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Like Mother, Like Daughter

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Doris smirked to herself, as she glanced over the Wall of Valedictorians of UCLA’s Humanities faculty. Most of the names weren’t familiar to her, but one definitely was: Lacy Warfield, who had finished top of the previous year’s journalism class.

“Always thought that girl could go far with just a little push.” she thought to herself.

Of course, Doris liked to think that she herself had been a big part in giving her that push. A little over five years ago, back when Lacy had been a high schooler, she had humiliated Doris in front of an entire English class. So, that night, Doris decided to teach her an entirely different kind of lesson, by growing to giantess proportions, and wrecking the new car that Lacy’s rich father had just bought her. Even now, she could recall the events of the night in vivid detail… the sensation of feeling her clothes stretching across her body and tearing apart, looking down on that insolent brat of a student like she were a mouse, before feeling Lacy’s car crumple like tinfoil in her massive hands…

In retrospect, that night had been something of a turning point for Doris’s life. For one thing, it was the point when she had to admit to herself that her feelings for Nancy went beyond mere curiosity about what it’d be like to make love at fifty feet tall. And for another, it was when she was shanghaied into being part of the Justice League of America. In a way, then, it was kind of fitting that she was now waiting for a call from Diana Prince, the alter-ego of Wonder Woman, whom she had worked alongside for the first time that night.

Eventually, Doris’s cellphone began to ring. She took it out, checked the caller ID, then answered it.

“Diana. How’s your week been?” she asked.                             

“Not bad, really. But never mind me, what about you?” came the prim, formal tone of Diana Prince. “Are you and Nancy both okay after last night?”

“None the worse for wear.” Doris replied. “Nancy should have her report with you before long.”

“You know, you’re the one with a degree in literature, right? Why is it always Nancy who writes your reports?”

“Hey, Nancy writes for a living, doesn’t she? She’s probably better at doing them than I would be. Anyway, I take it you got my message?”

“Yeah. How is Cassandra?” asked Diana.

“Putting on a brave face, as usual.” replied Doris. “She went into the archives without much fuss, though. Kate’s with her right now.”

“Well… you’ll let me know if she has any trouble, won’t you? I mean, heaven only knows we’ve not spoken for a while, but…” Diana said, quietly.

“I will do. But I think she’ll be okay. She’s a tough cookie.”

“Too tough, perhaps. She may not share enough of my blood to give her any powers, but she has the tenacity of an Amazon… and the temper to match.” Diana added.
“Yeah, I kind of figured that out when I was extracting one of her sneakers from the ass of one of my other students. But I think I’ve managed to keep her in check.” Doris replied.

“Well, thank you for your help, Doris. And well done to you both on dealing with last night’s incident in such an efficient manner.”

“Thanks! I’ll pass that on to Nancy when I get back home.”

“Okay, then. I’ll probably see you this week at some point. Take care.”

The call ended, and Doris placed her phone back into her purse. She and Diana didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but Cassandra’s well-being was something that both women took a common interest in.

Doris checked her watch. She hadn’t seen anyone she knew hanging around – not that she had really expected to; it was a Saturday, after all – before deciding to head back to the archaeology building.

 

As soon as Doris walked into the archaeology building’s lobby, she saw that not only had Kate and Cassandra already come back out of the archives, they were stood next to a trolley, on top of which sat an ornate metal box. Kate noticed her mother walking in, and quickly went over to greet her, while Cassandra filled out some paperwork.

“Hey, mom! I never realised just how much Cass knows about archaeology. She knew what just about everything in the collection was!” Kate enthused.

“Good to hear. If she applies that kind of effort in my class, she’ll have nothing to worry about.” Doris replied, before indicating the box sat near Cassandra. “She’s decided to take home a souvenir, I take it?”

“Yeah, she said she was gonna do some research on it. Looking for extra credit, I’m guessing.” Kate replied.

“Huh. Good for her.” Doris replied, with a raised eyebrow. Cassandra had always been a decent enough student, at least when she wasn’t being disruptive, but this seemed unusually… diligent for her.

Cassandra, meanwhile, had finished the required paperwork, and started pushing the trolley in the direction of the exit.

“You okay, with that, kid? You want me to push it?” asked Doris.

“No thanks, Ms. Zuel. I can manage.” Cassandra replied, though the gasps in-between her sentences indicated otherwise.

“Here, let me. I’ll never hear the end of it from your soccer coach if you hurt yourself on my watch.” Doris responded, firmly.

With that, Doris took over pushing the trolley, doing so with far less trouble than Cassandra had. Kate had always wondered whether her mother’s powers also gave her increased strength. Then again, saving the world once a week probably gave her and Nancy a pretty decent workout.

