BHM Bombshell and Big Tech in: The Chimera Conspiracy

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stevita

like the pancake
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"What the fuck is this? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!"


It was supposed to be the Last Supper. Eddie would have his final peaceful evening with his two best friends. Underdone fettuccine Alfredo with overdone chicken, good conversation, maybe one last rewatch of The Count of Monte Cristo.


Instead, Mickey was shoving her phone under his chin in one pudgy palm.


"What am I meant to be looking at?"


"You tell me! You emailed it to me and Mari! How fucking dare you, Eddie?!"


He glanced down at the email.


'Dear friends:


By the time you read this, I may be incarcerated or worse. As my confidantes, I believe you have a right to know what happened to me. You see, it all begins with my infatuation with Bombshell…'


He could read no more.


"All this time!" screamed Mickey. "It's all been about your own, selfish--!"


"I didn't write that!"


"ARE YOU FUCKING SURE?!"


"Baby? I'll handle him. It's okay. You want to lay down in the other room?" Marion cut in, in a rare display of authority.


"Fine," snapped Mickey, lumbering off. "He's your problem now."


Her girlfriend gone, Marion smirked. “Get your jetpack,” she said, “we're going somewhere.”


“Where?”


“Surprise!”


“Thanks,” Eddie sighed, “but I've had enough surprises lately.”


“This will be different. Hurry, there's not much time.”


After a few minutes flying in circles as Marion insisted on seeing so many of the city's landmarks from Eddie’s aerial perspective, she at last guided him to their destination and asked him to descend. He laid her down gently on the thick, foam-like grass, and with a kiss of his hand she thanked him, before beginning to stare wistfully into the distance. Waves rolled softly beneath the clifftop, a cool sea breeze whistled as it caressed Eddie’s face, but Marion stayed silent. Confused, Eddie sat down cross-legged beside her.


“So why are we here?” he asked.


“Just wait,” she replied briskly.


Slowly, the sky began to turn to a gentle orange, the sea sparkling beneath its splendor.


"Very pretty," said Eddie, sardonically.


Marion sighed.


"Isn't it just?" She paused, and raised a finger as the sky grew brighter. "I unhooked her bra right about… now."


The sky began to grow hazier, surreally serene, and Marion dropped her finger, smirking.


"When was this?" Eddie asked.


"The first time. We'd been going out for a few weeks but I was pretty prudish back then. Until that evening. She was sprawled out on a blanket, all the plastic packaging from our picnic scattered around her like some sort of aura, and her tummy… God, it was so tiny back then but I stuffed it real good, I fed her so many chips and pastries and little sausages until it turned tight, at once so firm and so fragile, and she looked up at me with big brown eyes and whimpered... ‘man, I've really overdone it…’"


Marion swooned.


“See?”, she continued, gazing into the horizon. “That's love. They were wrong about communism, about queers, but by god did Hollywood get love right. A sunset here, a brass orchestra there; if you've ever expected less you're underestimating yourself. It's sex, and it's soul, constantly clashing, swords always sparking, glowing with ravenous heat… I'd never known that until me and Mickey came here. And I knew right away I needed it, whatever the cost, and I destroyed my life trying to get it. I lost my money, my home, my family, everything. And I still miss all of that. But the thing is, that life… that wasn't me. That was my parents' daughter: their dream, not mine. Nowadays, I'm broke, I live in a shit hole and I can't even walk anymore, but I'm myself, so it's all been worth it. I tore my life down and rebuilt it from scratch, and Mickey was my muse. Every bit of blubber we added to her body was a brick, a step towards my dream and a step towards hers. And she must have, what, a billion bricks now? All our bricks, and ours alone. Nobody else's.” She had begun to cry, but quickly wiped her eyes across her sleeve. "Don't panic. I know you panic. But these are happy tears."


Her spiel over, Marion looked somewhat smug, if red in the face, whilst Eddie was left merely confused.


“So you're telling me to go ahead with the hostage,” he asked, hesitantly.


“I'm telling you that what you're after isn't love.”


“I know that.”


“You think you do. If all you cared about was the orgasm you'd just jerk yourself off. What you want is the ultimate orgasm, the orgasm to end all orgasms: your last.”


“What?” Fuck.


“Don't lie to me. You left a note. Everyone knows why people leave notes."


"Look, I don't know who sent that to you, but it wasn't me.".


“I know you, okay? I know that look in your eyes. That hollowness. That's the look of a zombie, right there.”


As he gazed upon Marion’s face he saw the girl’s ever-present aura of glamor for the first time fade away, leaving a greyed glare Eddie instantly understood the meaning of.


“Fine,” he swallowed, finally. “I swear I didn't write the note. But I want her to--to--”


Silence inevitably followed as the sun sank completely beneath the waves, leaving behind an inky black void.


“I didn't want to tell you.”


“Which is absolutely fine.” Marion paused. “Do you wanna talk about it?”


It was a while before Eddie could move his lips; they felt so dry, and so stiff.


“Mom, she...she told me I was a genius.”


“Clearly she was deluded,” Marion chuckled, “God knows you're a dumbass.”


“Yeah… she told me I could do anything. Everything. And she kept telling me. Again and again. She kept telling me what everything was.”


“And it was always right around the corner.”


“Because I had so much more going for me than she did.”


“Because of all she'd sacrificed.”


“I didn't realize you would…”


Marion shook her head.


“I don't. Nobody can but you. And that's all I know for sure.”


“But you--”


“Once I wanted release too, but I found something better: freedom. And that can be yours, I promise.” She moved to wrap her arm around Eddie, but he brushed it away.


“Please don't stop me,” he said, gravely.


“I can't. Whatever happens, that moment is going to come between you and Bombshell. What I'm worried about is, what are you going to make of it?"
 

stevita

like the pancake
***
Joined
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Amazing! Love! Love! Love!
But...(tiny voice) are we going to get more Spark?
Absolutely! Probably after I'm done working the Rodeo though. It's hard to do new material when I'm this busy but rest assured there'll be more of Ben and co and their adventures.
 

stevita

like the pancake
***
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
487
Location
Texas
ISSUE 9: WHAT'S THE LATEST WAY THAT A MAN CAN DIE (SCREAMING HALLELUJAH)?

A/N: Major trigger warning in this chapter for uhh...attempted suicide by superhero?

----------
ONE YEAR AGO


"I just can't do it anymore, Tegan! The gaslighting, the manipulation, all this putting me on a pedestal…"


Not to mention the plethora of cruelties dear old Mom had to say about her.


It was Eddie and Tegan in his new apartment, which thus far lacked furniture, power, and gas. The lease had just gotten approved after the letter came through from his employer stating he would be making three times the rent, but who knew if that was even true? As he moved boxes around fruitlessly, looking for an outlet for his pent-up frustration, she sat against the ledge of a window, alternatively examining her pretty fingernails and watching him work. Well, as far as what he was doing could be called work if he didn't have anywhere to put his stuff.


"I don't know how I'll make it, but it had to happen."


"Hey, at least you have a job."


"Yeah, as an entry-level software developer at Cyber Security, Incorporated." Cue sarcastic jazz hands.


With a grunt of effort, he heaved up a box and dropped it on top of another box.


"How do you even go about getting electrical service?"


"It's just a phone call," she said. She glanced from the walls, to the boxes, to his eyes. "So I've been thinking of applying to some receptionist positions."


"Oh, Tegan." His heart broke all over again. "You'd hate that."


"Not necessarily. It's kind of like acting, but over the phone."


"But I just read a study that concluded that service acting--the sort of customer service facade you put on in a work role--is as emotionally taxing as performing neurosurgery--"


"What should you care?" she suddenly exploded, popping out of her makeshift seat. "What should you care what I like or what I hate? We aren't even like that anymore, Eddie!"


He dropped the box he was holding. It landed square on his left foot. He didn't feel the pain. His eyes burned hot with moisture. He tried to blink back the tears, but a couple slipped through anyway. "So now I can't even care about you as a friend?"


"No, you can't!"


"Why not?"


"Because you're too much! This is all too much!" she exclaimed. "You're fucking delusional, Eddie!"


"I'm delusional now?!"


"Yes!" Her shoulders slumped. Her expression was one of defeat. "Look at the times. Eddie. We're coming of age at the back end of the information era. The world's just gotten too big, too fast! There's no more space to dream. I've made my peace. But you? You're too ambitious to ever be content, and I can't deal with that energy. And for all you say you're fed up with your mom and her grandiose visions for your future, for all the big deal you've made out of moving out here to a crummy west-side apartment, up here--in your head--you still haven't left! So goodbye, Eddie. One day maybe you'll see what I mean. You'll buy cheap furniture from Ikea and you'll get this lights situation sorted out and maybe you'll even find a cute barista to date. But I can't be here anymore. I need to work on job applications. Have fun in fantasy land."


With that, she walked out the door, leaving him utterly alone.


***


The day of Jasmine Freeman's big press conference had finally arrived.


Suited up and trying to force himself to be ready to make trouble, Eddie lurked in the shadows between two dilapidated apartment complexes, waiting for his opportunity.


It was one of these low-income neighborhoods that the bigwigs of leasing and finance planned to tear down to erect office space and trendy retail shops. That was as good a cause as any to incur the wrath of Big Tech, wasn't it? It was almost a shame that he wasn't here to fight. No, he was here to finally, finally earn his all-craved, all-euphoric end.


Some older guy in khakis with a clipboard strolled out of a nearby building. The press conference was minutes out; he'd have to do. His thrusters roaring to life, Eddie rocketed toward the man and hoisted him into the air, laser cannon pointed threateningly to his right temple. The hostage yelped in shock.


If Eddie was being honest with himself, he felt bad for the guy.


But it wasn't like he was in any real danger.


It wasn't like Bombshell wouldn't come crashing in to save the day.


"Nobody. Move."


***


Some help the cousins had been.


Ben managed to pin down Big Tech's components to now-defunct manufacturers. So, his superpower was dumpster diving. But then he got an upgrade.


Trail? Lost.


D'von got it out of one of his customers that Big Tech now had corporate sponsorship. What company? Who knew? It was just a rumor.


And no one, no one, fucking no one could tell Oriana about the goddamn flowers.


In any case, what did it matter? Big Tech had yet to do anything that would incur Bombshell's interference. The chance of a meeting was slim to nil: it seemed, despite a difference in labels, they were operating on the same side.


Earlier in the week, she had drafted a Tweet: 'Hey #BigTech I just wanna talk.' The idea had been to propose an alliance. They could keep each other in the loop: he'd handle corporate crooks; she'd continue to contend with street-level crime. But she backspaced through the whole thing after a few minutes. It would never work, not as long as she held onto this schoolgirl fascination. She'd just have to kill that part of her and move on with her busy life.


As for the bouquet…


He'd probably caught a passing interest in her, tracked her down, and then forgotten about her. She was a pretty girl, but she wasn't so vain as to think herself capable of inspiring an obsession. The city was full of pretty girls, and one of them was bound to have come onto Big Tech, displacing her in his heart, or whatever organ it was that guys allowed to rule them. All the better for her--and for his waistline; she'd never be satisfied with him as he was.


