This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. You might find yourself in there but that is a figment of your imagination or just the fact that you have the power to inspire.
Dedicated to all of the people that design clothing for fashion, cosplay and all of its many forms and those that inspired it from its early beginnings. May you never tire of the endless joy of your creativity and may the world always know it as a true art form itself.
This story was inspired by characters I had thought of years ago and recently those who I'd fleshed out playing MMOs like DC Online, Marvel Heroes and Champions Online which I highly recommend to any explorer of virtual worlds. None of the content of these stories is drawn from any of those companies or their creative properties in game or out. None of the hero names or concepts are drawn from any of those online games and the stories are independent of those online worlds. The great part about them is the fact that they can act like a design pad for creating the visual concept of a superhero from scratch.
The idea itself is definitely inspired by the rich histories of superheroes as presented in the many comic book companies throughout the ages and as an exploration of the hero archetype.
Just to clear the air, I've never drawn the idea from the creative work of someone else of their creative property. I've given a nod to some of my heroes and inspirations within the context of these stories and other medium much like comics often nod to one another as do movies and other forms of art nod to their peers but I've never stolen or taken someone else's idea in that or any regard. Nor do I absorb other people's abilities to create such material.
If you are interested in helping in research to further the cause of cures for Cancer by donating a little bit of the idle computing time from your computer, try these projects:
World Community Grid
Boinc Distributed Computing Project
The idea is that you can just download the client software and let your computer work on tests for the development of cures for such diseases and you too can help out and become real heroes.
A Fool's Dinner
"So let me ask you. What is the next step in our plan?" Torman asked Vinnler at the other end of the table.
"The next step is to move into their holdings. The means by which we do that is by acquisition of their assets via legitimate stock buyouts. The way we afford it is through market pressure via our network of their 'customers' and reduced sales hence pushing the price of the stocks representing their holdings to the floor." Vinnler replied without blinking.
"You make it sound simple. But it isn't that simple. There's a market share that we don't have a strangle hold over. We need an effective strategy that will help us deal with this problem and our future with one fell swoop. Anybody?" Torman looked the table over and when nobody responded he continued.
"Investment!" He pounded his fist to the table.
"Acquire. Accumulate and Accrue. It's that simple." Torman had already made his sale to these the hawks of hostile takeover but even their ethics were sound in morality. Torman had other ideas about what was right.
"You give a pretty convincing argument in speech but you provide nothing on paper. Can we as an investment firm make these acquisitions in the time limit so that we can benefit from the tax credits and interest payout while sheltering our capital gains on this deal?" Norler spoke with authority throwing Torman's rhythm off.
Torman was sick of the fact that there were no easy takes like there were in the old days. Too many details and too many were smart to his kind of plan. He had clearly jumped in over his head in this one so he adjusted his strategy so that he'd stay on the table and comfortably.
"Look, I understand what you are saying. But this firm that I've been targeting, the biochemical research firm, Tynan And Associates is a sure deal. They're onto something big right now with the transmogrification technology. The complete reversal of cancerous regions in the body without the side effects of some other forms of therapy. I'd say that this is a good time to buy them whether by hook or crook. They're on the brink of something big and all the numbers point to it and you can't discount that." Torman made his sale and sat back comfortably in his seat.
"Alright. You've got two weeks to do an assessment using our investigators. If it turns out, we buy." Norler laid out the rules to Torman who responded afterward.
"You'll have your investigation. I'll guarantee that. We'll profit and everyone will be happy. I'm no fool for a deal." Torman replied.
"That will be all. Thank you for your time Mr. Torman." Norler adjourned the meeting.
Torman wanted to own Tynan And Associates by the end of the week and put his plans forth to acquire it with a clever manipulation of his assets leveraged to make the purchase himself though he was pushing his current holdings to their limits. He put the word out on the streets to "remove" anyone who might pose a threat to that acquisition either internally from the labs themselves or from anywhere else. He'd push the stock prices down artificially while building up their potential value to his dinner contacts who were in charge of the biggest investment firm on the continent. He was determined to be chairman of the board for Tynan And Associates in a month's time giving him complete control and access to their research agenda. A year later he'd have Norler's position as head of the entire investment firm.
Fashion And Accessory
She had been in the industry for long enough to know when something wasn't going to work, and this just wasn't going to. The top didn't really go with skirt and didn't speak enough for the lady who would wear it. She looked it over wondering if she had already spent too much time trying to perfect a design that just wouldn't work. She'd overcome self doubt before and this was more than just her own natural self criticism and more her professional eye giving her a retroactive peer review.
She had been working on this design with sketches and had carefully created the patterns for the piece which was scheduled for presentation in a runway show in less than a week. She had almost given up on it when the phone rang. She paused for a moment pretending it wasn't important and then answered.
"Heylyn? Heylyn Yates?" An excited female voice on the other end asked.
"Yes this is Heylyn Yates. Who am I speaking to?" she answered curtly.
"Alicia. Its Alicia. You remember me don't you?" the voice asked with enthusiasm.
"Alicia? Alicia who?" Heylyn asked the lady on the other end.
"Don't you remember? From school? High school? Alicia. You never know where Alicia's been? You remember?" the voice asked once again.
"Oh my gosh. Alicia! I am so sorry. I did not recognize you." Heylyn sat up in her chair, her design waiting impatiently nagging at her.
"Great! You remember! Its so good to talk to you Heylyn!" Alicia replied more enthusiastic than at first.
"So how have you been doing? Its been a long time." Heylyn asked her.
"Oh I'm doing fine. You're doing really good. I saw you on the fashion news last week. I didn't tell anyone that I went to school with you though." Alicia replied hesitantly.
"Yes, things have been going well the last few years since that showing. I've been trying to keep up with it since then you know. One thing after another. What about you? What are you doing?" Heylyn was used to others fussing over her.
She had become so used to it that she had learned the art of deflecting it to the up and coming talents in her field. She needed the peace and solitude to work on her designs so she'd have something to show when all the fuss came knocking at her door.
Alicia paused before speaking to her long lost friend.
"Well. I've been. Well let's just say that we're going to change the world." Alicia spoke deliberately, leaving Heylyn feeling a little unnerved.
Heylyn had also learned that there were sometimes people who liked to follow those who'd found their way into the public spotlight. Often with no discernable reason but most had the best of intent and were excited to be a part of the creative energy and often contributed to it. Some though became obsessively dangerous and Heylyn was especially wary. Sure she'd studied martial arts and was in great shape but she was a smaller lady that had learned to overcome the stigmas attributable to her not only for her sex and beauty or ethnicity, but also her small frame. Cliche beauty could be as much a bane as a blessing for some women. Many would often not take Heylyn seriously in regard to her ambitions and this drove her even further to succeed.
Alicia had been overweight in school but she always managed to keep her spirits up despite the lack of attention that she had received from the opposite sex she always kept her marks top notch. Heylyn had befriended her in school and they'd been friends all the way through. Heylyn would get picked on for her short size or just get picked on by boys not able to cope with their own attraction to her. She'd also often get picked on by girls jealous of her, who would goad her for many reasons other than the truth. That was often where Alicia would defend her and Alicia's size difference was an asset rather than a liability but it was never a liability to Heylyn. Alicia had saved Heylyn from many situations where her sex, beauty or martial arts could not. They were two of a kind and friends for sure and they both remained single throughout high school for two very different reasons, both of which had the same effect.
When high school had ended they had parted ways. Heylyn was by that point already a talented designer whose ability had been exploited at numerous high school fashion shows by the student council. She went on to study fashion arts at an academy which rounded out her knowledge of design with the workings of the business she aspired to be a part of. She'd been discovered part way through her course by a fashion company who'd spied her designs through her website. They contacted her and the rest was history as it went. She'd worked for a two weeks around the clock for her first showing which went off with flying colours (literally). Her success had been guaranteed from that point on and she didn't look back and embraced the next steps as they came.
Alicia had lost contact with her after they parted ways from high school. Alicia's path had been more based in academics and research in her favourite subjects. Science, genetics and biochemistry. She had excelled in those subjects with an almost innate ability to learn and comprehend anything related and her marks were always at the top of the class. Upon leaving school she'd been snatched up by a theoretical research firm who interned her as a lab hand before moving her to the new fields of biokinetics, quantum bioinformatics and genetic transmogrification, the latter of which she had pioneered.
"I've been working on something that... You have to see it. You must. You will. Soon. I'll be watching." Alicia said in an unnerving tone to Heylyn before hanging up.
Heylyn pocketed her cellular phone and went back to the design.
"It was nice to talk to you after all of these years too, Alicia." Heylyn said aloud the edge of sarcasm in her voice sharp in her voice.
It was late and time to go home. Her design office was only a few blocks from her condominium and she preferred to walk the distance despite the rash of violent muggings that had been taking place. Three weeks ago one of them had even resulted in the murder of one of the victims. Heylyn rarely paid much heed to such warnings as she'd little to fear so she felt by way of her training.
She turned the lights off and locked up and made her way to the lobby of the office building. The night watch man bid her a farewell and she strode out onto the streets. Her walk home at night took her through the downtown core and mostly out of the dark and though the muggings gave her little concern, she could have sworn that she was being watched. She stopped into the all night market to get some fixings to cook in a stir fry for her dinner that night and continued her journey home. On the last leg of her journey she didn't know why, but she chose to take the short cut despite the warnings. The shortcut took her through three interconnected alleyways which lead out onto the main street by her condominium address. She turned into the first alleyway and the transition to darkness was immediate as was the muffling of the sound of traffic. She walked the distance through the first, which housed a plethora of refuse from the local businesses and buildings on the block and the smell did not miss her pug nose.
She continued her trek through the alley and as she turned to enter into the second alleyway, a figure jumped out of the shadows towards her.
"Can you spare some change?" A weather worn face asked her.
"I don't have any." She said truthfully.
"Thanks anyway Miss. I'd be careful if I were you around here. There's been a lot of violence around here. Be careful and I'll keep an eye out for you." the weather worn face replied to her.
"Thank you." Heylyn pulled off her hat, a fashionable one and tossed it to the man.
He caught it, sniffing it deeply.
"It smells like heaven. Thank you miss." the weather worn face crawled back into the darkness.
She turned into the conjunct alley and continued her way home. She was part way to the third alley when something hit her from behind and she fell forward onto her face. She struggled to her feet looking around for her attacker. Not one but six large men stepped out into the alley to face her.
"Seems you picked a bad night to walk home alone." One of them stated, his matter of fact tone annoyed her.
She loosened up and readied herself hoping that she wasn't too out of practice for a confrontation.
"What do you want?" Heylyn asked them squarely.
"We want you. And whatever you've got. But we'll take you first." Another spoke without negotiation.
"Well come and get it then." Heylyn replied, her brow furrowing.
"That's what I like to hear!" the first one said as they all six advanced.
