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like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
((Summary: Big Tech and Bombshell enter the public spotlight as a feedist crimefighting power couple, but authorities and the public alike are reluctant to accept their methods and their unconventional love. Enter Bombshell's old college bestie, now a radio talk show host, mutual gainer and vigilante crime fighter herself...but she has a hidden agenda. Will Bombshell and co fall prey to her schemes? A/n: Content warning for fight scenes that will get pretty bloody. The first eight chapters of this are done and available elsewhere, but I'm in the slow process of a rewrite to make things more consistent with Spark.))

Big Tech and Bombshell in: the Commune of Crucifix

by stevita


"Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate."

-Sun Tzu


Part One: The Reckless Wonder


It was another overcast day in Blackwater City, rain drizzling gently onto the windshields of cars parked outside and against the windows of a run-down inner-city Stop-n-In.

It had been a boring afternoon so far. Noah had dealt with a few customers, but most of them just paid at the pump and left without setting foot in the store. One lady had come inside to buy a pack of smokes and a newspaper, but that was about as much action as he had seen. So, he counted the minutes at his post as that new, overplayed Bailey Sharp song made its rounds on the radio, wishing cashiers were allowed chairs for the slower hours, or even the quicker ones--seriously, he could ring up a purchase sitting down just fine--and thanking his luck that this was his last week at this job before he returned to school at Blackwater Community.

Suddenly, the bell above the door dinged as a man let himself in. He was tall, thin, brown-haired, perhaps in his mid-twenties, but carried himself with both a sense of purpose and irreverence that made him appear older, more world-weathered. Approaching the counter, he asked, "Hey, man, can you make change for a twenty?"

"Sorry dude," said Noah, "but I need a transaction to open the register. Now, if you want to wait a minute for me to get my manager, or if you want to buy a lighter or some--"

He stopped in his tracks and screamed in horror as in an instant he found himself surrounded by flames. The fire scorched his skin and he collapsed in agony, wailing.

Then, as soon as the hallucination had begun, it was over, and he was left breathing hard on his side on the floor behind the register.

"Let's start over, buddy," said the stranger, leaning over the counter to smirk down at him.


Jared Fleming had always been different.

While other boys burned anthills with magnifying glasses and poked at animals with pocket knives and sharpened sticks, he grew up possessed of the unique ability to bring people to screams of hysterics using only his mind. After one particular incident on the playground in third grade that had left his teacher thoroughly disturbed, his parents had taken him to a physician who identified him as a weak probe and a strong compulse: that is, to an extent, he could read minds, and to a greater extent, he could force others to experience their worst fears, in real time and gruesome sensory detail.

For a while, he had been going places. A star pupil at the Rivington Hero School, he had been on a fast track, at his professors' insistence, toward a military career. He would have made nations cower.

That is, until a sparring accident in the middle of Combat Theory class wrecked his mobility.

Years of physical therapy and multiple surgeries later, he was back on his feet. Things had started to look up. He was able to successfully register the persona of Human Hallucinogen with the US Heroics Division and was assigned a small town on the Northwest coast to patrol. It wasn't much, but it was something. He thought it was only a matter of time before he had it made.

He should have read the contract.

He found out too late that the salary was ****.

If he didn't pick up a side hustle, he'd spend his life sinking deeper and deeper into medical debt.

So he went AWOL and began making his way across the state, hitting licks to pay the bills.

"Hey, what's going on up there?" A heavyset man in his middle ages, likely the store manager, made his way to the front of the store.

"Oh, hey, man. You want to go ahead and open that drawer for me?"

"Now, I don't know who you think you--!"

"Well, alright. Have it your way.”

The man was terribly afraid of spiders.

He didn't take well to being made to believe he was caught in a giant web, a black widow the size of a moving truck bearing down on him.

He fell flat on his back, struggled in place, and screamed.

The cashier tried to make a break for it then, but Jared just hit him with another psychic attack.

The bell dinged. He turned around sharply.

In walked a woman, mid-twenties if he had to guess by her build and carriage alone, in a garish orange racing suit and matching motorcycle helmet, BS emblazoned over her left breast.

She was nobody he recognized from the Heroics Division. He didn't even know if she was a local superhero or just someone who took her aesthetic on the road way too seriously, but even if she was a hero, he wasn't afraid. Just yesterday Scarlet Flame had tried to apprehend him up in Cason du Wandeaux, but despite her ability to bind anyone within earshot to her command, he'd had her down for the count before she could so much as utter a word.

"I don't want to have to smack you," said the stranger, "but I can't let you go around attacking people. You've got one chance, HH. You ain't technically physically harmed anybody. There's time to turn back. Either cease and desist…"

So she was here to stop him.

Perhaps if he'd bothered to familiarize himself with the Blackwater hero scene--or if he even just probed deep enough into the interloper's mind to realize he'd fought her before, out of costume--he'd have stood down. But all he gleaned upon a quick rake through the surface of her thoughts were her vulnerabilities.

She had a man in the picture, after years of loneliness. Oh, she cherished him...he was her everything. What more appropriate torment for her, then, than to bear witness as her sweetheart stood where she stood, being tortured in her stead?

The effect was immediate. "No...nonononono! It ain't real...make it stop!" she blurted, backing away until she hit the wall, hands clutched against the sides of her helmet as if trying to squeeze what she was experiencing out of her head.

"You could claw your eyes out, honey," Jared gloated. "It wouldn't help you unsee this."

The afflicted heroine started to cry. Jared couldn't see her face through her visor, but he knew a sobbing wreck when he saw one. He'd broken enough hearts in college.

Before the accident.

Then, as her panic reached a peak, he began to feel a pressure at his belt…

The last thing he thought before her attack took hold was, 'Oh ****. Not this again.'

In a split second, he was on his back, the seams of his clothing splitting violently as his limbs and torso swelled rapidly and impossibly with fat. He flailed and tried to right himself, but it was no use.

He recognized her by the power set alone. It was Oriana Taylor-Moore, the offensive biomanipulator from his Combat Theory class who had put him in the bariatric ward all those years ago.

"Dammit, Jared!" she swore. "You just had to make me panic. And when I was tryna bring in your ass peacefully!"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Bombshell had gotten a few upgrades since last year, when she and Big Tech formed a crimefighting alliance. Well, a crimefighting alliance that had begun as a steamy makeout session in the back of a Go Fork Yourself moving truck after she hit him with the weight gain stick to stop him from executing a hostage, right before she was attacked by a cyborg at a press conference and he came to her rescue...yeah, it was a long and complicated story.

The point was, despite the ever-vicious media calling her a maladapted menace over her methods, Bombshell was still on the patrol scene, tricked out and better than ever.

The first of the upgrades had been to her car. As it turned out, Team Big Tech had a mechanic of prodigious skill. In less than a day, Mickey had been able to modify the Fatmobile's previously gas-guzzling transmission to be fully electric. Bombshell was now the proud owner of the only stick-shift in the city you could plug into a wall socket.

Next had been the suit. Bombshell had been initially reluctant to have its design messed with. She'd been using the same costume since college, she'd grown attached. But Eddie was right, she had to concede after she'd unexpectedly been hit with a shock stick during a battle: flame-retardant cotton-poly blend would no longer cut it.

She wouldn't let Eddie fully armor her up--half of her skill in a fight required her to feel out her disadvantages and biomanipulate accordingly--but in the end she did cave and had him set her up with a proper insulator.

Finally, there was the helmet interface. Her new interactive screen on the inside end of her visor allowed her to scan her opponents' vitals to determine just how much damage they could take, and that was just one of its features. She could make and receive calls on this thing, access her body cam, and connect to the worldwide web with a simple vocal or optical command.

"Access: Scarlet Flame's Twitter," she muttered to herself as she walked out of the convenience store where she'd stopped the progress of her latest crime. Onscreen, her old mentor's page opened up. She scrolled down until she found the Tweet she was looking for:

'#HumanHallucinogen gave me the slip at Amity Bank on 5th and 43rd. #Bombshell it looks like he's headed in your direction'

"Retweet," said Bombshell, opening the text editor. "Compose: got him. Attach latest camera footage. Send Tweet." She smiled and gave a nod of satisfaction.

What to do next? She supposed she could catch up with Eddie...but he would be tied up with product testing all day.

After the two of them had left Cyber Security, Incorporated, he had taken it upon himself to reverse-engineer Chimera's technology, because defeating the supervillain who hooked you up with your weaponry made you the rightful copyright holder, right? Not that it mattered. The point was that Mybrid's Flexible Alloy Bodysuit, originally intended for military use, had a myriad of applications in the field of mobility assistance, and after months of tinkering, Eddie had a product that was ready to go and a biomedical startup that was only missing engineers. And a means of mass-production. And investors.

But the important part--the making the product work part--was on the verge of done, and he'd procured office space with what money was left over from Chimera's checks after they bought a house to solve all the little inconveniences Oriana’s old apartment presented: the tight floor plan, the three flights of stairs, the shower you needed a wrench to operate…

Looking back, that apartment had been terrible. Only $550 a month, which was impossible to come by in Blackwater City, but Jesus. The things she’d put herself through before they met.

Oriana wanted to see him, but she would probably slow down testing with her lack of technical knowledge.

Sure, she had a bachelor's in computer science. She could program. She could hack. But as far as the building of physical stuff went, she was lost. She could barely keep a gingerbread house together at Christmas. It'd be delicious, make no mistake, but it'd never stay upright. The building of AI-enabled prostheses was best left in Eddie's capable hands.

She could go check up on things at work. After her friend and confidante, the Police Commissioner, pulled some strings, she had become head of administration at the Blackwater City Special Circumstances Detention Center--or, Fat Jail, as it was colloquially called, the prison that had been built specifically to house criminals she had fattened well beyond hope of being kept in any other jail. When it was first erected, it had been the most brutal institution in the city. Sympathy for the obese was hard to come by in the era of a multi-billion dollar diet industry with top-dollar lobbyists working around the clock to keep 'fat' a four letter word.

Oriana was working on changing that: hiring (and firing) the right people, making the living quarters more accessible, establishing rehabilitation programs with an emphasis on both physical and psychological therapy. She loved her work more than she'd ever cared for digital security.

But she'd already clocked out for the day. It would be weird if she came back. Besides, Russel, one of the janitors the staffing agency she had contracted kept sending, would probably want to talk her ear off about his elderly father's bowel movements: size, color, frequency...it was uncomfortable, to say the least.

She could go home...but with all that space and no one to share it with until Eddie was out of his meeting, she'd feel lonely.

She could always invite Scarlet Flame over for drinks and conversation.

She was about to give S a ring when a tap on her shoulder caught her attention. She turned around to face a man in a white button down and khakis, blond, broad, thin, and smiling widely. His shoes were impeccably shined and there was a small Bible tucked into his breast pocket.

"Excuse me, Miss, but do you have five minutes--"

"You need directions?"

"--to talk about our Lord and Savior?"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Oriana winced. "I appreciate the time you're taking," she said, backing away, "but I already have a religion."

Just to get him off her tail.

She was raised Baptist, but nowadays she was more or less agnostic. She used to occasionally go to church in high school, but only for the singing. Then she’d gotten to hero college and learned in one of her first history lessons that a substantial handful of early witch burnings had targeted Deviants. Religious zealots were one thing she'd rather not deal with.

"I don't think you understand, Bombshell." She had turned and started to walk off towards her car, but the man pursued her. "Did you know the Lord punishes all sinners?"

"I dunno about that, my guy. Biff Jenkins is still at large, and there must be something on the books 'bout how y'all shalt not exploit thine employees, or something."

"Again, you don't understand." He grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around to face him with surprising strength. "You see, gluttony is a sin, Bombshell. And with the way you so openly encourage it, it was inevitable that our Father send me to take you to Lucifer."

She remembered, then, where she had seen his face.

Ted Greene, who had no secret identity on account of lying was a sin, operated out of the Sugar Hill, Utah area. He would stop murderers and rapists, but had no misgivings about putting a swift end to anyone he caught drinking on a Sunday on his block, and all the cops in Utah were too petrified of him to even consider trying to bring him in. He had made national news and tabloids time and time again, but Oriana never expected him to come here.

His preferred method of execution: make your head explode.

"Make your peace, Bombshell."

Suddenly, she felt a terrible migraine coming on.

Thinking quickly, she fortified herself against his attack and hit him with everything left in her after her scuffle with Human Hallucinogen. If she could get him on his back, break his concentration, she could walk away from this fight.

His body started to swell. She could hear his seams straining.

But he soon counteracted the effects of her attack, back to his original size in a fraction of a second.


She'd never fought another biomanipulator before.

This wasn't a fight she could finish quickly, but Ted couldn't hit her with his powers as long as she held up her defenses. Who knew how long she could resist, though? In any case, Ted was getting impatient. He swung a punch at her and she dodged, sweeping his leg.

"Ha! They didn't teach you to fight so good back on the farm, huh?"

As he hit the ground, he grabbed hold of her ankle and dragged her down with him, holding her down as he righted himself with both hands clenched around her throat. "Didn't anyone ever tell you pride comes before the fall?"

She flailed in his chokehold, vision swimming as she lost air. It was time for her to take a risk. She had to bank on Ted expecting her to try her whole fattening shtick again. Any opponent would; she had a reputation as a one-trick pony on the battlefield, even if hacking Chimera's mainframe had come out of left field. She brought her hands up to his wrists…

She only needed the slightest bit of skin-to-skin contact to snap them with a sickening crunch. His grip slackened and she threw him off of herself.

She could take the opportunity to dip while he was down. She could get back in her car and flee the scene. Superpowered or not, there was no way he could reach speeds of 120 miles an hour on foot. But he would just keep hunting her, and what if he hurt someone else in the meantime? She had to neutralize him here.

As the fight progressed, her Twitter feed lit up with activity. People were speculating--placing bets, even--on the outcome of the biomanipulator showdown of the century. As many people were rooting for her as were rooting for her downfall. Others were urging her to call for backup.

No. If there was one fight she didn't want Eddie involved in, it was this one. Sure, he was more bulletproof than your average tech professional, but all the armor in the world wouldn't stop a super-lunatic who could grind your bones to sand with a little concentration.

"Compose: 'I got him on the ropes.' Send Tweet."

Dusting herself off, she pulled the oxygen from his blood, hoping to buy herself time to think of a way to stop him from being able to focus…

He staggered back to his feet and closed her windpipe, hands-free. "Fool! I don't need to touch you to choke you."

She fought for nearly a minute to reopen her airway. Then, suddenly, he let up. Getting her bearings, she realized he'd retreated by a few feet, perhaps to take himself out of the potential blast radius so he could attempt his big finisher once more? But he had taken himself out of his own range: she couldn’t feel him anymore. What was happening? Was he not aware that offensive biomanipulators needed proximity to attack? Or had he decided he'd beaten her up enough?

Or had he simply moved to pick up the nearest parked car?

"Name of the goddamn devil," Oriana cursed.


"Am I gonna have to help her put this thing on?" called Mickey from an adjacent office in the otherwise empty office building. The two women had stepped behind a cracked door for privacy while product testing commenced.

"No, it should be more or less automatic," Eddie responded. "Have you...you know…"

"Yes, she's helped me out of the jeans," Marion replied.

"Well, that's step one. Try activating it?"

"Okay...oh my god!" came Marion's voice from the next room. "This is awesome!"

"Take your shirt off, lemme see the fit!" he heard Mickey insist.

There were some noises clearly indicative of a make-out session, before Marion hissed, "Mickey! He's across the hall!"

"Well, come on in," said Eddie, opening his office door from the comfort of his desk chair with the push of a remote control. "Come on, let me see how I did."

Shyly, Marion poked her head into the doorway before crossing the threshold.

She was truly a vision, tiptoeing her way in, glancing at the ground every once in a while as she got sure of her footing. She had put her shirt back on and tucked it in stylishly--ever glamorous, that Marion--but the pants, comprised of a complex alloy system that conformed to her body all the way up to her mid-spine and connected directly into her neural network, took center stage.

In fleeting instants, she looked up at Eddie with wide, disbelieving eyes. She was Holly Golightly, knocked down but picked back up. "I...I can walk," she said, more to herself than anyone else. "I can walk!"

"Holy ****, I did it," said Eddie, breathlessly.

"You did!" Marion did a little spin in place. "Look at this! You're a genius! And to think...I had grown attached to the chair. Still kind of am. I do think I’ll keep it. But holy ****! This would be so useful, hypothetically, if, there was, say, no elevator..."

"Holy **** is right," said Mickey, following Marion in with lumbering steps. It was a good thing Eddie had thought to widen the doorways on this floor.

Now, if only he had stuck it out with Chimera for another month. Running a business wasn't cheap.

And yet, his motivation lay in generosity. “What do you mean hypothetically? You’re walking out in it.”


“Don’t ‘but' me, Marion. You’ve done so much for me. It's time I returned the favor.”

