She Hulk of Earth 2, Chapter 6 (illustrated)
By Eegore, email@example.com
Sheila is desperate to regain her powers. But can she do it?
They wouldn't give her a clock. The room had no windows other than the square glass in the door leading to the hallway. But she could tell, by the activity near her door, that it was the graveyard shift.
Sheila Huckaby lay awake in her hospital bed, afraid to sleep, afraid to move. It had been several hours, she was sure, since Dr. Blonsky had left. And he hadn't left in a very good mood. Their encounter had only served to turn her into a whimpering mess, fully unable to answer any of the scientist's pressing questions. So he stomped out, but not before he assured her he would be back the next morning, hoping to find her in a more cooperative state.
He whipped open the door to her room and shut it firmly. Through the window, she saw Blonsky stop and talk animatedly with an older, heavy-set officer. Her eyes widened with recognition: It was Gen. Zaponian, the commander of McNair Air Force Base and a good friend of her dad. It was Gen. "Zapper" who had helped get her the job as a janitor here. As a child, she and her father would sit at the general's table at formal dinners. He took to calling her "Little One," and still does today.
She couldn't hear the conversation, but it was clear Dr. Blonsky was expressing his displeasure to the general, who looked very weary. Zaponian's wan expression didn't change as Blonsky terminated his tirade and moved out of sight. Slowly, Zaponian turned toward Sheila's door, stepped forward and placed a hand on the window. Their eyes met, and Sheila could see a constricting sadness. He broke off his gaze, looking down. Seconds later, he walked away.
In the hours since that encounter, Sheila had been adrift in self-pity. She stared into the semi-darkness of her featureless room. I'm a lab rat, she thought. Nothing more or less. They're going to poke me and chop me and interrogate me until they get what they want. And if they don't - they're going to throw me out with the trash.
She wondered how something so wonderful, so precious, could have gone so wrong. Thanks to an on-the-job accident at the McNair weapons lab, she had enjoyed several hours as a fantasy come true ' a 7-foot-2, green-hued giantess packed with outrageous curves, incredible muscles, and powers and strength she had had no time to fully comprehend. She had lifted a tractor-trailer cab in each hand, then heaved them into the air and atomized them with gamma blasts from her hands. She had dropped numerous jaws with a stroll through her hometown. And she had saved a child from being hit by a truck. Of course, seconds after that rescue - that's when something went wrong. She still had no idea why it happened. All she could sense was that something inside her broke, and it all went away, pouring out of her in an excruciating rush.
And now she was back to the old Sheila ' 5-foot-7, overweight and afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, an affliction compounded by the fact that after the military captured her, they kept her sedated for nearly three months. Since she had awakened for the first time this morning, she had worked on moving her limbs. She now could raise her arms a few inches from the mattress and bend her legs a few degrees. But could she hold a water glass, push a button - or walk? She didn't know, but she wasn't confident.
Sheila continued to stare at the ceiling. She struggled to understand how she could go from unimaginable freedom to certain death in such a short time. It was so unfair. She believed firmly that she had earned ' deserved ' those superhuman gifts after all her years of social isolation and physical pain. And her encounter with the little boy ' the rescue ' had shown her that those gifts could be shared with others.
Dr. Blonsky was convinced that her incredible transformation could be duplicated ' on someone else. I guess I'm not obedient enough to be super soldier material, Sheila thought ruefully as she ran her hand over the fleshy spare tire around her waist. Well, I'm definitely 4-F now.
An idea ' an unquestionably insane idea ' was forming in her head. Something Dr. Blonksy had mentioned - if she could get her hands on it, maybe she could - Then again, she thought, there's the lesson of Sgt. Buscema. She shivered as her mind replayed the video images of the soldier, pumped full of her blood, exploding under the effects of the Gamma Cannon. She frowned. Maybe I'll never be big and beautiful again. Maybe it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. A fluke. Come and gone -
For some reason, though, she couldn't convince herself of that. Perhaps it was because she missed that Amazon body, and the possibilities and freedom it contained, so badly. Perhaps it was because she harbored a glimmer of understanding as to how the transformation occurred. Perhaps it was because - she didn't want to die.