The first one came close attempting to grab her and her foot quickly and efficiently clipped the underside of his jaw, shattering his two front teeth.
The second tried to grab her from the side only to receive her knuckle to a point directly below his nose, sending a sharp pain up through his skull and making his eyes water profusely. The third got a hold of her shoulder from the other side and she spun connecting her hand with his temple. Stunned he stumbled backwards and fell. The fourth and fifth grabbed her from behind and constrained her.
"Well, it seems you are outnumbered." The sixth one pointed out.
"That b#tch broke my teeth. I'm going to kill her!" the first one spoke, spitting bits of his teeth onto the ground before them.
He pulled a large knife from his belt and held it to her throat. She eyed him with scorn.
"What's the matter, can't you pick on anyone your own size?" She asked him reluctantly.
"Let her go!" A voice commanded from a fire escape high above them.
"Make me!" The first said, looking up to the fire escape.
A dark shadow flew down from the heights above landing directly on top of the first one, folding him to the ground underfoot.
A blur of colours and the attacker's leg was in mid flight connecting with the thug constraining Heylyn on her right side. He fell quickly already unconscious and a fist hit the back of the neck of the other holding her.
The other two had stood again to face this new threat and before a flurry of feet and fists reduced them to a pile of unconscious flesh.
"Are you ok Heylyn?" The voice asked, a tall female stood before her, her hair streaked blond and black.
"Yes, I'm ok. Thank you for saving me. Who are you?" Heylyn asked.
"I need you to grab a hold of my shoulders and don't let go. Most of all I need you to trust me." The voice asked Heylyn.
"What are you talking about? I'm not going to..." Heylyn responded defensively.
"You have to trust me Heylyn. Please." the stranger asked again pleadingly.
"Alright. But nothing funny." Heylyn let go of her reservations momentarily.
Heylyn threw her hands around the shoulders of the stranger before her and was hefted in the air by leaps and bounds as the mysterious stranger scaled the face of the building. Not sticking to the walls, but finding hand or foothold wherever one presented itself quickly and efficiently. The mysterious stranger thrust upward towards the roof top without stopping and Heylyn hung on for dear life. Once there she leapt building to building until they were scaling Heylyn's condominium and with a final bound were on Heylyn's balcony.
"How did you know where I live?" Heylyn asked the strange lady, her blonde hair gleaming in the night.
"I've known you for a long time and you've known me." the lady responded.
"You aren't another stalker are you? Maybe I should call security." Heylyn asked readying herself once again defensively.
"No. I'm not a stalker. I'm Alicia." the lady replied calmly.
"That's impossible. You're lying! Alicia's... bigger." Heylyn accused the lady.
"Heylyn, let's get inside and I'll explain everything to you." the lady said trying to gain Heylyn's trust once again.
"Ok. But you have to explain what's going on and no funny stuff either!" Heylyn asserted herself momentarily and then opened the sliding door to the interior of the condominium and found the light switch.
The condo itself was large and full of Heylyn's work projects. Some finished and others at some point on their journey to completion. There was no place that it was a mess but there was also no place that it was in order.
Heylyn went to the fridge and pulled liqueur cooler from it.
"Drink?" She asked Alicia.
"No thank you." she replied.
"Well I'm going to have one for both of us then." Heylyn responded opening a cooler and pouring it into crystal champagne sifter and taking a seat on the sofa across from the strange lady.
Alicia was wearing a stylish three quarter length trench coat, what appeared to be tights but made of no material she had seen. They were black and appeared a bit more utilitarian than for presentation, which made them stylish in an odd way. She was wearing brand name black court shoes, which didn't quite go with the outfit Heylyn thought, but they were practical. Her top was a snug fitting material also black with paneled pattern etched into it's surface. There appeared to be numerous holes that had been the result of battle, though no wounds were apparent.
"Are you injured?" Heylyn asked Alicia.
"No. These holes are the results of numerous encounters." Alicia answered her clinically.
"Now. Tell me what the heck is going on!" Heylyn demanded, taking a pull from her drink.
"It's me Heylyn. I've been working on some incredible research. You would not believe what we've... I've been working on. The truth is that they don't know what I've discovered and I can't let anyone know. You're the first person that I've told." Alicia explained.
"Told me what? You haven't told me anything. You show up out of nowhere and kick the crap out of some men trying to attack me for which I'm grateful, and then take me on an amusement ride up the building and to my condominium all while holding onto your back! What the heck is going on!" Heylyn took another drink from the sifter emptying it down her throat before returning to the fridge for two more and putting them on the table before her.
"I know this is hard for you to believe and understand but you have to try. I've developed a sort of chemical that bonds with fabric and makes it do all sorts of incredible things. The fabric accentuates whatever qualities you have in you both emotionally and morally. I don't know understand exactly how as the effects are heuristic. I only know for sure that it does. Secondly it seems to bond with something internally in whomever wears the fabric. It imbues them with great power and even changes them. I mean look at me. These effects remain the same for as long as a couple of hours after the fabric is removed." Alicia explained as best as she could hoping that Heylyn would understand her.
"So why would you bring me into this. Why call me up tonight and explain to me that we're going to change the world?" Heylyn asked Alicia quickly as she imbibed another drink before opening another.
"Because it works great except for one thing." Alicia replied, looking down.
"It requires that the fabric be shaped into clothing and that it has some form of artistic thought to it. I don't know why or even how the chemical 'knows' what is artistic or not. It must be built into the universe somehow at the quantum level though I don't understand it yet. I only know that if the fabric it is applied to isn't hand crafted carefully by someone with an artist's eye, it doesn't work. Or at least not as potently or the same way. You end up with anomalies. Even the abilities the wearer receives are different according to the design and the designer. Even by the design of their hair or makeup. Even makeup has an effect as well, sometimes powerful, sometimes not. I'm not like you Heylyn. You're an artist and designer. You might be able to really make this into something great and help us both to understand it." Alicia explained pausing for a moment to catch her breath before she continued.
"I'm not even sure why it does that. Definitely more quantum than genetics based transmogrification. You as a designer should be able to shape what the fabric and the clothing does. You'll probably have better luck than I did in the design department with both hair and cosmetics or without. You can do things by feel rather than by finite measure. You could do this just by your design, the shape of it, its colours and the effort you put into it though the results aren't always predictable. Even when I take this uniform off, I revert to my original form, though I've lost a little weight since high school as a result of the recent exercise but I'm still a little heavy. Ok. I'm done. Whew." Alicia stopped nervously and looked at her long lost high school friend.
"Just be yourself Alicia. You were always good to me. I want you to be happy. Though if being happy is losing your weight, you must make that choice yourself but either way, I'll always be your friend." Heylyn told her friend.
"And I yours." Alicia responded to Heylyn more loyal that ever.
"I'm not sure about the other stuff that you were talking about, but from what I did understand you're saying you want me to design fabrics and clothing to make people into... heroes. Superheroes?" Heylyn asked.
"Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying. Heroes." Alicia replied.
"We'll need to play with ideas and test it out then. I don't even know where I'm going to find the time. We'll have to do it at night then. Start in the evenings and go until two am, no later because that's all my body can take and I have to be rested for the day. What do we need?" Heylyn pondered the plan before asserting herself to Alicia.
"We had better on this and soon. What do you need for all of this to happen?" Heylyn asked Alicia.
"I'll have to get some supplies from the lab for the coating process. Of course I'll need SY349A-1 and 2. That's the serial number for the formula I developed. You coat the material with one every time you make a new outfit. The other one is a once off application. You take it as a pill once and once only for your whole life and that enables the coated material to affect the transmogrification. Nobody can just put on your clothing and benefit from the effects of the SY349A-1 coating unless they've taken the SY349A-2 pill." Alicia advised Heylyn.
"Alright then. I think I understand though I seem to remember you helping me with my chemistry home work so I didn't really understand the technical details but I comprehend what you said. You get the supplies and bring them tomorrow evening at seven. We'll try some tests with the fabrics I have and I'll fix up your suit. Make it more stream lined and more stealthy for the night. Afterwards I'll make some heroes. Heroes of our own." Heylyn's mind began going over the potentially limitless possibilities. Then her mind hit upon the real possibility and at once she comprehended the immense responsibility she'd been given.
"With this formula from what you are saying we could even design something that stops cancer, or reverses it." Heylyn's face grew long in awe.
"Yes. The formula makes it possible to affect the body's physical and genetic structure in a very short period of time. A few hours from when you put the formula treated fabric on, though that time is once again affected by the design." Alicia expanded upon Heylyn's observation.
Heylyn's hallmark of balancing aesthetic with function was something that she was renowned for in the fashion industry. She had the rare talent to be able to accommodate either without compromising the other. This project gave her creativity a playground of potential through which to explore and the possibility of immense benefit for all of humanity. The silence in the room was a sure indication to Alicia that Heylyn's mind was already deep in contemplation.
"I see that you've already started. I knew you'd love this Heylyn." Alicia said truthfully before she stood and walked over to the balcony door.
"I have to go and finish my patrol and then get some sleep. You should rest now and don't tell anyone about what we talked about. Nobody." Alicia smiled at her friend.
"I won't tell a soul." Heylyn stood and gave her friend a warm and heartfelt hug.
Alicia wiped a tear drop from her eye and stepped out onto the balcony and leapt out into the night in a style all her own.
"Night Style. That's your name Alicia. I hope that you like it." Heylyn thought aloud as her friend disappeared into the darkness.
Downstairs, a car pulled up to a stop outside of the condominium the driver brandishing a cellular phone to his ear.
"She just left a moment ago. I couldn't keep up. She's way too fast. I'm not sure what she was doing here and she wasn't here long. She might have foiled another crime or stopped for a bathroom break." the man spoke into the phone.
"Excellent. Just track her down again and keep her on the scope. If this is connected to the research lab I want to know before the other investors do. This could be huge. Tighten the surveillance at the lab as well and report in if anything changes. Don't let this get out." the voice on the other end of the phone commanded.
She arrived in her studio an hour later than she usually had which of course had caused so people to notice. When she walked in and past the receptionist a handsome man well dressed approached her with an entourage of four people following in tow.
"Heylyn? Do you have a moment?" he asked her.
"I'm sorry Heylyn, this is Mr..." the receptionist interjected pragmatically.
"Mr. Allen. Allen Spears. You might have heard of me." the handsome man held out his hand as Heylyn accepted it.
"Yes I have. You host Evening Fashion on Showca..." Heylyn tried to finish as did the receptionist.
"Yes that's right. Do you have a moment to give us an interview in your studio?" Mr. Spears asked her maintaining his charming smile.
Heylyn smiled back a little bit taken by this unexpected attention. She had been awake for most of the night and had only slept an hour. She woke up this morning already late and put her face on before running out the door. She felt self conscious and didn't feel ready for an interview.
"I'd love to but I had late night and I'm going to have..." Heylyn tried once again to finish.