“You’re too good. Seriously, how were you ever a supervillain?”

Suddenly, his phone pinged.

He had a faceless Twitter account, just to keep track of crime. Oriana had advised him to blacklist his own hashtag. He hadn't, despite some of the less kind things the public had to say. He had to stay in the loop in case Oriana was in trouble, and his hashtag tended to concur with hers.

'Yo #BigTech your girl's on the ropes RN. Corner of 12th and Washington Ave’

The Tweet was accompanied by a picture, and it didn't look good.

She was in trouble.

To think: just last year, he’d been obsessed with provoking the superhero known as Bombshell. When he finally won her attention on the battlefield, the force of her attack had shot him out of the sky. The same technology that now gave Marion the choice to stand on her own two feet kept him upright all the time. After all these months, the layer of flexible alloy under his clothes was barely noticeable, but there was no forgetting the day Bombshell immobilized him.

And yet, it was time to come to her rescue.

"What's up?" asked Mickey.

"I have to go. Someone threw a car on Bombshell."


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Oriana caught the four-door sedan just before it could crush her. She had it braced against her hands, inches above her frame, on her back on the pavement struggling to push it aside.

Just then, the ground shook. Either an earthquake was coming on, or backup was here.

A blinding flash of blue light seared her vision as a blast of energy knocked the car off of her. Big Tech rushed to her side to offer her a hand up. “Are you okay?”

She coughed as she staggered to her feet, weak but upright thanks to his assistance. Across the battlefield, Ted had started to advance on them with a sadistic glint in his eyes and a maniacal smile. “Hit him!” said Bombshell.

“What, this guy, in the khakis?”

“Yes, hit him before he blows both our heads up!”

“He’s THAT guy?!”

Big Tech didn't need to be told twice. He fired another blast from the reactor in the palm of his armor. Ted went down, but he didn’t stay down.

“So, Big Tech is it?”



Ted spent maybe a second on his back before he was up and advancing again. “Such a shame. I’ll bet you had such potential before she led you down the path of sin.”

“Dude, what’s a sin is that belt with those shoes.”


“Look at you, bloated with indulgence…”

It was no use. No matter how many times he got hit, he just stitched himself back together and got back up, until suddenly…

He collapsed into a flailing heap on the ground. Bombshell turned to Big Tech and asked, “Have you been working on some sort of seizure ray?”

“That wasn’t me. I thought it was you!” He stepped forward to investigate, but she held out an arm to hold him back.

“He could be faking.”

Steeling herself, she slowly made her way towards Ted’s writhing body until she stood over him. She couldn’t feel him trying to biomanipulate…

“What’s happening to him?” asked Big Tech, coming up behind her.

“He could be ricocheting.”


“It’s when your own powers work against you. It usually happens to influences, but it ain’t undocumented in biomanipulators…never read about seizures being a risk, though.”

“Should we...should we leave him like this?”

“No, he might get up.”

In a moment of insight, Bombshell knew how she could neutralize him.

She’d tried DMT back in college. Her trip guide had told her that it was naturally occuring in the brain.

Kneeling down next to Ted, she placed two fingers near the base of his skull.

He stopped seizing. His eyes widened, pupils dilating, and he went slack.

A fluid ounce of psychadelics straight to the brain ought to keep him down for the count for a good couple of years.

The media descended then; crowds of reporters who had been lying in wait since the fight with Human Hallucinogen finished.

“Bombshell! Fredo Flores here, good to see ya again! Pretty stupid of Ted Greene to think a car would take you out. Or has he forgotten that you hooked up with Two Ton Terminator back in the day!”

“Them was some good times,” Bombshell agreed. No, she had never actually hooked up with Two Ton Terminator, but neither of them ever denied the rumor, each for their own personal reasons. She took it as a means to exaggerate just how much of a pounding her body could withstand, a boost for her ‘don't **** with me’ factor. Triple T kept the rumor alive for stud points, and she let him have it.

“Tell me, Bombshell,” Fredo went on, “how has your crimefighting career changed since the events last year at the Westpark?”

If only she was in the mood for longer answers. As it stood, she felt nauseous after the fight. “Same ****, just bigger enemies,” she said into the microphone through clenched teeth.

Unfortunately, not all the reporters were as professional as Fredo Flores. Before too long, from every direction came an invasive absolute shitstorm.

“Big Tech, don’t you think the nature of your partnership with Bombshell is more than a little Stockholm? I mean, she did hit you. Why continue to come to her aid?”

“Look, I don’t think either one of us is in the mood to be hounded by the media,” Big Tech responded.

“Hounded? Is that what Bombshell calls it? We’re only asking questions,” the reporter shot back. “Have you considered that controlling your media presence is just another one of the abusive tactics she uses to keep you subjugated to her freakish ends?”

“What? Bombshell doesn’t ‘control' my media presence. She never told me what to say to the press, I just don’t really like you guys!”

“Bombshell, what’s it like, having the nerve to continue to rely on the aid of your own victim?”

“Big Tech, have you gained even more weight?”

Bombshell took the microphone out of the last reporter’s hand. “I cook good, okay, gimme a fucking break,” she spat before throwing it to the ground, though it was unclear whether the gesture was out of irreverence or exhaustion.

“Bombshell!” Another microphone was thrust before her.

“Look, y’all, I’m not feelin’ my best self right now, so Imma need all y’all to step the **** off and go the ****--” Before she could finish her sentence, a chill racked her body, then a heave through her insides, and she bent double, vomiting a not insubstantial amount of blood onto a reporter’s shoes.

“Um, at this time we’re no longer taking questions,” said Big Tech. He wrapped his arms around Bombshell and righted her. Holding her securely, he rocketed them both into the sky.

She’d call Go Fork Yourself later to get her car moved.


“Is there anything I can do for you? Do you need water? Another pillow? I can heat you up some of that soup…”

“I’m fine. Really, I’m fine,” said Oriana, curled up in bed, back in plainclothes, as Eddie fretted about her. He’d already made a house call for a check-up and a blood transfusion, and the doctor said she was stable. It had been a bit of a task explaining how she’d gotten so beat up--she had a feeling the doc hadn’t bought her excuse about falling down some stairs--but in the end, he saw to her even with his many questions unanswered. “I’ll recover fast. It’s a biomanipulator thing.”

Eddie took her hand and squeezed it for comfort. “If you’re sure.”

“I still can’t believe how the media harassed you today,” she said. “As if you didn’t save my life. Again. You ever think about blowing this popsicle stand?” she asked. “It’s much better for feedist superheroes over in Australia. Two Ton Terminator's got a great public approval rating.”

“Did you really hook up with that guy?” asked Eddie, the slightest hint of envy coming through in his voice.

“What? No. Absolutely not. He may be a looker, but I hate his politics. Totally in the pocket of big oil and gas. And for all he goes on about ‘miss you, baby’ and ‘cheers to old times’ on social media for publicity, he calls me ‘commie *****’ in the DMs.”

“This makes me think maybe Australia’s not a good idea.”

“You’re prob’ly right. I just can’t stand the way they talk to you. It’s probably what’s keepin’ me down more than anything.” She reached up to grab his shoulder and pulled him toward her. “I need a morale boost. An orgasm’s the best thing you could give me right now to speed up the healing process.”

He wouldn’t be moved. “Ori, we talked about this.”

Since their union as a couple, she had been insatiable in bed. Barring serious battlefield injury, she jumped on him every day, sometimes twice, but the one yet unfulfilled item on her sexual wishlist was for him to get on top. He was worried he’d crush her. She thought he was being ridiculous.

“Come on! You just seen me take a car!” She probably could have lifted it, too, if he had given her another second. More importantly, she could withstand it.

Next time she got a blood transfusion, she was specifically requesting to get shot up with 300 CC’s of Scarlet Flame. That oughta boost her powers of persuasion.

“You’re too fragile right now.”

She pouted and whined and squirmed, until he lay down next to her and wrapped an arm around her, giving her a light squeeze. Then, she rolled over and snuggled tightly against him, head buried in his chest while she gripped his doughy side. Her breathing slowed and stabilized. How did he always know how to placate her?

“Close your eyes, Ori. Try to get some rest.”

“Fine. But you know what I’ll want when I feel less like dog crap.”

“We’ll talk.”


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Chapter Two


"Welcome back to another episode of Nail Me To The Cross, where you'll find only the most controversial voices in the world of crimefighting, and I don't mean 'controversial' as in 'I slept with the Russian prime minister's cousin'--seriously, if you've slept with the Russian prime minister's cousin, there's not much I can do for ya, hon. I'm talking about the stories the US Government doesn't want you to hear. Just a reminder, all episodes of the show are available to download as podcasts, so if you missed one, be sure to check the links at the top of the page. Anyway, let's get this ball rolling, shall we? I'm Martika Mitchell, and I'm here today with Water Woman. Now, that's quite a shtick--Water Woman! How have I never heard of you?"

Ingrid Zales gazed across the recording studio at Martika, a brown-skinned, curly-haired, voluptuous woman who until today, she had only met in online chat rooms under codenames. Ingrid had been in a desperate dilemma when a stranger had come to her offering a solution that seemed too good to be true. At first, she was skeptical, but now that she'd met her promised savior face to face, she was starting to believe that salvation was possible.

In real life, Martika was stunning. Dressed in a purple satin wrap dress that put her every curve on display, she emanated confidence as much as she did radiance.

The chubby blonde in the hot seat was relieved there were unlikely to be any fatphobic questions in this interview.

"Well, you see, Martika, the persona I have registered with the government isn't one they use in televised crimefighting. Apparently, I haven't got the body for TV. For my assignment, I don't even have to wear a costume."

"And what is your assignment?"

Ingrid cleared her throat. "Waterboarding detainees at Guantanamo Bay."

It was dirty work. Every day on Uncle Sam's payroll chipped away at a little more of Ingrid's soul. But now she knew there was a way out.

"I'm actually in such violation of my contract," Ingrid confessed, live, on air. "I've left my post, I'm spilling government secrets…"

"Oh my! Aren't you scared?"

"Oh, I'm not worried about me. I'm under protection," said Ingrid with a conspiratory wink at the hostess.


XOXOScarletFlame: good for you #WaterWoman!

BombshellOfficial: @XOXOScarletFlame girl you better be next!


"Welcome back, folks! We're here live today with the dazzling Scarlet Flame! S, how are you feeling?"

Natalie Lafayette ran her fingers against the soft velvet of Martika's couch cushion. This woman had money, if the decor of the studio--and the quality of the wine she'd been served before they started airing--were any indicators.

"Out of place," she admitted, both from the finery and nature of Nail Me To The Cross. (Oh, the feds liked to dress her up all fancy to fight crime, in red satin that left little to the imagination, but they paid her beans. She lived in a shoebox apartment and was $35,000 in credit card debt.)

"I thought the show was supposed to be controversial."

"And some would say that your apolitical public stance is a controversy in and of itself. In fact, and stop me if I'm wrong: there used to be quite a decisive divide among citizens of the northwest coast: there were people who didn't like Bombshell for being too outspoken, and people who didn't like you for the opposite reason."

"You're right, Martika. And I think that's why our friendship is so important to the public. Deviants fighting Deviants is never the answer. In the end, I think we've shown them they can't pit us against each other, and if you stand with one of us, you have to stand with both of us."

"Beautiful. Just beautiful. But back to your public stance on the issues affecting the country...or lack thereof…"

"Well, here's the thing: my contract says I'm not allowed to talk about politics. But nowhere does it say I can't SAY I'm not allowed to talk about it."

Oh lord...had she really just said that?

She'd been spending too much time with Bombshell lately.

"Why do you think that is?" asked Martika. Natalie helped herself to more wine.

"Oh, it's entirely related to my powers. There are a lot of things I think about America, that I'm forbidden to express, not that my compulsion works, say, over the radio. But I have you in the room. If I, say, told you to work toward some, here unspecified, social change, you'd have no choice but to do it, and you have the influence to pull it off. If I was allowed to speak uncensored, people in power would lose some of that power and...well...this is where my gag order kicks in.

"But nowhere in the contract does it say I can't talk about how I feel about my own life, as long as I don't bring politics into it. So, here it goes, are you all ready for some 'I' messages?

"I believe my employers have treated me like dog **** for all these years because they're afraid of me.

"I would have been better off if I had never signed that contract, but they promised me free college and, well, I was naive.

"They may have me bent over a barrel, and that's my own fault for trusting mundanes with my crimefighting career, but mon Dieu, they do not deserve me.

"And Maman, if you're listening...why did we ever have to leave Canada?"


BombshellOfficial: hello 911? I just witnessed a murder. Yaaaaas #ScarletFlame


"Now, tell me, Fireball, what are your powers again?"

Jimmy Ngo's world spun in a blur of color and sound around his head. Swaying on Martika's couch, he took another swig from his flask. Struggled to remember the question. Powers. Right. "Strength...flying...and I can breathe fire but only when I'm--hic--plotally tastered."

"Is...is that tequila?"

"My contract says I needa stay fight ready."

He couldn't remember a day when his face wasn't numb since before he was nineteen.

"So you need to stay drunk?"

"Wha'f they need me to do a thing?"

"By they, you mean the US government?"

"Yeah, thems guys."

"And what do you do for the government?"

"They pour a fifth down my throat, drop me off somewhere, and two days later, the--" He surprised himself with a loud belch and took another gulp of tequila--"gas prices go down."

"Oh, my. Are you worried about your health?"

"Sometimes when I just wake up my right side'll hurt real bad. Righthere." He put his hand to his side over where his ribs would be if not for a substantial layer of fat.

"Oh. That's. Um. Okay, how about a speed round? What's your dream vacation?"

"I just wanna stay home for more'n a week, man."

"Personal hero?"

"Kurt Cobain."

"Why Kurt Cobain?"

"Cause he had the balls to do it."

Martika paused for a second. "Okay, how about this: an embarrassing funny memory?"

Oh, he'd had plenty of embarrassment in too few years, starting with the day his parents had him tested for superpowers, only to have him index in at a pathetic 7.5. The disappointed looks on their faces…

But he decided to go with something juicier. "Well I don't remember, but they told me I threw up on Bombshell."

"When was this?"

"Right on her chest. Oh, y'said when, not why. At her house warming party. Blacked out and woke up with my head'n 'er water fountain."

"As in, an ornamental fountain?"

"Nah, th'one in the master bathroom. Ya gotta be on all fours to use it. Wait. Does Bombshell got a dog?"

"I...I believe the term now is 'primary bathroom,' but, uh, Fireball..."

Jimmy felt the pull at the back of his throat just before he lurched forward and vomited all over the mic and the floor.

"Dante!" Martika called to the sound guy. "Can we get him another mic?"

Jimmy's head spun before he collapsed forward directly into the pool of vomit.

Lights out.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
BombshellOfficial: @FireballUSA that wasn't a fountain. please tell me you didn't drink out of that

FireballUSA: @BombshellOfficial I was so hungover tho

XOXOScarletFlame: Nobody tell @FireballUSA

BombshellOfficial: @XOXOScarletFlame like you haven't washed your hands in it

XOXOScarletFlame: look @BombshellOfficial not all of us have a rich aunt to send us to Europe so we can learn about fancy sinks just for your ass. Check your privilege


Later on, Martika walked into the editing room, she found her sound guy and boyfriend of many years drying his eyes on his sleeve. "That poor kid. I think that was our saddest episode yet," said Dante.

"What about the crying ex-Marine?" Martika pointed out.

"Technically, that wasn't an episode, since we couldn't air it."

"Oh, yeah." Her guest on that occasion had been unable to stop sobbing long enough to say one coherent word about whatever horrors the Heroics Division had subjected him to. "We'll help him, though, Dante, we will." She gave his shoulder a squeeze. "We'll help every Deviant escape from abuse like this. In the meantime...I worry about our ratings. People think the show is too depressing."

In the corner of the room, a small television set was playing the Channel 5 News coverage of Big Tech coming to Bombshell's rescue in the middle of the biomanipulator battle of the ages.

"You're right, babydoll," said Dante. "We could use a fun episode."


"Bill...bill...bill…" Oriana tossed each letter onto the coffee table as she paced the living room, sorting the mail while Eddie worked on design schematics on his laptop on the couch. She was still out of it from yesterday's fight, but she was at least well enough to walk to the mailbox. "Junk...junk…" These letters she threw irreverently over her shoulder, letting them hit the floor.

"Ori…" Eddie said expectantly.

"Tripping hazard. Right." It was an old habit leftover from her days living alone in a sad shoebox apartment with a broken heater. Flushing guiltily, she bent down to pick up the junk mail and set it on the table before going through the rest of the stack. "Bill…bill...oh, this reminds me!" She strolled into the kitchen, snatched a letter off the island countertop, and returned to the living room. "This came in the Bombshell PO box the other day from the Last Wish Foundation. I was gonna bring it up, but then we started dinner and I got distracted--"

"Another kid with cancer wants to meet Bombshell?"

