<Thanks and a hat tip to jarthron for a plot line begun in this episode that will appear in future stories.>
"Do you think the Destroyers are finally finished?" Susan Books, Dallas cop, asks the attractive black-haired woman seated with her at a nice restaurant in New Carrollton, outside Dallas.
"I dunno," Kate Windrunner replies, talking around a small piece of biscuit. "I sure hope so. The lousy cops released all those women, though, so I'm not entirely sure."
"Had to let them go, Kate. I've told you about rules of evidence, didn't I. The cops didn't have anything on the women. Even the video didn't show them doing a crime, just what might be you hanging from chains. The camera angle and lighting were bad and you had a mask on your face so it could have been anyone bound up and photographed."
"I know! I really don't know how the 'real' super guys put up with this crap."
"They don't have to. They've been deputized. I've told you that you need to have Kelso get you deputized. Then you can arrest people, just like a cop."
"He won't do it, Susan. As a glorified rent-a-cop, I shouldn't be chasing criminals, just stopping them from taking whatever I'm guarding. Getting him to change his mind is just too much of a hassle, girlfriend."
"Speaking of girlfriends, how did you like your little session with the two Destroyer chicks?"
"I don't respond well to being bound to a bed, lying near cotton sheets, and played with. I had several, uh, you know, but it wasn't what you'd call enjoyable. I mean, I know some women like that, you know, chick-on-chick stuff, but I don't." Susan nods her head slowly at this. Kate briefly wonders if Susan had expectations ... fantasies about her or her alter-ego, Raven. Either way, nothing will happen and she's never given Susan any indication that she WAS interested in her. Kate wants to just be friends with this cop.
"One other thing," Kate says a moment later. "I really had to work to knock them down after I got free. It wasn't just me being weaker from, uh, from ..."
"Climaxing," Susan interjects, smiling at her friend.
"Yeah. It wasn't just that or being near the cotton sheets.
They seemed to be stronger than you might expect."
"You said they, uh, they 'tasted your female juices', shall we say? Do you think they might have gotten stronger from drinking your juices?" Susan plays seductively with the red straw sticking out of the top of her drink.
"You know, that just might be the case. I remember when that loon, Dr. Trimble, did his tests on me.(1) He got some of my, uh, my womanly juices and said there were Trimblers in it. Just like the Trimblers he found in my blood and that give me my powers. Maybe something happened to those bitches from, uh, from doing what they did to me." Kate fidgets restlessly at the thought of being raped by the two women. Now the possibility that anyone who eats her cum gets some of her powers makes her insides swirl in revulsion.
"Think Batman might have any information for you?"
"I don't know and I sure won't ask him! I only met him once, briefly, and Susan, he scared the crap outta me! I'll just have to think on this a while. I'll ask Robin if he's learned anything. He's a LOT easier to deal with!"
* * * * *
"It's about time you returned to work!" Stan Kelso says, only half in jest, to Raven as she walks into the offices of the Super Heroes Foundation (SHF) in Dallas, Texas. "I hope you weren't waiting for us to retire your jersey," he kids. "We have a number of jobs lined up for you in the next few weeks!"
"I just needed some down time, Mr. Kelso," the young heroine says. For several weeks now, she's been plagued by an 'infection' that makes her more vulnerable than normal to plant fibers. It also sharply enhances her libido, as well as her normal five senses. Finally, when aroused, she emits super pheromones that seem to have a variety of interesting properties, not the least of which is it turns her 'lovers' into robots with an obsession to have sex with her. After defeating the *women's auxiliary of the Deep Ellum Destroyers* three days ago, she's been recovering from the massive multiple orgasms they helped her to achieve.(2)
"Well, if you're ready, I've had a request for your services by wealthy client," Kelso continues. "Simple guard job for three or four days. He has a room for you to use when not physically guarding his test samples or whatever. He has some stuff coming into Love Field that he needs escorted to his office in Grapevine. He wants you because of your strength and invulnerability, he said. I said you'd do it. You'll get double your usual fee for this, Raven, so I don't want any whining or moaning about this not being work worthy of a super heroine. It's the work you agreed to do for us and you ARE protecting this man's valuable property."
"Okay, okay," the woman says, holding up her hand. "I'll do it!"
"Good! Be at the general aviation terminal at Love Field at 7
p.m. ..." and Kelso goes on to give Raven more operational information for
her escort job. When he finishes, he gives her a small silver wafer,
about the size of a dime but maybe 1/16 of an inch thick.
"What's this?" Raven asks, rolling the wafer around in her gloved hand.
"Something we've been working on for about a year now," Kelso explains. "Most of the various offices of the Super Heroes Foundation have had someone disappear while on assignment. We lost NightOwl a few months ago(3) and just three weeks ago, the Minnesota office lost their only super, a woman named the Chameleon. R & D in Atlanta came up with this little gizmo. It can be put in your costume somewhere and we can track you from here. Effective range is over 500 miles! Find some place to hide this in your costume."
"Great, now I have LO-JACK© in my costume!" The heroine shakes her head from side to side as she leaves Kelso's office. "I wonder if Supergirl needs to carry around a tracer! She probably almost never gets into traps like I do and doesn't need one!" A moment later, she drops to one knee and puts the tiny transmitter into a hidden compartment inside the flat half-inch thick heel of her boot. "If this thing could help me find my way home after a hard night on the town, THEN we'd have something!" she thinks as she walks down the hall toward the SHF gym.