"Please don't say no. You do realize that our audience numbers are nearly two mill..." Mr. Spears tried to finish before the receptionist interjected.
"Mr. Spears, we'd like you to wait here while Heylyn gets settled into her studio. She'll call us here when she's ready." the receptionist winked at Heylyn who mouthed thank you as she ran down the hall to her studio door.
She opened the door to the studio seeing the clutter in her office with bits and pieces of her projects here and there. She suddenly realized that she had nothing ready to show except something she'd been keeping as a secret project for her up coming presentation at a fashion show. It was a piece that she was going to wear herself and a playful one at that though she felt up to it.
She folded it up and put it into her carry bag, the one that she'd use to transport projects back and forth between the studio and home. She looked for something she could show to Mr. Spears for the audience of Evening Fashion that was presentable. She quickly redid her face trying her best to hide the bags under her eyes. Normally she was quite proud of them as they were the signs that someone was so obsessed with or into their art form that they often lost sleep over it.
When she'd found something to showcase she called to the receptionist to have a model sent in for the showing and told her to show Mr. Spears to her studio fifteen minutes later.
Monique walked into her studio and gave her a warm hug before asking her what was required. Heylyn chatted with Monique for a moment before handing her an outfit she'd designed and assembled last month. Monique disappeared into the the change room and re-emerged ready for the showing.
Monique had lived a rough life up until her opportunity at the studios and with the designer's company. She'd narrowly avoided the pitfalls of drug addiction by her sense of determination but her passive and easy going side had often betrayed her especially once she had gotten comfortable in a situation. Her ex-boyfriend had been one such person and as a small time neighbourhood bad boy. He'd gotten her close enough to the wrong choices to make up for her share of the right ones. His idea was that he was going to slowly work her into the trade of selling her body for sex while he'd be her manager.
She had gotten the opportunity walking home one day from her boyfriend's home. She'd passed Heylyn who was on her way to the studio for a showing though she didn't have a model for the job. She had planned to show it on herself though it didn't go with her hair or her style and she really wanted to present the design on the best candidate to really make it shine.
Monique walked by catching Heylyn's eye by her unique hair and eye colour and her poise which was natural and eye catching. Heylyn quickly stopped her and offered her the job, a two hour gig all together for three hundred dollars, a sizeable amount for Monique at that time. She of course accepted and they had become friends from that point on. Monique was hired a short time later by the designer company and kept on staff for regular photo opportunities and showings.
She had struggled against her boyfriend's hidden plans for her and once she had found out what he was up to, she'd struggled with the moral similarity of selling one's physical self for the enjoyment of others. He'd even used that argument to try and convince her that it wasn't different from her day job anyway. Just a change of people and scenery he'd say. The same sexy clothing and being part of the center of attention.
When Heylyn had learned of this she rented a neighbouring condominium bachelor unit for Monique and told her to get away and to stay away. He'd forget about her and she'd forget about him. In the mean time she tried introducing her to some of the guys she'd known who occasionally worked for the designer's company. Monique never resented the aggressive sistering that Heylyn gave her but she still missed the exciting lifestyle of her boyfriend's neighbourhood.
Despite her outwardly passive appearance Monique craved an exciting and passionate lifestyle through which she could show that part of herself. That's why she exceeded quickly as a model but she still felt a lack in her life that could not be matched by anything but risk or sometimes recklessness. The self destructive nature Heylyn had seen in many models before. All she could do was to mentor her and hope for Monique to make the right choices and finally to hope for the best.
Mr. Spears and his entourage walked into Heylyn's studio as Monique stepped out of the change room. He was as were many men were taken aback by her beauty and her presentation of herself. Both affirmative enough to indicate self confidence and playful dominance and demure enough to imply playful subservience.
The make-up artist and stylist arrived and gave Monique a quick touch up while the Mr. Spears entourage went over the studio selecting the right place to shoot from and the best place for the interviewer and interviewee. Heylyn had been through this process many times before and kept herself busy as she waited patiently for the interview to begin.
"Good evening everyone. I'm Allen Spears and I'm sitting here tonight with Heylyn Yates of West Meet East International." Mr. Spears put on his television face and manner and played it up crossing his eyes at Heylyn as the camera panned to a portrait shot of Heylyn.
"Hi Allen. It's great to be here." Heylyn responded a little bit of laughter escaping her.
"You've been riding high on the success of your recent evening collection. Do you think that you could show us something from your upcoming runway show?" Mr. Spears waited for the camera to change to focus on Heylyn before scrunching his face up tightly and squinting at her.
Heylyn's smile broadened for the camera and she instantly understood his charisma and talent as an interviewer.
"This here is from my upcoming night collection which will focus on the night life and for those people that live actively. Maybe for those that like to go out dancing and enjoy the night life. Here we see Monique in one of the first pieces of the collection and of course we'll see Monique again as part of the full show in two months." The camera panned to take in Monique as she strutted for the camera a few steps towards and a few steps back.
Heylyn's suddenly envisioned in her mind a short dress of scale mail over red scaled patterned stockings leading down to a pair of stylish boots. A single sharp talon protruded from the back of the boots. The boots hadn't any heels and had designer soles that were both armoured in kevlar and had a foot guard of pressed plate.
"That has sort of a couture look to it but short enough to play in. Any fashion tips for our viewers?" Mr. Spears this time kept his face extremely and unflinchingly serious once again getting a smile from Heylyn and a giggle from Monique.
"For the evening don't wear anying that restricts your movement or your style. Combine colours that let you be seen with shades that keep what you want hidden." Heylyn spoke confidently about something that she loved to do which was design clothing and adornments.
As she thought about her night wear show, her mind suddenly focused on an upper body top once again lined with scales up to a smooth finished and flexible breast piece of kevlar. Flowing off of it on the back were what appear to be a cape or two colourful folded wings, like that of a large insect. The piece was rounded out with formal gloves much like what you would find on a couture dress on a lady out for a night at the opera.
Heylyn had rarely experienced visions unless she was under the stress of a deadline. She had been in many such times in life but this was no such time or was it? She had been working all day on her designs for the show and drawing up the patterns and matching materials for the seamstresses. At night she'd get home and eat a quick meal on the fly as she drew sketches of the outfits she'd want to work on for the next day.
The events in the alley last night and Alicia's reappearance in her life had triggered something in her that was fuelling her creative drive and she liked it. Her energy level had picked up and if things got any better she might actually have the energy for a workout at the Dojo. She had studied martial arts for her whole life as a hobby and had mastered three different styles by the time she was nineteen.
Tae Kwon Do had given her the strength and stamina she'd need for her long hours at the studio and kept her from tiring too easily. Regardless of her lack of recent practice, her legs were toned and curved like a fine instrument and to someone who found legs attractive, hers were a complete work of art: beautiful and deadly. She had studied Kung Fu which gave her speed and accuracy. Her arms were slender yet firm and fatally accurate.
Finally she had studied Goju Karate which gave her an abundance of power and form. She could instantly focus her energy through her abdominal energy point below her belly button. Her focus could direct the energy and it would pass through her solar plexus and up into the voluptuous curves of her trapezoids and pectorals and through her beautiful ballerina like bra line which according to her wear could be supple or accentuated.
Despite her recent lack of effort in the department of her physique she was still a scrumptious dish to behold and a finely tuned instrument of physical stamina, speed and prowess. Despite all of her training Alicia and her formula had made her look like she was moving in slow motion.
She wondered how her design arts and her costume might improve her abilities with the help of Alicia's formula. Who was she kidding, Alicia's talent was making all of this possible and it was below Heylyn to be modest on her behalf. Alicia had spent many years trying to overcome her shyness around others and her self consciousness with her appearance. Heylyn was going to help her overcome those issues and they would work as a team to clean up the recent spate of crime in the city.
His day started early and with a phone call. He had been sleeping soundly and in the midst of a nightmare about missing the next purchase and being left with nothing in the process. In it the research firm had dropped in value as planned but most of the shares had been rescued by an emergency buy ordered by Norler. Norler though tough on the exterior was a conundrum to Torman's way of doing things. In reality Norler was an effective leader, a good judge of character and a shrewd negotiator but he liked to take unnecessary risks. Those risks were always based upon his views of his moral responsibility, a phrase that was found on the lips of more and more people in board rooms across the world.
Torman had always regarded it as a fad, though he had regarded the ecological craze of the early millenium in the same way and had already missed a number of investment opportunities in his scepticism. Norler on the other hand had made several profitable investments in the commercial and energy sectors, a number of which had turned around a bad year and strengthened the firm's confidence and buying power. A year later he was voted to the chairman's position, commanding a total worth of more than forty five billion and a considerable reach on the investment ladder.
Tynan and Associates had been on the radar of the investment firm for two years and had made an impression with the release of a smart drug that was capable of renewing and repairing RNA messengers in cancerous cells. Though only usable in the later stages of cancer and often near the critical mortality stage, it had a success rate of twenty five percent with the test subjects who were treated with it. That meant that those subjects who had been treated with their drug had a complete reversal of cancerous cell growth, with all cancerous tissue regenerated as normal tissue.
The body even broke down the remaining cancerous growth and removed it via the immune system on those test subjects. Though still five years from making it through the rigorous approval standards of the international medical community, it was the most promising cancer treatment to date. It had one catch. Of the successful treatments, there was a 10% cumulative chance per year that the patients would experience a remission that would spread at twenty times the normal rate. These facts were ascertained in simulation but nonetheless were realistic dangers to those patients and had affected the investment profile of the research firm. The honesty of the research staff and the project management team had affected their chances at renewed funding for their future.
Torman had written them off as an a potential liability risk while secretly keeping an eye on them for the last two years. His plans were to see the value hit rock bottom and then buy up the firm and raid their technical research and sell it to the highest bidder. A year ago Norler had at a meeting brought up the subject of Tynan And Associates and the risks of a purchase. He admitted that he had been through his own firm keeping them fed and their research programs funded under tight supervision and reliable monitoring of progress. This had thrown Torman's plans off all together and he needed a strategy to come out of this either owning Tynan And Associates or taking Norler's place as the chairman of the board of investors and purchasers.
In Torman's nightmare Norler had held a vote and the board voted unanimously to purchase the research firm and commit to ten years of project funding with the goal of reaching the market with a viable cancer treatment drug based upon their RNA repair technology. Torman had broken down yelling at the board claiming that the investment was all risk and that they had lost their minds. Furious that he had lost out on his secret investment he then pulled a machine gun from his briefcase and proceeded to gun down each of them one at a time in a furious hail of bullets. He threw the gun onto the table, smoke still rising from its muzzle as he considered his options. That was when the cellular phone that lay two inches from the smoking gun rang, its melodically catchy tune echoed through the silent board room.
"Yep. Go ahead." Torman spoke groggily into his cellular phone sitting up in his bed.
"We've got something. It's the girl. The dangerous one. She just landed twenty feet from the loading dock entrance and she's on her way in." the voice reported to Torman.
