“It is so nice of you to come bid me farewell, Andrey,” Nicole said, sounding both playful and mocking. “I’m starting to believe that you might actually like me,” she added, bending to make her impressive breasts even more noticeable in the very skimpy outfit she had chosen for the mission.
She was sitting across from him and two of his bodyguards, in the back of a delivery truck that had been adequately conditioned for the mission.
“I’m putting a lot of faith in you, Nicole,” the mobster said.
The amazon smiled, her beautiful and exotic features almost making Andrey Petrenko forget that they belonged to the most ruthless killing machine he had ever seen. And in his line of business, that was saying a lot.
“Today is the day your generosity towards me will start paying off,” Nicole said, sounding as confident as anyone he had ever heard.
“Will you be able to… capture Zhao alive?” aked the Ukrainian.
“I’ll try. I know it’s important. I just can’t make any promises. He’s way too mortal for that.”
“I guess that will have to do.”
“You’re sure you want the message to be very clear, right?” Nicole asked.
“Good,” she replied with an evil smile.
Nicole headed for the back of the delivery truck, nodded to a man to open the door and elegantly hopped out. She was already four paces away, when Andrey called from inside:
“Are you sure you don’t need us to get you closer? We’re still ten miles away.”
Nicole flexed, smiled at him and applied vast amounts of strength from her legs to shoot herself into the sky, disappearing from view. Andrey was thrown back as the truck violently shook as the shockwave hit. By the time he recovered, he was stunned to see a five-foot-deep crater in the spot where the superwoman had been standing.
Nicole landed twenty seconds later, on top of a hill three miles away. She thought she could have jumped farther, but there was no need. She wanted to take a peek before charging into the Triad’s base. It was not that she did not trust Petrenko’s men, but no intel was as good as that gathered by oneself.
As she walked to the edge to find a good observation position, Nicole felt her heart pounding with increased intensity and realized that she was thrilled thinking about what was going to happen. After all, a year after falling victim to the most excruciating pain conceivable, and almost nine months after waking up transformed, she was now facing the first real test of her new condition.
Of course, they had tested her extensively, back at Fort Exeter. They had wanted to know what she was capable of, and in the process, she had learned how amazing she had become. But those had been mere exercises, and this would be the real thing. In her mind, the blood she already had on her hands counted for little; she had already known how much stronger than an unarmed man she was before those encounters. But now she was about to confront real opposition, a group of armed and trained men standing between her and her objective. And she was eager for it.
As she looked at the airfield in the distance, Nicole was thankful, not for the first time, for the secondary abilities that had come with her transformation. Despite the more than seven miles that separated her from the object of her interest and the dark of the night, there was no detail that escaped her inquisitive look. Dr. Campos had once explained that it had to do with the number of photoreceptors in her eyes. Apparently, it was some five orders of magnitude higher than the number typically possessed by a normal person, allowing her to see even when there was very little light. At the same time, she had explained that the sheer quantity of receptors allowed them to form something she had referred to as an array, which allowed her eyes to focus much more powerfully. In practical terms: she had the biological equivalent of night vision and the ability to zoom in at great distances and observe in high detail.
From her side, Nicole did not need to do anything special to hide as she studied her objective. The darkness and her relatively small size, compared to her surroundings, rendered her practically invisible to anyone who was not actively looking for her. And she doubted anyone knew what they were up against yet.
Vanderbilt was larger than she had expected. The airfield itself was not remarkable, one among many hundreds in the country. It featured a short and narrow landing strip, the type that was suitable only for smaller planes, with a lonely control tower at one end and a couple of hangars at the other.
The rest of the site did not match the airstrip. It was hard to be sure, but Nicole would have sworn that the vast warehouses standing beyond the hangars were very new. In any case, they were clearly oversized when compared to the aviation portion of the location. The same disproportion was noticeable in the docking area by the canal. At some point, not very far back in time Nicole suspected, someone had enlarged the waterway where it passed by Vanderbilt, and it now boasted sufficient space to dock four speedboats. Three of the spots were taken at that moment, and with her enhanced eyesight she could easily see five men busy unloading heavy looking sacks from one of the boats. Nicole did not have any doubts about the contents of the bags.
She followed the canal and saw that it was blocked off by a sturdy-looking gate. A bit farther ahead it split in two, meaning that the section running alongside the airbase was private.
Just then, the speedboat next to the one that was being unloaded started its engine. Nicole’s ears had no problem detecting it, thanks to the way her hearing had been enhanced similarly to her sight. She was in no hurry, so she focused on the boat while it undocked, navigated onto the canal and sped away, leaving a very noticeable wake on the water.
The men had finished unloading the first speedboat in the time she had followed its sister, and soon there was another engine starting, although this time the louder sound belonged to a truck. A set of headlights lit up as the five men that had been working on the sacks climbed onto the truck in different positions and the vehicle started moving, its noisy path leading it to one of the large warehouses. Nicole smiled when the large doors opened to let the truck in, offering her a good view of the well-lit interior.
It was bustling with activity! The truck was only one of the fleet of vehicles parked inside the vast building, which included similar trucks, large sedans, SUVs and vans. She counted at least two dozen men, but she was sure that there had to be more in the sections of the building she could not see. About one in four of them seemed to be acting as some kind of guard or, at least, was very obviously armed. She stayed with a couple of them for a while, until they were summoned by someone who seemed to be calling the shots and the trio moved out of the warehouse and headed towards the second building. Clearly different in construction from the warehouse, even a casual observer could see that this edifice featured two stories.
They got in through a side door, disappearing from sight. Nicole was about to focus somewhere else when a light came on up on the second floor and the man in charge came into view through the window. Nicole’s heart filled with glee when another male entered to greet him and she recognized Zhao from the pictures Andrey’s men had managed to obtain.
Ten minutes later, the observation had become very boring. From her position, Nicole could only see the two men talking. And then, talking some more. She would have moved her attention somewhere else if it had not been so important to determine where to find Zhao when she stormed the place. Her patience was finally rewarded when the two men parted and, a few seconds later, a second light came on at the opposite end of the second floor. It had to be Zhao’s office, of course.
This was an important piece of knowledge. It was not the only one she needed, so she continued scanning the site. It was time to get the information that was required for deciding how to get in. And Nicole soon understood that what Zhao’s lieutenant had told them back at Petrenko’s estate had been true: the Triads were getting ready for war.