She held the letter out to him. "He wants to meet Big Tech. Man, you really need your own PO box."

Eddie blinked, dumbfounded, and skimmed the letter. "Why does he want to meet me? You've been doing this way longer, saved way more people."

"It's probably some big kid. These kids're too young to catch whiff of the taboo side of folks on the super scene like you and me. All the fetish ****, the media smear campaign, the drama, that all goes over their lil heads. They just see someone who looks like them saving the day, and that's their hero now. Ask me, you should go meet him." She returned to the pile of mail from the mailbox. "Bill...my copy of this month's Kitchen and Bar Magazine...oh! My tax return! Finally!" She tore the envelope open and examined the document within. "Huh...that's strange, they gave me the kickback for neutralizing Forklifter. That was mostly you. Did you file?"

He gaped. "You can get tax benefits for being a superhero?"

"You mean you didn't file your Big Tech expenses?!" exclaimed Oriana. "You could be adding so much to your refund. It's not a problem, though, you can just tack last year's onto this year's. Look how I did mine."

She retrieved her laptop from the other room and opened it up. "You file your superhero stuff in February: expenses, number of civilians saved, estimated property damage--and then the IRS generates you a code. It's not even tied to your identity, just a dollar amount; the IRS only cares about the numbers. Anyway, there's a convenient box where you put your code when you file, here, I'll show you, it's under 'taxes'. Oh, the document on the desktop, not the folder, NOT THE FOLDER!!"

But of course, Eddie had already clicked on the folder.

She braced herself for his shock as her secret stash of smut expanded to fill the screen: belly stuffing videos dating back to the early 2010s, solo, assisted, and mutual feedings, and that wasn't even the tip of the iceberg. There were inflation clips, too; water enemas, restrained forced funnel feedings, slob fetish videos, and of course, all of her body cam footage. She had almost a terabyte of material altogether. Never in the history of the digital age had there been a more extensive smut collection featuring no genitalia whatsoever.

"I can explain all of that," said Oriana through a tense lump in her throat.

Eddie shook his head. "There's nothing to explain. So you look at porn; I could have guessed that."

"But I don't want you to think this," she said, waving an open hand across the screen, "is me. It's harder than you think for a straight female feeder to find anything to watch online. Most of the content in the community is BBW stuff. So, you start rubbing one out to anything, even the really rough, really weird **** that doesn't even do it for you. You just turn off the audio so you don't have to hear the humiliation, or farting, or whatever the **** it is because you're lonely and horny--"

"Really, Ori, this isn't a problem," Eddie reassured her. "In fact, some of these clips seem more our speed, just looking at the titles. Maybe later on we can take a look through and see which ones are worth reenacting?"

Heat rose in her cheeks. "If you want to. We can skip the really wild ones. We don't have to try whipped cream inflation up the butt."

"How'd you know that one was the one I was gonna veto?"

"It's always that one."

"You mean you've...you know, shown this to people before?"

"I thought I told you, I had a feedee in college. Nice guy. Telepath. Sadly not bulletproof. After I became Bombshell, I couldn't justify keeping him in my dangerous life, so I left him hanging at the spring formal, senior year. He took it well, on the outside, but he was always an excellent bluff. It was for the best, though."

"Do you maybe want to talk about it?"

"It's in the past," she said. "It's nothing that's gonna come rearing its head any time soon."


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Eddie didn’t think Oriana should be back at work so soon after the battle, but she didn’t want to leave Special Circs unattended for too long, especially in light of some recent cleaning of house she’d had to do. It was just a little full-body collision with a car; it shouldn’t take her more than a day of bedrest to come back from. Then again, he raised a good point when he reminded her that most people wouldn't have come back from that at all. It was natural for him to worry, and the least she could do was promise him she would stay off her feet and in her office as much as she could.

She had a lot of paperwork to process, anyway, and a job applicant to interview.

A knock on her door startled her from her review of Forklifter’s application for a reduction--after much training with her powers, she had finally mastered--well, more like fudged--the ability to undo the damage she did on the battlefield as Bombshell. She couldn’t undo all of it, but she could take enough weight off an inmate to restore most of his range of motion. It wasn’t a comfortable process for the convicts, and it took five hours at the minimum and required a full-body ultrasound, but many were willing to risk the pain when they came up for parole.

“Come in, it’s open,” she called.

“Yes, hello, I’m here to interview for the correctional officer position. I was told to speak to a Ms. Taylor-Moore?” A lanky, dark-haired twentysomething let himself in. He had wide, brown eyes, a round, precocious face, and a distinctively small posture, as if he didn't think himself worthy of standing in her office and thought to compensate for his internally perceived failings by taking up as little space as possible.

“Please, call me Oriana,” she insisted, gesturing towards the chair across the desk.

“Are you the hiring manager?”

“Well, Bombshell gets the final say. But the fact that you’ve made it this far up the hiring process tells me you have a good chance. Go head and have a seat, Mr….Maximillion Wentworth?” she read off the resume on her desk. “What’s that, English?”

He took his seat. “Originally from there, yes. And please, it's just Max.”

“Why’d you leave?”

He squirmed in place.

“Unless it’s too personal?”

“Too many ghosts.”

“I see. Let’s go through your employment history. It says here you worked at Blackwater General as an attendant in the bariatric ward while studying nursing...worked as a nurse after graduation for two months? Then you quit, and now you work for a private security firm?”

As she grilled him, she pretended to be busy with unrelated work on her laptop. Really, what she was doing was hacking his cellphone and going through his mobile browser history.

“Well, they’ve folded now. Superheroes are largely replacing security companies. What I’m saying is, there’s no notice for me to leave. I can start immediately.”

“And yet, you want to work in a jail, instead of going back to being a nurse?”

He sighed. “Blackwater General was hell. In the bariatric ward, they treat their patients with such apathy, such neglect. If they can’t sell someone a surgery, they give up on them as a lost cause. The way they talk about the patients in the break room, with contempt...they make fun of them...it could make you sick. And there’s nothing I could do about it. At least here, I’d be making a difference. At least Bombshell gives a **** about her inmates.”

“You’re an activist. A sympathizer,” Oriana nodded. “And a dues-paying member of the NAAFA. And in your spare time you write erotic fiction under the handle JustIgnoreMe23 on FF.”

He blushed deeply. “How…?”

“Forgive my intrusion. This job lends itself to a specific type of applicant. I know feeders get a bad rap. Trust me, I know. Mostly they’re fine folks, but you do get a few bad eggs. Just last week we had to fire someone for food tampering. So we’ve tightened background checks.”

“Food tampering?” he repeated. “That’s unthinkable!

“Honest relief you agree. Looking through your stuff, this all seems pretty wholesome…” His work had a heavy emphasis on domestic bliss, along with a condemnation of coercive force, and he had an active forum presence which he utilized to advocate for the importance of feedees’ bodily autonomy. In short, he checked out. “I just have one reservation.”

“That being?”

“Many of the inmates here need physical help, day to day. It’s a heavy lifting kind of job.” This guy was maybe a buck ten soaking wet.

“I thought that might come up. For the record, I am a lot stronger than I look,” he offered. “In fact, I believe over here I’m considered an index-8...don’t know why they won’t just use the metric system...Bombshell can tell you what that means, I’m sure--”

“I know what that means,” she cut him off. He had super strength. No wonder he had lasted so long working in the bariatric ward, and survived private security. “Well, Mr. Wentworth, consider yourself hired. Come back tomorrow at 6 AM sharp to fill out your onboarding paperwork. We’ll provide the uniform. What are you, a thirteen in the neck, 24 sleeve, pants, 28 by…” She gave him a quick once-over. “32?”

He gaped. “How…?”

“Good eye for dimension.”

That, and she’d spent her fair share of time looking at men’s before-and-after pictures with stats listed on the internet.

“Anyway, I thought Bomb--”

“Look, I don’t share this info with a lot of my people, but from one to another, I think there’s something you ought to know.” She took one of her calling cards embossed with her logo and hotline out of a drawer and slid it across the desk towards him. His eyes looked like they could have fallen out of his skull.

“Yes...tomorrow at six...it’ll be an honor working for you, ma’am!”

“Hey! You work with me. And it’s just Oriana!”

Perhaps if she'd been paying less attention to the subject matter of Max's FeedFrenzy.com account and more attention to the minor details, she'd have noticed that all of his postings' timestamps indicated they had gone live within minutes of each other--novels' worth of erotic fiction allegedly written in a day. What's more, his stories used 'color' instead of 'colour,' and all his characters' weights and measurements were listed in pounds and inches.


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Her latest new hire was barely two steps out the door when the FatPhone rang in her handbag and the past came rearing its head.

Oriana dug through her things until she found the secondary phone that served as her emergency hotline. She was so sorely tempted to jump back into the field...but she’d promised Eddie she would take it easy until she was certain she’d made a full recovery. "This is Bombshell; I'm currently out on medical leave, but I'd be happy to redirect your call to another local hero if you’ll just state your location and the nature of your emergency.” She wasn’t especially social among the hero scene: her best friend was Scarlet Flame, and they weren’t even on a first name basis. But if Bombshell called her up, or Evergreen or someone, and explained to them that a life was at stake, they’d no doubt arrive on the scene.

"Relax, Queen B. This is a business call."

The female voice on the other end of the line dripped with an all-too-hauntingly-familiar honey sweetness.

"I know your batteries must still be fried."

Oriana cringed. Batteries! Honestly. Just because she and Big Tech were an item didn't mean she appreciated being talked to like she was some sort of extension of him. And yet, she couldn't bring herself to retaliate.

"Anyway, this is Martika Mitchell. I'd love to have you and Big Tech on the show."

Martika Mitchell: for one semester at Bellvue, she and Oriana had been inseparable. In the eyes of the student body, they'd been sister-rivals locked in a neverending tournament of conquest and lust. But of course, any rivalry between them was nothing more than a playfight. They were balancing forces to one another: Martika, the sly dominatrix, and Oriana, the bright-eyed ingenue.

And then it was over.

Now, the memories came fluttering back like bubbles to the surface of a glass of champagne, long-buried under years of separation but bursting in the moment with color and sound and emotion.

But as much as Oriana longed to see her best friend again, albeit, as Bombshell, not Oriana, Bombshell and Big Tech were enough of a media freakshow as it was. She would have thought the haters would have gotten bored by now, but in the last year she had learned there truly was one born every minute.

"I'm sorry, Ms. Mitchell, but I already have so much scandalous media attention as it is--"

"Oh, I don't want to push the scandal angle," said Martika. "Here's what I'm thinking: Big Tech comes to Bombshell's heroic rescue. It's the Westpark Hotel all over again. It's true love! What isn't admirable about true love?"

"Wow," said Oriana. "That actually sounds wonderful. Of course, I would have to talk to him about it."

"Oh, definitely. But just know that whatever Fredo Flores can offer you for the exclusive, I can triple it."



Eddie’s car was already in the driveway when Oriana pulled up at home. What’s more, it was joined by a second SUV.

Her cornflower-blue CO uniform button-down was open, exposing her white tank top and untucked from her navy slacks, sleeves half-rolled. Catching her reflection in a window, she thought to herself that she looked comfortably windswept...kind of sexy...it would have been a good look for coming home to her man, but things changed if they had guests. Standing on the doorstep, she buttoned the shirt and straightened the collar.

She keyed the lock of the front door, only to have it opened by a woman whose burgeoning frame took up nearly the entire doorway. Her diminutive brunette girlfriend soon came wheeling up after her in her chair, all smiles. “Welcome home, Oriana!”

“Mickey? Marion? What are you doing here?”

“We saw the news and wanted to make sure you were okay,” said Mickey.

“And relieve you of cooking duty!” added Marion.

“You really didn’t have to do that. I can stand at a stove. And...did product testing not go okay?”

“Oh, no, it went wonderful!” said Marion, eyes wide and wistful. “But your house is accommodating enough. Honestly, it’s exhausting being on one’s feet all day! I don’t know how you people do it.”

Accommodating it was. Shortly after it became clear they were in it for the long-haul, Eddie and Oriana had sprung for a suburban house on the east side of town. Oriana had never imagined herself as an eastsider, but where else in town could you find houses with wide doorways, spacious kitchens, and a bidet in the master bathroom?

Looking back, she should have moved here years ago. With her interest in larger men, her old apartment had hardly been appropriate, with its uncomfortably small shower and flimsy third-floor balcony. But when she signed the lease, practicality hadn’t been an issue. She had envisioned for herself a long future alone, fighting crime and retreating into isolation, loved by no one, all for the public good. Who, after all, could handle the danger that came with her lifestyle?

A year ago, held fast in Chimera’s grip, she had lamented that she’d never spend another Valentine’s Day watching School of Rap and drinking a whole bottle of champagne by herself.

Now, she never would, but not for the reason she’d feared in that fateful moment.

“Ori! You’re early!” Eddie came out of the home office to meet her in the foyer. Forgetting Mickey and Marion for a moment, Oriana practically jumped into his arms, hugging him as far around as she could reach. “Whoa, don’t overexert yourself.”

She rolled her eyes as he gripped her shoulders to ground her. “I'm fine. Really, I’m fine.”

“How was work?”

“Uneventful. I did fill that CO position. You’d like the new guy, we three oughta grab drinks sometime,” she said with a nod to Marion. “Anyway, lemme help you get dinner on the table, what’d you make?”

“Chicken cannelloni! And sit down, don’t worry!”

“Marion, c’mon now. I been sitting on my ass all day.”

“Me too. You aren’t winning,” said Marion with a sarcastic smile.

Nevertheless, she let Oriana accompany her into the kitchen and plate dinner.

As they set the table, Eddie and Mickey fell into a conversation about work stuff. Oriana, meanwhile, picked at her plate, impressed as she was by the evening’s fare. It always surprised her that Marion actually knew how to season things. But she was distracted, watching Eddie relish his meal.

“Do you think they do it intentionally, or is it on the subconscious level?” said Marion, rolling up on Oriana’s side of the table with a sly smile.


“They always make it into a contest when we’re all here together.”

She was right: both Eddie and Mickey ate like it was a race to see who could force their lover to fetch them seconds first. It was simultaneously endearing and one of the hottest things Oriana had ever witnessed.

“So what else happened at work today?” asked Marion. “Anything interesting?”

“I’m sure something did, but I didn’t leave my office to see it,” Oriana replied. “Oh, and the new CO, turns out he has an FF account.”

“Guess he got his dream job,” Marion remarked.

“Oh!” Oriana turned to Eddie. “Martika Mitchell called the hotline!”

Eddie paused over his plate. “Who?”

“She’s a talk show host,” explained Marion. “She interviews all these downtrodden, underdog superheroes on the radio. How is it that I know more about hero culture than you?”

“What did she want?” asked Eddie.

“The exclusive from both of us, on the biomanipulator fight."

"If she's anything like the rest of the media--"

"She's not," assured Oriana. "She's actually really woke. We were...friends, back in school."

"Right. Hero school. Sometimes I forget there are so many of you."

"She used to spend her summers networking with other Deviants, building alliances to combat hate crimes against our kind. Nowadays, she runs this whole show about uplifting marginalized voices in the community. And she wants us as her positivity piece."

"Positivity piece?"

"She's done Water Woman breaking contract, Scarlet Flame's gag order, Fireball forced into a life of alcoholism by his handlers because it turns his powers on, Kilowatt being forcibly frozen...all really depressing stuff. Sounds like she just wants me to go on the show and gush about how good you are to me while you tell the people about how you stopped Ted Greene from turning me into brain stew."

“Wait a minute,” said Mickey. “Remember the last time a celebrity took interest in you, Eddie? And you thought he had all these revolutionary ideas? And he offered you cash incentives? And he was so quirky and charismatic! And he turned out to be an evil cyborg?”

“There’s no way Martika’s a supervillain. And if she was a cyborg, I’d have been known.”

“If Oriana trusts her,” Eddie conceded.

“Oriana has an open-door villain forgiveness policy. Case in point!” Mickey reminded them with a sweeping gesture toward the pair of them.

“It’s one interview. What could happen?” insisted Oriana.

“I guess the odds of this woman having any insidious intentions--well, more than anybody else in media, anyway--aren’t that high," said Eddie. "And there is one thing I've been wanting to say to the public…"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Chapter 3


Eddie and Oriana had decided to carpool to the radio station on the date of the interview, so that morning, she dropped him off at the office before making her own way downtown to Special Circs. He could have done his inventing at home and saved her the drive, he was certainly experienced enough in the assembly of robotics without the comfort and convenience of a lab, but his current project was not one he wanted strewn across the living room coffee table.

