Karen Lotstein was walking quickly down the halls of Megatropolis School of Law (usually shorted to MSL), trying desperately to make her first class. She was late, as always.
Karen had regretted signing up for the two o’clock class almost as soon as the semester had begun. Just a couple of hours before the class was scheduled she taught a martial arts class at a downtown fitness center. She had assumed there would be plenty of time to get from the fitness center to the University but she had, until then, never tried to make it across Megatropolis in the middle of the day and found traffic downtown to be far worse than she had expected.
The sensible thing to do would have been to cancel or reschedule either of the classes. The thing was Karen was incredibly stubborn; the kind of person that never gave up or gave in. She had been called bullheaded, and justifiably. She would push forward in situations where it would have made much more sense to retreat and regroup.
Her head strong nature had been the main cause that resulted in finding herself in her mid 20’s simultaneously in school to be a lawyer and teaching martial arts. When it had come time to think about what she would major in at school everyone had told her to take her time. Her parents had money and she could have spent years being undeclared before settling on a degree.
“Just don’t try and become a lawyer, Karen, I just don’t think you’re cut out for it,” her father had joked once. It was all she needed to make up her mind: if someone thought she couldn’t do something she was damn sure going to prove them wrong just to spite them.
Studying law had been hard, but not enough to really challenge her. She was very bright; sharp of wit and mind. No, what had been challenging wasn’t the academics of becoming a lawyer but the atmosphere at MSL. Everyone had warned her that Megatropolis, known the world over for its rampant crime, was as cut throat in its halls of academia as in its crime filled back alleys. She was prepared for a tough ride, but not for one that targeted her so personally.
MSL was an incredibly male dominated space. She was one of just a handful of female students that had even bothered to apply to the school, and part of an even smaller group that was accepted. The male population of MSL routinely tried to beat down her confidence. Calling her stupid, sloppy, or lazy, they wanted to convince her she wasn’t good enough for their school. Even the teachers, all of them male, joined in the verbal assault.
But it all served only to make her more determined to graduate, and further, do it at the top of her class. Despite her determination, the constant harassment had begun to crush her. She was endlessly frustrated, and often felt powerless. Toward the beginning of her first semester she started a martial arts class, trying to work out her frustrations and aggressions. She needed to release it in a healthy way so that it didn’t bottle up until she cracked and beat the shit out of one of her classmates.
Karen quickly discovered she was a natural at the sport. Within just a couple of years she was helping her master teach beginner classes, and soon after had taken them over completely. She had fallen in love with the power she felt from knowing she could take down even the strongest of men with ease. Her figure had always been slender and lithe, but now with her new toned muscles she discovered men found her much more attractive.
Her training had started in an attempt to give her an edge in the masculine culture of her school, to compete with their macho mentality. And unconsciously she had started to change the way she dressed to counter the change. Almost compensating for her masculine ability to kick ass, she began to dress more femininely and provocatively.
It started out small: wearing skirts instead of pants, adding a little more makeup, or slightly tighter blouses. But the better she got in martial arts, the sexier she would dress. Eventually she started wearing tall heels unless she was on the training floor. And the better she kicked ass, the closer her skirts would get to hers.
Her attire was still professional, but in such a sexually charged way the men around her had no choice but to acknowledge she was woman. When she dashed down the hall, desperately trying to get to class on time, she could feel the eyes on her. Going as fast as she was, she knew her short skirt would be flouncing up, offering a quick glance of her toned ass to a perceptive watcher. Of course, her stockings would offer the shape of her legs without giving a view of her skin or even her panties. Some might say she dressed like a slut, but she ensured that she never felt like one. The extra layer of her stockings helped preserve her sense of modesty, however lax it may be.
The only real view of scandalous skin was found on her arms and cleavage. She was proud of her arms, smooth but toned and muscular enough to show any man she could handle herself physically. Karen knew her biceps intimidated the assholes that filled her life; they were used to women being subservient and docile.
As for her cleavage, that was just to drive them wild. She’d always had small breasts and unfortunately the extra muscles hadn’t really helped much. But still, she made do and invested in some amazing pushup bras to compensate.
Right now, none of that mattered of course. All that mattered in this moment was getting through the doors of the lecture hall before the professor closed them. When the doors closed, they were locked, barring entry to anyone who was late, even by a matter of seconds.
