“I'm sick of playing this game,” Police Chief Wanda Meyers told the prisoner sitting across from her in the interrogation room. The young woman's name was Melissa Dusa, better known to some as Gorgun. She a very beautiful girl, but behind her skin she carried the scars of years of bullying. Due to this she'd decided to get revenge using a mysterious raygun that could turn things to stone for one month, or so the lab technicians reported. The question was how did Melissa, an arts major, get her hands on such a weapon?
“Is it so hard to believe I made it myself?” Melissa asked the police chief innocently.
“Our best scientists still aren't entirely sure how it works, and you never even took the subject at school unless it was required,” Meyers pointed out. “Alright, enough of this. Take her back to her cell.” The two officers, Carl Davies and Alice Tilly, moved to help the handcuffed woman up.
“Remember, even if you cut off the head of the gorgon its gaze can still get you,” whispered Melissa. Meyers raised an eyebrow at that buy paid no mind to the statement. That's when Melissa suddenly ducked down touched her right index fingernail to her handcuffs. She pressed down the nail with her other hand, which caused the cuffs to suddenly turn into marble and shatter. As this was happening she rolled forward, causing the officers to turn and try to grab her. As both reached out Melissa touched them both with her nail, causing them to suddenly freeze in place. Carl was trying to duck down and grab the fallen woman, panic on his face, while Alice was reaching for her baton as her other hand groped the air in front of Melissa, her eyes flaring with annoyance. A moment later both officers had been transformed just like the handcuffs into solid stone, their uniforms, skin and hair all becoming the same color.
Chief Meyers was reaching for the intercom button in the room when Gorgun stuck her with the fingernail. Her eyes were wide with fear as she froze with her fingers mere inches from the button, her legs spread forwards. After a second she joined the other officers in the realm of marble statues. Smiling, Gorgun pressed her nail again, deactivating the secret device on top of it. Appearing like a normal fingernail, if it was pressed down it could petrify anything it touched. Melissa had received it from her visitor a day earlier, an errand boy for the man who'd invented her raygun.
Following her escape from the interrogation room Melissa encountered little resistance, most officers out on patrol or off-duty. She managed to get into the crime lab without too much trouble, only having to petrify four more people. She then found her signature weapon and took care of the lab assistant that had been studying it. Gorgun recovered her raygun then looked over at the eighth person she'd turned to stone. She was a cute researcher with short hair, glasses and a flowing lab coat, frozen in a state of complete fear, her arms raised and her mouth open. Melissa had always enjoyed her work when it came to young women around her age. She touched the woman's face and smiled. “If you only know how beautiful you looked to me right now,” she whispered.
* * *
“So what exactly does that mean?” Lilly asked Elsa over the phone. She was sitting on a park bench chatting on her cell phone. Addicted to jogging, Lilly had become aware in recent days of her bad luck while wearing her favorite outfit but all the same continued the trend.
“Well, thanks to this genetic mutation I discovered in you, it seems you naturally have incredibly bad luck,” explained Elsa in her lab. “It's like you project an aura of bad karma.”
“Great,” muttered Lilly. “Well, at least I'm still hot and rich, otherwise I'd be in real trouble.”
“Still, this might explain why those goblins were picking on you,” Elsa pointed out. “Just keep a sharper eye out from now on. With all these weird villains running around now, you'll probably draw a few out.”
“That's real encouraging,” mumbled Lilly, ending the call. Sighing, she got up and began to jog again. Following her encounter with Tick and Tock she'd decided to find out if she was being targeted for a reason. Now she know, though she couldn't quite believe it. She had a superpower, but it gave her bad luck. Unlike Lady Justice who could become really powerful or fly or Judgement Girl who could sense lies, she didn't really have a practical application for her ability, if it could even be called that.
