react, let alone comply. She shrugged and began to walk toward him. Trained reflex made him draw his gun and fire. Her super-firm breasts didn't even dimple, let alone jiggle, as bullets ricocheted off them with almost metallic pings. She walked through the desk as she had through the vastly tougher steel door, and her left hand crushed the pistol while her right crushed the guard's neck.

A touch of heat vision cleaned the gore from her hand. She looked around the building to find the next nearest victim. There were three together at the front desk one floor above. She targeted the nearest, and a single pulse of heat vision drilled two small tunnels on a long diagonal through the ceiling/floor and then vaporized the man's head.

She watched with amusement as the two survivors--a man and a woman, both armed--reacted. The woman looked sick; the man yelped an expletive. Neither had seen the deadly white rays. They ducked behind the nearest cover--the semicircular information desk, but they were on opposite sides of it--and drew their guns and began to look wildly for targets. Only on second thought--almost in unison--did they pull out their walkie-talkies and call for help: "Ten Front Desk!"

Tiff heard the words echo from every other active walkie-talkie in the building, and heard six heartbeats start racing and six pairs of shoes start running. She moved. She made nonsense of mortal physics: several thousand times faster than light, she could, if she chose, pass through other matter so quickly that its atoms were not disturbed. She materialized, appearing as if out of nowhere, scant millimeters in front of the running man. He never knew she was there, never knew he was in any danger at all. He died promptly, with dozens of broken bones. Tiff grinned: that had been fun. She killed another man the same way.

Meanwhile the walkie-talkie traffic continued: someone asked "Front desk, status?", and the answer was "Johnson's head just vanished." The first backup arrived at the front desk; he bravely charged straight into the lobby, ready to shoot on sight (per Code Ten). Tiff, in what a mortal would call an instant, located a pencil, "teleported" to the lobby, and held the pencil so that the man's momentum impaled it into his heart. Actually, she realized, that would have been too slow; she had to stab him herself so that she could move away before she could be seen. Puny mortals couldn't even kill themselves right.

"Reid's down!" screamed the woman in front of the front desk, who'd seen him stumble and fall for no apparent reason. It occurred to Tiff that that was more than the onrushing reinforcements really needed to know; in a single instant she collected the walkie-talkies of all six surviving guards and dumped them all in a waste basket in a bathroom on the top floor. She didn't even break any hands; she left no signs that the radios had moved through normal space.

On the third floor a guard entered the front stairwell. Tiff tripped him at the top step. One flight, half a story, didn't kill him--not quite; Tiff considered letting him live, but that seemed somehow inappropriate, so she shattered his head with a flick of her finger.

One of the remaining guards, finding his walkie-talkie gone from his hand, finally guessed what he and his colleagues were up against. He stopped running and shouted: "Help! Supergirl!"

* * *

Many ears heard his cry, but western Connecticut was in SuperBabe's area, and she was available. A millisecond's flight brought her nearly a hundred miles to the Mary L. Harris Young Women's Correctional Center, where she saw, in the administration building (from which the call had come), six guards murdered, five guards alive, and one supergirl.

A former inmate out for revenge, Laura guessed: late teens, beautiful (of course), fair skin lightly tanned, slightly wavy dirty blonde hair. Unusually for a transformatrix, she was not just super-fit but super-muscular, bulging and defined like a champion bodybuilder. To Laura she looked scary: not her physique--Laura didn't go for bulk, but she had to admit this girl carried it beautifully--but the maniacal grin spread wide across her face.

Tiff saw SuperBabe coming, though she didn't know her name: the prison censored news, so transformatrices were merely a rumor. Tiff, however, was too single-minded to worry about the unknown; it never occurred to her that this newcomer might be her equal. Laura was not so sanguine; among transformatrices, muscles mattered, as DeeAnn had shown that stupid bitch Paris Hilton. Fortunately, other things mattered too, like Laura's years of martial arts training. Skill could beat brawn.

She saw that the girl had seen her coming; no surprise attack, then, but a chance for diplomacy instead. First, though, she could relieve the terrified guards. Keeping one eye on the rogue--currently in the basement--she pushed through the revolving door into the lobby and--

She saw the girl move, and thanks to the distance between them she had time to realize that she was in trouble and to bring her arms up to block and to attempt to dodge. Still, compared to the amped-up teen she was in slow motion. Tiff's fist met her jaw, squarely. Her unconscious body smashed through a wall and sailed almost a mile through the air and made a small crater in a cornfield.

The guard who'd called for help died, crushed beneath a large file cabinet brought down forcefully on his head.

"We surrender!" screamed the female guard in the lobby. "What do you want?"

Tiff smirked. At first she'd only wanted to kill everyone associated with the prison (and then everyone who'd contributed to sending her there), but now she was discovering that terrorizing them was much more fun than killing them, especially since she could kill them eventually anyway. With a firm effort to keep her heat vision cool, she lit the woman's uniform on fire, while remaining unseen. The woman yelped, and stopped dropped and rolled, escaping the flames with only second-degree burns and parts of her clothes still intact.

The last unscathed guard, running down stairs suddenly found himself descending more quickly: falling from near the ceiling of the two-story main lobby. His scream ended with a splat--mere feet away from his prone female colleague, who finally, mercifully, passed out.

Unconsciousness made her boring; Tiff killed her by vaporizing a hole through her heart. That left only one urine-stained man cowering behind the big front desk, ignorant of anything but screams. Tiff picked up the three-ton desk and tossed it aside, and let the man see her. He gasped and stared, stimulated despite his terror. Tiff smirked, and drew breath as if to speak. Instead she exhaled a puff of super-breath, which tore the man's body apart.

Tiff smirked some more, and then began to lay waste to the empty building.

* * *

It occurred to Lois that she hadn't heard Laura Carter's voice since that call from Connecticut, almost two minutes ago. Odd, especially since SuperBabe liked to banter. Lois wasn't busy, so Ultrawoman took a look.

She spotted Tiff right away, playing amid a half-demolished building strewn with mutilated corpses. Where was Laura?! She was almost relieved to find her merely unconscious, half-buried in a cornfield, her jaw broken. Ultrawoman pitched her voice to a super-high frequency only supers could hear, and called, "Denise!"

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09 Feb 2007 03:19 #8266 by ultragirl
Replied by ultragirl on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
A couple days earlier...

Denise casually paced outside the main entrance of the testing facility. Guards and lab workers walked by her with concerned, or confused, looks on their faces, as she appeared to be speaking to no one in particular. She was still in her somewhat revealing uniform and the effect was evident in the passing crowd around her. More than one lab geek had nearly run into some object, or each other, unable to tear their eyes away. She acted like she didn’t notice. One older guard got up the nerve to approach her.

“Can I help you anything, young lady?”

“Hold on, Lois.” Denise smiled sweetly at the concerned stranger. She loved that she was being called young lady again. “No, thank you. I’m just speaking with a friend.”

The old guard titled his head looking for some sort of earpiece that all the kids used now. Denise noticed out of the corner of her eye.

“Sorry, Lois.” She turned again to the guard and put her smile back on. “I’m Denise Jordan. See? Uniform?”

“Oh. OH!”

“Super powered and all. You’ll excuse me, then?” She turned away once again talking into the air. “So I have some really good news. I don’t want to blurt it out, though. Can you get to a phone?”

Several hundred miles away Lois was in the Daily Planet archives. “I have my cell on me. I’ve need to ask you a favor anyway.”

Denise looked through the multi-leveled building quickly to find an available office and opted for the Major’s. The guard that had been watching her blinked. Denise was gone when his eyes opened again.

“Hi!” The Major jumped at his desk. Denise appeared next to him seated cross-legged on his desk.

“Dammit!” He nearly spilt his fresh cup of coffee. Denise frowned.

“I’m sorry.” She pouted. “I need to use your phone, please. It’s very important.”

“I really wish you would stop doing that.”

“Gotta keep you on your toes, soldier.” She dialed faster than he could follow. Lois picked up the other end. Denise looked at Major Thomas then brought the phone to her bosom. “Umm, I need privacy.”

“This is my office, Denise.”

She leaned closer to him with a pout. “Please?”

“I’ll be in the lab.” He sighed. Denise followed him with a thank you. A quick puff through the side of her mouth slammed the door shut behind him.

“Lois, you’re not going to believe this. I’m at the lab again, as you probably could hear, and they’ve figured out why nothing is working on me.”

“Really?”

Denise explained everything to Lois.

“Wow, Denise. Good thing you called me. This is certainly something that we need to keep quiet for awhile. Although, if anyone like us wanted to hear this, the phone isn’t going to stop them.”