It was Tuesday again. She had called off of work so she could 'pick her injured sister's kid up from school'. She'd have felt bad about lying, as if speaking the words would manifest the situation into existence, only, she didn't have a sister. Her real obligation: attend Councilor Freeman's press conference. She'd say a few words at the podium, answer a few questions, and keep an eye out on the security front. Easy enough.


Only, as she keyed the Fatmobile's ignition, a call came through on the emergency line. "This is Bombshell, what is your emergency?"


"Bombshell, thank God! I'm standing at the intersection of First and Fourteenth and there's a man being held at the point of...is that a gun?"


"What do you mean? It's either a gun or it ain't!" she snapped. Whole fool was out here sounding like the BCPD.


"It looks like...some sort of laser cannon."


Oriana's heart dropped.


"I'm on my way. Get inside. Stay safe."


This was it. She was finally going to meet Big Tech.


But the excitement didn't peak the way she thought it would.


Yes, she wanted to fatten him. She was base, predictable, and lived for the thrill of doing what she did. But a part of her had hoped he was above hostage-taking; that, whatever the press said, he was in the game for the right reasons.


Speeding out onto the city streets, she rang Jasmine. "Councilor, it's me," she said. "I know I said I'd be there at two on the dot, but a hostage situation is going down. It's in walking distance of the conference, though, so I don't think I'm gonna be more than fifteen minutes late."


"This...is actually great! We can spin this!" came Jasmine's response. "Just try and get it done with as little police involvement as possible."


"Always the plan."


After some negotiating traffic, she pulled up on the scene of the crime and dashed out of the car.


The hostage situation was taking place in midair, about fifteen feet up, well within the range of her powers. Big Tech had some fifty-something dude in the least convincing chokehold she had ever seen. Upon sighting her, he declared, “Don't move! Or this guy-- what's your name, guy?”


“Craig,” said the struggling hostage.


“Don’t move,” Big Tech went on, “or Craig gets it!”


Between the tremble in his voice and the history of nonviolent theft, a glimmer of hope piqued in Oriana. “You and me both know you ain't the type.”


“Oh really? Well this man is worthless to me: he's an estate agent!”


“Actually,” Craig piped up, “I'm a property surveyor.”


“Shut up, Craig!” Big Tech stammered. “Shut up, or… I'll kill you!”


“I thought you were going to do that anyway.”


“Yeah, but for real this time!”


“So you wasn't gon' kill him?” said Oriana.


“Quiet, you… you…” Big Tech had to think about it for a while. “You fetishistic freak! How could you care for the life of a… a…”


“Property surveyor,” said Craig.


“That thing!”


“Look, he's just one guy,” Oriana shouted. “People ain't the problem, I thought you'd been known that already!”


“Well, surely killing one more capitalist can't hurt!”


“Well,” said Craig, “I think it'll hurt me.”


“Shut up capitalist!”
 

stevita

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“I'm not a capitalist, I mean, not strongly, not in an ideological sense. Did I mention I was a property surveyor?”


“Yes. Yes you did.”


“It's honest work.”


“It's fuelling a corrupt system!”


“All I do is estimate the value of buildings before they go on the market…”


“See?” said Big Tech. “He's lining the pockets of the wealthy!”


“Actually I work for the council as well, basic health and safety checks, that sort of thing…”


“He's a part of the system!”


“Well yeah,” Craig shrugged, “if it stops somebody's chimney falling down on ‘em.”


“Who has a chimney these days? Millionaires, that's who!”


“I never really ask questions…”


“Because you've never checked your privilege!”


“God,” Oriana sighed, “you two are ridiculous.” She began tapping her foot. “I dunno what's going on anymore, but can we hurry this up? I'm s'posed to be on security detail right now.”


“I agree,” said Craig. “My wife's cooking tonight, and she makes a great casserole.”


“I'll hurry this up alright!” screamed Big Tech. “I shall accelerate Craig's ultimate demise!”


"Look, man, this ain't you," Oriana tried a final time to reason with him.


"You've no idea."


"What changed?" she asked. "You were totally fine to redistribute the wealth in the shadows...you had a whole method, you stood for something, man! You...you were sweet."


"...What?"


"You gave me flowers."


Big Tech hovered above, buzzing around, seeming stunned...but with his gun ever trained on his hostage.


"I…"


"Just put the guy down!" She fumbled for the note out of a side pocket. "Put the guy down," she repeated, holding up the slip of paper, "and tell me this wasn't you!"


"Don't take another step closer!" He pressed the muzzle harder to his hostage's temple, but that was his only reaction.


Now, Oriana was rusty when it came to her experience with men, but she knew when a guy was playing coy or shy or dumb, and this...wasn't that. If he hadn't sent the bouquet...if someone had sent it on his behalf…


"Oh God...somebody's fucking with me," she realized.


Could it be that somebody was fucking with both of them?


"Who's making you do all this?" she shouted. "I can help you!"


"Folks, I hate to be a Debbie downer but I'd really--" Craig began to interject.


"Shut up, Craig!" snapped Bombshell and Big Tech in almost perfect unison.


"It's just I was supposed to finish at 3 today and I'm missing the Masters, I've got money riding on Dustin Johnson--"


"That does it you insolent twit!"


She heard the mechanical whir of his laser cannon warming up, and as much as she wanted to hold onto the hope that he wouldn't fire, could she really live with Craig on her conscience?


So, she hit him.


For the first fifty pounds or so, not much changed. He remained airborne, hostage in tow, the threads of his tuxedo straining to contain his newly added mass, but curiously, he showed no signs of putting up a fight.


Two hundred: he dropped the hostage. Craig hit the ground with a groan--"Sorry!" Oriana winced, but it wasn't a high drop, and after a few moments he was able to pick himself off the pavement and scuttle off to safety. Big Tech, in the meantime, had started to squirm as everything got too tight. His seams had started to give way, but the rocket belt was cutting him in half down the center.


Three hundred: well and truly overweight now, he burst out of the belt and fell out of the sky. A misfire of his ray gun took out a chunk of a vacant building. He landed on his back on the pavement, seeming disoriented, possibly concussed, but still breathing.


Five hundred: the quivering mass of his body spread out onto the pavement, pinning him in place, and every ounce of fresh fat jiggled as he spasmed, having almost certainly reached completion, as they sometimes did. Oriana would be turned on if she weren't still so concerned.


She capped it at five.


"I'm sorry," she said, kneeling down at his side. She'd never actually apologized to one of her crooks before. "I couldn't let you kill Craig. But listen, if you're being coerced, somehow…"


She worked off his helmet, intent on looking him in the eyes as she delivered her sincere promise to help him get out of whatever he'd gotten himself into.


This whole thing was turning out to be more sad than sexy.


And then, she looked.


Nothing could have prepared her for the mutual flash of recognition.


Even with the added weight rounding out his cheeks and doubling his chin--and even with her goggles on--there was no mistaking the identity of someone you shared an office with.


"Oh my God...Eddie from software dev?"


"Oriana?!"


***


It had been back in January. Eddie was standing at a wet bus stop in the torrential Northwest coast rain while his car was in the shop after someone rear-ended him while he was parked at a meter. He knew he should've felt lucky he hadn't been in the car at the time.


He didn't.


All of the sudden, a silver Honda Accord pulled up by the curb. The window rolled down to reveal one of the pen-test analysts from work. "Are you crazy?" she shouted over the rain. "You'll freeze out there! Come on, I'll give you a ride."


"I don't want to soak your upholstery," he replied. Unsatisfied, she took some of the plastic Taco Shack bags strewn about the floor and lined the passenger's seat with them.


"Now, for the last time, get in."


Clearly, she wasn't going to take no for an answer. He walked around the car and got in, taking care to sit on the edge of the seat so as to leave the interior as dry as he could.


"So where we headed?" asked the analyst. He gave her the name of his apartment complex and she grinned. "Sweet! I'm on the way. If you want, we can swing by mine and you can dry your clothes off in the dryer. I can lend you a tracksuit… you'd be swimming in it, but at least it'd be warm."


"That's really okay. I can't impose more than I already have."


"Are you sure?" she asked. "I'm making jambalaya tonight."


"Is that like an arts and crafts thing?"


She laughed. It was musical, carefree...what he would have given to be quite so carefree. "It's food."


Was...was she asking him to dinner?


Her words echoed in his mind: 'You'd be swimming in it…' It was a longshot for sure, but what of the possibility that behind her playful smile was a conspiracy to change that? What if she was brewing a plot to ply him with luxurious meals until his body swelled with excess adipose? Addicted to her sweet attention and a continuous onslaught of food, he would be helpless to escape her hospitality, a mere plaything in her hands…


Goddammit, he cursed himself internally. He didn't even know this woman's name.


"Please, just take me home," he said, not daring to defile her table with his immodesty. He didn't deserve her kindness. He didn't even deserve the roof over his head in the rain.


"If you say so."


She weaved effortlessly in and out of traffic, which was astounding to him: in the continuing downpour, he could barely see forty feet ahead. "You drive like you want to test fate."


"In a way," she said, "I feel like the city is my lover. I trust the streets to take care of me."


"That's a high-stakes gamble. I was only going to take the bus because of a hit-and-run."


"When was this?"


"Yesterday, downtown."


"That'll be downtown for you."


"It was the strangest thing, too," said Eddie. "Whoever did it didn't leave insurance information. Just a promise that I'd get fixed up for free if I went to Go Fork Yourself Forklift, Machine and Truck Rentals and showed this to the owner. Apparently, whoever hit me has some sort of deal with them." He shifted in his seat, pulled out his wallet, and dug out the business-card-sized note the other driver had left under his window wiper.


"Let me see that?" said the analyst when they reached a stoplight. She took the note, turned it over and gasped. "Damn, boy! Looks like you had a close celebrity encounter! Hold on to that, it's probably worth money!"


Indeed, Vinny Contini from the machine shop had turned the card over, too, and immediately put his best mechanic on the job, free of charge. Somehow, it hadn't occurred to Eddie to check the reverse side, but as the stranger handed the card back to him, his heart raced at the sight of a phone number below an emblematic 'BS' in deep, bright orange font.


"Well, here we are," said Whatsername as she pulled up on Eddie's building. "Which one's yours?"


"I can walk from here."


"Are you sure?"


"Positive."


"Well, aight. I'm Oriana, by the way. I work upstairs."


"I knew that. That you work upstairs, I mean, not your name. I--" Why did he always have to be so awkward? "Eddie, I'm Eddie."


"Well, Eddie, swing by my cube if the car still ain't fixed tomorrow."


"Sure thing, thanks!"


He ran into his unit and slammed the door behind him, clutching the calling card to his chest, the anticipation building.


Bombshell: Blackwater City's fattening femme fatale herself.


Why hadn't he thought of her in the first place?


Because it was ambitious, that was why. How would he get the attention of a vigilante crimefighter?


Well, Mom was always saying he could do anything he set his mind to…


He knew how he was going to make his grand exit.
 

stevita

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Messages
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Studying him, Oriana read the signs. The lack of a struggle. The close range. The change in his tactics immediately following her statement of solidarity on Fredo Flores in the Morning. Finally, it dawned on her. “Wait. Did you do all this just to make yourself cum?”