Nicole was far from an expert in illegal operations, but even to her untrained eye the amount of heavily armed guards patrolling Vanderbilt felt out of proportion for a mere distribution business, no matter how shady it was. The sound of another engine made her shift her attention to the main gate. They were getting ready to let someone in. A pair of headlights on the access road soon showed her who. The two vans had stopped a couple of miles from the base and Nicole saw a black SUV parked on the side of the road and a man talking to someone inside the first van. The conversation was brief, the man nodded and got back into the SUV while the two vans resumed driving down the road. The scene repeated itself at the main gate and soon the vans were moving inside Vanderbilt’s grounds and heading towards the second warehouse - the one in which she had located Zhao’s office.
They did not drive inside. Instead, they parked at the front. The dozen men that quickly climbed out had not been evenly distributed. Nicole soon understood why the second van had held only four goons when they started unloading long and heavy-looking Pelican cases and piling them by the gate.
Most of what Nicole knew about military matters she had learned at Fort Exeter, so the majority of her knowledge concerned various heavier than usual weapons that the team there had explained were going to be tested on her. She bet the cases she was now looking at contained some of those weapons and not the more conventional automatic rifles that the guards at the perimeter were carrying.
So, Zhao was really getting ready for an all-out war! Petrenko had already been concerned about the Chinese, but Nicole was starting to doubt that he was aware of what was coming.
The amazon felt her excitement rising as she thought about the scenario. For starters, she was now convinced that she was about to repay Petrenko’s hospitality many times over. If the small private army she was seeing intended to hit the Ukrainians’ infrastructure in a concerted attack, she was quite convinced that Andrey’s losses would be heavy. But Nicole was acting out of pure altruism.
She was eager to find out more about her new status. After nine months learning more and more about the amazing consequences for her of the Flare, Nicole had gradually convinced herself that she had become something else, unbound from the restrictions regular people had to face. To begin with, this realisation had manifested itself simply as arrogance. It slowly evolved into rebelliousness and finally into a sense of superiority and of being above conventional authority and morals. By the time she concluded that she was above those that were testing her and were telling her what to do and what not to do, she had already escaped from them. And now she was going to prove to herself, more than to anyone else, that she was right.
The fact that she was going to use violence to demonstrate her point came naturally to Nicole. Her upbringing had mostly shielded her from physical violence, at least in relevant doses. But aggressiveness had been a daily requisite of her job and the fact that it came naturally to her had helped her climb through the ranks with ease.
She was ready to go. Nicole crouched and built tension in her leg muscles. A second later, she was soaring into the night sky again.
The four men in the SUV never knew what hit them. One moment they were patiently waiting in their vehicle, weapons ready in case someone headed towards Vanderbilt down the only available access road, and the next moment they had been smashed beyond recognition inside the very flattened remains of their car.
Nicole dusted herself off as she stepped out of the crater she had created on landing, significantly deeper than the one that marked the spot where she had jumped, up in the hill. Her unbelievable thirty-six hundred pounds, paired with the extraordinary kinetic energy of the jump had made short work of the flimsy truck and crushed it and its occupants like aluminium foil.
Not even short of breath as she faced the road, Nicole first broke into an easy trot, only to accelerate to a sprint after a few paces. Her bare feet cracked the road as they exerted pressures that the asphalt was not designed to withstand, pushing her to a top speed of close to two-hundred and fifty miles per hour and bringing her to the main gate in less than one minute.
She decided not to stop, splattering the first guard like a bug on a windshield. There she was, covered in gore again and facing a second very shocked guard. She smiled at him as she took a first step in his direction. The man screamed in Chinese. Nicole did not understand the content, but the tone did not leave much room for doubt. Shrugging, she merely took a second step. That was enough for the guard to reach his breaking point, and he lifted the automatic rifle he was holding, ready to fire. He never had the chance, as Nicole’s swinging forearm hit him with the force of a bulldozer and splashed him against the fence.
“God, and I had just got changed!” she mocked in a whisper as blood dripped down her terse figure. Her nipples were swelling and pushing against the Kevlar fibers of the tight-fitting two-piece outfit she was wearing. A familiar warmth in her womanhood reminded her of just how arousing violence could be for her.
Nicole looked at the airfield and listened to the cacophony inside. She noticed that she had attracted some attention, but her appearance had been so sudden that no general alarm had been raised about her yet. There would be one, sooner rather than later, she thought with a smirk. And after the satisfying but maybe a little too quick foreplay, she was eager to have more.
A simple hop was enough to clear the twelve-foot tall fence and land with the grace of a gymnast inside the grounds of the base. A pair of headlights were soon on her.
Nicole waited patiently for the jeep to approach her. The two men inside were incredibly jumpy when they stopped their car twenty yards away from her and got out, assault rifles in hand. They screamed at her in Chinese. Nicole just shrugged.
“Who are you?” one of the two men yelled in a very accented voice. “How did you get here?” he asked, looking at the still closed fence and trying to find his colleagues who were supposed to be manning it.
“Name’s Nicole,” she replied with a smile. “And, well, I jumped over,” she added.
The man let out some more Chinese gibberish, this time speaking into a walkie-talkie. Nicole did not understand his question and she understood the answer even less. She guessed that someone was trying to contact the men at the gate and the men at the car down the road, and she knew for certain that they would be unsuccessful. Which meant that the entire base was being put on high alert at that very moment. It worked well enough for her.
“Get on your knees!” the guard yelled at her.
“What’s the problem? Am I too tall for you?” she mocked.
The man did not like her answer and immediately raised his assault rifle, taking aim. Nicole just rolled her eyes.
“On your knees!” the man yelled again.
Nicole merely placed her hands on her hips and said “Make me.”
It was obvious that he was very pissed as his colleague took aim at her and he walked the ten paces that separated them at a hurried pace. Nicole loved his stunned look when he realized their actual size difference and showed it with a grin. This made the man lose it, so he did not warn her again before hitting her square in the stomach with the wooden butt of his AK-47.
Nicole was ready for what happened. The man was not. The blow, which was intended to bring her to her knees with pain, felt more like a gentle tap to her. The effect on the weapon was considerably less mild, the wood cracking from the impact with the amazon’s super-dense abs.