* * * * *
Ten minutes later Kate Windrunner, a.k.a. Raven, enters in the gym at the SHF offices and waves a hand at Banshee, another employee of the SHF. Banshee is clad in his green bodysuit with brown boots, gloves and mask. He's practicing his ability to send sound waves from his mouth. Now he's trying to punch holes in metal sheets, 2" x 2" by half-inch thick. Each time he shouts in his special way, there is a loud <POP> and one of the steel wafers has a neat hole through the middle.
"Getting pretty good with that, Banshee!" Raven says when the man stops to load new sheets into the holding frame. "What if we have a little sparring session - you try to stop me from closing in on you? I won't actually fight you, I just want to see what your Banshee Blast feels like as I approach you and you can practice on a moving target."
"Sounds great, Raven, let's get started," the 5'8" hero says reluctantly, moving to one side of the gym. He feels that his Banshee Blast is pretty powerful and he is concerned that he might hurt the lovely masked woman. But since she insists ...
Force and Thunder, two other local heroes walk in as Raven begins her first 'attack' on Banshee. She starts across the gym from thirty feet away in a slow zigzag run. Banshee uses a widely-dispersed shout that makes the woman stagger slightly, but doesn't slow her down. He then 'fires' a more tightly-focused blast at the woman but it hits the wall behind her - he missed! There's a deep hole maybe three inches wide in the wall.
"Come on, Banshee, nail her!" Thunder bellows from the sidelines. He's sparred with the woman and has worked with her on assignments. He's an egotistical muscleman not afraid to intimidate the others in the office, especially during mock combat here in the gym. Force, a slight woman from Guatamala, moves slowly to one side, away from Thunder. He can get pretty 'enthusiastic', even while just watching a fight.
As Raven gets within twenty feet of Banshee, his blasts stagger her more, even push her backward sometimes, but the woman presses ever closer to the green-clad hero. One of his narrow, focused blasts hits her leg somewhere, knocks it aside and makes her fall onto her belly with a loud crash. He stops and calls out, "You okay, Raven?" She rises to her feet and gives him the 'A-ok' thumbs-up.
Inwardly, the black-haired heroine is amazed at both her own power and Banshee's. One of his unfocused blasts missed her and hit the bicep machine. The heavy metal workout equipment rocked from the blast. A second later, one hit her and although she slid a foot backward from the blast, that's all it did to her. On the other hand, his focused blast barely touched her but toppled her off her feet. "This man is more powerful than he seems!" she decides.
For the next ten minutes, Raven slowly moves across the gymnasium floor, getting closer and closer to Banshee. She uses the various exercise machines as cover and relies on her own enhanced speed and agility to leap and dodge as she gets closer. More of his unfocused blasts slam into her body and are finally beginning to wear her down. Then he gets a lucky focused Banshee Blast to hit her hip. She's flipped over and her forehead slams into the hard masonry floor of the gym. "Nnnnhhh ... my hip ... my head!" she moans, one hand on the black fabric of her catsuit over her aching bone, the other on her forehead. This time she doesn't quickly pop back onto her feet. As she lies on the floor for over 15 seconds, Banshee and the others rush over to see if she's hurt.
Thunder reaches the woman first and he gently pulls her off the floor, holding her in his powerful arms like a baby, one hand under her thighs, one under her back. "Let's get you down to Sick Bay," he says, looking down at his compatriot.
"Ooohhh," Raven says, looking up at the man. "I'll ... I'll be okay, Thunder. Just set me down." When Thunder drops the woman's legs, she almost falls as pain stabs at her injured hip. She quickly recovers and as Thunder holds one arm around her waist, she looks up into his eyes. Although Thunder is only 5'10" tall, he has four inches on Kate.
"Thanks, Thunder," she says a heartbeat later. She has one hand on her aching hip, the other on the shoulder of his brown 'Dago-style T-shirt'. She's fighting down the urge to kiss him for helping her off the floor, for showing rare concern for her welfare. He's a good sparring partner - they're almost evenly matched between his strength and her martial arts skills, but in the past he's all-too-often seemed like an arrogant male chauvinist pig. Kelso says it comes with being a hero for many years but ...
"Fine. I know I'd like to see if you can get any closer to Banshee," he says, backing away from the woman. Her hand falls off his shoulder as he moves back and his cold and unemotional exterior returns.
"Is he avoiding me, trying not to get close to me?" she wonders. Then Banshee and Force join her.
"Ready for more?" Banshee asks.
"No, let's say you've won," Raven says, smiling at the amiable hero. "I don't think I could take another hit of your Banshee Blast. My invulnerability is okay against your normal blasts, but when you focus that puppy, that's a whole different thing."
"Don't quit now, Raven," Thunder orders. "We're just getting to see you in action. You can't let a little love tap on your hip stop you if you're out fighting bad guys. You need to drive home your attack, lady. Just quit prancing around and go for a pin."
Raven and Banshee look at each other for a second, then the woman reluctantly says, "He's right, let's continue."
A few moments later, they square-off, fifteen feet apart, when Banshee tells the woman to resume her attack. Raven quickly rushes at him, first leaping to her left, then doing a flying forward roll to the right, and jinking and dodging as she gets closer to the green-clad man. Meanwhile, Banshee fires off more and more sonic blasts at the woman. One focused blast hits a tall piece of Nautilus equipment seven feet away from him and knocks it over!