After Jasmine Freeman won the election by a landslide to the office of police commissioner, she'd expressed an indebtment to Big Tech, for both generating the publicity that won her the election with his and Bombshell's showdown against Chimera at her press conference, and for stopping the assassination plot that targeted her. So, she'd pardoned his warrants, and, though it had taken her several months of cutting through red tape, procured him some evidence from the police station that was of personal interest to him.

Spread out on the lab table before him was Chimera, disassembled piece by piece and ready to be reverse-engineered into something Eddie could pitch as a prosthesis, fully prehensile and capable of being connected to a human's neural network for complete motor control of a fully robotic limb. Yeah, he definitely couldn't have done this at home. Philanthropic though his intentions were, it would be cruel to retraumatize Oriana with the sight of the evil cyborg who had almost killed her, even if Chimera was dead. Or was 'inoperational' a better word? It depended on what your stance was on the personhood of tech billionaires who turned their bodies into machines and their brains into online social networks.

When the text came in from Oriana that she had arrived, he made triple-sure to close the lab door behind him before meeting her in front of his office. "Hey baby!" She hugged him and clung, delighted, as always, to see him after her own long workday at the prison. "How was work?"

"Great. I'm close to a prototype on that robotic limb thing. Took me long enough, though. The, uh...technology...that I'm basing mine off of was overly complicated and obviously designed by someone who's never heard of right-to-repair. At one point I had to build all new machines specifically to take apart the first...machine. You?"

"Awful. I had to do another reduction today and the guy whined the whole time about how much it hurt. They don't usually report much pain--it's more like a discomfort--and his vitals all read fine, so my guess is he was just being a crybaby. But if you're gonna be like that, don't waste my time, y'know? I have other parolees that want to go back to society without needing a live-in nurse. Ugh, sorry. Rant over."

"About that," said Eddie. "Maybe once the company reaches mass production stage, we could provide an alternative solution? That way you wouldn't have to put your guys through so much physical stress just to give them back their--"

She rose up on tiptoe to kiss him gently on the lips. "I know where this is goin'. And I love you for thinking of the city's most vulnerable. But there's no way Blackwater City 'bout to fork over the taxpayer dollars to put my crooks in them suits."

She was probably right, but it was nice to dream. Besides, he was a little fixated on that other thing she'd said. "You--?"

She blushed. "I'd a thought you'd been known."

"Yeah, but it's nice to hear." He gave her hand an affectionate squeeze. "I love you too, Ori." Some days he still wondered if he even deserved to, but he was getting better, both by his own initiative and her constant reassurances of his worth and her adoration for him. It was these little moments he cherished; he kept them close onhand in his mind like notecards in his pocket so when the bad days came, he'd have something to remind him why he'd come this far.

"Now, we 'bout to stand here all day and talk about our feelings, or we gonna go?"

The elevator ride down 45 floors of the towering office building was always a slow one, and every day as Eddie left work, the same tall, thin man with his hair in a man-bun and a suit and watch that together probably cost more than most people's mortgage got on at the 44th. Sometimes, he'd be kissing a woman when the doors opened, and it was always a different woman. "New secretary," he would say by way of explanation every single time once the doors closed. It perplexed Eddie: how many secretaries did one man have to go through? Then again, was it any of his business? They were strangers.

Today, though, Eddie wasn't alone, and when the man on the 44th floor got in and saw Oriana on his arm, his first assumption was: "New secretary?" Then, his eyes blew with a sudden sense of recognition. He smirked, his posture relaxing. "Oriana! Didn't recognize you with the short hair. And is it just me, or have you put on a few?"

"Steve," she answered curtly.

"Other than that, though, you haven't changed since we were an item. Am I correct in guessing that this is your new beau?"

Wait, what? Was Eddie to understand that this guy was Oriana's ex? Was this the telepath? He didn't seem like her type.

"Steve, this is Eddie. Eddie, Steve," she introduced them, her tone suddenly vicious as she continued. "Steve went to Rivington with me. He's a shapeshifter. You wouldn't believe some of the things he did for me back in the day. Actually...I think I might still have the tapes on my laptop if you want to see them later."

Ah. That made more sense.

Not one to take the humiliation lightly, Steve threw Eddie a contrived look of concern and said, "Be careful with this one. She's one of those 'feeders'. She broke my heart back in the day and she'll have no misgivings about letting yours stop. But hey, I'm in medicine--take this, and give me a call if you ever feel like reclaiming a few years of your life expectancy. Here, Ori, you can have one, too." He handed each of them a business card embossed with a corporate phone number and website in one corner and four lines of text in the center:


Weight Loss Solutions

Less of You to Deal With. (™)

Steve Pryor, CEO

"Bold words coming from somebody who put me in the hospital!" Oriana snapped.

"Hey, aren't you the guys that make Pryorexia?" said Eddie. "Looks like you're still putting people in hospitals; your pills have caused more heart disease this past year than fen-phen did in the '80s. I don't know why you're even allowed on the market." It was amazing what kind of gossip you could happen along in medical forums online even if you weren't looking for it. Eddie had perused the boards back when he was first establishing Salvidar Solutions to see how other firms in the biomedical field got off their feet. Apparently, Pryor Pharma was one of the shadiest corporations in medicine.

"Sometimes it's worth the associated risks, and in your case, buddy--"

"You know what, Steve?" Oriana cut in, her head cocked slightly to the left, as it tended to do before she placed a biomanipulative attack.

"Ori, not here!" Eddie took her around one arm, trying to hold her back. As much as he appreciated her stepping in in his defense, elevators and forced fattening decidedly didn't mix. The car was roomy enough with one super-sized passenger, but with two?

Then again, would Oriana's powers even work on a shapeshifter? They hadn't worked on Ted Greene…

Eddie hoped Steve was likewise immune. He didn't want to have to call the fire department.

But Oriana didn't attempt to fatten Steve. Something happened to him, though. His posture clenched and he grimaced in disgust. The stench was unmistakable.

Oriana pushed the button to open the doors on the 25th floor. "You need to take care of something?"

Steve shuffled out of the elevator with his back to the hallway to hide his shame from the other two.

As they started once more to descend towards the ground floor, Oriana mentioned offhandedly, "So, the media named me Bombshell, but did I ever tell you how I almost became Captain ****-Your-Pants?"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Eddie was sure it would be a tight squeeze for Oriana on Martika's couch, between Martika's soft, wide thighs and his own hefty frame, but she was raising no complaint except perhaps for cold feet. Right before they went live, she asked him, "Are you sure you want to roll with the plan? Especially after what happened in the elevator."

Earlier in the week, they had rehearsed the interview with the questions Martika had emailed Oriana to prepare to answer, which included: what did he have to say to the concern-trolls running rampant on Twitter?

While Oriana never missed an opportunity to troll right back when the haters reared their heads, Eddie didn't have the time of day to engage in back-and-forth discourse with Blackwater City's monopoly-holders of way too much free time. He had a business to build, after all, not to mention a circle of friends to entertain for the first time in his life. But lately, Oriana was having her reputation dragged through the dirt, all because of their relationship. People were tagging him, as Big Tech, in Tweets warning him to cut and run before it was too late for his organs. One particularly vitriolic account had Tweeted, 'When #BigTech has a heart attack we're charging #Bombshell with murder, right?'

He was long overdue to take back control of the narrative. As of yet, the public didn't know of Eddie's sordid motivations for inventing his originally villainous persona, but tonight, he was laying the cards on the table, live, on the air.

"I've never been more sure of anything."

"You'll go from pitied to reviled in minutes," said Oriana.

"If it'll lift a load off your reputation--"

"My reputation's been through enough. I can take it."

"I've already thought about it." All the work it had taken to build himself up into her nemesis seemed now to belong to another life. More than anything, he wanted it to be known that he was not her victim, but her accomplice.

"Oh, you lovebirds," Martika chimed in, all sing-song as she poured three glasses of red wine and handed one each to Eddie and Oriana. Oriana sipped hers, while Eddie placed his awkwardly on the table before them. "We're live in five...four...three…"

She held out two fingers. One finger.

Mics on.

"Welcome, welcome, welcome to Nail Me To The Cross! I'm Martika Mitchell, and I'm here with Big Tech and Bombshell this afternoon! We've got a great episode lined up for you guys, and I, for one, can't wait to launch right in! Now, the first thing I want to talk about is Ted Greene, because holy Hell, what a fight! Bombshell, let's start with you: what even happened?"

"I've always been a controversy," Oriana said into her mic, with all the confidence of someone who had been interviewed in costume before. Eddie wondered to himself how many of these he'd have to sit through before it was no longer weird. Oriana insisted it was for identity protection, but he kept expecting to be attacked by a supervillain out of nowhere. "I guess the Evangelizing ******* himself decided it was time to take it to my doorstep."

"And when you were fresh out of a fight with Human Hallucinogen, too!"

"Jared was nothing," said Oriana dismissively. "I've fought him before. I knew I was gonna be okay."

"But Ted--"

"Now, that's where I was in over my head," Oriana agreed.

Martika turned to Eddie now and said, "Good thing you showed up just in time to save her life! Ah, a romance for the ages…"

Eddie felt a blush coming on. "I only got a couple blows in...Bombshell's the one who put him down."

"DON'T be modest. Your timing and action couldn't have been more impeccable. And she didn't even have to call you for backup. In fact, Bombshell, as I recall, you actively resisted backup."

"I really thought I had Ted on the ropes. They don't call me the Reckless Wonder for nothing."

"They do, now, do they?"

"Nobody calls her that but herself," Eddie clarified with a chuckle.

"Look, I've always been an adrenaline junkie, okay? I'm just lucky someone watching in the crowd knew better than I did and had Twitter," said Oriana.

"But there had to be a point where you knew you wouldn't make it out of this fight alone?"

Eddie took the mic then in her defense: "I think Bombshell acts out of care and concern when she tries to keep me out of a fight. She can get a little overprotective. She's just got to realize that if she can hold her own, so can I." He knew exactly how Martika was going to use this to change subjects.

Well, this was it.

Time to go public.

"How sweet," said Martika. "And how refreshing to have some light shed on the real Bombshell. It's a relief to know she isn't like what all the Twitter hate would have the public believe." She downed her own glass of wine and picked up Eddie's abandoned glass to sip on that, too.

"There is, uh, there's a lot of Twitter hate, yeah," Eddie agreed.

Last chance to back out...

"For the out-of-the-loop, social media as well as right-wing news have been painting Bombshell as a gaslighter, an abuser, and a future murderer ever since she and Big Tech have become an item," Martika said into her mic. "Big Tech, what is she really like at home?"

"Oh, she's great. Sweetest girl you'll ever meet, and she cooks like a Cajun grandmother to boot. Anyway, it's not like she ever did anything I didn't want done. The whole reason I put together the Big Tech identity was to draw her out."

"By that, you mean you wanted her to catch you and fatten you?"

"That was the plan from the beginning." Eddie waited nervously for Martika's reaction, until…

She smirked. "I knew it! Scarlet Flame, if you're listening at home, you owe me forty bucks!"


"Darling, it takes one to know one," said Martika. "I know I've talked about being a mutual gainer on this show before."

The way she said it so flippantly, so guiltlessly...he hoped he would reach that place one day. Oriana had done wonders to help with his self-esteem, but he'd still been nervous as all hell about opening up on this interview. It calmed him that Martika was so understanding, though.

"And you two obviously don't let the feedism get in the way of saving the world. Ted Greene brings the number of class-6 or higher threats you've eliminated together to I think three now?"

Oriana counted on her fingers. "Wait...we counting Forklifter?"

"Should we not count Forklifter?" asked Martika.

"Ol boy was almost a villain for almost a week. And Louie's a good guy. Sometimes good guys have one bad day, snap, and decide to build a mech and declare revenge. But he could barely pilot the thing. Dude's already up for parole and a reduction."

"Anticlimactic...but in the moment, it must have been a big deal to the both of you, Forklifter being Bombshell's jilted reject…"

"Actually, though it's true that she rejected his propositions once upon a time, I believe the straw that broke the camel's back for him was when Bombshell replaced him as her auto mechanic," said Eddie.

Louie was good, but Mickey was better.

At the time, Eddie had been concerned for Oriana when a new villain stepped up and declared himself Bombshell's nemesis, but she was right: the boy was a terrible pilot. He'd gone down easily.

"Let's have a speed round!" Martika declared. "Bombshell: missionary or cowgirl?"

"Missionary, all the way!"

That was how she wanted it, at least. Eddie was still worried about hurting her. She claimed to know she would be resilient enough to withstand being smothered under six-bucks-and-change of fat. She also claimed she had Ted Greene on the ropes.

"Big Tech, ass or titties?"

"I--I have to pick?"

"Well, clearly you don't," said Martika with a conspicuous nod toward the curvaceous crimefighter between them.

"Bombshell, pills or condoms?"

"I accidentally sterilized myself sometime before I was eighteen," said Oriana. "I found out the same day I was diagnosed as a biomanipulator."

"So what I'm hearing is, Bombshell orders her meat raw! Get it, girl! Big Tech, what's Bombshell's most annoying habit?"

"She paces around the house while she sorts the mail and throws all the junk mail on the floor like she thinks I can bend down and pick up after her."

"Hmm, yes, I can see there's a lot impeding that," said Martika. The look in her eyes as she glanced pointedly at the gargantuan gut spilling over almost his entire lap was somewhere between approval and pure relish. "Bombshell, have you signed a contract with the feds, or are you still a free agent?"

"Rogue 'til the day I die, baby!" exclaimed Oriana with a fist-pump to the sky, one foot propped against the table.

"Wait, the government contracts superheroes?" Eddie asked, bewildered.

Oriana took the mic and said, "The school-to-registration pipeline is part of a world that you leave behind when you go rogue, or that you can live your whole life totally unaware of if you're a Genetic Typical."

"So that's the opposite of Genetic Deviant, gotcha," Eddie muttered under his breath, taking mental notes.

"It's better for your taxes if you stay rogue, though. From what I hear, the salary for a registered superhero isn't great, and you're on a 1099, so you'll owe enough at the end of the year to outweigh your deductions for expenses."

"Great advice for the up and coming hero! Big Tech, have anything to add for anyone tuning in who's thinking of taking up a life of crimefighting?"

Eddie shrugged. "I guess just keep in mind you're never as alone as you think you are."

"I love it!" said Martika. "Well, that's our time. Tune in next week, when I'll be interviewing a very special guest specifically on the subject of rogue vigilantism and its intersection with body positivity. You know her, you love her, but for now, I'll keep her a surprise! Good night, and once again, I'm Martika Mitchell." She looked at Eddie expectantly.

"I'm Big Tech."

"And I'm Bombshell, *****!"

Martika motioned to her sound guy behind one-way glass to cut the feed.

"I think that went well!" she said. "Thank you both for your insights tonight."

"It was a pleasure," said Oriana.

"It had to be said," Eddie agreed.

"Anyway, it's been wonderful to catch up with you, Oriana."


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Stunned, Oriana removed her helmet and stared Martika in the eyes. "How did you--? Did Dante tell on me?"

"Actually, he was determined to keep your secret," said Martika. "He never spoke a word about your...extracurricular activities. But nobody else in the world would use biomanipulation like you do in the field. And did you think I wouldn't recognize my best friend's voice? Your quirks, your tells...the little way you click your nails together when you're nervous?"

Oriana swallowed. "Martika, you have to know, I stayed away to protect you."

"Sure. Then you replaced me with Scarlet Flame."

"What S and I have is different," said Oriana. "Yeah, she's kind of my mentor, but I don't even know her name. Martika, our friendship was special, truly. After I became Bombshell, I cut everyone off. I thought knowing my identity would have been a liability to you. But if I had known you knew the whole time--"

"Then let's make up for the lost years," said Martika. "Why don't you two go home, change into your civvy clothes, and come to my penthouse for dinner with me and Dante? Unless, of course, you have plans." She looked from Oriana to Eddie in turn.

"So you two are still together? Wonderful," said Oriana before shooting Eddie a glance. "Only if it's alright with you. I know it's short notice, and you've still got schematics to work on…"

"How many chances do you get to reconnect with an old friend?" said Eddie.

With his blessing, Oriana gave Martika a smile. "How can I ever say no to them pretty brown eyes?"


Martika lived in the penthouse suite of a gleaming high-tower apartment complex with chrome fixtures and opulent velvet sofas in the lobby, along with elegant crystal chandeliers. When Eddie and Oriana arrived, the thin blonde concierge working at the front desk looked up and regarded them suspiciously. "Can I help you?"

"We're here to see Martika Mitchell," said Oriana, a bottle in her hand.

"So you're the guests she left the note about?"

"Is there a problem?"

"Not at all. It's just...you're not what I expected." She passed Oriana a swipe card across the shining granite counter. "Key to the elevator. Just go all the way to the back."

They passed a bustling bar and dining area on their way down the opulent marble corridor.