He looked up at her in terror. She simply smiled before backhanding him and sending his broken body flying over the hangar. The incomprehensible screams from the man’s colleague prevented Nicole from savoring the moment. She just turned and faced the most spooked man she had ever seen.
“It’s impolite to hit people,” she said, shrugging.
The man reacted by shooting a burst of automatic fire at her. Nicole had been shot plenty of times during her training at Fort Exeter. She had never been shot by someone who had the clear intention of killing her, though. It made everything so much better!
As expected, the bullets were unable to break her impregnable skin and bounced off her after deforming themselves in the attempt. Nicole had seen the results plenty of times before and knew that the metallic sounds she could hear were nothing more than warped slugs raining down around her onto the tarmac.
She was hit six times, the man so shaky that he even missed four of his shots despite the close range and the fact that she was not exactly a small target. There followed a second of eerie silence while he tried to reconcile what had happened with the fact that Nicole was still standing there, smiling at him with her hands on her hips.
“Ooops,” she said, mocking.
She started advancing towards the man before he could understand what had happened. Seeing her threatening figure getting closer made him react. He did it in the only way he was ready to, by emptying his magazine on her.
Bullets kept hitting her, not one of them being able even to get close to the threshold of annoyance. At most, they felt like gentle drops, as if it was raining or she was taking a shower. By the time she was three steps away the man’s finger was still pulling the trigger, but the only response he was getting from his weapon was a click that indicated that it was empty.
The guard tried to turn to flee so quickly that he tripped and fell on his butt. Nicole just kept going and let her oversized foot land in the natural spot, which was occupied by the man’s groin. The crushing sound as her foot applied the pressure provided by her unnatural mass was sickening but was soon masked by the man’s anguished screams. Nicole feigned nonchalance and simply kept walking, her left foot landing on the man’s head and popping it like a grape.
Nicole did not realize that she was panting until she was off the disfigured corpse, her nipples threatening to break through the Kevlar, if that was even possible.
“Oh, God!” she moaned.
This was nothing she had not done before, but it felt so much better! The ease with which she had overpowered and obliterated men that she knew were at the top of the pyramid when it came to violence was exhilarating, almost to the point of being inebriating.
Nicole had known before that she had become extraordinary, but she was starting to understand the magnitude of the changes she had been through at a different level now. Seeing dangerous men try hard to hurt her and feeling their frustration when they could not even come close, stirred her in a way that could only be matched by the ease with which she could dispatch them.
“I’m a superwoman. The pinnacle of humanity. And they wanted me to get cats down from trees!” she whispered as she savored the moment.
Her thoughts were promptly interrupted by the roaring sound of an approaching engine. Nicole quickly found its source in another jeep and zoomed in to see four tense but otherwise very unsuspecting men getting their weapons ready.
She waited for them to get closer and then crouched next to the jeep that had carried her two attackers. She placed one hand on the rear wheel arch and stood back up, lifting the back of the jeep as she did. Now in a more convenient position, it was simple for her to reach with her free hand to the bottom-center part of the vehicle and lift its two tons over her head with the ease of someone handling a beach ball.
The incoming jeep was now much closer, but Nicole would not have been able to see the stunned faces of the men inside if she had not employed her enhanced sight. She waited a couple more seconds and then tossed the jeep she was holding with all her strength. She had thrown larger weights before, but seeing the vehicle soaring into the air and crashing onto the incoming car was way more satisfying than throwing weights in the training grounds at Fort Exeter.
The impact was deafening. Seeing the mangled remains, there could be no doubt about the fate of the four men that had been inside.
“More of everything,” Nicole thought. “That’s all it takes. More strength, more resistance, more agility. Make the increase significant enough, and suddenly I’m not one of them. I’m not bound by their rules anymore. And they wanted to turn me into their maid with one hand while they looked for ways to kill me with the other!”
Her thinking was cut short by a tapping against her temple. Nicole frowned and soon felt another tap on her forehead. She quickly associated it with the shooting noise and turned to look for her attacker. She promptly found the sniper in the lone control tower at the end of the landing strip.
She scowled as a third shot hit her in the cheek and shot herself at the tower, her super-dense body soaring the fifteen-hundred feet with ease and breaking through the flimsy structure as if it had not been there, bringing it down like a bulldozer. She opened her arms for the landing and smiled as she turned to see that there was no way the pesky sniper could have survived.
Her presence was now widely known in the airfield and, while most members of the Triads still could not believe what they were hearing, the entire site was mobilized. Floodlights lit, and screams erupted in every corner of Vanderbilt, as armed men gathered to search for her. It was not as if they did not know where to start. After all, a crumbling control tower was noticeable enough, even for those without her enhanced senses.
Nicole saw another jeep rushing out of the hangar and speeding down the airstrip and started running towards it, quickly doubling its speed as they played chicken. The jeep tried to turn at the last minute, but Nicole was too fast for it to react and just charged to the side it had taken, crashing against the vehicle and making it explode spectacularly, killing its four occupants without even seeming to notice.
Her death toll was quickly escalating, but she couldn’t care less. She could not fool herself. The reason she did not give a damn was not that they were criminals. The reason was that they were weak, and it was so effortless to end their lives that it was hard to feel guilty.
The next barrage of bullets to hit Nicole was quite a bit more noticeable than anything she had been shot with so far. It was equally ineffective, though. The projectiles, appreciably larger and heavier, mangled as much as their smaller siblings and ricocheted away, unable to pierce her skin. The pressure they exerted, while more intense, was still far from being able to cause her any serious discomfort.
She turned to see the vehicle-mounted machine gun, still firing futile rounds at her. Nicole reflected for an instant on the mix of feelings the situation produced. On one hand, there was the elation she felt every time she was attacked, only to prove her utter superiority and invulnerability. On the other, it was beginning to feel annoying, when not insulting, to be shot at.
The jeep where the heavy-looking machine gun was mounted was not too far away, not driving too fast, probably to give the gunner a better chance at hitting the relatively small target she represented. Nicole hopped on one foot and landed right in front of the vehicle faster than anyone could react. Then, she slammed her fist on the hood, digging it deep into the engine block and making the car flip over itself and over her, landing with a loud crashing sound about twenty feet behind her. She turned and walked calmly to the wreck she had so easily created. The occupants were bruised but still alive and trying to get out of the overturned jeep. She helped them by taking hold of the vehicle and bringing it back to its upright position.
