"Enviro Girl". Violent and evil girl-with-superpowers fiction by Conceptfan.


She's the spoilt, rebellious daughter of a top executive at a mega-polluting corporation. He's a chemical entity from another galaxy with a dodgy cousin. When they get together it's a tale of destruction, violence and, er, more destruction and violence.

Chapter 1

Never Trust Dave

Western Spiral Arm, Milky Way Galaxy. 3.5 trillion miles from Sol. Eight months ago.


I must be an idiot. I mean, I've had nearly a third of the age of this Universe to think about it, and that's about the only conclusion I can draw. Dan, the idiot. That's me. I should never have listened.

"Go," they said. "See the sights. Broaden your horizons. Explore the universe."

"You'll love it," they said. "Come back and tell us all about it."

And just like an idiot, I was convinced. I made my plans. I abandoned my corporeal existence and took on a form of pure chemical-bound thought-energy.

Thinking back, those were my two big mistakes. Firstly, I never should have listened to the suggestions of others. Others only want you to do what they want to do. They want to address their own regrets vicariously through you. They never put themselves in your tentacles and consider what's actually best for you.

My second major error was asking my dodgy co-hatchling Dave to arrange the transference of my soul from my body via a charged particle cloud into a chemical mix. Dave never shuts up about how he once worked in a star-mining operation, and how the experience left him with an unrivalled knowledge of energy manipulation. Sadly, too many of us seemed to have fallen for his hype. They'd talk about him as if he'd been a Chief Supervising Technician on the project, when in actual fact, his job was unclogging the gunk that coats the walls of electron-vortices. The average Chief Supervising Technician has a Societal Rank Index of between 1,200 and 1,500. As far as I know, Dave never achieved 30.

I should never have trusted him. After all, Dave was the arsehole who destroyed a Class "R" Nebula in a disastrous attempt to pimp his space-car. Of course, he put it down to an instability in the gas-cloud, and naturally everyone bought his excuse, but it was obviously bullshit. I mean... instability in a Class "R"..!

So I guess it's my fault for trusting the lying incompetent. But he said he could do it for under a tenner, and the Amalgamated Galactic Soul Transference Consortium quoted me forty thousand, so... you know. Anyway, to my burdensome regret, I went with Dave.

He hooked me up to his home-brew transference equipment, much of which looked like it had been recovered from Beta 932, the asteroid fusion base that got totalled by a malfunctioning pocket-star. I could smell the tell-tale neutron-burns. But, like a complete jerk, I let him activate the process. Straight away, I realised something was wrong. Leaving my body and entering a particle-swarm-state left me feeling slightly nauseous, when (I don't need to tell you) successful transfers always create a sensation of mild euphoria and rampant reproductive urges.

"Dave, you fucker! What the fucking hell have you done to me?" I communicated via telepathy, once I had recovered the power of telepathic communication.

"I've successfully transferred you," he lied in reply.

"But I feel crap," I thought-responded.

"That's probably just a reverse spin on a couple of electrons. I had to use a bank of counter-clockwise particle-exciters in the final phase. We used to do it all the time when I was star-mining. It's not exactly easy sourcing all this gear, you know," Dave went into story-mode.

"You never handled any transference work when you were with the frigging mining company!" I called him out, using telepathy.

"Well, not directly, in person... as such... But I worked with two Engineers who told me they did it all the time because exciters made such a big hole in the company's accounts. Anyway, trust me, you're good to go."

But of course, I wasn't "good to go". I barely got two dozen light-years out when one of those reverse-rotating electrons must've got snagged on an X-ray beam from a pulsar. Before I knew what was happening, I got spun into the centre of the discharge. Inevitably, my counter-clockwise particles all synced up with the stream of photons, which, as I'm sure you've guessed, completely ballsed-up any chance I had of getting out of there. In the end I was trapped in the field of the X-ray, my conscious bound to an amorphous blob of nitro-hydrate, carried helplessly across the universe by the photon-flow of an X-ray discharge for a period of time equivalent to the life-span of a small star. So, thanks a fucking bunch, Dave...

Now, I admit that psycho-chemistry isn't my strong suit. In fact, if I was to be completely honest, even Dave knows more than I do about it. But, as far as I can work it out, the only way off this X-ray without access to any kind of energy-transference laboratory would be to merge the nitro-hydrate containing my soul with a compatible compound. The fact that I've been travelling like this for aeons is a fair illustration of how unlikely that is. I mean, those kind of compounds don't occur naturally in any of the known galaxies.

Basically, all I've done for the lifetime of a star is hurtle helplessly through the cosmos, waiting until I cross paths with an alien civilisation that is advanced enough to have engineered the right type of compound. Although, thinking about it, given how limited in use and hostile to most forms of life such chemicals usually are, it'd need to be a civilisation that's both moderately advanced and also massively stupid. There can't be many of those around; anyone who's spent even a few quandils studying history knows that, whenever they do - somehow - pop up, those kind of semi-intelligent lifeforms tend to make themselves extinct at the first possible opportunity.

All of which explains why I'm getting so excited about the G-type main-sequence star up ahead. From the range of elements I can detect, it must be third or even forth generation. It's got rocky inner planets, too. And one of them is giving off non-natural radio waves like... well, like you'd expect from a moderately advanced and massively stupid civilisation.

For the first time in about a third of the age of the Universe itself, there's a chance I might be able to unhook myself from this fucking X-ray. If I can do that... if I can jump off by merging my host chemical with a compatible compound, I might even be able to communicate with whatever life-forms created it, and, somehow, maybe, convince them to help me build a transference device. Then I could, finally, go home, commune with my co-hatchlings once more and give Dave the slap in the tentacles he deserves.



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. 10am GMT. The present day.


The click of the handset of the red phone in her father's study, one floor down and in the opposite corner of the vast house. Through the expensive, allegedly 'soundproof' walls that Daddy had paid to be installed in his private work room. But Emily heard it. In response, she moved from lying idly on her bed to sitting attentively on the edge of it too quickly for the human eye to follow. Emily had convinced the alien entity trapped in her mind to enhance her senses for exactly this type of situation. A potential chance to embarrass Daddy and his friends. Maybe even an opportunity to make them pay for their many crimes against Nature. She used her superhuman listening abilities to focus in on the distant conversation.

This was too good to be true! Or, rather, it was awful, just awful. A horrendous assault on the precious, delicate marine environment. Some oil company's ship leaking its filthy cargo... needing help from Daddy's company to try and cover everything up so they could get away with yet another abomination with their share price intact... Something about a seaborne rapid repair service... Oooh! GPS co-ordinates! Now, she knew where the ship was. She also knew that she could get there much quicker than any of Daddy's men. The alien entity had called it something like "localised gravitational control" but Emily called it flying. And she could localise gravitational control far faster than any airplane or missile.

"Hey, Dan. Wake up! I need a built-in GPS system," thought Emily.

"Emily, we've discussed this before," replied the soft, echoing male voice within her thoughts. "I don't sleep. I am merely affording you what you call 'privacy'. As for your request for yet more tinkering with your neurology, well, perhaps later. I've made a lot of alterations to your body since we came together. Don't you think it's time you helped me to build my transference device? I've told you how desperately I need to return to my home galaxy..."

"It's literally not time for that now," Emily snapped back, in thought. "I've got to get to these co-ordinates super-quick before Dad's guys. It's a planetary emergency!"

"The situation does not sound like a planetary emergency, Emily."

"If whoever's ship it is gets away with it, they'll just keep doing it until they poison all the water on Earth. That's the planetary emergency. Now, sort me out with a built-in sense of GPS so I can make sure they don't. C'mon, Dan. It's urgent!"

"I'm not seeing the same sense of urgency," said Dan. Being a non-corporeal, captive extra-terrestrial did not exclude him from seeking some bargaining leverage. He was, after all, in an extremely weak starting position from which she appeared to hold all the cards. And a second, spare deck. He'd spent enough time incarcerated in her thought-processes to know he needed to present his offer in just the right way, accentuating the bribery and diminishing the blackmail. "From the information available, the amount of pollution being caused by the craft at those co-ordinates is minimal. An hour will not make a significant difference. But, in that time, I'm sure you could access a supply of tungsten... as I've mentioned before, twenty-five tonnes will be quite sufficient... and once that is secured, I could install a new navigation sense..."

"Shut up about tungsten!" Emily shouted internally. "You're obsessed! Just sort out the GPS thingie right now, and I'll try and get some frigging tungsten after I deal with the oil company. But only if you do it right fucking now!"

Dan had waited aeons to regain control of his destiny. Much more recently, he had made countless adjustments to his host's body and mind. A few more hours and yet another tweak would not matter greatly by comparison. If he was ever to escape, to be free, to return home... it would have to be with Emily's assistance. There would be no transference device without her cooperation. Dan had no way to exert pressure on her, or to influence her thinking more directly than by "talking" with her. He was forced to accept, on weighing his options, that frustrating her would not ease the path to his goal, and so, yet again, he ceded. "The change is complete," he reported.

"Cool!" Emily cried out loud. She'd already jumped to her feet, opened her bedroom window and let her soles rise slowly from the ground before floating between the curtains, and then heading straight up, carefully keeping her speed a fraction below that of sound until she was thousands of feet above the ground so as not to create an attention-drawing boom too close to home. "So, the ship must be..." she muttered to herself, delighted at how quickly and clearly the answer seemed to appear in her head. "..that way!" Instantly, she fluidly twisted her lithe, superhuman, teenage body in the air and shot, like a rocket, in a south-south-west direction. Like a rocket, but smaller, quieter, and vastly more powerful.

The friction she generated travelling with such velocity at a relatively low altitude caused her outer clothes, a baggy sweatshirt and loose jogging leggings, to burn and fall away. She momentarily recalled the first time her clothes were destroyed using her new 'psycho-neuro-physical abilities' as Dan called them, although Emily's preferred term was 'powers'. "I need a superhero costume," she had told him through thought. "Something totally indestructible."

Dan had given her the recipe and the skills to make the fabric in exchange for a promise of tungsten, and Emily had designed and fashioned it. She decided that her body, after the tweaks she had convinced Dan to make, did not require or deserve modesty, so she opted to make her outfit an aggressive statement of femininity to be worn while she opposed and intimidated the Patriarchy. It was in two pieces, resembling a T-shirt and shorts. Dan's material was magnificently elastic, remarkably tight and utterly indestructible. What little of her it covered, it did so more like a second skin than any conventional clothing.

Now, as she streaked past the coast and out over the ocean, with her 'chilling at home' clothes burnt away, the costume was revealed. The vastness of the Atlantic spread out in front of her but the lack of distinguishing features below was irrelevant now that she had a exquisitely-precise instinct for direction. Of course, she was on a self-imposed mission, flying too fast for ordinary people to see, let alone appreciate. The world below would have to wait to behold her stunning physique, and the unworldly manner in which her brief costume clung to its every supple and subtle nuance, along with every firm and anything-but-subtle curve.



South Atlantic Ocean. 850 miles from St Helena. An hour later.


He liked a bit of ice floating in his drink. But not in his ocean.

Captain Emery cursed the rogue chunk of rock-hard frozen water and the continent that had spawned it. What the hell was it doing calving 'bergs at this time of year? Then there was the outrageous bad luck of hitting the thing in the first place. All the vastness of the ocean, and they'd managed to find the one tiny bit of it that had something hard and sharp floating in it.

Of course, it could have been so much worse. The iceberg was small compared to others he had seen over his decades at sea, although those others were all much further south, and exclusively during the Antarctic summer. The jagged block that had ruined his day had been lying in wait in a commercial shipping lane in September. But, again, it could have been worse. They hadn't hit it full on. None of his crew had been hurt. The glancing blow had torn a narrow, short gash in the outer hull of his vessel and made a far smaller cut in the inner hull. The buoyancy of the tanker hadn't been threatened. The breach of the tank was minimal. Judging from the rainbow-like reflections on the gentle waves far below, only a few hundred gallons at most of his precious cargo had escaped in the few hours since the collision. The gauges on the tanks, and the reports from the engineering team confirmed this. The leak was tiny, and slow.

Of course, even a small leak was a failure. As captain, he regarded the hundred thousand-ton tanker as "his" ship, but the paperwork, he knew, revealed that, in law, it wasn't his property. He was merely an employee of the real owners. And, under his watch, their property had been damaged. Not badly, or god forbid, irreparably damaged, but damaged none the less. Similarly, whilst almost the entire cargo was fine, a tiny fraction had, undeniably, been lost. Not "his" cargo but someone else's. Cargo that he had been entrusted to transport.

But all that was his own personal guilt, and he was experienced enough to compartmentalise it. Compared with what might have transpired, the tune remained the same: it could have been so much worse. Thinking about the harm caused by the tiny amount of crude oil that had spilled into the South Atlantic, he was sure that even the most fanatic environmentalist would agree that it was far from being a catastrophe.

Emery's role required him to have a solid and accurate sense of perspective. He knew he had no need to fear personal professional recriminations; no-one could claim that the incident was down to his negligence. Besides, he had followed the protocol correctly. He'd informed the Company immediately via satellite phone. After a few words with the duty operator, and a chat with one of the executives of the Company, he had been put in touch with a middle-aged man - a senior representative of some third-party company that specialised in trouble-shooting situations like this - who confidently and firmly told him what to do. The Captain followed the instructions to the letter, ordering the engines to be shut down so that the ship could hold position and await the arrival of a response team, whilst ensuring he did not "bother" any national governments or international agencies. Both the Company Exec and the trouble-shooter had made one thing crystal clear: such a minor incident could be kept entirely "in house" and resolved without any assistance from any other outside entities. Of course, that meant, above all else, that the media should remain well and truly out of the picture.

It was chilly up on deck and he was grateful for the protection of his padded clothing. But the sky was mostly clear, a pure crisp blue dotted with a handful of snowy clouds, none of which carried even the mildest threat of drizzle. A beautiful mid-morning. The green-grey sea, extending to the horizon in every direction was decorated only with the occasional fleck of foam and rippled with nothing more than the gentlest of undulating waves, almost as if it were peacefully and deeply asleep. The multi-coloured sheen of oil riding on its surface down by the port side of the tanker seemed more like a too-small blanket lying atop the vastness of the resting ocean than a cause for alarm. The more he thought about it, the more certain he was: the collision and its resulting leak was a small inconvenience that, in a matter of hours - a few days at most - could be entirely resolved. There was nothing to really worry about.

Drawing positivity from the fine weather, Captain Emery allowed himself a few moments to appreciate the sky overhead. Something high up there, very far away, caught his eye. At first, he thought it might be an albatross. Even at such a distance he could tell it was too big to be a gull or similar bird. Soon, he realised that is was moving too fast and too directly to fit with his initial theory. "A spotter plane," he thought, impressed that the trouble-shooters had been so efficient. But a few seconds' speculation was enough to dismiss that theory. There was nowhere close enough for a small private craft to have taken off from, and not enough time for that kind of vehicle to have reached his location from Africa or South America. His next guess was that is was a military craft, in the vicinity by pure chance. By now, he could discern colours. Some white and some pale, orange-pink. Unusual colours for a fighter-jet or a spy plane, he realised. And besides, he would surely be hearing the roar of engines by now if his latest supposition was correct.

Intrigued as much as concerned, he reached for the binoculars hanging by their leather strap around his neck. He'd used them a few minutes ago to conduct the visual survey of the sea that had reassured him of the limited extent of the oil spill. Now he used them to investigate the unidentified flying object. There was no other label that fitted better than that particular description. He brought the eyepieces up to his face, blinked to focus and almost dropped the viewers immediately in shock. Somehow he managed to maintain his grip. His mouth did drop, opening in instinctive disbelief as his brain fought to come to terms with the information being fed to it by his retinas.

Emery wondered if one of the cooks had slipped something - a massive dose of L.S.D. perhaps - into his breakfast. Then he wondered if he had been at sea too long to the point that his mind was malfunctioning. Reaching frantically into this thoughts for something - anything - that could explain what he was seeing, he speculated that he might be the subject of one of the most astonishing and elaborate practical jokes in history. He started to give voice to the chaos inside his head. "What the fu-"

"Sir, we've just received a communication from Dallas." So absorbed was the Captain in the extraordinary sight in his lenses, he hadn't noticed his Chief Mate approaching to join him by the deck-rail. The younger man's words interrupted both Emery's muttered expletive and his confused attempts at rationalising. "They're sending a plane from Montevideo," the second-in-command continued, unaware that his skipper was barely registering the words. "ETA about two-an-a-half hours."

Somewhere amidst the jumble of speculation and amazement that passed for Emery's conscious at that moment, the significance of what he'd just been told unfurled. Whatever he was looking at, hallucination, trick, or... or whatever it was, it had nothing to do with the Company or their trouble-shooters. The presence of a colleague offered an obvious immediate course of action. He lowered the eye-glasses, the impossible sight becoming an unidentifiable speck to his unaided vision again, and hurried to lift the strap over his head, handing the viewers to his recently-arrived companion. At worst, thought the Captain, he can at least confirm that I'm going insane. "Take a look at that," he instructed, pointing at the tiny white and pinky-orange shape.

Chief Mate Ingvar Johansson obeyed without hesitation and pointed the binoculars where he had been instructed. "What the fuck?"

Emery was more than happy to excuse the breach in standards. He felt a sense of relief. So, he wasn't going mad after all. But then... just what had he, and his number two, witnessed?

"How is that..." Johansson started. Was he about to say "possible" or "happening"? It didn't matter.

"Tell me what you see," Emery ordered, still needing further confirmation of his sanity.

"It.. it's a person..." came the understandably unsteady reply. "A... woman I think... um... flying... directly towards us."

"Thank god," the Captain confessed. "I thought I'd lost my mind."

"Is this... a joke, sir?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing, Johansson."

"How... how is she doing that? I... I can't see any sign of a glider or... anything."

"How fast would you say it, er, she is approaching?"