"Ok. Hold on." Torman covered the phone.
Torman glanced at his clock and then to his girlfriend before getting up and going downstairs into the kitchen where he continued.
"I want you to keep an eye on that place all day until it closes tonight. If anything happens or someone leaves the place use one of your two mobile units. You always stay put and alert and always call in anything of note. Do you understand?" Torman spoke with seriousness to his hired eye.
"Yep. I got it. I'm prepared." he replied and hung up the phone.
Torman ran upstairs and jumped into the shower and was out again in two minutes where his girlfriend met him.
"Do you have time for..." she asked him seductively.
"No babe. I've gotta go." Torman seemed eager to avoid her and when she sensed this he changed his emotional stance with her. He needed her after all.
Valyra was twenty eight and he had met her at a banquet during an investment conference. She was well educated and well liked amongst her peers not to mention that she was tremendously fit and beautiful in the textbook definition. She had approached him first as his outward appearance was deceptively different from that of his inner appearance. She had interrogated him about his work and his portfolio while he expressed little interest in her.
When he later saw her talking closely to someone whose support was imperative for an upcoming deal, he quickly changed his stance towards her. He feigned interest in her and proposed that they go out for a drink that evening. They did so and found their way to her hotel room back at the conference. They slept very little that night but both were up early the next day and back into the convention.
When the afternoon had arrived and they had a lull in their respective schedules they returned to their lovemaking of the previous night, this time using his room. The convention continued for another three days and by the end of it, they were an item and he had gotten his deal. After all, she had put in a good word for him in regard to it with her friend. He had used her in such a way ever since as had she him, though her affection for him was real and she might have married him.
"Look babe. This is a busy time and I'm stressed. We'll have dinner together tonight." he kissed her on the lips and tried to pull away.
Valyra grabbed him and pulled him back to her and he returned the same kiss again before leaving the bathroom to get dressed leaving her seductively leaning against the porcelain sink like a discarded Venusian delight. She thought that she'd give it another chance at dinner that night.
Torman was dressed and out the door five minutes later.
Tynan And Associates
Alicia stood atop the EMX Tower in the staring across the city in all of its vastness. It stood like a monolith amidst the backdrop of other skyscrapers and nearly pierced the clouds. She had learned to fight her fear of heights and was now as comfortable standing atop sky scrapers as she was standing at the top of a flight of stairs. Thanks to her suit a fall from one in either case posed little threat to her. She would merely use her newly acquired acrobatic abilities to catch a grip on the wall or slow her descent enough to withstand the impact.
The last part of Alicia's trip was always a difficult one and required her to make a jump that was at the limits of her current abilities. The EMX building fortunately for her neighboured a row others that formed a staircase over the course of ten blocks. The last jump from the last building in this staircase led right into the back parking lot and loading docks of the Tynan And Associates research building.
She started the last stretch of her journey to the lab leaping from building to building careful not to cause any damage to the structures as she did. She arrived at the last building and jumped using her arms to slow her approach to the parking lot before she tucked into a roll across the pavement redirecting her momentum horizontally. When she had slowed enough she stretched her legs outward into a cartwheel using her arms to push herself onto her feet, each one touching the ground in turn.
She looked around the parking lot to see if anyone was watching her. When she was confident that nobody had seen her, she casually strolled up the stairs to the door and opened it with her key. Inside she encountered a second door where she entered her code after which the magnetic lock disengaged and she was granted access to the research facility. She quickly found her locker and stashed her suit then made her way to the shower.
Nobody had arrived at the research facility and she had timed her routine perfectly every morning for the last week since she'd been using her formula treated suit. She had stripped herself naked and jumped into the shower giving her body a moment to heal from the rigorous physical regimen she'd endured the prior night. Her body would still be under the effects of the suit for two hours after which her body's cellular and metabolic systems would start to return to the natural state of her own body.
A short time later her body shape would return and though she'd lost much weight as a result of her increased physical activity she still had much to carry. She'd usually be in the lab when this occurred and in her clothing. It was initially loose fitting when she had put it on but would soon be filled in as her body state returned to normal. By that time all of her wounds would have healed and any physical damage to her body would be repaired to a limited degree.
There was much to do and when she'd finished dressing herself, she proceeded to the laboratory and started preparing the formula. There had to be enough to complete several rolls of fabrics and composite materials for things such as armour though she wasn't certain what Heylyn's plans were.
It took her an hour to prepare the final chemical stages of the formula before it had to be separated in the centrifuge. From there it was superheated to burn off impurities and to cure the residual composites necessary for the bonding process. The radioactive isotope that resulted from the bonding process was what Alicia theorized was a key factor in the functioning of the formula.
She proposed that the decay of the isotope allowed proteins at the molecular level to rewrite their own code and to modify the RNA messengers used to fix and modify cellular production and other bodily structures. The RNA could reference its own code via the protein strands and could even reference a prior arrangement of amino acids from any time the body had been "alive" via quantum decoherence. At the atomic particle level the effects of the formula caused strange behaviours and interactions between particles that were completely counter intuitive, as if some cosmic consciousness were playing with their measurements.
The research possibilities of the formula were potentially endless and Alicia knew it. It was incredible that they still had to struggle for the research money to continue their operation. That too was like a conscious force though a malicious one that was playing with the perception of their potential to the outside world. Little did she know that such a force existed and it was called Torman.
When she finished in the lab, she pocketed the material treatment formula and several of the accompanying doses of the ingestible formula in her lab coat. They were contained in four hard packaged vials and had enough to treat several hundred yards of fabric and enough for six human doses. She then made her way through the stages of decontamination and back to the lunch room where she sat and wrote some notes in her journal regarding her theories about SY349A.
This was the favourite part of her day as there was nothing but silence in the laboratory as there was still one hour before the first employee would arrive for the day. Her mind was free to wander about the possibilities of the formula and the potential paths they could take for future versions. The cancer treatment they'd developed had recently made it through the first stage of international approval, and they were already working on a second version using the new SY349A. Another research group was developing a program that targeted degenerative disorders such as Muscular Dystrophy which would eventually lead to regrowth of the muscular system, the nervous system, the limbic system and even the spinal cord.
In this ground breaking non-invasive procedure the treatment would be administered through wearable items such as jewelry. The patient would receive a dose of the ingestible formula which they'd only take once in their life and then be required to wear a bracelet or a necklace that was of course treated with the SY349A formula. It was the same science behind Alicia's suit and thus had the same waiting time until peak effect. Like the suit it also benefited from the form amplifies function effect whereby a designer could shape the treatment artistically taking into consideration such things as the shape of the jewelry as compared to the area of treatment. One shape might be better for treating and reversing the effects of a brain tumour and yet another shape would affect treatments for lung cancer. The possibilities created a whole area of expertise that made aesthetics as much a part of that treatment as the biochemistry itself.
Alicia jumped when she heard the door open behind her and the first research associate entered the lunch room brandishing a cup and a packaged muffin.
"Good morning. How are you today sunshine?" Alex spoke with confidence a big smile on his face.
"I'm doing just great. How about yourself Alex?" Alicia returned politely though a little bit apprehensively about the loss of her quiet time.
"Just fine this morning. You know that we have a presentation this morning?" Alex asked Alicia, the grin still stretched across his face.
Alicia panicked for a moment as she visibly flushed. She'd completely forgotten about the presentation scheduled for today. She was expected to take the podium for at least a half an hour to round out Alex's research update which was presented to a silent investor and his advisors every two months. This one was especially important as it could lead to a research deal with funding secured for at least a decade.
Alicia jumped to her feet excitedly and gave Alex a peck on the cheek.
"Oh thank you. You just made my day!" she said hardly able to contain her glee.
She turned and was out the door of the lunch room and out into her cubicle to prepare for the presentation. If they could really make this presentation count their investor worries might be over and research programs for the next generation of SY349A would be a reality and Quantum Transmogrification and RNA Regenerative treatments would be as common as penicillin within fifteen years. A new generation of medical treatment would be available and they would be a big part of that. She opened her presentation software and began piecing together her presentation.
A Change In Plans
"Someone just arrived. At the lab. A guy in sun glasses. He's got three other people with him." Torman's hired observer spoke into the phone.
"How are they dressed?" Torman asked him.
"They're dressed in suits. They're passing looking through the contents of a file folder." he replied back.
"Damn! Investors. Ok. When they leave again, put one of the other cars on them and report back." Torman responded a little bit of panic in his voice.
"Will do." the observer answered but the line was already dead.
"They've got investors checking them out for a purchase or investment deal. Just like my nightmare." he though to himself.
He walked in a circle for a moment and considered his options carefully before deciding to go ahead with his the disaster plan. He opened his phone once again and dialed a number from memory.
"It's Torman. We're going to go ahead with what we discussed. I don't want any evidence left behind and I want the researcher unharmed so we can question him. The hard way if necessary. If you need to call me, text first with the code." Torman hung up spinning his executive chair around to face his desk.
He opened his top drawer and pulled out a locked case which he carefully opened with a key from his key chain. He opened the case carefully and pulled forth a 9mm handgun and three magazines of additional ammunition. He put it carefully in his belt and pocketed the magazines returning the case to the desk drawer before stepping out.
"I'm out for the weekend Koryn, take any messages and I'll get them on Monday. Have a good weekend. Say hi to the kids for me." Torman said without looking at her directly.
"Thank you Mr. Torman, you have a nice weekend." Koryn replied getting back to her emails.
"Oh I most certainly will." Torman replied.
The drive back to his house was peaceful in the midday traffic and when he arrived it was three o'clock post meridiem. Torman made one more call to set his plan in order. He dialed and waited for an answer.
"Go ahead." the voice answered.
"Send in the dancing lab coats." Torman told the mobile unit.
"They're en route." the voice answered.
With that Torman hung up the phone and waited for the plan to unfold and for his girlfriend to arrive home from the office before they headed to his real office.
The Project Director shook hands with Norler as he walked him to the door shaking the hands of each of his advisors as well.
"We'll setup meetings every month as discussed in our plan. We look forward to speaking again." Norler stepped out the door, his advisors behind him.
The Project Director turned and walked back into the meeting room where the staff had snuck in after the meeting had adjourned.
"That's it. We're done." The Project Director paused for a moment feigning disappointment.
"They're going to fund us for an additional fifteen years!" He exclaimed hardly able to hold his excitement.
The room broke out into cheers and laughter as a hugs and handshakes were passed around the room.
"I'd like to thank Alicia and Alex for their excellent presentation. Their enthusiasm really pushed the message home and that we're serious about this as the next generation of treatment technologies for some of the most challenging obstacles to human health and mortality. We will be meeting at the Emporium for drinks and dancing tonight to all interested." The Project Director finished his speech and found his way back to the office.
"Way to go Alicia! High five." Alex approached his research peer cheerfully.
"Hey! We're a team." She said to him knocking his waist with her hips.
