Legacy – The Diaries (Part 2)
An alternate Earth’s story line…
Diary - Part Two
It was at this time that Jeremy and Robert entered a phase where they were fascinated with blowing things up. While most guys were lucky to get some Black Cat firecrackers and cherry bombs, they begged me to get some "real stuff". I wasn’t into making things go boom (that's gotta be a guy thing), but I did know where the army did their live fire exercises. I told the guys to meet me at our secret place deep in the woods, and I flew down one night to collect up some stuff. There was unexploded ordnance all over the firing range after a big training exercise.
I carried a big pile of it back to our secret clearing in the woods, and once there, I stood with my back to the guys and squeezed one of the unexploded grenades as hard as I could in my hand. The casing just squished and smelly stuff came out the top and bottom.
I tried another one, but this time I put my heat vision to work (I’d learned to control it by now), holding the grenade close so I could burn a little hole down through the failed fuse. I was rewarded with a face full of shrapnel and a blast that tossed me up into the branches of a tree, my clothing shredded.
The guys thought that was totally cool, the blast that is, so they convinced me to do one in each hand as they hid behind a rock, peaking around the corners. This time I held the grenades so tightly that the explosion only went out the top and bottom of my hands, which was good as my clothing was already full of holes. It was the first time I’d channeled an explosive in order to control it.
I moved on to the big howitzer shell I'd brought back. The guys were acting like those two boys in the Fellowship of the Rings movie as they stole Gandalf’s biggest firework, laughing and giggling and acting impish. Except I was the firework.
I have to admit, though, it was kind of fun to show off this way.
The problem was what to do with something a hundred times more dangerous than a grenade. Blowing a crater in the middle of the forest was only going to make sure that our hiding place was discovered. Could I channel it like I had the grenades?
I sat on the flat boulder in the middle of the clearing and sat Indian style, cradling the base of the shell between my legs as I wrapped my body around it, hugging it tightly. Jeremy and Robert ducked behind another boulder on the edge of the clearing. I squeezed the shell until I felt the steel casing starting to flatten, muscles opposing muscles as I tensed myself harder than any steel, concentrated all my flying power inward from all directions. Then I released another burst of heat vision at the dud fuse.
The explosion, when it came, didn’t even feel like one. The shell swelled outward, bending my arms and legs outward, but not very far. Then the shell just transformed itself into this white-hot plasma. Most of it went straight downward to bore a hole through the boulder beneath me, and the rest went straight up, the flash dazzling me.
I blinked the black spots away, only to find I was still sitting in the same place. The front of my body was glowing white-hot, and all traces of my clothing were gone Yet I didn’t see a piece of shrapnel flying outward.
I just sat there huddled up for long seconds, my body so hot the boulder beneath me started to melt a bit. The guys rose from behind their boulder and moved closer, looking astonished. They had to stop twenty feet away and cover their eyes because of my skin temperature, which was about the same as molten steel.
I gave them a quick smile, I was afraid to speak, fearful that flames would come out of my lungs, and instead launched myself upward into the sky and over to the closest lake. I dove under the water to float inside a steam bubble as my skin slowly cooled. Then I flew back home and in through my bedroom window.
I was proud that the "channeling" thing dad had told me about had worked perfectly. Turning a blast into plasma by containing it until the heat vaporized all the metal parts of the shell.
I was working on my homework when Jeremy called an hour later. He'd just gotten back home. He was bubbling about my having turned the shell into a shaped charge.
Yeah, that’s me, the shaped charge. I just wish I had some of the right kinds of shapes.
The big story in the local paper the next day had to do with stolen ordnance from Camp Jerkins that someone had brought close to Silverdale. The police had heard the explosions and had searched the woods for evidence. The bomb squad came to haul away the last of my unexploded stash. The blast debris looked "unusual", according to the paper.
Dad read the article and gave me hell for it. That was the maddest I’d ever seen him. He said I could have injured Jeremy or Robert.