Karen was so worried about the time, her wrist raised so she could check her watch, that she crashed straight into a student barreling in her direction. They collided and fell to the floor, her book bag spilling open onto the ground and knocking her glasses from her face. “Just fucking great,” she snarled, slamming her glasses back on and scraping together her things. “Some help would be nice?” She snapped with an intimidating glare.
Met with a blind look of horror, she immediately knew something was terribly wrong. Scrambling to his feet he yelled breathlessly, “Forget that!” He hauled himself to his feet and started tearing away. “The school’s under attack!”
Left on the floor behind him, Karen watched him in shocked confusion. “What the hell are you on about?” she called after his retreating figure.
Her answer was the loud crack of a single gunshot being fired. The sound echoed through the halls, and she felt chills run up her spine and her heart raced.
Abandoning her things, she sprung to her feet with all the ease of a trained athlete. The shot had come from her intended direction and she was going to check things out before she assumed the worst. Even still, she wasn’t going to be careless. Quietly, she crept along the hallways, keeping close to the walls and checking each door she passed. Nothing seemed out of place, except of course the panicked sounds bouncing back toward her. The center of the troubled seemed to be the lecture hall she’d been going to!
For once, as she nimbly reached the double doors, she was hardly pleased to find them still open. At least it meant she would have a better view of what was happening inside.
She could see the stage the professor normally stood on and the arena type seating coming up towards the doorway. The room was filled with her fellow students, but most of them were huddled together, visibly shaking. Oddly costumed men were walking about the class room in pairs, one armed with a gun and his partner holding out an open bag. With a glance she deduced that they must be collecting valuables, electronics like cell phones included.
Seeing phones being taken reminded her that she had one of her own. She wasn’t an idiot, she couldn’t handle this alone, she could call the police. Karen absentmindedly reached at her side to pull it from her bag. “Fuck!” she snapped. In her haste, she had left her bag, with her phone in it, two hallways back.
She intended to head back to retrieve it, but first wanted to get a better look at the strange intruders so she would have details to give to the cops. They were all dressed with shirts and jackets detailed with skeletal bone designs. The skeletal illusion was extended with their faces painted white and highlighted with colorful patterns reminiscent of Mexican sugar skulls.
Karen swore again. She had heard of this gang before, on the news. They were appropriately called ‘The Sugar Skulls’. Known primarily for pushing street drugs they usually frequented the shadiest parts of Megatropolis. Going off what she knew about them, which admittedly wasn’t much, it was more than a little odd that they were here in this part of the city.
Her observations were cut short by a gravelly voice from behind her, “Look at what I’ve found!”
She spun around to find two Sugar Skulls standing close behind her, mouths spread in cruel grins.
“Looks to me like it’s the world’s dumbest law student in the world’s shortest skirt.” One laughed at the other’s jab.
“Should have run while you had the chance, pretty girl,” he drawled, looming over her. “Now you’ll have to deal with the Sugar Skulls all by yourself.”
Eager, the other goon rubbed his hands together greedily. “And nothing makes me happier than putting a pretty, helpless little woman in her place.”
The other goon rubbed his hands together eagerly. “Yeah, nothing makes me happier than putting a pretty, helpless little woman in her place.”
Karen growled, “Oh, I wouldn’t count on me being helpless.” Before the words had even left her lips, she spun a leg out, kicking up and slamming the side of her foot into the first goon’s head. He fell in a solid lump to the ground, the hard blow knocking him unconscious. The second man stood in shock, unable to process what had just happened.
Taking advantage of his stunned stillness, Karen used the momentum of her kick to whirl around, throwing the force of the spin into a solid punch that knocked the second goon beside the first.
Her heart raced as she stared down at the two criminals. She’d never used her martial arts outside of training at her fitness center, and certainly never to knock a man unconscious. But as she towered over their crumpled forms, she found that she loved the rush and sense of power that it gave her.
She heard footsteps; someone was approaching the double doors. It would be more of the Sugar Skulls, and as exhilarating as this was, she wasn’t ready to handle a whole group of them at once. She turned, running toward the nearest door to try to find a hiding place. As soon as the gang found their fallen comrades they would start looking for the one who knocked them out, she didn’t want to make it easy on them.
Karen slipped through the door to a computer lab that seemed to be empty. Dashing inside, she searched for a safe place to hide. There was a small office on one side of the room with its door propped open. She dashed to it, pulling the door closed, but not quite latched, and hid under the large desk inside the room.