The 69-story elevator ride was agonizingly slow. As they ascended, Oriana wrapped both arms around one of Eddie's and pulled herself flush against his side. "Chilly?" he asked.

"No, I just...I have a confession: I'm actually a little bit scared of elevators."

"Why elevators?"

"Remember in Sent, when the showrunners would have two feuding characters stuck in an elevator at least once a season so they'd have to work out their beef on the spot?"

"Vaguely?" Of all the nostalgic television Oriana had introduced him to over the months, that was the show he'd paid the least attention to. Vapid soap operas about social climbing and gossip had never been up his alley. "It's not going to get stuck."

They passed the 35th floor. 36. 37.

"There's one other thing," she said. "About Martika's boyfriend...well...he used to be mine."

"Yikes." And that was putting it mildly. Eddie's insides did a backflip. "Is this going to be weird?"

"No! I mean, not because we were a thing. Like I told you, it's over." 59. 60. 61. "That said, talking to a telepath is weird."

"Well, Chloe was nice enough. Remember Chloe, from the housewarming party? Evergreen's date?"

"Yes, I remember Chloe, but neither you nor I've ever fucked her."

They reached the 69th floor all too soon.

"Just try not to make it weirder than he does," she cautioned at the door as she knocked. "Cause trust me, he will make it--"

"Ori!" It was a relief to Eddie that the man who answered the door was slimmer than himself by a significant margin. Not that anyone else would have called the 400-pound radio technician in a 5-XL suit 'slim'. He was definitely round, definitely wide, definitely fat, but not so fat as to make Eddie worry that Oriana's affection would stray. "And here I was afraid you'd bail at the last minute." He started to go in for the hug, but then changed his mind at the last minute. "Nah, good idea, handshake works better," he agreed to a statement she hadn't made aloud. Martika came up seconds behind him, holding a rocks glass full of liquor and grabbing onto his arm for support.

"Dante, Martika," said Oriana, "this is--"

"Eddie, I know," said Dante, offering a handshake that Eddie completed not without trepidation. "Damn, so she still got the moves, huh?"

Oriana's eyes shot wide in horror. "Whose head are you in right now?"

"Sorry, babydoll, you know I can't turn it off."

"Yeah, but could you try?" asked Oriana. "Anyway, I brought cognac."

"Wonderful!" said Martika with a hint of a slur. "C'mon in, you guys. Let's crack this baby open!" Taking the bottle from Oriana, she led the way into the penthouse, past the living room and its floor-to-ceiling windows, and into a spacious, well-equipped kitchen, where she produced three more rocks glasses, her gait a wobbling stumble that caused her flab-inflated rear and thighs to jiggle each time one of her feet touched ground. Eddie was about to tell her not to trouble herself on his behalf, but Dante beat him to the punch.

"Oh, he don't drink."

Martika gave Eddie a disappointed look. "Not even a little?" she asked, pouring three glasses anyway.

"He said he don't drink," said Dante, taking the glass meant for Eddie and splitting its contents between Martika's glass, Oriana's, and his own.

"Well, technically I didn't say anything."

"Yeah, but after a while it's hard not to like not having to. You'll see." Dante clapped him on the back. "I think you and I are gonna be friends."

Martika spared no expense on dinner. One by one, room service attendants arrived wheeling in carts of creamy lobster bisque, followed by caesar salads drowning in dressing, steaks on plates piled high with whipped sweet potatoes and lemon-buttered greens, and basket after basket after basket of bread rolls. Everything was delicious, but Eddie was having a hard time getting a word in edgewise to offer his compliments to the chef, as Martika spent most of the meal staring at him as if he were on the menu, interrogating him about everything from his favorite band (a pop-punk group from Canada called San Andreas Fault) to his sexual history (Martika fought to stifle a grin as he admitted Oriana had his V-card tucked decisively into his back pocket, although there was a girl from drama camp who'd broken his heart way back in the day, and he'd had a flirtacious encounter once with a woman he met at the planetarium but that had gone nowhere, as, at the time, he'd been living with his mother.)

"Where'd you go to school, Eddie?" she prodded just as the final course--individual chocolate lava cakes--landed on the table.

"He's a CalTech man. Graduated top of his class with a bachelor's in software engineering and a minor in astrophysics," Dante answered for him. It was the third question in a row that the other man had answered in his stead, and Eddie was grateful he had thought to spare the detail about how due to his mother's well-meaning but ultimately overprotective insistence, he had attended all four years of college remotely over Skype and Zoom.

"Astrophysics! How impressive! And what do you do right now?"

"He's the CEO and founder of a biomedical technology startup. They're developing mobility assistance stuff," Dante explained. "Y'know, for if you're disabled. Or just really fat, I guess."

"And a philanthropist to boot! I should have expected nothing less of Ori here."

"Martika, what is this?" asked Oriana. In the hours that had passed, she had barely touched any of her plates, and now, she pushed her final one to the center of the table in clear frustration. "I thought we'd already left the studio, hmm? So why can't you just let my man enjoy his food?"

Martika's expression softened. "I'm sorry, Ori. I just wanted to make sure you were in good hands. I can't help that a part of me will always love you."

Oriana looked completely disarmed. "Like a sister, right? You mean you love me like a sister. Right?"

Dante winced. Eddie was confused. "Wait, Ori, I thought you said Dante was your ex."

"I was," said Dante.

"Least, that's what I thought," Oriana supplied.

Martika sighed. "We shared him, is the easiest way to explain it." Turning to Oriana, she added with a tremble in her voice, "But I loved you both. I've told you I loved you. I guess all that time, back in college, it was going right over that straight-girl head of yours…" She swallowed. "Not that it matters now...now that you're with Eddie. I get it if you never want to have dinner again."

"No, no, that's not what I said!" Oriana reassured her. "I was just surprised is all! But Martika, listen. Now that you're back in my life, I never want to stop being friends with you. What's a little unrequited gay crush between best buds, huh?"

"You mean it?"

"Hell yeah! Matter of fact, why don't we plan to hang out next week, just us girls?"

"Absolutely!" Had Martika been a thinner woman, she might have flown out of her sturdy seat from the force with which she attacked Oriana in an enveloping hug. Instead, her behind never left her chair, but she did manage to pull Oriana off of hers and halfway into her generously cushioned lap.

Eddie tried not to default to preparing for a worst-case scenario, but his mind went to a dark place faster than he could stop it.

Martika was elegant, she was important, she was uplifting the voices of the marginalized, all the while managing to reconcile all of that with the space she unapologetically occupied and the frivolous debauchery in which she so gleefully partook. If Bombshell made feedism look righteous, Martika made it outright glamorous.

How was he supposed to compete with that?


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
((CW in this segment for implied attempted sexual assault. Don't worry, Bombshell comes to the rescue.))

Chapter 4


No more taking on weird **** alone, Eddie had made her promise before she left the house that evening. Any signs of big-time supervillainy, and she was to call for backup without hesitation.

Maybe it was for the best if Bombshell kept strictly to hostage situations on her solo patrols. Sure, getting into biomanipulator bossfights and taking on threats to national security looked great on television, but she hadn't adopted her superhero persona for personal glory and bravado. She'd done it to save lives.

Besides, the hard stuff was...well, hard. If she were being honest with herself, she'd be happy if she never ran into another Chimera or Ted Greene again. Regular guys with guns threatening innocent civilians--that, she could handle, no sweat. When it came to fighting the evil mecha-lords and blood-sucking ghouls from the nth dimension, she was second fiddle to Big Tech and that was something she was going to have to learn to be okay with. Bombshell, though? She'd always been the defender of the little guy--in a manner of speaking--and she was just as needed in that role as ever.

She was standing on the roof of a ten story office building--back in the day, she used to cap the rooftop heights at three stories so she could still see ground level--but now that she had a zoom-in feature in her visor, the extra height gave her extra range--scanning Blackwater's streets for any sign of a stick-up or mugging, when a loud CLANK startled her from behind. Turning around, she quickly found the source of the disturbance: a grappling hook, clinging to the ledge of the roof. She approached it and tugged on the cable--oof! Whatever was on the other end was heavy. Concentrating, she adjusted her muscle tone to give herself the strength to hoist up the load, hand over hand.

There was a scream of surprise from below. Then, a robust, curly-haired woman, masked and dressed in a black corset held together with purple ribbon laces, leather pants, and thigh-high steel-toed boots came sailing onto the rooftop, the two globes of her jiggling ass breaking her fall as she hit the concrete. Bombshell cocked her head and studied her catch. Around the woman's neck was a leather collar from which dangled a stainless steel 'C'. "State your business," said Bombshell.

"B, it's me!" The woman removed her mask and smiled up at her through her discomfort.


"You bet! But we're in the field, so call me Crucifix."

"Why Crucifix?"

"You'll see," said Martika, putting her mask back on. Well, Crucifix. "That is, if you'll have me along."


"Girls night! Like we talked about!"

"I meant we could get nails together! Or go rollerblading or something!" exclaimed Bombshell. "How the hell d'you even find me?"

"Well, gee, you wear a bright orange racecar driver getup. You aren't hard to spot."

"So you saw me up here and decided, what, you'd scale the damn building?"

"Well, how did you get up here?"

"Picked the lock downstairs. Cut the alarm. Used the stairs like a normal person!"

"You mean that door has been unlocked this whole time?" asked Crucifix, pointing down with one pudgy pointer finger.

"Would it have killed you to check?"

"See, this is why you were always the smart one, Queen B," said Martika. "So, are we doing this, or not?"

"Look, Mar--Crucifix. The guys I go after are usually armed. I can make myself bulletproof. But if you get hurt on my watch--"

"I can have 'em knocked off their feet before they can fire a shot," Martika assured her.

"Are you sure? You ever even done this be--"

She was cut off by the ringing of her emergency hotline. Transferring the call to her interface, she opened, "This is Bombshell, what is your emergency?"

"Bombshell, please, you have to help me!" replied a woman in a hoarse whisper. "There's a guy from my work who's been stalking me--"

"Ma'am, tell me what's happening now."

"He just broke into my house!"


"649 Sundry Lane, just--"

The woman screamed. Then, silence.

Time was of the essence.

Bombshell let herself back in the building and made straight for the stairs. "What are you doing?" Martika asked, breathing labored as she struggled to keep up. "The elevator will be faster!"

"Will it?" said Bombshell, parkouring over the guardrail to launch herself onto the next landing.

"Well...you can make yourself good at that! I'm taking the elevator," called Martika from behind.

Bombshell beat her downstairs and was waiting in the Fatmobile for a whole two minutes. Once the passenger door was closed, she sped off down the street into a sharp left turn around the corner, all while Martika struggled to get comfortable in the too-tight seat. "B, what are you doing? I don't have my--YOU don't have YOUR seatbelt on yet!"

"Makes it easier to get out of the car once we get there."

"And if you like big boys, why'd you buy such a stupidly small whip?"

"Actually, she was a gift, and this is just what I drive on SOLO patrol!"

Bombshell swerved onto the feeder road, weaving in and out of traffic, just as Martika finally snapped her seatbelt shut. "Does your boyfriend know you drive like this?"

"This," Bombshell smirked, "is me going easy on you." Then: "Compose: Got a partner along for the ride today. Let's see how this goes. Send Tweet."

"And now you're TWEETING?! AT THE WHEEL?!"

"Relax, wouldja?"

At last, they pulled up in front of the house. Nine minutes. Dammit. Well, better late than never. Besides, GPS would have said it would take 25. "Look, Martika, if you got cold feet, you can stay in the car and we'll forget tonight ever happened," said Bombshell, already out of the car and headed in.

"Not a chance, girl."

The door had been kicked in--well, that took care of entry. Bombshell turned on her camera and started the live stream just as she stepped into the dining room, where a skinny blonde woman was secured to a chair by the wrists and ankles with rope and torn strips of fabric. She was gagged, and the leering intruder standing over her had started cutting off her dress with a pair of kitchen scissors.

Oh, hell no! One of these real McNasties.

Bombshell gripped him by both shoulders and threw him to his back, away from the victim so she could fatten him up without the risk of crushing her.

That's when Martika caught up.

The stalker may have been down, but there was still enough context in the room for her to know what had almost just happened.

And she.



"Oh, you piece of total dog ****!" She ran over to the assailant and kicked him in the ribs, eliciting a grunt of pain, but that was nothing compared to what happened next.

As Martika stood over him, the man began to convulse and scream on the floor in sheer agony. It was a sight to behold, watching him writhe; his would-be victim and even Oriana flinched before Crucifix reassured her, "Don't worry, B. I can't actually physically harm him. He just won't feel too good right now."

As he caterwauled on, Crucifix grabbed him by the collar and dragged him towards the door. "Let's take this fight outside, you perv."

While she was taking the would-be predator out into the yard, Bombshell whipped out the folding knife she carried for these situations and cut the woman out of her bonds. "Thank you, Bombshell!" she sobbed once the gag was removed.

"It's okay. You're safe now." Oriana gave her shoulder a comforting squeeze. "And this creep ain't gonna be hurting you or nobody else ever again."

"B!" cried Crucifix, "Meet me out here!"

Out in the front lawn, Crucifix was still at work torturing the home invader. "Ready to do your thing?"

"Hell yeah, C!"

Crucifix let up, only for Oriana to focus her biomanipulation on the target at hand…

By now, it was all too familiar.

His body swelled and expanded with adipose, straining the seams of his clothes until they split: first, the closure of his shirt gave way to the gelatinous mountain of his belly, but the inseam of his pants was soon to follow as his thighs expanded and crowded together. In seconds, he was pinned flat on his back by hundreds of pounds of extra fat, all while Bombshell closely monitored his vitals on her screen.

757 pounds was the final figure. Yeah, he was going nowhere fast. And yet…

"More," insisted Crucifix, a sadistic smile plastered across her face.

So Bombshell forced another couple hundred pounds onto the man's already immobilized frame, watching as his gut surged outward in all directions.

"More," Crucifix implored her.


But even Bombshell drew a line somewhere, and this was where she decided, this oughta do it.

"More!" Crucifix begged.

"No! I'll crush his lungs," said Bombshell. "Let's just go."


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
They got into the car and sped off. "Dial Go Fork Yourself," Bombshell commanded into her interface. The call was answered after two rings.

"Go Fork Yourself Forklift, Machine and Truck Rental, LLC. This is Vinny Contini, owner and operator. How can we fork you today?"

"Vinny! It's Bombshell," she said. "I've got another one for ya. 649 Sundry Lane. I'll let the cops know I've already given you the heads up. By the way, how's Louie?"

"Fugghet about 'im. Don't you remember what he tried to do to you?"

"Look, Vinny, I know you and him got your difference--"

"Kid dragged the family name through the dirt, disgraced this shop--"

"You're his father," Bombshell implored. "He acted out, but his feelings were hurt, and honestly, I'm not blameless. He and I have already apologized to each other. He's served his sentence. But he's still hurting. He needs his father more than anything right now. Just...consider giving him his job back?"

"Sorry, sweetheart, but there are some lines you don't cross, and he did."

"I know it's none of my business. Family is important to me. I'll let it go...for tonight. But you haven't heard the last from me, Vinny."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."

"Say hi to Zella for me," she said before hanging up.

Then, "Dial the BCPD."

"Blackwater City Police."

"This is Bombshell. I just apprehended a home invader and attempted rapist. 649 Sundry Lane--"

"Oh, Christ, not this again."

"Relax. I left him outside this time, and I've already called the forklift company. All you have to do is to collect the statement from the victim."

"Well, gee...that was actually pretty nice of you, Bombshell."

"It wasn't my idea."

After she hung up, Martika said, "Sorry if I got a little carried away back there. You know I've always had a thing for that extreme stuff in this kink, and if I'm gonna see someone get that big, they might as well deserve it right? I mean, Jesus, what a skeeve! And the media actually have the nerve to call you a pervert? You're the best thing that's ever happened to Big Tech. He's finally living his dream! He's shy...but cute. I like him for you. By the by...what do the numbers in your little notebook look like these days?"

"Aw, c'mon, Martika, that's too personal." She had always thought that if she ever did get into a feedist relationship, she'd be the loudest of exhibitionists, Tweeting constantly about the numbers, the progress...but with Eddie, that wasn't the vibe. What they had was more tender, more emotional, more private, meant to be enjoyed and explored in a world of their own.

"C'mon! You at least gotta tell me how big his cock is. Just give me a number between three and fourteen!" Martika pleaded.

Oriana deliberated for a minute before deciding on her answer: "*****, I can control biology. Or did you forget?"

Martika squealed and shoved Oriana so hard the car swerved.

Quickly adjusting the wheel, Oriana laughed and careened back onto the feeder road, weaving in and out of traffic into the falling dusk.