 

“Okay, on the count of three. One… two… three!”

With one big heave, Kate and her mother hauled the box into the trunk of Doris’s car, the rear springs audibly groaning as the box settled into place.

“If the suspension on this thing goes, I’m sending you the bill.” Doris said to Cassandra.

“I’ve got an idea!” Kate suddenly piped up. “Why don’t we go to the campus sports bar? The UCLA ladies’ soccer team should be playing this afternoon, we can watch them on the TV.”

Doris raised an eyebrow. “You two ladies are really pushing your luck, you know that?”

“Hey, always push for more. That’s what you’ve always told me, right?” Kate replied.

“Touché.” Doris replied, with a smirk. “But it’s really quite academic. I don’t have any cash right now.”

Kate could tell what her mother was hinting at. Still, she needed her and Cassandra out of the way for a moment.

“Okay, tell you what.” she said, reaching into her purse. “Here’s $50 from my allowance. Drinks and lunch are on me.”

Doris eyed the money suspiciously. “$50? What do you think I’m going to buy you, a bottle of champagne?”

“No, no, of course not. But I thought maybe we could have one of those sharing snack platters. I mean, it’ll about 1PM by the time the game finishes.” Kate suggested.

“Well… okay, then. Just don’t tell Nancy. She wouldn’t be very happy if she knew we’d eaten out without her.” Doris said, as the trio began walking towards the sports bar.

“Why? Is bar food her thing?” asked Cassandra.

“Any food she can blog about is her thing.” Doris replied.

 

After the three had walked a little ways into the campus, Kate spoke up again. “You know, mom, if we’re not going to tell Nancy we had lunch here… no reason why you couldn’t have a beer here as well.”

Doris pondered her daughter’s words. “That’s true, I suppose. I haven’t drunk anything alcoholic for a few months.”

“Well… why not have a couple of drinks?” Kate suggested. “I mean, I’ve got a driving license now, I could—”

“Nu-uh! Sorry, missy, but I still don’t trust you with my wheels, let alone when there’s half a ton of lead in the trunk! I’ll stick with just the one beer.” Doris replied, firmly.

“Well, it was worth a try!” Kate laughed. “Do you have any breath mints though? I mean, Nancy’s probably gonna plant a big kiss on your face as soon as you get home.”

“That’s a good point, I don’t think…” Doris said, rifling through her pockets as she did so. “No. But I’ve got some back in the car. You take Cassandra to the bar, I’ll run back to the car and get them.”

“No, no, I’ll get them for you. Cass and I can’t order you a beer, anyways.” Kate replied.

“Good point. You know where the bar is, don’t you?” Doris replied, as she handed her daughter her car keys. “We’ll see you there.”

Kate nodded, then turned back towards the parking lot. After a short jog, she arrived back at the car. Before looking for the mints, however, she opened up the trunk, and was greeted with the sight of the lead chest which they had loaded into the car. Fortunately, Cassandra hadn’t bothered to reset the locking mechanism. Kate opened the box and took out one of the gauntlets. She already knew perfectly well that the chest’ had shielded its contents from the x-ray and that the guard hadn’t done anything more than just quickly glimpse inside it, but still she felt anxious. After taking a moment to glance around, she gave the gauntlet a little shake, and the ruby fragment that she had found back inside the archives fell out into her free hand. With all the speed that she could muster, Kate then quickly replaced the gauntlet back inside the box and shut the trunk door. She gasped in relief; hopefully this would be the first and last act of theft she would ever have to commit.

Kate took a moment to look at the fragment, marvelling at how different it looked in the sunlight. The fiery maelstrom she had seen back in the archives no longer appeared visible; instead, specks of light danced within the fragment, in patterns that almost seemed balletic.

After a few moments of admiring it, Kate stuffed the fragment in her purse, burying it as best she could. Now, once she’d got it home, she’d be able to figure out what to do with it in her own time.

 

“Okay, class, that’s it for today! Just remember, book reports next Monday morning.”

Nearly a week had passed since Cassandra’s and Kate’s trip to the UCLA campus. Since then, it had been back to the usual routine for Cassandra. Ms. Zuel’s English class last thing on Thursday, followed by soccer practise.

As the students got up from their desks and began walking out of the classroom, Doris called out across the room.

“Cassandra? Before you go, I just need to talk to you.” she said.

Once the rest of the students had left the classroom, Cassandra stood by Doris’s desk.

“Tell me, Cassandra, how have you been getting along with Jack Todd lately? Not had any arguments with him?” Doris asked.