Continuing to jog and feel sorry for herself, Lilly didn't notice Gorgun coming up behind her. Smiling, the villain fired her ray and Lilly instantly stopped in mid stride, her left arm forward with her right foot in the process of being lifted forward. Her face didn't even show that it had registered as she was turned to stone. Please with herself, Gorgun came up to Lilly and wrapped her arm around the petrified woman's waist. “Since I blame you for getting me arrested, I thought I should punish you,” she whispered into the new statue's ear.
“Hey you, stop!” came a voice. Gorgun turned to see a handsome older man come running towards her, wearing jeans and a muscle shirt. She knew him as Nathan Goldwin, the martial arts teacher that had been present when she'd been arrested. Eager to exact more revenge, she turned and fired her ray at the man, already picturing what he'd look like as a statue.
However, then something unusual happened. The beam struck Nathan, but he didn't turn to stone. He didn't even stop. He continued forward and moved to wrestle the gun from Melissa's grasp. Thinking quickly, Gorgun decided to favor retreat and fled. Nathan considered going after her but didn't want to leave Lilly unattended. Still, he was aware that the ray had hit him, but he was still flesh and blood. It had just moments ago worked on Lilly. He'd never been hit with it before, either. Could it be he was immune.
“Jess, it's me,” Nathan said into his phone a moment later. “Gorgun has escaped custody. I just ran into her here at the park. She zapped Lilly and tried to zap me, but it didn't work. You might want to go check the station.”
* * *
“Should I put her in the capsule?” Jason Humington asked his boss Elsa Louiselle at the lab. Nathan had dropped off Lilly and gone to find Lady Justice and Judgement Girl, who'd failed to call after going to check the police station. Elsa was now going over Lilly with a scanner device.
“No, I want to check something,” Elsa told her assistant. “Since Lady Justice made it a but, uh, hard for me to compare the data on the petrified victims with that of the raygun, this give me a chance to make up for it.”
“What are you hoping to find out?” asked Jason, suddenly slightly nervous. Elsa noted this and turned off the device, putting it down and sitting in her chair.
“You went to high school with Melissa Dusa,” Elsa said flatly. “You're a whiz at chemistry and genetics, Jason. Everything the raygun does is well within your capability to make. You designed it, didn't you?”
Jason said nothing for a moment, shocked that Elsa had figured it out. “Yes,” he finally said. “She came to me begging for help. I was a geeky virgin and she was a gorgeous woman willing to anything to get me to help her.”
“What in the blazes is wrong with you?!” shouted Elsa in anger, standing. “You managed to give a girl with serious issues a means to get revenge on the cruel world! How can you even consider yourself a scientist!”
“You know nothing!” snapped Jason. “Those same girls she wanted to get revenge on mocked me day after day! Why should science be for helping mankind when we can just as easily take it over with our genius?!”
“Get out, you monster!” roared Elsa, her hand on her hip and her other pointing at him. “Rest assured if Lady Justice or Judgement Girl was here I'd have them-” Elsa was cut-off in mid-sentence when a blue beam suddenly struck her. A moment Elsa's stern face became that of a stern statue. Jason turned to see Gorgun standing the doorway, her weapon pointed at the doctor.
“Boy does she like to ramble,” chided Melissa as Jason walked up to greet her. “How are you, Jason dear?”
At this her old friend smiled and embraced her. “Good to see you've escaped,” Jason told her, and their lips met for a moment. “Did you take care of the dynamic duo?”
“I hit their car while they were driving to the station,” Gorgun explained as she parted from Jason's arms. “They and their wheels, one big statue in the middle of the road. It even slid along and bumped into the back of a Honda. Good thing they were stuck to their seats, otherwise they'd be in pieces.”
“Don't talk like that,” Jason begged as he walked over to Elsa's console. “You know I hate the idea of killing people. I may want to take over something, but I'd like to avoid fatalities.”
“Hey, relax,” Elsa told him as he began to download some files. “I could of easily smashed all my victims, but I don't like the idea of killing people either. Isn't that why you made me this gun, not to mention the nail?”
