November 20th, mid-morning
San Francisco, California
The muffled crash of furniture came from the living room. Karla Howard sat up in bed, wide eyed. She pushed the covers off with her feet and pivoted on her rump, facing to the left. Karla stretched then sighed. "I smell testosterone. Guess my fan club is here." She kicked her legs over the side of the bed then eased to the floor.
A thump and a groan came from the living room, followed by another. Seconds later, another crash ensued - the sound of glass. She brought her hands up to her face, where her lengthy blonde hair was tied together in a beard over her mouth, chin and neck. It coiled down in front of her cleavage, stopping beneath the swell of her bust. She carefully untied the locks and separated the strands so that they became wavy- coiled curls down the front of her body.
She glanced in the mirror with a wan smile. Her hair covered the front of her torso, adorning the perky full globes of her breasts. She reached for the door handle and opened it.
In the living room, six mercenaries in black paramilitary gear and ski masks were backed into a corner. Standing between them and the fully nude blonde succubus, two overly ordinary young men appeared to be in a faceoff against the half-dozen intruders.
The two men stopped the fighting and took notice of the six staring soldiers; they glanced over their shoulders and blinked at Karla. One of the pair, an early-twenties black man with a hint of facial scruff - the other, a white male of the same age. Karla recognized the second one as Johann Foster, unemployed ex-secretary of the deceased Justicar.
"Mister Foster, what are you doing in my house?" She reached a hand up and rubbed her eyes, using a lacquered nail to draw a clump of 'sleep' from an eyelash. "And who're your friends?"
"M...Miss Howard, you've not any clothes!" Johann put a foot on one of several assault rifles on the floor, using his foot, he scooted the gun away from the soldiers in the corner. He gave it a kick, sending it over near a pile of similar model assault rifles.
"Yes," she said with a casual air, "I sleep in the nude; you've awoken me. It's still really rather early. Who're your friends?"
"This is Evan," he said. "Those guys, including the two on the floor of your kitchen, are mercenaries hired by Falcon. I'm not quite sure where he finds so many willing guns for hire but... he must have a hell of a budget."
The six men, speaking amongst themselves, drew their backup sidearm in unison and began firing. Johann flinched then turned back in their direction.
Karla blinked and stepped forward towards the two men at the center of her living room. "Wait, where'd the rounds go?" She glanced to the left, where seven of the eight assault rifles lay in a pile on the floor by her sofa. "What's going on?"
Johann chuckled nervously. "I recently discovered that I can create an ability field around my body that changes the molecular properties of an object. Anything that gets close to me will change as I see fit. So their rounds just turned from solid to gas because they shot at us." He smiled brightly and added, "I'm not afraid anymore!"
Karla nodded with quirked brows and a smile. "Well now. You manned up, like we talked about. I'm impressed, Mister Foster. Did you lead those men here?"
"No," he said. "We followed them. We were planning another raid on Falcon's troops when we realized they were coming for you."
"Oh! You're my hero, now? They were going to come and kill me in my sleep but you protected me?"
The half-dozen men fired their pistols again. Everyone in the house flinched from the obnoxiously loud staccato sound of flash-suppressed gunfire. Even with the silencers, the sound was annoying.
Evan, Johann and Karla ignored the group, who appeared nervous.
Johann, looking quite pleased with himself, nodded and said, "I'm not a pussy anymore, am I?"
"I suppose not." She approached Evan, looked him over, and said, "So, a salt and pepper team, huh? What'syour ability? You do have one, correct?"
Evan nodded and turned his attention back to the mercenaries across the living room. "I do."
Karla's smile widened. "Oh and he's so focused. So professional. So... what is it then? I'm dying to see."
He cut his eyes to the side where Karla now stood then back to the men across the room. "Watch and see, miss." He held his hands out in a dramatic stance like a cheesy television show wizard. Again his eyes cut to the left. He realized that she was watching him and not the mercenaries. "Their weapons."