Meanwhile, back at Mission Control…

It was a quiet night in for Eddie as he sat in front of his laptop, waiting for Oriana's live stream to start. Any minute now…

She'd promised to keep him in the loop and call for help if she had a run-in with anything that wasn't, strictly-speaking, small-time crime. Stick ups, assaults, heists with no more than three gunmen. And he trusted her. Really, he did. He just wanted to see with his own eyes that she was okay.

Finally, she posted a Tweet, but before he could read it and find out whether it was to build hype or call for distress, his cellphone rang.

"Hello?" he answered.

"Hey man, it's Dante. Come to the bar with me."

"I don't drink."

"I know, it's great! You can be DD on the way back, and I can get as hammered as I want."

"How did you even get my number?"

"From your long term memory, at dinner at the penthouse. C'mon, Ori's patrolling, isn't she? What else do you have to do?"

Eddie blinked. "Can you read minds over the phone?"

"No, but she did just Tweet it."

Good, so the Tweet was nothing to be concerned about.

"Look, man, when's the last time you hung out with the guys at a bar?"

"You already know the answer to that, don't you?"

"See, and I think that's part of the problem."

Eddie sighed.

Maybe he should go meet Dante.

If he was going to spend all night worrying himself sick, he might as well have some background noise.

The bar would have live news coverage playing, right?

Besides, there were other questions he had for his girlfriend's ex-lover.

"You know what? Let's go to the bar, on one condition."

"That being?"

"You actually let me speak this time."

"Bet! See you in thirty."


Eddie beat Dante by about five minutes, the latter showing up in an Uber that dropped him off at the door. At least Dante had some sense of driving etiquette, unlike a certain Reckless Wonder they both knew and loved. Oriana may not have driven drunk, but she was a notorious maniac behind the wheel.

It made him guilty in a way he never would have expected before he met her. Well, really met her. He'd known Oriana Taylor-Moore on the surface, but back in the day, he never would have imagined the pen-test analyst who worked upstairs could be Bombshell, even if she was the one always leaving snacks in the break room for the whole company.

And back in those days, Bombshell's reckless driving was merely an incidental fact. Bombshell was never meant to be anything other than a means to an end, until she wasn't, and now…

Now, he knew he'd break if he lost her.

The bar Dante had picked out was in the old-money district of the Heights, dimly lit and mahogany-built but still up-to-date enough to keep four giant flat-screens behind the bar. Dante walked up, helped himself to a seat, and immediately led in with, "Sup bro? Hey, right off the bat, I want to dispel any suspicion that my girl has any intention of stealing yours. Not that she'd stand a chance even if she did."

"I thought you were going to let me speak?"

"You just spoke, so there's my end of the bargain." Dante flagged down the bartender, a copper-haired girl with a short, sturdy build and a diamond ring dangling from a chain around her neck.

"What'll it be, boys?"

"I'll do a Lagunitas Hazy with a shot of Rumple on the side, and get my man a cherry cola if you will?"

Oh, he was good.

As she set the drinks down, he added, "And let's also get a party platter of wings."

"Y'all want the fifty?"

"Can you do seventy-five?"

"We usually don't, but you are a VIP. Will this be all together on your house account, Mr. Collins?"

"If ya wouldn't mind, Mandy."

"You know the staff here?" asked Eddie.

"I'm surprised you don't. Ori loves this place, or at least, she did."

Eddie choked on his soda.

"Sorry. I know it's weird, tryna grab drinks with your Eskimo brother."

"My what?"

"We visited the same igloo," Dante explained. "Man, Professor Mom didn't teach you jack, did she?"

"Thanks, by the way, for not bringing up the homeschooling thing in front of Martika. I wouldn't want her to think I'm lame."

"She don't. She thinks you're smart. Sweet. We both approve of you for Ori."

"Then why even bring up her girl crush at the table?"

Dante shrugged. "She was drunk? Tika's had a rough life, and we all have our crutches."

"Hmm." Eddie sipped his cola in contemplation. He'd had a rough life, too, but he'd never felt the compulsion to drink about it.

Just the overwhelming desire to get forcibly stuffed full of food until he could no longer tell up from down. You know.

"Scuse me, Mandy?"

The bartender turned in place. "You need anything, Mr. Collins?"

"Not right now, but my friend needs more soda, and you need to break things off with that ain't **** accountant."

She refilled Eddie's drink and tutted. "Why, Mr. Collins, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were trying to proposition me."

"Why, Ms. Hiatt...respectfully, just last week the dumb **** beat you with a wet mop."

Eddie shuddered.

Suddenly, a notification hit Dante's phone. He gave it a quick read and said, "Hey, Mandy! One more thing, could I get the remote?"

The bartender put down the glass she was polishing and said, "You know they don't let me do that."

Onscreen, the Stingrays game cut to commercial. "Tired of feeling controlled by your cravings?" blared a disembodied voice from the bar speakers as the advertisement rolled. "Ask your doctor about Pryorexia: the weight loss supplement that transforms your body by fortifying your mind. Take control of your willpower by letting Pryorexia take control of you." Eddie and Dante shared a look of distaste.

"Mandy, how about now?" Dante took a crisp hundred out of his wallet and placed it on the bar.

"You're nothing if not convincing," said Mandy, pocketing the money and surrendering the remote. Dante put on the news.

"A Blackwater residential neighborhood saw an action-packed night tonight as Bombshell fattened up a would-be rapist," the nighttime anchorman was rattling off.

"That's your girl," said Dante.

"Talk about giving a sex criminal a taste of his own medicine, huh?" the anchor went on.

"Ooh. I don't like that," said Dante.

"You think I do?" Eddie replied.

"We go now to field reporter Kim Phung, live at the scene."

"Gene, I'm here with Sandra Hollens, the Blackwater resident whose home was invaded earlier tonight," said the reporter, who stood alongside a trembling woman against a suburban backdrop. "Sandra, why don't you tell us about your plight?"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
"Well, this guy from my job wouldn't leave me alone. This had been going on for weeks, and tonight he followed me home and broke in! I called Bombshell's hotline, but while I was on the phone with her, he overpowered me! He tied me to a chair in my dining room...he was going to undress me...but then Bombshell came! There was another superhero with her too. She did something to him and he fell over and started screaming. So she dragged him outside…"

"And that's my girl," Dante said proudly.

"Martika? She actually fights crime?"

"Shh, just watch!"

"Bombshell got me untied, and then she went outside, too, and...well, she made sure he couldn't come back in and hurt me again."

The camera panned to the assailant, fattened beyond recognition in the lawn.

This wasn't right.

Eddie had never seen Oriana blow someone up this much. In her own words, the only time she'd taken her crooks past half-ton territory was back in her early days, before she had as much control over her powers as she did now. What if that control was slipping?

A soft 'ding' sounded from the kitchen. "I think that's you guys," said Mandy, and dipped into the back.

By the time she returned with the food, Eddie was thoroughly put off his appetite.


After stopping two muggings and a stick-up, Bombshell sped gleefully onto the overpass, now that traffic had cleared, downtown-bound and gushing about her past exploits while a petrified Crucifix gripped the passenger's side armrests. "...So it's this drug deal--arms deal--really, it was both, they was tradin' drugs for guns--when one side decides they ain't happy with the trade. So the hot, big-boobs cartel lady, because of course, there's always one, pulls out her Glock, right? And keep in mind, this was all going down in the middle of a South American forest. Like, we had hacked our way through the brush with machetes. The cartel hadn't spotted us yet, so Miss Titties with the gun is actin' real confident, and why shouldn't she be? Nobody around for miles to hear the gunshots. But I couldn't just let these guys die, even if they were drug dealers. So while we was still hid out in the bushes, I did what I do, she drops the gun and falls over on her now ginormous ass, and man oh man--"

"Please, dear God, if you give us a red light I promise I'll start going to church again!" Crucifix prayed, eyes to the sky.

"Like a red light would stop me," Bombshell chuckled.

"I'm not vibing with this speed." With shaky hands, Crucifix took out a cigarette and lit up.

"The hell you ain't smoking that in my car!"

"Fine." Crucifix tossed the lit cigarette out the window.

"Well don't do that either! That's how to set the river on fire!"

"Sorry. Geez. I didn't know it was that flammable."

"It'll probably be fine. Just try and be careful."

"You say, flooring it at 140."

"Seriously, though, C, you were pretty great tonight. I gotta admit, it makes it easier having someone to hold 'em down so I can blow 'em up. We should make this a regular thing. Let's say, second Tuesdays of the month?"

"Sure thing," said Crucifix, "but next time we'll take my car!"

"Fine," Bombshell conceded. "So, what now? Another rooftop? Or do you wanna just drive around looking for bad guys?"

"I was actually thinking we call it an early night," said Martika.

"But it's not even 9:30."

"I like to be home by ten. I got a man to come back to, and so do you."

"Eddie knows--"

"Unlike Dante, Eddie can't read your mind," said Martika. "But you know what Dante told me?"


"That that boy worries about you even more than you worry about him," said Martika. "You're his whole world, B. And if he ever lost you, it would break him. It might not be the healthiest dynamic, but let's face it: emotionally healthy people don't put on costumes to fight crime."

Oriana swallowed. That was quite the burden. "I never meant to distress him--"

"But you spend so much time worrying about others' physical fragility, you forget to think of their mental fragility, too. So, here's some free advice: take me to the radio station so I can get my car, and then go home to him and prove to him that you care."

"I been tryna do that!"

"How? By keeping him off the battlefield and out of the loop? He needs to know you trust him, B," said Martika.

Oriana decelerated and headed back towards Martika's penthouse. "I guess you're right."

"When am I not?"

As they turned corners, coming up on the downtown grid, Oriana said, "I have one question. If your powers can't hurt nobody--"

"How did I kill my rapey stepdad?" Martika finished for her. She had confessed to the murder in confidence, back when the girls were in college, but had never shared details. "I turned the pain up, and while he was down, I cut his throat with a kitchen knife."

At last, they arrived at Martika's station. "Thanks for the great night, B!" said Blackwater City's resident Princess of Pain. "By the way, if you turn the corner right there," she added, pointing, "you'll find Kate's Cakes and Crepes. Best little bakery in Blackwater City, and I wouldn't steer you wrong!"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
"Honey, I'm home!"

Oriana kicked off her boots at the door, showered, changed into a loose shirt that had once been Martika's before she outgrew it in college, and found Eddie in bed, suit off for the day, reviewing the news footage of her exploits, rewinding and replaying, rewinding and replaying. Propped up on the pillows, he looked to her like a fattened prince ready to be serviced. Oh, how she'd relish getting on her hands and knees for him…

"Oriana!" He sat at attention as she set the box of red velvet cake and two-liter of fresh squeezed lemonade she'd picked up on the nightstand. "What happened tonight?"

****. He was upset.

"I ran into Martika, she wanted to come along for the ride while I was patrolling," she explained. He had to have seen it on the news, and on her streaming cam footage. "Is it...is it okay that I went out with her? I swear, I came straight home. It's not like we took a detour, parked somewhere, and started lesbiating or something, you have to know, I would never go behind your back to hurt you like that!" She fell into his lap and threw her arms behind his neck, pulling him into a kiss. "You have to know, I'm not that kind of girl anymore. You're the only one for me."

"That's not even what I was worried about," said Eddie once the kiss broke. "Besides, I was at the bar with Dante all evening anyway."

"But...you don't drink."

"He wanted to watch the game, and by 'the game' I mean you and Martika's adventures."

"You...you didn't say you weren't worried."

"Reviewing the footage...Ori, you never do this. You never take it this far. Did Ted Greene hurt you? Did he fry your cir--mess with your abilities?"

She laughed and kissed him once more before letting her head rest against his doughy chest. "I'm fine, boo. Martika just wanted a show, that's it."

"That's a relief."

"Did you grab dinner?"

"I've got something in the fridge. Leftovers from the bar. I was too stressed to eat."

"My poor darling!" Oriana exclaimed, holding him even tighter. "Everything's fine. I'm safe."

"Good to know...oh, **** though. Are you biomanipulating right now, or am I suddenly ravenous?"

"I'm not doing anything. That'll just be the stress subsiding," said Oriana. "Do you maybe want to do dessert first?"

"Twist my arm, why don't you?" he said with a big grin.

Straddling his thighs, she popped off the lid of the box and scooped up a small handful of cake with her fingers. "You'd think they'd think to give you a plastic fork," said Eddie.

"Oh, they gave me ten. This way is just more fun, don't you think?" she said, tucking the bite of cake into his mouth. He gave a small 'mmh' of contentment and let his eyes flutter shut, sucking and licking the icing off her fingers in a way that made her burn with need between her thighs. She ground forward against the bottom of his belly where it eclipsed his upper thighs and fed him another bite. "Good, babe?"

"If it was any better I'd think you baked it yourself." He earned himself another mouthful followed by a deep, passionate kiss for that: he knew she loved being complimented on her culinary skill.

Rocking her hips against him, she kept the cake and the makeout sessions coming, intermittently raising the lemonade to his lips. He wrapped an arm around her back, but it wasn't long until his hand had drifted to her ass and he was pulling her against him. "Flagging yet?" she asked when the cake was a little over halfway gone.

"Not even close," he assured her. "Don't you want any?"

She kissed him hard again once more. "I can taste it just fine like this."

With her free hand, she rubbed his belly in slow, gentle circles, applying the slightest bit of pressure, right below the ribs, or where they would've been if she could feel them, slightly off-center, to his left, her right. "Oh...****, that is heavenly," he exhaled. "How are you so good at this?"

"Easy, I spend every waking minute of every day thinkin' 'bout this ****."

At last, she scooped the last of the crumbs up to thumb into his eager mouth and tossed the empty box irreverently over the side of the bed. "All done!"

"That's all?" he teased.


She was the most base, predictable creature on the planet, and he knew just how to get her going.

"Well, there's still dinner," she reminded him.

"Good thing Dante over-ordered for the both of us. I wouldn't want you going hungry."

"Don't worry about me," said Oriana. "Martika and I grabbed Taco Shack."

"So what you're saying is, I'm now tasked with finishing the leftovers myself?"

"Need a break in between?"

"Maybe not need, but I want one," he said. "Hey Bombshell…"


She knew he was in a kinky mood when he busted out her superhero name in bed.

"Feel like doing one more reckless thing tonight?"

"Which would be?"

"Lay down on your back."

Her eyes blew wide and a shiver of anticipation coursed through her entire body. "You're not scared anymore?"

"I trust you to know your limitations," he said. "Is it still what you want?"

"Do you even fucking have to ask?" Breath hitching with anticipation, she shimmied out of her pants and panties and threw them over the side of the bed.

She'd only been begging for this since they defeated Chimera.

With some difficulty, he worked off his boxers, and she took him by the shoulder, guiding him on top of her.

With some difficulty, she helped him heft his belly out of the way and onto herself so he could find her pleasure and push himself inside.

But it was the struggle that made it all the more delicious for her.

As he thrust in and out of her, aided along by her hands gripping his wide, fleshy hips, she adjusted herself accordingly, but not so much that that sweet, sweet struggle was lost on her. She fortified her bones and muscles so she could withstand the full brunt of his weight on top of her, but could still feel it. She gave her joints the flexibility to handle how wide she had to spread her thighs to accommodate the heft of his frame, but left herself just vulnerable enough to feel the satisfying ache of being pushed to a limit. This was heaven for her, being weighed down into the mattress, compressed and surrounded by all of his softness, every pound she had personally added to his frame, feeling the air pressed from her lungs with her every shallow breath...

"****, Eddie, you feel so good," she panted, nails digging into his yielding sides. "Look so good, too," she added. From here, she had the perfect view of his fat settling around the curves of her own body...his arms struggling to work overtime as he held himself up on top of her, although she did help out a little with that...his adorable double chin…

"Better than your hero school girlfriend?"

"If I say yes, will it turn you on more?" she teased. "****, Eddie." She was near completion. "Harder."

"Are you--?"

"Did I fucking stutter?"

He picked up his pace, breathing hard. "Ori, I don't know how much longer I--"

"FUUUUCK! ****, THERE IT IS. RIGHT THERE. RIGHT THERE, EDDIE!" Her heels dug into his back and she arched herself up into him as he brought her to sweet, blinding satisfaction. He came with a shudder soon after and with great effort, rolled off of her, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling.

"Holy ****, Oriana."

"See? I knew it would be good."

"I'm surprised I'm still conscious."

"I might have hyperoxygenated your blood a little."

"You sly minx."

She rolled over onto her elbows and smirked. "I've got quite the bag of tricks. Anyway, dinnertime?"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Martika circled around to the station's back door, where a wide-eyed, trembling little Brit was waiting dutifully for her. As he noticed her arrival, his jaw fell slack for several seconds. "Wow...Ms. Mitchell...that is quite a costume."

"I know, right?" She giggled and skimmed her shoulders, knowing exactly how mesmerized he was by her bountiful, bouncing breasts. As she unlocked the back door and led the way inside to her office, she asked, "How's work at the prison, Max?"

