Chapter 2 - Looking Back, Looking Forward
The Femforce HQ was crowded for a change as various members of the legendary group of heroines waited for the arrival of the government liaison, General Gordon, and the start of the meeting he had called. Judging by their actions, some of the group were anxious to get the meeting over with as quickly as possible so they could get on with their duties of protecting the world from super-villains. It wasn't often that they had to wait on someone else.
A silver haired buxom woman dressed in a tight fitting red spandex costume that ended just above her knees with matching thigh high boots was bent over looking over a newspaper and blowing bubble gum bubbles. Her eyes sparkled as she read through the pages quickly before she looked over at the woman sitting in the chair across from her. "Hey, Laura, that new band Blazing Skulls is playing tonight here in town. Can we go see em, please..??" Synn asked her fellow heroine.
Nightveil sighed as she looked into the energetic face of Synn, "You've forgotten about our touring the outskirts of the city trying to discover who's responsible for the recent disappearance of some of the prominentmodels and celebrities in the area. " said the purple and black cladsorceress " Tomorrow night, we'll go see your group, ok?"
A momentary look of disappointment crossed Synn's face before changing into a look of joy. "Cool beans! We get to see them tomorrow!" she said as she slowly levitated off the floor with a large portable radio appearing out of nowhere next to her in the air. Her incredible ability to create whatever she instantly thought of was tempered by the fact that she was prone to lapses in concentration during inappropriate times during battle. Synn was also prone to blackouts induced by her previous use of LSD as a youth so her reliability in battle sometimes was very unpredictable.
At the other side of the room, the crimson attired heroine known as She-Cat was leaning out a window looking on with some amusement as the jungle fighter Tara, a semi giantess in her own right, was trying on a new green and white spandex outfit by the pool. Next to her laying by the pool was the full giantess and sometimes associate to the group Garganta, dressed in a black and silver bikini that stretched tightly over her body. At well over 50 feet tall when fully grown, she was obviously a fearsome opponent in battle though her demeanor was of a kinder, gentler, person.
"Gee, where do those two go and shop for clothes...'Clothes for theGigantic Women'.. Ha!..." Jessica thought to herself as she gazed out at her buxom friends and team mates. She turned away and walked over to a nearby computer terminal where she accessed the daily news section, looking for a unique crime she could sink her claws into.
The erstwhile leader of Femforce, known to the general population as the powerful heroine Ms. Victory and to her fellow heroines as Joan Wayne, was slowly pacing around the meeting room waiting for the general's appearance while she mulled over the recent encounter of she and her fellow heroines with the bizarre criminal known as Stupid Guy. Dressed in a cartoony outfit and wielding a weapon that appeared to be nothing more than a collection of wire and plastic, he had transformed most of the Femforce into various erotically themed inanimate objects for his amusement. In Ms. Victory's own case, her transformation into a mindless blowup doll had been the most troublesome of all from her standpoint. Even after the bizarre villain's defeat and her reverting to human form, she was haunted by the experiences she had felt as an airfilled sex toy. It seemed from that point on whenever she got into physical hand-to-hand combat with any criminal and the adversary grabbed hold of her arms - or any part of her body - she felt herself subconsciously aroused and had to fight herself mentally from slipping into a passive love doll mentality.
"I've fought with savage demons bent on world destruction and stood up to would-be world conquerors without batting an eyelash yet some goofy guy with a Mickey Mouse hat turns me into a damned plastic sex toy and I can't keep those feelings or sensations of out of my mind!" thought the patriotically clad heroine to herself as she silently crushed the paper cup in her right hand.
She was about to call her psychologist and arrange for an appointment for herself when General Gordon stormed in with a copy of the day's paper tightly grasped in his right hand and a foul smelling cigar clenched tight in his mouth. He moved quickly to the center of the meeting room and rapped his knuckles loudly on the large round oak table.
"All right, ladies, get your pretty butts over here. I've got some serious stuff to debrief you about so take your seats here," he said brusquely to the assembled heroines in the room.
After the four women present in the room took their seats, the general moved to the head of the table and glanced towards the pool area. "Are those two outsized ladies there going to be joining this meeting sometime soon? I haven't got all day here!" he said gruffly.
"No, sir. Tara and Garganta asked that we give them the information afterwards. It seems they find the ceiling in this room a little too.. restrictive," said Nightveil quietly.
"Dumb broads.." the general muttered to himself before he began to speak. "All right, ladies, a few things I want to go over today. First off, your recent encounter with that bizarre criminal calling himself Stupid Guy has resulted in a number of problems. One is how such an innocent-looking weapon could give him the power to transmute matter. If more of the sethings exist elsewhere, we've got real problems on your hands."