When she crouched to look through the driver’s window, Nicole was faced with the barrel of a gun. She did not flinch as the terrified driver pulled the trigger and she was shot point blank in the face. The bullet bounced off the bridge of her nose with slightly more annoying pressure than usual.
She merely curled her lip and threw a punch with her left hand, her fist easily going through the windshield, the shooter’s head and the headrest. She removed her hand to see blood and other remains from the man stuck to it.
“Messy,” she muttered as the man sitting next to the driver managed to kick the bent door open and got out of the jeep on the other side, limping away from it as fast as he could.
Nicole just stood back up and rested the ball of her humongous foot on the side of the vehicle. She could see the wounded man with ease, her head easily towering over the roof of the car. Then, she pushed with her leg.
Cars are not designed to slide sideways. Still, the force that Nicole had applied was so massive that it easily overpowered any resistance the tires or the asphalt could offer. The car was soon rolling over itself, reaching the escaping man soon enough and turning him into a red smear on the landing strip. Still, it went on, rolling a couple dozen more times before coming to a stop.
She strutted her way over to the once-more upside-down jeep and bent, digging the fingers of both hands into the insubstantial metal, ripping it open like a curtain, only to expose that the third man, the one that had been shooting the main gun at her, was also dead.
“Pathetic!” Nicole let out as she flipped the jeep yet again with her foot.
Her interest quickly shifted from the very dead men to the weapon they had been using against her. Nicole was not an expert on weapons beyond knowing that she had been tested with plenty of them during her evaluation at Fort Exeter. So, she did not recognize the .50 calibre machine gun mounted at the back of the jeep. Still, it was clear to her that the weapon was heavier and supposedly deadlier than the rifles that had been used on her so far.
She reached for it, easily plucking it from its support and holding it up in her arms with curiosity. The .50 cal Browning Machine Gun was almost as long and as heavy as a full-grown man, which was the main reason it had to be mounted to be operated. This, of course, did not matter to Nicole, who was holding it as much difficulty as she would a toy gun. Resting it on her shoulder, she turned and searched for activity.
The loudest noises were coming from the docks area. It was close enough, so she started walking calmly in that direction while she reflected on the amazingness of what she was capable of.
There was a truck in the docks once more, and the line of men soon became visible. Bullets started ricocheting from Nicole’s skin soon enough, but she just ignored them as she kept advancing with a cruel smirk on her lips.
The intensity of the barrage increased as she approached, but it was as inconsequential as ever. Nicole realized that she enjoyed the unsuccessful attempts at wounding her, so she let them go on for a bit more, until she was finally close enough. Then she lowered the heavy machine gun she was holding, aiming from the hip.
The noise was way louder than that of a rifle as the .50 cal started spitting lead at a very high rate. She had not been looking for precision, but she had not needed to. She was too close to miss, so soon the heavy slugs started hitting the men. They did not merely pierce them, but made parts of their bodies burst, letting Nicole know why she had felt their impacts more intensely than those of regular bullets.
By the time the loud spitting noise was replaced by a clicking that told her the weapon was out of ammo, the seven men that had been shooting at her were down, barely recognizable.
An eighth man was running away. Nicole twisted her lip and held the machine gun with one hand over her head, much like a javelin. She took aim for a moment and released the heavy weapon, which travelled the hundred yards in a second and hit the man square in the back. He practically exploded on impact, making the amazon chuckle.
She was almost ready to move to the next area, but there was something she had to do first. She closed the distance to the truck at a relaxed pace and crouched elegantly, lifting the massive vehicle over her head as she stood back up almost as if it were merely an inflatable facsimile of itself.
“Did you think I hadn’t spotted you?” Nicole said cutely to the terrified man who had been hiding under the truck and who now found himself lying at her feet. “You’re breathing so hard that I could have practically heard you from home!”
He tried to crawl away, but Nicole just took a step forward and pushed her right foot on his thigh, crushing it under the combination of her immense strength and weight and making the man howl in pain.
“Not so fast, squishy,” she said as she straddled the very obviously pained mercenary.
When she moved her right foot forward, he thought that it was over. She did not step down, however. Instead, she just rested her heel delicately in his chest and maneuvered her big toe so that it was over his mouth. The man closed his lips, but Nicole just pushed down with her toe, easily breaking his teeth and forcing its way in.
“Lick!” she commanded.
The man was beaten. To his credit, he tried, but there was no strength in his body anymore.
“Oh God!” Nicole said as she just flicked her toe upwards, breaking the man’s jaw and killing him in the process.
Nicole’s arousal was on the rise again, so much so that her Kevlar bottom piece was getting drenched.
“I need to do something about it!” she thought as she walked the few paces that separated her from the docks and released the truck she was holding onto the boats still in there, crushing them and rendering the canal unusable.
There was no one in Nicole’s immediate vicinity, or at least no one that was not dead. She turned and took a deep breath, trying to decide where to go next. The oversized warehouses at the other side of the airfield were the obvious choice. After all, it was time to start seriously disrupting the Triad’s operation.
Word of her had apparently traveled fast around the site, since guards were not rushing towards her anymore and, instead, they seemed to be pulling back to the critical part of their facility. Focusing with her superhuman eyes, she could see people hurrying into the main warehouse as the guards started closing the heavy door. She chuckled as she crouched and shot herself to the sky.
Wei would have not believed it if he had not seen it with his own eyes. By now it was impossible to deny the demon woman that had killed so many of his comrades. With her voluptuous hourglass figure and her toned muscles, much like those of an athlete or a fitness model, she would have been attractive, if it were not for her unnatural height or the fact that there was blood all over her scantily dressed form.
After losing too many of his men, he had finally decided to fall back rather than sending more of them to die. He felt some relief when the heavy door of the warehouse closed with a loud metallic Clank! His men, jumpier than he had ever seen them, formed a line facing the gate anyway, getting their weapons ready for the female juggernaut everyone feared would soon come knocking.
And then, an explosion at the center of the warehouse threw them all onto their backs. Wei was fast enough to roll, so he was the first one to panic when he saw the devilish woman standing in the middle of the downed shelves, white powder mixing with the gore stuck to her skin.
Nicole did not have any problems with Zhao’s men holing up in the warehouse. Still, she was fond of surprises so, rather than charging at a door that would have certainly proven flimsier than the men had believed, she pushed herself into a jump, her inhuman leg muscles sending her far higher than anyone had the right to reach.