Cassandra shrugged. “Can’t remember the last time I spoke to him.” she replied.

“Well, it’s just that… he was late in to my class first thing. Apparently he woke up this morning and found that someone had totalled his car.” Doris said.

“Really? That’s terrible!” Cassandra replied, visibly shocked. “But, uh… why are you telling me this? You don’t think I had something to do with it?”

“Well… the two of you have always been a pretty volatile combination, and I seem to recall you admitting you know how to hotwire a car, but…” Doris mused, looking off into the distance.

“Yeah, on a car that’s from, like, thirty years ago. But a modern car? I wouldn’t even know where to start!” Cassandra replied.

Doris thought for a little longer, then relaxed. “I won’t ask how you know that. But I believe you for now. Just let me know if you hear anything.”

“Will do! By the way, would it be okay if Kate came round to my place after soccer practise?” Cassandra asked.

“Yeah, sure, not a problem. I’ll just text Nancy, let her know she only needs to cook for two tonight.” Doris answered, getting out her phone.

“Awesome! I’ll see you later!” Cassandra said, before leaving the room.

As she walked through the corridors of the school, in the direction of the sports field, Cassandra smirked to herself.

“Everyone thinks it was a hit and run? Perfect!” she thought.

 

Cassandra soon arrived at the changing rooms, where most of the team were already changing into their kit. She looked around, and on seeing that Kate had already arrived, put her bag down next to her.

“Hey, Kate, you still okay to hang around after school?” Cassandra asked.

“Huh? Oh… yeah.” Kate mumbled, not looking at Cassandra.

“You sure? You don’t sound very positive.” Cassandra asked.

“No, I’m fine. I’m good. Just… got things on my mind.” Kate replied.

Now that Cassandra thought about it, Kate had been really quiet since the weekend.

“Is everything okay at home? Anything you want to talk about?” asked Cassandra.

Kate sighed, and after a moment or two replied, “Well… kind of. We’ll talk about it after school, just… don’t worry about me, Cass. I’ll be fine.”

 

As Doris sat at her desk, she leafed through a stack of papers, privately despairing at the poor quality of some of them, while trying to figure out how she was going to avoid handing out detentions and having to give up yet another lunchbreak. Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Nancy?” Doris asked, looking up with surprise and seeing her partner stood there. “Did you get my message?”

“Yep.” Nancy replied. “I was gonna grab a quick coffee, pick up one or two things at the mall, then collect Kate. But then I got your text, and I figured you could use some company.” she continued, before walking over to Doris and placing a hand on her shoulder. “How’s your day been?”

“The usual.” Doris replied, placing her own free hand on Nancy’s. “The board have been on my case again about doing a talk during Equalities Week, but other than that…”

“You mean, on being gay, or being a metahuman?” Nancy asked.

Doris laughed. “The rest of the staff already treats me as some sort of hero for my sexual preferences. I think that’s enough.”

“Yeah, well, I guess I’ve got to take my part of the blame for that.” Nancy replied, mischievously. “If we hadn’t started dating…”

“Eh, it was more Kate showing up that forced my hand on that. But don’t think I’ve forgotten your role, missy!” Doris said.

“Well, now that I’m here, maybe I can make it up to you?” Nancy said, sitting in Doris’s lap. “Is there… anywhere private we could go? A supply closet, or…?”

“Yeah. About eight feet that way.” came Doris’s reply, as she indicated a door on the wall behind her, next to the window.

“Holy crap!” Nancy laughed. “How have I never noticed that?”

“We’ve got a well-behaved daughter.” Doris replied. “You don’t need to come in here very often.”

“Guess not.” Nancy said, as she stood up. “Well, Ms. Zuel… care for a little recess?”

Doris looked up at Nancy for a moment, and then smiled. “You know what? I think I can go for that.  Just give me a minute.”

With that, Doris stood up, pulled the blind over the classroom door’s window, and then Nancy led her into the storage cupboard.

 

No sooner had Doris closed the door to the cupboard and turned on the light, than Nancy grabbed hold of her and started kissing her passionately.

“Whoa, take it easy, babe!” Doris laughed. “It’s not my birthday for another month, you know.”

“Sorry.” Nancy said, in-between kisses. “Just spent the last few days cooped up in the house. It gets lonely.”

Doris was about to reply, but was quickly distracted by the distinct feeling of her belt starting to tighten and dig into her stomach. And if she was already starting to grow, it was a sure bet that Nancy was, too.

“Nancy, wait just a moment.” Doris said, as she started unbuttoning her blouse. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any spare clothes here.”