"Ummmm.. General Gordon, we were told by Stupid Guy he got help from one of our arch enemies and there are no other such weapons as far as he knew. I really don't think there is a problem with tha, is there, huh...?" Synn spoke up in a helpful manner.
The general took off his hat for a moment and ran his right hand through his thinning hair in a sign of frustration before putting his hat back on. "With all due respect, Synn, I refuse to take the word of a whacko dressed in a goofy outfit as the absolute truth. From now on, if any of you spot a weapon used by a criminal you encounter with similar powers, you let me or one of my aides know right away, is that understood?" he said firmly.
The women nodded in unison while keeping private their thoughts of how remote a chance of that occurrence was of ever happening. Nightveil had cast a spell shortly after Stupid Guy's capture to sense if any similar type magic was present in the world and found not a trace. However, the heroines knew better than to argue with the general when his mind was made up; it was an exercise in futility so they remained silent as the general continued on.
"The next thing we need to discuss is how the press has been handled since that whole affair broke. Numerous articles have appeared in those nosy rags where interviews were conducted with some of that Stupid idiot's hirelings and business associates. They've claimed that some of you ladies didn't try particularly hard to avoid being transformed and that their boss was actually hired by you ladies to make copies of your temporarily inanimate forms and sell them over the internet for huge amounts of money. One of the local papers even reported in their gossip column that there was a woman going online under the id 'victory doll' doing role plays with other onliners where she would be transformed into a Ms. Victory love doll - of all the preposterous things!" Gordon snapped as he slammed down a copy of the day's paper.
The general then held up his right hand to quiet down the heroines before they began to chatter. "I know, there is no truth to any of this and most likely these fantastic fabrications are just a way to boost circulation. Nevertheless, let's try and be cautious when we talk to the local press after defeating the latest costumed clown who shows his or her face around here," he said gruffly jabbing a thick finger at the paper.
"Hmm..might be time for me to stop playing out my fantasies online.. at least for now.." thought Ms.Victory to herself as she looked at the general innocently, waiting for his next item of discussion.
General Gordon grunted as he pulled out a fairly thick folder from an aide's briefcase and started to thumb through it before looking directly at the heroines. "The reason I rehashed all this past stuff berforehand is that now we have a suspicion that a woman who used to work for us may now be responsible for several disappearances in the area. Her M.O. seems odd enough to warrant Femforce's scrutiny," he explained while passing out several glossy photos to the sitting heroines.
"Her name is Amanda -Mandy- Brooks and until a short while ago she was employed in a high level R & D department at the Pentagon. She was working with several others on some top secret projects dealing with making soldiers tougher to injure while in combat. It was while she was working on one project dealing with improving a soldier's resistance to cold and heat that there was an ' incident'. Mandy was exposed to some of the chemical compounds she had been working on which affected her both physically and mentally. She managed to escape our attempts to help her and is now out in the general public with an insane belief that only she can reverse her own deteriorating condition."
She-Cat raised her hand, "Umm... excuse me... what exactly did these chemicals do to this woman? Was she scarred or disfigured by this accident at all? Most important of all, what the heck does this have to with us at all?" she queried the general with a scowl on her face.
Gordon silently glared at the feline heroine before resuming his debriefing. "The woman, who calls herself Cosmetica now, has been spotted in several nearby states since she first eluded us. If the reports from eyewitnesses are to be believed, she seems to have gained the power to affect changes to living matter at the molecular level. Several people reported seeing men and women changed into inanimate objects of various types before being carted off by Cosmetica and her few associates for unknown reasons. We have no idea where exactly she'll strike next, though our analysts think by the pattern she's established that it's quite possible for her to make an appearance in this area. Soon."
The heroines looked at each other with knowing expressions as the General continued. Another villain to deal with.
want the Femforce to keep an eye out for this lunatic and capture her before
she causes any more trouble. However, no matter what, do not discuss the
nature of how she obtained her abilities with the press. I don't want
the public's faith in the military to be further damaged by any linking of this
Cosmetica to her past activities as a military scientist. If you ladies
do capture her, let me know immediately so I can arrange for her transfer to
a secure facility," the general said before picking up his papers and shoving
his files back into his briefcase.
"I wish you ladies luck in capturing Cosmetica and her lackeys. Just try to do it without causing any more embarrassing headlines in the papers if you don't mind. Good day!" the general grumbled before gathering up his things and storming out, followed closely by his aides.
