Nathan Goldwin let out a sigh as he once again managed to overpower his opponent. He was twenty-nine, at his physical peak with a master's ranking in three types of martial arts, a former champion of the UFC, yet he still didn't think he should be able to overpower a superhero so easily. His opponent, Jessica Wendell AKA Lady Justice, no doubt agreed. Her approach had been clumsy and it had been easy for him to catch her wrist and push her down. He now had his knees on her back and had secured her wrists with his hands.
“If you get into a situation like this, you're at your opponent's mercy,” pointed out Nathan. “You're improving, but if you're going to take on the task you've given yourself, you've got to be better than anyone.” However, at this Jessica actually smiled and that's when Nathan realized he'd forgotten something important about his opponent. Suddenly she didn't seem like a somewhat tall but thin woman, but more of a large gorilla as she pushed herself up using her chest and knees, dropping Nathan off her back and having him hit the mats.
“My my, you've gotten a bit sloppy yourself,” commented the other student, Victoria Hamilburg AKA Judgement Girl. Victoria was still in college taking law, slightly shorter than the average girl, and had red hair at a decent length which she tied back. Jessica, meanwhile, was a mature registered police officer with well-defined features and dark hair that she let hang loose. She now towered over Nathan, the same smile on her face.
“I could of easily changed my mass so that you'd never have pushed me down, but I wanted to make you feel like you were in control,” explained Jessica, clearly trying to avoid chuckling. Thanks to a genetic mutation in her DNA, Lady Justice could become as light or as heavy as she wanted, becoming a walking tank or light enough to effectively fly, or at least glide.
Scoffing at Jessica's explanation, Nathan raised an eyebrow at Victoria. “What do you think, Vicky?” he asked her. Victoria also had a power which could come in very handy should she become lawyer. Also carrying a genetic mutation, she had a sixth sense that let her literally feel when someone wasn't telling the truth.
“I think she was too stunned by how easily you stopped the attack to do it,” said Judgement Girl, grinning at her mentor. Lady Justice threw her sidekick a nasty look. Nathan then proceeded to leap up and tackle Jessica, taking her to the ground. This time his hands flew towards her neck and wrapped around it, though not tightly enough to cause any irritation.
“You can't rely on your powers if you're caught off-guard,” pointed out Nathan, using the position as an example. He then released his student and stood. “Alright, lets call it a day. You two still need to patrol the city.”
“Right, see you Nathan,” said Victoria as she went and exited the martial arts studio. Nathan meanwhile reached down and offered Jessica a hand, which she took and stood.
“Sorry about that, but the unexpected can happen,” Nathan offered, some genuine concern in his voice. He didn't want to make her feel useless, but he didn't want her going around with a sense of invincibility either.
“It's okay, you're just doing what you were paid to do,” accepted Jessica, letting out a breath. She seemed to respond to Nathan's concern and reached out to touch his shoulder. “You want to help us help the city, and we're indebted to you for that.” Nathan's hand reached up and rested atop Jessica's arm, rubbing it.
“Hey, I think our city will do just fine with you around,” he told her softly. “Yeah, just fi-” Nathan was cut off as Jessica had leaned in and pressed her lips against his. A surprising but welcome feeling, Nathan found himself reaching out and pulling the superhero closer, greatly enjoying the experience. The kiss was broken a moment later, and both seemed surprised yet happy by what had just occurred.
“I've been waiting a while to do that,” explained Jessica, a bit embarrassed but smiling all the same. “I've met some tough-talking cops on the force, but you generally seem to be willing to push your limitations when it comes to helping people. I just think that's amazing.”
“You're the amazing one, Jess,” Nathan told her. “You discover you have a unique gift and not only vow to use it to help others, but encourage others with gifts to do the same. I've been looking for someone like you for a while now...”
“Hey Jessica, what's taking you?” called Victoria as she opened the door and leaned inside. “Come on, we need to stop by the station and then go to the lab!” Judgement Girl didn't seem to think anything of how close Nathan and Lady Justice were standing together, which relieved them both.
“Be right there!” called Jessica. Then then turned and looked at Nathan. “Umm... since we're being so honest maybe we could-”
“How about dinner tonight if you're not off fighting crime?” interrupted Nathan, getting the gist of what the superhero was trying to get at.
“That'll be great, I'll call you later and we'll pick a place!” agreed Lady Justice. She turned to go but Nathan snatched her wrist and pulled her back, kissing her once more though only briefly this time. Following that Jessica left the studio and Nathan let out a breath and then whistled.
“Sure I expected to date a celebrity when I got the title, but a superhero?!” muttered the martial arts instructor as he shook his head and chuckled.