“Ah, good point.” Nancy said, before removing her polo shirt. Doris looked up, and sure enough, Nancy had already grown a little bit bigger, with her already-fulsome breasts having enlarged to the point that her bra was struggling to contain them.

After Doris had removed her pants and shoes, and given Nancy a moment to do the same, she embraced her again.

“Hey, I haven’t taken my underwear off yet!” Nancy half-heartedly protested.

“Big deal. We’ve both gone commando enough times.” Doris replied.

The two women started kissing each other on the lips, and taking the chance to feel every curve, every contour of one another’s bodies. As always, the pleasure was heightened by the anticipation of knowing what was coming next. They were both practiced enough that they could prevent their incredible abilities from kicking in and remain normal-sized through their love-making, but letting themselves grow ever so slightly… that was so much more fun!

Soon, both women could feel it happening. Their bodies gradually starting to inch higher, and their underwear slowly growing more constrictive, beginning to press into their flesh.

Not surprisingly, Nancy’s bra was the first item of clothing to give out. Her bosom rapidly became too large for it to contain, and the cups broke in two at the front, leaving her exposed breasts pressing into Doris’s own chest.

Doris in turn gasped in pleasure, feeling even more aroused, and causing her growth to accelerate ever so slightly – enough for the fabric of her panties to slowly start ripping open across her backside. She giggled and moaned in pleasure, feeling them get ever tighter, before beginning to gradually disintegrate. The rear strap on her own bra, meanwhile, grew ever more taut before finally snapping.

Nancy sensed the destruction of her partner’s underwear, and took a moment to sweep the ruined undergarments off of Doris’s body, before resuming their lovemaking. She thought for a moment that she must have bought some good panties, seeing how they were still pretty much intact… but no sooner had she thought that than they started ripping right down the middle, before snapping off.

“That’s better! Now, let me really get a feel for you!” Doris whispered, as she held Nancy close, feeling her soft, warm body pressing into her own, as they both got bigger. Doris had lived in Los Angeles for nearly her entire life, and gradually come to despair of the botoxed, plastic blondes who had come to dominate the city. She had always been attracted to classically beautiful women, and Nancy was exactly that.

Nancy, meanwhile, couldn’t help but think how much she enjoyed the life she had nowadays. Six years ago, she had been living in the middle of the desert, while stuck in a loveless marriage, and spiralling into alcoholism and depression. Now she had a partner with whom she had a connection she had never quite felt with her ex-husband – even leaving aside the two’s shared abilities – and a wonderful stepdaughter. Wait… stepdaughter? She usually told Kate off for using that word, now she was using it in her own thoughts…

The attentions of both women were soon taken up by another thing entirely, when they felt the top of their heads starting to press into the ceiling. An odd side-effect of their growth abilities was that their emotions became more and more intense as they got bigger, meaning that an excess of one particular emotion – especially anger or pleasure – could cause their powers to go out of control. They had both gotten skilled at avoiding this, but not completely immune.

“Whoa, Nancy! Nancy! I think we’re big enough!” Doris called out.

“Yeah.” Nancy replied, before holding Doris close again and looking into her eyes. “Say, Doris… do you ever see us being more than just girlfriends?” she asked.

“Hey, if you ever find a size-changing wedding ring, let me know!” Doris laughed.

“Right… of course.” Nancy replied, chuckling slightly. It seemed like such a small, insignificant thing, but it was an obvious obstacle to them formalizing their relationship. Still, she was sure it wasn’t an insurmountable one. And right now, she had other things to think of.

Doris leaned back against the wall, and Nancy started kissing her again.

“Think we’re a bit too big to get on the floor now.” Doris whispered.

“That’s okay.” Nancy whispered back, before reaching down towards Doris’s nether regions. “I’ll improvise.”

Doris tilted her head back, closed her eyes, and grinned broadly. When she wasn’t dining out, blogging, or being a superheroine, Nancy liked to play the piano in her spare time. And she liked to take any opportunity to give her fingers a good workout. Especially on Doris.

“Mmm… remind me to give you a gold star when we’re done!” Doris purred.

 

“So, Kate, what was it you wanted to tell me about?”

Kate and Cassandra had just finished soccer practise, and were walking through the streets towards the apartment that Cassandra shared with her aunt and uncle. Kate took a deep breath, and decided it was time to finally get things out in the open.

“Cass, do you remember last weekend? At the UCLA? You see, while we were there, I—” Kate began to say.

“Whoa, hold on a minute, Kate. I think I hear something interesting.” Cassandra said, before reaching into her backpack and pulling out a device that somewhat resembled a large walkie-talkie.

Kate heard some noises coming out of the device, and then her eyes widened in surprise. “That thing… is that a police scanner? Aren’t they illegal?”