“I know. Old habits. For now its between you and I.” Denise sat-up straight and looked over herself. She too noticed how much more defined she appeared. “Besides, I kinda like the idea being a supergirl among supergirls.”

Lois could practically hear Denise’s pride swelling.

“You already were, now you’ve just clinched the title” She chuckled. “Do they have any solid data?”

“Not yet. I gave them a strand of hair to look over. We’ll have to wait a bit.”

“I’m happy for you, Denise.” Lois was sincere. “So, with all that extra power you won’t mind filling in for me tomorrow? I think this is one you’ll like.”

“Yeah? Fill me in!” Denise listened excitedly. “You know, Lois, I’ve been meaning to get more exercise.”

Author's note- I'm sorry if this through the time line off. I just wanted to finish my "thought", so to speak.

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16 Feb 2007 02:17 #8351 by ultragirl
Replied by ultragirl on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
She raised her head into the mid-day sun’s rays. The desert heat wrapped around her and warmed her skin. Denise was still impressed with how flexible she was now despite the amount of strength in her limbs. She raised her leg above her head, balanced on the toes of the other and remained there while she shuffled through the menus on her iPod. Absentmindedly, she brought both her feet into an l-sit floating several feet above the ground. She continued twisting and turning herself into positions only seen by Japanese acrobats with little effort, and with little thought.

With both feet back on the ground, she looked out at her objective a few miles out. Lois had told her how heavily guarded it was. They had spared no expense on their defenses. Guards were posted every 50 meters along the perimeter wall each group armed with some sort of crew-served weapon. Tesla coils stood high in between them ready to fry anyone within 100 meters of the outer wall, which was a reinforced concrete barrier 3 feet thick and 15 meters high. Inside the wall a light armor contingent made timed rounds.

The building itself was made of the same stuff as the outer wall. There was a tunnel network that would enable a quieter entrance. Denise, however, had every intention of going right through the front door.

Inside, there were more guards, more guns, and more defenses. Lois had no idea what was inside. She had been told to simply immobilize air defense, tag the building, and leave. Close air support would do the rest.

Denise wasn’t satisfied with that. She insisted in going in.

“Your way is no fun, Lois.” She had said. “Why have this power if you’re not going to enjoy it?”

Denise looked down at herself looking for a place to put away her iPod unit. She hadn’t thought about it when she had gotten dressed for this event. Her tiny white fogging shorts had no pockets and were much too tight. Her t-back sports top was just as brief. She wore no shoes or socks. Cursing her poor foresight, she tucked it away between her cleavage with the tagging device. Pussycat Dolls bumped in her head set. She began her leisurely jog toward the compound.

Denise smiled brightly at the sun. Her pace was easy. It was human and normal. She closed her eyes for a moment feeling the beat of the music and adjusting her pace to the song’s rhythm. She was brought back by a sharp zinging sound. A bullet tapped her in the leg. They were trying to immobilize her instead of kill her. She imagined that would change quickly.

She eyed the next trigger squeeze. She followed the bullet with her eyes to her knee. It sparked like firecracker against her kneecap. Her pace remained steady while her smile remained plaster across her face. They attempted a more direct approach when several more bullets peppered across her face. Those were meant to drop her. Denise appreciated the talent. She must have still been several hundred yards away. She maintained her lazy pace. She waved a happy greeting at the guard towers.

As the distance between her and the outer wall closed it seemed the amount of firepower brought to bear grew. She certainly didn’t mind. It hardly hindered her progress and she was thoroughly enjoying herself. She did notice her jogging suit was not holding up as well as she was, though. She was afraid she would end up naked again before she was finished. She was perfectly okay with it. Being naked wasn’t something she particularly cared about at times like this. She just wished she had clothing that would hold up. It tended to get expensive.

The guards poured on the effort. Lead rained in on the front of her body bounding from the softest parts like popcorn, shattering on impact on the harder parts. Her eyes blinked as many of the harmless bullets bounded from her chest into her face. It was drawback of having one as large and firm as hers. Rockets exploded splashing her with fire, but with no more effect than water. All the while she looked a girl going for an easy jog through the park.

She was surprised when a column of fire and concussion erupted up the right side of her body. Lois hadn’t mentioned a minefield. Denise shrugged, fixed her ponytail, and bounded forward without missing a step.

She bit her lip when a river of lightning spilled into her from the Tesla tower. Her clothes smoldered away. The guards heard her laughter when more coils discharged into her naked body. She remained at a steady jog as she punched chest first, through the hardened outer wall. Large pieces of concrete exploded from the other side. Denise emerged from the dust, her happy face unfazed.

“Don’t stop firing!” They opened up on her once more.

“Keep it up, boys! You’re doing great!” She announced.

“One side!” She ordered.

The armor group had been set at her expected entrance point. Without breaking step, she reached under and casually tossed the first vehicle into the blue sky. Another flipped end over end on it’s way over the main building. They had hoped that the larger caliber main guns would be more effective. They found out otherwise when the depleted uranium splattered against her skin. It left a metallic sheen on Denise’s skin. Her pace was as steady as the grin on her face, however.

For the first time since she started, Denise paused. The show of loosening herself up was an open opportunity that the armor crewmen took. They all let loose on her. They waited with anticipation for the smoke to clear.

Denise winked at them with a smile, dusted shrapnel from her chest and shoulders, checked her iPod, fixed her ponytail, and continued her jog into the compound. No one wasted anymore ammo as her body carved into the steel of the main doors.

Inside, the walls came to life with the beam weapons Lois had mentioned. They left bright lines of heat over her body, but hardly caused her to pause or slow. Denise was even impressed with herself when she caught a direct hit in the eye. She never felt the need to blink; though it was difficult to see through the brightness. She paused at the end of the hall to look through the tunnel network. She ignored the assault on her back while she found point of placement for the beacon. A group of guards to her right let loose with there own brand of violence. She acted like she didn’t notice. A slight chill and the crawl of goose bumps danced over her skin when one errant beam slipped between her legs. Her nipples tightened.

“Oh, not now, Denise.” She shivered pinching herself.

She could hear jet engines circling in the atmosphere. She also could hear the base being evacuated. They knew what she knew and had no intention sticking around. The vault door, her target, was rigged to blow when opened. A small nuclear device was attached at the locking mechanism.

“Maybe we can save the tax payer’s some money this time.” She mused before she resumed her jog through the wall in front of her. Wall after wall crumbled as her body pounded through several tunnels and rooms. She turned left running parallel through another before taking a quick right into the center. She stopped facing the vault door.

“Well, this is it, I think.” She referenced the map in her head. Her eyes looked through the locking mechanism at the small bomb. “Yep, that’s it.”

She stepped forward pressing herself into the steel of the large barrier.

The pilots were shaken when they heard the compound rumble with an explosion. The concussion rocked one of the fighters loose from his cushion of air. Now under control, he joined the small group as they circled ground zero.

“What the hell was that?”

“I’m not sure, but it looks like our girl won’t be making it out. Base, this is eagle one, mission complete. One casualty. Our girl was caught in an explosion.”

“Roger. Back to base for debrief.”

A relatively small mushroom cloud loomed slowly over the area. The entire compound was razed to the ground.

A awhile later…

Denise lofted gently out of the settling dust and debris to land on the outskirts of the crater. She hugged her body with a girlish giggle proud of her handy work and smiling from ear to ear.

“Oh, how I love being so powerful!”

Her smiled changed to confusion when she realized she couldn’t hear any music in her headset. She gasped when the realization slapped her.

“Aww!” She pouted. She reached into her cleavage and pulled out the flattened remains of her iPod nano.

“Dammit!”

She heard a voice in the distance calling her name.

“That doesn’t sound good.”

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01 Mar 2007 21:36 #8482 by ultragirl
Replied by ultragirl on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Lois cradled Laura’s head in her hand. Tiff seemed more interested in razing the correctional facility than in the two of them, at the moment. Lois seemed to notice the massive supergirl had a stare with no direction. She recognized the look in children with attention deficit disorder. At the moment, she was counting her blessings.

“Hold on, Laura.” She turned Laura’s head with her free hand. “Let me look at you.”

Laura could do little more than moan. Her jaw had been shattered, but was healing quickly. The problem is that it would heal quickly in the wrong place. Lois knew that no doctor, or machine, would be strong enough to set it.

“Laura. Listen to me. I have to do something. It’s going to hurt, a lot.”

Laura nodded through her tears. A house sized piece of concrete burned into the atmosphere over their heads. Lois pulled on Superbabe’s mandible. Laura yelled in pain. Tiff heard the scream.