Karla leaned closer, as if examining his hands and his strange stance then she turned her head to the left, as if peering down the sights Evan's wrist. Her eyes widened and she stood up straight then approached the six mercenaries. "What the... hell?"
The soldiers pressed themselves back when she approached. One of them dropped their pistol. It broke into pieces on the floor. Karla paused, glanced back at Evan and Johann, then back at the mercenaries.
"You've turned their guns into glass? Why... that's just..." Her look of wonder disappeared, replaced with a brilliant grin. "That's just brilliant, that is." She cleared her throat, having spoken in a Welsh dialect then, in a modern American one, added, "Oh, your day just got so bad, soldier boys."
Karla's chest, half hidden beneath her lengthy blond hair, began to incandesce. A swirl of carnation glowed, skin deep, below her collarbone then her biceps and forearms began to illuminate in similar fashion.
Her palms took on a brilliant pink luminescence as well then, all at once, all six men disappeared. She exhaled sharply as though having just lifted a heavy weight. "Half a dozen is a lot harder than two or three," she murmured. She turned back to the young men and saw their eyes lift. A grin tugged at the corner of her lips. "Were you boys staring at my ass just now?" Neither spoke. Her grin spread the rest of the way across. "I'm not insulted about it. So... you two came to my rescue, hmm?"
"Where'd you put them, Miss Howard?"
"Karla," she corrected. "Alright, Johann, I put them outside in the middle of the street. If they materialized inside of a car, well... I don't have time to worry about that. It's too early in the morning, at least for me, to worry about where they wind up. If they survived... well, then hopefully they took the hint and ran."
Evan went to the window, gazed outside then ran across the living room to look out a window at the other side of the building. "They're over here. Looks like three of them... ugh. Jeeze."
"What is it?" asked Johann.
"Three of them materialized inside one another... they're one ...thing. But with six legs, six arms and... a very lumpy singular head. It's... bad. The other three are working to get the combined body off the street. They're in the alley so I don't think anyone saw it."
"Jesus." Johann turned back to Karla with a stern look. "The worst we've ever had to do to those guys was turn them to glass, shatter them and sweep up the pieces. And that was once. And it was an accident because we tried combining our abilities. We vowed never to do it again. Karla, what you did was... Damn. I don't even know what to say."
Karla shrugged. "I just woke up. Not really sharp or focused right now." She stretched, putting her arms over her head, left palm on her right wrist. Her hair swept back, revealing her ample bosom.
She jutted her hips to the right, curled her toes and yawned. The succubus dropped her hands at her sides, smacked her lips together a few times then sauntered into the kitchen.
Johann hurried after her and stopped in the doorway. He watched as she stepped over two unconscious mercenaries on the floor. She made her way to the counter, opened a cupboard and fished about until finding coffee filters, sugar and a tin of ground coffee beans. He blinked incredulously. "How can you be so nonchalant? You just killed three men without batting a lash."
"How can you just... make coffee?"
"I need to wake up before I accidentally kill more," she murmured as though paying half attention. "If you can change the molecular level of things, can you turn water into boiling water? I hate waiting for it to heat up."
"It doesn't work like that." He stepped over the body nearest to him then waved a hand at the nearby coffee pot. "I can turn air molecules into water molecules. I can turn room light into microwaves in a focused area." Seconds later, the newly created water in the coffee pot began to bubble furiously. "Now it's boiling. I can't exactly cool it down unless I turn it to ice. So, give it a moment to cool."
Karla stepped back over the body closest to the counter then used her bare foot to push his leg away from the fridge. "I'll just put a few ice cubes in it. Nice trick. I thought you were mortally afraid of dying. What's got you fighting armed thugs?"
"I discovered something about my ability." His eyes returned to her backside.
Karla pushed a jug of milk to the side and withdrew a small container of coffee creamer. She put it on the counter then closed the fridge, opened the freezer and took out three ice cubes then opened her right hand. A coffee cup appeared in her grasp.