Raven manages to avoid all but his most broadly-dispersed blasts of sound. Even these make her stop or spin sideways and grunt from time to time, but she continues her attack and gets within four feet of the man when she suddenly gets hit by a focused Banshee Blast that strikes her just below her breasts. There is a loud <THUMP> from the impact, followed by a loud scream from the woman. Her body is thrown backward across the gym, stopping halfway as her butt hits a leg-lift machine. She topples out of the air, hitting the hard stone floor with the back of her head in a loud <CRACK>.
All action in the gym stops as the other three heroes look at the crumpled black-clad body of Raven lying on the floor, one leg hanging on the Nautilus equipment that stopped her wild flight. "Get the med kit!" Thunder orders the diminuitive Force. The young Latina races out of the gym toward Sick Bay. Thunder and Banshee rush over to check on the heroine. Her eyes are closed and her breathing is shallow to non-existent.
Both men drop to their knees beside the heroine. Thunder unzips the top half of her costume and begins to perform CPR on her while Banshee untangles her leg from the leg-lift machine. Then he helps Thunder give CPR. As the brown-clad man works on Raven's lips pumping air into her lungs, Banshee steadily compresses her chest and counts off for Thunder. A moment later Raven coughs and moans. When Thunder continues to give her oral CPR, she flails her arms uselessly, as if trying to stop the muscular man. Banshee, who has stopped pressing down on her bountiful chest, tries to pry Thunder away from Raven's mouth.
"Back off, little man," Thunder snarls at Banshee. "Don't know your own strength too well, do you? Maybe you and I should spar again so you can fine-tune your little puffs of air."
"Hey, you back off, big guy," Banshee says, staring into the other man's eyes. "She wanted to go full-bore to see what she could take. At close range, my focused Banshee Blast is pretty powerful. You'd know that if you ever got close to me when we spar. She just got what she wanted. You didn't need to 'deep throat' her after she revived. Now ..."
"Just ... nnnhhh ... shut up, both of you," Raven says is a trembling voice. "I have the mother of all headaches."
Banshee and Thunder each take one of her arms and help her to her feet. Raven sways and has to cradle her head in one hand as she places her second hand on the leg-raise machine for support. Finally the room stops spinning around the young heroine and she slowly begins to walk out of the gym. When she gets to the door, Force appears, carrying a large med kit. "I'm okay, Force," Kate says softly. She turns in the doorway and looks at the two men. "I'll be okay, Banshee. Thanks for the workout. Thanks for CPR, too, guys," she says as she pulls up her zipper, "but in the future, you two need to ask me before you get that intimate with my body, okay?" The puzzled expression on Banshee's face almost brings a smile to the heroine's mouth.
The woman goes into a room furnished for short overnight stays and lowers her zipper halfway before she plops onto a hard metal-framed bunk-bed. As soon as her body hits the coverlet, she curses, "DAMN SHEETS!" and rolls off onto the floor. She has to carefully pull all the (cotton) sheets off the bed before she can lie on the bare mattress.
"Did you say something," Stan Kelso says from the hallway. He can see the woman, one breast falling out of her black, skin-tight catsuit, seated on the floor in the dark.
"Nuh-no, Mr. Kelso," Raven says sheepishly as she gets to her feet. "Just slipped out of bed." She takes a half-step toward him, her boob still exposed, and shuts the door. Breathing a sigh of relief, the woman removes the sheets from the bed, gets back into it and settles on her side, hoping to rest an hour or two before driving out to the in-town airport. Her breastbone is throbbing painfully now, an obvious sign that the Banshee Blast did hurt her, even through the invulnerability given to her by the Trimblers - little particles in her blood that are the source of her super powers. She hopes that her body will recover quickly from this damage - she has a job to do tonight!
* * * * *
Raven arrives outside the general aviation hanger at Love Field just before 7 p.m. A heavy rain has been falling on Dallas for the last three hours and Raven's black costume, a gift from the Justice League, is thoroughly drenched. Fortunately, water doesn't penetrate the tough fabric created by the Batman, so most of her body is dry. However, the tops of her breasts are uncovered and are now wet and cold. The small crevasse between her almond-colored mounds of flesh is filled with water and when she moves, a bit trickles down into her suit, across her belly, and down toward her crotch.
She spots a large white van she was told to meet and drives her Ravencycle over to the truck, skidding to a halt by the driver's side. The back end of the bike sweeps around her left side as the tire hydroplanes on the water-covered asphalt but she keeps control of the bike without a second thought. She can see three men squeezed together in the tight cab. "Are you here for some packages for a Dr. Bruce Banner?" she asks the van driver.
"Yeah. You must be the Raven," the man replies, smiling at her. "We was told to wait for you. We already loaded most of the stuff, all we have left is the thing you need to guard." Two men leave the truck and, joined by Raven, all three enter the huge hangar. There's a desk and some men a few feet inside the hanger. After talking a few minutes, the men pick up a 2'x2'x3' metal container and carry it out to the truck, with Raven by their side.
"Any idea what I'm guarding?" she asks the driver after the box is stowed in the back of the truck. The driver quickly hustles back to the cab after shaking his head 'no'. Raven follows him and mounts her bike, fires it up, and looks at the driver.