“Good, I can break it again.” Tiff turned to both superwomen. “So who dies first?”

“Can you focus, Laura?” Lois asked her friend. Laura nodded, her jaw still too painful to move.

“On the count of three, hit her with your vision, okay?”

Laura nodded once more. Tiff was moving closer smiling as if she knew something the two other girls didn’t.

“One, two, THREE!” The area lit up bright as a small sun. Lois and Laura poured on everything they had in the attempt to put the girl down. Laura’s flickered out first. The added pain was more than she could bear. Lois was next. Her head pounded, but she remained standing and defiant.

“Well, that was boring.” Tiff’s arms crossed her chest in arrogance. “I’ll give you one more try.”

Lois paused. She turned her face to her fallen sister. For the first time since she had become powerful, she was afraid.

“Denise, please.” She pleaded.

“I suggest you take it.” Tiff warned. Her eyes burned white. Her body was arrogant in posture.

Lois heard a whistle float through the air. Tiff was so focused on Lois and Laura that couldn’t hear the incoming sound of their savior.

“TIFF!” Denise shouted to get her attention. She wanted Tiff’s focus on her. Denise never saw Tiff turn. She was merely facing her within an instant that even Denise couldn’t follow. Denise’s body slammed into her, and though she held back the full extent of her strength, Tiff had felt like a column of stone. She fell to Tiff’s feet.

“Appropriate.” Tiff smiled down at her.

Lois blasted the teenager’s back with another wash of heat. She gestured to Denise to wait and turned back to Lois. A quick, shallow breath sent both Lois and Laura sailing into the clouds.

“My God,” Denise whispered. She gathered herself up quickly.

“Now that we are alone…” Tiff turned back to Denise. She watched as Denise moved with impressive speed to attack her. Tiff saw that she was considerably faster than the other girls were. To her, however, she was still slow enough to follow with relative ease. The feeling of helplessness she saw in Ultrawoman made her smile. It made her feel so powerful.

Denise showered the young girl with her strongest punches. To the human eye, she would have appeared to be everywhere around Tiff. Denise felt the bones in her wrist’s ache. She watched Tiff’s eyes follow her every move, despite the speed she moved.

Tiff laughed when Denise had slowed, not from exhaustion, but from hopelessness.

“How?” Denise asked her.

“I don’t know.” Tiff dusted her shoulder off. “I do know that you will be my first example.”

Denise shook the pain out of her hands.

“That’s good news, though. You get to live.”

Denise tried to track Tiff’s movement, but she was much too fast. She imagined it was like a normal person watching her move. The breath was pushed from Denise’s lungs when she took the first hit to the chest. The area shook from the impact. Denise felt her back warming from the friction of her flight. An instant later her sight went white. She felt her spine snap and her body change direction. She must have covered a mile before carving a trench through a dry riverbed.

Denise could feel the pain shooting through her legs. Tiff stood over her.

“You’re healing already. You’re a bit tougher than the rest, huh?” She picked Denise up by her long tresses. “I guess that makes me much tougher, doesn’t it?”

“Screw you.” Denise spat.

Tiff dropped Denise to the ground and walked away. Racked with pain, Denise blacked out.

“World, meet Tiff. Tiff, meet world.”

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03 Mar 2007 07:40 #8498 by yaracyrrah
Replied by yaracyrrah on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
She entered through the roof and the ceiling, landing amid a shower of wood and plaster on his side of the bed he shared with his wife of 37 years. She waited for him to process what he was seeing.

After a few seconds he said neutrally, "Yes?"

Tiff was displeased; she'd seen in his eyes only a brief flicker of fear. "Do you know who I am?" she prodded, menacingly.

"I'm afraid my memory for faces is not good," he replied calmly. He'd seen too many faces in his 27 years on the bench.

His wife was terrified. Without a glance his hand found hers and held it gently.

"My name is Tiffany Roberts."

"I'm afraid my memory for names is also not good."

"You sent me to prison."

"For breaking and entering, perhaps?" he said mildly.

She was too keyed up to notice the irony. "For something that wasn't my fault," she said, her voice rising. "And now I'm gonna pay you back."

"Do two wrongs make a right?" He knew he'd made some mistakes in his career, but from this girl's behavior now he was confident that her sentence had not been one of them; but obviously there was no point in mentioning that.

"Revenge ain't wrong," she asserted. "Revenge is justice."

"The people of the United States--and other countries all over the world--have agreed that revenge is not justice. If you were unfairly imprisoned, you are due financial restitution, and if you want to file suit in the courts I will make sure you have access to legal counsel to prepare and argue your case. That is what We the People have decided is the appropriate way to deal with this issue. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than blood feuds."

"Whatever," said Tiff, and vaporized his left arm, leaving only his hand clasped with his wife's.

He gasped at the pain, his arm burning in his mind long after it had ceased to be flesh. His wife screamed, then screamed again when she realized she still held his hand. Tiff smirked: she liked it when they screamed.

Finding words, the doomed woman cried out, "Help! Supergirl!"

Tiff's smirk grew. "I've already killed three supergirls today," she said exaggerating (but only slightly) for effect. "I'd love to get my hands on a fourth, but I bet they're too scared."

"Ms. Roberts," said the judge, "with every evil deed you prove that you deserved your sentence."

"I did not!" she shouted, and he died, and his wife alongside him, fragments of their bodies mingling with fragments of their bedroom as the vibrating shockwave shattered half their house.

"I did not," she repeated, and then fled the scene of her crime.

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08 Mar 2007 21:58 #8538 by yaracyrrah
Replied by yaracyrrah on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
"I bet Ms. Taylor will excuse me from class today," said Regina confidently.

"No way," said Gretchen.

"I bet you. Ten thousand dollars."

Gretchen's eyes widened. "You don't have ten thousand dollars," she protested.

"I can get it if I want to," said Regina, "and so can you."

"How?"

"Crush coal into diamonds or something. Bet or not?"

"Not," said Gretchen, smelling fish.

"Wuss," said Regina, but didn't press it.

"How about just a hundred?" Gretchen said, trying to save face. She was not from money; a hundred dollars was a lot to her.

"Fine," said Regina. "Let's go."

They appeared together in their first-period classroom, Gretchen behind Regina's right shoulder as usual. They appeared hovering in front of Ms. Taylor's desk. "Ms. Taylor," said Regina, "may I be excused from class today?"

The strict spinster said, "Of course, Regina. I'll mark you present; would you like a hall pass?"

"No thanks," she said, "I won't be in the halls."

She turned to Gretchen and said, "You can pay me later."

Gretchen was staring at her in amazement. "How'd you do that?"

"Wouldn't you like to know? I'm outta here--see you after school." She vanished, and even Gretchen had no idea where she'd gone.

\ \ \

The package had been left on her doorstep during the night. The note had read:

Dear Regina,

Congratulations--you've been selected to beta-test the new and improved Transformatrix 5000 (enclosed). Have a super-duper day!

Best wishes,

GenreFan


There had been one small bug: the T5000 had made her freakishly muscular, which was disgusting and gross. (It had also hurt--a lot--but only for a few seconds.) But one of the many new powers it gave her was the ability to morph her body into any form she wanted, so she quickly returned to her slender gorgeous self. She could also become invisible or intangible, and of course her basic powers, strength and speed and all, had been enhanced, by a factor of at least ten it seemed. But by far the coolest of her new abilities was that she could control other people's minds.

Only normal minds, not other supers, but that was plenty; other supers she could just beat up if they got in her way. (Boy did that bitch Ms. Norbury have it coming!) In a fraction of a second, without leaving her own bedroom, she'd induced all seven of her teachers to permanently excuse her from class (visiting Ms. Taylor in person had just been to impress Gretchen). She was free.

What to do, what to do? Suddenly a truly beautiful idea occurred to her. She couldn't control Ms. Norbury--but with her morphing power she could impersonate her, all the way down to her fingerprints. Ms. Norbury would eventually figure out what was happening, but no one else would believe her, because Regina wouldn't let them. Ms. Norbury would either have to accept her legal punishment or become an outlaw. Hopefully she'd become an outlaw; then Regina could play heroine and bring her to justice. That would be the best.

But first things first: crime time!

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10 Mar 2007 03:21 #8560 by yaracyrrah
Replied by yaracyrrah on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Earlier:

Ultrawoman tumbled helplessly as the monstrous super-supergirl's mere breath carried her body, along with SuperBabe's, miles across the sky. Finally righting herself, she moved to catch the still-tumbling SuperBabe and settle her as well. Laura was unconscious; pain and exhaustion and sheer defeatedness had battered her to sleep.