She put the cubes into the empty mug then closed the freezer. "Let me guess... You change the molecular properties of an open wound so that it's sealed, healed flesh... thereby allowing you to heal yourself or anyone else around you?"
Johann's jaw lowered. He stood there, gawking at her, mouth agape.
Karla continued to fix her coffee. The boiling water caused the ice cubes to snap and crackle. She poured the creamer in then she used a spoon to dump in the coffee grinds. She put the filter, meant for the coffeemaker, back into the cupboard with the tin.
The succubus yawned again then used her spoon to mix the loose coffee with the water in her mug. "I know it's going to come out too strong. I always use the machine to make it just right. You kinda had me skip that step by putting boiling water directly in the pot, so... ah well." She turned back to face him then returned a mock glare with a smirk. "What's with the dramatic look of disbelief?"
Johann frowned thoughtfully. "I only recently realized I could heal someone with my ability. It itches from the inside out for a day or two but... yes, I can patch up a bullet injury just the way you said. I did it for myself after being shot and... yeah. Why didn't you suggest it to me the first time we spoke?"
She shrugged. "I figured it was obvious, you were just that much of a wimp at the time. I didn't think about it that way at the time. When I saw you create water out of thin air, though, I figured it wouldn't be too far of a stretch." She approached him and thrust the coffee mug in his direction. "Blend it for me."
He gawked at her then looked down at the cup. Johann waved his right hand over it then turned away from her. "There. Please get dressed, Karla. I can't help but stare at you and ...well, quite frankly, my mother raised me better than that. So... please."
"Pussy," she murmured and stepped around him then took a sip from the mug. "There we go. Much better. You'd make a great barista or a good pharmacist."
She stepped over the body of a mercenary and left the kitchen. "So! Evan! Was that it? I'm Karla Howard. A pleasure to meet you. If you want some coffee, talk to your sidekick. What was your ability again? Something to do with glass?"
"Long story short, I'm a glass blower and frame maker. I own a shop over in the Height called 'A Pane in the Glass.' I can turn certain objects into glass and I can shape glass and sand."
"And now you fight 'bad guys,' huh?"
Evan offered a thin smile, trying to keep his soft brown eyes on her face. "I got into the superhero thing after this old man came to my store right before a break in."
"Di the old man do anything with electricity?"
"Now that you mention it, yeah. Wouldn't tell me his name but... yeah. He did."
Karla smiled weakly then walked to the window and peered out into the alley, sipping her coffee. She whispered softly, to herself. "Nathanial..."
Evan continued. "I've been discretely hunting them and terrorizing them for a few months now."
Karla turned back from the window, took a deep breath then offered a soft smile. "So they came for me today. I owe you boys for hunting them. But this confirms it... I have to move. So, now that there's no supernatural government in place, no one is stopping you from using your abilities."
"Unless last month, I'd never even heard of other people being able to do this kind of stuff." Evan tugged at his t-shirt, trailed his thumb over the fancy home-made logo then shrugged. He looked at Karla's legs, below the knees, in an attempt to be somewhat respectful. "The old man... I met him briefly. After that, Johann was the first supernatural person I've met - he'd been shot at the airport. I couldn't understand why those mercenaries were attacking people right in public; the mercenaries were actually attacking FBI agents, too. Now I understand that there are apparently less than two hundred supernatural people across the globe."
"We now think it's fewer than fifty," she said. "Unless there are those who are in hiding. Not counting you, which means there are other people out there with abilities that haven't told anyone and haven't been discovered... or simply haven't manifested yet."
Evan fidgeted. "Uh, yeah, well, uh."
Her eyes lifted then lowered, drinking him in. "Your mother raised you well. Most black guys I've met would be flirting and gawking because they love seeing naked white women; at least that's my experience. You must have had a good mother... either that or you're a virgin."