She had put her spare suit on underneath her lab wear and the SY349 had started to take effect.
"That's a pretty awesome hip check. Are you going to the Emporium tonight?" Alex asked her with serious interest in his eyes.
"I don't know. I might be. It depends." She answered him unsure if he was expressing interest in her or not.
"You should go. It will be a chance to get out. I'll be there." He said and winked to her before he left and returned to his work.
Alicia thought about Alex's implicit invitation before returning to her area to collect her things. There was still a half an hour left and she wanted to get some rest before starting the night, after all it might be a busy one.
Before she left, she dialed Heylyn as she had the other night still wondering how they were going to put this whole thing together. As she dialed the thought occurred to her that Heylyn might have just written her off as eccentric and lost. Ultimately she remembered what her friend had told her all of those years ago, believe in yourself. Funny how self doubt rears it's ugly head when you take your biggest risks, she thought making an effort to correct her own course.
"Heylyn speaking." Heylyn answered cheerfully still flying after the great interview.
"Hi. Its Alicia. What time do you want to meet at?" Alicia was curt and to the point.
"How about we meet at my place in about an hour. I'm just on my way out. Try to come in through the front door this time." Heylyn joked with Alicia.
"I think I can remember how to do that. I'll see you soon." Alicia replied returning the levity gratefully.
"Bye for now." Heylyn hung up the phone.
After Alicia had finished a short meeting with the Project Director she stepped out the door. On her way to the bus stop she failed to notice the car that pulled into the back parking lot at Tynan And Associates. These men weren't employees but they wore the same lab coats that all of the researchers wore. Everything about them was similar to the research employees when looking from the outside but looks can be deceiving. They weren't there to utilize their resources, drive, knowledge and love of life to create a solution to one of many problems plaguing the world. They were there to take.
Design For Two
Heylyn walked into the lobby of her condominium to see Alicia seated in the waiting area. Heylyn nodded to the security guard as he announced her guest's presence. Heylyn and Monique had walked the distance home together as Monique's condo unit was on the same floor though a few units away and they'd accompany each other for the walk home when they could. It was the least that Heylyn could do to make sure that Monique's ex-boyfriend did not show up and cause problems for her.
"Alicia, this is my co-worker Monique. Monique this is Alicia. She's an old friend of mine from high school. We're working on a project together." Heylyn introduced them and the trio went to the elevator.
"So are you working on a fashion project together?" Monique asked a little curious about Alicia.
"Well. Yes and no. We're designing lab coats for the research firm she works for. Alicia thought they could be a lot more stylish yet still be functional so she came to me." Heylyn answered her graciously.
"Yes we can show a little more leg but we want to make sure that researcher's minds are on their research." Heylyn made a vain attempt at a joke.
"Yes, but we could make them battery and solar powered to operate the lab instrumentation and recharge phones and other devices if need be. There's enough wattage in fluorescent lighting to charge solar devices plus we could..." Alicia stopped herself before she went to far.
"That sounds neat. That would work great for regular clothing too." Monique said instantly catching on to the idea thinking about her own e-reader.
Alicia and Monique shared a common ground when it came to technology and this alienated Heylyn a little bit. She'd used software from her days in school especially digital painting and design packages. She preferred not to dabble in the technology itself but rather was interested in what it could do to shorten the time from concept to wearable clothing and fashion accessories while still being functional.
Most of her designs were very comfortable and complimented not contorted the human form. In this way they were alluring in ways that were often ignored by some designers of more traditional items like shoes and waist wear. An important part of her design was to be able to be physically free moving no matter what the setting was that the clothing or outfit was designed for while maintaining the traditional appearance of the outfit.
Her formal wear designs were always complimentary in a traditional sense and attractive but no matter the outfit, one could be nearly as physical as they wanted to be. There were no constraints imposed by her outfits upon the range of motion or the tilt of a woman's hips to affect presentation of her legs. In one of Heylyn's outfits one could just as easily walk the wedding aisle, dance the entire night or even do an hour of gymnastics without being limited by the outfit or footwear.
This always rubbed the traditionalists the wrong way but Heylyn's designs were just an alternative design that praised the human form upon which it was worn. Those who still preferred heels might even buy them and wear them with one of her outfits (a sort of statement in itself) but her own shoe designs rarely twisted the form in ways that compromised the body.
Heylyn had learned from experience when people started to notice her that many men (and women) were afraid to say what they thought when it came to something that their spouse might wear. Most it turns out might say what they thought the other might want to hear in order to avoid hurting their feelings when it came to items of clothing that they were wearing.
She'd learned this by careful observation of people. She noticed that there were many people (including her former partners) who might take notice of her when she had worn heels, but there were nearly twice as many when she'd worn a more modest shoe that was easier on her physique and hips. Her musculature and curves were more apparent especially if she'd been working on them. The clothing itself presented her form in the most gracious and alluring sense because it was worn upon a work of art. The human body.
Heylyn's thoughts returned to where she was as the elevator door opened. Alicia kept herself from talking too much in front of Monique for which Heylyn was grateful. Monique had no idea about what they were doing and just about everybody would be kept out of the loop until they crossed that bridge. When they arrived on their floor Monique said her goodbyes and went her way and they turned the corner to arrive at Heylyn's condo. When they got inside Heylyn immediately went to her design table and pulled the outfit she'd separated from her work and put it out on the table.
Alicia noticed the clock on the wall and asked Heylyn if she could sleep for spell.
"I'm surprised that you lasted this long. Go ahead. There's a guest room down the hall on your right. Do you want something to eat before you sleep?" Heylyn directed Alicia making sure that she was fed.
"I'm not hungry. Please wake me up at eight o'clock as I've got to meet some people at the Emporium tonight. You can come if you'd like. I'd prefer it if you would." Alicia answered looking like she was ready to sleep there.
"That's perfect. If you need anything just help yourself. I'm going to fix up some things that I brought home tonight for our project. Maybe we can do some tests tonight too on our way to the Emporium." Heylyn's project obsession found its way her late afternoon.
Alicia disappeared into the guest room and was asleep a short time later.
Heylyn continued her design effort examining the outfit she'd put on the design table. It was a sort of risky design itself intended as night wear one might wear to a dance club. She spent the rest of the evening piecing it together with some other functional parts and some experimentation in order to test the effects of the SY349A formula.
Her intuition told her to try some design elements that she suspected were linked to the formula and what they'd enabled with Alicia's abilities while wearing it. When she'd finished she took a pair of kevlar sports boots that she'd received as a gift from the manufacturer for her endorsement. The boots were Alicia's size and most likely would function well with her suit. The kevlar added to their durability though Heylyn expected it wouldn't be long before she would be required to attempt utilizing the anti-ballistic fabric into both of their outfits. When she was done she took a nap on her couch remembering to set the alarm for eight o'clock.
Torman's entry team who were dressed as lab technicians waited in their car in the back parking lot for a few more employees to leave before they made their move. They had a check list that they were keeping with all of the employees they knew about. Every time one of them left, they checked that one off so they knew exactly how many were remaining and who. When the only people left were the ones that they wanted they made their move. The driver dialed a number on his cellular phone.
"We're going in now. We'll be at the back ETA three to five minutes." he spoke into the phone before hanging up.
He started the car and drove over to the back entrance, stopping the car and leaving it running. The three of them got out and used a key to gain entry to the building and a code they'd obtained careful surveillance of one of the employees.
When inside they walked through it strategically checking each room to make sure that they didn't miss anyone. The first person they encountered was a lab technician making their way out of the building. They walked by unnoticed by and continued on their mission.
When they arrived at the cubicles and workstations they noted two of their three targets present, each of them sitting at their cubicle presumably finishing up their end of the day work. One of Torman's technicians dealt with the lab associate while the other dealt with Alex.
"Hi, I need you to come to the Project Director's office for a short meeting before we go." Torman's lab tech requested of Alex.
Alex looked at him curiously thinking he'd never seen him before. He looked at the security badge that he was wearing which appeared to be legitimate before he responded.
"Sure thing. What does he want to congratulate us for the great presentation again?" Alex asked the Torman's lab tech.
"I think the Project Director is thinking of taking a trip." Torman's lab tech answered improvising.
"Ok. Gimme a second." Alex took a moment to organize his cubicle before grabbing an attache case and heading for the Project Director's office with the lab technician.
Something was off but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. The other technician was already on his way to the Project Director's office and both really didn't know what to expect.
When they arrived at the Project Director's office they caught him just as he was packing up to leave for the weekend.
"Is this a surprise meeting?" he asked the quintet a smile on his face.
"I thought you requested us?" Alex said to the Project Director.
Alex was very certain that something was amiss when one of Torman's lab technicians blocked the way out of the Project Director's office before speaking.
"We're going on a trip out of the back door. Nobody make any sudden moves and no signals to anyone. Let us do the talking if we encounter anyone that you know and you'll likely save their life. Act natural and nothing will happen. When we get out of the back door there will be a van with the doors open waiting for you. Get in and don't make any sudden moves." Torman's lab technician spoke in a calm and practised manner keeping his gun in their view but concealed from others.
The trio immediately complied with the request although Alex evaluated his options. He sized up the three of them and considered it unwise to attempt to dismantle the situation here in these closed confines. Although he'd been trained for situations like this, he wasn't sure that he could handle three of them quick enough and there were lives at stake so he opted against it.
Right now the most imperative thing that he could do was to ensure that their lives were safe and that the formula remained protected. There were three perpetrators and they had a vehicle and a schedule which meant that it was part of a bigger organized plan with other people involved. They had targeted the three of them selectively which meant they were likely after information. The Project Director was likely the highest priority target alongside himself with the lab associate being expendable. They would likely threaten to kill the lab associate in order to pressure him and the Project Director to reveal their knowledge of the formula.
To stall them here and now would likely mean injury or death to one of the other non-target employees as they'd likely kill them to silence them if problems arose. Instead he decided to look for a way to communicate what had happened when the opportunity presented itself.
The group proceeded to the back door of the building only running into one person a member of the cleaning staff. They all maintained their ruse so as to save his life and their own. When they made it to the back of the building they exited without incident to see a black van with its side doors open and two figures in black waiting for them.
The Project Director got in as Alex looked around as obsequiously as possible collecting as much information as he could. He noticed another car on the other side of the van and noted its model and colour before getting into the van himself. The three faux lab technicians closed the door of the van and returned to the car they'd arrived in, discarding the lab coats revealing their black suits beneath.
Both vehicles left the back parking lot of Tynan And Associates at 4 PM sharp and were en route to the rendezvous point to meet with Torman.
Heylyn's alarm rang at seven fifty five startling Heylyn out of her short nap. She'd managed to sleep for forty minutes and though she felt energized, she knew that she'd pay for her lack of sleep sometime soon. She got up from the couch and tapped on the guest door for Alicia.
"It's eight o'clock sweetie. Time to get up." Heylyn notified Alicia of the time.