Lois looked back across the distance, praying that Denise had been able to overpower the rogue. She was just in time to see Tiff's blinding-fast attack smash Denise into the ground. Denise, incredibly, remained conscious, but not for long: when Tiff taunted her she unwisely talked back, and Tiff's forehand slap turned Denise's head so sharply that her neck broke. Lois cried out in horror. Tiff left the unconscious Denise for dead and returned to her brutal work. Lois hesitated: did she dare go try to help Denise--if she could be helped--or would that only result in her own death?

But in the mere seconds of her hesitation, she saw that Denise's Jordan's incredible body had already begun to repair itself, even from the broken neck and broken spine. She would be okay; there was no need for Lois to place herself in more danger. Instead she took care of Laura, carrying her home to her apartment outside Boston and getting her settled into bed. Her jaw was in good position to heal; she'd be talking in a day or two and good as new in a week.

Then Lois called the remaining superheroines--DeeAnn and Kara and Amber and Lana--to a council of war.

\ \ \

Silence reigned. The five superwomen watched from afar as their seemingly unstoppable adversary finished off the corrections center's administration building and went to work on the school building. Would she spare her fellow prisoners by leaving the dormitories intact, or would she kill them too in a psychopathic orgy of inchoate rage? Or could the superheroines find some way to stop her?

Lana had been keen to attack her again, five on one. Lois had tried to disagree politely, but Kara had lost patience and said, "Lana, don't be stupid. Denise by herself is as strong as any three of us, and this girl almost killed her without even trying. I know it's hard to remember sometimes, but just because we're super doesn't mean we're invincible. Even this girl can't be invincible. Maybe if we knew how she got her powers we could find a way to counter them."

"I wonder whether UGF was involved," said Lois. "Let's look." Laura's computer was on but password-locked, so Lois fetched her own laptop from home. She used her "Lola" account to log in to UGF and quickly surveyed the new threads and posts. There was nothing of interest; the "If Only She Were Super" thread had long since been locked (after a scoop-hungry reporter had made UGF national news), and the ongoing fanboy discussions of the existing transformatrices were, well, not of interest. There was nothing at all about more-than-super powers.

On the one hand that was unfortunate. On the other hand, given their utter lack of success in tracking down GenreFan, finding that he/she/it was behind the new threat too might not have helped them much. But did they have any other ideas? "Assuming she's a transformatrix at all, who on earth--literally!--might have learned enough about how the Transformatrices work to improve on them?"

Silence. Then Amber spoke up for the first time. "What about that doctor from the holding facility we were in?--I mean I and Jill and Denise and Laura? Dr. Klyburn. Did anyone ever track her down?"

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11 Mar 2007 21:18 #8590 by Spulo
Replied by Spulo on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
"We did look." Lois replied. "Nothing. There was no trail after she left the facility...but judging by what Denise said she was put through..."

"You're thinking that maybe this could be connected to her?" Lana asked.

"Maybe...it would explain a few things..."

"How is Denise?" Amber asked.

"Tiff broke her neck." Lois explained. "She should be dead, but it healed up. She's tough...and she saved both of us. Now we've gotta save her. When she wakes up, she's gonna try to take that girl on again...and she might not survive a second time..."

"So," DeeAnn said, "We've got a girl out there who is probably more powerful than all of us put together, and she's gotta be stopped. So how do we do it?"

"There is one obvious thing we can try." Kara said quietly.

"What?"

"Me. I can finally use that Transformatrix I was given on myself..."

Lois nodded. "If the Transformatrix can give an ordinary human powers above those of a Kryptonian..."

"What'll it do to a Kryptonian?" Kara finished. "Right..."

"Is it safe?" Amber asked. "I mean...if we lost you..."

"Amber, I won't lie to you; we don't know what it'll do to me, but it's got to be worth a try if it means stopping her."

"Then you're going through with it?" Lana asked.

"Doesn't look like I have a choice." Kara replied. "But I don't know how I'm gonna explain this to Jill..."


Moments later...

"Oh no, no way!"

Kara turned the Transformatrix over in her hands, watching Jill as she paced up and down. "Jill, it's not like we haven't been through this before..."

"Oh, I know we've talked about it...wondered what it might do to you...but you've never really seemed interested in trying it..."

"And if this girl hadn't shown up, I probably never would have." Kara replied. "But now, she has...she nearly killed three superwomen today, and I could be the only one who's in a position to stop her."

"Why does it have to be you?" Jill asked, even though she knew the answer. "What if something goes wrong?"

"Why are you assuming the worst?" she asked. "It didn't kill an ordinary human, like you...why would it kill me?"

"Assuming the worst is safer sometimes." Jill replied. "Especially when it comes to things that are important to me..."

"And what about the things that are important to me?" Kara asked. "If this girl carries on the way she's going, then sooner or later she's gonna try to kill a superhero. I mean deliberately, not just cos we get in her way. Lois, DeeAnn...Amber, Denise...I'm the weakest, so I've gotta be a target...and if she hurts you or any of them while trying to get to me..."

"Now who's assuming the worst?"

Kara sighed. This was harder than she'd expected it to be. "Let's look at the facts; there's a girl out there more powerful than any of us, and she needs to be stopped. A Transformatrix would make me powerful enough to do that...and we've got no reason to assume it could harm me."

"And another fact; I'm being selfish." Jill added. "I'm sorry...and you're right, it's just...oh, I don't know." She paused. "When would you want to try it?"

"Right away." Kara handed the Transformatrix to Jill. "Would you?"

"Sure." Jill took the device, and stared down at it nervously. "If this doesn't work...I just want you to know-"

"It will work." Kara replied, before giving her girlfriend a reassuring smile. "And I do know." She stood up, and placed her hands on her hips as Jill took a few steps back. "OK...I'm ready."

"Good luck, Kara." Jill whispered - and fired the Transformatrix...

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11 Mar 2007 23:16 #8591 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Kara stood, eyes shut, fists clenched, arms rigid at her sides, as Jill directed the weak yellowish beam of the Transformatrix at her exposed midriff.

Neither of them spoke. After a few moments, the beam faltered, then flickered out. Jill set the Transformatrix down on the coffee table. Kara opened her eyes.

"Well?" asked Jill.

Kara blinked. "Well ... I don't feel any different, one way or another ... "

"Kara, I'm sorry -- "

"But hey, that doesn't mean anything!" Kara went on. "Maybe I've become stronger and I just don't feel stronger." She planted her right foot on the floor, a few inches in front of her left, and held out her right arm, bent at the elbow. "Come on -- let's Indian-wrestle."

"In here? Two super-women wrestling in your apartment? What about your security deposit?"

"I think we kissed that good-bye the night your heat-vision went on while we were ... "

"Oh, yeah." Jill chuckled. "How many days did it take us to get rid of the -- ?"

"Jill! Please!" Kara's eyes were wide with entreaty. "I have to know."

Jill's eyes softened. "All right." Sighing, she clasped Kara's hand and bent her arm into a V. "Ready, steady ... go!"

Kara strained against Jill's arm, grunting with effort. Moments passed. Kara squeezed her eyes shut and bit her lower lip, summoning all her strength to the task.

"Kara," said Jill gently. "I'm not even trying."

"Yeah?" snarled Kara. "Try this!" She grabbed Jill's hand with both of hers and leaned her shoulder against Jill's forearm. Her feet scrambled for purchase on the hardwood floor as she strove in vain against her partner.

Sighing, Jill flipped Kara into the air with a casual flick of her wrist. Kara sailed across the room and landed on the large sofa against the far wall. "Aargh!" she sputtered. She scrambled to her feet and pointed a furious finger at Jill. "You -- you -- you meanie!" she cried.

[Oops, gotta run. I'll post the rest of this later this evening -- promise!]

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12 Mar 2007 21:14 #8648 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
[Did I say "this evening"? I meant "tomorrow afternoon."]

Falling back on the sofa, Kara seized a cushion and tore it in half. Jill hurried over and sat down next to her, putting a consoling arm around her shoulder.

"It's all right, love," she murmured. "It's all right."

Kara laid her head against Jill's arm. "I'm sorry," she said. "It's just so ... frustrating!"

"I know, I know. For years, you were the one and only Supergirl. When the world needed saving, you were the one who had to do it. And a big part of you still feels that way -- that when something like this happens, you've got to handle it on your own."

Kara gazed stonily at the floor.