"I'm supposed to follow you to his offices. I'm ready." The driver nods 'yes' at the woman and pulls away from the hanger. As the rain continues to fall heavily, Raven eases her big bike forward and keeps a close tail on the white van as it heads out of the airport area.
* * * * *
Some time later, the van and Raven pull up to a single-story building at the end of a small strip mall in Grapevine, Texas, just northwest of Dallas. The drenched heroine locks her bike and joins the three men as they open the back door of the truck. "We'll carry these other boxes. Why don't you take in that box the professor wanted you to guard?"
The black-clad woman nods her head and wraps her arms around the box. She lifts it off the truck bed and grunts in surprise - the thing must weigh close to two hundred pounds! Didn't seem as heavy when those men carried it but maybe they're strong men. Kate easily adjusts to the weight and carries it into the building, her chin resting on the top of the box.
"Take it to the warehouse in back," one of the men says to her as they enter the building. Raven slowly walks down a dark hallway into a dimly-lit low-ceilinged room.
"Anyone here?" she calls out as rain runs off her nose onto the top of the box.
"Yes, my dear, come back here," a soft voice calls from the dark.
"Hmmm, for some reason, he sounds familiar," the heroine thinks as she heads down a hallway toward the voice. A second later she spots a man leaning over a desk under a low-watt lightbulb.
"Please put the box on that table, my dear," the man says as Raven approaches. "I can't tell you how happy I am that I was able to secure your services to guard my samples!"
"Damn, I know that voice!" she thinks as she approaches the table where she's to drop the box. There's a large metal plate on the floor before the table and several electronic gadgets already on the table. Fortunately, there's enough room for her to drop the box. She has to be careful, she thinks, since the table top seems to be wooden. She moves onto the metal plate and gets as close to the table as she dares, then gently lowers the box onto the table. When she feels her hands heating from close proximity to the wood, she drops the box the rest of the way.
"That's it!" she says, smiling toward the man by the desk.
His hand moves something on the desk top and a low hum begins in the dark warehouse. Suddenly intense pain rips through Raven's body. She shudders uncontrollably and arches her chest forward. "AAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!!" she screams as her head falls backward, her body burning with a white-hot intensity she's never experienced before. Her hands instinctively reach toward the table for support but when her gloves touch the wood, sparks form under them and arc into the wooden tabletop. Her hands fly up and out to her sides, waving in the air as her body totters.
A pair of metal poles lower on either side of the woman, and a third drops behind her, surrounding the woman with oddly-humming devices. Her outstretched hands seem to stretch toward the poles on either side of her body. Then her eyes widen as thin wispy clouds flow from her fingertips toward the poles.
The man behind the desk slowly begins to walk toward the screaming woman. He limps and uses a cane. He's a small and very old man with pain written on his face. When he nears the table in front of Raven, he throws a switch on the table and the scene is suddenly light with a special bright green light. Raven's body shines brightly under the light, unlike anything else lit by the bulb.
Her body seems to covered by an aura something like that revealed by Kirilian photography, the kind that claims to show the soul. Her hair streams away from her head in long, black strands which writhe like snakes in the odd light. She can see the aura flowing away from her body, down her arms and off toward the poles to her left and right. She can also see a thick aura pouring from her belly toward the box she brought in here.
"OOOOOHHHHHHH SSSTTTOOOPPPPPPP IIIITTTTTTT!!" Raven screams as the man stands just outside the light. "PPPLLLEEEAAASSSEEE SSSTTTOOOPPP!!" she begs as incredible pain burns through her super body. The man just looks at her.
After several minutes of intense agony, the super heroine, still on her feet, slowly begins to stop glowing under the strange light. As her glow fades, so does her energy. She MUST fall but for some reason she's rooted by her feet to the metal beneath her. "PPLLEEAASSEE HHEELLPP MMEEEEEE!" she cries, imploring with the man for relief. He does nothing and her body shudders violently as the waves of pain continue to crash through her body.
Finally the woman seems to be released from whatever keeps her on her feet. She falls sideways, bounces off the pole on that side, then drops to the floor with a pronounced <THUD>. She lies on her side, half off the metal plate and unconscious. The old man flicks off the special light and slowly hobbles closer to the defeated woman. "So, we meet again, my dear! You'll come to regret not letting me experiment on you when we first met!"
* * * * *
"Thank you for coming, have a seat," Cathy Murphy says to Dallas policewoman Susan Books. "Susan ... may I call you Susan? Good! I need to talk with you about your friend the Raven. Have you seen her in the past few days?"
Susan sits on a chair in the plush office of Dallas' mayor and thinks how to frame a reply. Before she can answer, the mayor says, "Don't worry, Susan. I talked with the police chief and your boss, Commander Scott about Raven. Commander Scott told me that no one on the force knows more about her than you. We also talked about deputizing her, to protect her in the future."
"That's a good idea!" Susan says, smiling. "I've told her often that she runs risks ..."
"Absolutely! My legal advisors told me we can deputize her ..."
"Doesn't she need to go through a police course or something?"
The mayor pauses for a moment, seems to reflect, then answers, "No, we don't need to bother with that. I can deputize her myself. But first I need to have some information for her certificate. Legal purposes, you understand."
"Oh, yeah, well, I guess so ..."
"So what's her name and address, officer?"
Now Susan has to wait. She promised to never reveal Raven's secret identity. "I ... I can't ..."