“I'd be sorry I'm so transparent if you weren't so shameless," said Eddie. "Disgusting, aren't I? Repulsive.”


“I would go more with...desperate? I'm almost flattered. You coulda just swung by my cube. You know I'm the one that leaves the snacks in the break room, yeah?"


But they both knew that wasn't true, didn't they? Everyone knew the way Bombshell handled feedees on Twitter. 'Sorry, dude, but my life's too dangerous. Great gut though, 11/10!'


“Desperate, that's the word! I made you come all this way...and doesn't that make you angry? Doesn't it make you want to ruin me?"


"Boy, you done ruined your own self when you threatened poor Craig over there."


"Then finish the job!"


Her breathing quickened, her head spinning unpleasantly. “Woah woah woah, slow down, you asking me to kill you?”


“It's just role play,” Eddie protested, “I’m a pervert! A worthless perverted freak, I deserve it.”


"If this is role play it's the most convincing acting I've ever seen from you."


“You don’t know me!”


“I’ve seen you on TV. Sweet baby Jesus, you been in my car!"


“That’s not who I am!”


“Clearly.”


“I’m not an activist, I’m an opportunist, subverting a social movement for my own selfish sexual ends…”


“I’m not going to kill you, Eddie.”


“Why not? I deserve it, it’d be mercy, I only wanna go out swinging--”


“I won’t be part of the first suicide-by-superhero."


“But I need this…”


“What you need is help!" she tried to plead with him.


One of her phones buzzed. It was Jasmine.


'you said fifteen minutes'


"Look. Eddie. I have to go."


"Please--"


"Absolutely not. And for my conscience's sake, try not to get arrested."


"But Bombshell--"


She got back into her car. “You know, I expected better. Or I wanted to. I did hope the flowers were from you.”


To think: all those months ago, when she'd asked him upstairs on a rainy day, it was because she assumed nothing would come of it. He wasn't her type. There was no way he'd get pulled into the depths of her crazy, dangerous life. It would just be a night of no-strings-attached conversation to break up the monotony of the isolation that came with the lifestyle of rogue vigilantism. Then he had to go and construct some supervillain alter-ego and get all mixed up in her business on purpose…


And yet, she couldn't say she was blameless. She had taken the bait, all because of the lure of excitement of facing off for once against an equal…


And now he stood to be arrested…


She pulled up at the prestigious Westpark Hotel, parked, and made her way up the stone steps, through the marble atrium, and into the back courtyard where the press conference was taking place.


"Councilor Freeman, can you tell us a little more about your involvement with Bombshell?" one reporter from Channel 5 had just asked.


"Certainly!" said Jasmine on the podium. "In fact, I was actually going to have Bombshell address the press herself today. She should be here any minute; she's gotten herself caught up in a little last-minute day-saving--oh, here she is now!"


Taking her cue, Bombshell stepped up to the podium.


"Bombshell, it seems you've had an eventful afternoon!" said another reporter. "For those in the audience who aren't on Twitter, care to walk us through?"


"Well, to make a long story short," said Oriana, conflicted, her voice trembling, "I have good news for the people of Blackwater City: Big Tech has been neutralized."


A chorus of thunderous applause ensued, the cheers and cries of people who'd never spent a day in their lives wondering where their next meal was coming from. She wanted to be sick.


He was just a guy. Just a guy who worked downstairs, who was feeling so low and depressed that he cooked up a whole elaborate scheme to get himself ghosted.


"And how do the casualties number?" asked Jasmine, off to the side.


"Zero. He's alive."


Only one set of hands clapped now: Jasmine's. "Isn't that the way it should be done? Thanks to Bombshell, a dangerous thief can now be brought alive into police custody."


Oriana would have recommended psych eval instead.


"Ladies and gentlemen--"


"And in-betweens and neithers!" piped up Fredo Flores into his mic down below.


"This--this is the future. If I'm elected, vigilantes who are still aligned rogue will be given a new career opportunity, working alongside the police force to subdue crime in a nonviolent fashion while an aggressive push towards disarmament comes underway."


"Ms. Freeman!" said Sophie Klaus from TNN, "Will Bombshell be part of the grand experiment?"


Oriana held her breath.


"Bombshell has expressed an interest in remaining a rogue for the time being. However, under my administration, if she ever changes her mind, she'll be welcomed with open arms."


Sighing in relief, Oriana stepped offstage to join the inquiring minds in the audience.


About six feet away, a phone conversation caught her ear.
 

stevita

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Texas
"I'm not going through with it, Leo," a man was saying into his receiver. "Why? Because she's here! Literally almost next to me, in the front row! You told me she'd be busy! Well, apparently your man didn't do a good enough job distracting her. There's no way I'm pulling a gun in front of Bomb--"


Before she could process the sudden revalation that there was an assassination attempt underway, a powerful explosion ripped through a sizeable chunk of the brick fence enclosing the courtyard. The next thing she knew, she was knocked onto her back, winded from the unexpected blow and choking on blast debris.


When at last she opened her eyes, she saw that the force keeping her pinned was some sort of clawed metal hoof, pressing down on her chest with the force of a vice. Satyr-like steel legs led to a recognisably human torso, albeit one penetrated with a number of pulsating tubes.


Metallic tentacles erupted from a spine that looked somewhat artificially-distended, each one ending in a snapping snake-like jaw. Even more menacing were the needle-like talons extending from the cyborg’s outstretched hands, tearing open his fingernails as if they were mousetraps. Every muscle bulged with bioengineered brawn, every bone looked sturdy and unbreakable; his body had been enhanced beyond its reasonable restraints, and the resultant mass of flesh and metal was a monstrosity.


"You were meant," he said, "to be occupied." Staring sadistically into her eyes through blank blue pupils, he cocked his head, smirked, and said, "Shoulda known. Want something done, gotta do it yourself. So sorry you had to become collateral damage."


"Was anyone finna tell me," she said between fits of coughing, "that supervillains was on two for one special today? Or was I supposed to just find that out when I came here?"


It'd be fine, though, she convinced herself. She had already fattened up one guy in a robot suit today. What was one more?


Gathering her superhuman strength, she swept one of his ironclad legs. He fell upon her, landing with a hand on either side of her shoulders, his smirk remaining. She was determined to wipe it off his face.


"Go head and stay on top of me, honey," she teased, regaining her voice as she steeled herself against the impending onslaught of gravity. "Missionary's my favorite position anyway." With that, she gave him everything she had.


Only...nothing happened.


Oh. Fuck.


She had thought she was up against some sort of Big Tech copycat, but she was facing a whole different animal this time. If she couldn't biomanipulate him, that meant…


That meant he was inorganic.


That wasn't metal plating covering his legs and lower torso. That was pure machinery.


The game had changed. Her strategy, now, was to hold him at bay. With everything she had, she pushed herself out from under his grip. He grappled for her, moving in for the attack, and she kneed him in the face. He recoiled, but didn't take enough damage for her to create distance. Before she could stand, one of those snapping titanium tentacles wrapped around her waist and threw her into the brick wall surrounding the courtyard. She hit the fence and fell on her side, tasting blood in the back of her throat.


He advanced on her as she staggered to her feet. She barely had time to take a breath before his tentacle wrapped around her once more and slammed her to the bricks again. "What a fascinating specimen," he drawled, low and slow, fixing her with a cold, unblinking stare. "You know, humanity is by and large a communal species. People make friends, value family...but not you, Ms. Taylor-Moore. Or should I just call you Bombshell? After all, you've all but forsaken your life in favor of this flimsy alter-ego. Oh, sure, you've had a few tumbles in the sheets. A one-night stand with a stranger on vacation, a quickie with your old computer programming professor, but nobody you could keep, nothing meaningful…you call a fetish sex line more frequently than your own mother, for fuck's sake."


"What do you want from me?!" she screamed.


"It's not a question of 'want', Bombshell. I simply need you out of the way." He held up one claw, threatening to slash her to shreds. "But of course, I wouldn't think to send you to the ferry man without knowing the name of the man who put you down. So, in your final moments, Bombshell: goodbye, and goodnight. Much love: Chimera."


She struggled and flailed. "That's imposs--that's imposs--Big Tech dug bits of you out lf a dumpster!" Wasn't that what Ben had found out?


"Big Tech?" laughed Chimera. "Who do you think hired the gullible sap? He'll be on his way here any minute now to help me incinerate your remains!"


With an expression of absolute relish, he pulled back his fist, aiming right for her throat. She focused all of her biomanipulative energy into making herself impenetrable. The blades connected with her skin but didn't pierce her…


But she knew she could only last for so long.


So this was how it ended.


Not with a bang, but a pathetic little choked-off noise, held six inches above the ground against a wall by a fucking cyborg.


Oh God, Oriana thought to herself. It was all so much. There was all this life she still wanted to live, and it wasn't much of a life, but what of that? She'd never watch another trashy stuffing video. She'd never spend another Valentine's day alone, drinking a whole bottle of champagne by herself while School of Rap played in the background.


Ben and D'von would cry over her, for sure, but they'd be the only ones. No one else knew her that well. Mom and Dad would chalk up her silence to a promotion at work and a busy schedule, if the cousins kept her secret.


And what was going to happen to Eddie?


But no. No! There was more! She had done some real good, dammit! She was meaningful!


But that was gone now.


She'd never visit another kid with cancer on behalf of the Last Wish Foundation. Not that she knew why some of these kids wanted to meet her anyway; she was the least family-friendly superhero she knew, but she'd brightened their days and that was important!


Was being the operative word.


It was time to say goodbye to the beautiful, merciless, complicated, and so, so sadly unexplored-to-her world. She just wished she could have said goodbye on Twitter.


She took another good look at her self-declared killer. His yellow eyes were wide and cruel, and the flowing mane of his hair: oh God, was that electrical wiring?


'Concentrate,' she told herself. 'Hold strong.'


Every second, a battle in its own right.


Every second, a small victory.


She'd never meant to get into the world of fighting big-time bad guys, and yet…


Earlier, she'd finally faced off against Baby's First Supervillain.


And now, she was almost certainly up against her last.
 

stevita

like the pancake
***
Joined
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Messages
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(A/n: trigger warning in this chapter for instant immobility and I guess vehicular manslaughter? Depending on which of these characters you consider to be alive.)

ISSUE 10: GO FORK YOURSELF

----------

Never before had Eddie even attempted to lift such a weight. His heart hammered, his lungs were squeezed and strained, his thighs flamed with throbbing desperation as lactic acid ate them up from the inside. And yet, his leg never left the ground. It simply rose a few inches, all its fat collapsing down to tickle the floor before suddenly spreading out in a savage surf of flesh as the effort of keeping it suspended became too much. He’d gained five hundred pounds of mass in a matter of seconds, and his muscles weren’t yet ready. So, as useless as ever, he sat still, an enormous expanse of unbelievable bulk. And yet, so hollow.