I just shrugged, trying to act cool, but he grabbed my hand and flew me halfway around the planet to Cambodia. We hovered over a hospital as he asked me to look through the roof. I scanned from room to room, and was horrified to see that everyone in the hospital was a kid who’d had limbs blown off or were blinded or had terrible burns. I felt like throwing up. Those poor kids were in so much pain.
That was the end of my playing with explosives. Humans are so fragile.
Dad also decided it was time to start the next phase of my training. He began by taking me to Star Labs. He said they would “baseline me”. Whatever that meant.
What I did know was that the laboratory complex looked like something out of a SciFi horror movie. He said he’d shared some Kryptonian science with them and they were using it to help defend Earth. He also explained that I should tell the scientists anything they asked and that I should do whatever they asked me to do. He said this lab and some of the scientists inside were the same ones who’d tested his powers years ago, and they were the people who first diagnosed his susceptibility to the weakening effects of Kryptonite.
Apparently the various kinds of K were residue of our long-exploded planet and a bunch of it had tagged along with his life-ship as it came to Earth, sort of like a meteor shower. His childhood friend and now bitter enemy, Lex Luthor, had spent a fortune collecting the stuff. Which is why Luthor was so dangerous to us.
A dozen men and women in white coats met us in this big conference room. Most of them looked a lot older than dad, but they seemed like old friends. After a round of warm greetings, they started asking him questions about how long I’d had my abilities – they always called them that – and what I could do with them. Dad seemed really proud of me as he described what we’d done together.
Then a bunch of other people in suits came in the room and started asking him about Diana. Apparently she’d recently sided with some people called the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. The US called them terrorists but Diana called them freedom fighters. She’d disabled some Colombo government aircraft that were attempting to fire on the Tigers and made it known that anyone who attacked “her people” would be dealt with severely. And that included the US government.
The bottom line, as near as I could figure out, was that the suits were worried I was really an Amazon and that I’d side with my mother.
That was a laugh. I’d hated my time on Themyscira.
Dad assured the suits that I was solely under his guidance and that my tie to the Amazons was purely genetic, not cultural.
The suits weren’t happy with that, so they put a big pile of papers in front of dad and asked him to sign them. He sorted them into two piles: one pile he signed, consent stuff for Star Labs to test me, and the other pile he tore up. I could read enough of the torn papers to see that they were pledges to support the US government instead of the Amazons. That made the suits really mad, but they finally went away, leaving me with the white coats.
A nurse asked me to change into a red examination gown. It was the kind that tied in the back with these tiny strings and left my butt hanging out. Even worse, the first doctor I saw asked me to lower it so they could attach a bunch of sensors to my chest and back. I was starting to develop by this time, so that was really embarrassing. But dad said to do what they asked.
The testing started with the white coats doing stretching tests on my skin. That was followed by their running scalpels and laser beams along my arm and subjecting me to different intensities of electrical shock. One doctor examined my eyes for a really long time, and then asked me to use my heat vision.
I melted a hole in his wall.
He then asked me to read from a book that was inside a safe. Page 43. It was hard, but I did it.
The rest of the scientists poked and prodded every part of me. Well, almost. My dad hadn’t signed one of the consent forms –the one for a GYN exam – for which I am eternally grateful.
The physical exam was followed by x-rays and Catscans and MRI’s and ultrasounds and some weird looking instruments that they said were based on Kryptonian science. It all became very boring after a while.
Next were the physical tests. They were more interesting. They started by attaching a gadget to my arm that pressed two thick steel needles against my biceps, and then asked me to make a muscle for them.
That was a problem.
While I looked like most any other twelve year old girl when I was relaxed, well, maybe a couple of inches taller than average, I knew from comparing muscles with Jeremy and Robert that I was seriously abnormal in one way: I had bigger biceps than they did. My arms were usually skinny, but when I made a muscle, this huge thing kind of popped out.
Dad said it was our Kryptonian heritage. That our muscles have several times greater expansion ability than humans due to our great fitness.
