In an absolute rage, Lieutenant Godiva sped through the air to confront the large emperor, still gloating beneath Niko’s slowly altering form. Already, poor Niko’s forearms and calves began to glisten as they hardened into durable steel, and Godiva immediately sensed the urgency of Niko’s desperate plight. Recalling the grim statement from Emperor Titus earlier, Lieutenant Godiva gravely understood the irreversible nature of her friend’s shocking metamorphosis, so she hastily confronted the powerful leader in earnest.
“Hey!” screamed Godiva in anger. Instantly, the surprised leader spun his chubby head around to face the gliding woman. In utter revulsion, Lieutenant Godiva shouted, “Why don’t you leave these poor humans alone? Haven’t you destroyed enough lives, already?”
Titus frowned as he studied the bounding figure of Lieutenant Godiva. Without offering a response to her harsh inquiry, he projected several light-bending beams at the hovering woman, hoping to halt her determined fluttering. However, instead of buckling under the force of his telepathic energy, the nude damsel simply scooted away from the dangerous ripples effortlessly. Immediately, Emperor Titus realized that this adversary was far more capable than anyone he’d ever faced on Earth before. With a booming voice, he yelled at the flying girl, saying irately, “You keep flapping, little girl, and I’ll find a way to clip those wings!”
Lieutenant Godiva quickly spun around to face the grimacing madman, projecting a mental command at a lifeless statue to his left. Swiftly, the massive platinum statue toppled, pinning the rotund emperor under its weighty burden. Shooting pain sped from his collapsed leg as he wiggled the crushed appendage violently, moaning in infuriated agony. With a grand wave of his arm, the tipped sculpture began to lift into the air before propelling at immense speeds towards the airborne warrior.
As the seductive Lieutenant Godiva dodged the dense projectile, she instantly realized that the poor woman captured within those hard platinum curves would become damaged if allowed to plummet to the concrete floor below. So, she broke off her attentive stance as she focused her energy on slowing the helpless maiden’s breakneck descent. Just before striking the rocky floor, the glistening sculpture slowed before gently touching the ground, guided expertly by Godiva’s mental urges.
Hobbling as he picked himself up, Emperor Titus grinned as he sensed a weakness within his foe’s noble character. In a mocking tone he screamed, “So, you can’t bare to see any of these harmed, huh?” Closing his eyes with intensity, the plump tormenter sent twelve more living statues soaring, all in opposing directions. Lieutenant Godiva winced as she struggled to juggle the many hefty objects, hoping to keep each one safe from destructive harm. Seeing a perfect opportunity to strike, Emperor Titus launched several more mental shock waves at the concerned savior, again hoping to knock her down to his level.
As she delicately placed the last tumbling statue to the ground, Lieutenant Godiva spun around to see a volley of powerful energy heading straight for her. The first two she managed to dart away from effectively, but the third managed to impact, striking her in the chest with full force. With a piercing scream, Godiva spun wildly as she fell towards the ground at violent speeds. However, just before collapsing outright, she projected another invisible tentacle, quickly halting her cataclysmic downfall before colliding against the resilient surface below.
In a huff, Emperor Titus raged, saying dejectedly, “What kind of power is this? I’ve never seen a mere human possessing such incredible ability before. Was she, in fact, the one destined to be my queen?” Completely ignoring the immobile figures of Esper and Niko behind him, Titus instead adamantly focused in awe on the vibrant maneuvers of Lieutenant Godiva.
‘Did you forget about me already?’ projected Niko to Emperor Titus as her eyes began to light up, vivid yellow surging from her stunning face. Suddenly, the glistening statue of Esper also began to glow brightly, as bolts of energy pulsed up and down her stationary form. Before Emperor Titus could even react, a surge of electricity flowed between the two powerful sisters, creating a circuit of enormous intensity. Then, the thick, fluctuating beam lashed out at the stunned king, striking him with full force.
Titus screamed in sheer agony as the continuous bolt of electricity arced through his massive body, paralyzing him in an instant. As he stood powerlessly, held firm within the grasp of the surging energy, Lieutenant Godiva yelled, “Your reign of tyranny is at an end, Emperor Titus!” Instantly, dozens of thick cables snapped free from their mountings as Godiva pulled using all of her mental force. Lined all along the concrete floor below him, these insulated wires crackled with mighty force as they began to slide along the ground, heading directly for Emperor Titus.
“No!” screamed the fleshy persecutor in distress. “This cannot my destiny!”
Godiva merely smiled as the snaking cables delivered thousands of watts of energy into the obese dictator. Emperor Titus’ chubby body began to convulse ferociously as he quickly became electrocuted, leveled by the very energy he had hoped to use to return to Valeria, the life force of hundreds of trapped humans. Thick smoke began to billow from the quaking emperor as his ample flesh began to burn immediately. Within moments, his skin turned as black as charcoal while the pungent scent of death began to fill the large room. In an instant, the large Valerian collapsed in a jumbled heap, becoming nothing more than a gooey pile of smoldering ash and gore.
“Yeah!” shouted a brash man holding a bulky camera in his trembling hand. “We did it! Emperor Titus’ reign of terror is over!” Jumping up and down in celebration, he waved to the soaring woman before pumping his fist into the air in ecstatic triumph.