It made sense. The moment had come, and now it'd gone. He'd embraced the ecstasy but not the aftermath. He hadn't anticipated an aftermath, but here he was, overloaded with lard, living it. Every rasping breath reminded him the blubber hadn't crushed his lungs. Every heavy heartbeat brought home the disappointment that was his cholesterol count. The ache at the base of his spine was only inadequate. His bloated thighs might have felt freezing as they pooled across the concrete floor but they weren't nearly cold enough. Eddie was alive, his gigantic gut straining against the tape, his lardy legs too heavy to take that last step. Not that it mattered. His old life was over anyway.


His old life?


No, that was stupid. How could he ever succeed in this softened state? No firm would hire a freak as hefty as him. Besides, this blobby body was no more mushy than his brain had ever been. His heart, as weak as ever. As much as he’d preferred a more immediate end, he supposed a passive, protracted death was all a pathetic wretch like him deserved. He would simply sit here, growing slimy with sweat, as maggots and remorse ate him alive.


But he'd been Big Tech, hadn't he? He'd brought hope to so many, in spite of his evil facade. Perhaps, if he'd have been less self-centered, it all might’ve meant something. Perhaps he could’ve been an ally to Bombshell, instead of enemy -- if he could even be called that.


But why would Bombshell even need him? She'd never needed anyone before. She was everything he had never been: selfless, unstoppable, conquering every obstacle with ease. Prodigal, but perfect. Actually extraordinary. And still Oriana from the office. Somehow.


But Big Tech had been extraordinary, hadn't he? Even if Eddie hadn't.


The maelstrom of thoughts and hypocrisies swirling inside his stomach threatened to burst his bloated body like a balloon. They raged around, battering each other to bits, until he couldn't fight it anymore. He needed answers. He needed peace.


But first, he needed his helmet.


Since Bombshell had lifted it off and tossed it away, Big Tech’s helmet now sat on his side. It couldn’t be more than a foot from him, but with an ocean of fat between Eddie’s arms it might as well have been in Australia.


But he needed an answer.


Huffing, puffing, Eddie strained to his side. His face flushed red as massive moobs rose up like mountains to block all view of his prize. A billion bloated rolls bunched together to barricade his movement. Billowing bingo wings leveraged their weight to pin down his arms. But he had to reach it. He needed to.


Finally, fubsy fingers found metal. With a little more awkward fiddling he was able to maneuver the helmet into his grasp and at last bring it back to his body. Placing it atop his head as quickly as he could, Eddie released a wheezing sigh of relief as the familiar face of Marion appeared on his HUD.


"Eddie? Has it happened?" Marion took note of his fuller face. "I'm confused."


"I don't have time,” Eddie gasped.


"But why are you crying?”


“I’m sweating.”


“Not all that’s sweat. What’s the problem? She's given you everything you wanted.”


"Everything but. I need you to send me the new suit.” It’d been ready for a while now, shortly after Leo first offered it, but Eddie had always been reluctant to take this heavily-armed product of the Mybrid R&D division since his motives lay far more in feedism than militarism. Still, it’d serve him well right now.


Eddie heard Marion's keyboard clatter from afar.


"Done. But what on earth do you need it for?"


"I'm not sure yet."


“Well, best figure it out, because ETA…” Smiling smugly, she paused dramatically. “Now!”


A sonic boom tore through the sky as a shell smashed into the concrete floor. Hissing, it opened a small circular hatch, and from it floating white orb emerged. Bobbing up and down in the air, it lazily drifted towards Eddie, before bursting open and spreading sheets of Fl.A.B. across his ample frame. This Flexible Alloy Bodysuit was composed of a state-of-the-art titanium alloy weaved together at a molecular level to form a micromesh, and could stretch to almost any size like supercharged spandex without ever sacrificing its strength. Armored in it, Eddie's belly would bounce bullets away with no consequences beyond barely-noticeable wobbles. Blades would sink into his squishiness as his finger would into his navel, without the slightest slice or scar. Tank shells could only hope to make his titanic tummy tremble and quiver, so insignificant would be their impact. Guided by an interwoven artificial intelligence, this state of the art substance spread over Eddie like a wave, forming blaster-loaded gauntlets, jet-equipped boots and titanic twin thrusters on his back for the extra lift his hefty body would require. Its power source: a glowing circular reactor that lay over Eddie’s belly button.


With the enhanced strength the armor offered him, Eddie could at last stand. Still adjusting to his new size, he staggered over to the shell and opened another, larger hatch on its side. Within lay his new helmet. Still cyclopic, with a single elongated strip serving as a visor, this new helmet was decidedly more human, its Fl.A.B structure able to conform to Eddie’s facial expressions for a friendlier look. After wiping his face, Eddie donned the helmet, and saw his old familiar HUD appear; thankfully Mybrid hadn’t meddled with it.


Now, with his mobility restored and more power than ever before, Eddie could theoretically go anywhere, do anything. He could flee, go into hiding somewhere, abandon his evil identity and start a new life afresh. He could embrace his alter-ego, be the voice of Blackwater’s broken, a roly-poly Robin Hood. But he knew neither route was really an option. Not until he’d found peace.


And so, the all-new all-doughy Big Tech rocketed into the air, in search of his superhero crush.


***


He advanced on her as she staggered to her feet. She barely had time to take a breath before his tentacle wrapped around her once more and slammed her to the bricks again. "What do you want from me?!"


"It's not a question of 'want', Bombshell. I simply need you out of the way." He held up one claw, threatening to slash her to shreds. "But of course, I wouldn't think to send you to the ferry man without knowing the name of the man who put you down. So, in your final moments, Bombshell: goodbye, and goodnight. Much love: Chimera."


Time seemed to slow down for Bombshell as she breathed what she was sure would be her last breath. And yet, just as she was about to black out, she heard a disembodied voice cry out from a distance.


“Hey, you with the mullet!”


“Wha--!” Chimera's electric eyes darted around, scanning for the sound's source.


“Your checks don't bounce.”


A squishy sphere of Fl.A.B. swooped in from the sky and smacked Leo straight in the jaw. As he stumbled off of Oriana, Eddie landed on the ground with a thud, all his lard quaking from the impact.


“But you do, I see.” Leo wiped the crimson grease now bleeding from his jaw. “Finally lived out your fantasy, I see?”


Eddie blushed beneath his mask.


“How do you--”


"We own Pornnexus, remember? All that data was pretty clear."


"Woah," Ori interrupted, one hand braced against the wall as she caught her breath and regained her footing. "Is that an invasion of privacy or what?


"I don't think you can comment,” Leo smirked, “little miss 'I've watched Feedee Whale Fucks Fit Female Feeder 300 times!"


"Dude,” Ori shrugged, “everybody knows what I'm into. Now it's time to put your ass on blast.” She turned to Eddie. “You're not gonna help this cunt kill me?"


"Fuck no, why would I kill you?"


"Well, then. Ready...partner?"


Partner? Had she just called him that? Did Bombshell actually consider him her equal? Except she wasn't Bombshell, was she? She was Oriana, from work. That pretty girl who gave him a lift once. She owned a tiny car. She worked a desk job. She cooked jambalaya.


And yet...


“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
 

stevita

like the pancake
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With an outstretched palm, Eddie fired a bright blue blast of pure power at the cyborg startup chief. The brute simply blocked the shot with a steely padded shoulder, but that motion gave Eddie all the opening he needed. Flying forth at incredible speed, propelled by the powerful thrusters on his boots and back, Big Tech flung Chimera into the air with an energized uppercut, before flying into the sky after his enemy to launch an offensive flurry of punches. Chimera, however, was now ready, stabilized in the air by smaller thrusters in his chromium-cloven feet, and was able to swipe Eddie away with his needle-like talons, sending sparks spiraling to the floor.


"Since when were you a cyborg, Leo?" Eddie screamed, deflecting another sharp swipe with his amply-armored belly.


"Since Havard," Leo replied, kicking himself away from Eddie with his legs. "All the idiots who rowed crew ain't got nothing on this bod."


"But isn't that a bit extreme?"


"I thought we talked about this, huh?" Twin tube-like tails waved laser cutters towards Eddie in a frenzy. "Innovation is always extreme, the world's never ready for the future!"


"I see you're into Ayn Rand's ideas and not just her haircut."


"These are cables!" Chimera cried, cutters still flailing wildly. "My brain is wired into the Internet all of the time. My IQ is infinite!"


"Dude that’s literally impossible, they only grade in natural numbers -- UGH!"


Powerful yellow beams shot forth from Leo’s eyes, hitting Eddie directly in the chest. All the padding he’d added that afternoon offered him as little protection from the sheer force of the blast as the Fl.A.B. plating it. Eddie was caught off balance and, kicking his feet-thrusters behind him for a burst of speed, Leo darted towards him, grabbing his throat with his talons and forcing him to the ground.


"If you were going to turn coat on me, you should have just stayed down! I laid everything out for you, perfectly, like clockwork! I gave you exactly what you wanted, but of course, you had to act the part of the insufferable ingrate!"


It clicked for Eddie then. "You--you hacked me," he choked out. "You sent that letter to my friends!"


And he'd bet Leo had been the one to send Bombshell flowers, too.


He'd driven Eddie right into her arms.


"And I'll bet you think you're so smart!"


"But why?"


"You stupid, stupid boy! Of course you have yet to figure it out!" Chimera pressed even harder now. "When are you going to realize that a man is a man is a man? He might not bleed, but does he not still want? Tell you the truth...I might have a thing in common with your Bombshell. It'll be a shame having to kill her, once I'm done with you. She's so much fun! But an obstacle is an obstacle is an obstacle, and me? I won't be contained."


Eddie’s voice grew raspy as he tried to choke out his reply.


“Con… contaminated, however…?”


“What?”


Suddenly, to Leo’s own surprise his steel limbs stiffened, and the pressure on Eddie’s neck was lifted. Lying in a pool of plated pudge, Eddie began to laugh.


“Dude, I think you’ve got a virus.”


***


"Bombshell! What is the meaning of this?!" Jasmine demanded, bounding off the podium and coming up on Oriana's position before her head had even stopped spinning. "You just told all these people you had Big Tech NEUTRALIZED!"


"I thought I did," Oriana replied, raising her eyes skyward towards the aerial battle taking place. She couldn't help but smirk. "I don't know how he pulled it off: I never fail. But apparently when I do, it's fucking spectacular!"


"Would you wipe that grin off your face, you absolute voyeur?" Jasmine began to pace the ground, eyes trained in horror on the fight overhead. "I've just been discredited in front of all of Blackwater City," she muttered, almost whimpering.


"Would you rather be assassinated?" snapped Oriana.


"What?"


"Yeah. That was the endgame here: Big Tech keeps me distracted so someone named Leo can put a hit on you, but that didn't go according to plan, and it's lucky for both of us Big Tech changed his mind, because I'm useless against Chimera!"


And every moment that passed made her feel more useless. Eddie was holding off Chimera, but he was taking damage…


Then, she overheard something from above that changed the whole game.


"Holy shit...that's it!"


"What's 'it?'"


"I need to borrow your laptop!" Oriana rushed to the back table, where Jasmine's computer was still hooked up to the projector behind the podium. She closed out Jasmine's slideshow and checked the list of available Wi-Fi networks. CHIMERA was near the top, but it was password protected. "I just need a password generator…"


"I don't have that," said Jasmine as she joined her at the table.