The result was that I blushed bright red as I tensed my arm and bent my wrist upward and this nearly perfectly rounded biceps appeared with such definition that you could see the split down the middle of the muscle. It looked freaky on my arm, but the doctors didn’t seem to mind. They just measured both my relaxed and flexed arm and wrote down some stuff on their clipboards and then started to tighten those steel needles. They told me to make my muscle really hard as the probes started to press inward.
I did as they asked, and pretty soon the motor inside the machine sounded liked it was straining. The probes got so tight they almost hurt. I strained even harder, and finally the machine gave off aloud squealing, and then a groan that sounded like it was going to explode.
I figured outright away that this was me against the machine, and I’d never lost a dare. Least of all to a chunk of steel and plastic. I made my muscle so tight that my arm started to cramp, and the probes exploded like little bombs to send slivers of steel flying around the room.
One of the woman doctors cried out and pulled a long sliver of steel from her thigh. Bright red blood spurted out. Another doctor covered the wound with a big bandage while muttering something about “she’s her father’s daughter for sure. Harder than even him. Definitely not Amazon.”
Now I really felt freaky. I lived in fear that I’d grow up to be bulky like those female bodybuilders I’d seen. After all, Dad had the biggest muscles on the planet.
One of the woman doctors seemed to sense what I was worrying about and gave me a wink as she said, “Try beautiful instead.”
I wondered if she could read minds as I smiled at her. Now I didn't feel quite so freaky.
The next test was a strength test, and the cables that attached me to the weight machine looked big enough to tow an ocean liner.
I grabbed the huge handle and did a biceps curl. It was hard at first, and then this tingly, burning sensation started in my chest, sending strength out to my arm in this warm wave. It felt really good. The burn made it easy to lift the weight, and the cable sang and the pulley’s creaked and the whole floor sagged a bit. I looked through the floor to see lead weights the size of school busses. Several of them were hanging on my cable.
They added more of those huge weights, and that tingly burn kept growing, enough that my upper body was steaming hot now. Despite that, the weights were so heavy now that my arm froze halfway up. I gritted my teeth and went for it, but my muscle started cramping and I lost it. The weights crashed down so hard that they flattened, the earthquake like shake shattering some of the light bulbs in the ceiling, filing the lab with tiny sparkles.
The display on the wall read: 7,271.
I was disappointed with that until I saw that it was calibrated in tons.
Wow! I’d just curled the better part of fifteen million pounds. I had no idea I was anywhere near that strong. Not bad for a skinny twelve year old girl.
The white coat guys seemed really impressed for the first time since I’d arrived, one of them saying that, adjusted for muscle size, I was twice as strong as my dad.
The next test was for heat vision. They fitted my face to this device that had two holes for my eyes. I found myself looking down this long tunnel that was coated in some kind of ablative material. They said it was like the tiles on the space shuttle. I was supposed to focus on a polished globe at the end. I did, and let loose everything I had for about five seconds.
When I was done, and had blinked my eyes back to normal and stepped back, the screen over my head said 12,371 degrees Celsius. I knew steel melted at less than 2000 degrees.
They did a bunch of other stuff, including testing what I could see through (everything they tried except for lead and uranium), and then finally got to the final test. Something they called a “chest cavity resonance test”. As they explained it, they were going to shoot a bullet at me and measure the vibrations from inside my chest. The higher the resonant frequency, the harder my body was.
No big deal, I thought… I’d been shot before and it just tickled.
Boy, was I wrong about that. Their idea of a “bullet” was way off my scale.
It started with them asking me to stand at the end of a long tunnel. The backstop was made out of hardwood, the walls of solid steel. I scanned through the walls to find that the steel was four feet thick and backed by twenty feet of concrete.
What kind of bullets required that thick of a backstop?
I saw a dozen cameras swivel toward me as a nurse hooked up the leads from the probes on my back to a monitoring machine. Then she ducked out a door that looked like a bank vault, closing it behind her with a clang. I heard a hydraulic pump start up at the end of the room, and the clank of brass against steel. If that was the shell, it sure sounded big.
Guns make me really nervous now, given the way they tear flesh apart while inflicting the most horrible injuries imaginable, ripping apart the bodies of innocent victims. Guns have got to be the ugliest things on Earth.