Nightveil shook her head slowly. "He has no idea what kind of evils we face on a day-to-day basis. Nevertheless, we should be keeping a lookout for this Cosmetica woman as she does sound dangerous. I'll brief Dragonfly and Ms. Masque after She-Cat talks to Tara and Garganta. The first person to spot any signs that point to Cosmetica being nearby should contact the rest of the team immediately. In the meantime, it's business as usual. I'm heading out with Synn on patrol right away. C'mon, Synn, let's get going!" she said smoothly.
Synn popped the bubble gum bubble she was forming and jumped up. "Ok, Laura,maybe we can pick up some stuff for the concert after we catch the bad guys tonight, huh?" she bubbled enthusiastically. Nightveil, shaking her head slowly, headed outside and took to the sky followed closely by her team mate.
Ms. Victory watched her compatriots leave before turning to She-Cat. "Care to join me on a tour of the north side tonight, Jessica? I'm sure we can find this Cosmetica broad pretty easily if she's around or just take care of the usual scum that terrorize the citizens in that area if she's not," she asked confidently, planting a hand firmly on her slim waist.
The feline heroine shook her head as she threw on a short sleeved jacket. "I'll have to take a rain check on that tonight, Joan. I've got a tip that a biker gang which has been operating a drug smuggling operation in the area has plans to steal a major pharmaceutical shipment from a local warehouse. I have plans to be there to teach them to get their medication over the counter like everyone else. Ha!" Jessica said slamming her left hand which was balled into a frist into her outstretched right palm.
Joan nodded in understanding. "Ok. Well, let me know if you need a hand with anything or come across Cosmetica. I'm going to see if I can track down Dragonfly before heading out," she said before leaving the HQ with her thin patriotically themed costume wavering in the breeze.
Later that night......
Kelly glanced at her watch for the second time in five minutes as she stood behind the front counter of the furniture store she worked at. As part of a sales promotion, the store was open till midnight so there was still some customers and a few salespeople like herself milling around the store. She had just rung through a large sale and was frankly looking forward to hopefully a quiet last hour of her shift but the time seemed to crawl.
A voice seemingly out of nowhere interrupted Kelly's daydreaming. "Excuse me, miss, but I'm looking for a specific item that's rather unusual? I don't see it for sale out on the display floor anywhere and was wondering if you might have it in your inventory in back."
Kelly turned to see a young woman of average height and build standing near her with a warm smile on her face. However, the woman was wearing a long raincoat and what looked like heavy gloves and thigh boots, unusual clothing for a dry weather report. She looked a bit odd in her outfit but Kelly had worked at the store for some time and seen all kinds of strange people, not always customers, wander in.
Kelly called over a fellow salesperson to watch the counter and then ushered the customer to the back of the store where the storage area was located. "As you can see, we have a wide variety of stock; chairs, tables, couches and other pieces of furniture available. Is there something here you see here that fits what you're looking for?" the clerk asked pleasantly.
The customer smiled broadly after briefly gazing around. "Yes..yes I do. I was looking for one of those inflatable plastic chairs or love seats that were all the rageback in the 60's and I've already seen just what I want. " she said happily.
A puzzled look appeared on Kelly's face. "I don't think we have anything like that anywhere in stock. Perhaps you're mistaken.." the perplexed clerk said as she looked around the storeroom with her back to the customer, unaware that the buyer had taken off her raincoat and gloves.
"You misunderstand me, sweet thing. I don't want any of the furniture you have here.. I want YOU!!!" Cosmetica snarled as she spun the woman around and grabbed her firmly by the shoulders.
"NNNoooooo!!!!" screamed Kelly as loudly as she could before she abruptly went silent when her very body began to change both in shape and appearance. Her arms and legs seemed to be slowly swelling in size till her skirt and blouse literally flew apart at the seams. The swelling spread to her head and torso as her breasts swelled to almost impossibly large dimensions, sending her bra flying off like it was a tiny handkerchief. As Kelly's body swelled, her skin color changed from normal flesh and blood tones to a translucent pink with a very audible hissing sound now accompanying her rapid transformation. Her facial features seemed to recede or melt into her face, becoming nothing more than marks of paint where her eyes, ears, nose and mouth once were.
After another thirty seconds or so, the hissing sound stopped and Cosemetica looked down with evil satisfaction at the new inflatable chair that now sat before her. The only distinctions that hinted that this object used to be a living woman were the bits of torn and stretched clothing that still hung from it as well as the the twin mounds of plastic that formed a headrest - which used to be Kelly's chest.