"I am up." Alicia replied as she emerged from the room looking refreshed.
The formula also accelerated the metabolic rate of the body meaning that what you consumed was turned into energy quickly and when you rested your body recovered at four times its normal rate.
They both walked into the living area which also contained her design table in the spacious room. Heylyn spread the outfit out across the table along with the kevlar boots she'd modified for Alicia.
"These are for your outfit. They're kevlar and reinforced boots. I modified them a little with clips that should clasp to your pants. There's also two straps one for each foot to secure something, with a quick release. I also shaped them a little in order to augment your stability or speed." Heylyn handed them to Alicia.
"This is great! Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed." Alicia examined them carefully playing with the strap.
"This is the suit I modified for myself. Its a make shift modification of an outfit I had planned for an upcoming show. Its taken from a dream that I had as a child." Heylyn gazed at it, lost somewhere in thought.
"What is the suit supposed to represent?" Alicia asked her looking at.
"Are you sure that you want to hear this?" Heylyn asked Alicia.
"Of course I do. Its important." Alicia spoke sincerely.
"Ok. Here goes." Heylyn answered her as she summoned the tale for Alicia:
This tale is about a large field where many creatures lived and to the things that lived there the field was their entire world.
All of the creatures that lived there lived there in harmony, and some were more dangerous than others.
There were the ants, the worms, the hornets, the snakes, the mice, the birds and the butterflies.
They had no enemies and the field would provide all of the food that they needed to grow up and have children starting the whole cycle over again.
It was very peaceful there until one day the collectors happened upon this field.
A very vile group of collectors whose cruelty was without equal would collect the most beautiful specimens of each of the creatures and keep them trapped while they kept them inside of a jar and tormented them.
The cruel collectors would show up and claim one of the most beautiful of each of the creatures from the field young and old alike every time, taking them away never to be seen again where they kept in a jar while they were tormented and exploited for the benefit of the collectors.
The creatures had a meeting and every one of them that lived in the field showed up.
The creatures tried to figure out what they were going to do about these cruel collectors.
The mice said: The snakes can bite them.
The snakes replied: They're too big.
The worms said: The birds can eat them.
To which the bird's replied: They're too big.
The ants said: The hornets can sting them.
To which the hornets said: They're too big.
The butterflies said: We can stop them.
To which the rest of the creatures laughed asking:
What ever can a butterfly do?
All you have is grace, beauty and artistry?
The butterflies left the meeting feeling worthless and like they could not help because they could not do anything but be graceful, beautiful and artistic. The other creatures mistook this for vanity while all the other creatures could at least do something.
One night the butterflies got together and decided to make a cocoon.
When they made it they included an antenna from the ants,
a whisker from the mice, a feather from the birds,
a stinger from the hornets, the ring from one of the worms,
and the scale from one of the snakes, and a pair of their butterfly wings.
Then they left it to grow and grow it did.
One day the cruel collectors returned to the field to collect one of each of the rest of the creatures.
Each of the creatures was put in the jar as the next one was collected.
When the collectors went to take a butterfly the already humongous cocoon opened.
Out came a ferocious Dragon.
The Dragon had the wings of a butterfly so it was beautiful.
It's butterfly's wings had the feathers of a bird so it could fly.
It had the scales of a snake so its skin was tough.
It had the antennas of an ant so it could read minds.
It had the whiskers of a mouse, so it could sense danger from afar.
It had the rings of a worm, so it could heal very quickly,
And It had the stinger of a hornet so it was deadly.
The Dragon said to the cruel collectors:
You've taken one each of the creatures of the field.
You may keep each one but for a price.
For the mouse, I will take your left leg.
For the worm, I will take your right leg.
For the ant I will take your left arm.
For the bird I will take your right arm.
For the snake I will take your neck.
and for the butterfly I will take your head.
The collectors dropped all of the creatures they'd collected that day and tried to run before they were stopped again by the Dragon.
The Dragon spoke:
For all of the creatures that you've already taken I will take your life.
The collectors cried:
No, no! We shall return them at once.
The collectors returned a short time later with all of the creatures they'd collected and set them free though they'd been tormented to no end and were emotionally frail and distraught.
The Dragon then asked the returned creatures whether the collectors should be allowed to go free or to pay the price to which the creatures replied...
"After the creatures of the field had made their decision about what to do with the collectors they never laughed at the butterflies from that day forth." Heylyn said as a smile crept onto her face deep in memory of her parents.
Torman's Real Office
The van pulled into the industrial district and proceeded to an abandoned production plant that Torman had procured (through an alias of course) a year ago to secure his plan. It was equipped with most of the lab facilities and he had installed the latest production equipment to handle anything from refining to the full scale production of just about any chemical substance, all programmable via machine control interface. He had procured the ten giant centrifuges which were equipment that was on the watch list by national security by importing them as individual parts and reassembling them in his facility though he had no intention of enriching any of the banned radioactive isotopes.
The rest of the equipment he'd procured from his recent history of forced lab closures which he executed by careful manipulation of the market forces that supported them. When they'd dropped to rock bottom value he'd come along with an offer of capitol and strong arm them into folding and selling. He'd take their research and hang onto it for later use keeping any patents or dispense it to one of his other holdings to assist in their research. His methods were cruel compared with those of Norler.
Norler had always seen a company as being something that should be kept healthy and its employees passionate about their effort and their research technology would inevitably turn out the like. Keep the company healthy and inspired and it's offspring would mature with grace and confidence in the face of an ever changing market. Being realistic did not require anyone to shelve their idealistic dreams. It only underlined the importance of taking them very seriously.
Torman on the other hand saw the technology as being separate from the company and that technologies that hadn't matured could be put in stasis or transplanted to other companies and that the drive and passion of those who created it was not imperative to its development. Torman had a huge impact upon the market activity and dissolution of many research efforts and his reputation had preceded him.
More recently because of the impact of persons like Norler who recognized their important role in maintaining a driven and creative work force the market had seen some healthy changes. They recognized their responsibility in nurturing it where they could while being aware of what they were supporting and what it could potentially lead to. The good, the bad and everything in between.
Torman had come to the conclusion that compassion and morality were not his concerns nor the concerns of any business person. The bottom line was the only real concern there was and that everything else that depended upon that would find its way there by ensuring its healthy maintenance. Idealism and passion had no place in business or in the weight of the value of a company or technology.
Torman's dismantling companies so he could sell their assets had finally caught up with him in an ever changing world and this was his insurance policy. This was his way to be sure that he retired regardless of what others thought of him while maintaining the lifestyle he'd become accustomed to. This was his final deal and he was looking to cash out and be elsewhere by the time the dust had settled. Unbeknownst to him his impact upon the world was only just about to begin.
He sat inside the building at the desk to his office which was enormous inside of a huge building which easily could have doubled as an aircraft hangar. The chemical operations equipment was spread across the plant floor before him with his office elevated to a stage like platform seventy five feet above the floor. It had no walls meaning one could easily walk off the edge though it was big enough that it minimized that likelihood. He could oversee the entire operation from where he sat. To gain access one was required to take an electric elevator which had little else than handrails and a lever to operate it.
The group from the van entered the building accompanied by the false lab technicians and Valyra, who they'd picked up along the way. She'd not known about the building or any of Torman's other dealings in this way as she'd been kept in the dark about everything herself.
"Welcome to my humble abode!" He affirmed his presence, his voice echoing off the walls of the huge room.
He waited for them to ascend the elevator to his office, all of them piling onto it at once as the motor groaned lifting them to gigantic platform. There he sat behind a desk at the far end of the platform staring group down.
"Babe, could you take a seat here beside me. As for the rest of you there's seats over there for you." He gestured Valyra to a chair by his side behind the desk and to a set of three chairs to his prisoners.
They all complied, Valyra taking the chair by his side. His henchmen took up positions behind the prisoners while two remained at the elevator. A remaining henchman approached the desk and dropped the contents of the prisoner's pockets and their other personal belongings onto the desk.
"Now. Let's get to get to know each other." Torman spoke, very much in charge here.
"I'm Greer Torman. This is my beautiful girlfriend Valyra. We are very pleased to meet you." Torman stated confidently while Valyra shifted a little, obviously uncomfortable with the situation but getting a glimpse into the mentality that Torman was often possessed of.
"Let's start with you." Torman pointed to the lab associate.
"I'm Carsen Manard. A research associate at..." He didn't have time to finish before Torman pointed to the next prisoner underlining the unimportance of Manard.
Manard had no clue about what had been implied.
"And you?" Torman indicated Alex.
"What do you want with us?" Alex asked him very clinically.
"Ahhh. A scientist. Always asking questions and looking for knowledge. You're Dr. Alex Smyth. You've a doctor's degree in clinical biology." Torman smiled at his discovery of Alex then pointing to the Project Director.
"That leaves only you. You must be the Project Director. Professor Darret Wenslen. The one with the information that I need. Let's begin then." Torman directed one of his henchman to Carsen just as Alex had suspected might happen.
The henchman drew a gun and levelled it at Carsen's head walking him to the edge of the office platform. The henchman held onto Carsen's lab coat and pushed him toward the edge, the gun in his other hand trained on Carsen's head. Carsen leaned perilously close to losing balance and falling the seventy five feet to the concrete floor below.
"Now. Tell me everything that you know about the formula." Torman demanded of the Project Director.
A Butterfly Is Born
Alicia readied the vials of formula with the applicator attachment. It was basically an atomizer allowing her to spray it onto the fabric or other material to which it would bind in fifteen minutes. The effects would start to occur after that binding time and Alicia knew it was time to get it done. They had to leave soon and she wanted to be sure that they would be under the effects of the formula by the time they arrived at the Emporium.
Alicia handed the pill to Heylyn placing it in the palm of her hand.
"You have to take this in order for the formula to bind to your body and metabolism. You wont have to take another one for the rest of your presumably long life." Alicia explained about the pill to Heylyn.
"So I won't grow another set of eyes or start talking backwards then?" Heylyn did her best to joke with Alicia.
"You might." Alicia looked very serious for a moment before a smile crossed her face.
"Here goes." Heylyn put the pill in her mouth and swallowed noticing no unusual sensation.
After Heylyn had taken the pill Alicia began to spray the formula onto the outfit on the design table, stretching it in order to get it on all of the surfaces evenly. The whole process took twenty minutes from start to finish, including Alicia's new kevlar boots. She took the boots from the table and put them on immediately. Their fit was snug and the clips worked perfectly.
"You'd better put your outfit on now. When you do, you're going to feel strange for the first little while as the transmogrification occurs. Your body will change at the molecular level so it is a little bit uncomfortable, especially the first time." Alicia warned Heylyn of the caveats of RNA repair technology and quantum transmogrification.