"I understand you might not want to tell me her secret identity, officer. I just wanted to make this a surprise for her. Have it all ready and just present her with her badge. But if you can't give me her name and address, I can get if from her some time in the next few weeks. Then in two months or so, I can deputize her. Won't be a surprise, of course, but ..."
"No, no," Susan says quickly, raising her hand in the air. "I guess, since this is something special, something she needs now ..."
"Oh, yes, I think the faster we move on this, the safer she will be," Mayor Murphy says, smiling at the cop. Books writes down Raven's real name and address and slides the information across the desk to Murphy's hand. Murphy smiles and puts the information in her desk.
* * * * *
Afer an eternity of fitful sleep, Raven slowly begins to regain consciousness. After her head and vision clear, she looks around and discovers that once again, some villain has her tied down. This time she's on some kind of lab table. There are metal cuffs on her wrists and ankles and something around her neck. Whatever trap she's in, this one is definitely different. She's still bathed in that strange light and still can't see anything beyond the cone of odd bright green light.
And once again, she's naked.
She tries to pull on the cuff holding her right hand to the table. At first, she's heartened when the cuff begins to give way, then suddenly she screams "AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!" when her body once again burns with the incredibly intense pain she felt in the warehouse. For several long seconds, the loud humming sound fills the air around her screams and her body twitches and shakes on the metal table. She finally collapses and surrenders consciousness as indescribable pain rips through her body.
* * * * *
Kate Windrunner slowly begins to regain consciousness again and quickly discerns that she's still chained to the table. "Nnnhh ... cuffs must be linked to that ... whatever!" she realizes. "Smart move!"
"Ahhh, I see you're awake, my dear," a voice says off to her left.
"Again, that voice! I think ..." Kate muses as a little old man hobbles into the green light. Her eyes slowly go upward from the hand holding the cane to his puny chest and finally to his wrinkled old face.
"TRIMBLE!" she gasps when she suddenly recognizes the old man. The old man who, as a young doctor from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, subjected her parents to blood experiments which later created her and the odd little things, the Trimblers, in her blood system. The probable source of her super powers. "What happened to Dr. Banner?"
"I see you remember me, my dear," the man says. "There was no Dr. Banner. Don't you read comic books? As a super heroine, you really should. Dr. Bruce Banner was the secret identity of the Incredible Hulk!
"I guess I should have warned you to not try to escape. The cuffs are linked to the EMG and will turn it on if moved in a certain way. I would have warned you but you regained consciousness while I was busy elsewhere."
"EMG?" she asks, her eyes still blurry from pain.
"Electro-magnetic Generator. A very concentrated method of draining your energies from your Trimblers, my dear ..."
"STOP CALLING ME YOUR DEAR, you disgusting old fuck!" the woman demands.
Dr. Trimble looks at her for a moment and seems about to explode, but then his features soften and he continues, "As I was saying, I made the EMG to drain the energies from your Trimblers just as running a magnet over a cassette tape erases the music on it. I experimented with the, uh, the 'samples' I took from you during our last encounter and perfected this method to drain the little storage batteries in your blood. It's as effective at draining them as an electrical shock is at filling them with energy. And while you were unconscious, I was even able to take several samples of blood from you - a full pint, in fact!"
"You fucking vampire!" Kate hisses at the man. She's about to test the strength of the cuffs, then stops, recalling the intense pain they inflict on her. On her now-not-so-super body!
"Ah, yes, well ...," he says, slowly turning away from her. "We will conduct some studies on your blood, Kate. Then we will leave, if we have enough information. If my theories are correct, you will be leaving with us. Your days, my dear, of running around in spandex playing the super heroine are finished." With that, the old man walks away from the table.
"GET BACK HERE, YOU BASTARD!" Kate screams after the man. "YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO MEEEEE!!" she wails. A few feet away, a door slams and silence descends on the dark room. A second later and a woman's sobs can be heard in the room.
* * * * *
Many hours later, Kate is roused from a fitful slumber by powerful slaps against her cheeks. "Nnnh ... st-stop ... STOP IT!" she cries as her eyes finally open. She looks around and just beyond the bright green light bathing her bare body stands Dr. Trimble and a woman. Kate's mouth opens to form a 'no' at the sight of the redheaded woman wearing HER costume. Kate's Raven costume, a black catsuit with a small mask/hood covering her eyes and forehead, black calf-high boots and long gauntlet gloves, all made of special fibers by Wayne Industries in Gotham.
"Hey ... what's she doing ... that's MY costume!" an indignant captive says. "Now what are you up to, you twisted old fuck?"
"My, my, my, she's a feisty one, isn't she," the redhead says, slowly dragging her gloved hand over one of Kate's large breasts. The heroine shudders and struggles slightly, trying to avoid the woman's touch without setting off the EMG beneath her. Then the black-clad woman SLAPS Kate's face so hard it brings tears to her eyes. "Don't you DARE disrespect this man in my presence again, little girl. Next time I'll REALLY hurt you!"
"Let me introduce you two," Trimble says. "Kate Windrunner, who used to call herself Raven, this is Chameleon, or as we like to call her, Cammy. Cammy, this is the woman who will give you more super powers. Why don't you take a few moments to show Kate your current super power?"
A bewildered Kate watches the young redhead move closer to the table. She then begins to stare intently at the captive. The redhead's face slowly begins to melt and reshape itself. Her hair ripples slightly and also seems to straighten and get darker. After ten or so minutes, the woman's face and hair begin to resolve into Kate's long black hair, high cheekbones, and light-olive hued skin.
