Full Name: Rosalind Beatrice Rude
The city felt like hell on Earth. Everywhere Rosie looked there was destruction, the skyline ruined. Pillars of smoke filled the air with ash. Fires still burned across the industrial zone. Wave after wave of Monster assaults had been repelled, but at high cost. The pervading sound of sirens signaled frantic activity emergency services activity. At least the Monster alert alarms were silent.
Rosie continued walking; there was work to be done. It was a long hike, but with city transit services disrupted she had little choice and did not want to delay waiting for the designated pick-ups. Reaching the cordon around Golden Plaza she showed her identity card. The priority was to get key defenses back into operation, and so Wilson’s Tower was abuzz, construction crews working tirelessly, twelve hours on and twelve off. The skyscraper was heavily damaged, scarred by acid and fire. Holes pocked its façade. Something huge and green glowed near a top floor, embedded in the building’s side.
Rosie looked up and smiled, watching Lady Cyburn weld steel into place. She then glanced backwards at the sound of a super-heavy thudding footstep, as Captain Hadron loomed large over the scene, a true giant working as a human crane, lifting girders and concrete blocks into position for the hard hats to do their job.
Rosie was part of a team trying to patch up one of the upper labs, and she knew that no-one would object if she started early. A woman in a man’s world, Rosie had to put up will all kinds of comments and jibes, but she had carried on, even accepting their nickname ‘Baby’ as a badge of defiant honor as she was slowly, grudgingly accepted, while working harder than her peers to continually prove herself.
On the sites, union rules and many safety protocols had necessarily been abandoned in the face of the threat of further attacks. It was a decision that had been explained carefully to each worker and none had backed away – they all wanted to pitch in to protect their city, tarnished mess that it was.
The building was a hive of activity, crews pushing to get labs and workshops operational for the Supreme boffins, others repairing the infrastructure and defensive countermeasures. Even M.O.D. was scurrying about, providing precise schematics and advice where needed. The little robot knew the tower better than anyone.
When Rosie reached her assignment, there were two guys she did not recognize, working hard to put a support in place for the ceiling above.
Suddenly, from somewhere far overhead there was the sound of tearing metal and smashing concrete, as if the building itself was screaming. Rosie was sure that whatever was, it was plummeting toward the center of the room they were working. She shouted at the two workers to get out. One looked paralyzed by fear. Rosie ran forward to shake him out of it, pushing him away. In that moment, she saw a flash of brilliant green light before everything turned black.
Rosie blinked her eyes open, her body a mass of dull pains. She looked around and saw the smiling face of Captain Hadron. She returned the smile weakly, squinting to focus. Hadron looked small. Had he shrunk down to treat her? That was odd. Then she looked around the room. Everything looked small, like it was half the size it should be. Puzzlement made her forget her physical discomfort.
“What’s going on?” she asked, “Did the other guys make it out?”
“Try and relax,” replied Hadron gently.
“I can take it, whatever it is, don’t worry,” said Rosie firmly.
“I am sure you can,” said Hadron, musing for a moment before continuing, “You saved those workers. Well done. Best as we can tell, you’re okay too. Different, but okay.”
“Different? How? In what way?”
“Look at you. Look at your body. Look at me. Look around. You are bigger now, taller with proportionate increase in mass. Your skin was temporarily purple. Whatever crashed through the building was leftover matter from a Monster attack. We thought it was secure, but it was too high up in the tower and too large for us to remove, so we had to make a considered decision to leave it in place temporarily. What we thought was inert suddenly became volatile and burned its way downward at incredible speed. You were in its splash zone and it dissipated on contact. Somehow, it seems that you absorbed all the energies of whatever it was. We want to run tests to make sure it isn’t some kind of parasitic transformation, and to ascertain if there are any lasting Ill-effects. One thing we have observed is that you seem to vent energy periodically,” Hadron pointed to scorch marks on the celling, “So I whipped up this, a variant of technology I use myself.”
The Supreme affixed a boxy looking device around Rosie’s forearm, festooned with warning lights and hazard notices. It looked bulky, but did not feel heavy.
Suddenly, a klaxon sounded. Hadron moved to a wall-mounted computer screen and tapped on the keyboard below.
“Monsters, in close proximity,” he said, “I have to go.”
“Monsters, huh? Not without me,” said Rosie defiantly.
She climbed off the bed and stood to her new full height, her head almost scraping the high ceiling.
“I need some clothes and something really heavy,” said Rosie, clenching her fists, “It’s payback time!”
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