“In some places. But not California.” Cassandra replied, as she fiddled with the dials on the device.

“…FIVE SUSPECTS, HOSTAGES INVOLVED. NO INJURIES YET. REPEAT, ROBBERY IN PROGRESS AT BANK AT THE JUNCTION OF COLORADO AND LINCOLN…” came the staticky voice of a police dispatcher.

Cassandra smiled. “Perfect! Now it’s time to show you something, Kate.”

“Uhh, Cass, I was the one who wanted to show you something, remember?” Kate said, while privately wondering whether it was worth messaging her mother or Nancy to let them know of the robbery.

“It can wait.” Cassandra replied, before grabbing Kate’s wrist. “C’mon, let’s find somewhere out of sight!”

 

After a few moments of searching, the two girls found an alleyway between a pizzeria and a liquor store. Cassandra led Kate into the alleyway, and briefly glanced around to make sure they wouldn’t be disturbed.

“Cass, what exactly are we doing?” Kate asked.

“I’m about to kick some butt. And hopefully, you’ll be able to record it on your phone.” Cassandra replied, before opening her backpack and taking out a familiar-looking pair of gauntlets.

“Those are the things we took from your mother’s collection!” Kate said. “Why do you have them?”

“Oh, these things are very special. Here, I think it’ll be quicker if I just give you a demonstration.”

With that, Cassandra inserted her left arm into one of the gauntlets, before doing the same with her right arm. After a few moments, Cassandra’s body began to shudder, and a red liquid slowly began to emerge from the gauntlets, gradually enveloping and advancing up her arms.

“Cass?! What… what the hell?” Kate gasped. “What are those things doing to you?! Take them off before—”

“It’s alright, Kate.” Cassandra said, reassuringly. “I’ve done this before. First thing this morning, in fact.”

Kate stepped back, nervously. She had a mother and stepmother in the Justice League, she should have been used to seeing weird shit like this. But it happening to Cassandra… it felt difficult to process, somehow. Then things got even more difficult.

“You’re… you’re growing!” Kate called out.

Sure enough, as the red substance reached halfway up Cassandra’s arms, she began to grow ever so slightly taller. However, the more obvious change was to Cassandra’s build. Her normally slender arms were slowly becoming more defined, more muscular. Her biceps began to bulge and expand, and her jeans slowly grew tight across her legs, which were also becoming thicker with muscle. Even Cassandra’s breasts seemed to be growing larger, straining against her t-shirt, which was also fighting an increasingly muscular chest.

“Only… problem with this… it’s making my clothing bill a lot higher.” Cassandra grunted.

“Uh… I can imagine.” Kate laughed, nervously. “Kinda like my—”

Before Kate had the chance to unwittingly blow the cover on her mother’s identity, Cassandra’s t-shirt suddenly ripped in two down the middle, exposing her newly-muscular chest and abs. At the same time, her jeans began to split open at the seams, under the pressure of thighs and calves that were rippling with muscles.

“Holy… holy crap… shame you, uh, can’t wear those things on the soccer team, huh?” Kate asked, trying to lighten the situation.

Cassandra didn’t even seem to register Kate’s words. By now, the red substance had completely enveloped her arms, and was spreading across her torso. It seemed to adhere to Cassandra’s body, squeezing into the gaps between her skin and her increasingly damaged clothing. Within less than a minute, it enveloped nearly all of Cassandra’s body, leaving only her head and the very top of her chest exposed, and seemed to harden and take on a metallic appearance. The remainder of Cassandra’s clothing quickly ripped apart and fell away as her body continued to grow larger and more muscular, leaving only the makeshift outfit formed by whatever had come out of the gloves protecting Cassandra from the elements.

“Gotta admit, it feels weird. But you get used to it.” Cassandra remarked, as her growth levelled off and eventually stopped.

Kate stared at her friend, utterly dumbfounded. Normally, Cassandra was an inch or so shorter than her. But now, Cassandra was towering over Kate; she must have been at least 6’5” or so compared to Kate’s 5’9”. More than that, Cassandra now had a physique that was positively Olympian; still distinctly feminine, but with pronounced, powerful muscles all across her body.

“This is… this is amazing!” Kate said, placing her hands on Cassandra’s body. It felt smooth, metallic, yet warm to the touch. “I mean, how much is the suit, and how much is you?”

“Oh, I think the suit’s only a millimetre or so thick. It’s more like armor.” Cassandra replied, before flexing her enlarged arm muscles. “This… it’s all me!”

“Wow…” Kate laughed.

“You can admire it later. C’mon, we’ve got a bank to save!” Cassandra said, firmly.