"It's surprisingly rewarding," said the young correctional officer-slash-spy. "Ms. Taylor-Moore is a kind employer. It makes me feel uneasy about bugging her office. She's so accepting. I almost can't bring myself to bring harm on her."

"Who said anything about harm?" said Martika, flipping the light switch. "I only hired you to keep an eye on her so I could make sure she was okay. Corrections is a dangerous line of work, and Ori is my best friend. In fact, one day she and I are going to rule the country together!"


"Absolutely! She just doesn't know it yet." Martika nodded vigorously. "In the meantime, I mean to reward you for your hard work. So, is there anything I can do to make your life better?"

"Well…" Max scuffed his foot against the ground. "It does pain me to see so many beautiful women languishing in prison."

"Say no more!" Martika went rummaging through a desk drawer until she found what she was looking for: a syringe full of genetic material stolen from a captive Deviant in an illegal laboratory funded by the Heroics Division, and tweaked a bit in Martika's own illegal lab after she managed to steal it from the government. "One dose of this, and you'll be able to pick a fat girl, any fat girl, your favorite fat girl in the whole prison, blast her out of her cell with your laser beam, and ride off into the sunset!"

He gasped. "But I thought you said that in all the Division lab tests, every recipient of that serum blinded themselves with their own newly acquired heat-ray vision, if they didn't outright die!"

"That's true. Eyes are fragile. Which is why MY scientists diverted the source of the laser beams to your extremities. I've offered this serum to a few of my trusted associates, and now they can all shoot lasers out of their fingertips, while taking no damage, and none of them are dead."

"In that case…" Max rolled up one sleeve and squeezed his eyes shut.

Martika grabbed a bottle of vodka off the corner of her desk and splashed some on his arm as a disinfectant. Then, she stuck him in the bicep with the needle. He groaned in pain, but managed not to faint as she squeezed the last drops of the serum into him and pulled out the syringe. "I know it hurts...poor thing." She smacked a bandage on his arm and kissed the spot where it stung.

Suddenly, a red-hot blast of pure energy tore through her office, temporarily sending her vision swimming. When she got her bearings, she saw that a gaping hole had been torn in her office wall, and another hole had been torn through the crotch of her underling's pants. His cock was standing at attention and discharging sparks.

"Well, that's...unprecedented," she said. "Also, the wall is coming out of your next paycheck."


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Chapter 5


As long as Eddie had known her, Oriana had been a raging nymphomaniac. Since the first time she took him to bed, there hadn't been a day when she didn't want some. As heavy as he had become, her sexual demands would have been impossible to satisfy if she had been anyone else. But she was a biomanipulator. She could help with the shortness of breath and muscle tension he might have dealt with if it had been any other woman in bed with him. With her power set giving her access to his very brain chemistry, she could numb any pain he might have felt and make sure he experienced nothing but unbridled pleasure.

And his taking initiative had done something to her.

It had been a month since he granted her wish of getting on top of her, despite his own reservations--he'd told her they were gone, but he'd lied his fat ass off. But what else could he have done to secure his place in her bed, now that the indomitable Ms. Mitchell had returned to her life?

And since that night, her sexual appetite had only grown.

He awoke five minutes before his alarm, and already, she was all over him, pressed flush against his side under the blanket, propped up on one elbow, her other hand wandering. She squeezed her way down his pliable upper arm before moving to his side, exploring each one of his rolls and meeting his flesh with lustful grabs and reverent caresses. Even without looking, he could tell she was awake--she was just as handsy in her sleep, but in consciousness, she acted with much more deliberation.

"Well, good morning," he mumbled lazily. "Enjoying yourself?"

"Mhmm." She reached a little lower to knead her fingers into his yielding lower belly, making his breath hitch with anticipation. He wasn't sure if it was his own excitement, or hers leaking in.

He didn't care.

She'd warned him once before, there was a danger to the chemical side of her powers. Her involuntary manipulation of his dopamine and serotonin, she'd told him, posed a conditioning, possibly even addictive risk. And yet, he was seeing no downside. All he wanted in that moment was for her to keep touching him.

"Looks like somebody been eating good for me."

He squirmed to reposition himself, and with some effort, shifted from his side to his back so he could wrap an arm around her and pull her even closer to him. Only her thin t-shirt separated them, and the warmth and modest softness of her figure felt so sweet, so grounding, against his skin. "The scale said 657 last time I checked."

"Holy ****." She let out a shuddering exhale, still fondling his belly as though it were a sex organ, and honestly, at this point, that may as well have been the case. Between her fascination and his mounting arousal, the boundary separating bodily reality from pure sexual bliss was ironically thin. "You're doing so good for me, baby. I could do this for hours and never get bored, never run out of parts of you to play with."

Her praise hit like a missile of euphoria; he could feel the flush in his cheeks and the blood rushing south. A part of him was still perplexed that this gorgeous woman wanted him, and not only that, but she wanted him exactly as he'd always dreamed of being...but that part was easier to ignore when she had him sky-cruising on happy brain chemicals.

But alas…

The alarm rung. Oriana reached over him to silence it.

"We don't have hours, Ori."

"I know...but we both got a long day." He had plans to leave the office early and meet with a sick kid on behalf of the Last Wish Foundation. Meanwhile, Bombshell had plans with Crucifix. "I wanna enjoy this while I can. But hey. How you feeling?"

"Nervous," said Eddie. "I don't know why this kid spent his last wish on me of all people...and what if I **** it up?"

"You'll be fine. Just don't get down on yourself. Focus on tryna be a comfort to the little guy."

"You're right. But that doesn't make me any less nervous."

"You know what always helps me for nerves?" She grinned mischievously.


"An orgasm."

He rolled his eyes. "You can't just solve all your problems with orgasms." Nevertheless, when she reached even lower, pushing aside rolls of plush adipose to reach and grasp around his pleasure, he didn't discourage her. Not physically, at least.

"Oh, ****...Oriana, there isn't time--"

"Then I'll make this quick." She jerked him off expertly, all the while grinding her core against his meaty thigh. He could feel how warm and wet she was through her underwear.

He was getting too close, too fast. "Ori, I want to do something for you too--"

"You already did."

"Did you just--?"

"Yeah," she said, a little breathless.

Unbelievable. "Just from a little grinding?"

"Look, it ain't my fault you're hot as ****."

Hot as ****: that's all it took. He exploded in her hand, his breath coming out in shuddering exhales. She rolled onto her back, tucking her arm under her head.

"Actually, thinkin' bout it, it's totally my fault."

"What did I do to deserve you?" he mumbled, cuddling her close.

"Well, let's see...you saved my life from an evil cyborg. And then, you saved my life again from an evil religious fanatic…"

"You keep saying it…"

"And I'm gonna keep on, until you know it." She rolled over, got up on her knees, and leaned in to kiss him softly on the lips. "Look at me." She placed two fingers under his chin and tilted his head so his eyes met her soulful brown ones. "You deserve me, one hundred percent. You deserve to be touched, and praised, and pleased, and loved. And I'm the one that gets to do that. Know what that makes me?"

"What?" He was trembling under her now, his breath hitching. He felt like he might cry, but not sad tears--more like, cathartic. She wiped the corner of his eye dry with the pad of her thumb.

"The luckiest ***** in the greatest city in the world." She kissed him once more before rolling out of bed. "I'll be back in a minute with a towel...and breakfast. Don't go nowhere."


Oriana was pulling together her five-minute French toast on the stovetop when Eddie snuck up on her, hugging her from behind, suited up under some no doubt smart button-down and slacks ensemble. "I told you not to get up!" she whined, laughing as she fumbled with the spatula. "I like doing stuff for you."

"I know, I know, I just wanted to show you: I got a mention in Modern Magazine! Well, the company got a mention." He thrust his phone into her hands.

She skimmed the article onscreen, muttering along while she flipped French toast with her left hand: "In a groundbreaking move, state Senator Wilson has pushed through a bill, yada yada yada...requiring the state to provide assistance to individuals in obtaining mobility aides as part of a work incentive program…"

Something wasn't right. She'd met Senator Wilson at one of the social functions the commissioner had dragged her to for clout. He was a stalwart conservative tightwad. Disability assistance was the last thing she would have ever pictured making it onto his agenda.

"Scroll down!"

"The success of this legislation would be a major boon to companies like Salvidar Solutions, who are aspiring to break into the market of cybernetic prosthetics, among other inventions," she read off. "Eddie, this...this is great."

"You don't sound enthused."

She tipped the contents of her pan onto plates, his piled higher than hers as usual, set them on the counter, and turned around to face him. ****. He was wearing the blue shirt and red suspenders. He always looked so hot in that ensemble. And he was so adorable when the light of optimism managed to reach his eyes...but she'd caught him just as that light began to fade and give way to concern.

"I'm excited! Really!" She put on her best smile. She didn't want her suspicions of foul play to ruin his moment. "I'm just still a little spent from before."

"All I did was lie there…"

"You were perfect." She hugged him as far around as her arms would go and let her cheek sink into his soft chest. "You're perfect."

"I still don't believe you."

"I'll make you believe me." She reluctantly broke the embrace. "Anyway, you're running late. I mean, you are your own boss...but I can pack this up for the road if y'want."

"Please. My boss is a self-flagellating ******* who doesn't think he deserves to enjoy his life and imposes his ironclad determination on the rest of us, which is really just me."


"Make me stay?" he pleaded. "Feed me breakfast?"

She laughed, grabbed him by the collar, and dragged him back into the bedroom.
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like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
Despite the slight hiccup, it had been a beautiful morning, and it was going to be an epic night.

Bombshell and Crucifix were making waves on social media. Predictably, Crucifix had her haters: self-righteous concern trolls who used the airwaves to give her unsolicited weight loss advice. But Martika wasn't even bothering to acknowledge them, and plenty more folks were getting psyched about the newest crimefighting bad-***** alliance.

It was a downright shame people had never been this excited about Bombshell and Big Tech's team-up. Then again, the story of their union had a little something to piss everyone off. Fatphobes were miffed that Big Tech ran to cover Bombshell after she put him through what they saw as the ultimate humiliation; feminists were unimpressed that Bombshell's greatest adventure thus far was her part in a male hero's origin story, and that she continued to rely on him to save her life whenever she got in over her head with a big-time villain. The power-couple had the feedist vote, but that community was reviled by the masses.

But the girl power crowd had latched onto Queens B and C, and the body positivity movement loved Crucifix--they'd lose face if they didn't, winning, as she was, the game of oppression Bingo. Twitter was alive with anticipation for the pair's next livestreamed outing...and so was Oriana.

Eddie was her better half, and she wouldn't undo their meeting for the world. But the battles they'd fought together--Chimera, Ted Greene--those weren't fun. They were horrifying! Both times, she'd almost been killed before he stepped in. Fighting back to back with Crucifix was the same game she'd been playing since college, only now, it was two-player.

She'd arranged for Martika to pick her up from Special Circs--it was common knowledge that Bombshell ran the place, so it wouldn't surprise anyone to see her there in costume, and she didn't figure anyone would put two and two together that Oriana had clocked out for the day but not been seen leaving.

Martika was waiting outside the prison, along the curbside, in an absolutely massive, armored van. Its windows were tinted as black as its paint job and it shone immaculately, undercarriage lights illuminating the pavement below in bright violet. For a moment as she walked out, Oriana could only stand in the yard, gawking behind her visor.

Martika rolled down the window. "Well? What are you waiting for?"

Oriana crossed the lawn and let herself into the passenger's seat. "This is, hands down, the most menacing whip I ever seen." The leather seat was more liberally padded than she had prepared herself for, and she sunk an inch or two into the cushioning as she sat down. Martika was lazily smoking a cigarette at the end of an old-fashioned cigarette holder, ashing into a crystal tray she kept in the cup holder, the radio blasting rap music.

Every part of her was, in a word, big.

From the voluminous, bouncy curls of her hair, to her voluptuous bosom, prominent middle, heavy hips, impeccable makeup, and leather from head to toe, she was truly a dream come true.

If only Oriana liked women...

"It's roomier than your little go-cart, though, that's for sure."

"Where'd you even get this thing?"

"Stole it from the military. Put your seat belt on."

Grumbling, Oriana complied. "So, where we headed?"

"You usually patrol on the west side; I figured we'd start there and go looking for trouble." Martika took off down the road at a steady pace until the skyscrapers of downtown Blackwater made way for the run-down shops and rickety apartment complexes of the slums.

"I grew up around here," said Oriana. "Well, not here-here, but my parents' house is about fifteen minutes up the road. And that building," she pointed out a dilapidated three-story complex, "was mine, up 'til last year." It was still sometimes hard to believe she was no longer a west sider.

"You poor, dear thing."

"Y'know, being poor wasn't the worst thing ever."

"It's certainly not a moral failing, but I don't imagine it's comfortable." Martika took her foot off the accelerator, toed the brake, and nudged the car along at a slow crawl.

"Why we slowing down?"

"I think I feel something."

"Whatcha mean?"

"I don't just cause pain; I can detect it, too. It's how I find people to save." She parked on the street about ten feet back from the entrance of an alleyway. "Get my six. It's time for the fun part."

With Crucifix leading the way, Bombshell cautiously entered the dark alleyway. As the girls advanced, the sounds of a struggle drew nearer, until Bombshell spotted the scuffle over Crucifix's shoulder in the falling dusk.

"Hand over the money, you piece of ****!"

"Okay, okay, here!"

It was these two muggers, one of them holding an unarmed pedestrian's arms behind his back while the other threatened him at gunpoint. The weeping victim struggled in his hold. It was unclear to Bombshell whether he'd just sustained a punch to the stomach or the face, but either way, he was hurt and winded. "It's in my back pocket, now please, just take it and let me go!"

The gunman pistol-whipped him across the face as his partner was retrieving the wallet. "It's over when I say it's over! Now tell me where your fucking phone is or you're a dead man, deadman!"

"Please, I have a daughter!"

"Drop the gun and the hostage, assholes," said Crucifix. "You get one chance."

"Or fucking what, fat lady?"

"Ooh, charming and clever," Bombshell drawled sarcastically, and maybe if the muggers had noticed her behind Crucifix, they would have done the sensible thing and made a break for it, but it was too late for that now.

Crucifix was quick with her attack, and before they knew it, the two assailants collapsed, crying out in agony. The victim went down, too, once his captor lost his grip, but Bombshell rushed to his side to help him up. "You okay, dude?"

"Y-yeah, I--thank you, Bombshell! But...who's she?"

"That's my homegirl Crucifix. I'd tell you more, but we should probably get you to safety. C'mon."

She helped him out of the alleyway and into the backseat of the van. "Whoa…"

"My friend's whip. Pretty sick, right?" said Bombshell. "Now you wait right here and after we're done, we'll take you home to your family."

"Bombshell!" called Crucifix from the alley. "I can't hold 'em down forever!"

"Gotta jet," said Bombshell before returning to the fight.

Police would later find the muggers naked, surrounded by the shreds of their clothing, arms flailing, but ultimately helpless, wedged into the alley from wall to wall between the two of their immensely fattened forms.

Two more muggings and an attempted gas station stick-up later, the girls decided to call it a night. Fired up from a night's worth of adrenaline, Bombshell exclaimed with a fist-pump in the passenger's seat, "That was amazing!"

"I know," said Martika, puffing on a cigarette.

"You're amazing."

"I know."

"How come I never knew 'bout Crucifix before now? You obviously been doing this a while."

"Isn't it obvious? I've always been overshadowed by the one, the only, Original Fattening Femme Fatale of Blackwater City. But truth be told," said Martika, "before I had you to finish off criminals for me non-lethally, it was better off staying in the shadows. There's not a law on the books that says you can't make someone fat. Cutting throats, however…" She whipped out a folding knife she kept at her belt and extended the blade with a flick of her wrist. It was at least twice as long as the one Bombshell kept on her for cutting hostages out of their bonds. "I don't always do it. I can put someone in enough pain to render them unconscious if I have them for long enough. But whenever I run into some scumbag trying to rape someone, I just…"

Her grip on the wheel tightened. Oriana took the knife from her hand, laid it on the dashboard, and squeezed her shoulder. "It's all ok, Martika. It's all gonna be ok."

"It already is, I'm just a begrudging *****. Exacting my own revenge was never going to be enough." She relaxed her shoulders and dropped her cigarette butt into the ashtray. "Please, change the subject."

"Okay." Oriana wracked her brain for a topic. "You're well connected, right? What you know bout one Senator Doug Wil--"

"Never heard of the guy," said Martika, a bit too abruptly. She knew something. She just didn't want to talk. "C'mon. I wanna hear about you. How's life at home?"

"Great! Really great. It's like I'm in a Bailey Sharp song."

"I thought you didn't like that white girl music."

"I don't," Oriana lied. "I just thought it fit, with all the lovey-dovey lyrics."