Whatever the reason, Sheila's heart began to beat a bit faster when the guard just inside her door slipped out into the hallway to chat up the on-duty nurse. It was the third time in, she guessed, the past two hours that he had gone out there. The last time, he was gone for about 15 minutes.
I'm insane. Stark-raving loony, Sheila thought as she gritted her teeth, reached over and stripped off the adhesive holding the IV in her left arm. She set her jaw, grasped the tube and quickly pulled out the needle. A sharp sting brought tears to her eyes. She pulled aside the sheets and swung her left leg off the bed. Her joints howled in protest. God, it hurts. How could these monsters have kept me half-dead for three months? It's like I have to learn to walk again. Using the bed's railing for leverage and support, she pulled herself upright on the bed, then slid her feet to the floor.
She barely had enough energy to stand. She felt woozy. But she had seen something on a table next to her nightstand. Holding her arms out for balance in the semi-darkness, she wobbled to the table and put her hand around a glass jar. The lid, thankfully, was loose. She opened it, bent over and sniffed, recoiling from the acrid fumes.
Woo, powerful stuff. Strong enough for - oh god, I can't believe I'm doing this. Sheila picked up a hand towel from the table, folded it several times, then poured the jar's pungent contents onto the material. She picked up the towel, holding it away from her, and stepped gingerly behind a privacy screen about five feet from the door. Then she waited.
She feared her beating heart was so loud it would give her away as the guard returned. Without looking at the bed, he closed the door and sat in his chair. Sheila looked up, took a deep, slow breath and, summoning all the strength and balance she could, emerged from the screen and walked toward the soldier. She was to the right and slightly behind him, coming closer. Standing right behind him, holding the towel away from her body. Bringing her arm around slowly, slowly- then swiftly slapping it across the guard's mouth and nose.
The man, who was at least a foot taller than Sheila, gulped in surprise, taking in a lungful of tainted air. He lurched out of his seat, tried to stand, groped backward with one hand while trying to pull out his sidearm with the other. Sheila hung on, pressing the towel to the struggling man's face. Then they pitched forward, together, to the floor, the guard coughing, Sheila moaning as she landed on her elbow. The guard's coughs sucked in more air, and he twitched once, twice, and was still.
For several seconds, Sheila lay across his still form, unable to catch her breath, incapable of taming the wild thoughts careening through her head. She feared someone had heard them, but no one came. Finally, she got up on her knees and, with no small effort, rolled over the guard. She began unbuttoning his shirt. Crazy. Absolutely insane, she thought as she unbuckled his belt. Where is this James Bond chutzpah coming from? Could it be - her?
Fifteen minutes later, Sheila was standing at the doorway, dressed in an ill-fitting Army uniform. The sleeves and pants bunched up at her wrists and feet. The shirt was tucked in as deeply as she could muster. She pushed her thin, shoulder-length brown hair under the cap. She felt the holstered gun on the belt. Despite her upbringing as an Army brat, she had never fired a weapon. Despite the high stakes here, she didn't want to resort to using it if at all possible.
OK, girl. This is it. Strength. Focus-and let's go.
She opened the door and stepped into the hallway. The corridor was dimly lit. There was a desk about 20 yards away; she could see the nurse sitting there. Sheila gave a small wave, then pointed the opposite direction. The nurse nodded. Closing her eyes and taking another deep breath, Sheila began walking down the hallway. Her body still ached with every step, but there was a resolve building within that seemed to strengthen her withered limbs. And luckily, at this late hour, there were no other personnel around. She knew what she wanted, but could she find it?
Yes, I can, she thought as she started to recognize signs and door numbers. She knew this place. It isn't the base infirmary, it's the weapons lab. In her days as a janitor here, she became familiar with every room and hallway. And so, she knew, it was just a matter of time before she would be standing at the door of the room in Sector G.
Sure enough. There was the door, about 25 yards away. Sheila's heart was a jackhammer. Blood was pounding in her head. She reached for the door latch with a trembling hand. It was locked. Key. I need a key. Where-She patted her baggy pants and felt something flat and solid. She pulled it out; it was the guard's security card. She swiped it through the access panel, and the door emitted a sharp click. She pushed it open.