Safe in her hiding place, she could hear the Sugar Skulls calling out in alarm as they found the goons she’d knocked out. Tense voices and shouting rang out, and there was the rapid passing of heavy footfalls. She didn’t want to risk being seen and peek out, but from what she could hear it seemed that the search had spread out beyond her hiding spot.
She sighed in relief, resting her head back against the side of the desk. Once again, she found herself wishing she had her cell phone. Now would have been the ideal time to call in some professional help. Well, nothing to do but hide here and wait. Surely someone would show up eventually.
The exterior door to the computer lab opened. Her body tensed and her heart raced faster as she heard the sound of multiple footsteps entering the room. Their conversation was audible through the cracked door. “-about Jimbo and Stan? Someone knocked them out, maybe there’s a Super here already.”
“Relax,” one replied. “Anyone could have knocked those idiots out. It was probably just one of the students. We’ll have plenty of time to get what we came for before one of the damn capes show up.”
From her hiding place she could hear the heavy, slow thud of a terrible typist from the lab. One of them was doing something on one of the computers.
“What are we doing in here, boss? I thought we were just going to rob the rich baby lawyers in training?”
She heard an exasperated sigh. “That’s not it at all. Don’t the rest of the gang, but the robbery is just a cover. It’ll keep everyone distracted from what I’m doing here. There’s some files that have to be accessed from this network, we’re being paid a pretty sum to get them.”
“Who’s paying us?” The goon asked.
“Don’t worry about it. Just watch the door while I transfer these files onto our flash drive.” The boss snapped.
There were heavy footfalls as the two goons shuffled towards the door. The room was silent for a minute, she assumed while the files transferred. Her mind was racing. This was bad, so bad. Even if the police or a superhero did show up, this man would slip out. No one would know about whatever secret thing he’d managed to run off with.
She knew the smart thing to do, what everyone alive would tell her to do: just keep quiet, stay down and report it to the authorities when it was all over.
Karen heard a chair scrape against the ground as the leader of the Sugar Skulls stood up. “Got it,” he grunted. “Now we just have to get out of here before anyone important shows up.”
She couldn’t handle it. Karen just couldn’t sit by and do nothing while these bastards got away with god knows what. She had to do something.
Silently, she slipped out from under the desk, feeling a twinge of regret about her choice of shoe wear. Heels weren’t exactly ideal fighting gear. Of course, she’d done just fine the first time, hopefully her luck would hold.
“Hey, scum of the Earth,” she snapped at the leader of the Sugar Skulls, attempting to strike an imposing pose in the door to the office. “Stop right there and hand over that flash drive.”
He jerked up in alarm, surprised by her sudden appearance, but regained his composure quickly. He turned, his form towering over her even from a distance. “Ah, I suppose you’re the one who knocked out Jimbo and Stan?” The two goons from the door appeared behind him like shadows as all three glowered at her.
Karen did her best not to show any alarm, but she really was outmatched. What the hell had she gotten herself into? Too late to back out now though. “I am,” she said, with as much confidence as she could muster. “And if I were you, I’d just hand over what I want. No need for that to happen to you too.”
He scoffed, “Oh, but I see a medaling slut who thinks she’s a heroine that definitely has a lesson to learn.”
She snapped into a combative stance, lifting her hands to defend her chest and slowly started to close the distance between her and the Sugar Skulls.
The leader laughed at the sight of her targeting them and waved his hand dismissively. “Bob, shoot the bitch.”
The goon to his left began to draw his pistol. At the first sight of movement, Karen whirled into the air, kicking the gun from his hand before he had finished raising it. She used the momentum of her landing to shove him to the ground with a satisfying crash.
Unfortunately, she didn’t have a chance to spin around and swing at the boss. As she landed, he grabbed a hold of her hair, hauling her back toward him. She yelped as pain shot through her scalp. “Goddamned bitch!” he spat.
Using his grip on her hair to force her around he landed a heavy punch square in the center of her stomach. She crumpled in on herself as the air rushed out of her, making her momentarily light headed and stunned.
Rounding in front of her, the boss took her hair with both hands. She was unable to pull away as he slammed his hands down, simultaneously ramming his knee upwards. He hit her face with a crack, breaking her glasses and likely her nose. He dropped her, watching coldly as she fell onto the ground, clutching her face in agony.
“Craig,” he snarled to his still standing man, “grab this cunt.”