Heylyn dodged to her bedroom with the outfit carefully putting it on and making sure that it was snug in all of the right places. The outfit was a little bit odd but not beyond wearing in public though she'd likely wear something over it like a light jacket. The top was snug and well fitting accenting were rounded curves in a modest but alluring way. The arms had a semi translucent fabric sewn from body to arm that appeared like wings when she spread her arms. Her hands were gloved in formal wear to the elbows which was reinforced with a composite fabric she'd used for sports wear while still retaining an elegant look. Her skirt ran to just above the knees and hugged her body once again revealing her rounded and curved body. Her leggings ran the length of her legs down to a pair of calf high heel less boots to which she'd affixed a pair of talons upon her ankles giving it a sort of dangerous look. Though she planned to modify it in the future along with that of Alicia's clothing she thought that they both looked pretty invitingly good. She hoped that the functional aspect would be as encouraging.
"Oh, one last thing. I'd forgotten. Masks." Heylyn opened her purse and pulled forth a pair of masks.
One was a tight fitting tie on that concealed Alicia's eyes and cheeks, masking her appearance just enough to conceal her identity. Heyly's appeared much like an elegant pair of wings spread across her face like that of a butterfly.
"I'd better treat them with the formula now." Alicia said attending to each of the masks in turn.
When Alicia was done she handed Heylyn's mask back and put hers in her pocket for later.
"We can wear these when we try to the real tests ton..." Heylyn fell to floor gasping.
"Oh... Damn it hurts!" She yelled her body in extreme pain.
Alicia recognized the indications of shock setting in by Heylyn's pale complexion and picked her up from the floor and put her on the couch. She retrieved a cloth and wet it with warm water dabbing it on her face.
Heylyn curled up as the transmogrification occurred though she could have sworn that she was dying. Her entire body was being modified at the molecular level by the formula and was just beginning its early stages of the transformation. Five minutes into her painful contortions and her body felt great. Like she was a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, or maybe a dragon. She suddenly felt lighter than air as her body slowly levitated from the couch a few inches into the air.
Her muscles tensed as her finger nails transformed into talon-like claws while retaining the appearance of her regular nails. When she opened her eyes, the world appeared different to her and she wondered if her eyesight had been changed. She took notice of the studs in the walls along with the nails used to hold them in place. She could see a trail of mist that followed her hands and everywhere the moved. The trail stayed in place for minutes afterwards. When she concentrated it disappeared and her vision was normal once again. Even the air tasted different to her like her senses were extremely heightened yet when she concentrated they returned to normal.
Her skin took on a minute scaly tinge which was soft when she wanted it to be or tough as steel. Her floating sensation grew momentarily and she turned to see the floor below her. She assumed it to be an out of body experience and that she was dreaming and when she awoke she was on the couch and the room had stopped moving.
Alicia crouched over her shaking her attempting to rouse her.
"Heylyn! Heylyn!" She shouted trying to rouse her friend from her dream.
"Wha... How long have I been out?" Heylyn shook her head.
"For about an hour. How do you feel?" Alicia asked Heylyn.
"I feel good. Very good and healthy. I think I'm good enough to go to the Emporium if you'd like." Heylyn sat up feeling very different than she did an hour ago.
Her mind was the same but it was almost like she was in an entirely different body.
"You should take a look at yourself in the mirror first." Alicia warned Heylyn.
"Why?" she said as she got up and ran to the mirror.
She was shocked when she looked into it seeing her face had changed. All of the areas of her face that had colour before were accentuated as is someone had painted those parts. Her eye lids and brow line were a dark shade of lavender. Her lips and cheeks were a deep red. Her eyes had become like those of a cat or a reptile. When she looked even closer, minute scales were visibly etched onto the surface of her skin but only lightly so. Even the suit itself had changed a little to accommodate her body which had increased in musculature but only accenting what was already there. She once again felt light and very powerful. Though she was taken aback by the changes in her, she was energized and excited to experiment with her new abilities.
"I'm going to tell you something that I decided when I joined the research team. What I did was promise myself that what I learned and what I accomplished would only be used to assist and protect others. If I'd gotten a job offer elsewhere for more finances and a different opportunity to help in a way I saw fit, I would have taken it. Progressing is ok but outright using these abilities for excessive self gain is wrong. We must use them to help others." Alicia reminded Heylyn of their real responsibility.
"I hope that you're ready to go along with that because I don't think that I could stop you even if I wanted to. But I would try if I had to." Alicia said in all seriousness to Heylyn.
"Sweetie, you do not have to worry about me." Heylyn replied but she'd not understood fully the responsibility her abilities might impose upon her.
"Ok. Let's take a trip to the Emporium and find my co-workers." Alicia said and with that they left through the front door, each concealing their clothing under a pair of stylish trench coats Heylyn had pulled from her closet. As the two women walked off in the downtown air Torman's last watch called to inform him of their departure.
"On their way then? I guess we're going dancing tonight." Torman replied from the other end of the phone.
The walk to the Emporium had been uneventful though the Friday streets crowded and active with night life. They each considered this a patrol for problems but there were none so they just enjoyed the scenery as they went. The walk was a long one that would put them at the Emporium at just after ten pm, right when it started to get crowded. Alicia thought of her co-workers and hoped they'd be able to find them.
"So if this works have you given any thought to a name?" Heylyn asked Alicia.
"A name? Alicia is fine, isn't it?" Alicia answered, thinking that Heylyn might mean actually changing names.
"No. I mean your outfit. Like in the comic books and movies." Heylyn clarified her question.
"My Aunt was a Police Officer and she's a hero. She's saved a few lives as a matter of fact. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation three times on the job. She never had to change her name to CPR Girl or anything like that. She retired five years ago but that's not the point. Why do people that wear costumes have to change names?" Alicia said carefully trying to make a point.
"I get your point. My cousin worked as a fire fighter and he saved many lives and is also a nameless hero to the rest of the world. There are many nameless heroes in the world and that's who we're trying to help." Heylyn said trying to spur Alicia into a little excitement.
"We're trying to help people who become endangered or victimized in some way that could potentially harm them." Alicia challenged Heylyn's response.
"A person becomes potentially endangered when they cross the road. Does that mean we're going to walk everyone that we see across the road?" Heylyn posited a scenario to Alicia challenging her friend's stance.
"No. We're going to use our abilities to if there is something that we can do to prevent someone from becoming harmed by accident or malicious action in order to keep the world safe and make it better." Alicia answered her somewhat defensively.
"So doesn't a volunteer who commits part of their time to helping others consider themselves a hero? They're making the world a better place? What about instant volunteers, someone who holds a door for the elderly or disabled? They're heroes in a sort of way too and making the world a better place." Heylyn once again countered.
"Yes in their own way. So what you're saying is that a hero is someone who uses the means available to them and their abilities to protect others if they can, to do good and to inspire others to do the same or to inspire others period?" Alicia answered Heylyn with a question.
"I couldn't have said it better sister." Heylyn smiled at her friend.
"None of those people choose names though." Alicia made a great point.
"I'll bet you they would if they wore a costume when they did those things." Heylyn laughed a little.
"You mean like: When the sun rises he arrives broom in hand to clear the streets of dust and dirt. The Street Sweeper. Quick to the sweep mobile!" Alicia joked making them both laugh.
"We have clean streets don't we?" Heylyn replied.
"I thought we were going to clean them up." Alicia countered.
"We are. But we have to have names first." Heylyn said to her friend once again a giggle barely escaping.
"What? You mean like Lab Lady?" Alicia asked her not quite grasping the concept.
"That gives away your real identity. No something else. Try a few." Heylyn said.
"The Dark Walk?" Alicia verified it with Heylyn.
"That's getting better. I thought of one the other night for you. Do you want to hear it?" Heylyn asked Alicia.
"Alright. But it better be good if you've built it up this much." Alicia looked at Heylyn skeptically.
"Ok. Night Style." Heylyn said accentuating the words.
"We talked about all of that to get to Night Style?" Alicia responded to the name Heylyn had chosen for her a smile on her face.
"I like it." Heylyn said withdrawing a little with a smile of her own.
"So do I. So do..." Alicia paused before her friend disappeared with lightning reflexes to the other side of the street.
It happened too quickly even for Alicia to see but Heylyn had leapt out onto the road pulling a lady off of the street before a truck had just barely missed her.
"Thank you! Oh my gosh! I just about died! Thanks lady!" the lady said looking around in awe.
"Next time you should wear brighter colours so you can be seen if you plan on waltzing out onto the street like that." Heylyn said to the lady before she carefully returned to the side with Alicia.
"What happened?" Alicia asked her.
"It was like I heard and could see her heartbeat from the side of my vision. Then the same thing for the engine of the truck. Before I knew it I was in the air pulling her from the street." Heylyn replied to Alicia, others staring at her in disbelief.
Heylyn's eyes had momentarily flared as she looked around the street her senses heightened to almost unbearable levels. Her eyes darted left and right trying to make sense of all the information she was receiving. When she calmed down, it started making sense to her.
"Are you ok Heylyn?" Alicia shook her friend's shoulder trying to get her attention.
"Yes. Much better. My senses were on overload again though this time I could make it out almost like I could see everything around me at once." Heylyn replied her eyes still flared.
"I think that we can safely say that the formula is active and functioning." Alicia said with certainty.
"You haven't seen anything. Wait for the next version of both our costumes." Heylyn said with confidence.
She understood the link between design and the augmentation the formula gave her body almost perceptually.
"So what do we call you?" Alicia asked her friend.
"Butterfly Dragon." Heylyn replied.
"Just don't try blowing fire." Alicia half joked as they approached the line up for the bar.
It took them ten minutes to get through the line and when they did they paid the cover charge before entering. When they got past the door they were confronted with the enormous sound system and the thump of the bass drum. They tried to pass the coat check without luck.
"Coats please!" the girl yelled at Heylyn.
"We want to keep them!" Heylyn demanded back barely audible over the music.
"Coats please!" the coat check girl yelled again.
They tried to walk past but were confronted by the bouncer who directed them back to the coat check. Heylyn smirked at the bouncer simultaneously seeing his heartbeat, his house keys and the healthy pile of condoms in his back pocket behind his wallet.
"At least he plays it safe." Heylyn commented to Alicia who had no idea what she was talking about.
Alicia fished around in her pockets for her mask. When she found it she pocketed it in her outfit and handed over her coat. Heylyn did the same retrieving her mask and clipping it to her belt for quick access. Heylyn handed over both their coats, now in full costume.
"Nice duds chic! You go get 'em" the coat check girl responded.
She was clearly many years younger than either Alicia or Heylyn and very hip. Heylyn smiled and walked into the bar Alicia following her.
The coat check girl waited for the nod from the bouncer and when she got the signal, she retrieved the other vial of the SY349A formula from Alicia's coat along with the pills required to activate it. She tossed both the items to the gentleman who'd shown up forty five minutes before them. He took them and disappeared upstairs to the bar's management offices.