"Fast, sir. Very fast indeed. Faster than a plane I'd say. She looks... um... " the Chief Mate muttered something in Swedish under his breath. Emery assumed it was an expletive.

"She looks what?" demanded the Captain.

"Um... I was going to say she looks hot," Johansson admitted, suitably embarrassed.

"How can you tell?" Emery misunderstood the observation, assuming it to be a reference to temperature.

"Well..." the Mate was confused by the question. "I mean... I can see the shape of her torso..."

"Pass me the binoculars," An observer might have assumed that the Captain's order was the typical reaction of a heterosexual male to another's comment on the attractiveness of a female, as though he was claiming he wanted to judge the alleged beauty for himself whilst, in reality, he simply did not want to pass up the chance to treat his eyes to something potentially sexy. In actual fact, it owed more to Emery seeking a confirmatory look at the inexplicable sight now that he had been reassured of his sanity. Johansson immediately did as he'd been told.

"Christ," thought the older man. "He's right." The white he had observed earlier seemed to be a thin T-shirt, or something like that. It was tight. Really tight... No wait... more than tight. It was wet. Soaked probably. That was why her figure was so visible. He could see the long dark straight hair streaming from her face now, if not yet her features. But he could clearly see the shape of her large, round, firm pendant breasts and the dramatic, no, wait, dramatic wasn't a strong enough word... breath-taking... that was better... maybe even heart-stopping... well, that would have to do... where was he? Oh yes, the heart-stopping contrast of the big full curves of her chest with the narrow flatness of her waist. From this angle, with her unquestionably-stunning body parallel to the surface of the sea, he could see the ideal flare of her hips. Her arms seemed to be half-spread open in front of her, her hands just visible enough for him to be certain that she wasn't holding on to a jet-pack or similar device. The perspective was unkind when it came to her lower half, but he caught a hint of something dark blue, perhaps shorts, because he saw glimpses of bare legs behind. From what he could discern, her rear was as gloriously curved and solid... what was the term he'd overheard the younger members of his crew using? Yes, that was it... what he could see of her rear was as round and 'thick' as her fabulous bust.

She was moving... flying, or riding her invisible craft, or whatever was going on... amazingly fast. He could see her face now. She was looking up, almost as if she was looking straight at him and Johansson. She was young, Emery realised. Perhaps even under twenty years old, and certainly less than thirty. He could see that her nose was classical and well-proportioned and that her lips were red and pouty. It was still impossible to guess her height or to make out the colour of her eyes, or to say for sure what material her shorts were made from, but he was now certain that they were definitely shorts, tiny shorts, and that, similar to her second-skin of a T-shirt, they were exceptionally tight on her. And she was, for certain, headed precisely towards them.

"Sir, what's going on?" asked Johansson, who could now begin to make out some of the outlines of the girl's beauty with his own, naked eyes. Neither of the two men moved their gaze from the shocking, and increasingly pleasing, sight of her as they conversed.

"I don't know, Johansson," replied the Captain, "but I'd really like to find out."

It was barely a few seconds later, as the remarkable girl rocketed to within a few dozen yards of the bow of the huge tanker, that Emery and Johansson properly began to realise just how swiftly she moved. She stopped, dead still in the air for a few brief moments, just long enough for the two astonished men to abandon any conventional-jet-propulsion theories they were clinging to. And then she was moving again, not directly at them now, but in a curve that followed the shape of the hull, carrying her around the starboard side of the vessel. The Captain had a task to follow her with the binoculars as she streaked by, coming as close as a fifty yards from him. He and the Mate had to rotate like dancers on their feet to keep her locked in sight as she turned, completing a far sharper change of course than any airplane either of them had ever witnessed, maintaining the same distance from the tanker as she passed the stern and then, after another astoundingly tight swerve, headed along the port side.

"She's checking out the ship," Emery realised. Then, for a second time, she paused, unmoving, in the air. She was looking down, towards the sea. Right above the centre of the small slick of escaping oil. The captain refined his summation of her actions. "She's checking out the leak." Suddenly, still hovering uncannily in place, she looked up, straight at him and the Mate.

Green. Her eyes were green. He could see them clearly through the eyeglasses now. She was about sixty yards from them. And she was staring directly at them. Her eyes were green, clear, beautiful and... and angry. Her entire face was angry. Her mouth closed, set with what he couldn't help but notice was a stunning pout. She turned her body in the air, no longer parallel to the sea, but now vertical, as though she was standing on an invisible platform that rose ninety feet up from the water. Her legs, the two seafarers discovered, were long, and shapely and as wonderfully attractive as the rest of her body. She was barefoot. Her ankles were slender, and the smooth, exposed skin of her round thighs below the exceptionally high hemline of her miniscule shorts was remarkable even in the context of the rest of her. Her hands moved to her sides, her fingers opening as she placed them on her desirable hips, adopting a stance that both reflected the sternness of her face and accentuated the magnificence of the sensational shapes that defined her torso. All the while, her brilliant eyes remained locked on them as if in silent accusation.

"Jesus..." Johansson breathed, in response to the sheer glory of her beauty. Emery said nothing. There was something about the way she looked so displeased as she stared at them that was beginning to unnerve him.

After a few, uncomfortable seconds, she lowered her lovely face, finally breaking the disquieting eye contact. The captain could clearly see her luscious lips moving, parting slightly. She seemed to be looking at the exact centre of the modest floating puddle of crude oil that had trickled from the breach of the inner hull. Her palms remained stationed, inescapably sexily, upon her hips. Emery watched through the magnifying lenses, spell-bound, as she finished reshaping her desirable mouth, her head bowed now, as if she were about to kiss a much shorter lover.

What happened next made the almost-impossible-to-believe events of the past few minutes seem mundane by comparison.

From the centre of the opening between the girl's luscious lips a jet of impenetrably white mist shot downwards towards the sea below. A split-second later, the two men heard a sound like a rush of wind that immediately crescendoed until it drowned out the sounds of the ocean and the atmosphere. From their position, they could just see the cone of snowy fog extending downwards until it touched the surface of the water as the hurricane-like noise grew louder still. In disbelief at what he was witnessing, the younger of the two stunned witnesses turned his gaze upwards to the astonishing young woman. The way the cloud-like stream tapered so precisely into her mouth left no room for doubt: she was producing the stream of mist from within her body, as if she were exhaling it.

Emery had a much clearer view through the binoculars. She was blowing at the sea, but, somehow, doing it with an unfathomable force, her breath visible as a thunderous, mighty stream of pure white air. Slowly, he tilted his viewers downwards, following the dense cone that was streaming from her beautiful mouth ever lower until he could see where it reached the water. The cloud of white billowed out over the surface of the ocean, obscuring the waves and the oily patch below her feet, spreading out over a wider and wider area until it reached as far towards him as the side of the ship. He stared at the thick fog, trying in vain to see any detail through it but failing to observe anything other than the cloud continuing to expand over the sea until it covered an area at least the size of two tennis courts.

Then, as quickly as it had started, the roaring hurricane sound fell away. The Chief Mate was still watching the girl. He saw the jet she had been producing disappear and her lovely lips close once more. The Captain was still watching the sea. He observed the thick white mist rapidly dissipating. Expecting the clearing fog to reveal the familiar surface of the oil-stained sea of a few moments before, he found fresh reason to wonder if he was hallucinating. In place of the oily water, there was whiteness. A large, rough circle of ocean, precisely matching the furthest extents of the remarkable, now-vanished cloud, was no longer ocean. It appeared to have been transformed into ice. Thick ice. A few rainbow swirls of spilt crude oil were just about visible near the surface of the huge frozen slab. Even those appeared to have become solid. The new crystalline island reached from the just below the tear in the side of the tanker to maybe fifty yards out to sea at its widest in one direction, and the same distance alongside the hull of the ship in the other. The two men took a few moments to marvel at it before they turned their shocked gazes to the young, shapely woman who had created it in mere seconds, seemingly with nothing but her breath.

"Oh my god," commented the Captain. His Chief Mate had nothing to add. The girl remained motionless, standing on air, her hands still resting on her hips, her slender, long and bare arms bent at the elbows, offering them both an unobscured view of the sheer magnificence of her body. If cooling nearly twenty thousand square feet of sea to well below its freezing point by blowing at it from thirty yards up whilst apparently defying gravity and logic and reason had cost her any effort, it did not show on her gorgeous face. Emery looked at the glorious round protrusions of her chest. She didn't appear to be panting, or even breathing hard! Beneath the irresistible flesh of those remarkable breasts, he found himself speculating, there must have been a pair of lungs whose power was incalculable.

Without warning, her palms unmoving from their stations on her flanks, her feet remaining perfectly parallel to the ocean, the apparently-ever-more-impossible girl rotated a quarter-circle in the air so that Emery and Johansson were presented with a side on view of her fabulous profile. An instant later, she dropped down to the freshly-made ice below. Her descent was fast, as if her immunity to gravity had been cut by the flick of an imaginary switch. But although it appeared for that split-second that she was falling, when her naked feet touched the brand new surface, her knees did not bend, the impact made no sound and the men could tell the movement had been precisely controlled. She showed no reaction to the cold on her soles as she began to walk, at a brisk but human pace, her hands still on her hips, parallel to the side of the vessel.

She was nearing the edge of her island, her face now out of view, the temporary loss of the sight of its beauty compensated for by the majesty of her staggeringly curved, firm rear encased in shorts that did little beyond add colour and hide her intimacy. Neither man spoke or moved. If the past minute had taught them anything, it was that trying to anticipate her next action was pointless. She had demonstrated a capacity to amaze that was beyond anything either of them, or indeed anyone else on Earth, could properly comprehend. When the sound of fierce, rushing wind reached their ears, albeit more distant this time, and a jet of white mist appeared in front of her, they almost felt relief at the relative familiarity of the extraordinary phenomenon.

Neither the Captain with his binoculars, nor his companion straining to see with his unaided eyes, could see much more than the billowing clouds that spread out in front of her. She continued to walk, past the point where the initial circle of ice ended. In light of what they had witnessed, neither of them would have had cause to disbelieve if they'd discovered that she was now walking on the surface of the sea. Having watched her fly and hover, that feat would have appeared almost ordinary. But as she strolled past the point where the side of the ship became the bow, and turned to her right, disappearing from view past the front of the tanker, and the last of the mists she had generated on the port side faded away, they understood that she had been stepping on freshly-frozen ice all the while. Now, the new, white landmass extended in a continuous, broad line all the way along two-thirds of the left side of the ship and beyond the front of the vessel.

Johansson leaned over the rail, trying to see where she was, instinctively placing his ungloved palms on the balustrade to secure his balance. His yell was enough to make Emery drop his binoculars, the trusty leather strap around the Captain's neck saving the equipment from an expensive fall to the deck. The steel support had been painfully cold to the touch. So cold, in fact, that when the Chief Mate pulled his hands away to protect them from the extreme frostiness, a strip of skin on each palm stuck and tore away, leaving him with blood-soaked hands dripping with crimson. The Second-in-Command stared in incredulity at his wounds. Emery glanced from the unpleasant sight to the point where the hull met the sea far below. There was no gap between the girl's frozen island and the side of the vessel, merely a two-foot high stripe of frosty coating on the steel of the vessel that ran alongside the length of the ice where the water-line had been a minute before. A stripe that was slowly enlarging, spreading upwards. The Captain understood then that his deputy's injuries were due to the extreme cold generated by the girl. It was spreading over the entire exterior of the tanker!

Johansson might have been in too much pain and shock to register, or the soles of his boots may have been thicker than the Captain's. Either way, he did not seem to notice, as Emery did, that his feet were starting to feel uncomfortable. The chill had extended onto the deck itself, and had penetrated Emery's footwear. He stamped his feet to try and force more blood to circulate and then realised that he was starting to detect the rapid drop of temperature in the exposed skin of his fingers and face. His primary thoughts were with the man at his side who needed medical treatment. His secondary considerations were about the ever-increasing cold. He knew the girl had worked her way around to the starboard flank because he could hear the continuing roar of the cryogenic hurricane pouring from her mouth, even if she was three times further away now than when she had commenced it, as well as completely hidden from his sight. The cold he could feel more and more intensely with every passing second was still being generated.

Fear was superfluous to his role, and not an emotion he had indulged to any great degree in his life. But concern was creeping into his thoughts. Mounting concern. Instinctively, as people do when they feel uncomfortably cold outside, he thought of indoors. He had to get Johansson and himself back into the Command suite. He turned to the doorway twenty yards from his position, just in time to see it flung open. A moment passed and then the hunched, skinny figure of one of the communications technicians appeared, his mop of unruly blond hair making him instantly identifiable to the Captain. Emery knew him to be a man in his early twenties, one of the fittest members of his crew. It was a surprise to see him moving so slowly and stiffly, shuffling out into the ocean air like a man four times his actual age. He was trembling violently as if suffering a fit. The young man, his face sickly pale, caught sight of the skipper and croaked "Help."

Emery rushed towards the new arrival. As he neared, he saw two more of his crew edging up the stairs to the open deck door. He quickly recognised them as the assistant cook and one of the electricians. Then he realised that only one of the pair was conscious. The other was being carried, his arms limp, his feet dragging passively up each step. Both men on the stairway looked unnaturally grey. The active member of the duo was shaking uncontrollably, much like the technician who had arrived seconds earlier. The man being carried did not seem to be moving at all. Before he could reach the top of the stairs with his inert, heavy load, the kitchen-worker collapsed and both he and his companion tumbled down the stairs until they became a silent, motionless heap at the bottom.

Johansson was now making his way over, holding his wounded hands out in front of him as they dripped fat drops of blood. Emery reached the shaking blond man and reached out for him. Even though his own hands were chilly, the technician's body felt cold to his touch. That sensation, and the paleness of the two unconscious crewmen lying at the foot of the stairwell combined in his thoughts with his Chief Mate's injury and the recent sight of frozen moisture spreading over the hull. The sound of rushing air was getting louder once more. He could tell its source was now somewhere behind the stern. He realised then that the girl was completing a leisurely circuit around the tanker, continuing to freeze the ocean and the hull of the ship as she went. 'Concern' was no longer an adequate label for his state of mind. Horror was creeping through his brain, much as frost was creeping over his vessel.

Emery's fingers were stiff with cold as he thrust them into the pocket of his coat to retrieve his personal mobile radio. He pressed the talk button, noticing that he was beginning to shiver. His breath was visible as a wisp of vapour as he spoke, in dread, into the microphone. "All hands! All hands!" He heard his words echoing from the bottom of the stairs. The unconscious electrician must have left his own receiver switched on. The Captain waited for a response to his call. Seconds passed. A few yards from him, Johansson's arms started to shake, causing his still-flowing blood to be flung wildly in all directions. Emery shouted into the radio once more. All hands! All hands!". The lights visible through the open doorway into the interior of the ship went dark, revealing that the main generator had failed. For a brief moment, the red emergency illuminations flickered, then they too seemed to give up.

He listened for a response to his radio message, the hand grasping his communicator becoming more and more unsteady. But all he heard was the hurricane-like sound far below getting ever louder, attaining a new peak in volume. He realised that the girl had reached the port-side once again. She was completing her lap of the vessel. A few beats of his heart later, as if in confirmation of his supposition, the roaring noise abruptly ceased. In the relative silence, he could now hear the ominous creaking, crackling sound of ice pressing in on the hull from every side and the low, metallic groan of vast sheets of metal slowly, minutely contracting.

"All hands! All hands!" he tried once more. Even his voice, normally so stridently confident, was shivering now. This time, there was a reply. It came, not from the loudspeaker on the device in his grasp, but from a few yards behind him.

"I wouldn't bother."

Emery, no longer able to suppress the trembling of his body, turned his neck to see the source of the clipped, feminine tones. She was standing on the deck, her naked feet apparently unaffected by contact with the staggeringly-cold floor. Her palms were still on her hips, a pose which aligned with the arrogance of her tone-of-voice. She was far, far more beautiful at this proximity than she had appeared through his binoculars. And she had looked beyond stunning then.

Her T-shirt wasn't wet, he realised. It was simply so unspeakably tight that the material was stretched to near transparency as it clung to every single nuance of her astonishing upper body. Emery couldn't help but notice the way the unthinkably-close-fitting material seemed to be pressed unyieldingly to the flatness of her belly above her tiny waist. How the semi-transparent fabric adhered to the exact shape of her staggering abdomen and brain-melting breasts despite the apparent lack of any seams was a mystery that defied understanding.

Her arms were lean and long and supremely female, with only the slightest hint of the contour of muscle. There were no marks or blemishes on her smooth, youthful skin from where it emerged, just below her shoulders, from her amazing shirt, out to the points of each elbow or down her forearms to her wrists that bent to accommodate her pretty hands resting on the nubile flare of her hips. Her shorts, which appeared to have been painted, rather than stitched, directly on to the middle of her incredible body, covered little more than her pubic region. So much of her thighs was on show! Silky, unyielding, flawless and round, proportioned as immaculately and enticingly as the rest of her, enough to make anyone who was attracted to the female sex become overwhelmed with lust. The legs descended, and descended, so long, so shapely, eventually tapering down to tiny, delicate-looking ankles that connected to her pretty feet. Never, either in reality or through the mediums of print or screen, had Emery, Johansson or the hypothermic radio operator encountered such an irresistible embodiment of sex-appeal.

Her stunning face was expressionless. She was staring at them, her clear green irises set in brilliant-white backgrounds, her perfect complexion utterly refusing to acknowledge the terrifying cold. Her long, naturally shiny dark hair hung over her shoulders and behind her head, each immaculate strand straight and perfectly-arranged as if some world-class dresser had completed a thorough grooming mere seconds ago. Her mouth was set, its gorgeous thick deep red lips neither smiling nor showing unhappiness as she waited for the complete attention of her audience.