"She looks like me!" Kate blurts out, suddenly realizing why the woman is in her costume.
"Exactly so, Katherine," Trimle says. "And she will go down to the Super Heroes Foundation and formally resign so 'you' can retire and get away from fighting villains. Then when you disappear, no one will come looking for you."
"You're crazy, you old fuck," Kate sputters. "No one will believe that she is me, even if she does look a bit like me!" Cammy glares at Kate, then pounds her fist into Kate's belly. This time when her body convulses violently from the pain and pulls on her cuffs, the EMG doesn't turn on. Obviously, Trimble turned it off to protect his protégé.
"I told you to watch your filthy mouth, bitch," Cammy snarls.
"I think you will find her to be a perfect copy of you, in every way," Trimble says a moment later. "You see, the blood I took from you says you are type 0, the universal blood donor type. So is Cammy, here. I've run typings and cross-matches between you two and, except for the Trimblers and some kind of milky film in your blood, you two are a perfect match. Once I find out what that film is, and whether we need to be concerned about it, I'll transfer your blood into Cammy and she will have your powers."
"You fuckin' bastard!" then "OOOWWWWW!!" when Cammy reaches down and severely pinches and twists Kate's two nipples.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk, such language, and from a super heroine!" Chameleon says. "You're really asking for a pounding, aren't you? Don't forget, I've got your powers and you don't have any, so when I hit, you'll REALLY feel it!"
"Now, Kate," Trimble continues a moment later, "what can you tell me about this film in your blood? It was not in the, uh, the samples I took from you in South Dakota," the old man asks.
Kate thinks for a moment, then realizes that he must be talking about the chemicals she inhaled at MixMaster's farmhouse lab. That's what must be in her blood stream. "How would I know," she lies. "You're the fuckin' scientist. You figure it out."
Cammy raises her hand up to strike Kate but the old man grabs her wrist and says, "That will do, Cammy. She's right, I am the scientist here. We will figure it out, of course, but I thought you might tell us so you can avoid the painful explorative surgery I'd have to do to find out what that film is. I don't have any fancy X-ray machines here so I'll have to go into you, poke around, see what I can find to explain the film."
Kate's ear-shattering scream drowns out the laughter of Trimble and Chameleon.
* * * * *
"Is the boss free?" the black-clad woman asks Meg, the receptionist at the Super Heroes Foundation office.
"Yes, Raven, he's free, go on in! How did the job go?" The woman ignores Meg and strides down the hall to Stan Kelso's office.
"Can we talk?" the woman asks Kelso as she enters his office. She slides easily into his chair, like a slinky cat, enjoying the way the man's eyes watch her.
"How did the Grapevine job go?" Kelso asks after the woman seats herself.
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I quit. I'm sick of fighting criminals and I'm sick of being a goddamned guard dog. I want a life. I want out."
"You signed a contract! We've made quite an investment in you, Raven. You can't just walk in here and quit!"
"Watch me," the woman says, rising out of her seat and stepping toward the door.
Kelso rises and chases after the woman. He manages to place a meaty paw on her right bicep just after she leaves his office. He tries to stop her or spin her around to face him but the woman quickly reaches up and grabs his hand in hers. She squeezes it until the chubby little bureaucrat falls to one knee, wincing in pain.
"Uunnhhh, stop ... you-you're crushing my hand!" he gasps until she tosses his hand out of hers, like a piece of trash that's somehow come into her hand. She looks down at the man, holding his hand to ease the pain, and viciously strikes downward, hitting the side of his jaw with her clenched fist. Kelso topples onto his side, almost unconscious.
The woman briskly walks through the foyer and out the glass doors as Kelso lies on his side and cradles his sore hand. Across the reception area, Banshee and Falcon watch the attractive black-haired heroine leave.
* * * * *
The next few days are a blur to Kate Windrunner. At least that sick bastard used anesthesia when he cut her open. By the time he finished working on her, there was a long slash across her belly where the man did his exploratory surgery. She is now on a bed under the green light, with several monitors connected to her body and two IV drips, one per arm. Thick leather cuffs bind her wrists to the bed's headboard. She can't see her lower body but her legs are also restrained and she senses there is something, probably a catheter, between her legs.
When Kate regains enough senses to realize that she IS lying on cotton sheets, she begins to sob softly. She's no longer allergic to cotton?! That means her Trimblers are not being drained by the plant fibers in the sheet. She no longer has her super powers.
Kate drifts in and out of consciousness as Trimble gives her strong shots of codeine to reduce the pain she might feel from his surgery. When she does regain a bit of reason, she tries to find some way to escape her bondage. Without her powers, though, she can't do anything while she's bound to this bed. At least the pain in her stomach has all but vanished.
Kate is almost happy to have her boring routine interrupted by a visit from Trimble and Chameleon. "You won't get away with kidnapping me! The others will ..."
"The others will do nothing!" Cammy snaps. She tells Raven how she, or rather, 'Raven', resigned from the SHF. "They won't come looking for you, unless it's to punish you for roughing up that little fat guy who runs the office."