* * *
Doctor Elsa Louiselle sighed as she looked up from the console in her lab at the statue that sat in the capsule before her. It was a marble sculpture of a beautiful young woman holding a flower. What was amazing was the level of detail. Her face showed amazing emotion, her nostrils looking like they were flaring as she smelled the flower, a small smile of enjoyment on her face. It even seemed like her chest had risen. The statue had curly hair which most sculptures considered impossible to depict, and what's more was how detailed each strand was. It was an amazing work of art. That was the problem. It was too good to be true. “Jason, look at this,” Elsa called to her assistant.
Jason Humington, Elsa's lab assistant, came over. Jason was fairly young, having just gotten his Bachelor's in Science and planning to move on to a Master's. He had long blond hair which he kept back in a ponytail and wore glasses at all times though his vision was 20-25. Elsa was also blond with flowing wavy hair going down to her shoulders. Despite being thirty-one and constantly wearing business suits many still couldn't believe she was a scientist and not a model or something along those lines. In reality Elsa might not of cared that much about her appearance had her French parents not put such high values on it.
“If these reading are right, these marble molecules aren't part of that statue's original composition,” observed Jason. “What's more, these trace molecules shouldn't be found in marble at all. That means...”
“That statue used to be human,” finished Elsa, nodding gravely. “An outside force somehow caused molecular manipulation, leaving the traces of the victim intact but effectively turning her to stone, her mind stuck in a type of stasis.”
“On the plus side, the marble does appear to have a half-life,” noted Jason, indicating one reading on the screen. “Once enough of it has decomposed, her own structure will return and she'll become flesh and blood again. Hard to say how long that will be though...”
“Still, the good news is we can use a Molecular Restoration Field to return her to normal without waiting for that,” announced Elsa. “I should be able to pick one what I need from my friend's lab across town.” With that Elsa logged off the terminal and pulled out her keys from her jacket. “You keep studying her, I'll go now.”
“Alright, drive safe,” offered Jason, nodding to the doctor as she turned to go. As this was going on, however, Jason reached into his pocket and produced a small device. It resembled a flashlight but with a bulkier body and small red needle in the center of the light. He casually pointed it at Elsa and pressed the button. Instantly a green light surrounded Elsa and the area around her. She halted in mid-stride, her right foot hovering above the ground, her keys dangling from her outstretched left hand's forefinger. Jason couldn't see her face, but he bet it looked rather neutral.
“Good thing I developed this stasis field unit,” muttered Jason as he set the device down, keeping it pointed in Elsa's general direction. The green light covered a square area of roughly fifty feet. Not only had Elsa halted, but the clock on the wall had stopped completely, even the second hand. “I can't let you go until I make a couple of calls,” explained Jason as he reached for the lab phone.
* * *
“Thanks Jason, you're a dear,” said Melissa Dusa into her cellphone. “I guess I'll have to be more careful where I leave my statues, not to mention who I shoot.”
“Yeah, did you have to go and target the deputy mayor's teenage daughter?” asked Jason on the other end of the phone with clear annoyance in his voice.
“Of course, she was on the list,” Melissa informed Jason. “A girl has to make a living, and they did pay me a lot of money to hide these people's children for a while. Now don't worry, my next target's currently jogging in the warehouse district. I can easily hide her somewhere safe around there.”
“Just be careful, she is James Anderson's only daughter,” Jason warned. “What's more, she's connected to our new superheroes. Uh oh, the charge on my stasis field unit is dying. I'd better go.”
“Don't be a stranger,” said Melissa in parting, hanging up her phone. Melissa Dusa was a third-year arts major who'd had the unfortunate problem of being nicknamed 'Medusa' in high school. Of course, this was mostly because many girls were jealous of how beautiful she was. Slightly tall with shapely features and naturally curly red hair, she'd broken quite a few hearts during her teen years. But even despite her popularity the teasing about her name had gotten so bad she'd met Jason one day and promised to sleep with him so he could make her a weapon that would allow her to live up to that annoying nickname.
Smiling at the memory, Melissa looked down at the purple raygun she held in her hands. Jason had called it a Gorgon Ray, and it could turn anything the beam struck into solid marble. He'd made sure that the chemical change lasted only a month, mostly as a security should she betray him, and added a reversal ray as well. Deciding to go by 'Gorgun' instead of letting her tormentors win entirely, Melissa had petrified many fellow classmates during her senior year. By the time they'd been freed, they were too scared to tease her again.