The men on the deck noticed all this, despite their terror, their discomfort, their utter bewilderment at their predicament. Her beauty was too great, too astonishing. It superseded even the most extreme of emotions. Two of them had seen her fly and watched her turn the ocean to ice with an exhalation. One of them was badly wounded, another near-dead. All three were suffering from exposure to life-threateningly low temperatures, horrified by the apparent fates of their colleagues, and terrified that their own lives were in imminent danger. But, at that moment, she was captivating them all merely with her physical appearance.

Before any of them could gather the strength, or the control, or the mental capacity to address her, to ask her who the hell she was, or what the hell she had done to them, or their ship, or how the hell she had done it, she spoke again. The movement of her wonderful lips, the flashes of her sexy, perfect teeth and the glimpses of her tongue she afforded with each word served only to amplify the spell cast by her desirability. She uttered her short sentence with an arrogance that hinted at an unshakeable sense of her own superiority.

"Who was in charge here?"

Captain Emery's growing unease was heightened by the lack of humility of this young girl, who apparently felt no need to explain her uninvited arrival, nor her shocking actions, or even the most basic courtesy of introducing herself. Her tone, which by itself revealed that she seemed to consider her audience vastly inferior, displeased him. He was Captain of a major vessel, with decades of command experience. She, meanwhile, seemed to be only a handful of years beyond childhood. But what really struck him, and unnerved him even more than her unacceptable attitude, was her use of the past tense. What was she implying by "was in charge"? That whoever had been in command had now been usurped? By her?

"I am the Captain of this vessel," Emery answered, doing his best, despite the cold, to sound authoritative as he emphasised the words "I" and "am".

Revealing his rank did not appear to spark a new sense of respect, or indeed a lessening of her contempt.

"What company did this ship belong to?" she demanded of him, as if the establishment of the fact that he was the Captain made no difference other than qualifying him to answer her next inquiry.

Again, the past tense. What right did this teenager have to challenge the legitimacy of such things? "I don't have to answer your questions!" Emery snapped back, angry at her inappropriate lack of deference to his rank, to social convention and to international Law. The girl closed her eyes for a moment, almost as if she were holding an internal conversation with herself in response to his defiance. She re-opened them, and turned their green sparkle away from the Captain, to look at Johansson, bleeding and trembling a few yards to his side. If anything, her irises were even brighter now. No. Not just brighter. Glowing. With a strange iridescence. Were they... illuminated from within? Emery stared in fresh amazement as the remarkable girl's eyes seemed to turn red, becoming as bright as miniature suns. And then, in a fraction of an instant, two crimson beams of light shot from her pupils until they met the Chief Mate's chest.

Johansson did not even have time to scream as his clothes ignited. A burst of flame that hurt Emery's retinas briefly obscured his deputy before vanishing immediately, along with the two red rays. The girl's eyes returned to their previous stunning green. A wave of heat provided temporary relief from the freezing air as it washed over the Captain. His nostrils filled with the stench of burnt meat and fabric. He glanced over to the spot where Johansson had been standing a second ago. His deputy appeared to have vanished, to have ceased to exist. Then Emery glanced downwards and noticed the man's boots, still in place exactly as they had been on the deck. Emerging from the top of each shoe was a three-inch stub of blackened, charred, smoking flesh. Nothing else remained of Chief Mate Johansson. The Captain fought the urge to vomit.

"Lone Star Oil and Gas Corporation of Dallas, U.S.A." he spluttered, panicking to get the words out as quickly as possible.

The girl thanked him for the information and his assistance with another blast of pure heat energy from her beautiful eyes that instantly turned him and the communications engineer beside him to ash and smoke. The ocean breeze removed the last traces of them as she rose, imperiously, into the air.



South Atlantic Ocean. 850 miles from St Helena. Sixty seconds earlier


"I don't have to answer your questions!" the one who had just said he was the Captain was now refusing to tell her the name of the ship's owners.

She needed a way to make him talk quick. Something impressive, ideally something that would be useful for other purposes too. When the idea struck an instant later, it was almost too obvious.

"Dan, can you put lasers in my eyes - really hot lasers - so I can shoot them whenever I want?" she spoke internally.

"It's a simple matter of targeted particle excitement," the alien entity within confirmed. "It would actually be quite simple to -"

"Quick, then. Add them now!"

"Emily, I sense you intend to use the ability you are requesting to end the life of a fellow human. Perhaps we can find another way to achie-"

"No lasers, no tungsten. I mean it!" Emily growled to herself.

"It is done," sighed Dan, inside her thoughts.

Immediately, she could sense the energy waiting for her command behind her eyeballs and she couldn't help but feel a tingle of excitement at its potential. She wanted to make the man who identified as Captain talk, so she turned to his companion to test out her new psycho-neuro-physical ability. "'Power' is definitely the better name for it," she thought, delightedly, as she effortlessly and instantly turned a man to charcoal at her first attempt. Naturally, she got the information she wanted straight away. Her superhuman show had worked exactly as intended. Now, she knew who owed the ship and the oil. Emily vaporised the Captain and what seemed to be the only other survivor with her eyes so that she could be certain that she had mastered the new ability. Allocating as little thought to the final two men as she had to the thirty or so others now frozen to death below deck, she took to the sky to survey the scene.



South Atlantic Ocean. 850 miles from St Helena. Three minutes later.


From the air, the tanker appeared to be set in a block of ice that was about twice as wide and half-as-long-again as the vessel. The small oil leak was visible, frozen into the solidified sea along one side of the craft. What was not immediately clear was the depth of the new island. To ascertain that, she had to swoop down over the bow of the ship, clear of the ice that extended dozens of yards beyond, plunging into the sea and diving straight down, following the vertical, frozen cliff-face until she reached its end. She was over seventy feet below the surface of the waves before she could see the underside of the massive chunk of ocean that she had so easily frozen solid with just the power of her lungs.

One of the very first adjustments Dan had made to Emily's body, in the desperate panic for mutual survival in the microseconds immediately after he had merged his particles into her mind, was to eliminate the need for constant respiration. Another was to make her exterior fully resistant. If he had not been successful in those crucial instants, she would have perished. And, having entwined his very being with her thoughts, his continuing existence depended entirely upon hers. He'd had no choice. In a fraction of the time it took her heart to beat once, to save his own life, he changed her, giving her both the ability to live without breathing and a comprehensive immunity to harm..

Those initial alterations were proving useful as she sought out the underside of her new, massive ice-block. She knew that she could stay below the waves without air for as long as she wished. As for the pressure of the water at that depth and the coldness of the adjacent stadium-sized frozen island, each alone enough to kill most people, neither caused invulnerable Emily any discomfort as she flew through the water, under the ice, until she could see the shadow of the tanker's enormous hull directly above her. It would have been almost impossible to find the balance-centre of the bottom of the ship when it was still freely floating on liquid. But now that she had set it into a relatively flat-based, gigantic, frozen oblong, there was much less need for accuracy.

'Gravitational field manipulation through contact' was Dan's term for what she called "super-strength". Dan had provided a three-fold increase in the strength of her muscles mere minutes after his initial respiratory and invulnerability adjustments. Within a few days of their bizarre union, Emily had demanded a magnification of that augmentation by a factor of many, many thousands. Dan had said something about her becoming a threat to the balance of Earth society. Naturally, that was precisely the reason she wanted the 'psycho-neuro-physical ability'. Because it really was a Power. She was beginning to grasp the full potential offered by Dan's presence. There was only one way to describe the scale of that potential: world-changing. "Think how much tungsten I would be able to transport..." she had teased the extra-terrestrial telepathically. And that was why, as she fly upwards towards the bottom of the block of ice, her hands outstretched over her head, palms upturned, she knew she would be able to raise the entire solid frozen island, complete with the fully-laden super-tanker embedded on top like a garnish, right out of the sea with only the endless strength of her slender body and arms.

The total weight was most conveniently measured in millions of tonnes. Emily's long, slim arms felt the strain for the tiniest of moments before her unworldly powers began to surge unthinkable amounts of energy through her upper body, channelling it into those gorgeous shapely limbs, providing her with as much pure strength as she needed. Water cascaded from the sides of the vast block on all sides of her as she rose, majestically, from the waves, her arms unwavering above her as they carried their gigantic load with apparent comfort. She continued to gain height, pushing the mighty ship set in its frozen plinth towards the clouds, using her own alien-given, seemingly-limitless power to fly and to carry the incalculable weight at the same time.

She was careful not to ascend too quickly. Air-friction would melt the outside of the vast block that dwarfed her slight body as she held it aloft like a trophy she had secured. She was patient, gaining altitude with her remarkable cargo until finally the atmosphere was sparse and cold enough to allow her to travel with some speed. Her new sense of direction meant she knew instinctively which way to fly as she started the job of carrying the ice island with its accompanying tanker ship across the sky faster than a commercial airliner, tilting her head upwards to blow the occasional blast of freezing breath to ensure the enormous block remained solid.



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. One hour later.


"Nigel, darling, have you seen Emily? I could have sworn she was up in her room all morning, but I've just gone in there, and there's no sign of her, although she did manage to leave the big window open once again. Nigel? Nigel!" Pippa Barrington finally lost patience with her husband. He seemed to be glued to his mobile. Why was his work always more important than his family?

The message on the screen that had absorbed Nigel Barrington's attention read "Lone Star Vessel satellite tracking alert."

"Sorry, darling," he momentarily acknowledged his wife. "I have to deal with this right now. It's very important. He rushed towards his study, adding, almost over his shoulder, "I'm sure Emily's just popped out to the shops."

"But her mobile's still on her bed..." Pippa started to explain, before trailing off when she realised Nigel was no longer even pretending to listen. She strode purposely through the oversized house, from room to room, down corridors, through doors, calling out "Emily? Emily?"

Nigel was relieved to close the soundproof door of his study behind him and silence his wife's voice. He walked over to the desk, sat down in his chair and typed a six digit code into the computer keyboard. This activated the screen in front of him, revealing multiple data displays. Grabbing a computer mouse beside the keyboard he carefully positioned its corresponding cursor over a label that read "Satellite Tracking data" and clicked it. A small window popped up. He read it three times to be certain. The display showing location co-ordinates was constantly changing. The accompanying information read: "Direction of travel: WNW Speed: 720mph Altitude: 150,000 ft"

Had Emily been in her room at that moment, she would have hugely enjoyed her superhuman hearing detecting her father's stunned, muttered "What in almighty fuck?..." But she was not in her room. Or on her way back from the local shops.



South Atlantic Ocean. 930 miles from St Helena. Ten minutes later.


Emily was flying under her own, incomprehensibly vast power, one hundred and fifty thousand feet above the ocean, in an approximately West-by-North-West direction at seven hundred and twenty miles per hour. And she was carrying with her, supported only by the phenomenal strength of her girlish arms, a full oil tanker embedded in a block of ice the size of a stadium. Her calm, relaxed expression as she transported her staggering cargo was evidence that constantly providing the staggering amount of power required to maintain such an activity did not appear to be taxing her in any noticeable way.

The navigation senses that Dan had built into her nervous system gave her a precise, instinctive understanding of her bearing, the remaining distance to her destination and her current speed. She felt no concern over the prospect of remaining in flight holding the weight of the ship and the ice for another three hours. Her shapely nubile arms, she knew, could bear the weight for weeks without tiring. The increasingly familiar feeling of endless amounts of power coursing through every cell in her body gave her no reason to doubt that.

Still, three hours was a long travel time. Emily glanced upwards at her massive burden. The ice seemed to be holding its shape well. Clearly, she had cooled the sea around the vessel not merely to its freezing point, but far beyond that. Delighted by this latest reminder of the scale of her abilities, she resolved to push the captured ship and its accompanying giant slab a little higher into the atmosphere whilst quickening her speed. Far beneath her, the cloud-tops seemed to streak by. There was little air, and very little warmth around her at that altitude, but she could not have felt better in her brief, overly tight two-piece costume.



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. Fifteen minutes later.


"OK, what I need is for you to urgently investigate a fault with your satellite tracking. All attempts at contact are failing and your system is having some kind of meltdown." Nigel Barrington tried to remain calm as he spoke into the mouthpiece of the red handset. The answers he was receiving weren't helping to soothe his anxiety in the slightest.

"Thick cloud cover can cause a momentary glitch in satellite connectivity," explained the voice at the other end of the line.

"No, no, it's not a glitch, it's a full-on, lights-flashing meltdown," Barrington reiterated.

"I'm checking the system now, and there does appear to be a valid data stream coming from the tracker," the ever more annoying voice insisted.

"Yes, yes I know there is a data stream from the tracker, I can see that, But it's obviously corrupted," protested Barrington.

"What makes you think that?"

"Because right now it says the large ocean vessel I am tracking is moving at over sixteen hundred miles an hour at an altitude of over two hundred thousand feet. That's why I think the data is corrupted,"

"Perhaps you have the wrong tracking device number," suggested the voice.

"Perhaps your equipment isn't working properly!" Nigel snapped and hung up the red handset. He was getting nowhere. He glanced at the time displayed on his computer screen. It would be at least an hour until the spotter plane radioed in with a visual report. There was little he could do in the meantime other than continue his attempts to raise direct communication with the ship and hope that the tracking system righted itself.

An insistent sudden vibration against his ribs alerted him to an incoming call on his mobile telephone. He grabbed the device from the inside pocket of his jacket, glanced at the screen to learn the identity of the caller and immediately pushed the button to accept the communication.

"Sir Charles," Nigel greeted his boss by his preferred title.

"Barrington, what the hell's going on?" There was no attempt at pleasantries in return. "Lone Star have been in touch about your satellite equipment going haywire. They're concerned about our ability to handle their situation."

"I do appreciate that. We've been let down by our tracking partners and they seem to be refusing to acknowledge that there is an issue. Rest assured, I have already began to compile a list of alternative tracking providers. No doubt Lone Star are also in discussion with their communications partners. In the meantime, our spotter plane will be over the area in about seventy minutes."

"And what if the plane fails to locate the vessel?"

"I think that's unlikely, Sir Charles. We have the precise location details from when I spoke to the Captain in person. The spotters will find it, if not at the exact co-ordinates, then close by. Even if they've gone rogue and disabled their comms and scrambled the tracker, how far can a full oil-tanker travel in a couple of hours?"



Gulf of Mexico. 90 miles from Galveston. An hour later.


Emily didn't need to ask Dan for any new psycho-neuro-physical abilities to hear the jet planes buzzing around, far beneath her. She needed no additional improvements to her eyesight to examine, in detail, the little aircraft and spot their military insignia, or read the serial numbers painted on their wings. Dan had improved the sensitivity of her ears and eyes two weeks previously. She'd wanted a way to listen in to Daddy's private conversations and to read his documents whilst he was in his study and she was hiding in the branches of a tree at the far end of their enormous garden. Immediately, her mind overwhelmed by a billion different noises and sights, she insisted he provide her with instinct-driven, instantaneous attenuation and focus for those newly-boosted senses.

With the benefit of a fortnight's practise using her enhanced vision, she quickly realised that she was observing a series of aircraft. They seemed to be taking turns to appear from behind the curve of the Earth in front of her, approach, turn when they were more-or-less directly under her, and then try and follow her flightpath for a while. Inevitably, she'd be too fast, and the plane would quickly slip out of her vision, only for another to appear on the low horizon a moment later.

She knew, thanks to her new 'GPS-sense', exactly where she was on the globe, and exactly how much ocean was left to cross. She should, perhaps, have anticipated that she would not have the sky entirely to herself as she neared the Texas coast. Naively, Emily hadn't even considered the possibility of an intervention from the armed forces. Something that big, approaching at speed... of course she'd been spotted by some radar or satellite. But the realisation that she was now a target for a nation's defences did not cause her to think, even for an instant, of changing her plans. It simply wasn't, to her mind, a big deal.

She had numerous justifications for dismissing the planes as any type of threat. At no point did any of them manage to climb to an altitude greater than about a third of hers. They seemed incapable of going any higher. And equally incapable, even at their preferred lower level, of matching her speed. There was no limit to how far up Emily could go. She didn't require pressured cabins or oxygen masks or expensive, noisy, planet-poisoning engines. And she was flying at a fraction of her usual velocity to protect her cargo from defrosting. She almost had to remind herself that she was effortlessly out-manoeuvring the U.S. Air-force whilst carrying a huge ship encased in a significantly more huge block of ice.

The coast appeared, so very far below her. A few moments later, it passed by under her and ocean gave way to land. There seemed to be a lull in the number of planes below her. It was then that her remarkable vision detected a tiny white glint down to her right. Instinctively, her eyes locked on to the speck. Telescopic abilities, crafted by Dan, magnified the tiny object to her, allowing her to study it as if she were inches rather than miles away from it. It was some kind of missile, clearly intended for her. Instants after she identified that speck, she spotted four more, all on similar trajectories towards her. All fast enough to be, very gradually, closing in.

After the jets, Emily ought to have expected some kind of missile attack. The ground-to-air rockets now screaming through the sky in her direction were an obvious next step given her velocity, altitude and continued course. She thought of putting on a burst of speed to evade them, an act which would have required negligible effort on her part, but hesitated when she considered the fragility of the block of frozen sea she was hauling. And, despite her confidence in the totality of her own invulnerability, the same risk-to-cargo issue arose when she toyed with the idea of simply ignoring the missiles and letting them explode futilely against her perfect body.

With a teenage sigh that owed more to mild, bored frustration than anything else, she realised that she would have to deal with the incoming weapons in a way that would protect the ship and its ice. After a moment's thought, she decided to use her most recently acquired psycho-neuro-physical ability. By generating enough concentrated heat in a very short space of time, she reasoned, she would be able to turn the missiles into plasma before they could explode or leak toxic material into the atmosphere.