Nicole could even feel the air temperature changing as she peaked at around a mile in height and then stretched her limbs to increase the speed of her descent, gravity pulling at her ultra-dense body like a longtime lover.
Nicole’s feet broke through the roof of the high warehouse with ease, barely slowing her down before she hit the ground like a bomb. She hardly noticed the man that had been standing right under her feet, his body practically disintegrated as she landed on him and kept going, digging a ten-foot-deep crater and creating a shockwave that pushed people and shelves around as though they were dead leaves.
Most people were reacting to her presence by the time she slowly walked out of the crater, with the exception of a few of the closer figures, who lay unmoving with their bodies in awkward positions.
“Puny fuckers!” she whispered with a chuckle as she faced her astonished audience.
Cocaine dust filled the air, more concentrated closer to her, since her method of entrance had taken its toll not only from the people gathered in the warehouse. Nicole smiled at the spooked members of the Triads, who had not yet reacted, and crouched to grab a hundred pound bag of pure cocaine from the floor. She effortlessly tore a large opening with her fingernail and used her fingertip to take a pinch of powder and bring it to her nose.
“Fucking great quality, guys!” she pronounced.
Without warning, and to everyone’s surprise, she brought the bag closer to her face and started sniffing, the powerful air stream created by her lungs when inhaling forming a dense stream of white powder from the bag and into her. Everyone was shocked when she tossed aside the clearly empty bag not too long after.
Nicole shivered and sniffed one last time.
“Oh my God!” she let out, excited. “I hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t waste the chance. Costs a fortune to get high with my new metabolism!”
Dr. Campos had tried to explain to her once, but all Nicole had managed to understand was that given her new body mass and her metabolic rate, drugs and other substances that affected the normal functioning of the human body were almost completely ineffective on her. Even at very high concentrations, her body would quickly filter the effects.
She had missed getting drunk or stoned ever since her transformation, no matter how intoxicating her new strength was. Nicole had been a frequent user of recreational drugs before The Flare, both her endless working hours as an associate at a top-notch law firm and her tastes when it came to partying welcoming the extra stimulus.
She was feeling the effects of the cocaine inside her now, though, with an intensity she had never felt before.
“Now, let’s get kinky before it wears off, shall we?” she said with a wink.
The hailstorm of bullets started as soon as she started walking, her preparation having given the goons enough time to recover. She ignored them as usual, her high making the feeling of the worthless slugs ricocheting from her impregnable body even more enjoyable.
“You’d be adorable if you weren’t so pathetic!” she said as the men from the Triads kept on attacking her. Or at least, those with guns. The operators that had been working with the merchandise were considerably more lost and even more scared.
Nicole stretched her arm to grab a man in a worker’s clothing who had ended up dangerously close to her in his attempt to flee. Her hand took hold of a fistful of his baggy jumpsuit, and she pulled him in towards her, lifting his small body into the air like as if he were no more than a little child. The shooting stopped almost right away, making her chuckle as the man screamed in the usual Cantonese gibberish.
“What? You’re afraid of hurting him? Oh, come on!” Nicole said as she grabbed the back of the man’s head with her other hand and pulled him towards her chest without restraint. There were too many super-compacted muscle fibers in her breast to cave in. On the other hand, the man’s skull was way less impervious, and crushed like a ripe watermelon caught between a blacksmith’s hammer and his anvil.
Nicole moaned, making it sound louder than it should, shocking everyone else in the warehouse even more. Quickly, the bullets started coming back. She just lifted the lifeless man she was holding over her head and scanned the room, choosing a victim and tossing a hundred and eighty pounds of corpse towards him at high speed. Both bodies burst with the high-speed impact.
Those in the warehouse seemed to be getting keener on getting away from her than on attacking her. So, even if bullets were still hitting her randomly, the rate had decreased considerably. It did not make a difference to Nicole, who was losing interest in the ineffectiveness of the firearms and was instead avidly looking for arousing experiences.
Then, a clicking sound made Nicole shift her attention to her feet. The dark green pineapple-shaped object triggered her curiosity first and her memory an instant later. She curled her toes, digging them into the concrete floor, once she identified it for what it was. So, when the grenade exploded, the blast did not send her off her feet. It was still the most heat and pressure she had felt in the entire raid, up to the point where she felt as if she were receiving a massage to her legs.
It was not the first time Nicole had been tested with explosives. She had already known that she did not have to fear the pressure or the shrapnel, and she was also aware of her much superior tolerance to heat. Once more, proving it in the battlefield, so to speak, was way more thrilling than just learning about it from tests.
Nicole loved the sudden dismay in the thugs’ expressions as the grenade exploded without more consequences for her beyond a certain reinvigoration of her legs. She understood that, while they had already accepted that bullets could not hurt her, they had placed their hopes in the explosive.
She let out a soft laughter as she scanned the room to see more disappointed faces.
“You guys are making this so much fun!” she mocked.
And then, she dashed towards the man that had tossed the grenade at her. They never expected someone as tall as her to be able to move so fast. So, by the time she planted herself in front of the attacker, he never saw the punch coming. Nicole did not hold back this time. After all, the man had just tossed a lethal weapon at her. And well, the cocaine had hijacked what little inhibition she had initially possessed.
It was the first time she hit a man with a considerable portion of her strength. She realized why she had not had to do it before soon enough. Her punch did not throw the man backwards. It did not tear through him either, as had happened in some previous attempts. Instead, the force conveyed by the super-dense muscle fibers in her arm into her iron fist was so brutal that it disintegrated the body, not giving the thug even the time to scream. Gore was spread widely across the warehouse, part of it unavoidably ending on Nicole’s already soiled body.
Nicole’s onslaught had already been mind-blowing for everyone, including her, until now. But what she had just done marked an inflection point. Shooting stopped, and yells increased both in volume and frequency. She merely burst into loud laughter.
“Oh, my fucking goodness!” she said, her powerful voice easily carrying to every corner of the warehouse.
Nicole’s nipples pushed once more against her tortured Kevlar outfit, her high combining with her natural sadism to make her feel more aroused than she had ever felt. It was not about the mission anymore. It was not even about feeling superior and exploring the possibilities of her new condition, as she had done at the beginning of her assault. There was something more animalistic driving her now, chemically enhanced by a dose of pure cocaine that would have killed a few thousand men. Something that was telling her that the only way to keep the pleasure flowing was to let her inner beast go. And she did not see a reason not to.