So, here we are again. She reached back and flicked on one bank of lights, just as she had done in her janitorial days. The large, gray room was washed in a fluorescent glow. A few tables had been moved, but otherwise the layout was the same as it had been three months ago. Sheila walked across the room to a darkened corner. There, in the shadows, was the MT37 Gamma Cannon. A shiver shot through her as she ran her hand across the armature. Hey, old buddy, good to see you again. Wish it could be under better circumstances.
She removed her hand from the cannon and began to look around. Though she was well aware of what the gamma device had done to her once, she didn't plan to use it again. She looked at a large cabinet a few feet from the cannon. There was an access panel. She swiped it with the card and opened the cabinet doors. She gasped, then pressed a hand to her mouth.
Five rifles were hanging on black hooks. But these didn't look like any rifles she had ever seen. They had translucent tubes snaking down the barrel, and a metal-and-glass contraption bolted to where the sight should be. The stock seemed to be carved from aluminum, and reflected the room's dim light.
Sheila stood stiffly, rocking back and forth a bit, and if she were standing at the edge of a canyon. Dr. Blonsky's word echoed in her head: - We were conducting early tests on hand-held gamma weapons. There was much that Sheila didn't understand about her amazing transformation, but she was sure of this: She needed gamma radiation to make it happen. And, she had reasoned, if she can regain the power - and if she somehow loses it again - she doesn't want to have to sneak back into the weapons lab every time. She needed another source of gamma energy. A portable one.
And - one of these could do it. I could keep the power with me, be Sheila the big, green Amazon whenever I want. Or- and there was that image again of Sgt. Buscema, chunks of his body hurling across the room - I could be committing suicide. Or I could go back to my room and be dead within days. Hell of a choice.
Suddenly, a light above the door to the lab began flashing red. Sheila knew what it meant; they had discovered her disappearance. All on-duty personnel would be scrambled to the lab facility and, she thought, if Blonsky was alerted, they would be directed to this room very quickly.
Out of time. Out of choices. She set her jaw, and purposefully lifted one of the rifles from the rack. Nowhere to run, Sheila, old girl. Time to roll the dice: Certain death, possible death or massive muscles? Oh god, I don't want to die-
The gun was heavy enough to make it difficult for her frail arms to handle. Its surface was cold. She pressed a switch near the trigger, and low hum emerged from the large construct atop the stock. A faint, green glow crept down the tubes. Sheila could feel a mechanical vibration that made her fingers tingle.
OK. This is it. Carefully, she turned around the rifle so the barrel was facing her. One arm was stretched out so her hand could grasp the center of the gun; with her other hand, she placed the thumb across the trigger. She had barely enough strength to hold the gun steady. She couldn't hold it much longer. She pressed the barrel into the soft flesh of her stomach. Her lower lip quivered. She began to cry.
"Please, I don't want to die," she whispered. "Please, please give it back to me. Please -"
A thick bolt of green light roared out of the barrel and slammed into Sheila. She stumbled backward. Her knees buckled. But she held on to the rifle, which was buzzing like a hornet's nest. Sheila's arms and legs bounced as raw gamma radiation poured into her, surrounded by a warm emerald glow and small sparks of energy.
Sheila yelped as the energy first bored into her; it felt as if someone had cut her open with a hot knife. But the pain was overcome swiftly by a thick wave of warmth. The waves started slowly at first, as if the sensations were groping for a handhold or getting their bearings. Then they began to build in intensity, criss-crossed by hot flashes then made Sheila close her eyes tightly and loll her head.
Then several things happened at once, all out of touch from Sheila's conscious mind. The radiation soaked into every cell, which her original transformation has changed into insatiable gamma batteries. Her subconscious, which years ago had fed her dreams with superheroic fantasies in which she escaped her frail body, unlocked the template of a body that defied physiological and sexual boundaries. Her cells ' her body ' responded by grasping for that template.
"Oooohhh, gaaawwd, it's happening!" Sheila moaned as the hot flashes reached between her legs, setting her hips into a long, rolling motion. She held the gamma rifle in a paralyzing grip as she lapped up mountainous ergs of power. She opened her eyes, and they glowing lime green.