She hadn't tested the range of her new - let's call it what it is - power. Somehow, she felt she already knew. As if she could gauge, by her growing familiarity with the torrents of energy swirling inside her, how tiny a proportion of those available forces she would need to affect her chosen targets in her chosen way. With a feeling of certainty, she focussed her eyes on the nearest of the five missiles and let that miniscule fraction of her power escape through her pupils as thin, red beams that stretched across the sky until they touched the warhead, turning the entirety of it pure brilliant white for a split-second. Exactly as she had planned, the heat she generated denied the weapon the chance to explode as it had been designed to do. Instead, the rocket and the deadly bomb it had been carrying simply and instantaneously became a mere puff of gas that dispersed in the atmosphere.

Now she no longer needed to estimate. She knew. So powerful was the energy she directed through her beautiful eyes, it vaporised everything in an instant. With four more precision strikes, as challenging for her as looking angrily at each of the quartet of supersonic weapons in turn, she turned the entire, massive and deadly assault into nothing. She had eliminated the barrage of missiles within three seconds, without slowing her remarkable speed or even so much as wobbling the massive weight supported on her upturned palms.

A little while later, some more fighter jets appeared briefly below her, flitting in and out of her vision, so far beneath her that she chose to ignore them. She knew she was almost at her destination. Already she could see highways and small outlying satellite communities on the ground almost forty miles below. Another few minutes, and the first glimpses of the skyscrapers of downtown Dallas showed over the horizon. Immediately, even at that distance, Emily was flickering her eyes across the buildings as they hove into view, scanning with a level of speed and accuracy that only alien technology could achieve.

She was using that small subset of the amazing abilities Dan had bestowed on her - super-eyesight and super-speed-of-thought - to search out a sign, or a logo bearing the name of the organisation that owned the tanker. She hadn't thought to ask the Captain of the vessel encased in ice at the end of her arms above her what the company's full address was. That error was soon rendered as irrelevant as the error she made failing to anticipate military jets and missiles. From many miles away, her eyes flickered over the exact words "Lone Star Oil and Gas Corp" on a neon sign mounted above the top floor windows on the side of a sixty-storey, steel and dark-smoked-glass building. The gleaming, otherwise featureless structure stood among a group of other similarly shiny monuments to the corporate world's lack of imagination.

She could not slow from over sixteen hundred miles an hour to stationary instantaneously. Not because that was outside of her capabilities; in fact, very little could be truly classed as outside of her capabilities. Such precise and immediate control of her flight powers was very much within her scope. But maintaining control of the enormous block of ice in her hands required a more measured deceleration. She transitioned from supersonic to motionless across the final two miles of sky, coming to a silent stop directly above the roof of the Lone Star building.

Even from that height, she could see that the block of ice was big enough to cover about six buildings. The ship encased within it was maybe twice as long as the oil corporation's building was wide. She descended quickly, keeping the block above her head and her feet below her, the rapidly thickening atmosphere beginning to cause friction around the ice, warming its extremities, causing an ever-steadier stream of seawater to cascade down all around her. Down on the ground, a torrential salty rain pounded the streets and the roofs for nearly a mile in every direction.

She was losing altitude fast now, but it was still a long way down to the tops of the skyscrapers. Emily looked up at the now shrinking frozen chunk. A careful, controlled, gentle and continuous exhalation of super-cold breath stopped the base of the ice from melting, allowing her to keep the ship balanced on her palms as the rest of the block rapidly melted away. By the time she sharply halted her descent, with her soles barely twenty inches above the flat roof of the Lone Star building, the ice had been reduced to a twenty foot thick slab around the centre of the base of the tanker's hull.

The enormous ship was now visible to the people in the streets below and in the windows of the buildings all around. Her remarkable hearing detected the myriad astonished shouts whilst her fantastic eyesight allowed her to view some of the shocked faces. She chose to pay her audience no heed, turning her attention, and her insanely attractive face, to the roof top below her feet where she noted with disgust the countless environmentally harmful air-conditioning units. Her green eyes sparkled as they peered, right through the concrete roof of the structure.

It had been a few days after the installation of her super-eyesight and hearing when, on a grey, drizzle-dampened afternoon, she'd decided that reading Daddy's documents from the comfort of her bedroom, through the intervening walls, would be more convenient than sitting on a branch outside.

"You know what would be great for finding tungsten?" she'd teased her unconventional internal companion. "X-ray vision."

"I'm not sure that is strictly necessary," Dan had begun. As ever, though, he somehow managed to lose the ensuing argument and, within a minute of telepathically announcing her desire, Emily had gained the ability to see, clearly, through solid objects as if they weren't there.

Now she was using that ability to scan the building beneath her, revealing a couple of ridiculously ostentatious top floor offices. "This is how the polluters reward themselves," she thought, a sense of anger growing anew within her.

From her angle almost directly overhead, she would have found it difficult to read the sign on the door of the biggest room on the top level. Nonetheless, she immediately identified the large space, dominated by an enormous table, surrounded by balding men in suits all seated in matching expensive chairs. The sign, which Emily never bothered with, read "Board Meeting in progress."

She chose a spot on the roof directly above the centre of the oversized meeting table. Those same green eyes that had looked at the scene beneath the concrete a second before, now burst into brilliant iridescence as they fired a pulse of heat energy in the form of a laser that bore a inch-wide channel entirely through that concrete, and the metal beams and plasterboard below it, but did not penetrate any further into the room.

By tilting her head very slightly and moving her eyes, she was able to make the channel any shape she chose. She opted for a circle, ten feet in diameter, cut in less than a tenth of a second, giving no time for the men in suits to react as a suddenly unattached cross-section of ceiling and roof crashed down onto the boardroom table, snapping its legs, and splintering the expensive mahogany into a million toothpicks. After the initial screams of shock, it wasn't long before every pair of eyes in the room was drawn upward, first to the hole in the ceiling and then to the far more astonishing sight just beyond.

A vast slab of ice, longer and wider than a football pitch, hovering fifteen feet above the fresh aperture. With something that looked rather like a tanker ship, if viewed from the seabed, buried in it. And the whole thing appeared to be resting on the upturned palms of the most astonishingly sexy-faced girl who was wearing breathtakingly tight and tiny clothes that showcased the astonishing beauty of her body to the full. The fact that her bare feet were floating in the air almost seemed to be expected given the rest of the tableau.

"You men don't seem to care where your filthy oil ends up, or what damage it does," the amazing girl announced in a strident voice, looking down with contempt at the stunned males around the shattered table. "Let's see if anyone cares when it ends up on you!"

Before any of her shocked audience could query her, or fathom any kind of intelligible response, she looked up at the bottom of the ice-block immediately over their heads, about ten yards from where her palms were supporting the incalculable weight of it all and focussed a gentle beam of heat from her eyeballs on it. The ice, where her faint red lasers converged, boiled instantly to steam, creating a tunnel into the semi-transparent solid material. By carefully releasing energy, Emily was able to carve out a smooth, straight hole, ever deeper, ever wider until she'd opened a passageway, big enough for two adults to walk through side-by-side, all the way to the hull of the ship.

"Emily," the familiar, soft voice in her head spoke into her thoughts. It was out of character for Dan to address her uninvited, indeed she had told him, quite early in their relationship, that she found such unbidden interruptions unnerving and, as she had phrased it at the time, 'really fucking annoying'. The fact that the alien entity was disregarding her wishes so blatantly was a clear indication of his discomfort with the events currently unfolding.

"I'm busy," she snapped, internally, in response to the call.

"I'm sorry to disturb, but I'm concerned that you might be underestimating the consequences of your actions," he tried to explain telepathically.

"I know what I'm doing," Emily thought back, her annoyance unmistakeable. "Polluters must be punished. If you don't like it, you can leave."

"You know that I can't, Emily. Not without a transference device," Dan calmly reminded her.

"Well you'd better shut the fuck up, then. One more word, and you can forget about me getting any tungsten today."

Just as she had hoped, there was no reply. The unwelcome conversation had lasted barely five seconds. In the meantime, none of the board-members moved. They were too paralysed by shock, too overwhelmed by the sense of awe the girl and her actions provoked. None of what was happening felt real. Overhead, they could see the circular, dull grey steel section of the bottom of the ocean vessel that was now unobscured by ice.

The men below could also see the inexplicable glowing red beams that shot from her eyes now reaching that steel. An instant later, the metal itself begin to glow red where the twin lasers touched, then yellow, then white before rapidly becoming too bright to bear. They were forced to briefly turn their heads away and blink their vision clear again. When they looked back up, the patch of metal seemed to have ceased to exist, leaving a round opening in the hull big enough to drive a car through.

She wasn't done. The glow of the beams she produced lit up the inside of the vessel, revealing another steel wall a few feet behind the new opening. One or two of the men finally began to understand what was happening, and, more pressingly, what was about to happen. By the time they started to move, it was too late. A final, precise blast of the astounding energy beams, which she seemed to be able to summon and focus at will, tore a circle over two yards wide out of the floor of the oil tank itself. Right over their heads.

There was about twenty feet of air between the tops of the assembled balding, greying, pale and panicking heads and a massive hole in the bottom of a giant container which up to that moment, had contained seventy-four million gallons of crude oil. The volume of viscous, poisonous raw fossil fuel inside the ship's tanks immediately began to decrease, fast. Gravity, having been repeatedly conquered and humiliated by Emily's unequalled body, now seized the chance to exert its customary influence. The oil did not pour out of the tanker through the breached roof. It did not flow, or run, or fall. It gushed, like a black Angel Falls.

Within seconds, the raw fuel was up to the knees of the horrified men. It expanded horizontally as far as it could, reaching the walls and the door, but then, with no further space to occupy at floor level, and the thick liquid coming in a torrent from above, the level began to rise. There were screams of terror, but it was impossible for the screamers to run through the now waist-deep oil.

The tank supported so effortlessly in Emily's petite hands continued to discharge at an enormous rate. The dark fluid reached the chests of the shortest board members. In desperation, one of the men tried to climb up onto his boardroom chair, hoping to stand on the seat to escape the ever deeper pool. His leather shoes, soaked in oil, inevitably slipped and he lost his balance and fell. Due to the thickness of the liquid, he made only a tiny splash as he landed, face down. The thrashing of his limbs was curtailed by the viscosity too, and ceased within a few seconds when he stopped moving altogether.

There was no time for the others to react to the fallen man's demise. The rising crude was now at chin level for some of them. A creaking sound reached Emily's sensitive ears. She soon realised that it was a combination of groaning noises, a higher-pitched more intense moan of mostly wood emanating from the door of the room as the increasing volume of heavy liquid pressed against it and a much lower-frequency rumbling complaint coming from the floor below as it was being asked to carry a weight further and further beyond the maximum that Lone Star's architects had anticipated.

Finally, the board room door gave way, A tsunami of oil rolled across the rest of the top floor, sweeping away staff members before they could even cry out and completely submerging desks and chairs. Inside the boardroom, the level of the liquid briefly dropped as it spread across the rest of the storey. A few of the board members re-opened closed mouths that had been covered by the tide to gasp air they feared they would never taste again. But the reprieve did not last.

Oil gushed from above at an unforgivingly constant speed. The boardroom continued to fill, covering once more the mouths of those who thought they had been saved, reaching the noses of more and more of the men. In a few moments, only panicked eyes and receding hairlines were visible above the surface of the black fluid. Emily kept her hold on the ice block that helped her keep the tanker balanced overhead, watching the dark river entirely bury every last member of the board, along with anyone else who happened to be on the top storey of the building.

The low creaking of the floor suddenly increased in volume. There was a dull "Crunch!" sound as it gave way under the massive weight of viscous crude. From above, the level of the oil across the whole top level suddenly dropped, as everything - floor, furniture, corpses and tons and tons of unrefined fuel - fell on to the next floor down, quickly drowning anything that wasn't immediately obliterated by the collapse.

Still, Emily let the tanker continue to unload into the Lone Star building. The new top floor was already beginning to groan. The sound as it collapsed was more muted than that made by the first cave-in as a result of the extra few feet of oil that smothered the second crunch. With such a vast volume of liquid falling onto it, along with the wreckage from two higher storeys, the following level stood very little chance. With the slender, stunning girl just above the roof ensuring that the rate of fresh oil being added did not decrease, that little chance became no chance at all.

Another storey of the building was wiped out, crushed and interred in crude. But the fluid in the vast tank was still far from exhausted, It continued to cascade downwards, forming an impenetrable dark ocean floating with broken tables, filing cabinets, pot plants and more and more drowned bodies. Emily watched on as the black sea became deeper and deeper, busting its way down the building, floor by floor, swallowing everything in its path,

Although her shapely, thin arms had comfortably supported the total weight of all the oil, the ship carrying it and a stadium-sized block of ice, it seemed the floors of a massive modern building were unable to support even the weight of a fraction of the oil alone. They were collapsing now, almost like stacked dominoes, one after the other every few seconds, the weight of each subsequent level adding to the burden of those previously above it, along with the ever growing volume of fuel still thundering down from the ship.

The liquid was viscous, but it flowed through gaps. It filled the ducts and pipes of the building's elaborate air-conditioning system, flooded the stairwells, choked the elevator shafts. By now, the terrifying shaking of the whole edifice and the oozing of thick, black oil into every space was inescapable. Far, far below Emily, people were running, screaming from the lobby into the street. Dozens more were slipping and falling as they tried to stampede down the increasingly oiled stairways whilst above, the floors continued to give way, one after the other.

In the same way as the tide of crude was overwhelming the building, the panicked, ever-growing crowd spilling out of Lone Star overfilled the plaza in front of the huge office and spilled into the street, blocking traffic. Distant sirens could be heard as the emergency services responded to the dozens of desperate calls made from inside and outside, only to find the roads gridlocked for several blocks in every direction.

The flow of oil was finally slowing. Emily bent her left arm at the elbow, keeping her right straight. It was a small, and utterly effortless movement on her part, lowering one of her palms about a foot relative to the other. But with the colossal sea-vessel still moulded into its flat-bottomed ice stand, and that stand resting entirely on the beautiful girl's petite, feminine hands, the effect was vast. The massive ship tilted in the sky and the last two million gallons of unprocessed fuel gushed out through the hole she had installed. It felt about as taxing to her as angling a small jug to pour out the last glass of juice.

The final surge of heavy liquid into the building accelerated the collapse of the floors within. A few windows burst under the unstoppable pressure and fountains of crude jetted forth, bringing with them office desks and chairs, filing cabinets, computers and corpses, all cascading down to the street, crushing, burying and drowning anything and everything in their path. The doors at the front of the lobby finally burst, unleashing a tidal wave upon the chaos, sweeping up people and cars like tiny pebbles in a swollen, raging river.

By then, the flow from the ship had dwindled out. The tanks were empty. Still, the oil poured from the building, still the internal structure continued to give way. Emily's sensitive ears detected the sounds of helicopters in fight, still some distance away, but nearing. She was unable to distinguish by sound alone if the aircraft belonged to police, or the military, or the media. It made no difference to her. She knew no weapon could harm her. Her concern was not centred on guns, or missiles. She was worried about cameras.

Emily was not afraid of becoming known to the authorities. Who could arrest her? What prison could possibly hold her? What man would dare to try and impose his male will on her? It was laughable to think that any might try. No, she had nothing to fear from the world's governments. But she didn't want her parents to find out about her powers. Not yet. Not until she had punished every single one of her father's client businesses, just as she had now completed punishing Lone Star Oil and Gas. After that, she would find pleasure telling him that it was her, and her alone, who had ruined him and his Mother Earth-violating friends.

But the enjoyment of that future moment depended on her remaining unseen in this present one. So she re-straightened her left arm, raising the mighty vessel to the horizontal once more, her long, slender limb overpowering countless tonnes of steel and ice. The strength of her subtle, feminine muscles, barely visible beneath the smooth perfection of her skin, made a mockery of gravity. Her power to simply rise straight up into the atmosphere whilst carrying the vast cargo overhead completed the humiliation of physics.

A few minutes later, somewhere near the edge of the stratosphere, she gave the whole, massive load a final, dismissive shove. As it started to rise away from her, propelled by her incalculable might, she tilted back her head, narrowed her eyes, and unleashed the full, godlike power that Dan had installed in them only a few hours before.

Emily's pupils glowed like tiny suns as twin beams shot from them, the thin frozen air crackling along the length of her lasers. The apartment block-sized slab of ice that had served as her hold on the tanker disappeared instantly. A section of the side of the vessel began to glow red. Emily continued to blast the still-rising ship with pure heat energy as she flew after it, the crimson patch extending until the whole tanker was glowing, ever brighter, turning orange, then yellow and finally brilliant white, its shape becoming less and less defined amongst the glare until, quite quickly, the light began to fade.

Only then did Emily blink her remarkable eyes, causing the astounding beams to cease to exist, switching off the release of energy as effortlessly and instantly as flicking off her bedroom light. Where a few seconds before there had been a steel craft as big as a city block, now there seemed to be nothing. Nothing at all. The power of her heat-vision had ripped the whole, massive oil tanker into to its individual, component atoms, leaving no discernable trace.

She paid no mind to the disaster still unfolding dozens of miles beneath her pretty bare feet as she rotated in the sky and, free of the enormous burden she'd been carrying for the past few hours, accelerated towards home at over ten times the speed of sound. Clouds zipped by far beneath her, but she didn't need to look to navigate. She instinctively knew which bearing to take by using the inner compass she had been gifted that morning.

It wasn't a military jet or missile that interrupted her journey home. She was travelling too high and too fast for such concerns. Instead, it was a familiar voice, inside her thoughts:

"Emily, I notice you're heading directly back to your residence. I believe you may have forgotten your promise to acquire the tungs-"

"That's it," she internally interrupted. "I warned you, didn't I?" She quoted herself to him: "One more word and you can forget about me getting your tungsten today".

"Emily... Please!" Dan pleaded.

"Keep going and I won't get it tomorrow, either," she threatened, silently. She could hear the extraterrestial's defeated sigh in her thoughts as the land so very far beneath her became ocean. She increased the remarkable speed of her travel, eager to get home, eager to see the media's reporting of her attack on the polluting patriarchy and, most of all, eager to observe her own, personal patriarch's response to it all.