Gorgun had initially been above being a sort of hit-woman for hire, but financial problems had made her decide to take contracts from crooks. Jason, with whom she still associated on the occasion despite any romance they may have had no longer existing, was against this, which is why they were talking less. Still, she did think it was sweet of him to risk getting exposed by his boss to call her and give her a warning.
Just then a brunette in jogging shorts and a matching top, both brown, turned the corner and came jogging down the alley. She was a fairly attractive woman, Gorgun noted, which wasn't a big shock. She was the daughter of James Anderson, president of Vernon Enterprises. If she hadn't been good-looking her father would of probably paid plastic surgeons all over the world to make sure she was. Luckily for the girl she'd turned out alright.
“Lilly Anderson?” asked Gorgun as she stepped out from behind her hiding place. The young woman saw the gun and instinctively reeled backwards in horror. Smiling, Gorgun fired the Gorgon Ray, its blue beam striking Lilly and instantly immobilizing her. Her feet were planned squarely and her arms were outstretched from the elbows. It looked like he'd gotten over her initial reaction and was about to ask what was going on. Then it happened. Over the course of two seconds, Lilly's entire body, clothes and all, turned from their natural color to a light gray marble. Her short brown hair which reached to to the top of her neck, her lips, her shirt, even the laces on her running shoes, all were turned to stone. Her eyes became solid, her pupils and irises seeming to vanish. She'd gone from being a normal young woman to an amazingly well-detailed statue.
“How do you like my Gorgon Ray?” Gorgun asked the unresponsive Lilly. “With it I'm guaranteed to get my own wing at the museum!”
Just then Gorgun became aware of footsteps. Someone was running towards her. Looking past Lilly she saw someone who had to be one of the new superheroes she'd heard about. About her height, red hair tied back, black lipstick, a leather suit that looked like a one-piece bikini and high-heeled black boots. She looked around twenty so it was probably Judgement Girl. Why she was being as reckless as to charge an armed opponent openly was beyond Melissa's understanding. “Not so fast!” shouted Judgement Girl as she came to stop. “I have a strict policy about people petrifying my friends! You're going down!” The superhero raised her fists, eager to fight.
“If you have a problem with it why don't you join her?” offered Gorgun as she fired her ray at Judgement Girl. The superhero had no time to dodge and could only lean backwards in horror as the beam struck her. She was instantly frozen in place and, a moment later, was the same shade of stone as her friend. “What do you know?” said Gorgun after the transformation was complete. “It works on heroines as well as those plain old folks!” She walked forward and stroked her new statue's side, admiring the work. Unlike Lilly who's face made it look like she was trying to speak calmly, Judgement Girl had genuine horror on her face, her eyebrows raised and her mouth open in a scream. “Marble really does suit you better than brown leather,” joked Gorgun.
“I'll make you change them back!” roared a voice from above. Gorgun was caught off-guard as Lady Justice leapt down from the rooftop and delivered a powerful blow to her face. It felt like getting hit by a hammer and stunned her enough to make her fumble the Gorgon Ray. Her eyes went wide as she saw the weapon hit the ground.
“You fool, its been set off again!” cried Gorgun as Lady Justice moved to punch her again. The impact had caused the raygun, which was pointed upwards, to fire.
Both Lady Justice and Gorgun were caught by the blue beam, Gorgun stopping as she reeled back from the second blow while Lady Justice began to retract her fist. Both became motionless and, two seconds later, joined Lilly and Judgement Girl as stone statues.
The Gorgon Ray lay there on the ground, its work done. As it was a back-alley of the warehouse district, the four would be there quite some time until they were found.
* * *
Elsa couldn't understand how it had taken her ten minutes to get from the lab to her car when it usually only took about two to get downstairs and out the door. Pushing those thoughts aside, she'd gotten what she'd needed and had returned to the lab to examine the clock. She decided it was running slower after comparing it to the computer's clock and decided to fix it. Jason had no clue why the clock was off.
An hour after returning to the lab Elsa was finishing modifying a portable energy field emitter when she got a phone call. “Hey Elsa? It's Nathan,” said the voice on the other end. “You know how you found that statue earlier today that looked a lot like Deputy Mayor Wilson's daughter?”
“Yeah, what about it?” asked Elsa, curious as to what Nathan had to say.
“I'm here in the warehouse district with a couple of cops and, well, I think we found the person responsible,” explained Nathan. “If you've found a way to fix what's wrong with that girl, you might want to bring it down here.”
“Okay, have you called Lady Justice and Judgement Girl?” Elsa asked as she picked up the emitter.
“No need, they're the ones you need to use the device on,” Nathan added soberly before hanging up.