“Happily.” He crossed behind her and roughly grabbed her arms. He hauled her to her feet, ignoring her whimpers of pain. He yanked her arms back, hard, pinning them behind her. He squeezed them back tighter until she gasped in pain. Anymore and she thought they might dislocate.
“I think that’s tight enough.” The leader drawled, approaching her with a grin. “Hold her still, just like that.”
He surveyed her, studying her as she was presented for him. Her head hung heavy in defeat. Her nose was gushing blood, her hair was disheveled and her glasses were long gone. He whistled appreciatively.
Her eyes cracked open, her vision blurry from both pain and the loss of her glasses. Even still, she could see him staring down into her cleavage. “Not much to work with there, but you sure do make the most of it.”
She was disgusted to hear him talk about her so objectively, but stared defiantly back. He chuckled dryly, and reached forward. His hand gripped her breasts roughly. Karen screamed, trying to struggle and fight against the man holding her still. But as she squirmed he only gripped her more firmly and pain shot through her arms and into her shoulders. Forced into stillness, she had no choice but to stand helplessly as the Sugar Skull’s leader continued to grope her.
Anger welled up inside her, she had to do something. Blind with rage, she spit in his face.
Instantly, his smile faded and he wiped the spittle away with a snarl. “Disgusting whore!” he bellowed, slamming his leg up again. This time he caught her in her crotch.
The blow resonated through her pubic bone, shooting up through her body and she collapsed forward, coughing in pain. Fuck! She thought she might throw up it hurt so bad.
“Bob, you got that rope on you?” The leader asked.
She hadn’t noticed, but apparently the man she’d knocked down earlier hadn’t stayed down. “You know I always do,” Bob replied.
“Good. Tie this bitch up, and let’s have some fun.” The boss glared down at her, “We still have some time before we really need to get out of here.”
It didn’t take long for them to tie her up. Bob seemed to have a lot of experience with it. Karen didn’t struggle while he did; taking the few moments of stillness to catch her breath and let some of the most immediate pains fade. She focused on the knots he was using to bind her.
She’d seen them all before. They were pretty standard knots within the bondage community, which enlightened her as to why he’d carry rope around like this. Fortunately, this wasn’t Karen’s first time tied up like this. She’d dated someone into BDSM before; these knots were easy for her to slip.
They arranged her in a chair, her legs spread apart and her hands tied tight behind her. With her hands so close together it would be easy to untie the knots around her wrists. It wouldn’t be so easy to undo the ones at her ankles, but the chair was cheap and she felt pretty confident that she could kick her way free. Now, she just had to look helpless until she had a good window.
Not that it was hard to look it, bloody and bound like she was.
“So you want to play superheroine,” the leader leered, his face far too close to hers. “If you’re going to play superheroine that means we get to play by the rules. Do you know the first rule of being a superheroine?”
Karen was honestly unsure of the answer. Wanting to anger him, and get a little more time to finish untying herself, she said, “What? The bad guys always lose?”
He laughed cruelly, “Not even close. The first rule is when you get defeated you get fucked.” As he spoke, he ran his hands up her thighs slowly creeping closer to her crotch. Mentally, she knew she should be disgusted, but Karen’s body was reacting against her control. The dangerous touch excited her, the thug was arousing her! She had to put a stop to that.
With her hands free, she brought her fists around, slamming them hard into either side of his head, crashing them into his temples. He roared in pain and toppled over.
“The hell?” Bob yelled.
“Damn it!” Craig said, drawing his gun. “You didn’t tie her up tight enough.”
Karen had to act fast, and she awkwardly jumped to her feet, kicking away from the chair with as much force as she could. As she predicted, the chair splintered under her. She dropped, rolling forward in an attempt to untangle herself from the shattered wood and loose ropes to dodge the gunshot.
She launched herself at Craig’s legs, knocking him to the ground. The gun flew from his hand and slid across the room out of reach. She jumped to her feet, readying herself as she spun around to face the other goon.
Bob had his hands raised, backing away from her in surrender. “Fuck this! I give. No one can take that much of a beating and still fight unless they have powers! I’m not fighting a Super, no way!”
Karen strode closer to him, grinning. How nice it was to have the tables turn, it would be so fun to knock that coward out. But, she noticed the trembling look of terror had turned into a sly grin.
Strong arms wrapped around from behind her, pinning her arms to her sides. The man squeezed tight, compressing her chest and forcing the air from her lungs. She struggled, fighting against his grip, but his arms were locked tight around her. She desperately tried to break free of his bear hug, knowing that every moment left her weaker as she ran out of air.