“Good point,” admitted Jason as he finished his work. “Okay, I've got what I need. It's a shame I have to quit this job, but if Elsa knows then I'm screwed.” A disc ejected from the computer and Jason snatched it up. “Thanks to this though I now have the data I need to start my own lab. I'll just need to find funding...”
“Worry about that later,” Gorgun told him. “Come on, lets get out of here.” With that the woman left the room. However, Jason decided to stay a moment longer.
Walking up to the statue of Elsa, Jason grinned and tapped her on the head with his fist. “Anyone home?” he taunted. “Don't be so hardheaded Elsa. With what you know you could own this city. But now I'm the one that's going to do that.” He then kissed his first two fingers on his left hand and planted them on Elsa's stone lips before following Gorgun.
An hour later Nathan returned, having arranged for the superheroes to be transported to the lab. He discovered Lilly and Elsa but luckily after only a few minutes figured out how to make the machine restore them. Elsa then explained to him that Jason had created the Gorgon Ray, which just made him all the more angry. Still, in spite of it all he arranged to have a test done on him while waiting for his petrified girlfriend, her sidekick and their car to arrive.
Shortly after being scanned for genetic abnormalities, Elsa discovered something shocking. “You may not be a scientist, but you certainly have a beautiful mind, Nathan,” she told him. “Your years of training must have somehow awakened a gene within your brain that was dormant. It's strengthened the signals from your brain so much that your body can literally reject being transformed. Thus Gorgun can't do anything special to you, aside from the normal things a person can do of course. And as we know you're still vulnerable to things like Tick and Tock's magic, but at least there's one person who can be on hand when Gorgun attacks again that can stop her.”
“Great, I have cosmic bad luck and he can't get turned to stone?” whined Lilly. “This sucks! What did I ever do to deserve this? I mean, sure I-” Lilly was cut-off as Nathan had pointed a stasis field unit at her and triggered it, instantly rendering her immobile in the middle of her rant, her arms thrown up in annoyance and her face full of frustration.
“Was that necessary?” asked Elsa.
“Hey, that machine gave me enough of a headache as is,” explained Nathan. Both laughed at that.
* * *
“What the hell are you doing?!” demanded Jason as he hid behind the box in the the warehouse. A moment ago it had been a wooden crate, but now it was solid marble thanks to the Gorgun Ray. That's when Jason realized there were probably about a half-dozen names for the weapon, but didn't want to sit there listing them while Melissa was trying to turn him into a statue.
“Sorry love, but you're a loose end I can't have hanging around!” she told him as she fired again, missing the young scientist by a hair and instead petrifying the wall. “Face it! I have your best weapons, and what can you do? Nothing!”
Jason cursed under his breath. She was right, of course. He didn't have anything to stop her with. He'd left his stasis field generator at the lab, she had his petrifying weapons, what did that leave him with? He desperately wished he had some sort of genetic mutation that could get him out of the situation, but that was unfortunately not the case. Just then he felt a chill and suddenly realized his right hand was stuck to the ground! As he struggled to pry it off the cement, Gorgun rounded the box and level her gun in his face. “Feel the power of your greatest creation!” taunted Melissa.
Knowing he had only one chance, Jason's left hand wrapped around Melissa's wrist and pushed up. The ray fired and hit nothing important. But then something happened that Jason didn't expect. His right hand came free of the ground, but his left was stuck to Melissa's wrist. What was more was Melissa's eyes had gone wide and she'd become rigid, shaking slightly. “Co...” she managed. Then ice began to form around her as she stopped moving entirely. By the time Jason had let go, a thin layer of ice had completely encased Melissa and her weapon. She was frozen solid.
Looking down at his hand, Jason began to laugh. “Sorry, but but I'll have to give you the cold shoulder!” he quipped as he left the warehouse, eager to learn of the strange new occurrence. It seemed he had a genetic mutation after all, and he was no longer Jason Humington. Jason would spend the whole walk to his apartment coming up with nicknames, finally settling on Cold Fusion.
Continued in Fuel to the Fire...