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. Two hours later.


"There you are, Emily!" said Mrs. Barrington as her daughter strolled into the sitting room. "Where have you been all day? I was looking for you ev-"

"Not now, Pippa," chided her husband. "I need to hear this." The huge television screen on the wall was showing grainy video clips of chaos and devastation. Towards the bottom of the screen, a super-imposed caption read "Dallas Oil Disaster". Beneath that a small, scrolling banner trailed key details of the calamity hinted at in the pictures: "U.S. Government spokesperson says 'once-in-a-million-years' freak tornado lifted tanker vessel into upper atmosphere... Crude oil cargo spilled onto Texas office building... Scores dead... Hundreds more unaccounted for... Clean-up operation 'may take years'... President urges population to ignore conspiracy stories about 'flying girl' seen underneath tanker... Fate of ship and crew currently unknown..."

"Joining me now is the head of our weather team..." droned the newsreader.

"Where were you? I was worried sick!" hissed Emily's mother.

Emily shrugged. "I went for a walk," she said.

"Why didn't you take your mobile?" asked Pippa Barrington.

"Shhh!" Nigel Barrington demanded.

"What's up, Dad?" asked Emily, cheerfully.

"What's up?" echoed her father, making no attempt to hide his fury. "Can't you see?" he shouted, pointing to the screen. "It's terrible... a disaster!"

"Isn't your company supposed to stop this kind of thing?" Emily inquired, a little too happily.

"Everything's a game to you!" her father yelled, his face turning crimson as he stormed out of the room towards his study.

"...the fact remains, as today's awful events have made clear," the interviewee on the television continued, "there is still a lot we don't fully understand about the atmosphere..."

Pippa Barrington picked up the remote control handset, and switched off the screen and its accompanying audio. "Emily, your father's very upset," she explained. "I think he knew some of the people in that building."

"Serves them right for poisoning the planet," muttered Emily, as she cheerfully made her way to the stairs.


Conceptfan, Nov. 2021.

Chapter 2

Fracking Hell

Cumbria, UK. 250 miles from London. Six months ago.


"This place is perfect," said the thin white man in his mid-fifties, his educated tones echoing around the huge cold concrete space. "I saw the potential in it right away. We can gut the insides, install our equipment and leave the outside pretty much untouched because we'll make use of those reservoirs. Obviously the vehicle track will need to be reinforced and resurfaced but no-one's ever going to complain about us taking over a disused sewage works. Well, no-one other than the usual crowd. But the politicians will be on-board, so it should be plain sailing.

The only other human in the vast industrial chamber was a grey-haired, milky-pale male of retirement, or perhaps post-retirement, age. He nodded his agreement with his companion's assessment.

"Indeed. A most appropriate location for dealing with... unpleasant materials. Barrington, the site is ideal. Congratulations are in order. You've fulfilled your brief commendably. I'm confident that Project Sparkle will have every chance of success here and I'm sure the rest of the board will echo my sentiments."

"Thank you, Sir Charles."

"As I am sure," the older man continued, the inexpressive tone of his voice barely changing, "they will also echo my concerns."

"Concerns?" Nigel Barrington sounded taken aback by the introduction of a potentially negative note.

"You touched on them yourself, just now, when you mentioned the 'usual crowd'." Senior Vice Chairman Sir Charles Sweet approached the issue tactfully, before suddenly grasping the nettle: "Will the 'usual crowd' include your daughter this time?"

Nigel was caught out by the unexpected direct, personal attack. He laughed, a little too forced a laugh, as if to dismiss the issue as insignificant, rather than highly embarrassing, and, it was beginning to appear, career-threatening.

"Oh, that's just a teenage phase!" he pleaded for understanding. "A classic bit of adolescent self-expression by rebelling in a manner designed to upset her parents. She doesn't really believe any of that nonsense."

"As I recall, she hid her lack of belief rather well during the Frankenham incident," Sir Charles increased the pressure.

"And you can rest assured I left her in no doubt that there was to be no repeat," Barrington explained, his mission now full-on crisis-management.

"She and her friends caused over twenty thousand pounds' worth of damage to one of our facilities, and you retained a rather expensive lawyer to ensure she wouldn't go to prison," the Senior Vice Chairman unnecessarily summarised the fallout from the Frankenham incident.

"We all make mistakes when we're young, Sir Charles. She's my daughter. I gave her a second chance, as any father would," Nigel defended himself.

"I'm not doubting your parenting skills, Barrington. Although, I can't say I ever found myself on the wrong side of the law, even in my most wild days. And I certainly would never have dreamed of doing anything that might have harmed any of my dear departed father's businesses. No doubt, he would have thrashed me within an inch of my life if I had!"

"We don't thrash our children these days," Nigel observed, slightly uncomfortable with the implied suggestion that he should.

"Quite," commented Sweet, somewhat ambiguously. The senior man let the awkward silence that followed stretch across nearly a minute before changing the mood once more. "Well, Barrington, you're going to have your hands full getting this place ready for Project Sparkle within the agreed time-frame. Have you prepared a politically-clean cover?"

"As far as everyone else is concerned," grinned Nigel, delighted at the change of topic, "this will be a research centre dedicated to perfecting environmentally-friendly recycling techniques."

"Very apt," Sweet commented. "And a name?"

"Wild-flower Meadow House."




Surrey, UK. 28 miles from London. The present day. 11:45pm GMT.


"What do you think of the band?" The girl was in her late twenties, with big, blue eyes under a spiky fringe of short bleach-blonde hair and thick, pretty lips that had recently been smothered in bright red gloss. Emily had caught her eye from quite a distance, and had immediately strolled towards her, helping herself to an adjacent vacant seat at the bar without asking for permission. The blonde's smile revealed two rows of attractive teeth along with the fact that she didn't mind the younger girl's presumption in the slightest.

"They're OK," Emily gave her brief, semi-interested review of the all-female trio on stage in the opposite corner of the small club. The group were currently taking a quick mid-set break.

"I'm their manager," said the Blonde, making no effort to hide the fact that she was hoping to impress.

"Cool," Emily acknowledged without softening her naturally irresistible pout. "I hope you make sure they tour in an environmentally respectful way."

"Oh, you're into all that... eco-stuff?" Those large azure eyes showed a level of interest beyond the curiosity conveyed by the spoken question.

"Everyone should be," Emily stated, authoritatively.

"Oh, absolutely. Yeah, totally," the slightly older woman agreed, keen to keep her unexpected companion on-side. "So, ah, what else do you like?" she added, leaning slightly towards the brunette, whilst keeping her remarkable eyes locked on Emily's stunning face.

"I like your face. And your tits," came the immediate, brutally honest response. The words would have been shocking in almost any other context. Coming from Emily's gorgeous mouth at that particular moment, they made the band-manager's heart race for a wholly different reason.

"Th.. Thank you," she stumbled, breathlessly, before adding, needlessly, "I like yours!"

"Come with me," Emily pretty much instructed, taking the overwhelmed Blonde by the hand and leading her, wordlessly, towards the door at the far end of the bar labelled "Ladies".

Emily didn't wait for the door to the toilets to swing shut. The instant the music-business girl stepped across the threshold she pulled her towards the wall with an insistence that could not be denied. Before the door finally closed, Emily was already leaning in to kiss her. The blonde responded to the kiss first by offering her own lips, and then by trying to grab Emily's pert rear through the tight denim that covered it. The older girl's free hand had no trouble cupping the supremely firm majesty of one cheek, but the hand that Emily was holding remained fast in her grip. When Emily noticed that manager-girl was struggling to free it, rather than grant the sought-after release, she chose instead to dominantly pin the blonde's arm above her head.

"Wow... you're... strong..." gasped the pinned girl between passionate kisses.

"I know," Emily told her, flatly. She moved her body towards the trapped woman until their breasts met through their clothes. The blonde began to writhe ecstatically, rubbing herself against Emily's superhuman body. Her breath became wild panting. Without warning, Emily stepped back, breaking the erotic contact of their chests and simultaneously letting go of the hand she had pinned. The blonde girl looked at her, desperate to know her intentions.

Any confusion was banished when Emily undid the button of her jeans and with a wiggle of her hips that drew an appreciative gasp from her audience, let them slide down to her ankles. A second, deeper gasp marked the moment that the blonde realised both Emily's lack of underwear and the sheer perfection of the teenager's outer sex. "Lick me," she commanded. The blonde dropped to her knees without hesitating and ravenously began to orally service her younger lover.

Emily closed her eyes and reached down to run her fingers through the short-cropped blonde tresses that hovered in front of her crotch as she began to lose herself to the pleasurable sensations being generated by her lover's experienced tongue. Music-girl began to caress Emily's silky round inner thighs with her eager hands, initially marvelling at the perfection of the flesh beneath her fingers before quickly becoming aware of the astonishing and unyielding firmness that lay beneath that glorious skin.

"What are you..." panted the blonde, pausing briefly in her ministrations of Emily's flawless labia to voice her wonder, "... Supergirl or something?"

"Kind of," Emily answered, immodestly but truthfully. There was something in the way she uttered those two syllables, a mixture of her lack of surprise at being asked such a question, and the sheer confidence of her reply, that charged the blonde's lust, taking it from boiling to white-hot in a space of time too short to label. She renewed her tongue-driven assault on the entrance to the younger girl's womanhood with increased fervour, trying ever more insistently to impress her fingertips into the surrounding flesh, every passing moment leaving her more and more in awe of its resilience.

Above the blonde's head, Emily moaned softly in appreciation of the frantic, skilled work being carried out on her intimacy. A steady but growing sensation foretold of the orgasm starting now to build from within. She set about encouraging its growth by thrusting her left hand under the bottom of her t-shirt and grabbing her right breast, squeezing it with sufficient force to melt iron.

The band-manager spent a few dozen seconds trying and failing to part the teenager's nether lips in order to enter her inner love canal with her tongue until the "Supergirl... kind of" exchange stormed back to the foreground of her mind and she conceded worshipful defeat, opting instead to close her lips over Emily's femininity and to suck for all she was worth. The change of tactic coincided with Emily herself adjusting her own ministrations, no longer cupping her perfect breast, but instead now pinching the glorious, fully-engorged nipple at its centre, using more than enough strength to turn diamonds into gas.

Music-girl's lovely sapphire-coloured eyes were level with the lowest point of Emily's flat belly. Even if they had not been tightly shut as she savoured the brunette's taste and scent, she might not have seen Emily's eyes open or even the split-second flash of pure energy that shot from her lover's green irises before the lids shut again, because it happened so fast. She heard the distinct, but not shouted "Mmmmmmmmaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" of delight from above as the promised orgasm broke, and then found herself being violently vibrated as Emily shook for several fabulous seconds. The superhuman girl let her entire body fill with the glorious sensation until it throbbed like a nearly-six-foot tall battery-powered sex-toy.

Emily let out a satisfied sigh. Below, the band-manager was gulping down air, her pretty face covered in a sheen of sweat, her chin soaked in Emily's juices. The younger girl looked down at her, her own features in contrast showing no sign of any exertion.

"Emily," Dan's soft voice sounded frightened in her mind. "What happened? Your neurons almost overloaded!"

"None of your business," she mentally replied.

Ignoring the disembodied alien, she smiled at her lover. "Thanks, babe," she said. Immediately, she bent at the waist and set about pulling up her jeans.

The blonde realised that her partner was declaring an end to the meeting, and felt a crushing sense of disappointment permeate her exhausted body. "Can I get your number?" she asked, immediately regretting the hint of desperation in her voice.

"I'll find you from the band's website," Emily informed her.

"I'd like that," confessed the group's manager, trying to look cool as she finally climbed to her feet and moved towards a sink to wash her face. She stopped, mid-stride, staring at a six-inch diameter hole in the centre of the mirror above the basins. There were a few wisps of dark smoke rising from the edges of the aperture. The hole, she was shocked to observe, went through the entire twelve-inch thick wall. She could see the street outside! "What the fuck?" she muttered. She was certain that hole hadn't been there before. She turned to ask the stunning teen about it, just in time to see the door flapping behind her. She'd left without even a "goodbye".

Only then did the blonde realise that they hadn't even exchanged names. Cursing herself for the oversight, she busied herself with cleaning her face, but not before she'd used her aching tongue to catch a final few tastes of the anonymous temptress from her chin. By the time she emerged from the toilets, her band had already started the second half of their set, and Emily was already floating, satisfied, through the window of her bedroom in her parent's oversized home five miles away.



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. Four hours later.


It was too early to say for sure if the location was a good selection, however the signs were encouraging. Initial tests had proven positive, and Bartomeu was confident there would be at least some yield. He couldn't yet estimate if the quantities involved would push the individual site itself into profit, but he believed they would extract enough gas to at least validate the process across the region. If this particular drill and pump wasn't the big one, then the big payday was probably lying untapped nearby.

The drilling had been completed without incident. He'd been especially grateful for that, having only just arrived in this foreign land with an uncertain grasp of its language, and very little knowledge of the intricacies of its working practices. And he was, perhaps ironically for one in his particular profession, under pressure. His company had invested heavily in hydraulic fracturing, only to see the practice banned outright by law in its homeland. Recouping long-planned-for returns on that investment had meant moving operations abroad, whilst still requiring oversight by experienced and trusted company employees. There was a lot riding on this operation being a success, as he was reminded whenever he communicated with Head Office.

Despite barely having spoken English since leaving school, his command of Shakespeare's tongue was greater than that of any of his rivals for the cross-Channel job, so he had, accepted, with some apprehension, the short-notice posting, alongside, with much delight, the generous increase in remuneration that came with it. So far, he had escaped with being able to ask the site supervisors "Everything is going OK?" and receiving a positive answer, even if, on a few occasions, he hadn't recognised the actual words used in reply. But what he had observed of the work being carried out had appeared fine, the safety and general practices seemed in line with what he expected and, so far, no-one had called him "froggy" - at least not in front of him or within his earshot. All in all, he had concluded as he closed his eyes to fall asleep that night in his hotel room a kilometre - or half a mile as his hosts would say - from the site, it was all going as well as he could have hoped.

Bartomeu was awoken by the sound of rattling coins on the night stand beside his pillow. In fact, he realised, everything in the room was rattling; the windows against their frames, the headboard of his bed against the wall, the coffee cup on the complimentary hot drinks tray whose freeze-dried wares he had snubbed since his first night in the hotel. If the ground was moving, he did not feel anything as the building's structure absorbed the minor vibrations. But the rattling continued for nearly ten seconds, almost long enough for him to become concerned. When it stopped, as suddenly as it had begun, and with his eyes now adjusted to the night-time gloom, he saw nothing to cause him alarm. The cup was still on the tray, the coins remained on the night stand, the windows undamaged.

Then, as he thought of yielding to the temptation of simply shutting his eyes and going back to sleep, a different, more intense, more localised vibration demanded his attention. The light of the screen of his smartphone made him blink as he read the name of his site manager and with a nervous sigh, pressed the icon to answer the call.


"Sorry to wake you, boss,"

"That is not a problem," Bartomeu replied, relieved to have understood every word so far.

"We've had a minor subsidence issue. No personnel affected, but we might need to call a salvage team for some equipment, and I've got to run it by you first,"

Merde! He had absolutely no idea what the man had just said. Breaking it down... it had to be something to do with the tremor... the guy didn't sound like anything catastrophic had happened...

"So," the site manager filled the awkward silence, "should I call a salvage firm or should I wait till you get here?"

'Wait till you get here'... He understood that. His escape route had opened! "Yes, you must wait," he said, "I must see the..." What was the word?.. "view. There will be one quarter of one hour."

"OK," came the terse reply, and the call ended. Bartomeu hit the light switch, threw back the bedsheets and began the process of getting dressed.

When he arrived at the site twenty-three minutes later, he saw the large piece of equipment lying on its side in what must have been a sink-hole that had opened up beneath it. He knew what to do about that; there was a number the company had given him to call straight away with any operational difficulties. A quick survey revealed no other sign of damage from the tiny tremor, so he entered the temporary site office, closed the door to make sure he couldn't be overheard, and dialled as he'd been instructed.

"Hello?" said a voice at the other end of the call.

"Hello. I am Erick Bartomeu of A.R.Y. Energie. I have need of you to helping me,"

"Ah yes. Good morning Monsieur Bartomeu. My name is Nigel Barrington. How may I assist?"



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. That very moment.


She'd entirely missed the sound of Daddy's mobile. Not because, at five in the morning, she'd been asleep, although she was lying on her bed. Her mind was alert. She'd been watching and listening, via headphones, to online clips of "Full Frontal Assault Squad", the band who she'd briefly heard at the club a few hours before. It was only by chance that she had momentarily turned down the volume. Inside her thoughts, Dan had patiently waited for a gap between bursts of angry feminist punk battle-cries to ask if she might allow him a few moments to recover before playing the next one. She was about to launch into an internal tirade about spoiling her chill-vibes when she overheard her father's hushed voice through five well-built walls.

"Was anybody hurt?"

"'urt?.." Daddy seemed to be talking to some foreigner who didn't understand much English.

"Hospital?" Her father tried to find another way to pose the question. He was showing a lot of patience, which meant whoever he was talking to must've been from an important client. She stopped the music altogether, ignoring Dan's unmissable moan of relief. "How many in the hospital?" Daddy was asking. This was getting more and more interesting by the second!

"No, there are zero, er... Pas de blessures!"

"Zero injuries," echoed her patriarch.

"Yes, it is only one... one... engine of, er... engin de terrassement..." In the background, a northern English-accented voice called out "Earthmover."

"Only one earthmoving." Daddy's interlocutor relayed the English word accurately enough. "It is fallen into the..." "Sink 'ole" the distant regional prompt was clear as day to Emily. "Into the sink old," said the obviously French man.

"I understand," her father told him. "Do not call any third party salvage firms. It's very important that we don't draw any attention to any kind of land-slippage. I'll arrange for a trusted partner to attend the site with the appropriate equipment in due course."