"I have mine saved in the cloud."


"In the clouds?" Jasmine pointed up, looking confused.


"There's no time to explain."


In under a minute, Oriana had her software installed. She ran an algorithm and waited for it to guess Chimera's password.


She winced as Eddie took a hit. This was taking too long. Password generators always did.


If she couldn't connect to Chimera, maybe she could get him to come to her.


She pulled out her phone--the work one, not the emergency line. Turned on her mobile hotspot. Connected as the network administrator on Jasmine's computer. "What's happening?" asked Jasmine.


"My default homepage on my hotspot network is a phish. I've used this trick at work before while I met with clients to test their security. I ever mention I was a professional computer hacker?"


"It's...a fish?"


"If he autoconnects to my network, I'll get an email with all his credentials." She just hoped he'd take the bait. "Just keep him on the ropes, honey," she murmured, praying Eddie could last just a minute longer.


With a blast of light, Chimera shot Eddie out of the sky.


"No!" she gasped.


Then…


Ping!


The email hit her phone without a moment to spare. Armed with the password, she logged onto Chimera's network with the power of network administrator. "Yessss! I'm in!"
 

stevita

like the pancake
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Joined
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Messages
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Location
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Nothing could have prepared her for what she found inside of Chimera's brain.


A worldwide social network. He was connected to millions of strangers, spying on their activity, analyzing their data, mining them for any potential use...it was all sickening. She'd always known Mybrid was trouble--she stayed off the platform herself, even if she did have a bit of a Tweeting problem--but never could she have imagined it was all filtered through one guy, if Leo Caprisky could still call himself a guy. Whatever he had turned himself into, it wasn't human.


But more importantly in the moment, like any social network, Leo was full of openings: search bars, entry fields for users to comment on each others' content, share links, and post their every thought. Chimera may have been physically impenetrable to Bombshell, but onscreen, he had a million holes for Oriana to fuck him in.


Chimera had Eddie pinned now...but not for long.


Typing as fast as she could, Oriana started hashing code into the first entry field she could click on.


"Drop table: motor function," she muttered as she typed.


Chimera released Eddie and went stiff.


"Drop table: depth perception. Drop table: thruster ignition."


"What--?!" Chimera spluttered, helpless and spasming on the floor. Oriana rushed to Eddie and offered her hand.


"Here." Now past the cool down period that came with her power set, she offered her hand and helped him up to his feet, though not without some effort. Enhanced strength or not, he was heavy. Oh, she'd have a thrill feeling all that weight upon her…


But Jasmine was right. Now wasn't the time to be a horny little hobgoblin.


She moved in on Chimera, chuckling under her breath. "You think you can target MY politician? My goddamn sister?! And get away with it? Buddy. You might have the 411 on Bombshell, but I don't use my personal computer for work. And you done fucked with the wrong damn hacker."


She kicked him hard in the skull. Her foot throbbed. Bad idea. "Ow, ow, ow!"


"Here, how about you let me finish him off?" Eddie suggested. Smiling, he scooped up his belly in arm, shuffling on his feet as he struggled to get a grip on all that lard. Once he’d steadied himself, he leaned back, accentuating his gut, and a concentrated blast of blue conclusive force fired forth from the reactor over Eddie's belly button. It collided with Chimera, sending him flying into the wall of the Westpark Hotel.


"We did it!" Oriana jumped in place and threw up a fist. "Holy shit! We--"


"Yeah," said Eddie. "Yeah, we did." He placed a hand on her shoulder and gave it a comforting squeeze.


Her hands settled on Eddie's squishy upper arms. Through the cool metal of his armor, he felt so soft. Malleable in her hands. Delectable. Close as they were, his plush, drooping belly brushed against her front, and she wished in her euphoria that she could jump his bones then and there.


But they were still at a crime scene.


"Sorry." She took a step back and folded her arms behind her.


But Chimera wasn't done.


***


Flailing, the mechanical menace struggled for purchase, glaring at Eddie, crawling on elbows and knees on the ground, infuriated. "Are...you...fucking...KIDDING ME?" he spat. "I INVENTED YOU! YOU OWE ME EVERYTHING! AND NOW YOU BETRAY ME?" Clambering, with sparking wires flailing, he forced himself forward. "I guess it only figures: letting people down is your specialty, isn't it?" Smirking now, he recited from the record: "Tegan, you're the only one that loves me! Tegan, you're my only friend! Tegan, would you miss me if I killed myself?"


Oh God.


His text messages.


Chimera's mouth opened, and a recording of one of her last voicemails played: "You talk like this, and you do all this stuff, and then you wonder why everyone leaves!"


"Jazz, type something in the box for me," said Bombshell.


"What?"


"Drop table: English."


With that, Chimera was silenced.


"You talk too much, asshole."


Eddie shook his head clear and prepared to end this once and for all. Then…


With a grand honk, a moving truck bearing the logo for Go Fork Yourself Forklift, Machine and Truck, LLC, came careening onto the scene. The nose of the truck collided with Chimera, sending him sailing into the fence.


The front plating of his armor--along with his face--remained embedded in the brick while the rest of him succumbed to gravity and hit the ground, circuitry exposed.


"And stay down, motherfucker!" Oriana cried.


The driver of the moving truck exited the vehicle, looking nervous. It was this mid-twenties, pudgy ginger guy way out of his element. As he stared at the pieces of Chimera, he let slip a terrified, "Is this gonna be a problem?"


"Is he dead?" asked Eddie.


"Was he alive anymore in the first place?" countered Oriana. "By the way, you look well, Louie. Nice to see ya! And don't worry about Dr. Franken-Cyborg over there. Ya done good."


"Aww, shucks," said the driver.


"Did the cops call?"


"Dad saw Bombshell activity was lighting up on Twitter, so he decided to just send a truck. We'll bill it to the city. Anyway, you need me to take this guy to jail like usual?" he asked, with a glance at Eddie.


"I'm thinking I'll take my own prisoner today. Corner of Hillcroft and Westheimer, if you will? We can walk to my place from there."


Louie opened the back of the truck and gave Eddie a stunned look. "Lucky fucker."


***


"We really don't need the truck. I don't know if you noticed, but I can fly," said Eddie. Oriana's response was to simply pull off his helmet and press her lips to his. She kissed him fiercely, aggressively, expertly parting his lips with her tongue before biting down gently on his bottom lip, and then…


Then he was reciprocating.


The way her hands settled at his sides and squeezed, pulling him close, even as she kept him pinned to the wall...this feeling was electric. She handled him like she was a long-starved animal, he her craved, all-sustaining prey. She had to spread her arms as far as they would go just to span his wide waist and get a grip on both his squidgy love handles. It was all so undeniably hot. He felt desired in a way he'd never dared to imagine. Her knees buckled from what could only be sheer, overwhelming lust, and he wrapped an arm around her lower back to hold her steady…


There was a rush, a warmth and euphoria that overcame him in waves…


As soon as it had started, it was over.


She broke the embrace and handed him back his helmet. "Sorry," she said. Ask him, she had nothing to apologize for. She had great technique. "I don't usually go mackin' on random coworkers, but you did save my life. You came back for me, and after I already whacked you…"


Were... Were those tears pooling in her goggles?


"That can't be comfortable." He helped her work the goggles off and she tucked them into a back pocket.


Her head came to a rest against his chest. "You feel so good...don't get me wrong though. We need to talk."


"Yeah, we do. Like, what was that...that rush just now?"


She pulled back and glanced at the floor, clicking her nails together nervously, fiddling. Who'd have thought Bombshell had a shy side? "When I get a huge rush of brain chemicals...like, adrenaline, or serotonin...sometimes it leaks into other people. It's part of the biomanipulator experience."


"So that's what it's called when you...you know."


"I thought I'd learned to control it...but maybe it's just that I've spent so much time as a zombie behind a desk that it just didn't matter. The truth is, I've been miserable for years."


"You?" Eddie was incredulous. "But you're Bombshell!"


"Exactly!" she said. "I'm a local celebrity. I'm revered, I'm reviled, and I'm bulletproof. I get shot at. A lot. And not just by bad guys. Can you imagine what it's like, knowing you can never maintain real friendships or relationships on the chance that those people might become collateral damage? Do you know who my best friend is? Scarlet Flame! And we don't even know each others' first names! Jesus, not even my parents know about this!"


Taking it all in, Eddie had to concede, that was a lot. "So why do you do it?"


"To save lives...duh," she said. "Speaking of which…"


Oh no. Here it came.


"Let me see if I've got this straight. You wanted my attention. You created this whole supervillain identity, and for good measure you teamed up with an evil cyborg. Before you knew it, you were all wrapped up in an assassination plot. Is that where all this KYS stuff came from? I mean I get it goes back further. I kinda overheard there was a girl…"


He paused for a moment, contemplating how much he wanted to confess. He could trust her, couldn't he? After all, they'd been through so much together: had they not just tag-teamed a supervillain?


Still, it felt wrong talking about it, like he was making his burdens her problem. But as she held his gaze, he knew she would persist until he gave her an answer.


"It, uh, it does," he admitted. "Guilty as charged...there was a girl. And Chimera...he was manipulating me. I think he was manipulating both of us. Tons of other stuff...this dead-end job...and besides, don't you ever feel…" He trailed off.


"What?"


"Don't you ever feel bad for...wanting what you want?"


"Actually, no," said Oriana. "I mean, I seen it a lot in the community. People worried being into this shit makes them inherently bad. But wanting is natural, Eddie. It's human. We don't control what we like. We control what we do about it. I'm allowed to appreciate a cute baby grand eating Taco Shack on his way back to the office, long as I don't pull up and honk my car horn at him. As for the powers, I only use 'em in hostage situations. Figure if I'm saving a life, I'm justified." She sighed. "And that's where I fucked up. You was never gonna kill Craig."


"It was never about Craig, or Councilor Freeman, or...or even Chimera. At least, not at first."


"I know. It was about me."


His heart dropped with shame. "Now I feel like I've violated you."


"Well, you saved my life, so let's call it even. And hey: at least you're into it." She took his hand, and he gave hers a squeeze.


"He really sent you flowers on my behalf?"


"Uh-huh. They were damn pretty, too."


The truck came to an abrupt halt, causing a ripple of movement through his new fat that incited every bit of guilty glee he imagined it would, when he dared imagine he would make it to this point. "Looks like we've arrived."
 

Tad

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The great white north, eh?
I'd been saving this for a day where I really needed some something energy boosting. Not even half-way through yet, but I'm loving it! It doesn't have the whole fun soap-opera-y sprawl of Spark, but the simpler structure really helps the individual characters shine, and the tension rise steadily. Really enjoyable to read! (I'll save the rest for another virtually rainy day, but I'm looking forward to continuing, for sure)
 

FFAscinated

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Absolutely! Probably after I'm done working the Rodeo though. It's hard to do new material when I'm this busy but rest assured there'll be more of Ben and co and their adventures.
oh, oh! This reminds me of "Served"! I don't think I posted, when Spark appeared, ''Yippee! Stevita's back and sticking' it to the man!" But I thought it.
 

stevita

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oh, oh! This reminds me of "Served"! I don't think I posted, when Spark appeared, ''Yippee! Stevita's back and sticking' it to the man!" But I thought it.
Always!