The first man she chose must have seen the bestial expression in her face, since he gave her the most terrified reaction she had seen so far as she started heading towards him, stalking him like a predator as he started heading backwards, too shocked to even turn and run.
Nicole let out a pleasure groan as the man tripped and fell, butt-first, to the ground. She was on him in no time, grinning as he yelled something incomprehensible in whatever form of Chinese the man spoke. She just drew a long, shapely and toned leg back, kicking him midriff.
She contained the force of her kick considerably. After all, if a punch had done what it had done, she had no doubt that her comparatively stronger legs would be able to do much more damage. Still, her toes broke quite a lot of the man at contact, she thought. The rest of the man broke when his body slammed against the wall with a sickening splash, a hundred feet away and at about twenty feet in height. He remained stuck up there for a few seconds before he started sliding down, leaving a wide red streak in the light gray concrete.
The closest man to her was trying to climb up to a high shelf using a ladder, as if that was going to help him. Nicole reached him at a casual stroll, her increased height giving her the reach to grab the man’s shin before he could get away from her. She pulled the man lightly and let his body hang upside down, keeping her hold on his leg while his head loomed a couple of feet off the ground.
Not knowing too well what to do, Nicole started swinging the man over her head like a lasso, while she turned and scanned the room. She soon found a group of three men that were packed closely enough together for what she had in mind. Smirking, the amazon let go of her swinging man, throwing his already unconscious form in the chosen direction. She laughed as the four bodies dissolved in a splash of crimson.
The men were quickly grouping at the far end of the warehouse, as far away from her as possible. She quickly fixed that by hopping and crossing two-hundred feet of open space in a single impulse, her threatening form landing just a few yards in front of the terrified men.
Their screams helped her maintain her arousal, and the occasional bullets fired at her once more were a nice added touch. When she got tired of the man still shooting at her, Nicole crouched and dug her fingers into the concrete floor as if it had been made of clay. She was holding an irregular chunk of hardened rock the size of her hand by the time she stood up.
She did not even flinch before releasing the improvised projectile underarm, effectively decapitating the pesky shooter.
“You know, it’s fun for a while, but it gets annoying after a bit,” she said as she shrugged.
Nicole took a step forward, causing the four remaining men to take a step backward. She kept at it for a while, giggling when the men’s backs unavoidably hit the back wall, leaving them without room to back off any more.
Still under the effects of the coke, Nicole let her mind wander and threw herself into a flying kick. She had taken some taekwondo lessons as part of her personal defense classes but had never got even close to the level that was needed for this trick. Moreover, she would have had to have mastered perfect spring technique before being able to throw herself into a well-executed kick like the one she was attempting. It turned out that all of that could be easily overcome by a prodigious amount of strength.
Nicole’s body soared and closed the ten yards separating her from the victim she had chosen in a second. His attacker burst as her oversized sole hit his chest. Her foot kept going and broke through the wall, making part of it collapse as she dropped to the ground with grace.
“Mmmmmmm,” Nicole moaned, letting this new feat go to her head, as well as to her nipples and her womanhood.
She pushed back to her feet in an acrobatic movement, doing a backwards cartwheel and landing with the style of Nadia Comaneci as the remaining three men disbanded. She stopped the first one by stretching her endless leg and lifting it, holding it at a ninety-degree angle with her body and acting as a barrier for the goon. He hit it and dropped to the floor as if he had hit a concrete wall.
Nicole was feeling very mischievous now, so without thinking twice she jumped in the air and aimed her landing so that her steel-hard ass would land on the man’s comparatively smaller face. He never stood a chance as her buttocks made short work of his comparatively much softer skull, squishing it as she kept the impulse to do another backwards cartwheel, grabbing the third man’s head between her powerful thighs.
The man was trapped as she landed on her feet, face looking upwards in agony at her cruel smile. His hands were hitting her buttocks, making her giggle when she noticed what the light taps were.
“Tune it down, lover!” she mocked.
He tried to hit her again, and in a swift motion she trapped his hand between her right buttock and her own, quite larger palm.
“You really like my ass, don’t you?” Nicole asked with a wink as she started applying pressure. She thoroughly enjoyed the pained expression in his face when the bones of his hand started being compressed between the two unyielding surfaces of Nicole’s body, approaching their breaking point. “I’ll tell you what! I’ll let your hand stay there!”
The man’s shriek as the bones of his hand were crushed to powder would have caused agony to anyone but Nicole. She just moaned, stirred by the man’s pain. By the time she stopped pushing, there was merely a bloody stump at the end of his arm.
Nicole wanted to play some more of her cruel games with the man but noticed that he was getting limper.
“God, you guys don’t last long, do you?” she protested. Then, she simply crushed his skull with a casual gyration of her hips, widening her stance to let his corpse drop to the ground.
This left a lone man out of the multitude that had been holed up in the warehouse when she had broken in through the roof. Needless to say, he had used the time she had been torturing his colleague to break into a run. It was nothing that Nicole would not be able to solve in four or five strides, but she decided against chasing him. Instead, she just took a step towards a tall shelf and ripped a steel pole from one of the supports. It was about ten feet long and as weightless as a straw. She used the fingertips of her right hand to reach for the tip of the pole and crush it into a point, then held the entire thing over her head like a spear.
The man never saw it coming as the makeshift javelin went through him, entering through his back and pushing his body off his feet, until both the weapon and its victim ended up stuck in the far wall.
Nicole noticed she was panting again. She did not know how long she had been at it. She could not believe that she had already finished them all. She had not done anything she had not known that she was capable of doing. But it felt so different in real life compared with in training.
Quite instinctively, Nicole’s fingers found their way into the Kevlar bottom piece of her garment and started playing with her damp womanhood. She was too enticed not to do something about it. Then, a dark green and sturdy looking box to her right caught her curiosity. She grinned mischievously when she opened it to find a score of grenades much like the one that had been thrown at her. She remembered the mild pleasure of the explosion and had a wicked thought. The coke and her libido did the rest, making her act before she could think.
Nicole’s pinkie finger got rid of the ring before she pulled her tight Kevlar away and fit the grenade inside. She had never thought she would be able to enjoy an explosion so thoroughly. The Kevlar burst from the inside, exposing her shaved and now very excited cunt to the world. Nicole let out a long and very loud moan as she savored the ripples of the sensorial eruption.