Sink-hole... Land-slippage... Emily's mind processed the scraps... some kind of mining, she assumed. Ripping the heart out of the ground to burn it and poison the air...

"Er, I..." evidently, Daddy's instructions hadn't been understood. But she understood that he was trying to cover something up on behalf of a mining company. She just needed to know what and where so she could make sure the correct perpetrators were suitably admonished.

"Do. Not. Telephone. Anyone. Do you understand?" Poor Daddy, trying to sound polite as he dumbed it down.

"Yes. So I must now.. er..?"

"You. Must. Do. Nothing. Only wait. OK?"

"Ah, yes, good, OK. I wait, good morning."

"Goodbye," said Daddy, relieved. Emily heard the beep of his phone cutting the call. Then the faint click-click of a text message being composed. She narrowed her stunning green eyes, her remarkable powers of vision piercing the dark and one wall after another until she could focus in on the glare of her father's mobile.

'Lifting equipment required a.s.a.p. for approx. 6 ton earthmover at bottom of 12 meter sink-hole. Surrounding ground poss. unstable. Location as follows...'

Now she had the 'what' and the 'where'. She'd already thrown open the bedroom window. Not even a hint of the coming dawn showed on the horizon as she floated out and began to gain altitude before, with a burst that startled dozens from their slumber with its boom and lit up the sky for an instant with a bright flash of flames from her disintegrating outer clothes, she accelerated. She was left streaking through the atmosphere in her stunning, tiny, two-piece costume, too fast and too high to be admired by the rest of the population.



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. Two minutes later.


Sit and do nothing. He could follow those instructions in any language. He'd already relayed the key information: "Do not telephone to nobody," to the site manager who'd nodded his comprehension after an initial moment of hesitation.

"No third parties," the foreman then shouted at the other night-workers. Bartomeu had wondered why the crazy English would even be considering having any kind of party under the circumstances. With nothing better to do he tapped the phrase into the translation application on his smartphone. 'That makes more sense' he thought to himself. He searched for one of the other phrases that had eluded him earlier. 'Ah,' he thought. 'sink-HOLE. That also makes sense.' He felt ready to deal with whoever showed up next.



Warwickshire, UK. 85 miles from London. Four minutes later.


"Emily, whilst you have a minute to spare on this journey, might we talk about-" Dan began, softly as ever.

"I don't have a minute. I have to plan what I'm going to do when I get there," thought Emily, as snappily as it was possible for her to think.

"It's very difficult to imagine anything that you could do," pointed out Dan. "From the information we have, there has been no excess pollution, and a small logistical issue regarding a construction vehicle is already being rectified."

"They're mining," stated Emily, managing to convey her disgust telepathically. "And now they've ripped open a hole in the Earth in their greed. They won't be happy until there's nothing left but holes and poisoned air,"

"Emily, all civilisations obtain some of their resources from the ground. Back in my home galaxy, metal extraction was a vital stage in my species' development. In fact, my co-hatchling Dave worked for a period of time in -"

"- Sounds like another typical male violator of nature," she interrupted, passing her judgement before even hearing the case or the charge.

Her words inspired Dan to craft a new plan. "Yes," he agreed. "Yes, he is. Dave is a violator of nature. He is an atrocious individual. He needs to be punished. But I can't do that without tungsten, Emily. Maybe we can take a short detour which would only delay us by a matter of min-"

"- I should have known!" interjected Emily with a telepathic groan. "It's always about you and your tungsten isn't it?" she chided. "What about my needs for once?"

"Emily, I cannot detect any needs that you might have right now," Dan pointed out. "You have sufficient internal energy reserves to last beyond the lifetime of this solar system."

"I need to stop those arrogant bastards from destroying nature!" she was becoming quite the expert at adding expression to her thought-dialogue. Somehow, she had succeeded in conveying gritted teeth. She switched to conveying absolute authority: "Your problems come later."

"Yes, of course, Emily."



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. Three-and-a-half minutes later.


The sun had not yet risen far enough for any part of its brilliant disc to be visible above the hills to the East. But it had trumpeted its imminent arrival by painting that side of the sky in a stunning array of purples and yellows. The night crew clustered around the cabins at the far end of the site from the collapse, admiring the beauty of the pre-dawn celestial canopy whilst they waited. No-one had approached the unmanned earthmover that had fallen along with the ground beneath it. Until it was properly light and the surveying teams arrived and checked the stability of the area, that part of the site was off-limits.

All human activity was concentrated in that small area. Bartomeu fiddled with his smartphone inside the temporary office unit. A few steps from the other side of the door the Frenchman had closed, the site manager stood, in light-hearted conference with the three-member night crew. A sudden, sharp crunch of gravel about ten yards to the side of the group stopped the conversation mid-word, and caused all four of the men to turn towards the source of the noise. What they saw drew a collective gasp from the quartet.

There, standing suddenly just a few steps away, lit by the very first sun rays of the day, stood a stunningly attractive girl, with the face and body of a goddess, wearing a white t-shirt and dark shorts outfit that appeared to have been painted onto her perfect flesh. The four of them struggled to take in the magnificence of what their eyes were beholding. Her face was fresh, its complexion flawless. Her sparkling clear green eyes stared at them. Below them, her pretty nose seemed to be turned up in contempt, and her desirable, thick, rich red lips, were set in an irresistible pout.

Despite the crunching of the gravel they'd heard, she wasn't wearing any shoes. Her gorgeous feet ended with slender ankles that gave way to long, smooth, fabulously curved legs. Her shorts began where her thighs dramatically curved outwards before tapering to a perfect, flat waist. Her T-shirt was so ridiculously tight, it was possible to make out the shape of the edge of her navel. The T-shirt also revealed the exact shape of her magnificent bust. The roundness, the size, the sheer erotic glory of each of her breasts could be clearly seen. Even the precise shapes of the arrogant protrusions of her nipples were visible. "Fuck..." muttered one of the night-crew.

It was only a whispered remark, but, somehow, the stunning girl seemed to hear it because she immediately tutted as if in disapproval. "You!" she said, authoritatively, looking straight at the skinny twenty-something year-old man who had uttered the expletive, "Are you staring at my chest?" her tone was angry and accusatory.

The intended target of the question miscalculated badly. "Sorry, babe, they're just so... lush," he smiled. For about a second, he must have believed that his tactics had succeeded. The girl seemed to smile back at him. The radiance of her gleaming, flawless grin rivalled the sun itself as it breached the horizon. For about a second. Then, without warning, her lips closed and her lovely features re-cast themselves into a scowl.

"How dare you objectify me!" she rebuked. The anger in her eyes flashed into red brilliance so dazzling, the three other men had to close their eyes. They heard a snatch of a sound like sizzling meat but many times more intense and then something heavy hitting the ground. Then they smelt burnt flesh. Then they looked.

The site manager was the first to see the young man's headless corpse collapsed on the ground. "Oh God!" he exclaimed, staggering backwards half a step.

"Jesus, no!" hissed the oldest member of the party when he glimpsed his murdered colleague. He turned away immediately.

The final survivor began to breathe heavily in panic. His mouth re-shaped to form words but none left his lips.

"Any other perverts?" asked the girl, the expression in her voice implying that she would be happy to administer further punishments. None of the three surviving men was able to formulate an audible response. The male eyes that were open were kept pointing well away from her staggering body. Satisfied that she wouldn't have to be handing out any further lessons in eye-alignment for the immediate future, she moved on to the main lesson she had come to impart. "Which one of you was in charge?" she demanded of the shocked trio.

The site manager shot a terrified glance at the two remaining members of the night crew standing to his right. The older of the two was trembling and sobbing silently, his eyes cast downwards, terrified of catching the gaze of their interrogator and provoking her, horrified by the prospect of seeing, once again, the sickening human remains lying near his feet. The younger surviving worker, his face noticeably pale green, lost his fight not to vomit, dropped to his knees and retched onto the dirt.

All three of them were repulsed by the carnage, and petrified by its seemingly-inconceivable cause. No-one of them spoke. The youngest spat out the last of his vomit and began to gather his limbs to stand again.

"No." decided the girl. "You can stay on your knees. Permanently." So saying she parted her luscious lips and with a sound like a loud sigh, exhaled. Her breath appeared as cloud of thick white mist that quickly reached from her mouth towards the prostrate male. A moment later, the cloud vanished. In its wake, the young man was revealed once more, his body now white and hung with countless icicle-like adornments. The merest glance from each of the final two members of the group was sufficient to see that he had been entirely frozen solid.

Whilst the two men shook and sobbed, the girl showed no reaction to her latest killing. "I asked you a question," she reminded the quivering survivors, "Which one of you was in charge here?"

A few hours before, the site manager had bragged to a friend how he was running the show because the parent company had sent some idiot over from France who couldn't speak enough English to order a sandwich, let alone organise a drill team. But now, he clearly remembered the chain-of-command, and in particular, his own place within it. With a trembling hand, his eyes wild as they desperately fought to avoid being caught in the act of meeting the incredible girl's body, he pointed to the door of the temporary office cabin a few yards behind him. "H-he is. I-in t-there," he stammered.

"He was," the girl corrected him. She began to walk purposely towards the door she'd been indicated. The site manager, realising he was in her path, and frightened for his life at the prospect of her thinking he was looking at her awesome breasts, began to shuffle aside. His colleague also managed to gather enough control to take a clumsy, lateral step. "No, don't move," she commanded as she approached. Too scared to risk the consequences of disobedience, the pair immediately ceased all movement.

She walked, calmly, taking another few paces until she was almost between the two terrified men. Then her arms flashed out, too fast for either of them to see, let alone react. With contemptuous ease, she closed the fingers of each of her pretty feminine hands around as much of a rough male neck as she could, simultaneously squeezing both throats with enough force to cause a sickening pair of crunching sounds that accompanied twin fountains of blood erupting from mouths either side of her, her arms just long enough to keep the dying men's crimson spluttering away from her body. Disinterestedly, she opened the fingers of her hands, letting the two corpses fall out of her grasp and flop onto the ground beside her feet. She walked on, the rhythm of her stride constant throughout the double-murder, towards the site office cabin.

As she neared it, the scale of the cabin now dwarfed her petite body. It was at least three feet taller than her. The entrance was set in one of the ten-foot-long sides of the oblong prefab, but the windows ran the length of the longer, twenty-four foot walls, so the angle of her approach prevented her being seen by the sole occupant of the office. She arrived within reach of the door-handle, but made no effort to address it, instead bending low at the waist, the glory of her superhumanly pert rear displayed at its most alluring to an audience of dead men.

Her fingers plunged into the stony ground to close around the bottom edge of the cabin's steel frame until the metal groaned as it deformed slightly in her unfathomably strong grip. The sound of the protesting material, rather than any feeling of resistance, told her to stop squeezing any further. Once she was certain that her hold was secure, she quickly and fluidly stood up straight, lifting her arms. The steel frame creaked again as she subjected it to her immeasurable power, her slender, feminine arms showing only the faintest trace of muscle as they imparted a minute fraction of their godlike potential. Her face revealed no indication of strain, because her body felt none as she humiliated gravity once again, picking up the entire enclosed office, overcoming the seemingly massive leverage disadvantage so quickly that the floor within remained parallel with the ground below. The entire free-standing building rose four feet yet, inside, the tables, the chairs... even the seat occupied by the man staring at the screen of his phone, did not slide or tilt.

But, absorbed in his smartphone display and blissfully unaware of the presence of the girl, or her shocking actions during the previous minute as he was, Bartomeu could not fail to notice that the prefabricated mini-building he was in was moving. He let out some kind of yell of shock as he saw the view of the world through the glass panes beside him shifting and felt the pull of gravity on his organs. Standing, he moved quickly to the door, turned the handle and pushed. It opened about two centimetres and then stopped. Panicking he began to push against the panel, but it was as if someone had built a wall a short distance in front of the cabin. No matter how hard, how desperately he shoved against the door, it would not move any further. He tried to kick it open several times but still it would not move beyond that same point. Something utterly immovable was blocking it.



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. Five seconds earlier.


Emily's all-seeing green eyes watched through the thin walls of the structure as she effortlessly raised it, along with its contents, smoothly from the ground, holding the entire thing out in front of her, her arms slightly above the level of her tiny waist. She saw the man within, the one the others had said was in charge, leave his chair and move towards her. She watched, staring through bottom portion of the cabin door barely a foot in front of her face, looking directly at his knees. He was about to try and open the door. The door on the other side of which, unbeknownst to him, she was standing.

The handle turned and the catch released. The door pivoted on its hinges. It travelled the width of two of her fingers and then the lower outer corner of it hit the front outer curve of Emily's right breast through her shockingly tight top. Her large, round bosom refused to yield. It refused to yield when the man on the other side of the door tried to close and then reopen the panel with force. It refused to yield when he started to pound at the edge of it with his shoulder. Or when he applied all his weight, straining and sweating. Or when he attempted, over and over, in sheer desperation, to kick the thing open. Emily chose to contemptuously ignore the repeated, futile attempts to move her or, more specifically, her beautiful, invulnerable breast.

The tiny opening of the door which the positioning of her glorious chest allowed wasn't nearly wide enough for him to peer around, although he did try. After one final kick which pressed the outside of the door uselessly against her perfect curve once again, he paused, his foot clearly now hurting him. In what Emily could clearly observe was growing panic, he moved over to the window and started to thump at the glass with his fist. "Hello? Hello?" he was shouting, with a strong accent. "It is enough! Arretez vos conneries!"



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. One second later.


Bartomeu was trying to catch the attention of the men out there. He'd left four of them standing just outside the office a few minutes ago. If this was some kind of English practical joke, he would make sure the ring-leaders lost their jobs. 'How much roast beef and beer will they be able to pay for without an income?' he wondered. "Open the door!" he yelled, pounding both of his fists simultaneously against the toughened clear plastic window. And then, suddenly, to his horror, the view beyond his hands changed.

He felt the stomach-stretching nausea of being in an express elevator, instinctively steadying himself by placing his palms flat against the transparent pane in front of him, seeing only sky straight ahead, then glancing down and seeing fields and hills and... an entire small town. That wasn't right... no crane in existence could hoist a cabin that high or that fast... there were clouds drifting in front of him... at eye-level! It was as if he was in an aeroplane, mid-flight. He became aware of a creeping coldness in the air, and felt his legs wobbling beneath him.

The cabin door was still ajar. If someone had blocked it with a wall, then surely that wall had not taken to the sky alongside the portable office. Bartomeu suddenly had visions of the door flying completely open, leaving him vulnerable to cold air and a terrifyingly long fall to his death. Cautiously, unsteadily, leaning against the wall beside him for security and balance, he began to edge towards the opening, planning to pull it fully shut and let the latch mechanism hold it closed. Without warning, the floor shifted very slightly under him, accompanied by a metallic groan, as if the entire office was now resting on a different balance-point, as insane as that idea appeared considering the thing wasn't resting on the ground at all. It was, inexplicably, hovering in the clouds. The movement scared him almost to the point of screaming.

Before he could let his mind race with possible explanations, it was sent into chaotic meltdown by the unmistakable sight of human fingers - girlish human fingers - curling around the open edge of the door about twenty centimetres from the ground. A moment later, when in a blur of movement, the entire door tore sideways from its hinges and disappeared from view into the vastness of the sky, he did scream. There was no time to recover from the shock of the seeing the protection of the door violently ripped away because, immediately, he was confronted by the sight of the lower half of the suddenly open doorway being partially filled by the upper half of the most gorgeously desirable young woman he'd ever beheld.

Her shoulder-length, straight dark brown shiny hair was billowing in the freezing wind. She tucked a portion of it behind her right ear with her left hand, allowing him an unobstructed view of much of her perfect youthful face. If she had been holding on to the cabin to keep from falling, she would have looked terrified, strained to exhaustion... If she had been holding on to the cabin to keep from falling, she would not have taken the time to brush her hair from one eye whilst she clung on with a single hand. Instead she seemed calm, comfortable, even disinterested. She did not, for all the world, appear to be hanging on. If anything, the unparalleled beauty of her features and the serenity they conveyed, spoke not of holding on, but rather of being in control. Total control.

He could not help the involuntary sharp intake of breath as his eyes scanned from her free hand towards her other arm. Even in the context of successive, mind-numbing shocks, the view down onto the stupefyingly majestic swells of her chest, so imperiously displayed by her devastatingly tight T-shirt, was staggering. Somehow, he fought the urge to just stare, moving his gaze on, trying to work out what was going on. Her other hand, he eventually observed, was out of view, somewhere beneath the door frame, around the bottom of the cabin... Something clicked in his brain. Pieces falling into place... No! It couldn't be! It wasn't possible! She wasn't hanging on to the cabin... she was carrying the cabin! Into the sky!

"C'est un ange!" he voiced his conclusion, his eyes filling with tears as he came to terms with it. "Je suis morte, et un ange m'emporte au ciel!"



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. One second later.


Emily's school French wasn't up to the task of comprehending the man's lacrimonious declaration, but Dan must have sensed the unsuccessful firing of synapses. "He's saying that he thinks he is dead and that an angel is carrying him to heaven," the alien explained, pointlessly adding "Emily, he appears to be frightened to the very edge of his sanity."

"Like I care what he's saying," Emily thought back. "Stay out of this."

"Sorry, Emily," Dan responded, meekly, fearing punishment in the form of further tungsten-acquisition-delay.

Of course, Dan's translation was helpful. It confirmed to her that the man had a sufficient grasp of his situation to understand that she had lifted him into the sky, and therefore she was the one who determined if he stayed up there, and, if he wasn't to stay up, the nature and velocity of his return to ground. His immediate survival was - and there could be no other expression more accurate to describe it - entirely in her hand. Her single hand. Now, she was certain he would be supplying her with all the information she wanted.