"But the world is a whole lot different now," Jill went on, stroking Kara's hair. "There are hundreds of us super-women out there. Not all of us are like you and Lois and Amber. Not all of are cut out to be heroes, twenty-four seven -- but not all of us are going to sit on the sidelines while this Tiffany whatever-her-name-is is hurting innocent people ... people we care about."

Jill strode to the closet and rummaged for a few moments among the garments hanging inside. When she turned around, she was holding up the spare Supergirl costume she'd put away several weeks before, insisting that she'd never wear it again.

"Jill!" Kara's eyes were shining. "Does this mean you're coming with?"

"Not just me," Jill replied. "How many students are enrolled at that academy, besides Amber?"

"Fifty-four ... but -- "

"I'm sure they could use some real-world experience. And DeeAnn -- she must have a dozen super-women on her speed dial. Tell her to make some calls!"

"Do you think Jessica Alba and -- and Brooke Burke are going to drop whatever they're doing to trade punches with an amped-up super-psychopath?"

"We won't know unless we ask, will we? Lois -- Lana -- they have media connections. They could send out an appeal to every transformee from Metropolis to -- to Tokyo!" Jill was becoming more and more excited. She sat down in front of her desktop and began clattering away at the keyboard. For a few moments, her fingers were a blur; then she forced herself to slow down. She knew from experience that no computer could keep up with her super-speed.

"What are you doing?" asked Kara, crossing to the desk and peering over Jill's shoulder.

"Seeing if Bobby is on-line -- ah!" Her fingers raced nimbly over the keys. "Maybe his friends at UberGirlFrenzy can do something to spread the word."

Kara was grinning now. "Just like Paul Revere, huh?" She placed her hands on Jill's shoulders and gave a squeeze. It was a gentle squeeze -- barely enough to crush battleship steel -- but as always it made Jill purr with pleasure. "Love you," said Kara.

Jill reached back and put her hand on Kara's. "I know."

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15 Mar 2007 01:06 #8688 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Regina paused in front of the imposing glass and chromium doors of Costington's, an upscale department store on Shuster Avenue. The mannequins in the store windows were attired in the new fall fashions --
cashmere sweaters and silk scarves and full-length jackets of Prada leather. Ooh, I like that jacket, thought Regina. I'll have to pick one up inside.

Somewhat nervously, she checked her reflection in the store window. Sure enough, she still looked exactly like Ms. Norbury. God, thought Regina, eyeing her reflection critically, she must be, like, thirty years old. The weirdest part was being five inches shorter. Oh, will, this will only take a couple of minutes, and then I can morph back to my regular height.

She grinned, struck by a sudden inspiration. Why stop there? I could add a few inches. I wouldn't want to be all muscle-y like one of those body-building freaks -- God, that was so gross this morning -- but being taller would definitely be cool. Six feet, maybe -- or six foot two. That, and bigger boobs. Yeah!

She adjusted the horn-rimmed glasses she'd swiped at super-speed from a pharmacy down the steeet -- What's the deal with her wearing glasses, anyway? she wondered -- and smoothed the front of her North Shore High School sweatshirt. Okay, she thought. This is it ...

She extended her right hand and flicked her forefinger against the glass door. Instantly, it exploded into a thousand fragments that glittered like diamonds as they flew into the grand foyer. Shoppers screamed in terror and ran in all directions as Regina stepped through the opening she had made, casually inspecting her fingernail. It was perfect, intact -- just as she knew it would be.

Swiftly, she scanned the foyer with her super-vision, looking for -- Aha! She sauntered up to the nearest security camera and smiled sweetly into the lens, ignoring the pandemonium that swirled around her as shoppers fled through the jagged hole in the front door or cowered behind the gleaming display cases.

Turning her head, she spotted a middle-aged sales clerk at the rear of a crowd streaming toward one of the side exits. Reaching out with her new mind-control power, she made him turn around and approach her. Smile! she thought, and a rictus spread across the man's pudgy face. But his eyes were glassy with terror and beads of sweat tricked down his forehead. He looked so funny that Regina couldn't help giggling.

"Can -- can I help you, miss?" he stammered, obedient to Regina's mental command.

"Where's the lingerie department?" Regina inquired sweetly.

"Third -- third floor, miss," he gasped.

"And the jewelry department?"

"Fith -- I mean, fifth floor, miss," he gasped.

"Thank you so much," cooed Regina. "Now what do you say?"

"Th-thank you ... f-f-for shopping at ... C-costington's."

"You're welcome," beamed Regina, releasing her mental hold on the terrified clerk. His eyes rolled upward and he collapsed in a heap on the plushly carpeted floor.

These new powers of mine are so cool, thought Regina as she launched herself toward the rococo plaster ceiling thirty feet overhead. She paused by the enormous brass chandelier and directed a beam of her heat-vision at the chain holding it up. The chandelier plunged to the floor amid an exquisite cacophony of twisted metal and shattered glass.

Regina took a moment to survey the scene below her. What had been -- less than a minute ago -- the posh foyer of Metropolis's most exclusive department store now looked like a scene from Baghdad, or whatever that place was they were always showing on CNN. Oh, Ms. Norbury! giggled Regina. You are in so much trouble!

[ Next: Super shopping spree! Tune in tomorrow! ]

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16 Mar 2007 16:57 #8706 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Regina clenched her fists and raised her arms over her head. Putting on a burst of super-speed, she smashed through the ceiling -- sending a shower of plaster down to the wreckage below -- and into the store's second level. A shopper scurrying toward a stairwell bumped into her and went sprawling. "My bad!" giggled Regina as she continued to rocket upward. An instant later, she'd burst through the next ceiling and emerged in the lingerie department.

Alarms were ringing throughout the store, and the third level had already been evacuated -- almost. A few shoppers were still pushing their way frantically toward a side stairwell, directed by a grey-haired security guard. Alighting nimbly, Regina brushed the plaster off her sweatshirt. She saw that she was standing directly in front of a surveillance camera. Perfect, she thought. Now to put on a little show ...

Once again she reached out with her mind-control power. Turn around! she ordered the guard. He froze for an instant, then slowly turned to face her. He stared incredulously at the peite brunette who stood defiantly, hands on hips, in front of a jagged hole in the carpeted floor.

Take out your gun and shoot, thought Regina. Aim that thing at my tits and pull the trigger. Come on ... you know you want to ...

Slowly but obediently, the guard drew his pistol from its holster and raised it toward Regina. His hand trembled slightly as he pulled the trigger ...

Regina watched the bullet inch toward her. She could use her super-vision to see the world in slow-motion -- kind of like using the "slow" button on a remote. Most of the time it was pretty boring, but right now she followed the bullet's flight with rapt attention. She had never tested her invulnerability against gunfire, but she'd had her powers for four months now and she felt no fear -- only a mild curiosity -- as the bullet drew closer and closer ...

She watched the bullet penetrate her sweatshirt. She could see the frayed edges of the hole, charred by the heat of the bullet's flight. Peering through her sweatshirt with her x-ray vision, she saw her right breast dimple ever so slightly from the bullet's impact. She grinned as she watched the bullet crumple against her super-flesh, then recoil toward the ceiling with redoubled speed.

Springy! she giggled. Then she blinked as a frisson of erotic pleasure ran through her body. That feels ... nice, she thought. She had known the bullet wouldn't hurt her, of course, but she hadn't expected that it would feel so ... sexy. She looked up. Five more bullets were advancing toward her. She turned off her "slo-mo" vision and allowed them to strike her in rapid succession, turning her torso so that they struck her breasts in different places and ricocheted in different directions. The last bullet bounced straight off her left nipple and knocked over a mannequin dressed in a frilly pink chemise.

Is that it? She pouted in disappointment. Evidently the guard had run out of ammunition. She sent him away with a mental command and ran the palms of her hands over her breasts as the guard clattered down the stairwell. I am definitely gonna get me a gun, thought Regina. Not one of those puny six-shooters, but a semi-automatic. Yeah! A grin of wolfish anticipation spread slowly across her face as she imagined an endless stream of bullets spraying her breasts like a high-pressure hose -- her breasts, proud and gravity-defying, not Ms. Norbury's pathetic --

She shook her head, rousing herself from her reverie. Don't forget why you're here, she reminded herself. She grabbed a shopping bag and began racing along the aisles of the lingerie department at super-speed, filling the bag with black lace panties and frilly brassieres, elaborate corsets and sheer negligees. Ordinarily, she would have taken her time, lingering over each item, but she was determined to be in and out of Costington's in two minutes, and the clock was running.