Her vision blurred, fading, blackness crept in from the sides. Gasping for one last breath, she kicked back with one foot. The tip of her thin heel stabbed up into his balls. He groaned, dropping her as he fell in overwhelming agony.
She scrambled forward, trying to put some distance between herself and the thug in case he regained himself before she did. Gasping, her head spun as her chest rose, sucking in a huge breath of the oxygen she so desperately needed.
The man writhed on the ground beside her as she dragged herself onto her feet. She wobbled a little, her legs still shaky from her near suffocation. Once again, she thought about abandoning her high heels, but given that they had just saved her life, she decided to keep them on.
She stepped forward into the hallway, watching the retreating backs of the Sugar Skull gang. Karen didn’t know why they had chosen that particular moment to run, but thought there might have been a chance they suspected she really did have powers. That was a flattering thought.
“Stop right there,” she growled. “give me the flash drive.”
The boss whirled around, staring at her in disbelief. “Holy shit! She must be a Super. Enough of this bullshit!” He pulled a small canister from his pocket, ripping a pin from the top before throwing it down the hall toward Karen.
It flew towards her, emitting a thick gas as it whirled through the air. By the time it landed at her feet, the air around her was heavy with the nasty smoke. She choked on the air, struggling to hold her breath, not to breathe it in. But there was nowhere else to go, and the trace amounts already in her lungs were working fast. The last thing she saw through the smoke before passing out was the Sugar Skull’s leader looking back over his shoulder and disappearing with a wink.
Karen shot upright with a gasp, an oxygen mask strapped to her face. She was laying on a stretcher, surrounded by paramedics. There were countless other students and faculty members around her getting similar treatments. The medics informed her that she would be okay within the hour, but she needed a little more time for the knock out drug to dissipate. Until then, she just needed to lie down and take it easy.
Hearing loud whispers as people walked past her, she became aware that some of her fellow students had seen at least the tail end of her fight with the Sugar Skulls. And just like the gang, they were assuming she had powers.
The crowd parted, and a tall, curvy woman in a bright purple costume stepped forward. It was Archbaroness, the leader of the Megatropolis Amazons! Looking around, Karen tried to see if any of the other team members were there. Easily spotted, she saw Brickhouse, the red muscular woman towering at least a full foot over the head of the crowd. The flash of a bright yellow cape alerted her to the thin, young Champion Girl. And lurking off to one side, shadowed by two floating robots was Lab Rat.
Even more surprising, the four superheroines were converging on her, offering congratulations on scaring away the Sugar Skulls.
Karen blushed and sat up. “Thanks, but I don’t think I really stopped them.” She continued, detailing the course of events that brought them up to now. Including what she had overheard about their real purpose for being there.
Archbaroness seemed very disturbed by the news. “The Sugar Skulls are getting even more ambitious if they are taking this kind of work.” She turned back to Karen. “And they didn’t say who they were working for?”
She shook her head no. Archbaroness turned to Lab Rat, the super team’s tech genius, and told her to go into the computer lab and see if she could find what files they took.
With various tasks to do, the other heroines spread out, leaving Karen alone with Archbaroness. The imposing woman sat down on the stretcher next to her. “So, the rumor is that you’ve been hiding the fact that you have an active Power Gene. I heard you put up a good fight, which supports that theory. We decided to check it out, to see test to see if your P-gene is active.”
Karen waited, curious to hear the answer.
“It’s not,” Archbaroness continued, “but it sounds like you could give some of us Supers a run for our money, given the right training.”
Karen blushed even harder in response to the compliment.
A few minutes later, Lab Rat returned. “There’s no sign of what was taken, that’s if anything was taken.”
“I know what I saw and heard,” Karen said defiantly.
“Perhaps you misheard them,” Archbaroness said. She looked at Karen, clearly thinking that she had misjudged the woman. “Either way they’re gone now and will think twice before trying anything at this school again. But how about you leave the crime fighting to us next time?” she added coolly before getting up and leaving Karen behind.
Karen watched them go, leaving a sour look on her face. She knew they had taken something, she’d heard them do it. There was something big going on here, and if the Amazons weren’t going to look into it, then maybe she should. Even if she didn’t have an active P-gene, she had all the skills. She just needed some more practice, maybe a costume, and she could be a crime fighter too.
And she thought she’d look pretty damn good kicking ass in pink.