"Very nice... very nice indeed. It'll be interesting to see how this shape responds to my attempts at finding a cure to my condition. At the very least, she'll make a nice place to rest in after a hard day fighting the local law enforcement idiots or any of those clowns from where I used to work at," the deranged villainess said rubbing her hand along the pink plastic chair that had been a living woman just a few minutes ago.
"My, God! It's.. it's... Cosmetica !!! Hold it right there!!" a man dressed in a security guard's uniform yelled from the entrance to the storeroom
while trying to grab for his walkie talkie.
"You fool!... do you thinkyou or anybody in authority can stop me? Why don't you hold onto this?" Cosmetica snarled while simultaneously grabbing onto a nearby recliner and hurling it with ease towards the shocked security officer.
"OOooffff!! " yelped the man as he was sent hurtling backward into the store from the impact of the chair. Seconds later, the whole store erupted in chaos as customers and staff stampeded towards the exits in terror while furniture of all types and sizes were hurled in their direction by the deranged woman.
"You're all cowards just like those morons at the Pentagon. If you're smart, you'll leave me the opening I need to depart before I make you another of my experimental subjects," Cosmetica yelled indignantly at the dwindling crowd, which fled in all directions from the rage of the mad woman.
About a minute or so later, the would-be villainess found herself alone in the furniture store with only the buzzing of the overhead fluorescent lights and the slight squeaking of her new ' chair' as it rubbed up against her bare leg providing any kind of background noise. Laughing out loud, Cosmetica reached over and pulled out the inflation plug on her new chair, allowing the air to rush out with a quiet hissing noise. After the inflatable completely deflated into a flat piece of shiny plastic, she bent over and lifted it off the ground. After folding it in half, she draped the item over her right forearm and then started to walk towards the exit at the front of the store paying scant attention to the destruction she had caused all around her.
Suddenly, accompanied by a great gust of wind, the front doors flew open to reveal a familiar figure dressed in a skintight purple and black costume with matching cape and hood. Cosmetica, having never dealt with professional heroes before, stood still as the impressive woman slowly walked towards her.
"Cosmetica! Mandy! My name is Nightveil, a member of the group Femforce. I must ask you to stop your activities right now and surrender to me. I am aware of your unique physical problems and can assure you we only want you to get the help you need to stabilize your condition. Please... come with me now and I'm sure the military can reverse your condition quickly," Nightveil said quietly and sincerely, hoping to keep the deranged woman calm.
However, the heroine's speech had exactly the opposite effect as the first mention of the military she hated caused Cosmetica to explode into a violent rage. Ripping off the glove on her left hand, she picked up a sofa with her right one and hurled it with adroit ease at the sorceress supreme. "Get out of here, you bitch! If you think you're going to take me back to those same bastards who are responsible for my condition, you've got another thing coming!" she hissed angrily.
Nightveil raised her right arm outward and gestured towards the heavy sofa hurtling through the air. It seemed to stop literally mid air before settling to the ground. The heroine shook her head and continued to walk towards the woman across from her. "Give up, Mandy! No one else needs to be hurt today. If you surrender now, I promise you that everything possible will be done to reverse your condition," she called out.
The transmutation powered villainess started to shout out a loud and boisterous rejection of Nightveil's offer when she suddenly quieted down and raised up her right hand in front of her. "All right, Nightveil, you win. I'll surrender to you if you promise me that the military will actually try to reverse my present condition and not study me like some kind of lab rat," Cosmetica conceded quietly.
Nightveil nodded sympathetically as she walked past a row of sofas that had escaped the carnage earlier. "As I said before, Mandy, the military wants only to help you with your current situation. If you want, I can...UHHH!!" the sorceress started to give assurances yet again before gasping mid sentence. Her eyes fluttered rapidly before she slumped to the floor, unconscious. Standing secretly behind her was Cosmetica's henchwoman, Lipgloss, with her right hand on her hip and her left hand holding the blackjack she had just attacked the heroine with.
"Sorry for disobeying ya, boss. I was just looking to see if you needed a hand transferring any of your 'new items' back to your house and saw this snooty bitch trying to intimidate you. Are you all right?" the henchwoman inquired as she picked up the unconscious Nightveil and flung her onto a nearby couch.
"I'm fine, Lipgloss. Keep your eyes open for any of Nightveil's friends until we get away from here. These leotard clad broads tend to hang out in bunches and... UURRKKK!!!" Cosmetica started to state her plans before she was plucked off the ground by a long pink trunk belonging to a giant elephant that had appeared seemingly out of nowhere.