Admittedly B&B didn't end up going as hard as I originally intended it to go, and I'm not surprised people like Spark more. But without spoiling anything, B&B2 will go the hardest of all...if I don't manage to outdo myself with the Scarlet Flame standalone. (Because come on, she talks a big game but she's secretly kinda broken inside and she needs someone to love and feed her while she MENTALLY SNAPS AND DECIDES TO FIGHT THE GOVERNMENT hehe.)
 

stevita

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ISSUE 11: BEFORE THE SUN SETS ON THE THIRD DAY
----------

All in all, Oriana could have done better as far as her living arrangement was concerned.


Self-consciously, she led the way up to her apartment. "Sorry about the stairs," she muttered as she let Eddie in. "And sorry it's so small." When she had moved into the place, she had anticipated being alone for quite sometime. That was the life of a bulletproof superhero for you.


Not a super ergonomic setup. Not very fat-friendly. Two years ago, though, that hadn't mattered to her. It had been a hundred bucks cheaper to rent on the third floor than the first. She'd never imagined she'd one day be harboring a super-sized fugitive. A fleeting moment of beauty was all she'd ever expected out of each of her fights. Then: legal matters. Paperwork. Cops. The stuff she preferred not to stick around for.


"Well, here it is, I guess," she said, standing in the living room. "Welcome to the FatCave. It ain't much, but it's home. Over there'll be the kitchen, bedroom through there…"


Eddie hadn't responded. She felt like she'd lost his attention...until she turned around and caught him staring in disbelief at the collection of implements strewn about a mid-sized table slightly to the right of the front door.


It housed a variety of equipment that could be used in feedist scenes, from measuring tapes to calipers, beer bongs to restraints, and a whole 5-lb tub of that gainer powder bodybuilders used that all the popular gainers online loved to appropriate for their sexual ends.


She'd never thought to hide any of it: the only people who ever came over were the cousins, and they already knew she was some kind of way.


"I assumed there wasn't a man in the picture," said Eddie. "I mean, given that moment in the truck and all."


"Oh, I'm single. People just be sending this shit through fanmail all the time."


"You get fanmail?"


"Mhmm! To the Bombshell PO box. I know I'm a walking controversy, but some people do like me. Anyway, on with the tour…"


He followed her into the bedroom and looked around. "So there's really no other man."


"Single as a Pringle."


"What about Dick over there?" he asked, gesturing toward the body pillow lying across her bed, bearing a hyperrealistic representation of former president Richard Nixon.


"People ain't s'posed to see that…" She hastily moved Nixon onto the armchair by the bed. "It's mostly an inside joke with myself, since Nixon was the one that legalized masked vigilantism." Heavily regulated it, too, but for his time, it had been a progressive move.


And normal, healthy people kept inside jokes with themselves, right?


"There's only one bed, but I'll take the couch, it's fine," she insisted. She let Eddie collapse in bed while she herself settled in the armchair, on top of Nixon.


"What is this?" he asked. "You're just going to look at me now?"


"Look, we all know that when a life's in danger, I'll intervene, whether I'm wanted at the scene or not."


It clicked for him then. "I'm on suicide watch." It wasn't a question.


"Just for the next seventy-two hours. I want to make sure you're okay."


"You...you really do care."


"Bro, I just made out with you in the back of a freight truck. Obviously, I'm invested."


"But what did I do to deserve you?"


"Besides save my life?"


"You saved mine too, we're even."


"Just work with me here," she said. "If you want, we can make a game out of it. Get to know each other. Hey: what's your favorite color?"


He shrugged. "Lately orange has been growing on me."


"Good answer. Favorite movie?"


"The Nexus, hands down."


"A great flick that had exactly zero sequels," said Oriana.


"Oh, come on, the second one wasn't bad."


"Zero. Sequels," Oriana insisted. "Favorite restaurant?"


"I don't know."


"What kind of self-respecting feedee don't know the answer to that question?"


"It's not like I've ever actually been practicing!"


"You should give it a try sometime. I'd be happy to show you the ropes." She smirked.


He flushed scarlet and went silent. Obviously, she was making him feel awkward.


"Let's watch some TV. You ever seen Splice Sisters?"


"What?"


"Oh my God, you'll love it!"


Oriana turned on the TV and queued up the pilot.


It was her favorite childhood cartoon, following the story of Keiko, Keisha, and Klaudia, three adoptive sisters who made a pact to fight crime after discovering they all had powers due to experimentation during their infancy.


"I mean, I know the show has its problems," Oriana said as the first episode's fight scene came to a climax. "The mad science origin story definitely sleeps on those of us that were born with powers. But back then, it was about teaching little girls we could do anything. Even before I knew about my powers, them three little bitches were my heroes, man!"


"It's a good show. Let me guess, you saw yourself as Keisha?"


Oriana shook her head. "Keiko. She was always the fighter."


They made it through about half of season 1, but eventually, Eddie passed out. She was surprised it had taken him that long. More than tripling your weight within seconds was exhaustive on the human body. Most of the time, the criminals she fattened lost consciousness before the forklift and crane company could show up.


She undressed, threw her getup in the wash, and showered off the remaining blast debris. The plan was to take the couch in the living room, but she didn't stick to that plan for long. After slipping into some track pants and a shirt that some anonymous college hook-up had left in her dorm and never come back for, she began her evening in the living room on her laptop, one ear on the police radio listening for news of her own flight from the scene of a showdown, but her focus was wavering. The city had calmed down for the night.


She helped herself to a glass of sauvignon blanc.


Before too long, she resigned herself to trying to sleep, but the couch was lumpy, uncomfortable, and in need of replacement. She could only ever pass out there if she was much more blasted.


As stealthily as she could on the creaky floorboards, she let herself into the bedroom.


There was space on the bed, she convinced herself, emboldened by a little wine. Besides, it wasn't like Eddie would mind waking up next to her. Had he not gone through all this trouble just to get her attention?


The space on the bed, as it turned out, was scarce--she wasn't exactly a size two herself. Staying on the mattress required her to push her whole body flush against Eddie's side. It was nice, feeling his softness yield to her frame, warm and comforting. Fuck. She shouldn't be feeling comforted. Her life had been thrown into chaos. She was actively harboring a fugitive. But she couldn't help it. Feeling herself sinking into his pillowy rolls of fat made her too relaxed to even fathom remaining awake for more than a few minutes.


When the next morning's sunlight roused her, she found that not only had she snuggled up even closer to Eddie in her sleep, but he'd thrown one heavy thigh over her hips, pinning her delightfully to the sheets. Grinning, she thought to herself that she'd be content to stay put for a hot minute.


She hadn't slept this well since the heater broke in January.


Just then, he stirred. "Shit...sorry." He rolled off of her.


Her first instinct was to curl into him, seeking warmth. She wanted to tell him, 'put it back.'


But it was still too soon.


She remembered her duty: suicide watch.


He was vulnerable. She couldn't in all good faith take advantage of him, even if she did want his squishy arms around her, his weight upon her ribs and hips, his softness surrounding her…


She moved into the chair, with Nixon, and watched as Eddie woke up and got his bearings.


That's when the FatPhone rang.


"I have to take this," she said.


"Is it time for Bombshell to save the day?"


"Looks like it. Let's just hope I have it in me after yesterday." She plucked the phone off her nightstand and checked the caller ID.


Area code: 947. Cason du Wandeaux. She could think of only one person who would want to contact her at nine thirty in the morning from across city lines.


This might not actually be an emergency.


Just in case she was wrong, she answered, "You've reached Bombshell, what is your emergency?"


"Word on the street is, Bombshell and Big Tech absconded together from the scene of a fight in the back of a Go Fork Yourself moving truck. Not how I prefer to hook up, but like my mother used to say: there's a time and a place to put haste before taste."


Of course, it was just Scarlet Flame, hungry for gossip. Oriana covered the receiver. "It's Scarlet Flame. She be doing this, from time to time." Returning to her phone call, she said, "S, what have I told you bout calling this number?"


"Well, it's not like I can call your regular phone, the way the boss has got me tapped."


"I'm sure the government doesn't actually watch you that closely."


"Are you kidding, cherí? At least twice a year, they send me to save the President."


Oriana sighed. "Good point."


"Anyway, dirty details over lunch? I'm fifteen minutes outside of Blackwater following a lead. Let me take you to PriceCo again."
 

stevita

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Oriana would have had no choice, if her companion's powers of compulsion worked over the phone. As it stood, the distortion of her voice acted as a safeguard, and Oriana was free to determine her own plans.


"I dunno, S. Every time we do that PriceCo thing, some bitter Boomer comes on Twitter and calls us sleazy."


"And since when do you care what they say? It was your idea first. You said it yourself, it's not technically stealing. They're called free samples for a reason. And I was hoping to get a cheat meal in before I go fully vegan."


"Look, S, I kind of got something going at home right now. I was gonna just cook here."


S gasped. "Oh my God! You're still with him, aren't you? Put me on speaker! Bonjooour, Bombshell's new boytoy!"


"Yeah, I'm not gonna do that."


"You take good care of my best friend okay? Or I'll find you. I'll find you and make you rip your own dick off and shove it up your ass!"


"You're not on speaker," Oriana repeated. "And with the temper you got on you, it's probably a good thing he can't reach. Look, S. I miss you too, but it's been a really long night and I'm still super tired."


"Oh my God...you haven't even sealed the deal yet, have you?"


"S--"


"What are you even doing on the phone with me?"


"YOU CALLED MY EMERGENCY LINE!"


"Look, I love you, B...now go rock his world before he can change his mind!"


"It's not even like that!"


"What?!"


"I mean...not yet. I'm tryna wait."


"Again. What?"


"Just like, three days or so?"


"Oh my God, like one of those three day curse, true love's kiss, Disney movie things? B, you do know that in all those corny movies, three days is the deadline, right?"


Oriana sighed. "I know, S, I just--"


She didn't want to have to explain to her best friend in the industry that she had Big Tech on suicide watch. Why tell on him like that?


"Look, you sound like you have a lot to figure out, B. But don't make the mistake of a lifetime, now that you finally have him in your clutches!" The line went dead.


"What did she say?"


Oriana chewed on her bottom lip. "A lot of stuff. Some of which is probably right. She was kinda my mentor, back in the day. But she's too much."


It was 9:40 now.


She glanced back at Eddie.


She wanted him. Dear Lord, she wanted all of him. On top of her. Surrounding her. Pushing unrestrained, almost liquid, into the gaps between her manicured fingers as she squeezed his ample sides while he worked his way inside her…


But the situation was still so precarious. Besides, she was being terribly rude; here she was answering phone calls and she hadn't even offered breakfast.


"Do you like omelets?" she asked.


***


"Hey, Tom, it's Oriana, from analytics," she said into the phone, holding it in place with her shoulder as she browned chopped garlic in a pan. "Listen, I'm gonna be working remotely the next few days."