Leaving Jason at the lab to use the main projection unit in the analysis capsule on the girl, Elsa drove out to meet Nathan. She arrived on the scene to be greeted to the sight of Nathan speaking with a police officer. Nearby stood five statues and a marble police car along with Nathan's motorcycle. “What happened?” asked Elsa, noting a strange-looking purple pistol laying on top of the hood of the car.
“We found these four like this,” explained Nathan, indicating Lilly, the superheroes and the mystery woman. “Officer Davies here decided to pick up the fallen weapon and accidentally shot Officer Tilly and their squad car. I suggested he put it down until you showed up.” Elsa nodded and examined the scene. She was familiar with the two heroes and Victoria's friend Lilly, who went to class with her, but the other woman she found interesting. She had long curly hair, a very nice-looking body, a black cocktail dress and a sort of utility belt on like the one Lady Justice wore. The policewoman, Alice Tilly, looked like she'd been hit while talking, her right hand on her hip with her right extended as if trying to make a point. She had her hair tied back Japanese style and wore the big sunglasses cops usually wore as well as a standard uniform. The squad car looked no different then the women, the same marble texture. Everything in it, including the radio and even some loose papers, were all turned to stone.
Next Elsa carefully picked up the raygun and looked at it closely. She then pointed it at the squad car, his a button the side, and squeezed the trigger. A darker blue beam fired and struck the car amid a yelling protest from Officer Davies. A second later, however, the car regained all its color, the marble fading to reveal the cascade of colors that was the car. Even the flashing lights reactivated, spinning and shining their lights around the area. “How did you do that?” asked Nathan curiously.
“There's a reversal switch on the side of the gun,” explained Elsa. She then pointed it and fired at Officer Tilly, who one second later looked like her old self, her bleached blond hair regaining its color along with her tanned skin and blue and white uniform.
“... should be careful,” said the policewoman, as if someone what paused her with a TV remote and then just now hit play. “Huh?” she said next, looking around in confusion. “Umm, can someone explain what just happened?” Officer Davies apologized to his partner while Elsa pointed and fired at the superheroes and then at Lilly. A moment later all were returned to their normal flesh. Lady Justice pulled back her fist then stared at the mystery woman in confusion, Lilly fully extended her arms and shook her head, and Judgement Girl screamed before realizing she was fine.
After explaining the weapon to everyone, Elsa brought up the mystery woman. “Any idea who this is?” she asked the group.
“No clue,” admitted Lilly. “She called me by name and that's all I remember.”
“Since we have her weapon, why not restore her, confiscate her belt and take her in?” suggested Officer Tilly. Officer Davies agreed. The weapon was fired on the woman, and a moment later she returned to normal, falling to the ground. She was even more attractive when not a statue, her curly hair red with blond highlights, her dress a fine black. The police were on her in an instant, removing her belt and putting the cuffs on her.
As the woman was being hauled into the police car, she only said one thing, and it was while glaring at Lady Justice. “You're going to pay for this,” she vowed.
“Have fun in jail!” exclaimed Judgement Girl, grinning.
* * *
“So you figure out who she was?” Nathan asked Jessica as they walked down the street. He was dressed a bit more formally with a buttoned shirt and a nice pair of pants on, as opposed to his favored sleeveless shirt and jeans. His companion wore a fine red dress that showed a generous amount of leg with the straps crossing over her shoulders. She also wore red lipstick for a change instead of the yellow she favored when fighting crime, which Nathan never understood.
“Her name's Melissa Dusa, an art student,” Jessica told him as she slid her arm under his, smiling as she did so. “We're not sure where she got the weapon, but she calls herself Gorgun and claimed to want revenge on girls who'd tormented her in school.”
“Considering Wilson's daughter is only eighteen and still in high school, I doubt that's the truth,” commented Nathan. “Ah well, what say we try to enjoy ourselves tonight?”
“Sounds fine to me,” she told Nathan, happy to be finally going out with him.
“How did you manage to sneak out of the lab anyhow?” asked Nathan with curiosity. “I thought Elsa wanted you to run some tests on that raygun at the lab.”
“Oh, don't worry, they won't notice I'm gone,” promised Jessica, secretly finding that rather amusing, which Nathan raised an eyebrow at but didn't pursue.
Back at the lab, Elsa was hunched over a console, her fingers reaching for various keys, her face serious. Judgement Girl stood nearby, looking nervous with her hands on her hips. Jason had gone home for the evening. What was different was both women were both a solid texture of light marble, both frozen in place. This was because of the Gorgon Ray Jessica had been asked to test, which now sat in her handbag as she dined with Nathan.
What mischief befalls our sexy superheroine next?...