"Both!" he said firmly then blinked and, in a quieter voice, added, "Well, I mean... yeah. Both. I... yeah."
Karla tilted her head and smiled. "What's in the bag on your shoulder?"
Evan bit his lower lip and quickly said, "It's nothing."
"Oh c'mon. You're being defensive. It's not stolen is it?"
His mouth dropped open. "Are you saying that because I'm black?"
"Oh get over yourself," she scoffed. "I'm a minority, too. I'm saying it because you're acting defensive. So... is itstolen stuff?" She took another sip of her coffee then held her empty left hand off to the side. His bag appeared in her grip and she tilted her head. "If I open this, am I going to find something that doesn't belong to you?"
"I'm not a thief, and you'd better not be racially profiling me. That's not cool. And... how do you do that? The teleportation thing?"
"I think about it," she replied. The satchel opened and the top flap lifted away. "I have telekinesis too."
"Really! Wow! So, technically, you can levitate yourself and fly!"
"It's easier to control an object than to control myself in stable flight..." She trailed off, levitating objects from the backpack. Her eyes widened. "Are you for real?" Her gaze lifted back to Evan. "Okay, I was wrong. You're definitely not hiding stolen stuff... you're hiding your shame."
His voice lowered. "I don't like being judged." Even licked his lips. "Can I have my stuff back, now? Johann and I were on our way home from an overnight session when we saw the van of mercenaries and decided to follow them in my beat up old BMW."
Karla teleported the bag onto the coffee table then used her free left hand to cover her mouth, snickering softly.
She glanced back at the kitchen where Johann stood in the doorway with a coy look. He swallowed then fidgeted nervously. "You're not being fair," Foster said in a soft tone, equally bashful.
"I'm not laughing at your backpack full of geek games. I'm laughing because you're both certifiably badass but you're both humiliated by a backpack full of Dungeons and Dragons books. If some jock came along and started picking on you guys because you like rolling dice while hunched over character sheets... you could kill him. One of you could turn him into glass then you could shatter him to bits. The other could turn the glass shards into dust. The perfect crime."
Evan cleared his throat softly and, in a respectful voice, murmured, "We're both good guys."
Karla brought her palm to her forehead. "That's not what I meant. Obviously you two are 'good guys.' You both refuse to stare at me while I'm standing here naked."
"You're the first I've seen," Johann admitted in a bashful tone.
"You boys are a rockstar team. Why not have a little confidence?"
"It's not like we can change overnight," said Johann. He joined them in the living room then added, "Please, Karla, can you get dressed?"
"Oh grow a pair of balls," she said. "And you changed almost overnight. You went from shaking like a leaf and taking anxiety pills... to fighting trained mercenaries in real life. That's huge."
Foster ran hands over his face then he glanced back at the two bodies on the kitchen floor behind himself. He stared at them and said, "I'm still scared when I fight. But I'm repeatedly defending myself against Aris Falcon's men And if I don't, who will? I'm still scared that I'll be shot in the head one day but... when I'm with Evan I feel safer because he turns their guns and their bullets into glass. Not just any glass... really frail, thin glass that feels like a little pinch against your skin. I'm, uh, more afraid of having my eye put out than dying, now."
Johann turned back to the kitchen and began pulling one of the bodies by their boot. "We need to figure out what to do with them."
Karla rolled her eyes, walked back to the entrance of her kitchen then waved her hand. Both bodies disappeared. "There. They're on the roof and they're further apart this time. So anyway, why are you two so secretive about playing a tabletop game? Who cares? If people give you shit about it, then it's only because they're not comfortable enough with themselves. Don't tolerate their grief. Fuck'em."
Evan flinched and said, "Ma'am, please."
Johann winced and said, "Evan isn't a fan of strong language. He finds it extremely distasteful."