Seconds later, a second pink elephant started out towards Cosmetica's henchwoman Lipgloss, who started to back up in a hurry as she glanced hurriedly around for a nearby exit or to find something to put between her and the advancing pachyderm. Behind the two elephants floated the red leotard clad Synn, her arms stretched out at her sides as she looked down at the villainess who was struggling against the elephant's tightening grip.
"Sorry, Cosmetica, but you won't be getting away quite so easy today. While my ' friends' keep you and your hired thug busy, I'll go check to see if Nightveil is all right -- and you two better hope she is," Synn threatened as she set down on the ground and walked over to where her fellow heroine was lying unconscious.
The silver haired heroine quickly crossed the space that led to Nightveil, noting with a chuckle the pleas for help from Lipgloss as she tried to evade the pink elephant that was relentlessly following her. "Once I get Nightveil on her feet, I'll help her take these two back to that general guy. Maybe I can then get everyone else on the team to go to the concert with us once things have been wrapped up here," she said softly as she bent down to check her friend's condition.
Suddenly, Synn felt herself being picked up by a familiar elephant trunk that had wrapped around her slender waist. She was held in the air for a second or two, which was long enough for the heroine to see Cosmetica standing on the ground next to the elephant which had a definite shiny look to it now. Cosmetica sneered in the direction of the buxom Femforce member before gesturing towards a far end of the store.
Before Synn could make any move to extricate herself from the situation, she was hurled through the air by the misdirected elephant and crashed into a pile of mattresses. She sagged to the floor, partly covered by the collapsing pile, where she stirred for a second or two before falling unconscious. As a result of the heroine's passing out, the elephants she had materialized simply winked out of existence leaving the store quiet once again.
Cosmetica nodded in satisfaction as she looked around to see if there were any other of the costumed opposition in the immediate vicinity. Seeing none, she walked over to the couch where Nightveil was lying and gazed down at her with an evil look on her face. The villainess grabbed hold of the heroine's left arm with one hand and pulled her to her feet. Cosmetica then took her gloved left hand and slapped Nightveil hard across the face, twice.
"What...huhh.. who...Synn.. uhhh..???.." Nightveil muttered groggily as she swayed back and forth, unaware of what had gone on while she was out cold. Before she could regain her senses and react to the present situation, Cosmetica laid her bare right hand against the sorceress' flushed cheeks while still wearing the evil grin she had before.
Almost immediately, a physical change became apparent over Nightveil's body. Her skin swiftly changed from a healthy pink color to a tan brown that looked artificial in nature. Blemishes and scars from previous encounters with the evils of the world vanished as her body became rigid and unresponsive to her thoughts. She tried to raise her hands to cast a spell or look for the whereabouts of Synn but could do neither as her eyes froze staring straight ahead. She was barely aware the hands stripping her of her costume and cloak leaving her completely nude and now plastic body standing in the room. Her breathing ceased altogether as her breasts changed into mounds of plastic bereft of the nipples that marked her humanity. Strangely enough, as the transformation neared it's conclusion, Nightveil found her ability to think had not vanished but was changing much like her ability to speak had been stilled.
Cosmetica, satisfied that her foe had been vanquished, looked around for Lipgloss in the nearly destroyed store and found her barricaded in a storage closet, hiding from a rampaging elephant that no longer existed. Shaking her head, Cosmetica helped her aide out of the closet before hurrying to the front door upon hearing the approaching sirens of the police.
"Well, I think we've overstayed our visit today. Let's get the heck out of here -- now!" Cosmetica yelled out as she draped her new living inflatable chair over her right forearm. She opened the front door and waited for Lipgloss to catch up with her.
"Yes, Mistress..." called out a strangely controlled voice that sounded vaguely familiar to the villainess. When she turned around, she was greeted by a sight that shocked her.
The mannequinized Nightveil was walking towards her in a very stiff yet steady walk. Her arms were locked in placed at her sides and there was an audible grinding of hard plastic rubbing on fiberglass as her legs moved forward. Lipgloss was standing just behind the transformed heroine with her eyes wide in amazement and her left hand in front of her mouth in an expression of amazement at the sight she saw.
"Hmmm.. this is the first time this has ever happened... I better get this stiffened bitch back to the house and run some tests.." Cosmetica thought to herself as she ushered the two into a nearby van. After making sure Nightveil was securely tied in case she changed back, the villainess drove off with more than a few questions to answer.
A minute or two later, Synn pulled herself out from under the pile of mattresses and stood upright, holding her left hand to her head. "Nightveil... Nightveil, are you around?... Nightveil?" she called out as the police cars pulled up in front of the store.
Unfortunately, there would be no answer from her teammate... for quite some time, if ever, again...
Next : The search intensifies....