To Alicia this was an all new experience as she'd never lived the social life that most growing youth had lived in the city. She was busy doing other things mostly because none of the guys ever asked her out on a date. As a result she'd missed out on a lot of experiences that were common to most people by the time they were twenty five. The music pierced her senses and she found herself moving, forgetting that in the suit the difference in her appearance. She found it odd moving through the bar and getting eyes from many of the guys there. She found herself fighting shyness at the same time as her ego swelled many times over. Heylyn got the same looks too but she was used to it and she was privy to much more information from her senses than she'd ever been. It was like a completely new experience to her as well.
Out of the corner of her eye she caught a hand dropping a pill into a drink and she instantly moved to that part of the bar finding the guy who'd just done so. She waited for the owner of the drink to return. When the owner of the drink returned Heylyn saw that she was a stunning beauty who'd just come from the dance floor.
"He was just going to buy you another drink after he finished this one." Heylyn said to the girl pointing to the guy who'd just drugged her drink.
The girl looked at Heylyn quizzically:
"What are you talking about?" The lady yelled.
Heylyn grabbed the guy by the front of his shirt, making him spill his drink then put the drugged drink in front of him.
"This is your drink." She said to him, the fierceness in her eyes apparent.
"What the hell lady!" He tried to pry himself away from her grip unsuccessfully.
"I said this is your drink! You know exactly what I'm talking about! NOW DRINK IT!" Heylyn's voice pierced the music and sent chills into the guy she was holding, his heart beating a mile a minute.
The guy hesitantly picked up the drink and guzzled it.
"There! Now buy the lady another and leave the bar!" Heylyn told the guy tightening her grip implying her seriousness.
The guy ordered her another drink and then paid for it. When he was done he stood and walked to the door of the bar and left.
"I saw him drug your drink!" Heylyn told the lady.
"Really? That scumbag! Thank you lady." the lady thanked Heylyn.
"Keep your drink close to you next time." Heylyn suggested and the lady nodded as she wandered out onto the dance floor, drink in hand.
Alicia had been looking around for her co-workers when she spotted a table near the back corner and recognized Alex and the Darret seated with a group of eight burly men.
"There they are!" Alicia tapped Heylyn's shoulder.
Heylyn glanced in the direction Alicia pointed but could not get a good view from her location. She rounded the bar and tried to take a look at the table again as Alicia followed her. As she got closer to the table she made out shapes in the pockets of the burly men that were clearly firearms. One of them had a handgun under the table and it was directed at the two smaller men. Heylyn stopped Alicia and dragged her onto the dance floor out of view of the table and then proceeded to dance.
"Those men. The big ones. They've got guns!" Heylyn yelled into Alicia's ear as she bopped to the music.
"What on Earth?" Alicia almost looked back but then thought twice about it.
"We've got to keep an eye on the situation from here and then try to do something about it." Heylyn said to Alicia.
"We should wait for one of them to go to the bathroom." Alicia said hoping that they were drinking.
"Did you see any drinks?" Alicia asked Heylyn.
"Yes. But it could have been water." Heylyn replied thinking carefully.
"I've got an idea. Why don't we order them a round of drinks like I've seen on television? You could say they were from you. They don't know you. I could keep watch from a distance." Alicia suggested.
"Sure. That sounds great. I could add a bunch of shooters to the order as well. Maybe we can catch them off guard. I say we give it a half an hour first. See if they are drinking on their own then we buy the round." Heylyn added to the plan.
Alicia thought about Alex and how he'd indicated his interest in her and wondered if that interest was still there. How would he feel if he knew they had taken the formula and used it for their own purposes whether it was for the greater good or not. Darret was there as well and how would he take it? Given the situation it might have been the best choice and might not require much justification. She was more concerned for the health and safety of her co-workers so she found a stool beside the dance floor that had a clear view of their table. Heylyn joined her keeping vigil with discretion. She'd noted that two of the eight burly men were definitely drinking and were likely part way to intoxication. That left six that were fully alert with one of them keeping a gun fixed on Alicia's co-workers.
They could never take out the burly men before Alex or Darret were severely injured or killed so they waited for an opportunity to act upon.
An hour and a half had gone by as the clock passed midnight and there had been no break in the stalemate between Alicia, Heylyn and the burly men holding Alex and Darret hostage. They decided to go ahead with the drink plan never knowing that the whole thing was a complex trap.
Alicia Stayed where she was while Heylyn ordered a round of drinks and shots for the burly men's table. She fluffed her hair making sure she was alluring enough before she had one of the wait staff bring the two trays full of drink to their table.
Alicia and Heylyn both watched as the trays arrived, the men taking a look around. The wait staff pointed to the bar where Heylyn was located and Heylyn waved on cue while Alicia maintained her vantage point by the table at the dance floor. Heylyn walked over to the table strutting her stuff in her outfit and drawing many a glance from the guys around her. When she arrived at the table she approached the one with the gun and spoke.
"Hi honey. I'm feeling kind of lonely tonight. Do you feel like playing?" Heylyn said flirting with every bit of charm that she had.
"How about we play after I'm done working?" the burly man replied to Heylyn's offer.
"The same offer might be gone by that time." She responded maintaining her flirty style.
Alex and Darret looked at Heylyn unsure of who she was but felt very nervous about her proximity to the man with the gun.
"I'm interested." Darret said aloud trying to grab her attention.
"See. Don't put off for later what you could have now." Heylyn tried her charms once again to the burly man but he only turned his head keeping his eye on Alex and Darret.
"I see that you already have a thing for your guests." She said feigning a pout.
Alicia saw two people who for some reason stood out from the crowd approach Heylyn from behind. They were somehow different in the same way that Heylyn was different. One was a sharp dressed gentleman wearing a suit and sunglasses while the other was a very stunning and tall lady who wore low heeled boots and a tight skirt. Her top was definitely designer and if she'd known she would have recognized it as one of Heylyn's sold in the designer stores.
Alicia's heart skipped a beat.
The formula. She'd left it in her coat at the coat check.
Alicia was on her feet and over the table as time stood still.
Valkyra put her hand on Heylyn's shoulder firmly securing hold of her. Heylyn saw it before it happened but let it happen anyway. After all, what could anyone do to her.
"This is my table. I think that you're leaving now!" Valkyra pulled Heylyn with all of her might flinging Heylyn across the room.
Heylyn flew threw the air caught off guard by Valkyra's strength. She tried to levitate herself toward the ceiling of the dance floor where she dug her claws into the plaster which rained down onto the dancers below before she slowed herself to a stop.
Meanwhile Alicia was in mid air before she dropped into a roll lauching herself back onto her feet and towards the man accompanying Valkyra.
She piled into him with the force of a freight train throwing him at the corner of the bar. His head impacted bluntly and he bounced onto the floor tripping several bar patrons.
Alex took the opportunity as soon as the gun man was distracted and leapt over the table at him with skilled precision impacting his chest dead center cracking his rib cage with a hairline fracture causing him immense pain. He fired the gun once before dropping it the bullet harmlessly impacting the wall behind them. Alex was caught by one of the other burly men who bounced him into the table head first.
The gentleman in the suit and sunglasses got to his feet, the sunglasses gone. The music had gone down in volume considerably as the door staff rushed to attend to the altercation.
"Ahhhh. You must be Alicia. I've heard so much about you from Carsen. Before he died." Torman smiled to Alicia winking.
He grabbed two of the men at the bar by the neck, a concentrated green flash of light emanated from his hands. A moment later he released both the men and they flew into a rage and attacked Alicia.
Her hand caught one of them by the shirt where she threw him harmlessly aside with enough force that he'd think twice about returning. The other threw a punch catching her in the shoulder as she twisted around redirecting his energy and throwing him to the floor.
"Good work Alicia. I knew you were fast but not that fa..." Torman didn't see the blur before it impacted his face spinning him in a complete circle several times over before he fell to the floor.
"Are you ok Alicia?" Heylyn stood where Torman was a moment ago.
"Yes I'm ok. Help the table!" Alicia turned to deal with Valkyra.
"Ok. Let's see what you've got!" Alicia held up her guard against Valkyra who advanced flanked by four of the burly men from the table, the remaining three dealing with Alex.
Valkyra stepped forward throwing a wide arc swing with tremendous force just barely missing Alicia. Alicia spun with a foot sweep and it was obvious that what Valkyra had in strength she lacked in fighting skill. She quickly fell to the floor tumbling over onto her back once again flipping herself up and onto her feet where Heylyn was waiting.
"Remember me?" Heylyn remarked sarcastically directing a palm stike into Valkyra's solar plexus.
Valkyra flew backwards to the wall knocking bits of the plaster onto the floor with her.
Two of the burly men grabbed a hold of Heylyn, one clasping each arm. She smashed her arms together with little effort knocking them both instantly unconscious. The other two attacked Alicia who dealt with them quickly, pulling one to the ground and rolling over him retaining a grip on his arm disabling him while still fighting the other with her legs.
She snap kicked him to the floor where he did not move.
Alex had dealt with one of the burly men that were fixed on him leaving two who'd just gotten a hold of him. One of them delivered a punch into his stomach winding him and sending him to the floor.
Alicia leapt at the remaining men who'd just dealt Alex a debilitating blow and dispatched them quickly and efficiently.
Torman got up from his place on the floor.
"Well it looks like this meeting is adjourned. We'll be meeting again." Torman yelled to Heylyn who turned to confront him.
His form momentarily flashed before it popped from existence the air where he was collapsed to fill in the space he'd occupied moments before making a huge thundrous clap.
Valkyra stood looking around.
"Where the heck am I?" She spoke looking at the room around her.
"You were dealing with me." Heylyn flew towards her ready to take her down if need be.
"Who are you?" Valkyra asked Heylyn who stopped short of grabbing Valkyra.
"Amnesia?" Heylyn commented to Alicia who was busy pulling Alex to his feet.
"Darret, Alex. We've got alot to discuss." Alicia addressed her co-workers.
"That we do." Darret replied glad to be free of Torman.
They gathered themselves bringing Valkyra with them back to Heylyn's condominium for a meeting.
The door staff and other bar patrons stepped out of their way and let them go, obviously afraid of them.
They stepped out the door, Heylyn flagging a cab for Alicia, Alex and Darret.
"Take my keys. Bring them back to the condo and wait there." Heylyn told Alicia who opened the door and jumped in followed by Alex and Darret.
Heylyn took out a business card and wrote something on the back of it then handing it to Alicia.
“Show this to the front desk security. They'll let you in." She told Alicia.
Alicia, Alex and Darret whisked away around the corner in the cab on its way back to the condo. It was going to be a long night.
If you like what you've read so far, you can order this book in its full text and final edition exclusively at Amazon.com (or your regional Amazon outlet).
If you enjoy reading supernatural tales and international intrigue you might consider reading A Lady's Prerogative where you can sample it on its official blog at http://talesofthesanctum.blogspot.ca.
Heroes Of Our Own © Copyright 2011 Brian Joseph Johns.
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