Kate looks at the woman, too shocked to reply. Trimble interrupts her reverie by saying, "Cammy was given a pint of your blood and it increased her strength to at least five times what it was before. The effect was so dramatic that yesterday I exchanged most of your blood for hers. If necessary, we will continue to give her your blood from time to time until either the Trimblers begin to self-replicate within her or they no longer appear in your blood. Then, my dear, we will no longer need your services. Unless you still have Trimblers in you and I decide to endow more people with your powers."
"Why ... why'd you do it?" Kate asks the woman who looks so much like her.
"The doc here is helping me become an invincible super person. At this point I don't know if I want to be a super heroine or a super villainess. I think that when I look like you, I'll be a super villainess. Don't villains wear black? That would be fun, wouldn't it?"
"Quite simple, my dear," Trimble explains. "A few weeks ago, Cammy came to my attention and we had a long discussion. She was a simple shapeshifter at that time, working for the SHF in Minneapolis. We discussed the possibility of transferring powers from one meta-human to another. You are the first test. Cammy was able to look like you and now she has become you! Thanks to your blood and my Trimblers, she has become the Raven. Next we must see what powers we can steal from other super heroes. Maybe we will find one who flies ..."
Tears fill Kate's eyes as Trimble and Cammy leave her alone in the dark.
* * * * *
"Here's where her locator is," Stan Kelso brusquely says to Force and Banshee. Kelso points to a map of the northern Dallas area and a specific neighborhood. All are seated around Kelso's desk in his office. Force is a short Latina who wears a pink body suit with a pink hood, white boots, and a white & pink cape. Her super power is the ability to shoot an invisible psionic beam from her hands, a beam powerful enough to cut through steel.
"Use this gizmo," and he hands Banshee a small device that looks like a stun gun, "and it will lead you the rest of the way to where she's hiding. I just hope she didn't pull that locator device out of her costume. She's always seemed smart so she might have done it, but then she slugged me, and that was plain stupid."
"Do you have some handcuffs or rope that will hold Raven?" Force asks softly. "She is a very strong woman."
"Take some rope with you. And guys, do anything you need to do to bring her back here, dead or alive."
Banshee nods 'yes' but when Force begins to protest, Kelso raises his hand, palm toward the slight heroine, and shakes his head 'no'. "Just do the job," he tells them. The two super heroes leave Kelso's office, with Force shaking her head slightly, unable to comprehend why they must do this to Raven.
* * * * *
Some time later, maybe a day later, Kate awakens from a troubled sleep, full of dreams of being beaten mercilessly by Raven - by Cammy as Raven. As the woman lies on the sheets, sweat on her brows, she suddenly begins to squirm in her bondage. After a second of thought, she realizes that her back is on fire! Feels like fire ants are eating her alive!
"They're back!" she exults. The burning sensation means she has enough Trimblers in her body to make her susceptible to the draining effect of those cotton sheets. The pain is similar to that which she felt the first time she walked barefoot on grass.(4) Then the pain seems to double in intensity and she begins to scream. Kate screams and screams as her back burns from the energy drain.
After a few minutes of screaming, Kate finally hears someone walking purposefully toward her in the darkened room. A heartbeat later and one of the men who drove the truck from the airport reaches her bedside. "Shut the fuck up, whore!" the man says, slapping the woman's cheek. Then he reaches down and places on of his meaty hands over one of her large 36C breasts and squeezes it several times. He grins savagely as the woman struggles weakly and protests.
Kate squirms under his crude grasp, but mainly because her back feels like it is on fire. The man, Leo, merely thinks she's turned on by his attentions. "Like that, hunh, bitch?" he says, smiling at her. He places his second hand over her other breast and begins to play with both of them, squeezing them, pinching the dark pink nipples atop each.
Finally a plan begins to form in Kate's mind. "Ooohhh, yeah! That feels sooo good," she says in a deep, throaty voice. "I just wish you'd, you know, do more than play with me. Oooooohhhhh, yeah, baby!" she moans.
"Who's yer daddy?" the man says.
"Mmmnnnhhh. Would you ... ooohhh ... would you get in trouble mmmmnnn if you untied my ooooohhhh legs and aaaahhh," she lies expertly, anxious to get off these damned cotton sheets.
"I'll let one ankle free. That's all I need to get into you," Leo says, stroking her breasts. He bends over the woman and sucks on her other breast, then lightly nibbles on her budding nipple. "Yeah, I can tell you need this!" he says, stopping long enough to remove the cuff around her right ankle. "Now, this might hurt," he says, laughing, as he pulls the catheter out of Kate. She does buck on the bed and cry out, partly from that pain, but also from the fire burning her backside.
Before the man can do anything else, Kate swings her free leg up and clips his jaw with tremendous force - force fueled by her returning super powers. Leo's head snaps backward and a loud <CRACK> sounds, then the man's body lifts off the floor and flies up and backward several feet, hitting the floor with a loud <THUD>. Just in case she didn't snap his neck, Kate knows she must move quickly.
Kate twists her lithe body until her right foot is against the bed headboard above her right wrist cuff. Then she pushes against the headboard with her foot while her right hand pulls the wrist cuff away from the headboard. The ball of her foot burns intensely from its contact with the wooden headboard, but Kate knows she will have just this one chance.
"<UUUNNHH> ooohhh ooowwww <UNH> al-almost ... YESSS!" she grunts when the metal chain linking her wrist cuff to the bed snaps. She quickly rolls onto her left side and uses both hands to pull her left wrist cuff away from the headboard and this chain also snaps. Finally, she sits up in bed and uses both hands to snap her left ankle cuff off the bed. The first thing she does then is to drop onto the floor, away from the painful contact with the bed's sheets.