"Eh, still," said Karla. She finished her coffee and teleported the mug into the sink. "You boys need to learn to be proud of yourself. I'm a sex demon. What I do to maintain my health causes ridicule. I'm called a 'whore' and a 'slut' just because I need to eat, in a manner of speaking. Think I care? Nope." She held both hands outwards, middle fingers pointed at the east and west walls. "Haters gunna' hate."
Karla dropped her hands at her sides and arched her back, stretching. "So... change of topic: have you two met any other supernaturals during your time as a superhero team? Met any resistance for it?"
"Uh, no," said Evan. "Other than Johann, you're the first I've met. You're really a succubus?"
She grinned in response and nodded. "You even know the correct term. Good ole' Dungeons and Dragons. So I'm the first person you've rescued, then?"
Johann shook his head. "No, just the first supernatural. We've stopped two bank robberies. We stopped a purse snatcher. We stopped a carjacking."
"And helped a lady who was about to be mugged."
"Right," Johann said, excitement shining in his eyes, "Forgot about that one. That was awesome." He turned back to Karla and smiled. "We're a good team. We've gone up against the 'Men in Black' six times, counting today. They keep coming after us and we keep getting lucky. Evan is really awesome with the glass spikes and I create a field around us that acts like a protective barrier."
Karla put her hands on her hips. "I need to find the twins. I was hoping you'd have crossed paths with them. Dammit. Look, you boys earned a favor from me. Whatever you want. Most guys just want head, and I'm okay with that, too. Just figure it out and hit me back later. Right now, though, I need to hit the shower and go find a friend. Hey," she paused then smiled. "I'm putting together a team, soon. Maybe you boys can join up. I'm training a few people to be able to survive threats more serious than Falcon's idiots."
Johann and Evan glanced at one another but didn't say anything. After a moment, Evan said, "We'll consider it. The joining forces part, not the other thing." He gave another tug at his t-shirt. "But the two of us are a team. We even have this logo as our... well, logo."
Karla approached Evan and looked over his shirt. "Right. Every superhero needs a logo on his or her costume. Hey, get me one of those shirts. I'd rock your superhero merch. You've got my support."
"Really?" Evan smiled nervously. "That would be like The Black Widow wearing a Spiderman t-shirt."
Karla's grin widened. "But the fact that you wear it is akin to Bruce Wayne wearing a Batman t-shirt. Shouldn't you want to keep your identity concealed or whatever?"
Johann coughed into his fist. "No one is left to chastise us for using our abilities for good. And, uh, that's the smartest thing Bruce Wayne could do... it's equivalent to hiding in plain sight. It makes him look like a fan."
"I suppose." Karla shrugged. "People make fun of musicians who wear their own band shirts. Anyway, I'm going to hit the shower. You boys sticking around?"
Again they looked at each other. Evan nodded. "We could. That way you don't have to worry about the mercenaries calling for help and attacking again while you're in the shower."
She cut her vibrant green eyes to Evan and said, "Am I the first naked woman you've seen in person?"
"First fully naked woman, yeah. I've seen a girl's breasts before at a Nickelback concert last year."
Karla eyed him. "You a fan?"
She chuckled and shrugged. "I'll let you stay because you beat up some 'bad guys' while I was asleep. But let's never speak of this, ever again," she told him in a stern voice.
She noticed his eyes drop then giggled. "God, I'm fuc- ...er, kidding with you. Just relax." She turned about and sashayed her hips, walking out of her living room with a slow, relaxed gait.
She stopped by the bathroom door, glanced back at them over her shoulder and winked then teleported into the bathroom. Seconds later, the boys heard the hiss of her showerhead.
Johann sighed and shook his head. "Told'ja she's eccentric."
"But you never said she was super-freaking-hot. And you definitely neglected to mention that she has sex in order to survive. Does it kill or injure her victims?"
"No, she's not a vampire. From what I understand, it just makes her, uh, 'partner' very sleepy for a little while."