"But we have that big meeting with AmeriCorp--!"


"And I'd--" She feigned a fit of coughing. "I'd be happy to do it over Zoom, but I'm just too sick to come in, and the last thing we need is to give the CEO of AmeriCorp the plague."


Almost as soon as she was off the phone with her boss, her line to Councilor Freeman rang on the counter. She picked it up as she was adding mushrooms and bell peppers to her pan.


"I think I misjudged Big Tech," Jasmine confessed.


"It's alright, Jazz. He did literally market himself as a villain. I never fell for it, but not everybody has my intuition."


"Then why did you hit him?"


Oriana shrugged, tipping the vegetables into three other pans, where she had perfectly round slabs of sunshine-yellow egg sizzling away. "What's a couple hundred pounds between friends?"


"Look, I still don't understand what happened between you two," said Jasmine, "but the survey results are in, and I have this election in the bag: thanks to that midair showdown at my press conference, I'm the only candidate whose name anyone knows anymore. Plus, you saved my life. You, and Big Tech, and your, uh, fish."


"You're welcome, Councilor. Or should I say, Commissioner?"


"Well, I shouldn't count my chickens, but that does have a nice ring to it. And when you see Big Tech, tell him I talked to the District Attorney and his warrants are going to be pardoned."


"That's great! And what about my warrants?"


"God knows I'm eternally grateful to you, Bombshell...but would it kill you to pay your speeding tickets?"


After Jasmine hung up, Oriana topped the omelets with shredded provolone, folded them, and finished them with a sprinkle of more cheese and a generous dollop of chipotle crema she'd prepped before she started the vegetables. "I have good news and bad news," she said, sauntering with two plates into the living room, where she found Eddie on the sofa--the only piece of furniture he would trust in the apartment aside from the bed, and not without good reason--flipping channels. "The good news is, Jasmine got you off the hook legally. The bad news, and you probably already knew this: you can't go back to the office. Call up Tom and make up an excuse for why you have to work remote from now on. If you show up, no one in software development's not gonna know you pissed off Bombshell."


"Fuck Cyber Security, Inc," he said, which came as a surprise to her...albeit, a refreshing one. In the wake of all that had happened in the last 24 hours...Jesus. Life was too short and too precious to waste behind a desk.


"You know what? You're absolutely right! It's a soul-sucking company that hires out our skills to other soul-sucking companies and pays us pennies on what our labor is actually worth! If you're leaving, I'm leaving, too!" She handed him his plate and a fork and plopped down on the couch next to him. "Anyway, a friend in the industry tells me Digital Defense, Inc. would pay us better anyway."


"Too bad we signed a three-year no-compete."


"They can't enforce that!"


"They do, though. Mike from research is still tied up in a lawsuit."


"Well, fuck." She picked at her food, suddenly disinterested, and not because she hadn't done a good job.


Eddie certainly seemed to appreciate her talent. While they'd been talking, he'd absentmindedly cleaned his plate. She took it out of his hands and walked back to the kitchen to fix him seconds, leaving her own plate abandoned on the coffee table.


When she returned, he'd cleaned up her leftovers, too. Though totally endeared, she said nothing, simply replacing the plate in his hands, setting the empty one on the floor, and resuming the conversation. "I guess we could just change fields," she remarked. "I never did like that the prison they built specifically for guys I hit turned out to be one of the most brutal in the county. And maybe Jasmine can get me in there? I could make some reforms, put rehabilitation programs in place, do some real good! I'm telling you, they's not all bad guys. Most of them was just at the end of their ropes, hitting licks to survive. Just people I couldn't let turn into killers in the moment. But they ain't beyond help!"


"That would be amazing!" said Eddie between bites. "You're actually really inspiring when you get all passionate like this."


"Aww…just trying to keep a base level of human decency," she said, curling up on the far side of the couch against the armrest. "What about you?"


He shrugged. "Well, Chimera did pay pretty well--"


"Oh, no. Tell me you're not thinking of doing the full-time supervillain-for-cash thing. Trust me, I know a guy who's a government mercenary. He hates his work and he's a raging alcoholic."


"No, no, I just mean, I'm set for a while. And I've reverse-engineered technology before."


"You mean--?"


"Chimera was a mistake."


"Tell me about it."


"But he had some good inventions. I don't want to get into arms dealership or anything, but...but some of this stuff could help people--"


"I'm sure it has its applications!" She took yet another empty plate out of his hands. Normally, she would be rapt with lust just watching him go to town on her cooking, but she had become so wrapped up in the conversation. Here they were, talking about the future, a future that she so wished would be convergent for the both of them. It could happen. And in the moment, he sounded so hopeful. Her worries about the possibility of losing him were dissipating by the minute, and yet…


It was still too early to say.


Then, suddenly, reality seemed to hit him. "Holy shit, I didn't even realize I'd finished thirds," he said with a self-conscious blush.


"Well, you did pick up a few. Your TDEE's probably sitting somewhere round 4k now?"


"Huh?"


"Four thousand. Calories. Total daily energy expenditure. Basically how much you need to eat just to stay alive and do stuff." It was her turn to be self-conscious. "They offered nutrition as an elective at Rivington Hero School, and I took it just to apply it in nasty feeder ways." She fiddled with the hem of her shirt and continued, "Yeah, is it shocking I got expelled with a failing grade in ethics?"


"You're...you're not so bad," said Eddie.


"I know I'm not...but I'm weird. There's no gettin' around that." That she liked what she liked, she would never apologize for. But she knew the nerdy statistician side of her fascination with weight gain could be off-putting.


"Hey. What's your favorite thing to cook?" he asked, abruptly changing the subject.


"Probably Cajun."


"What's your favorite radio station?"


"95.1."


"What's your favorite musical?"


"Well, what's yours?" she asked.


He scoffed. "Little Shop."


"Grease 2."


"How did I--?"


"HOW'D I ALREADY KNOW?"


Were...were they flirting?
 

stevita

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Emails. A veritable mountain of them.


Oriana was up late into the wee hours with her laptop at the kitchen table, sorting through the deluge. On top of correspondence from work--she was still trying to figure out how she was going to drop her two weeks notice--the Bombshell inbox was full of Twitter notifications out the wazoo, and every minute, another citizen of the greater Blackwater area sent her another non-emergency inquiry as to what exactly was going on between her and Big Tech. People were begging her to release the body cam footage of their fattening encounter. Fredo Flores was vying for the exclusive interview on their steamy getaway, or, barring that, asking whether this at least disproved the longstanding rumor that Bombshell and Fireball were clandestine long-distance sweethearts.


This was unbelievable.


Had everyone already forgotten about Chimera?


In the silence of the night, the FatPhone rang. Good; a crime was just what Oriana needed to distract herself from the gossip-mongering public.


"This is Bombshell, what is your emergency?"


"Bombshell? Booooombshelllll…"


Great. This guy.


"Fireball, are you drunk?"


About once a month, Fireball drunkdialed from whatever conflict zone the CIA had airdropped him into this week, making Oriana regret her decision to publicize her phone number on Twitter. The fact that she continued to take his calls was a testament to how sorry she felt for him. It couldn't have been easy being a vocational weapon.


"Ah, I only had a couple fifths!" slurred Fireball. "Sides, I wanted to congragul--to congre--" He gave up. "Scarlet Flame said you got a new man!"


"Scarlet Flame talks to you?"


"Outta pity, bu' I still think it counts!" said Fireball. "Anywayyyy! Detaaaails! Where ya meet this guy? Was it on that website where you find chubby chasers?"


"Actually, we met at work." It wasn't technically a lie.


"Whaddis that website anyway?"


Oriana sighed and dropped her voice. "It's Feed Frenzy dot com. Just bookmark it this time!"


"Thanks! I wanna see if there's any hot girls wanna fuck in North--" he interrupted himself with a small belch, "--Korea."


"We're in North Korea?!" spat Oriana. "What are we doing there?! Fireball, don't hang up--"


The line went dead.


A text came in from Scarlet Flame: 'Deadline's coming, Queen B. Shoot your shot or forever wish you did.'


***


Oriana wasn't impossible to live with. Her apartment was cramped and her bathtub was ridiculously uncomfortable, with a cold-water tap that required a goddamn wrench to operate. She had an obnoxious habit of throwing her junk mail on the floor and leaving it wherever it fell as if someone was going to pick up after her. But her warm demeanor, easygoing conversation, and prodigious skill in the kitchen more than made up for the minor inconveniences.


And okay, Eddie had caught himself stealing glances at her ass straining the fabric of her yoga pants. The guys at work used to crack wise about the girl in analytics, who 'oughta have a CDL, you know, for that DUMP TRUCK!' He had never participated in those discussions, but though morally bankrupt, his former colleagues had a point: it was a great ass.


Yes, he could see himself enduring her for another twenty four hours.


He was working on kicking all the junk mail into one pile in the living room to make it less of a tripping hazard when Oriana walked in and plopped down on the ottoman, following him with her eyes. "I thought we were past close surveillance," he remarked.


"I'm no longer worried about you trying to take an intimate bath with the toaster when my back's turned," she agreed. "It's just that I got chili going in the slow cooker and four hours to kill. I thought we could hang out. Maybe play our questions game to pass the time."


"Okay. You start."


"What am I to you?" she asked. "Am I just the rope you wanted to swing by, or am I something more?"


She was fishing for a certain answer. He just worried he wasn't good enough to be what she needed. "I don't know what to say."


"Then say you want me!" she pleaded, looking up at him with hurt in her big, brown eyes. "Is it so hard?"


"I do! It's just…" He choked in a way that had nothing to do with the recent weight gain. "What if I fail you?"


He'd already failed everyone else.


"I told you once," said Oriana, "I thought of the city as my lover. You think I've never failed it? I know you heard me on Fredo, talkin' bout that crook I popped like a giant maraschino cherry. I've made a ton of mistakes on the way to becoming Bombshell. That don't mean I crawl off and lie in a ditch. So no, I don't expect us to ride off into the sunset and everything will be awesome and sexy and perfect all the time. You're gonna fuck up. I'm gonna fuck up. Everyone fucks up. But you can come back from that." She rose to her feet, crossed the room, and sank into a kitchen chair. "Right here: this is where I used to sit on my laptop and e-stalk you."


"You stalked me?" asked Eddie. "Since when? And...why?"


"Since right before the Fredo Flores interview, and isn't it obvious? I had a big fat feeder crush on you," she confessed.


"On me?" He couldn't believe it. All those nights he'd spent fantasizing alone...he'd never been as alone as he thought.


"You were doing good work! You gave me hope that someone else out there was like me, that I wasn't the only one who cared about defending the little guy...figuratively speaking," she said. "You know, I almost hit you up to ask about a partnership."


"You really think that would have worked? Big Tech and Bombshell?"


"Shouldn't it be Bombshell and Big Tech? The lady should come first, it's only polite," she quipped with a smirk before going solemn once more. "And no, it wouldn't have. Not for me. Because I fell for you, and, me being me, I would always want to--you know."


"I think I found out."


"Well, ya fucked around."