“More!” she let out, reaching for another grenade and using her fingers to part her lower lips wide enough to fit it in, not stopping to think if that was a good idea.
Every glass in the warehouse shattered as she orgasmed and screamed to the top of her lungs. She was in heat, her rational mind practically disconnected as she continued with a succession of three grenades, the third finally throwing her on her back as she howled in pleasure.
“Oooohhhh,” she purred as she sat down, panting heavily. “And I thought the days of good sex toys were over!”
The comedown was delicious, even if something in the back of her mind was telling her that she was not done, that she had put pleasure ahead of business and that tended to be a bad idea. Her hedonistic mind rejected the thought, but suddenly, a faint sound woke her up from the trance and made every muscle in her body stand alert, helping also to shrug off the last effects of the drugs.
“Fuck!” Nicole let out as she identified the now very noticeable sound of the plane’s propellers.
The amazon jumped to her feet and started to sprint, reaching her top speed before spectacularly breaking through the concrete wall of the warehouse. There it was! The plane had already got out of the hangar and was now starting its take off run on the short airstrip. It was midway through its objective by the time she reached the start of the runway and changed direction, chasing the twin-motor aircraft.
The plane’s landing gear was starting to lift off the tarmac, but Nicole had already closed about half of the distance to it. So, by the time the pilot started to tilt the plane upwards in the hope of abandoning the horror she had unleashed in the airfield, Nicole was already upon it and could reach upwards to grab the axle between its wheels.
She kept running with the plane a bit more, beating the aircraft’s attempts to pull up with the unfathomable strength of her biceps. But she could not keep at it forever. As heavy as she was, Nicole knew that the plane was perfectly able to lift her along with its fuselage. She had no way of getting an anchor point on the ground to prevent that, so stopping the plane in its tracks was not an option. Aware that Zhao was very likely on it, she opted for the mildest option she could come up with.
So, by the time Nicole came to the end of the airstrip, which marked the point where she had to make a decision, she just pivoted on one foot and carried the plane with her, releasing it with exactly the right impulse.
The bi-motor had never been designed to withstand the stress the superwoman had put on it, so as soon as she released it, it tried to lift, only to plunge into the ground a hundred yards on, bouncing off its landing gear as it repeated the jump again much like a grasshopper.
It did not last long. Soon, the lack of stability brought the plane to the ground at too tilted an angle, sparks illuminating the dark night as its right wing hit the tarmac, ripping itself from the fuselage some dozen yards later. It was all quite quick from then, left wing, landing gear and tail going before the plane hit the entrance of the hangar twisting on itself.
Feeling a bit guilty at having indulged too much, Nicole did not waste any more time and propelled herself through the air with a precise jump that made her land with the usual effect on the ground, barely a dozen yards away from the downed aircraft. She ripped its side door away as if it had been made of wet tissue and stepped into the metallic tube, smiling when she saw that the four male passengers and the pilot were pretty battered but still alive.
She reached for the closest man.
“Not Zhao,” she said as she slapped his head off his shoulders.
The next man was looking downwards, probably still stunned from the crash he had just been in. She placed one finger under his chin to lift his face and when she saw that he was not the man she was looking she just kept going, breaking his neck with a flick.
The other two men were now looking at her in terror. Neither of them was Zhao either, which made Nicole frown as she threw simultaneous punches that broke through their skulls.
She had had high hopes of finding her ultimate target in the escaping aircraft, so the fact that none of the four men on the passenger compartment was him pissed her off considerably. She did not think the pilot would change her luck, but she still leaned through the door to the cockpit and grabbed his skull with one hand, turning it to see that, effectively, he was not the man he was looking either. She closed her fingers with a groan, popping the man like grape.
“Fuck!” she said louder than needed.
Nicole was beginning to realize that Zhao might have escaped while she was letting herself fall too deeply into indulgence and cursed. She was not worried about Petrenko or any stupid promises she might have made to him. If the man dared to complain after she had completely destroyed his rival’s infrastructure she might need to have a serious talk with him to let him know about her terms for their agreement. But she had always been an overachiever, and not being able to get what she was planning pissed her off at an extreme level.
She was thinking about the most suitable way to return to the Ukrainians when a thought crossed her mind. Zhao was not in the plane. But there had been no other vehicle leaving the airfield. Of that, she was pretty sure. Most of the vehicles she had disposed of, and none of the ones she had left alone for the moment had started their engines. Her sensitive ears would have caught them if they had.
So, either Zhao was still in the airfield, or he was leaving on foot. In either instance, he was at her mercy. Too eager to check her theory, she did not even walk back to the small entry door but just ripped a section of the plane’s fuselage away with her hands, hopping onto the tarmac and observing the remains of the airfield with renewed curiosity.
Nicole took a deep breath and then stopped breathing, letting the sounds of the night come to her superhuman ears unfiltered. She could hear grasshoppers, birds, the ripples of the wind in the canal’s water and on the grass… She could not hear any steps, though. Or any whispers.
There was no way Zhao could have got so far away as to fall out of her effective detection range. Nicole had been tested and could hear relatively soft sounds for miles around her. This left only one possibility.
She did not run as she headed to the second warehouse. She did not need to. With most of the Triad’s crew gone, she only needed to be attentive to anyone trying to sneak past her. Realizing that it was kind of stupid to still be wearing her Kevlar top when her bottom was long gone, Nicole ripped it to shreds and enjoyed the stroll as the breeze soothed her sculptural body and she found the time to reflect on what she had done.
If this was meant to be a test of herself, there was no doubt that the results had been overwhelmingly good. The theory she had already been aware of had been easy enough to put into practice and had proven to her beyond any doubt that she was so far above men now that the idea she had once entertained of remaining at Fort Exeter, subject to the whims and instructions of Lindbergh’s team, now appeared utterly ludicrous.
She had the conditions to be free at a level no one else had been before, and this made the idea of living the life of a prisoner or a monk plain stupid.
Even when just walking, Nicole’s long legs conferred her a speed that brought her to the front of the warehouse of her interest soon enough. She was utterly unprepared for the RPG being shot at her from a window on the second floor, so she did not have enough time to dash out of its way before the rocket hit her square in the stomach.