With that, Cassandra put her arm around Kate’s waist, and with an almighty leap, jumped well above the surrounding buildings, giving Kate an aerial view of the neighborhood.

“Holy SHIT!” Kate yelled in terror.

“Relax, Kate! Nothing to be scared of!” Cassandra replied casually, as they momentarily landed on the roof of another building, before soaring back into the air again.

“Whoa! Oh, holy… Jesus Christ…” Kate gasped.

“Don’t worry, Kate. I’m not gonna drop you.” Cassandra said. “Just close your eyes, and count to five.”

Kate figured she had nothing to lose, and closed her eyes.

“1… 2… 3… 4… 5…”

As she counted, something odd happened. Bit by bit, number by number, her fear began to ebb away. By the time she had reached five, all the she could feel was the wind rushing on her face.

She opened her eyes again, just as Cassandra was at the peak of another jump, and got another aerial view of Los Angeles. But this time, she didn’t feel afraid of falling any more. The view… it really did look incredible.

“This is… WHOA… actually really amazing.” Kate called out.

“Isn’t it?” Cassandra replied. “I mean, c’mon, Kate, don’t tell you me you’ve never fantasized about holding Superman’s hand and flying above the city with him!”

“Only because Lois Lane would kill me if I tried anything like that.” Kate replied.

“Lois who?” asked Cassandra.

Kate suddenly turned white-faced, realising she’d just screwed-up big time.

“Uh… what I meant was…” she began to reply.

Cassandra suddenly interrupted Kate. “Wait, no time to chat! We’re nearly there!”

 

Moments later, Cassandra touched down near the bank. Sure enough, four police cars were parked around the entrance, with a bunch of officers standing guard behind the cars. Cassandra landed far back enough that they didn’t notice her, and she and Kate quickly took cover behind a wall across the street from the bank.

“Cass, what do you think you’re going to do?” Kate whispered. “They said the robbers had hostages, so…”

“Don’t worry.” Cassandra replied. “I’ll think of something.”

Moments later, one of the robbers walked out of the bank’s front entrance, and stood there silently. He was wearing a long trenchcoat and a simple, white mask, with only a pair of eye holes offering any glimpse of the face beneath, and carrying what looked like some sort of rifle.

“You’re surrounded! Drop your weapons!” barked one of the police officers, as he and his colleagues took aim.

The robber stared blankly at the officer for a moment. Then, without a single word, he raised his gun at the car the officer was stood behind, carefully took aim, pressed the trigger… and instead of a bullet, a blinding flash of energy erupted forth, drilling into the car, which then exploded spectacularly. One of the two officers stood behind the car took the brunt of the explosion, and was thrown clear, landing approximately twenty feet away, battered, burned, and clearly dead.

The other officer, the one who had originally warned the robber, slowly started to get up. The robber allowed him a few moments to get to his feet. And then he aimed and fired his gun again. In the blink of an eye, the officer’s body exploded into a cloud of fine powder, while his uniform burst into flames and quickly burned into ashes, leaving only a molten puddle of slag made up of the officer’s weapon and radio as any evidence that he ever stood there. The remaining police officers tried firing their own guns, but they just clicked uselessly, somehow rendered inert.

“Jesus…” Kate whispered, now visibly quivering, and white as a sheet.

“Energy weapons?!” Cassandra scoffed. “Now, that’s not even playing remotely fair.”

“Fall back! Fall back” cried one of the remaining officers, as he and his colleagues fled.

The robber fired a few more shots in their general direction, not even bothering to aim properly. The first shot hit a pine tree across the street, causing it to explode like a bomb and sending shards of burning wood everywhere; the second shot hit another one of the police cars, causing it to explode and also setting the next car along on fire; the third shot caught one of the unfortunate officers right in the back, quickly incinerating him.

Kate screamed as burning fragments of wood fell towards them; Cassandra moved at incredible speed to shield Kate with her own body, which easily withstood the fragments.

“Cass, we’ve got to get out of here!” Kate cried out. “The police can’t deal with this, and neither can you! We need the Justice League.”

“They won’t get here in time. I have to sort these guys out, now!” Cassandra replied, resolutely.

“Nooo… please, don’t!” Kate said, hugging Cassandra, and with tears now starting to form in her eyes. “You’ll die!”

“Oh, I’ve got no intention of dying. You haven’t even seen half the things this suit can do, yet! Go on, get out of here, Kate!” Cassandra said, before vaulting over the wall and taking off towards the bank.

“Cass! CASS!” Kate screamed.