She wasn't comfortable with the idea of having to look up at such a sharp angle to address her captive. The most effortless and tiny, barely-targeted extraterrestrial-empowered exhalation through her stunning pout knocked him off his feet, pushing him back into the airborne office-space and sending him flying a couple of yards to land painfully, judging from his cry of discomfort, on his rear.

Now, they were more-or-less eye-to-eye. "Which company owned this operation?" she asked, without emotion.

The man looked even more confused than before. "Answer me or I'll drop this thing," Emily threatened. There was a pause, as if he was trying to decode her words individually. Suddenly, a flash of recognition showed in his face, followed instantly by a flush of renewed terror.

"No!" he screamed. "Don't drop! Don't drop! Ne la laissez-pas tomber!"

"Which company owned this operation?" Emily demanded once more.

"I... I... do not... understand..." the sheer panic in his eyes showed that he was genuine.

"Who do you work for?" she tried a different approach.

He seemed to understand that. "RDY Energie!" he yelled. "RDY Energie!"

"Air Day Eegreck Energy," Emily repeated what she had heard. She'd never heard the name before, or seen anything by that name in any of Daddy's papers.

"I write!" the man shouted, desperate not to be judged to have failed to comply. From his pocket, he extracted a small notebook and a stub of a pencil. Turning frantically to a blank page, he fought the tremors of his hand to clearly inscribe a few letters and then held up the pad, turned towards her so that she could read.

"R. D. Y. Energie"

Now she recalled seeing the name on quite a few documents. Filthy frackers... she recalled something about them being based abroad but the exact address didn't come to mind.

"Address!" Emily commanded, with a nod towards the notepad.

He understood that just fine, and set to work writing immediately. A few moments later he lifted and turned the notebook in her favour.

Emily read the address. There seemed to be quite a few numbers in it. The last one was an area code, that was obvious enough. The first one was clearly a street number. Even she knew the word "Avenue". She wondered why the following line also contained a number as she unthinkingly opened the fingers of her right hand, releasing their crushing grip on the frame of the cabin. The man was too busying screaming now, ever further beneath her, even if she had thought of asking him. She left him, and the portable office surrounding him, to descend, their downward plunge accelerating by nearly ten meters per second with every passing second. There were quite a few seconds until the impact far below that reduced the building to fragments and its sole inhabitant to paste. By then Emily was already gaining altitude, her inner navigation senses steering her with precision-laser accuracy towards home.



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. Ten minutes later.


"I know it doesn't make sense, but those are the facts, Sir Charles," overheard Emily as she fine-tuned her enhanced auditory capabilities onto Daddy's supposedly-hushed-voice mobile phone conversation taking place on the far side of four solid, brick-and-plaster walls. She'd floated back into her bedroom, through the open window, just in time to catch the exchange.

"I spoke with Bartomeu just a couple of minutes before," her father was explaining. "He told me there were zero injuries. Whatever happened must have occurred immediately after I hung up with him..."

"So what do you think it was, Barrington? Gas explosion?"

"I... I can't speculate on the nature of it as yet because the report I got was incomplete... the poor chap I sent over was clearly in shock. He said he'd seen one decapitated body, and another appeared to have been frozen. He did mention something I find a little unnerving. He said there was no trace of the site office, no debris, just a mark on the ground where it was, right next to where he found the bodies. I'm struggling to comprehend how an explosion left no scorch marks and froze a man to death." Emily couldn't help giggling as she listened in. Poor Daddy! He simply had no idea...

"Most strange," agreed Charles Sweet, from the other end of the line, although he did not pause for any length of time that might indicate he was trying to form his own theory. Instead, he continued "I assume that the authorities will find nothing irregular in our actions before, or immediately after this incident?"

"Authorities" Emily thought, momentarily sufficiently perplexed to stop chuckling. "I thought these two wanted to hide everything from the authorities..." Then she realised that whoever her father had texted to salvage the earthmover must have arrived on the scene just after she'd taken to the sky with the site office, seen the carnage she'd left behind and immediately called the police. That meant Daddy and his pal Charlie hadn't even had a chance to intervene.

"They have been informed in a timely and appropriate manner." Nigel Barrington replied. "Doubtless, they will be calling me any moment."

"Oooh," smiled Emily to herself, "that will be fun to listen to!"

"I expect to be fully and rapidly informed of all developments," Sir Charles told him, almost threateningly.

"Of course," promised Barrington. As he ended the call, striding into the deserted family kitchen to make himself a strong coffee, he noticed that dawn was breaking outside. He flipped on the television whilst he waited for the police to call and the screen flickered to life already tuned to the rolling news channel. "We're getting unconfirmed reports of an accident at the Dinkley Moor fracking site in north Lancashire. We believe there have been casualties, but as yet there's been no official word. We'll bring you more on that as soon as we can... In other news, a new study claims to show that workplace productivity can be increased by setting aside time every day for..."

Nigel stopped listening as he prepared his drink, letting the clinking of the mug and the tinkling of the spoon drown out the pre-recorded report being shown. From sixty times further away, behind enough intervening brick, concrete and plaster to silence a rock concert to the ears of the rest of the population, the television audio was still loud and clear to Emily. Loud, clear and boring now that they weren't talking about what she'd been up to any more. Distracted, she typed "full frontal assault squad live dates" into the browser on her smartphone.

Finally, the taped segment ended, and the main newsreader appeared again on screen, announcing the name of the channel before informing his viewers "We're still awaiting more details of the incident at Dinkley Moor this morning, but numerous posts on social media say a large object, possibly some kind of pre-fabricated temporary office unit, has hit a primary school playground about a mile from the Dinkley Moor site. There are claims that the damage is extensive, although it is believed the school was empty overnight. Once again, this is an unconfirmed story. We'll have more as we head towards the main bulletin at the top of the hour..."

"How vile of those bastards to carry out their filthy fracking just a mile from a primary school!" Emily mused, disgusted at the way the callousness and sheer greed of men like Daddy's friends could put even innocent children at potential risk. "They could have triggered a much bigger earthquake and at a different time of day, and..." she stopped, mid-thought. An idea was forming in her mind. She opened a new search window on her mobile and typed "what time do offices normally open in france".



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. Four hours later.


The city hove into view beneath her, a jumble of medieval and mid-twentieth-century architecture. There were only a tiny handful of buildings over about seven storeys in height, and only three towers of the kind she had expected. None of the three had any external markings or signs. She recalled the address the terrified male had given her. Her astonishing powers of vision let her see small details on the streets far below, but the angle made reading the panels bearing the names of the various avenues and boulevards impracticable, so she swooped down, at several times the speed of sound, to catch a glimpse.

It was nearly mid-morning, the sky a uniform bright blue with flecks of white cloud. Emily passed a few hundred feet over the busy streets, unobserved by virtue of her supersonic speed, her beautiful eyes flickering one way then the other, moving and taking in information at a rate that would have defied human comprehension. She stopped, quite suddenly in mid-flight, completing a deceleration of astonishing power without conscious effort, but rather than pausing for a moment to reflect on the feat, she immediately rose quickly into the sky to hover high above the roof of what she now knew for certain was the address she had been given.

Her emerald irises gleamed as they stared through the top of the edifice. She'd expected to see the RDY Energie boardroom, but instead found that she was looking at some kind of public viewing platform, although it seemed to be empty at at that moment. Emily stared more intently, peeling away another floor of the building, only to reveal a cafeteria with a few bored-looking workers and a similar number of equally unexcited customers. Her eyes were almost aglow now, working their way level-by-level down the tower, finding the offices of a travel agency, then a law company, then what looked like an architect's studio. The thought flashed into her mind that she had been lied to.

If so, she realised that it was too late to punish the culprit or to extract the truth from him. She recalled the image of the shakily-written postal information that he had held up to her. She definitely had the correct avenue, there was only one tall building on it, and it fit in with the street number from that line of the address. Then there'd been that second line, the one with the... the additional numbers... a four, followed by an apostrophe, then some other word. No... wait... it wasn't an apostrophe... it was a really poorly written degree symbol...

"Emily, I believe I have worked out the significance of the digit you are currently pondering," intoned Dan, as softly as ever, within her jumbled thoughts.

She automatically sent the immediate mental reply "Shut up! I'm busy!" before adding, after a moment's consideration, "So what does it mean then?"



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. Thirty seconds earlier.


Inside his modest office, Alain Robert Yotte, the CEO and founder of ARY Energie, removed the battery from his mobile telephone and flung it down on his desk in utter frustration. It appeared some journalist had managed to get hold of his private number and had decided that calling every few minutes to see if he'd changed his mind about granting an exclusive interview would be a good tactic. He could hear the endless ringing of the main office number on his PA's desk just outside his private workroom. The top man's office was the smallest of the three-room rented suite that served as the headquarters of his company. On the other side of his door, an open space with six tables, including his assistant's desk, lead to a seldom-used meeting room and the door to the corridor. ARY Energie shared a kitchen and toilets with the three other businesses on that floor of the building.

The ringing of telephones out in the main office was incessant. Yotte knew his P.A. was fielding calls as quickly as she could, and that the rest of the headquarters-based employees, a team that numbered eight in total, were all taking non-stop rings. Each and every one of them had been answering telephones since the office day had started an hour and ten minutes ago, but it seemed that every local and national media outlet, as well as all their counterparts across the Channel, were taking turns to try and extract fresh information or to grab a personal interview with him.

As soon as he'd been woken with news of the accident at the English site, he'd composed a press-release, based on a pre-prepared template, expressing shock and pointing out how the thoughts of everyone at the company were with the loved ones of the victims of the tragic events whilst also stressing that it was not appropriate at this stage to make any further comment whilst investigations by the British authorities, with which ARY Energie was co-operating fully, were on-going. But that clearly wasn't enough to satiate the appetites of the various news organisations.

It was barely gone ten in the morning, yet he already felt exhausted. He was still awaiting confirmation of Bartomeu's fate, but it seemed only a matter of time before the man he'd worked with daily for years was officially declared dead. Yotte had been informed about the discovery of so-far unidentified human remains amongst the wreckage of the site office. Everything seemed to point to his employee being inside the temporary building when the still-unexplained cataclysmic explosion had apparently thrown the entire structure almost two kilometres from its starting point and claimed the lives of a quartet of local workers. For the hundredth time Alain found himself wondering what on Earth might have caused such a bizarre and horrific series of events.



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. Thirty-one seconds later.


The answer to the CEO's question was hovering above the roof of the building, more than two-dozen floors up from the ARY Energie office, listening to the gentle voice inside her mind. "I think it means that the company's office is located on the fourth storey of this construction."

"Makes sense," Emily thought in reply, without emotion, now peering deeper through the building to try and catch a confirmatory glimpse of a sign on a door or a piece of headed stationery or any indication that she had found what she was seeking.

"But, Emily, if I am correct - and it appears that I am - then the rest of the building has nothing at all to do with ARY Energie," Dan began.

"Looks that way," she responded by telepathy, with a casualness that implied 'Yeah, and? So what?'

"Emily, I believe you are considering action that would affect the entire structure. Given the very small portion that is actually ARY Energie, perhaps you might want to alter your plans to reflect that," suggested Dan inside her mind.

"Not really," Emily told him, flatly, through the medium of thought, abruptly ending the internal conversation. She was eager to devote the forefront of her mind to a different task; namely using her stunning powers of X-ray vision, combined with a glimpse of a number displayed prominently on a wall opposite an elevator doorway on one of the upper floors, to count and stare her way down the building, storey by storey, backwards from twenty-one to four.

When Emily had researched the local office hours, she'd failed to account for the time-zone difference and had spent an unnecessary extra hour lying on her bed, idling browsing social media picture feeds. The unnecessary sixty minute delay meant that the building was even fuller that it would have been at ten past nine local time. She found herself peering through various sets of bones and organs as she computed the various floor numbers before, soon enough, pausing on the top-down view of a large, open-plan office-space with a bright, lime-green carpet on which had been arranged multiple banks of desks, each with a row of seated workers staring at computer monitors.



Lancashire, UK. 200 miles from London. Twenty seconds earlier.


"Any preliminary findings?" The lead investigator was a tall, sandy-haired man in his mid-forties wearing an inexpensive suit and carrying a crumpled overcoat folded over his arms. The target of his question was a woman of near-retirement age, clad from head to foot in semi-transparent white plastic protective coverings, on to which was clipped a photographic ID card with the prominent inscription "Authorised Forensic Analyst". She looked up from one of the four body bags lying on the ground and turned to address the questioner.

"You can rule out gas explosion," said the older woman, shaking her head. "There's absolutely no sign of any kind of ignition or flame-burst. I don't think you're going to be handling this one much longer, if I'm honest."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't see this remaining an accident investigation. My findings suggest that a more likely explanation is foul play, but I... I can't even begin to speculate how..."

"You think they were murdered?"

"It's too early to say for sure. If it was a deliberate act then a series of increasingly unorthodox weapons were used..." The forensic examiner nodded in the direction of one of the body bags. "This one has head his head removed without trace but with an instrument that was so hot and precise it cauterised the wound as it cut but left only a few small burns on the collar of his overalls. Whereas his friend here - " she indicated a second wrapped-up corpse "has been frozen as though by being sprayed with several gallons of liquid nitrogen. The other two look as if they've been strangled with the force of a hydraulic press. Strange thing is, there may be finger-marks, perhaps indicating that a hand was placed on the necks alongside the press. We'll know more once we get a good look back at the mortuary."

"What about the Portakabin? Are we certain it was here?"

"No question. It had been sitting on that area for at least a week, could be up to ten days. The ground over there has been uncovered for the same kind of time-span that these chaps have been dead. And whatever moved it lifted it from above. There are no signs of anything pushing it up from the ground, definitely no traces of explosive material."

"And no vehicle tracks, no evidence of a crane being brought in and out overnight?"

"No, nothing. The only tracks we think we've found were human, leading that from pile of gravel behind you through the cluster of bodies and up to where we're sure the door of the Portakabin was. The thing is, well.. the things really... for a start, the tracks seem to just appear over there, there's no sign of how they got there, no vehicle marks, nothing... and they're not the sort of big boot marks you'd expect... they look like they were made by small bare feet, probably female."

"Bare? Let me get this straight. You're suggesting that, at this scene of five unnatural deaths, one of them inside a portable office that ended up a mile away, all of which you believe to have been the result of violence, the only unaccounted-for person present was a woman with no shoes on?"

"That's what it looks like, yes."



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. One minute later.


The screams were beginning to die down, but the sobbing and groaning showed no sign of abating. Inside the office, even the most severely wounded were staring in shock at the girl standing amidst a lake of shattered glass that littered the bright green carpet. Behind her, tattered strips of cloth, remainders of the office blinds, fluttered in the wind in front of the huge jagged hole that had been smashed in the full-height windows. She stood, her gorgeous face expressionless, her back straight so that her large, round breasts seemed to be thrust towards the panicked and hurt workers.

Was the arrogant jut of her magnificent twin globes a reflection of their owner's pride at the way her insanely-attractive breasts had so disdainfully dealt with the huge glass pane that had found itself in their path? The material had yielded instantly as she moved herself, upright and perpendicular to the ground, one moment appearing, apparently from nowhere, hovering on air just outside the window, the next crashing right through it. So many of the office workers had sustained cuts from flying glass as she'd exploded into the office through the sealed, double-glazed view-port, yet there was not a single mark to be seen anywhere on her stunning body, nor any hint of tear in her staggeringly-tight, brief clothing.

As the panic of her violent arrival passed its peak, almost every pair of eyes in the room locked on the astonishing form of the unexpected intruder. The few who weren't continuously staring at the girl, were alternating glances between her and the profusely-bleeding cuts they had sustained from shattered flying glass. She certainly did not need to demand the attention of the room before she spoke, coldly and stridently, as though she were passing judgement. "Doing your filthy fracking in other countries does not mean you're safe from punishment here."

Confusion ripped across the faces of her shocked audience. Many of them failed to understand her words at all, uttered as they were in a foreign language. Amongst those few whose English was at a sufficiently advanced level to permit comprehension, her statement itself did not appear to make much sense. There were whispered demands for translations which lead only to a deepening of the bewilderment in the room. No-one replied to the stunning girl directly.

She seemed to misread the reason for the befuddlement all around. "Did you think you could wreck the planet from your cosy office without consequences?" she demanded, contemptuously. The question finally drew a response. A conservatively-dressed woman in her mid-forties whose only-mildly accented English revealed years of travel and study in her past. "You are making a mistake! We do not wreck the planet!" she declared, the nervousness in her voice matching that betrayed by her face.

"How dare you deny that fracking wrecks the planet!" the window-smashing, inappropriately-attired girl snapped, turning to stare directly at the source of the claim. There was a collection of gasps as the young woman's eyes began to glow, leaving none of the many witnesses in any doubt that something more than human occupied that ridiculously-attractive body.

Somehow, the target of her accusation managed to control her terror enough to blurt out "We do not do any of this fracking! We are a publisher of educational text-books!"

Immediately, the burning eyes returned to their previous, sparkling, beautiful green. The level of fear throughout the room barely lessened. Now it was the astonishing girl's turn to look slightly confused.

"Is this A.R.Y. Energy?" she asked, only slightly less aggressively than her previous questioning.

A far greater proportion of the room understood this latest enquiry. "No!" was the chorused reply.

Now the gorgeous face of the new arrival revealed a more pronounced level of non-understanding. She tilted her head downwards, apparently staring at the floor, her lips moving as if she were counting some unseen collection of objects near her pretty, bare feet. Her audience waited uneasily.



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. Five seconds later.


Emily used her ability to see through solid objects as easily as she could see through air to try and count the number of floors of the building below her feet. The woman clearly wasn't lying. With her magnificently-enhanced senses she could detect that by listening to her heartbeat and studying her pores and her scent. She didn't need to use such forensic methods, however. There were posters on the wall and boxes of books and stationery throughout the office which clearly bore the name of an academic book company. It seemed pretty obvious that she'd chosen the wrong set of windows to smash through, and the wrong set of workers to accuse of environmental crimes.