But I was Supergirl. I could do this.
I spaced my feet apart a foot or so and put my hands on my hips and braced myself. I’d seen pictures of Aunt Kara where she’d looked so strong and resolute when she assumed this pose. Unfortunately, the paper-thin dressing gown made me feel almost naked.
I watched as they loaded a shell that was more than a meter long into what looked like a cannon. I scanned the paperwork next to the loader and saw “120mm M865 TPCDS-T Tungsten Kinetic Energy Anti-Tank Ammunition” on it.
Tungsten… that was way harder than steel.
The blurb said that the sabot could penetrate 48” of armor. It ended by saying this was “the premier tank killing round used by the US Army.”
It was very scary to see the targeting laser settled on the middle of my paper-thin gown.
I had vision of diving through that vault door right now -- without opening it, but dad had told me to let them run any tests they wanted to. So I bit my lip and held my breath as I stared nervously down the ugly bore of the cannon.
A voice came over a speaker and told me to stand straight and take a deep breath and hold it.
I hesitated, but finally said to hell with it… anything to get this over with. I put my hands on my hips and puffed up my chest. This was all about science. They were all doctors. I was Kryptonian. No problemo.
If not for the little voice that reminded me I was half Amazon, I would have believed myself.
The voice counted down from five, but instead of closing my eyes as they asked, I opened them even wider just as the voice said: “Fire”.
The end of the cannon erupted into a huge orange flame. I saw something big fly out of the flame, pieces tearing off it as it came at me. A sabot penetrator! It was moving so fast!
I decided to hell with this, and started to dive to the side, only to have the penetrator reach me just as I started moving. It dug into the side of my chest, bending my ribs inward as this incredibly sharp pain shot through me. Then the incredible force picked me up and pinned me against the backstop as the penetrator turned into a zillion sparks, bits and pieces of white-hot metal ricocheting back down the tunnel. The entire tunnel filled with sparks. The room started to spin around as my legs collapsed, and I fell, seeming as if from a great height, spinning around and around into the growing darkness.
The next thing I knew, I was lying curled up under a sheet on an exam table, my chest aching. Men in white coats were clustered around me, trying to stretch me out enough to do an examination. It hurt too much to move, so I stayed curled up.
The white coats gave up on trying to straighten me out, and started talking to each other in terms I didn’t understand. Someone else was entering numbers on computer keyboard. Then the man my dad had turned me over to, Dr. Sam Adams, came by and smiled as he leaned over me.
“Are you OK, Kara?”
I looked up at him through my tangled hair with one eye, trying to decide what the penalty was for vaporizing a scientist who’d just tried to kill me. Instead, I just shook my head.
“I’m sorry that hurt. You’d done so well up to that last test that we assumed you were as invulnerable as your dad. I mean, in every other way, you equaled his powers, adjusted of course for your smaller frame. In fact, ounce for ounce, you’re far stronger than him.”
“So… what’s the catch, Dr. Adams?” Rao! My ribs hurt just to breath.
“We measured the resonant frequency of your chest cavity as that sabot compressed it. That’s a measure of the ultimate hardness of your body. Think of it as an index of your resistance to injury. Your dad’s reading was 73,564 hertz..”
“Only 28,751 hertz I’m afraid. You aren’t quite as much a Girl of Steel as he is the Man of Steel. But still, that penetrator would have destroyed any armor on the planet. And you’re alive and talking. But you just had us worried for a moment.
“You were worried? That really hurt,” I whimpered.
“Your father has very rapid healing abilities. I assume you’ll be fine in no time.”
“Do you know what the first three letters of “assume” spell, doc?”
He just smiled, giving me the look that I hate. The one that said I was just a kid.
I traced my fingers across my chest, trying to decide what hurt the most. I didn’t like what I found. Damn it, if I hadn’t tried to move at the last moment. I saw Dr. Abrams looking down at me worriedly, the other doctors behind him, and decided to give him a little of his own medicine. His experiment had failed and he didn’t even know it yet.