Evan stuffed his hands into his pockets. "I wonder what it's like with her. ...Would you?"
"I... I don't know, man, I think I want my first to be with someone important. I've waited this long, might as well give it to someone special."
"Yeah. I guess." Evan suddenly grinned and said, "She liked my shirt, though."
The door opened at the other end of the apartment. Both young men turned to face a man only a little older than themselves. His face was swollen with bruises; blood dribbled from his nose over his lips and chin, and his shirt was torn. He had a bloody patch of gnarled flesh on his left arm where the short sleeve stopped. "Who are you two?" the man demanded.
Johann swallowed, Evan gasped.
The man raised his voice, his tone became sharper. "Who the hell are you two?"
Johann held his hands up defensively. "We're here to help Miss Howard. Who are you?"
"Eric Loupe. I need to see her immediately. Where is she?"
"In the shower. She was just attacked by these guys in black gear and we stopped them. Were you shot in the arm? You need medical attention, Mister Loupe."
"I need to see Karla. Now. Which way?"
Evan licked his lips and pointed to a door back towards the bedroom. "She's, uh, naked."
"Yeah, what else is new," said Eric.
He crossed the living room, opened the bathroom door and walked in. In a clear, firm voice, the boys heard him say, "Karla... shit got real bad. They got Donovan. We were in the middle of training me to use my shadow... thing... and they attacked us with fire and guns; they took us to some sort of nightclub under construction. They tricked us, took down the old man and chased me up to the roof. Next thing I know, I was thrown off the side, and into the alley. I climbed out of the dumpster and ...goddammit. They got Donovan. They might kill him."
Evan and Johann looked at one another. Evan moved closer to his friend and, in a soft voice, said, "You should heal that guy's arm like you did for me that one time."
"Yeah. He looked really messed up." Johann fidgeted. "I've never seen him before, but I know of Donovan. I assume they're related because they have the same last name. If Falcon's guys got Donovan Loupe then we're in trouble because that guy was bad ass."
"Right, sorry. I guess I don't think of that as a cussword. Anyway, Donovan is important. He's one of only a handful of people that don't age. And his ability is amazing."
Evan's eyes widened. "Wow. Immortality? Holy cow. Hey, we should help those two get their friend back." Evan turned to Johann and buried his fist into his palm, excited to fight again. "Yeah, that would be awesome right? We could totally take the fight to this Falcon guy and with the help of your lady friend, we could kick his butt."
Johann frowned and looked down. "Doctor Falcon isn't a pushover like his hired goons. He's personally fought and defeated some of the most powerful supernaturals in the known community, one-on-one. I'm not trying to die."
"Go offer to heal that guy's cuts and that flesh wound." Evan sat down on the sofa and offered a weak smile. "I'll keep an eye out. If anyone else comes to the door, I'll holler for you."
"Alright. Be right back. Maybe we shouldn't stay out overnight like that anymore. This is going to be a long day and I'm tired as crap from not sleeping yet." Johann crossed the living room and walked in through the open bathroom door.
Evan grinned and called back after him, "Nobody said the superhero life was gunna be easy, bro!" He looked down at his shirt, admiring the design and, in a soft voice, added, "She liked my shirt. Awesome."
15 June 2013 at 02:30:34 MDT
Because I love you guys... I included old art of KARLA back when she was a feline/fox hybrid. That's right... she was an OC in a fanfiction of a Sly Cooper story way back in the olden days. I kept her blond hair, green eyes, pink glyph-like branding, flirty nature and her abilities. But I re-wrote her backstory. And made her a human succubus.
Thank you for reading this far! I hope you liked the art work, it's fairly old! It was commissioned by Peter Nguyen, also known as WHITMAVERICK.
Okay, onward to Act1, BOOK3
Chapter1: YOU ARE HERE
As of this posting, I am currently on a re-writing mission to finish Act1, Book3. I'll have them up as I finish each chapter's re-write. !!yAy!!