 

Cassandra stormed towards the bank at considerable speed. The robber, who was still stood outside the door, tilted his head and looked quizzically at Cassandra. Whatever resistance he had been expecting to face in the robbery, Cassandra hadn’t been a part of it. Still, he took aim at her with his weapon, fired…

The energy bolt quickly connected with Cassandra, but instead of atomizing her, the energy began to crackle and dissipate across the suit covering her body. Cassandra stopped, looked down at her body as it completely absorbed the energy, and then smiled.

“Oh, that was a BAD move, asshole!” she called out, smugly.

With that, she held out her arms, and her hands began glowing and crackling with energy. Moments later, she returned the blast to the robber, aiming just left of him, and blowing him off his feet. His rifle flew through the air, landing some distance away. Before he could attempt to retrieve it, Cassandra ran across with superhuman speed, and brought her foot down on the rifle, smashing it in two.

“That’s enough of that!” Cassandra yelled.

The robber got to his feet, glared at Cassandra for a moment, and whistled. Cassandra wondered for a moment or two how he whistled through a mask, before three more robbers walked out of the bank. This time around, they weren’t armed with rifles; rather, they wore bulky, mechanical-looking suits, with huge metallic augmentations covering their arms. As if to demonstrate what Cassandra was going to be going up against, one of them reached across, tore a signpost out of the sidewalk, and folded it in two like it were a paperclip.

“So, that’s how it’s going to be, huh?” Cassandra said, cracking her knuckles. “Bring it on!”

Cassandra ran towards the newly-arrived trio, and before she knew it, was in spitting distance of them. One of them took a swing towards her, and the punch connected, knocking her back. She quickly got to her feet, feeling a little winded, but otherwise fine. What their armor lacked in elegance, it apparently made up in brute strength.

“Hmph. Gonna need a different approach, I see.” she muttered.

With that, she leapt into the air, and landed behind the one who punched her, before kicking out at him and knocking him to his knees. Before she could land a follow-up attack, time seemed to stand still. She felt what seemed like a rush of air towards the side of her face…

Quickly, she ducked, and the armored fist of one of the other two sailed above her head, missing it by a matter of inches.

“Alright! Getting the hang of this now!” she said, jubilantly. “Now, let’s put those martial arts classes to use.”

Cassandra did a backflip, landing halfway back to the wall Kate was hiding behind, and then gestured for the robbers to come and attack her. By now, the gunman had retreated back inside the bank, but his three colleagues were still as eager as ever, and began charging towards her.

As soon as they reached the right distance, Cassandra jumped into the air and begin a spin kick, hitting two of the robbers in the head, before landing and catching the third robber off-guard with a flying kick. One of them quickly recovered and swung at Cassandra again, but she easily evaded him. It had quickly become apparent to her that whatever their power armor gave them in brute strength, it came at a heavy cost in agility.

As another one of the robbers tried to attack Cassandra, she did another backflip, landed behind him, then began tearing at the pipes and wires holding his armor together. The robber started jerking around, as his armor began malfunctioning, then collapsed in a heap on the floor; still alive, as indicated by his flailing legs, but immobile.

The other two robbers, seemingly knowing they were outmatched, grabbed their fallen colleague and started retreating towards the back. Kate peered over the wall, still very nervous, but actually quite impressed with what Cassandra was doing with her new ablities. Still, she had listened to enough of her parents’ stories to know that the guys Cassandra had been beating up might have just been the footsoldiers, and that the actual mastermind might still be waiting. She reached into her purse, pulled out her cellphone, and started looking for her mother’s number.

No sooner had the trio of robbers returned to the bank than yet another figure emerged. Only this one was far taller even than Cassandra, to say nothing of the ones she had been fighting, and he was wielding what looked like the unholy combination of the laser rifle seen earlier, and the type of minigun you might have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger wielding in his prime.

“CASS! Get back here!” Kate yelled, as she hit the “dial” button on her phone.

Before Cassandra could react, the behemoth of a robber opened fire with his laser cannon, bombarding her with blast after blast of energy. She quickly disappeared in a cloud of ash and atomized bits of the road beneath her, as the blasts quickly dug a crater into the concrete, and started burning their way into the earth beneath.

Kate ducked below the wall, and stayed down for what felt like an eternity, as she waited for her mother to pick up the phone. When the sound of the blasts stopped, Kate pensively looked over the top of the wall, to see nothing but a smouldering crater where Cassandra had once been.
“Cass…” she whispered in horror.

Moments later, a blinding flash emitted from the crater. Kate shielded her eyes, and when the flash receded, she could see something floating out of the crater. It was Cassandra.

“THAT… WAS A MISTAKE.” came Cassandra’s voice. But it sounded different… booming, yet mechanical at the same time.