They both chuckled.


"But you know, I would have just endured it. I would have kept the fantasy locked away in my brain, unfulfilled, so that at least I wouldn't have to do this alone." Her voice cracked, and in that moment, he saw his own isolation mirrored in her self-imposed solitude, and it finally clicked to him that maybe the thing he'd been chasing with such maniacal urgency shouldn't have been completion, but instead, connection.


His mind at last made up, he approached her and coaxed her to her feet to kiss her gently on the lips.


She leaned hard into it, pulling him closer with her fist balled in his hair, her other hand drifting to his side to grip him in place so their bodies pressed together. She was softer than he'd imagined, warm and inviting in his hands as he took her by the waist and held her delicately even as she continued to practically attack him with her affection. For the longest time, the kiss didn't break, and he was beginning to wonder just how long she could hold her breath. His vision was actually starting to swim by the time she seemed to remember that one of them didn't have superpowers and finally released him.


"Get in my bed," she whispered, smirking seductively, "and get. Naked."


"Umm, slight problem with that," he said, flushing intensely, head still spinning. "You, uh. You did a number on me."


"I see where this is going." With one hand on his shoulder, she backed him into the bedroom as if it was a dance and she was leading. "I was honestly trying to go easy on you when I hit you. But you weren't exactly a power-lifter to begin with. I get it. It's a lot." She pushed him onto the bed on his back and straddled his hips. "That suit probably doing most of the work for you, huh?"


"I--"


"Shh." She bent down to give him another kiss. "It's okay. You can get better with some time and practice. It might take a hot minute...but carrying all that weight won't be so hard forever. Tonight? Though? Lemme do all the work."


"But--"


"Please, Eddie." She did that thing again, where she bit her lip and her eyes went all soulful. "I want to. Not just for you, but for me. I'll enjoy it. I promise."


With some reluctance, he flipped the switch that caused the suit to retract and come to a rest on Oriana's bedside table.


Suddenly, he was once more beached and vulnerable, putty in her hands. It was at once electrifying and terrifying.


And what skilled hands! She gripped down on his shoulders to steal his breath with yet another desperate kiss before her kisses trailed their way sweetly down his body. She pressed her lips along the side of his neck...kissed both of his chubby cheeks...squeezed and hefted each massive moob...shimmied downwards in bed to absolutely faceplant in his gut, where she took her sweet time tonguing out his navel like she was trying to mine gold, gripping his new love handles possessively all the while.


"Fuck, Oriana." He had never felt so good. It was a mistake, thinking he wanted to be fattened and that would be the end of it. Being fattened and played with was so much better, and yet…


"I feel bad I can't do anything for you."


"Oh, Eddie...you're doing a lot for me." She folded her arms and looked up at him, propped up on his gut with a playful smile. "Can I show you?"


"You mean with the leaky emotions and whatnot?"


She nodded. "I won't lie. It can be dangerous. I could get a man addicted to me if I'm not careful. But...but I just want you to feel what I feel. Can I try? Please? I promise I'll be gentle with you."


"Let 'er rip." He'd already spent the last several weeks trying to win her attention. Was addiction to her a risk, or a pre-existing condition?


"Okay." She laughed. "Okay! Three...two...ready?"


He nodded the best he could.


"One."
 

stevita

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Texas
In an instant, it felt like even the weight of the world dissolved. There was only Oriana's pleasure, which was now his pleasure in turn. The reverence which she caressed his every roll and bulge...the adoration she'd been harboring, penetrating so much deeper than mere flesh and blood and physicality…


This was ethereal. This was all-consuming.


Time lost its meaning.


And then…


She parted his heavy thighs with pure brute strength, taking the time to give their buttery soft insides an affectionate squeeze...followed by a mischievous nip with her teeth as she worked her way lower down the mattress…


And then, she hefted up the bulging overhang of his belly with her forearm and took him into her mouth.


Either she was an expert, or he had fallen fully under her influence, or both. She hollowed her cheeks and sucked him down her throat in a way that had to involve her powers...surely no human woman could be this skilled. And once more, she was relentless, unhindered by the need to breathe for an unbelievably long while.


The pleasure threatened to overwhelm him. "Oriana...let's switch it up, I don't wanna ruin this for you," he said, trying to stave off his climax while already on the verge.


She pulled back just long enough to speak: "Trust me. I'll take care of us." With that, she wrapped her lips around him once more and this time, he couldn't take it. He spent his load down her throat.


Dammit. He had hoped to give her something in return…


But she simply sucked down his spend, straddled his hips, and just like that, he was hard again and she was slanting him into her, gripping his sides, manicure digging in where his ribs used to be visible while his belly surged forward like an ocean wave to cover her waist and thighs.


"How did you…?"


"Biomanipulation, baby." She thrust her hips hard against him and pressed herself to his body, burying her face in the crook of his shoulder. "Do you think you can come again soon? Because I'm about--"


"Oooh, shit--" It happened as he imagined a seizure happened, and yet, it felt so sublime...her pleasure and his own, compounded, melded by her mysterious ability.


"THERE it is! Holy fuck, Eddie!" She collapsed on top of him, resting her head on his chest like a pillow. "That's the best I've ever had it."


"You're kidding."


"I'm not."


She took his hand and squeezed.


They lay together for a while. He wrapped an arm around her the best he could manage and she curled up against him, gripping him tight, lending him reassurance.


Then the FatPhone rang.


She rolled over in bed.


"This is Bomb--"


There was a pause.


"Uh huh. Uh huh. Gimme fifteen minutes on the clock." She hung up and started suiting up.


"You have to go?" said Eddie. He knew it was her duty to save Blackwater City, and yet…


She made him feel okay with being selfish.


"It's a five man heist on a cargo truck headed southbound on I-39, 75 miles an hour, gun on the driver."


"What does that mean?" He could disassemble a computer and put it back together no sweat, but street level crime? Intelligence aside, this was a language he still needed interpretation for.


Hopping around in one boot, super suit half zipped up, Bombshell explained, "It means WE have to go. I'll need backup."


He prepared to suit up. "Okay! Bombshell and Big Tech, here we go!"


***


The mission was a total success. From arrival to execution, the whole thing was over in a matter of minutes. Oriana couldn't have been more pleased with herself and Eddie. They made quite the team.


After stashing her car in an abandoned lot near her apartment, she wasted no time in dragging him home to throw him against the wall and capture his lips with her own, her desire revived by the lingering adrenaline rush from the battlefield.


"I hope you didn't think I was done with you," she said as she let him break for air.


"I hope you'll never be done with me," he replied. As she ground her hips into his soft middle, he murmured, "Hit me again?"


"What?" A chill ate its way through her. "Not this again. Eddie, I thought we were past this--"


"No, I don't mean--!" He gave her arms a squeeze, grounding her, calming her. "It wouldn't be a punishment. I just...I want to give you more…"


Her dread turned to glee.


"Will you like it, too?"


"I'll absolutely revel in it, Oriana."


"Aight then. I'll do it."


Just perhaps not in the way he expected.


Honestly, her powers were convenient, but the true key to her pleasure had always been much simpler, much sweeter…


"Three," she began to count down. "Two…"


He braced himself, breathing shallow but grinning in anticipation.


'Ding!' The timer in the kitchen went off.


"Hey, look at that!" she smirked. "Dinner's ready."

***

THE END
 

Tad

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The great white north, eh?
Phew, is it hot in here?

That was a fantastic finish. This story is a true classic, just so good on multiple levels.
 

stevita

like the pancake
***
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Phew, is it hot in here?

That was a fantastic finish. This story is a true classic, just so good on multiple levels.
Thanks! Hopefully some parts of Spark make more sense now, as these two stories share a lot of overlap. Without too many spoilers, Spark will get to introduce his own crew to B&B before the end of Rescue from Rivington, and this series will go on to feature a big feedist superhero team-up against a new foe. Scarlet Flame will be there, and Catalyst, too--who yoy've already met, but right now you only know her by her civilian name...

Anyway, I know I said it was over, but the Xmen/MCU nut in me just couldn't resist a little post-credit scene, so, without further ado...
 

stevita

like the pancake
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DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL!

Six months later...

The Blackwater River swelled with the onslaught of torrential rain as thunder drowned out the sounds of nearby engines. On the highway that ran parallel, a black SUV maintained cruising speed. In the driver's seat was a woman, dark-skinned, curly-haired, and decked out fully in black leather from her boots to her bustier. Her elaborate outfit did nothing to diminish her corpulent figure, though it did make her cleavage stand out as her front-and-center feature. A leather mask concealed the top half of her face and a black collar encircled her neck. A stainless steel C dangled from the collar in the place of the familiar O.


She was unknown to the public, but to her brethren in the coming revolution, she was called Crucifix.


About forty feet ahead was an eighteen wheeler, its contents: a large shipment of arms destined for American troops overseas, for purposes of slaughter in the name of lower gas prices. "What's the situation in there?" Crucifix asked her shotgun passenger as she ashed the cigarette in her hand into a glass ashtray she kept in the cup holder.


"One consciousness, and he hasn't spotted us yet."


"Wife? Kids?"


"Wife. He beats her brains out, though," said the telepath.


"Yeah, I'm definitely getting nasty vibes from this guy," agreed a young man in the backseat.


"Then it's decided." She glanced through the rearview at her soldier who'd just spoken. "Are we in range?"


"Yes, ma'am."


"Then you're up, my man. Take this sorry sack's malice and show me what you can do with it."


Within seconds, a powerful electromagnetic field surrounded the truck, sparking and crackling with a million tiny explosions of lightning as it hoisted the vehicle into the air in its entirety and tossed it off the road and onto the riverbank. It landed with a crash inches from the water.


"Good job, little guy!" Crucifix crooned. He was by no means little, probably approaching her own stately girth, but at nineteen, the baby-faced electro-empath was the least experienced of the crew, and she had come to think of him like a son. When he had first come to her for help, he'd been years-starved and weak, barely able to conjure a spark with any deliberation, but under her care and tutelage, her star protege was now throwing trucks.


Crucifix parked on the side of the otherwise vacant road. Followed by her crew, she approached the wreck. As the driver staggered out of the vehicle, she fixed him with a cold stare and unleashed the force of her power.


Screaming, he fell to the ground, his limbs contorting grotesquely as he writhed in blinding pain. "Nice one, Crucifix!" snickered her only soldier who had yet to be put to use tonight.


"Thank you; I'm flattered. Now cut the voyeurism and finish him for me, would you?"


The man knelt down next to the agonized driver, pulled back a fist, and punched him with a superhuman force that ground his head clean into the earth.


Crucifix's men then proceeded to open the back of the truck.


There were crates upon crates inside, stacked on top of each other: a stockpile of bloodshed. The boys pried the lid off of one of the boxes and Crucifix pulled out an assault rifle, examining it for a moment before throwing it back in, snarling with disgust. "I hate guns."


With that, she stepped back and allowed her men to haul the crates out of the truck and dump them, unceremoniously, into the river.

***

Don't miss the return of Big Tech and Bombshell in: THE COMMUNE OF CRUCIFIX!

Same fat-time, same fat-channel!
 

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