“Have your people examined me yet, Dr. Adams? Since the cannon fired, I mean.”
He shook his head. “You’ve just now cooled off enough for us to come into the room. And you’re keeping yourself curled up. With your assistance, we’d like to do a complete examine.”
I closed my eyes and concentrated on trying to make the pain go away.
“Then you don’t have any idea why my body seems to be softer than my dad’s?”
He shrugged. “It’s not a big deal. You’re still growing. Maybe you’ll be as invulnerable as he is some day.”
“Dr. Adams, would it affect your results if you knew that sabot didn’t hit my chest. I mean, not exactly.”
He looked puzzled. “I don’t understand. Of course it did.”
“Or that not all of my chest is made of bone and muscle.”
His eyes suddenly opened wide. “Oh, my Lord… we didn’t? I told them to be very caref…”
“Well, you asshole did, and it hurts like hell. I mean, there isn’t much of me there yet, and I’m just a girl as you keep reminding me, but it’s my dimwitted guess that my boob reduced the resonant frequency from 73,564 to 28,751.”
He just stared at the sheet, then back in my eyes, his face turning red. “Yes, but of course, that would… I mean, we have to repeat the test.”
“No fucking way,” I said as I sat up, ignoring the pain as I clutched the sheet around me. “I’m done being slice, diced and shot at today. Especially that way.”
“But there are other tests, Kara. We never examined your Aunt. We don’t have any data on the resiliency of the Kryptonian breast.”
I glared at him so hard that I burned his eyebrows off. What kind of pervert was this guy? I thought these guys were supposed to help me learn to fight, to find my limits. What the hell did that have to do with my boobs?
I flipped myself backwards off the table, did a somersault in mid-air and hit the floor on bare feet. I raced across the room and tore the metal door off its hinges, tossing it down the empty corridor outside. I was little more than a blur as I returned to the dressing room, grabbed my costume, and went through the brick wall behind the building without waiting to put it on.
I flew fast, holding Mach 6 across half of the US, not dropping back under the Mach until I was almost in our backyard. I didn’t care about sonic booms today. I flew through the window of my bedroom so fast that I brought a hurricane with me.
Sheets and dirty clothing and Twinky wrappers were still fluttering around when mom rushed into the room.
I hugged her so tightly that I heard her ribs creak, and told her I wasn’t “ever, EVER going back to StarLabs”.
I threw on some clothes and she took me down to the kitchen so I could polish off some cookies and a glass of milk. I told her about the tests, complaining about the last one. How the guys were perverted.
She got this weird look on her face, kind of mad and twisted at the same time, and had me roll up my t-shirt to show her the bruise. Then she got really mad. Not at me, thankfully.
I didn’t dare tell her about the last request that doctor had made. She was already turning purple.
She and dad argued for a while after he got home, mostly about how he’d subjected me to those tests without even staying around to keep an eye on me. He kept his cool, saying I was just as invulnerable as he was, so they couldn’t hurt me.
That’s when mom clued him in to the way those perverts (my word!) had “assaulted his daughter”. Her words.
Dad looked shocked. He took her into his den and turned on that ultrasonic noisemaker they used when they wanted to talk in private. I tried to listen, but wound up falling asleep at the kitchen table, cookies still in front of me.
I’d never felt so exhausted.
When I described my ordeal to Jeremy at school the next day (the boob thing made him blush) he drew another picture of me, once again with me looking way older than I was. I’d kind of gotten used to that by now. He also drew me with my black hair, assuming that’s how I’d looked during the testing. The drawing showed me tearing a huge steel door open as some bad guys shot at me.
I was feeling better now, so I kidded Jeremy that my boobs were way oversized in his drawing.
He blushed bright red.
I was just starting to learn what male fantasies were all about, but I also knew the day would eventually come when I did exactly this kind of thing.
And if I was really lucky, I’d look as good as Jeremy’s drawings.
Even more, I hoped the bullets wouldn’t hurt any more than they seemed to be hurting the woman in that drawing.