Her shopping bag overflowing with expensive lingerie, Regina sprand upward, smashing her way through two more floors and emerging in the jewelry department. She was getting a little nervous. Ultrawoman or one of those other goody-goody super-heroines might be showing up at any moment, and that wasn't part of the plan -- although she was sure that with her newly enhanced super-strength, she could kick their butts easily. Some other time, she promised herself.

She moved through the jewelry department in a blur of super-swift motion, smashing display cases and grabbing watches, bracelets, necklaces, tiaras, scooping up handfuls of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies. She paused, scanning the cases for -- There! An instant later, she was pouring a trayful of amethysts into her bag. Time to go, she thought. I'll just give the cameras one last look at Ms. Norbury ...

Whoa!
She stumbled slightly, off-balance. What's going on? She felt strange -- light-headed, just like this morning when she'd used that new Transformatrix on herself. She glanced down. Several inches of bare midriff were visible between her sweatshirt and her blue jeans, and the front of her sweatshirt was snug against her breasts.

Shit! she thought. I'm morphing back into Regina! She squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated. To her relief, she felt herself growing shorter, and in another moment she had resumed the form of Ms. Norbury.

What's the deal? she thought, alarmed. Maybe her new powers were only temporary. That would suck. Or maybe she was low on energy from her super-speed shopping spree -- although nothing like that had ever happened to her before. Whatever it was, she felt fine now. Still, she'd better get out of here fast. She could come back for that jacket some other time.

Moments later, pedestrians scattered in panic as shards of broken glass rained down from a fifth-floor window of Costington's Department Store. Regina was miles away by the time the first fragment hit the sidewalk.

[ Next: Ms. Norbury -- busted? Plus: A new transformee joins the cast! Tune in tomorrow! ]

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18 Mar 2007 02:08 #8721 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
The school secretary was standing in the doorway of Tina Norbury's office.

"Tina?" She looked worried. "There's an Agent Hart, from the NIB -- says she'd like to talk with you."

Tina sighed. It was 2:30 in the afternoon of an uneventful Friday. She'd been hoping she might be able to clear her desk and go home at the end of the school day. She and her husband had plans for the weekend. She was going to fly him to their lakeside cottage, grill a steak with her heat-vision, enjoy the beautiful Indian-summer weather. But now ...

"Thanks, Lynn. Send her in."

Tina rose to greet her visitor.

"Christina Norbury? I'm Agent Gracie Hart, NIB." She displayed a badge with practiced efficiency.

Agent Hart appeared to be in her early thirties -- about Tina's age. She was an attractive brunette with shoulder-length hair and a wide, easy smile that made her eyes crinkle. Her attire was casual yet chic -- blue jeans and a rumpled denim jacket, a yellow cashmere turtleneck with a thin gold necklace. Her voice was warm, relaxed, with just a hint of a Southern drawl.

Tina gestured toward a chair. "And what can I do for you, Agent Hart?"

"Please -- call me Gracie."

Tina tilted her head, regarding her visitor with interest. "You're the agent who went undercover at that beauty pageant last year, aren't you?" she asked. "I remember reading about that."

Agent Hart made a wry face. "You and the rest of the country," she said. "Having my picture on the cover of People magazine kind of put an end to my career in undercover. The NIB transferred me to public relations for a while." She grimaced. "I hated that. But now I'm in a new unit for looking into ... well, situations involving transformees. I'm what you might call specially qualified." She stood up and rose several feet into the air.

Tina raised an inquiring eyebrow.

"That's right." Agent Hart descended and sat down again. "The NIB managed to get hold of two unused Transformatrixes last summer. The brainiacs are still studying one of them, trying to figure out how it works. The other one ... well, the NIB decided they needed a transformee on their payroll, I applied, and long story short, here I am."

Agent Hart leaned forward. "Let's clear the air," she said. "I'm guessing that as a transformee yourself, you don't have a very favorable opinion of the NIB."

Tina nodded slowly. "Nothing personal, Agent Hart, but you're right. I got my powers back in August, a couple of months after Ultrawoman and those others took down that detention facility in Nevada. Still, when I think of how those women were treated ... "

Agent Hart was nodding emphatically. "It's Gracie, and believe me, I hear you. What the NIB did was indefensible. But there's been a major housecleaning in the last couple of months. A big part of my agenda is to see to it that full restitution is made to each and every one of those detainees -- and that nothing like that ever happens again." She flashed a smile. "The old boys at headquarters tend to listen a lot more carefully to me now, if you know what I mean."

Tina grinned. She found herself warming to Gracie, although she wasn't about to let her guard down completely. "That's good to hear. But I'm sure that's not the purpose of your visit. I assume it has something to do with Regina George or Gretchen Wieners? They're the only two transformees in our student body."

"Actually, Ms. Norbury -- "

"You can call me Tina."

"Thank you. Actually ... Tina ... I need to ask you where you were between 10:20 and 10:22 this morning."

Tina's eyebrows rose, but she answered in a level tone of voice. "I was in one of the classrooms here -- A12, to be exact. I was covering for a teacher who called in sick."

"Were you in the room during the entire period?"

"I was administering a test. You bet I was there the whole time."

"And how many students were in the room with you?"

"Twenty-three. May I ask what this is all about?"

Gracie was gazing at Tina with calm appraisal. "At 10:20 this morning a woman with super-powers, wearing a North Shore High School sweatshirt and answering to your description, smashed through the front door of Costington's Department Store in downtown Metropolis. She proceeded to steal over seventy thousand dollars' worth of jewelry and lingerie at super-speed before flying out through a fifth-floor window."

Tina answered calmly, but there was an icy edge to her voice. "Well, it wasn't me. As I said, I was in a classroom with twenty-three students who can vouch for me. This is ridiculous. I've never gotten so much as a parking ticket in my entire life. Excuse me, Agent Hart -- Gracie -- but shouldn't I have my lawyer present?"

Gracie held up a hand. "No need for that. This was pretty obviously an attempt to frame you for some reason -- and a pretty clumsy attempt at that. I'm here to find out who might be behind it and clear the whole thing up so you can enjoy your weekend."

She took a videocassette from a side pocket of her denim jacket. "May I?" There was a television set in a corner of Tina's office, hooked up to a VCR. Gracie inserted the cassette into the VCR and picked up the remote.

"This is a copy of some surveillance footage from the crime scene," she explained. She pointed the remote at the VCR and pressed the "play" button.

Tina's eyes widened and her mouth fell open as the television screen sprang to life. She had presumed that the thief was someone who bore a slight resemblance to her, but the woman on the tape was ... her, right down to the mole on her right temple. Fascinated, she watched herself simper at the camera ... appalled, she watched herself deflect a volley of bullets ... mortified, she watched herself rubbing her breasts in what seemed to be an auto-erotic reverie ...

Gracie pressed the "pause" button. "Did anything about that seem odd to you?"

"Odd?" Tina sputtered. "That's putting it mildly. That was ... surreal. I -- I don't know what to say -- "

"I can imagine. But you know what struck me right away, the first time I saw this? Whoever that is, she wanted to be identified as Tina Norbury. Notice how she went right up to the camera, made sure the logo on her sweatshirt was clearly visible? To me, that screams frame-up."

"But -- but who -- ?"

"Here, let me show you the last bit of footage." Again, Gracie pushed the "play" button. The thief's back was to the camera. Tina watched her begin to turn around, then stumble. Tina blinked. The woman on the screen was growing taller. Her face seemed to be rounder, younger-looking; her hair was longer, lighter in color. But then, a moment later, she had become Tina Norbury once again.

Gracie pressed "eject" and took the tape out of the VCR. "Anyone you recognize?"

"Well, the camera didn't get a direct look at her face -- but it could be ... Regina George?"

Gracie nodded, as if Tina had confirmed her own guess.

"But -- the shape-shifting ... Can we do that?"

"Well, I can't -- but then, it never even occurred to me to try until I saw this tape. It might be a power we'll all develop eventually, or one that most of us just haven't figured out yet. I don't know about you, but it took me days to get the hang of x-ray vision. Then again, it might be an ability unique to Regina. There are a few transformees who have manifested extra powers ... "

Tina shook her head. This was a lot to take in ...

Gracie held out a sheet of paper. "Here's a printout of the items taken from the lingerie department. Are they your size?"

Tina scanned the list at super-speed. "38-C?" she snorted. "In my husband's dreams, maybe."

"Could they be Regina's size?"

"I think so, yes."

"It looks like she's got quite a weekend planned." She held out another list. "These are the items taken from the jewelry department. Now here's something odd. The thief took the most expensive items on display ... then, before she flew off, she went two aisles over just to steal a tray of amethysts."