A long groan issued from her, but it didn't come from her throat. It seemed to come from everywhere, as her body, quivering and bucking with impatience, came alive. Sheila's thoughts were taking the same wild ride, careening around sizzling spikes of pleasure and vivid images of her flesh dancing over mounds of emerald muscle and sweat turning to steam against sizzling skin. She breath came in urgent, sharp rasps. She felt pressure building within her, pushing outward, demanding release. The hand holding the gamma rifle tightened its grip, its knuckles turning white.
And then, Sheila felt a vague sense of vertigo, as if her world was being shoved off its axis. She heard the groans, accompanied by an indefinable squishing sound. The guard's bunched-up trousers slid across her flesh. She was growing taller. Sheila felt the same sensation on the shirtsleeves and on the fabric across her chest. Her legs, her arms were stretching, shifting her center of gravity as her rocking hips rose farther from the floor.
Conscious thought was difficult. Every grasp for rationality was interrupted by a sensual rush that made her want to caress herself, to touch everything. The feelings were the same was the first transformation, but they also were different. The pleasurable sensations seemed to come more quickly this time and, of course, she had some sense of what was to come. The added sensation of anticipation was nearly more than she could bear.
In one swift movement, she pulled her finger from the rifle's trigger and dropped the weapon to the floor, where it protested with a metallic clang. A blinding, green glow lingered across her abdomen. She placed her hands on her stomach and rubbed them across the shirt, her skin tingling. She brought her hands higher, tracing circles around her small breasts. Her mind bellowed, her body ached with the need for release. Sheila's shimmering eyes narrowed to sparkling slits.
"Bring it on," she rasped. "Bring-it-on."
Sheila felt the pressure under her flesh shift to something else. To movement. She ran a hand across an upper arm, feeling it expand, filling the once-oversized sleeve, tightening against the fabric. She made a fist with her other hand and saw tendons leap and thicken on the forearm. The sleeve cuff was creeping up the arm, exposing her wrist. Sheila looked down and saw green sheet lightning dancing under her skin. She bent the arm at the elbow, and she nearly leaped at the transformation's first ripping sound as gashes opened in the sleeve on either side of a full, firm bicep that jumped and pulsed and grew. Above her arms, her shoulders rose up and out, building long, round curves and pulling her collar in opposite directions.
Sheila swooned as the power's throbbed inside her, its waves building in frequency and intensity. Ooohhh, it's better than last time -
Her growing frame, now well beyond 6-foot-2, pulled the guard's shirt away from the pants, exposing glistening flesh under which her fat had melted away, replaced by increasing undulations and a green tinge that was taking hold and spreading across her pale skin. There was a sharp fwap as the belt on the slacks broke from its buckle, surrendering to hips that were growing as wide as her waist was narrow. She rubbed her hands on her stomach, moaning as she probed farther down, pressing her lengthening fingers against her thighs. Long, thickening tendons from hip to knee had filled her pants to point of bursting. And then they did, as the slacks popped open, revealing an expanse of jade flesh. She furrowed her brow and flexed her thigh and the tear opened wider, pressed against the rising hills of her quadriceps.
The cuff of the slacks was now halfway up her calves. Sheila smiled and rose up on her toes. Her calf muscles bulged in response, ripping through the gray material. She rocked back on her heels, then almost buckled at the knees as the largest wave of warmth yet plowed through her. The button at her shirt collar had already popped off under the pressure of her widening shoulders. Now gaps opened between the buttons down her chest. Her back carved out peaks and valley and pressed outward, forming a widening "V" and blasting through the seams down the down of her shirt. The shifting flesh beneath the shirt dragged the material across erect nipples that were beginning to turn a dark shade of green and glow with dancing emerald light. Sheila took a sharp breath, swelling her ribcage and popping a button.
She exhaled, but her chest didn't contract. It was expanding in all directions, spreading across her growing pectoral muscles, rising outward, forming two sweat-glistened spheres. She pressed her hands under her breasts as they pulled the shirt apart, shooting two more buttons into the air. She brushed her fingertips across the tips of her nipples, causing a violent shudder from head to toe and triggering a burst of growth. She shot up to 6-foot-10. Muscles swelled ever larger, bursting through the tattered remains of the guard's uniform. Her hair moved like a thing alive, lengthening and thickening and transforming from mousy brown to a deep shade of purple.