Neither the RPG’s penetrating tip nor its explosive had any more effect on Nicole than bullets and grenades had had before. Unprepared as she was, the blast was enough to throw her back some ten feet to crash into the side of one of the two parked vans, flipping it over.
She was both upset and embarrassed as she sat down, groaning. So, she was barely paying attention to the mildly pleasurable effect that the explosion had had on her abs. All she wanted was retribution on whoever had had the guts to attack her after knowing all she was capable of. Her annoyance was considerably increased by the fact that the results of the attack had made her lose her gracefulness.
Despite the darkness, it was easy enough to find the man, still standing in the window of the second floor and getting his RPG ready for a second shot. Nicole pushed back to her feet and grabbed the underside of the van with one hand in the same motion, bringing it over her head in a fluid movement and releasing it toward the man as soon as her feet were firmly planted on the ground.
He never had time to finish reloading, the three tons of van crashing through the window and bringing a portion of the building around him down. Not being nearly as resistant as she was, the man was of course crushed under the rubble.
Nicole took advantage of the new opening on the building to flex her legs ever so slightly and throw herself through it, landing next to the van.
The floor cracked and shook as she moved. Being a second floor made the overall sturdiness of the structure worse than in the normally more reinforced ground floor. Despite that, her weight, while amazing, was still in a safe enough zone for her to move through normal constructions. However, there would be no way of masking her approach, but Nicole guessed that throwing a van through the window had already served as a pretty noticeable knock on the door.
The second floor seemed to be completely empty, save for the shooter she had just taken care of, so she just moved through the corridor and reached the far end of the building, where Zhao’s office had been. She stepped inside and inspected the relatively large space.
It was clear that the Triads were either not planning to stay at Vanderbilt for long or did not care about luxury, since the office was mostly filled with furniture that was either old, cheap or both. Nicole was not concerned about that, but about the fact that there was no trace of Zhao there.
She took a new deep breath and held the air inside as she focused her enhanced senses on the silent area. A smile formed on her lips as the faint sounds of someone breathing became very evident. She just had to tilt her head slightly to find them coming from behind a tall metallic filing cabinet.
Nicole did not mind that her footsteps as she crossed the room towards her target were easy to hear. She just stood in front of the cupboard and grabbed it with one hand on each side, easily moving it out of the way and revealing the six-foot tall opening on the wall. She crouched to find the awed figure of Zhao, aiming a gun at her.
“That won’t help you,” Nicole said with a smile an instant before the incredibly spooked man emptied the magazine on her. Bullets bounced off her cheeks, teeth, nose and forehead with the same ineffectiveness every slug had shown so far.
“Told you,” Nicole said with a scowl. “That’s going to cost you, though,” she added as she reached through the opening and grabbed a fistful of the man’s shirt, pulling him out of his hideout like someone dragging a rag doll.
Nicole tossed the man to the center of the office and stood with her hands on her hips. The dripping sound preceded the wetness in the front of his pants.
“Oh, come on! Really? You’re the guy that was going to take over business on the West Coast?” Nicole mocked.
“Please…” the man said as he crawled back.
Nicole merely took a step forward and said:
“I’m not going to kill you. At least not just yet. Petrenko wants you alive,” Nicole said.
Zhao’s accent was surprisingly mild as he addressed his first complete sentence at her for the first time:
“No matter how much Petrenko is paying you… I will double it! I will pay you ten times more!”
Nicole let out a soft laugh and took another step towards Zhao, kneeling gently next to him and reaching out with a finger to raise his chin.
“Are you offering me a job?” she asked kindly.
“Yes… yes!” Zhao replied instantly. Nicole could see the trace of hope in his eyes and contained a laugh. This was going to be entertaining.
“How interesting… wouldn’t it be an issue that, well, I just killed all of your men?” she asked.
Zhao just shook his head.
Nicole let out a soft laugh.
“Tell me Zhao, don’t you think that if I was looking for money, I could just storm into a bank and rip the safe open?”
She had to love the change in Zhao’s face, all the hope suddenly going away.
“What is he giving you, then?” he asked, not understanding.
“You know what’s the problem with men like you? You see a woman like me and all you can think of is that I must be working for someone. I don’t work for Petrenko. He was nice to me, so I’m repaying him by being nice to him. He needed some vermin removed, so I did it for him. He also asked me for you,” Nicole finished, standing up and dragging Zhao with her with her single-finger hold.
Nicole then reached for his pinkie finger and held it between her thumb and index. Without warning, she pushed them together, crushing the three bones into powder with the ease of someone crushing an empty eggshell.
Zhao’s shriek was very high-pitched, making Nicole laugh.
“I didn’t like being shot. Consider yourself lucky that you’ll get out of this one for only three bones. You have two-hundred and three more to go, so don’t piss Petrenko or, especially me, off.”
Nicole let him scream as she ripped one of the tall metallic doors from the filing cabinet with her free hand. With the ease of someone working with clay, she wrapped the sheet metal around the screaming man she was holding, immobilizing him before grabbing him underarm and making for the exit of the building.
Petrenko was as surprised as his men when Nicole appeared calmly strolling down the road, holding a van over her head with a single hand. She closed the distance to them and carefully set the vehicle, which was in pretty good shape, on the road.
He tried to avoid fixing his stare for too long on the amazon’s stark-naked figure, but could not prevent a shiver when he noticed the gore even in the dark.
“Did you do it?” he asked.
“Did you doubt it for a second?” she asked with a wink.
He sighed, and she seemed to enjoy his discomfort.
“They were getting ready for an all-out war,” Nicole said, switching the tone to a more serious one. “But they were not ready for me.”
“Zhao?” Petrenko asked.
“In the back. I tried to keep the van as much in one piece as possible, so that one of your men could drive it back. I guessed people would be startled to see me carrying it all the way to your estate,” she said playfully.
Petrenko nodded and headed for the back of the van with two of his men. He was shocked when he saw Zhao, wrapped in thick sheet metal, but smiled when he realized what this meant for his business issues.
Then, he saw the large bags of cocaine and the military boxes with grenades.
“I didn’t need the gift, but thanks,” he said to Nicole.
“Andrey, dear, that’s not for you. I just took some toys for my own indulgence. It would be great if your men could leave them in my chambers when you get home,” she said.
“Toys?” Andrey asked.
“You’ll understand,” she said with a wink.
Petrenko swallowed hard.