Tina nodded. "I see your point. Amethysts are pretty but not especially valuable."

"Do you know anything else about amethysts?"

"I know that they're the birthstone for the month of February."

"And?"

"And Regina George's birthday is February 19." Tina smiled. "Memorizing the students' files has saved me a lot of time and trouble."

Gracie stood up. "Speaking of trouble, I think we should have a talk with Regina. Where would she be right now?"

[ To be continued ... ]

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19 Mar 2007 02:40 #8739 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
"Room B5 -- English Lit," replied Tina. She peered at the screen of her desktop as her fingers moved over the keybosrd. "She's marked present. We should be able to catch her before the bell."

The two women strode down the corridors of the school building. "Wasn't there another transformee enrolled here?" asked Gracie.

Tina nodded. "Karen Smith. She manifested super-intelligence, just like the other two, only she decided to use hers. She met all of our graduation requirements two weeks after the school year began, then enrolled at MIT. I understand she's working toward a Ph.D. in particle physics. Apparently she's figured out how to use her super-vision to track quantum interactions. There's been talk of a Nobel Prize."

"Very impressive."

"Yes, indeed -- especially for a grl who nearly failed algebra last year. Here we are."

Tina tapped at the door of Room B5. A stout man with a bald head and a moustache opened it.

"Yes?"

"Hello, Bill. Sorry to interrupt, but I need to talk with Regina George."

"Regina's not here."

Tina and Gracie exchanged glances. "When did she leave?"

"She hasn't been here all period."

"But she's marked present."

"That's right."

"But -- she hasn't been in class?" Tina was beginning to feel as if she was enacting an Abbott and Costello routine.

"Is there a problem?" the man asked mildly.

Hell, yes, there's a problem, Tina was tempted to reply, but she forced a smile. "No, Bill. Sorry to bother you."

Tina turned away from the door. A woman with iron-grey hair and a tweed suit was coming along the corridor.

"Oh, Jeannette," said Tina. "Was Regina George in your first-period class today?"

"No, she wasn't," the woman replied, smiling pleasantly.

"It's just that ... well, you marked her present."

"Yes, of course. She asked me to."

"She asked you to mark her present?" Tina was growing alarmed. "Did -- did she threaten you?"

"Goodness, no. She was very polite about it." She had the same look of mild perplexity that Tina had observed on the English teacher's face. "Is anything wrong?"

Tina took a deep breath. "No, Jeannette. I just ... needed to double-check. Have a nice weekend."

"You, too." The woman continued down the hallway. Tina turned to Gracie. "What do you suppose -- ?"

Gracie held up a hand. She was frowning at the screen of her cell phone. A moment later, she clipped it back on her belt.

"That was a message from the Metropolis office. An agent took statements from a sales clerk and a security guard at that department store. They both claim that the woman somehow ... reached into their minds and made them do things ... "

Tina blinked. "So we're dealing with a self-centered, manipulative, super-powered queen bee with the ability to alter her appearance ... and she can control people's minds?"

Gracie nodded. "Looks that way. All the more important that I find her, quick. If she's not in class, where would she be?"

Tina pursed her lips. "That's easy."

[ To be continued ... ]

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20 Mar 2007 17:16 #8750 by ultragirl
Replied by ultragirl on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Denise awoke quickly with a gasp of breath. She looked wild and confused. Her face softened when she realized where she was.

“Wow, you move fast.” Collin smiled at her. “Good morning, honey bunny.”

Denise reached her arms out to him implying that he was too far away. He held her head in his hands kissing her briefly on the lips. Before he got away, she pulled him into body kissing him deeply. Collin was helpless to protest, but he didn’t want to anyway.

“What hit me?” Denise finally asked. She gave Collin a chance to catch his breath.

“Recover fast, too.” He felt drunk from her passionate embrace.

She reached behind her realizing she wasn’t, at very least, wearing a back brace.

“A young girl did.” Collin shook the fuzzy-ness away. “A teenage girl snapped your spine and then slapped you unconscious. At least, that’s what I was told.”

“A girl…” She trailed off. Not long ago she was told she was the most powerful woman on the planet, even among the Transformees. Her memory put a face to the pain. She had been a young girl. Denise looked down at her hands and remembered how hitting the young girl felt like hitting iron, as if she were normal again. The memory of the girl smiling, amused, while Denise gave her everything she had. She wondered if that’s how her skin felt when hit by a man. She had enjoyed being untouchable.

“Collin, I have to stop her.”

“No way. There is no way I’m letting you go after her again.”

“Who else then?” She questioned. “Lois? Amber? Or worse, Kara? I’m the only one who can, Collin, and you know it.”

“You can’t.” He lowered his head. “You and I both know you won’t survive.”

Denise touched his cheek. “I have to try. There has to be way.”

“He’s right, Denise.” They both turned to Lois standing in the door. “You can’t win. I think we might have a plan, though.”

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21 Mar 2007 02:43 #8761 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Gretchen Wieners was in a buoyant mood as she strolled along the sideline of the football field. It was 3:00 on a Friday afternoon. The weekend lay ahead of her, the field basked in the warmth of Indian summer, and she was engaged in her favorite activity -- boy-watching.

Football practice wouldn't begin until 3:30, but a few players were already out on the field, doing their warm-up stretches and tossing a ball back and forth. Craig Harmon was standing on the ten-yard line, bending at the waist and touching his toes. Gretchen peered through the seat of his sweatpants with her x-ray vision. Oh, my! she giggled. No wonder he's the team's tight end!

She shifted her gaze to Freddy Muldoon, who was about to throw a long pass to Casey O'Brien. His long-sleeved jersey did not impede her admiring view of his broad back and sculpted biceps. She wondered if guys were ever aware that she was using her x-ray vision to check them out. Omigosh, she thought. That would be so embarrassing!

Gretchen smiled complacently as she surveyed the field. It's funny, she thought. I can lift a school bus over my head and throw it clear across town as easily as these guys can toss a football twenty yards -- but I'm still turned on by guys with muscles. She loved hanging out in the school's weight room. Some of the boys seemed to feel a little self-conscious to see her there, watching them grunt and strain to press weights that she could lift with her pinky, but that was silly. It's not how much they could lift, but how they looked doing it.

Besides, Gretchen knew that guys liked watching her as much as she liked watching them. She'd had a nice body even before she got super-powers -- gymnastics and cheerleading had seen to that -- but the Transformatrix had given her the physique of a fitness model: tight abs, nicely rounded biceps, firm thighs and shapely calves. And her cheerleading uniform, with its sleeveless halter top and tiny skirt, certainly showed all her assets to good advantage.

And my hair! she thought, brushing a wind-blown strand away from her face. No more split ends, no more bad hair days, no more hours with shampoos and conditioners and highlighters. Twenty-four seven, her hair tumbled down her back and along her shoulders in a glorious profusion of tight, bouncy waves, shiny-black as obsidian.

Biceps, firm yet feminine, sprang up along her arms as she raised her hands to her temples and ran them through her hair. Mmmm. She arched her back and thrust her torso forward. Unconsciously, she rose a foot off the ground.

Jeff Mortimer, running to intercept a pass, glanced in her direction and stopped dead in his tracks. The ball struck him squarely on the side of his head. Dazed, blushing, he stooped to pick it up as Gretchen wagged a playful finger at him. Boys were silly -- cute, but silly.

More players were trotting onto the field now. Coach Szalinski's whistle shrilled and they began suiting up. Gretchen scanned the field, looking for -- There he was! She purred with pleasure as she ran her x-ray vision along Glenn Crockett's muscular chest and firm abdominals ...

"I know that look," said a voice beside her. "You're using your x-ray vision, aren't you -- you slut?"

Gretchen turned, blushing furiously. "Regina!" she chirped. "I was -- I was -- '

"Hey, I'm kidding. You think I don't do it?" Gretchen was surprised to see that Regina hadn't gotten into her cheerleading uniform yet. Instead, she was wearing a pair of cut-offs and a T-shirt that proclaimed: "FAIR WARNING ... I HIT LIKE A GIRL."

Gretchen and Regina stood in silence for a few moments, watching the athletes begin to run their drills.

"Don't you wish sometimes they'd let us play football?" Gretchen asked.

"No, not really."

"Well, I do. I mean, think what we could do with our super-powers! And football gets so much more attention than cheerleading. Sorry, Regina," she added hastily. She knew how sensitive Regina was on the subject. "But it does. I'm just saying."

She eyed Regina. Something seemed different about her. Then she glanced down. "Hey! Your feet are on the ground!"