Sheila felt the intensity of the sensations begin to subside. She was regaining a bit of self-control as the pulses through her body slowed, but she was still growing, and lightning danced over flesh that was now a deep, forest green. She surpassed 7 feet in height. She smiled, her ivory white teeth framed by a smooth chin, sharp cheekbones and seething eyes. She reached up with her right hand and ran it through her dark-violet mane. She raised her other arm and bent the elbow, squeezing her bicep, which leaped in response. She wasn't making a fist, but the muscle still surged to a mountainous height.
"Mmmmmm. Oh, I can't believe it! It worked! I'm BACK!"
A loud bang behind her cut through her reverie. She spun like a lioness, knowing what she'd see before she saw it, crouching slightly, her muscles tensed. A small band of uniformed men were sprinting through the lab's door, guns and rifles all trained on her. The lead officer stopped suddenly, making the others stumble to a halt. He gun was still pointed at his target, but the weapon was shaking. Other officers dropped their guns to their sides, their eyes fixed on the only woman in the room.
Sheila sensed that she had seized control of this situation. She straightened up, an action that made some officers stumble backward. Then she took two steps toward them, bent down and picked up the gamma rifle. Sparks flew from her eyes as she smirked.
"Hey, boys. Quiet night, eh? Mind if I go for a stroll?" She began walking toward the door, her hips sliding against the last, clinging tatters of the slacks. A shredded strip of shirt draped across each breast, which rocked with every step. Half the officers stood agog. The other half, including the lead guard, brought their weapons to bear.
"Not another step, ma'am. We need to return you to, uh, custody," the leader said in his bravest voice.
"Little man, I'd like to see you try." She continued her stroll to the door. The officer squeezed the trigger. The sudden crack startled Sheila, but the result of the gunshot startled the guards even more. The bullet struck her abdomen with a barely audible thup, then rattled to the floor. Inside, Sheila's mind was racing. My god, he just shot at me! And - I didn't feel it. I - well, of course you didn't. You're a power-packin' hottie now, remember?
Outside, she just smiled. "Nice try, soldier. Now, if you'll excuse me." She continued toward the door. The guards opened a path. One reached out and brushed against her long, sensuous thigh. When the last two guards moved aside, she saw that only one person stood between her and the door.
"Dr. Blonsky. Is this a house call, or do you have something else in mind?"
The doctor stared at the emerald Amazon, his face blotchy and tense. "You can't leave, Sheila. Your power belongs to us, to science, to the military. We have so much to learn from each other. Don't you want to understand the secrets of this body, what it's capable of?"
The towering, impossibly curved woman before him just smiled.
"If you go, Sheila, know this," Blonsky sputtered, "you won't know a moment of peace. You will be hunted, every minute of every day."
Still smiling, Sheila took one step toward the doctor. Her left hand shot out and grabbed a large handful of his lab coat. Blonsky's eyes were like saucers as Sheila lifted him. The doctor's legs dangled in the air. His eyes were six inches from hers. He stared; he couldn't blink. Her eyes were like two pits of roiling, emerald lava. She pulled him closer. Then she kissed him, her thick, dark-green lips lingering against his. She yanked him away, and they were inches apart again. Blonsky's eyes were glazed and slightly crossed.
"Doctor," Sheila said, "your bedside manner sucks." She let go of his jacket and Blonsky fell to a groaning heap on the floor.
With the gamma rifle in her left hand, Sheila raised her right arm ' a motion that made her shoulder swim and bulge. Shards of lightning began to spin around her forearm. They rose and thickened around her hand, then coalesced into a neon-green ball that stretched into a thick beam that slammed through the ceiling, piercing the floors above and shooting into the sky.
She looked down at Blonsky, who had rolled onto his back. "I've got the power now, Blonsky," she said, lifting the rifle slightly. "It's mine. Not yours. That kiss is the closest to it you'll ever get."
She smiled again. "Goodbye, doctor." Then she bent her long, powerful legs and shot upward, through the gash in the ceiling and into the night.