"I better get outta here and hope I have a chance to rest up before tackling Trimble and Chameleon," Kate says to herself. "Won't be the first time I had to run home naked." As she heads toward the bedroom door, she hears a loud <CRASH> from outside her room.
* * * * *
Force and Banshee arrive at a small house in New Carrollton, one of Dallas' northern suburbs. It's around 10 a.m. and the normal heat of the day is just starting to warm the air around them. The duo reach the front door and Banshee barks a powerful sonic blast at the door <CRASH>, blasting it off its hinges and back into the house. Force rushes into the doorway and as a thug comes out of the living room toward them, carrying an Uzi, the heroine fires a psi blast at the man that knocks him backward into the living room. He crashes over furniture and finally stops, lying against one wall.
They enter the house and suddenly spot an old white guy and *Raven* running toward the back door. Before either one can speak, the two fleeing villains reach the back door, *Raven* behind Trimble, and as Trimble's hand touches the doorknob, both Force and Banshee 'fire' at the other two. Two powerful blasts, one psi, one sonic, hit *Raven* on her back. The incredible power of the two hits slams *Raven* against Trimble's back, crushing the old man's body between the wooden door and her almost invulnerable body. At the same time, the blows knock the woman unconscious.
Force and Banshee slowly approach the two crumpled bodies and gasp when *Raven's* long black hair slowly morphs into short red hair. "What the fu...?!" Banshee says as the woman changes before his eyes.
"This isn't right," Force says, nudging the black-clad body with her toe, rolling the woman onto her back. Again the SHF members gasp as *Raven's* features blur before their eyes, then resolve into someone who, even through the mask, looks different from the woman they know as Raven.
Suddenly a noise behind them makes Force and Banshee spin on their heels and drop into crouches. A door down one hallway opens and short naked woman slowly steps into the hall. She halts, looks one way, then another, and gasps when she spots the two others looking at her. The naked woman immediately covers her breasts and crotch with her hands and lets out a squeal before ducking back into the bedroom.
A second later, Kate again emerges from the bedroom and meets her friends, now standing outside the room. "Hi," she says sheepishly, covering her torso with Leo's leather jacket.
"Hi yourself," Banshee says, smiling. "Uh, you're out of uniform, Raven."
"Kelso is PISSED at you, girl!" Force adds, reaching forward to hug Kate. Force's pink spandex costume feels cool and comfortable to Kate after lying for so long on that all that cotton. "Tell me," she whispers conspiratorily, "was it you or that imposter who decked Kelso?"
"WHAT? She DIDN'T! A-hahahahah!" Kate roars. She laughs so hard she drops the coat and Banshee abruptly turns away, his face turning a sharp red shade. When Kate finally stops laughing, she says with mock sincerity, "I could NEVER hit poor old Kelso. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!"
"Uh, look, before any of us gets into more trouble with Kelso, why don't we get you dressed and call Kelso and the police?" Banshee says, breaking the mood of joy at Raven's rescue.
* * * * *
Back in her apartment the next day, Raven thinks back to her captivity. At the end, the contact with the cotton sheets bothered her, but it was no worse than her experience before she inhaled MixMaster's chemicals. She decides to test a theory and, now dressed in civvies, she goes outside and gingerly touches her palm to a nearby tree. Of course she yelps and yanks it away right after touching the tree bark and shakes her hand. There was a bit of pain and sparks as she removed her hand, but nothing serious. Then she slips on a glove from her Raven costume and again touches the tree. Nothing. No drain, no pain.
Kate e-mails Batman a short time later about her experiences with Trimble, who is in the hospital with a number of broken bones and other ailments. She also tells the Dark Knight about her experience with the tree. A few hours later, she eagerly reads Batman's reply.
"The EMG Trimble used on you plus the transfusion of most of your blood into Chameleon probably removed most of the chemicals from your blood system. Over a day or so, your body made more Trimblers for your blood system. Absent the chemicals, your normal powers and weaknesses were restored. I think we can conclude that you're cured.
"Robin says to say 'Hi' to to you. Good luck, Raven," and his message ends.
* * * * *
The three members of the Dallas office of Intergang meet again somewhere in the city. All three wear brown hooded cloaks to disguise their identities from each other. Only the chairman knows who all are. "Someone was able to pass herself off as Raven this week. Had Kelso fooled. The woman's now in the hospital jail, near death. Apparently her blood was monkeyed with and now she's come down with some kind of blood poisoning.
"I also intercepted some e-mail traffic between Raven's computer and Batman. Seems she has some kind of vulnerability to trees or something that the Foundation doesn't know about. So our little girl has secrets! Wasn't able to make much sense of the messages but apparently something was wrong with her and it's now no longer a problem. In any event, she hasn't been poking around in MixMaster's background so we're safe for the moment. I think it's time to resume our operations in Dallas. Let's start making money, my friends! And with the Metropolis office out of business, we won't have to send a tithe to them! HAH hah hah hah hah!"
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(1) Raven Takes Wing, Part 6 <return to the story>
(2) Raven Strike #3 <return to the story>
(3) Missions of Supergirl #4 <return to the story>
(4) Raven Takes Wing, Part 5 <return to the story>