"Is this floor four?" Emily asked the increasingly-perplexed crowd in front of her, as she begun to feel ever more certain of the precise nature of her error.

There were even more people capable of comprehending and answering such a simple question.

"No! Five!" they almost shouted at her. The sense of relief around the damaged office was palpable. She wondered why as she looked downwards once again, this time properly scanning the level directly below. It didn't take her long to spot pen lying on a table, on which had been embossed the words "A.R.Y. ENERGIE". Without even so much as a glance at the wounded and scared occupants of the publishing house, let alone any sort of apology for her miscalculation, Emily accessed her localised-gravitational-field-manipulation neuro-physical ability, or "power of flight" as she called it, to move her stunning slender body downwards.

There was a carpet between her and the floor below, but that could not slow her superhuman movement. Neither could the heavy, thick chipboard floor panels beneath it. The concrete that her feet encountered after that did no better, cracking and crumbling instantly as she applied pressures that no architect could ever have anticipated. Then, with more of a scream than a groan, her lovely feminine soles tore through a vast steel girder, its resistance less than negligible in the face of her incalculable might.

Her feet emerged like a missile through the ceiling below, in a blast of concrete fragments, displaced metal chunks and wooden splinters. There were screams as the debris rocketed through the room below, material that had instantly succumbed to Emily proving to be instantly devastating to anyone else that it touched. Two middle-aged men and a younger woman who had been seated around a table were obliterated in a moment as she descended.

A small piece of torn steel glanced the arm of a man seated a few yards away, travelling with sufficient speed to slice through bone, all but amputating his limb. His desperate yells almost drowned out the sound of the sturdy table collapsing under Emily's feet as she came to a halt at carpet-level, the former table top noisily ground to sawdust beneath her flawless soles. Dust filled the air. The door of an adjacent office opened, and a middle-aged man in a suit burst out with a cry of shock at the scene of death and destruction.

Emily surveyed the chaos, her vision penetrating the heavy dust. In the far corner of the room, a middle-aged woman and a much younger man, both of whom had been far enough from her point of entry to have been spared injury, glanced at one another and simultaneously began to run towards what the insanely-powerful girl quickly surmised was the main exit. She moved to intercept them, floating barely a quarter of an inch above the ruined carpet as she streaked across the office space, remaining upright, her supersonic passage curved so that, with her left hand leisurely held out at her side, her forearm instantly decapitated the dis-armed, screaming male, silencing him with effortless efficiency.

She came to a halt, a millisecond later, directly in the path of the two would-be escapees. Her sudden appearance in front of the pair caused them both to jump in shock. A moment passed as the dust began to settle, allowing them each, in turn, to notice the fresh, thick coating of blood dripping from her slender, shapely bare arm. She dislodged the crimson remains from her flawless limb with a single shake of her hand, countless times faster than any human could observe. It was an unthinkingly easy gesture for her, yet the movement of her arm flung the blood from her body with the combined force of thousands of industrial centrifuges, accelerating the gore to such velocities that much of it vaporised. A tiny number of the few scraps that survived tore through the two runners much like a barrage of miniature bullets might have done, ending their lives before either could blink, killing the duo before their legs began to fold.

It took a while for the four survivors to start screaming. Emily calmly addressed them with a shout so strong that it rattled the windows and cleared much of the dust still hanging in the air. "Silence!" Two of her targets, the middle-aged man who'd come out of the side office, and another, younger male, obeyed instantly. A third, a young woman only a few years older than her, managed to reduce her cries of horror to a low, constant sob.

The fourth was a man of near-retirement age who responded with his own, less loud, panicked yell "Qu'est-ce que tu es?" Emily didn't bother to try and understand the question. A quick, angry glance in his direction allowed her to focus the power of her lasers on his upper-body, warming it to temperatures similar to those found on the sun and turning it to charcoal in a heartbeat. When she blinked a second later, only the twin, smoking stumps of his ankles and his charred shoes remained.

"I said 'Silence'," she needlessly reminded the smouldering remains, her voice at a normal level now that she no longer needed to compete with people screaming to be heard by her dwindling audience. The sobbing girl bit her lip in an attempt to stifle her involuntary expression of horror. The two remaining men, their faces drained of blood, trembled as they stood in soundless obedience.

"You thought you could conduct your evil fracking hundreds of miles away without facing the consequences!" Emily accused the petrified trio.

"Quoi?" responded the one who'd come out of the side-room, his expression showing a lack of comprehension alongside obvious terror. Neither of the two others looked like they'd understood either.

She decided to try again. "I'm here to punish you for your crimes against the Earth," she informed them.


"You will all pay for what you have done to this beautiful planet," Emily stated.

"Qu- I... do not... ah... en francais?"

"You don't understand?" she asked, rhetorically, barely concealing her growing frustration. "You understand earthquakes though, don't you? You create enough of them! Well, understand this!"

The final syllable was barely out of her lips when she re-activated her mastery over gravity, propelling herself downwards, transforming her glorious sexy body into an unstoppable indestructible missile that rocketed through the floors below, punching through every obstacle, wooden, ceramic or metallic, without slowing, carving through floors, ceilings, girders, tiles, desks, cabinets and people, destroying everything in its path. She passed through the building's ornate ground floor in several microseconds, leaving catastrophic damage in her wake. Her feet breached a basement boiler unit, unleashing metal shards and aggressive jets of steam that failed to scratch her perfection but caused carnage to anyone within range. Still she descended, through thick, reinforced pipework, unleashing massive electrical discharges as her petite toes sliced through cabling, absorbing thousands of volts without her being aware.

Soon enough, she was ploughing through solid concrete. The dense strong material was no more able to slow her progress than the rest of the construction had proven, dissolving to powder to accommodate her silky feminine skin wherever it came into contact. It was Emily, and only Emily, who could halt her downward flight. No substance on Earth could stop her against her will. When she decelerated, instantly, to stationary, around two thirds of the way through the huge-building-sized block that served as the tower's foundations, it was because she had arrived at her intended destination.

She knew the the entire thirty-storey edifice was set in the vast block of artificial stone which now surrounded her on all sides save for the vertical channel she'd drilled with her body from above. She knew, too, that her lithe, feminine body contained in its slender, subtly-muscled limbs and its slim, curvaceous core, more than enough physical power to reduce that massive piece of concrete to powder. The challenge she now set herself was to exert her astronomical strength in a way that could move the unfathomably heavy, solid foundation without smashing it to pieces.

Inside the bottom of the narrow channel she had created, Emily slowly pressed herself against the rough stone. She could hear the concrete creaking as it struggled to maintain its integrity. A thin layer was ground to fine dust by the enormous pressures of her perfect contours. She began to employ her gravitational-field-manipulation abilities, trying to transfer her power of flight, through her perfect body, into the massive block, and was rewarded for her improvisation by the sensation of the whole giant thing moving about an inch-and-a-half in the direction she was hoping.

Millions of tonnes of earth, soil and clay had to yield to allow for the small movement, but Emily failed to register the resistance such volumes of solid ground briefly offered. She was already carefully applying her seemingly-limitless power towards the opposite side of the block, ignoring the forces of the Universe that she mercilessly conquered as she succeeded in shifting the foundations, and everything built on them, almost the width of her hand. This time, twice as much material around the base was displaced, twice as many million tonnes forced aside by the might of a perfectly-formed, alien-enhanced teenage girl, still without causing her to struggle.

Now, she had, with surprisingly little difficulty, created what she thought of as "wiggle room". She could push the foundations, from within, laterally, to one side and to the other by controlled application of her flight-like abilities through her body. She began to alternate, pressing herself to her left then her right, shifting the mammoth block of concrete one way then the other, ever more rapidly. Once she had developed an almost dance-like rhythm, she tilted her head back as far as she could to peer, directly upwards, though dozens of feet of masonry, curious to observe the effects of her oscillations on the actual building above.



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. Fifteen seconds earlier.


The first jolt had terrified everyone inside the building. Away from the chaos on the lower floors, most had managed to keep their feet as papers and keyboards slid off desks. People instinctively began to run towards the office exits, heading for one of the building's staircases. Then the second massive shudder had hit, tripping many of the sprinters, sending a few crashing into walls and furniture and tipping over heavier items such as monitor screens and chairs. Screams ripped through the edifice, and panic took over.

By the time of the third violent shake, the few fast-movers who had already reached the stairs were tossed off their feet, colliding with one another, and bouncing viciously against rails and walls and steps. Inside the offices, printers and computers smashed to the carpets or on top of fallen workers as they struggled to find their feet. The screaming was universal now, throughout the building, not just on the lower floors where death and damage had occurred even before the whole construction had started to jerk about.

The fourth sudden movement came after a shorter pause and with more violence than its predecessors. Most of the people who had managed to hold their feet up to that point were knocked off balance, many sent flying to the ground, others slammed into partitions and tables. Pictures fell from their hooks on every floor. Water-cooler tanks tumbled from their mountings, rolling into flailing arms and legs. On the sixteenth floor, a steel cabinet, overladen with weighty tools, toppled backwards into and through both panes of the tall double-glazed windows, twisting like an Olympic diver as it tumbled down the outside of the building on its way to smashing the pavement below.

Before the cabinet had reached ground level, the huge construction jolted again. A man on floor sixteen was thrown through the broken windows to follow the same long, downward trajectory as the tool cupboard. Three floors above, a dislodged desk broke through the glass, tipping precariously for a moment part inside and part outside the tower. Cracks appeared in a number of the other windows as the heavy steel cabinet finally slammed into the paving stones beside the main entrance.

The impact was still reverberating as the building shook once more. Now, there was almost no-one left standing inside on any of the floors. Just about everyone within, from the lobby to the top storey, had been thrown off their feet. Several windows on either side of the edifice shattered as furniture and people were thrown against them from within. Ceiling tiles rained down throughout the structure as pipes ruptured, spraying water over the mayhem. Small hairline fissures appeared in the plasterwork all over the interior of the tower. On the exterior, chunks of decorative cladding were knocked loose, tumbling down towards the growing piles of debris that were forming all around the bottom of the tower.

It was then that the massive jolts to the whole building took on a significantly more rapid and regular frequency. Inside, furniture and people were tossed around like loose coins inside a tumble dryer. More and more windows broke until there was very little intact glass remaining. The desk teetering halfway out of the nineteenth floor was knocked completely clear of the tower. A computer server rack tumbled from the smashed hole in the side of the tenth storey. An unconscious body dropped from a similar jagged gape a few floors below that. Two more bounced out from the twelfth storey. The steel frame of the tower began to emit a low metallic creak each time it was knocked to one side or the other.

Inside, some of the walls were crumbling. The cracks spread, becoming visible from the exterior wherever the cladding had been dislodged. No-one was screaming now. More debris fell out from the upper floors, including a large meeting table and a old-fashioned filing cabinet. Several more people were dislodged completely from the building. The groaning of steel girders crescendoed until it eclipsed even the sound of furniture smashing down onto the pavement. With a sudden, sharp sound, one entire side of the structure crumbled, falling away with a rumble, revealing dozens of floors strewn with broken furniture and broken bodies.

Still the remains of the building and its contents shook to and fro. A second side wall seemed to dissolve into rubble, chunks of stone cascading to the secondary disaster zone of the wreckage-filled streets below, leaving the edifice looking increasingly like a unfinished version of itself. Little remained to prevent ever more debris being thrown out the sides of the ever more exposed storeys. Metallic screams had now replaced the human ones. The floors of the building began to fold and cave one by one, the carnage of each level tipping into the one below. Thick clouds of dust billowed outwards.



Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France. 240 miles from Paris. Ten seconds later.


From her station, deep within the doomed building's foundation block, Emily watched the devastation as best she could. She had no difficulty seeing through the stone all around her, or the growing density of dust in the air above. It was the unfavourable angle afforded by her viewpoint that made observation tricky. She could tell with confidence that the damage to the building was severe, if not catastrophic, but she found it difficult to gauge the exact extent of it.

Peering through the worsening chaos for signs of life as she gracefully gyrated from left to right and back again, inflicting irreparable destruction with every movement of her nubile form, she was distracted by a squeal of tortured metal that reverberated through the solid concrete surrounding her. She could see the entire twisted mass of wreckage above her moving, coming downwards her, piling up on itself as it fell. The vast, solid chunk of stone she was embedded within vibrated, for the first time not side-to-side in response to her own movements, but vertically as endless tonnes of brick, steel and other materials rained down onto it from above.

The awkward viewing angle was no longer a barrier to judging the state of the structure. Emily stopped her lateral movements. She knew that she had accomplished her self-imposed task. Such was the force and the duration of the continuing shaking of the foundations and such was the intensity and the level of the noise overhead that she could be in no doubt that the entire building, all thirty storeys, had collapsed. The frackers had been given the full artificial earthquake experience that she had intended for them. So too had the many other businesses based in the former tower. Punishment for association, she reasoned.

Emily was dozens of yards underground, at the bottom of a shaft she herself had created. The top of that channel was buried deep within the ruins of what moments before had been a skyline-dominating tower. It didn't occur to her that leaving her current location might be a challenge, because nothing was a challenge to her. She merely access her gravitational-field-manipulation abilities once again, this time in an upward direction and shot, like a sexy rocket, towards the sky.

Her indestructible, slender body with its irresistible curves carved through the rubble as if it wasn't there, the silky hair crowning her head simply brushing aside any obstacle it encountered, no matter how dense or heavy. Within a fraction of a second of taking off, she burst from the top of the mountain of debris in a fountain of displaced steel and stone that was still raining down on the area as she soared towards the upper reaches of the atmosphere, her phenomenal speed robbing any potential witnesses of the chance to observe her beauty, or to provide a description to the authorities.



Surrey, UK. 35 miles from London. Seven minutes later.


"Barrington," said the familiar voice down the line as Nigel answered his mobile. Nigel had only just finished speaking with the police about the events up North earlier in the morning. He incorrectly assumed Sir Charles was calling to debrief him about that. "Switch on the television news," Sweet instructed him. Nigel grabbed a remote controller from the desk beside him and pointed it at a large wall-mounted screen. A shaky, aerial view of what looked like a war-zone captured from a helicopter appeared on the display. He pressed the button to bring up the sound levels.

"...local people are saying there was no noticeable earthquake and no single, large explosion. According to one eye-witness interviewed on the local radio station, the tower appeared to start shaking of its own accord until it collapsed. This is an unprecedented catastrophe for the country, there's never been a building collapse on this scale in France before and the overriding sense is one of shock. The authorities are refusing to speculate on the cause of the collapse. A police spokesman said all efforts are currently being focussed on the search and rescue operation. Colleagues that I've spoken to across the channel have told of fears that the casualty numbers could reach into the hundreds. You can see the scale of the devastation on your screens now..." Nigel lowered the volume again. A flash of recognition triggered in his brain.

"My God, Sir Charles," he said into the mobile. "Is that the building where A.R.Y. Energie are based?"

"It was, yes. Two unexplained disasters striking one of our clients in the space of a few hours. And so soon after the Lone Star incident... I'm not a great believer in coincidence, Barrington. I'm concerned that there may be something we should be aware of. Perhaps around your end of things."

"I can assure you that security around this part of our operation is water-tight," Nigel moved quickly to counter whatever speculation Sir Charles was hinting at.

"Yes, no doubt. I just hope, especially for your sake, that if a link is established between the events at Dinkley Moor and the disaster in France or indeed the events in Dallas, it doesn't involve our operations in any way."

"I'm certain it wouldn't," Barrington attempted to shrug off the veiled threat.

"Good," Sir Charles responded, sounding anything but convinced.

Nigel hung up and immediately dialled another number. "Yes, this is Nigel Barrington," he said when his call was answered. "I need you to get over here immediately and carry out a detailed examination of my phone and my computer to ascertain whether there has been a data breach."

Barrington had no reason to suspect he'd been hacked, but he felt creditable confirmation that his personal equipment was secure might prove useful to have at hand next time he spoke with Sweet. If there was some kind of a leak in the organisation, someone stealing the information of clients he was speaking with and using it to carry out horrendous acts of destruction, it would surely be someone at Sir Charles' end. It couldn't possibly be anyone around him!

"Nigel? Nigel?" It was his wife's voice, getting louder as she entered the room. "Ah there you are!" she announced. "You haven't by chance spoken to Emily this morning have you? She's gone out without telling me again..."



Somme, France, 70 miles from Paris, Three Minutes Later.


"Emily," the soft voice distracted her from her chain of thought. She'd been trying to remember the lyrics to "It's My Pussy And I'll Fry If I Want To" by Full Frontal Assault Squad.

"What?" she demanded of the alien entity trapped inside her mind. "Let me guess. Something to do with fucking tungsten?"

Dan didn't see the point in a false denial. "We're passing just a few miles from a warehouse where I believe there is a substantial quantity being stored. It would only delay you by a matter of a few minutes..."

"Can't," Emily told him. "I need to get back to see Daddy's reaction to the news. And I want to book some gig tickets."

"I understand. But there may never be a better opportunity..."

"I told you, there's no time!" she snapped back.

Dan resorted to his final, desperate play. "There is a way of accomplishing the task more quickly..."

"Not interested," Emily dismissed him.

"...by creating a new neuro-physical ability," the entity continued, regardless.

"Maybe later," she conceded, unwilling to completely turn down the offer of a new power.

"The warehouse is owned by a corporation that has been accused of multiple violations of environmental laws..." coaxed Dan.

"OK, OK, I'll bear it in mind," Emily stalled.

"...for which they have never been punished." Dan laid down what he hoped would prove to be his trump card.

Emily stopped in mid-flight, decelerating from three times the speed of sound to motionless inside a single microsecond, hovering dozens of miles above the ground in the freezing, thin air, as comfortable as if she had been in a warm bath at sea-level. "What's this new ability then?" she enquired.


Conceptfan, Jan. 2022.