"So?"

"It's just that -- " Gretchen blinked. "You look taller. You are taller." Her eyes widened as she glanced at Regina's chest. "And bigger."

"Am not," Regina said, but the corners of her mouth were turned up in an enigmatic smirk.

"You are too. You used to be five nine. Now you must be six feet tall. And you've gone up a cup size. How'd you do it?"

Regina shrugged. "Must have been that extra vitamin pill I took this morning."

"Yeah, that must be it." Gretchen knew from experience that Regina would never give her an answer as long as she begged for it -- but if she let the subject drop, Regina would soon tell her everything. "Oh, Regina, about that hundred dollars -- "

Regina waved a hand in gracious dismissal. "Forget it."

"Really?"

"Yeah. It wasn't a fair bet." Regina was feeling magnanimous. It had been a good day. She'd gained some awesome new powers -- cut classes and gone shopping -- and totally framed Ms. Norbury. And her closet at home was now full of fancy lingerie and fine jewelry -- not to mention a semi-automatic rifle she'd swiped at super-speed from the back room of a gun shop, along with several thousand rounds of ammunition. Yes, all in all, it had been a pretty ... good ... day ...

"You really want to be on the football team?" she asked Gretchen.

"Well, yeah. But even if Coach Szalinski said it was okay, the state athletic association would never allow it. You know what a bug they have up their ass when it comes to transformees ... "

"You just leave it to me," said Regina, smiling mysteriously. She strolled across the end zone to the other side of the field, were Coach Szalinski stood scribbling on his clipboard. I am such a good friend, she
thought.

[ To be continued ... ]

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26 Mar 2007 03:06 #8795 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Coach Szalinski was still frowning at his clipboard. Regina gave him the once-over as she approached. He was a broad-shouldered man of medium height -- about five foot ten, a couple of inches shorter than Regina. Surreptitiously, Regina broadened her own shoulders a bit and added just enough muscle to her arms to fill out the sleeves of her T-shirt. She glanced down, inspecting her new physique with satisfaction. Not bad, she thought. I don't want to go overboard with the muscles, but a little buffitude goes with the new height. Let's see if it makes an impression on the coach.

"Excuse me -- Coach Szalinski?"

"What is it ... uh -- Regina?" Glancing up from his clipboard, the coach was startled to find himself staring at Regina's prominent bust and broad shoulders. Hastily, he raised his eyes, stepping back a pace. Holy shit! he thought. Since when has Regina George been built like one of my linebackers?

Regina grinned impishly. "Yeah, I've been working out," she said in reply to the coach's befuddled expression. "Nothing much -- mostly hand-weights ... you know, minivans, tractors, stuff like that." She interlaced her fingers and stretched her arms over her head, displaying the lithe motion of her muscles for the coach's benefit.

"But that's not what I wanted to talk about," she said. "You see my friend Gretchen over there? Well ... she really, really wants to play on the football team."

Coach Szalinski shook his head. "Sorry, Regina. Not gonna happen. You know that."

"But whyyy?" Regina asked, pouting. "She'd be awesome. She's strong, she's fast, nothing can stop her ... and she's invulnerable, so you wouldn't have to worry about her getting hurt."

"It's not her I'd be worried about -- it's the twenty-one boys on the field with her. Think about it. She'd be like a friggin' locomotive. One block and she'd send a player to the hospital, or worse. Do the words 'wrongful death lawsuit' mean anything to you?"

"Oh, but she'd be careful. She likes boys. She wouldn't hurt them."

"Come on, Regina. This is pointless. It's out of my hands. The state high school athletic association -- "

Regina leaned forward, placing her hands on her knees and bringing her eyes level with the coach's. "Oh, I'm sure I can persuade them to make an exception for Gretchen," she said with a conspiritorial wink. She fluttered her eyelashes. "Pleeease, coach? It would really make her happy. And you know she'd make a great player." She reached into his mind and gave it a nudge ...

Coach Szalinski blinked. "Well, if you can get the athletic association to okay it -- sure."

"You mean it?"

"Yeah. I mean -- it's a no-brainer, right?"

Regina hopped up and down, clapping her hands and squealing with delight. "Oh, thank you, Coach Szalinski!" she cried. "I'll go tell her right away." And she turned and ran back to where Gretchen stood waiting.

God, that was too easy, thought Regina. Even without her new mind-control power, she'd never had any trouble getting people to do what she wanted -- especially the male half of the population.

"Well?" asked Gretchen.

"It's all set. You're on the team."

"No way!"

"Yes, way."

"Oh, Regina, thank you!" Gretchen threw her arms around Regina and gave her a hug that would have snapped a telephone pole in half. "You're the best!"

Yes,
Regina thought complacently. Yes, I am ...

[ To be continued ... ]

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03 Apr 2007 23:10 #8906 by argonaut
Replied by argonaut on topic Transformatrix 4000 v2.0
Coach Szalinski was jogging forward with a football tucked under his arm. He blew a shrill summons on his whistle. "Gather round!" he shouted to the athletes on the field.

He waited until the boys had assembled in an expectant semicircle. "I have an announcement," he said. "I think you all know that pretty gal standing over there." He extended an arm toward Gretchen, who smiled brightly and waved at the boys. "Well, as of right now, she's off the cheerleading squad ... and on the football team!"

The boys exchanged puzzled glances.

"Is this a joke?" Freddy Muldoon whispered to Glenn Crockett.

"Probably one of Coach's little mind-games," Glenn muttered. "You know -- some kind of punishment for losing to Shelbyville last week."

Casey O'Brien raised his hand. "Uh, Coach -- ?"

"What is it?" Coach Szalinski barked.

"Well, it's just that -- well, she's a -- "

"A what? A girl? You got a problem with that?"

"N-no, sir. But -- she's a transformee. She's, like, super-fast and super-strong -- "

"Sounds to me like the kind of talent this team needs. Who knows -- maybe some of that will rub off on the rest of you wusses. Gretchen, sweetheart, you come with me. I've got to get some information from you. The rest of you finish your sprints. Then we'll run a few plays with our new member."

Jeff Mortimer spoke up. "Coach? Are you serious?"

"Am I serious?" Coach Szalinski exploded. "Darn right I'm serious! What's the matter with you guys? I oughta -- "

Regina laid a hand on the coach's shoulder. "Coach, why don't you get Gretchen's information and let me talk to the boys?"

"Sure thing, Regina. Thanks. Maybe you can get through to these bozos. Good luck with that." He trotted off toward the sideline, with Gretchen bouncing happily behind.

Regina folded her arms and regarded the athletes coolly. She saw that her new physique was definitely drawing their attention.

"All right, guys, listen up," she said. "First of all, my face is up here."

Twenty faces looked up.

Regina smiled sweetly. "It looks like you guys are feeling a little awkward about this. Am I right?"

Nobody spoke up, but their averted eyes and glum expressions clearly answered in the affirmative.

"Okay, sure -- Gretchen's a transformee. She's strong and she's fast. But she's a girl -- and you guys are big ... strong ... football players. It stands to reason that all of you together should be more than a match for her. Am I right?"

The boys were shaking their heads. They knew that all of them together had a better chance of stopping a runaway freight train. They'd all seen Gretchen's cheerleading routines. They'd seen her balance a goal post over her head on one finger and twirl it like a baton. And they remembered the afternoon she and Regina had played "keep away" with Aaron Samuels's new BMW, tossing it back and forth as easily as if it were a tennis ball, giggling at Aaron's distress, until Ms. Norbury had come out and put a stop to it ...

Frowning, Regina reached into their minds. "I said, am I right?" she repeated sharply.

The boys blinked. "Right!" they shouted in unison, obedient to Regina's command.

"Good. So when you face off against her, you're going to give it everything you've got. You're not afraid of her super-powers, and you're not going to hold back because she's a girl. And as an added incentive ... "

She paused, surveying their expectant faces ...

"The last one standing gets to be my love-slave tonight. You'd all like that, wouldn't you?"

Twenty heads nodded eagerly. Regina smiled. She imagined standing on a tropical beach at sunset, modeling the lingerie she'd picked up that morning. She imagined Glenn Crockett or Jeff Mortimer kneeling before her with the semi-automatic rifle in his arms, spraying her with a steady stream of ammunition, reducing her lingerie to tatters as she cried out in ecstasy ...

"All right, then!" she said. "Go run your sprints. And remember -- when you go up against Gretchen ... be aggressive!" She dismissed them with a thought, grinning as they ran off obediently down the field. This is gonna be good, she thought. I should get a bucket of popcorn and a camcorder ...

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