As the smoke cleared, Kate witnessed Cassandra floating roughly twenty feet in the air. A golden aura now surrounded her, patterns of light danced on the surface of her armor, and her hair seemed almost… alive, somehow, floating and writhing like serpents. Had Kate been able to see Cassandra from the front, she’d have noticed her eyes glowing as well.

Stunned, the robber took aim at her again, but she simply fired a burst of energy from her hands, melting the end of his weapon.

“NOW YOU WILL PAY. ALL OF YOU.” Cassandra intoned.

With that, Cassandra held her hands together, as though she were holding a soccer ball, and began to generate some kind of energy sphere. Kate could feel the air starting to rush towards Cassandra, and moments later she noticed the hairs on her arm starting to stand on end, followed by little arcs of electricity appearing on any metallic objects nearby. Whatever was about to happen… it was gonna be big.

Suddenly, Kate heard the sound of someone answering her phone call.

“Mom!” she yelled. “You have to get to where I am, now! It’s Cassandra, she—”

Before Kate could even tell whether she’d actually gotten through to her mother, or just the voicemail, the energy sphere that Cassandra was generating suddenly detonated. Everything went quiet for a moment.

And then a shockwave erupted forth from Cassandra, hurling the robber backwards into the bank, then shattering all the windows at the front of the building, and finally ripping open the front of the building itself. The shockwave then tore its way across the road, sending chunks of dirt and gravel into the air. Kate gasped in terror, and dived for cover under the wall…

But it didn’t help. The wall shattered, and Kate was lifted off the ground and hurled into the building behind her.

She blacked out for a moment or two, then slowly came around. She could see people running out of the ruined bank across the street – the hostages, she presumed – but Cassandra wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Slowly, Kate got to her feet. She wasn’t too badly injured, at least; the wall had clearly taken the brunt of the shockwave. But she was still racked with pain, and covered in bruises and cuts.

As she looked around, however, Kate quickly realized the full extent of the devastation caused by Cassandra’s blast. For a good couple of hundred meters in all directions, the nearby buildings at the very least had all their windows blown out, and some of them had been half-demolished. Fire hydrants were torn out of the ground, with water gushing into the air, traffic signals and street signs had been blown over and snapped apart like twigs, and all the cars that had survived the earlier firefight had now been crushed like soda cans and thrown into nearby buildings. The whole area looked like someone had dropped a bomb on it.

“Jesus Christ, Cassandra…” Kate whispered.

She briefly pondered trying to find her phone, but reasoned it was pointless. There was no way it would have survived the blast, and it wouldn’t take the emergency services – or Justice League – long to notice a blast like that.

Kate took a few steps forward, but even that felt painful. Then, she caught glimpse of something on the sidewalk. Her purse had been torn open by the blast and its contents strewn across the concrete. And right in the middle of it all was the gemstone that she had taken from the Sandsmark Collection earlier in the week. As the days had gone by, she had come to feel guilty about taking it, and had intended to give it back to Cassandra and explain her actions this evening. At least it seemed to be a tough little thing; it had survived without a scratch. But then it started to glow.

Kate took a step towards it, and it glowed brighter still. More curiously, however, Kate felt the pain in her joints subsiding, as she got closer to it. After coughing a couple of times, Kate kneeled down, persevering through the pain of her injuries, and grabbed hold of the fragment.

As she held it up to her face, she felt her breathing become a little bit easier. Then, she could feel a warm sensation spreading into her hand, then down her arm, and into the rest of her body. The pain of her injuries quickly died down, and to her amazement, Kate noticed the cuts and scratches on her limbs starting to gradually heal, and eventually disappear altogether, leaving no indication that she had ever been hurt.

“Guess this thing has some healing powers or something.” she thought to herself.

Then Kate felt her body shudder. She felt… no, it couldn’t have been…

Her body shuddered again. And then Kate felt tightness around her chest, in her shoes, even in her underwear.

“No… no way, this can’t be…” she thought.

Before she could complete her thought, Kate shuddered once more. She could feel her toes pressing up against the fabric of her sneakers, which grew slowly, inexorably tighter. Her shorts likewise grew increasingly taut across her hips and butt, and her shirt tightened, and slowly inched up, exposing her midriff.

Then, little bit little, Kate’s entire body began to inch upwards. It took her a moment to notice, but before long she noticed everything getting that little bit smaller and lower. She panicked and flexed her toes, wanting to make sure she still had her feet planted firmly on the ground. That was when her toes burst out of her shoes, and her t-shirt began to rip open, exposing her cleavage.

“Oh, FUCK!” Kate thought.