"So you do know the lyrics?"

"Shut up."

"Fine." Martika chuckled under her breath. "Any plans for tonight?"

"Eddie had this thing with the Last Wish Foundation tonight, but that should be over by now. Me and him was prob'ly just gonna have dinner--"

"Yeah, me and Dante are going to do the same...hey, do me a favor?" Martika tossed her phone into Oriana's lap. "Look up the number for Fitzgerald's downtown for me, would you?"

Oriana pulled up the number in awe. "Fitzgerald's? Swanky," she said. "But I doubt you'll get a table on such short notice."

"Oh, I have a table." Martika plucked the phone from Oriana's fingers and waited for an answer. When she got one, she put on a professional air and said into the phone, "Hello? This is Martika Mitchell's assistant. Uh-huh, from Nail Me. Yes, earlier in the week I called to reserve Ms. Mitchell a table for two at nine P.M. this evening. Is there any way we can add two more guests to the reservation? Wonderful! Thank you so much!" She hung up and handed the phone back to Oriana. "You got your regular clothes in the trunk, right?"


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
"Martika? What are you--?" Oriana winced. "You didn't mean for us to join you, did you?"

"What's the problem?"

"Me and Eddie, we don't really eat out at sit-down places. We're more drive-thru and delivery folks. I'm surprised Dante could get him to go to the bar."

"That's a lie! I've seen selfies of you two on your Twitter in that pizza place run by your buddies in the mob."

"They're the former mob, Martika. Vinny and his boys gone legit. And we were in costume. It's different with some anonymity."

"What's he afraid of?" asked Martika. "Hell...what are you afraid of?"

"We're not. If he ever wanted to go somewhere, I'd take him in a heartbeat--"

"But he doesn't say anything, so you've contented yourself with life as a weird recluse."

"I was already a weird recluse," Oriana admitted. Ben and D'von used to drag her places to force her to be social.

"You know what I think?" said Martika. "I think you're worried he's going to catch ill-spirited comments from strangers--"

"We both already do."

"But it's different behind a mask and a stage name, you just said it yourself," Martika went on. "I appreciate that you don't want him to get hurt, but you can't keep him sheltered all the time."

"Y'know, it's not even that," said Oriana. "I know people are gonna say ****. I also know when they do, I'll retaliate. Bombshell can do whatever she wants. She's Bombshell. If some stranger starts talking **** and I punch his lights out in plainclothes, they'll take my ass downtown in a squad car."

Martika chuckled. "Girl! If you get arrested--like, actually get arrested for punching a fatphobe, I'll bail you out of jail myself."

"Assuming they don't just try'n cap me." Of course, she could make the bullet bounce back...but then, she risked her cover being blown. "It's just...a lot. Mama always used to say sometimes she wished I didn't get Daddy's confrontational side…"

"What do you wish?"

Oriana sighed. "I wish you could be whoever you are in the world without catching judgment."

"No one's going to say anything tonight," Martika reassured her. "Not on my watch."

"Thanks. Still doesn't solve my other problem: I don't got nothing to wear to fucking Fitzgerald's." Her CO uniform stashed in the back would never cut it.

Martika smiled. "I know a boutique that's still open," she said. "Man, I've missed having a friend in straight sizes. I can take you anywhere and dress you up like a little Barbie. What are you, an eight?"

"Fine," said Oriana. "I'll call Eddie. Tell him where to meet us," said Oriana, but not without an ulterior motive.

Maybe Martika didn't want to tell her about the senator. But Dante? He'd crack like an egg; he always did.


"I have a reservation. Mitchell, party of four?" Martika pointed out her name on the list on the hostess stand as Oriana took in the layout of the extravagant restaurant: vaulted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, Italian mahogany everywhere. She had seen exactly one interior space fancier than this, and that was Martika's building.

"Of course. The gentlemen are waiting for you in the bar area," said the serious-looking brunette behind the desk. "Shall we go get them? Follow me--"

"Oh, I know where the bar is," Martika interrupted, leading the way in a fiery orange gown that billowed with faux fur and tulle. On anyone else, it might have looked utterly ridiculous, but Martika made it work with an unmistakable carriage and air about her that she had come out to be seen.

"We're at the wrong place. The girls are probably waiting around at some other restaurant, getting impatient--"

"Eddie, wouldja calm down? If I know Martika, she probably just stopped to get new nails."

"Oriana's never this late to anything."

"That ain't true. She was thirty minutes late to her last meeting at the hacker company or whatever y'all's old job was, with the computers and ****. You just missed it 'cause that was the day your ass fell out the sky onto her car."

"You don't think they're hurt, do you?"

"We're fine." Oriana approached Eddie from behind and placed a hand on his shoulder.

He'd been standing at the bar with a glass of water, distrustful of the barstools. He turned around with a start. As for Dante's barstool, Oriana was glad she and Martika had come to retrieve the boys when they did; it might have had minutes left, if that. He stood and turned around much more slowly, surrounded by five empty shot glasses. "Ain't that cute? They wore each others' colors!" he said.

For a moment, all Eddie could do was stare.

Martika had dressed Oriana up in a black, sleeveless, heavily rhinestoned wrap-around dress that clung to her figure to the hip before flaring out into a flowing train. It slitted high up one thigh and cinched at the waist with a glittery purple sash. She winced under Eddie's continued gaze. "It's too much. I knew it was too much. I'll flash some ass if I move wrong, and I'm leaving glitter everywhere--"

"You look amazing," he breathed at last.

"She looks like forty thousand bucks, is what she looks like," said Martika. Oriana had insisted the dress was too expensive, but nothing could stop Martika Mitchell when she saw something she liked, even if it was for someone else. "Now, where was our table?"

"Right this way." Their guide led them to a quiet four-top near the back pre-set with four-course settings at each seat, along with white napkins folded into tents and glasses for water and wine. "Ma'am, would you like a darker linen for your darker attire?" she asked Oriana.

"This one's fine…"


"The napkins are lovely," said Martika. "We will require three additional chairs, though."

"If you're expecting more people, I'd be happy to relocate you to a larger table. I'm sure there's a party we can push back by a time slot."

"No, it's just us. But do you think this," said Martika, lifting her chair off the ground, "looks comfortable to me?"

"Of course...I should have...one moment."

When the woman returned with the chairs, Martika arranged them around the table with practiced ease. "What is this?" asked Eddie.

"What, you've never seen anybody demand accommodations before?" She walked around behind him, placed a hand on each of his shoulders, and pressed down. "Sit." He landed with one ass cheek in each of two seats, blushing deeply, self-conscious. "I'm sure it feels weird, but one chair won't cut it for anyone here but Ori, and it would be weirder if we ate dinner standing up."

Across the floor, the woman from before whispered something to a short, chubby white guy in server black-on-black. "Any idea what she's saying?" asked Eddie.

"That he just got sat with a four-top at table 42--that's us--and he'd better not screw this up, because that's Martika Mitchell, and she's richer than God, and she leaves reviews," said Dante.

Soon, the server approached the table, notepad in his shaky hands. "H-hi, I'm Ryan, and I'll b-be at your disposal tonight. Wh-what can I get you folks to drink?"

Oriana and Eddie had yet to even look at the menu, and Dante was looking in deference to Martika, but she was ready. "Let's do a bottle of the Kabinett Riesling for us girls; for him, Basil Hayden over very light ice, maybe four or five cubes, and for him, what do you have in the way of cola?"

"Dr. B?"

"That'll do. And we'll need some appetizers, too. Start us off with some steak tartare, maybe six orders? Yeah, that ought to do it. Crab cakes...let's do four of those. Let's see...two cheese boards...two charcuterie boards...ooh! I forgot you do oysters Rockefeller! Three of those, and a shrimp cocktail, and two orders of your creamed spinach with extra bacon and three loaves of bread with butter for the table!"

"Will-will that be all, Ms. Mitchell?" asked the waiter, scribbling in his notebook as fast as he could.

"We'll start there and see where the night takes us," she said, smiling eagerly.

After the waiter left, Martika leaned over towards the group and smirked. "He's one of us. I can't tell where on the feeder-feedee spectrum he falls, but he's somewhere."

"You sure?" asked Oriana.

"The way he was blushing?"

"Maybe he's just flustered. You can be intimidating, when you wanna be."

"Dante, verdict?"

"Martika's right. Wannabe mutual gainer, but so deep in the pantry he's past his expiration date."

Eddie stared, stunned; apparently the parlor trick of telepathy had not yet lost its novelty to him.

Martika cracked a charming grin of victory, twirling one big, bouncy curl around one finger. "What do I win?"

"Win?" asked Eddie.

Oriana rolled her eyes. "Back in college, we would all play this stupid game--"

"Way I remember it, you used to like playing the game," teased Dante. "So much so, you used to try'n lose on purpose."

"He used to make us try to guess facts about random strangers and see who was closest to being right," Martika explained. "And the loser--" She caught a glare from Oriana. "You know what? I'll leave it to the imagination what happened to the loser." As the waiter returned to serve everyone's beverage, Martika raised her glass. "You guys want to play a round? Come on, no stakes."


like the pancake
Dec 7, 2019
"I don't know--" Eddie started.

"I'll go easy on you, first-timer. Let's see…" Dante scanned the room until his eyes landed on a target: "That bartender. What y'all think? Organic or plastic?"

Oriana took one look at the woman, her perky tits jutting out as big as melons, almost perpendicular to her otherwise slim frame, bouncing with each movement of her cocktail shaker. "Plastic," she concluded at once.

"Agreed," said Martika. "When they're that big, they don't stand up like that."

Eddie dared a glance, but only a glance, before averting his eyes, probably worried about being caught. "I'm gonna go ahead and say organic," he said. "I don't think surgery has come this far."

"You're right," said Dante. "But you're all missing a crucial piece of information."

Oriana slapped the table as the realization hit her: "She's a reflexive biomanipulator!"

"A what?" asked Eddie.

"A shapeshifter," Martika cut in. "There's loads of them, but you would never know it. You don't hear about them in the news. It's not exactly a combative ability."

"That's not true; imagine being a shapeshifter and walking into a multifight. Say it's three on one, and you make yourself identical to one of your enemies. How do the remaining two know which one's their real ally, and which one's you?"

Martika stared at Eddie in disbelief. She drained her wine, helped herself to some more, and said, "You are like, superhumanly smart. Are you sure you don't have a power index?"

Dante had no reason to know this--he'd gone to Bellvue, and they only taught it at Rivington, where Oriana had spent a semester of her freshman year before her expulsion and subsequent change of schools, but since she knew, so did he: "Nah, girl, power index is a measure of deadliness developed by the military. The only one at this table what's got one's Ori. What was it again, Ori? Thirty-seven?"

Eddie had no way of knowing what that number meant, or that the scale was supposed to cap at ten, and for that, Oriana was grateful. She'd left the world of paramilitary Deviant culture in favor of becoming a self-made crusader because of how organizations like the Heroics Division reduced her to her potential to kill, but deep down, she relished her power...she wasn't proud that she did, though, and her secret inner egomaniac wasn't a part of herself she wished to bring into her amorous boudoir with the man who had captured her whole heart.

The food couldn't have come sooner.

It took the server three minutes and two assistants to get everything on the table. "Here, let me help you," Oriana piped up, moving glassware and preset plates around to accommodate the spread.

Martika wasted no time in digging into the spread. She piled a plate high with heaping servings of everything. Dante, meanwhile, was more deliberate. He plucked a bit of this and that onto a plate, looking to Martika for approval before selecting each item. After all this was done, they lovingly exchanged plates. They were too adorable. Oriana was all at once happy for them, and envious of their complete and utter display of public affection. For herself, she put together a small plate of seafood accompanied by a few slices of bread. Eddie had yet to lay claim to anything. His expression was overwhelmed.

"Wow guys...this is a lot."

"What's matter? Not hungry?" asked Martika, before making a point to slurp an oyster out of its shell with a devious grin across the table.

"Lay off him, Tika, stress fucks with him, and he had a stressful meeting with the Last Wish--oh, ****, he don't wanna talk about it with nobody but Ori. Never mind."

Oriana glanced at Eddie, her concern mounting.

Dante, meanwhile, finished off the first impressive helping Martika had fixed him and as she prepared another, he leaned back in his seat and fiddled with something under the table. "Fuckin' belts," he muttered under his breath.

"I hope you don't think you're done." Martika picked up a crabcake between two fingers, bit off half, and washed it down with more wine.

"Have you tried suspenders?" Eddie suggested. "It was Ori's recommendation, and it's a lot more comfortable."

"My man." Dante clapped Eddie on the shoulder.

Martika's handbag vibrated, then started to ring. She pulled out her phone. "Ugh. Business call. One minute." She stepped outside, her bright, loud dress billowing regally in her wake.

"Scuse me, too," said Dante, standing. "Bathroom."

If Oriana was reading things right, this was her in: her chance to get Dante alone and ask about the senator.

"I have to go, too. The, the…" She gulped down the entirety of her yet untouched glass of wine. "The booze done gone right through me."

"You're leaving me alone?" said Eddie, pleading with his eyes.

"Back in a minute, I promise."

Dante was standing at the urinal, dick in hand, when Oriana slipped through the door. "Whoa! Ori, you shouldn't be in here! This is the men's bathroom! And no matter how fancy the restaurant, you shouldn't trust the floor in here in a forty thousand dollar dress."

"I thought you wanted me to follow you, so I could ask you about the senator and that work incentive bill!"

"I wanted you to stay at the table and console your man about what went down with Last Wish," said Dante. "Why do you think I called Martika's phone?"

Dammit! She should have guessed at his design. He had known the suspenders trick for years. "Well, excuse me for not knowing how to read minds!" She sighed. "Now I'm here, you may well tell me what you know."

"What, about the senator? I bribed him," Dante confessed, without any prodding at all.


"I was almost disappointed when I didn't have to stoop to blackmail. It's always more fun with hidden cameras and prostitutes. Man, I love mess!"

"Why...just why?" Oriana shook her head in exasperation.

"What, a man can't use his own money to change policy as a favor to an old girlfriend?"

"I never asked you for a favor, Dante."

"But if the bill passes, the state would help you set up your ex-cons with those mobility suits Eddie's got rolling out. He'll have a market, and you can rest easy knowing you don't have to do no more risky reductions. I know that's what you want."

"It is! It is," Oriana conceded. "But if this gets out, you could go to jail, and I'm the only one who actually runs a nice jail!"

Dante just shrugged, blase as ever. "You coulda gone to jail when you hacked into the servers at Bellvue to raise my GPA so I wouldn't have to repeat senior year. Don't deny it, I know it was you."

"Alright, fine. I guess bribery's not the worst thing in the world," said Oriana. "Especially if it's for a good cause. Just don't--"

"I read you loud and clear," he assured her before she could even finish her sentence.

"Thanks." She hated to keep things from Eddie...but he'd refused to even touch any of the money he'd stolen during his so-called reign of terror. It would crush him if he knew they were only getting their big break because a crime had been committed.

"Now wouldja get out? I really do have to piss, and I can't go with you watching me!"

Eddie visibly relaxed in his seats when Oriana returned to the table. "Was there a line or something?"

"Yeah, out the door," Oriana fibbed, pouring herself the last of the wine. "You wanna tell me what went down with the sick kid?"

He looked over his shoulder for potential eavesdroppers. Dropping his volume, he recounted his plight: "Oh, yeah. Andrew. Sweet boy. Eight years old, top 99th percentile in weight for his age. Stage four lung cancer, inoperable."

"Oh, ****." She nervously clicked her nails together.

"I wish I could say I hope he won't die, but that ship has sailed. And they could have caught it early enough to save his life, but guess what they blamed his breathing problems on? Honestly, Ori, how do you do this without staying constantly infuriated?"

"It is called the Last Wish Foundation for a reason," said Oriana. "And make no mistake, the medical-industrial complex is fucked. But the Last Wish Foundation...they're doin' good work, showing compassion to the kids doctors already gave up on, lettin' 'em know they still matter. Letting them know they coulda been heroes."

"That didn't even seem important to him," said Eddie. "The last thing he asked me before his time was up was whether I thought he'd ever find someone who loved him the way Bombshell loves me."

"Aww! What did you say to him?"

"I lied, of course. He'll be dead before his balls drop."

Oriana felt her heart sink in mourning. She'd never even met this kid, but Eddie made him sound so precious, too soon to leave this world. And yet, she was proud of her man for taking the time to go be somebody's hero. "Thank you for going out and talking to him. I know it don't feel like much of a difference, but I've had, what, two near death experiences now? So trust me, it really does."

"I hope so." He bit his lip. "Do you think I'm a bad example to the youth?"

"What? No! Weight discrimination in medicine's old as dirt, but it ain't nothing but eugenics by another name. Punishing people for not winning some arbitrary genetic lottery...or, in your case, kidnapping some dude that worked for OSHA."

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