Lieutenant Godiva smiled at the exuberant man as she focused on resealing the live wires flailing about along the ground. With precise control, the silver warrior effectively secured the insulated cables back into their mounting brackets, effectively rendering the coursing lines harmless once again. As she glided down to the cameraman’s position, she said excitedly, “Did you get all of that on tape?”
“Undoubtedly,” replied the blissful man in sheer pride. “What a rush! I’ve never seen anything like that before, Ms. Godiva!”
Gently, her bare feet touched the cold ground as she landed directly next to the giddy supporter. Cautiously, Godiva asked, “Tell me, how do you know my name, stranger?”
Laughing, the man replied, “Oh, come on! Surely, you didn’t do all of this without somebody helping you behind the scenes.” Throwing a sly wink at the adorable vixen, he smiled warmly in utter contentment.
Suddenly, the familiar ghost of Lillian McAlistar swept into the room from high above, proclaiming in jubilation, “You’ve done it! Emperor Titus has finally been destroyed!”
In unison, both shouted, “Lillian!” Suddenly, each of them looked at each other in amazement as they both suddenly realized the kindly ghost had been assisting each of them in their quest to free the trapped contestants from their isolated captivity.
Proudly, Lillian introduced the grinning man, saying, “Lieutenant Godiva, I’d like you to meet Eddie Lambert, editor in chief of Pure Adrenaline.”
Immediately, they hugged each other warmly. Once pulling themselves apart, Godiva asked, “So, you were the one who protected us from discovery when we pulled that stunt in the thorn fields, huh?” As Eddie nodded, Lieutenant Godiva suddenly became distracted as she remembered Niko’s dire condition across the room. “Oh, God! I forgot about poor Niko!” Without offering a warning, she scooped up Eddie in her arms before speeding over to Niko’s trapped location.
Glancing up in horror, they all could see Niko’s shoulders and thighs altering as they gradually transformed into rugged steel. After placing Eddie down onto the floor, Godiva lunged up, gently caressing her tender friend’s horrified face. Quickly, Lillian hovered up to study Niko in deep concern. In a regretful tone, Lieutenant Godiva begged, “I’m afraid a different process was used on her, Lillian. Emperor Titus said that once her heart solidifies, she’ll remain a statue indefinitely. Please tell me, Lillian, is there some way that I can reverse this dreadful process before it’s too late?”
Somberly, Lillian examined her dear friend, Niko, gravely trying to understand the process locking her slowly into hardened steel. She even flew all the way inside of Niko’s humming body, struggling to discover the true nature of her sluggish metamorphosis. As she pulled away from Niko’s enraptured figure, she sighed remorsefully, saying disdainfully, “Your right, Godiva, this is totally different than molecular morphology. That wicked tyrant sparked an atomic conversion within Niko’s body. Somehow, he was able to telepathically focus on one solitary cell and then alter the atomic structure into a completely different form, in this case steel. Once the first molecule becomes changed, it swiftly conquers every individual cell that comes into contact with it, thereby creating a chain reaction within the host.”
Urgently, Godiva pleaded, “But can I stop this chain reaction, Lillian?”
As she swooped over to the panic-stricken Godiva, she whispered, “I do not know if you are capable of controlling matter on the microscopic level, yet. However, if you are willing to try, Carrie, you will first need to find the individual cell that was originally altered by Emperor Titus.”
Wasting no time, Lieutenant Godiva closed her eyes tightly, reaching out to Niko using her auric power. Reaching deep into her soul, she concentrated on Niko’s grim condition, trying to feel every minute change occurring within her gradually varying molecular makeup. Quickly, the focused adventurer began to sense the elusive conversion sweeping through her friend’s internal chemistry, beginning to understand the osmotic process in great detail. Even with her limited scientific knowledge, she labored to understand the elusive path of the molecular conversion, longing to trace the channel back to the original source of the alteration.
Delicately, Lieutenant Godiva tracked the transformation through Niko’s anatomy, eventually working all the way down to her right wrist. With dedicated concern, she analyzed each individual molecule, hoping to discover the one cell that branched into two distinct directions. The arduous analysis proved to be far more difficult than she had ever imagined, yet Godiva remained steadfast in her search; after all, saving her friend was worth any amount of effort. Suddenly, she let out a gasp as she spotted the original cell that sparked the entire process in the first place. “Lillian!” shouted Godiva as she continued to track the rigid cell. “I found it, Lillian! How do I change the original cell back?”
In astonishment, Lillian said, “I don’t believe it! Your powers are absolutely incredible, Godiva!” Returning to the task at hand, she added frantically, “Okay, now you need to separate the original cell from the amalgamate that Emperor Titus used to bind the living tissue. Try studying the atomic structure of the beam she’s attached to. You should be able to differentiate the subtle and obvious differences between the two compounds once you have a blueprint of the amalgamate cell.”
“Okay,” replied Lieutenant Godiva with noticeable appreciation. Leaping back into the strenuous investigation, she made a mental notation regarding the hybrid cell inside Niko’s wrist before shifting her focus to the stainless steel column behind her. Studying every miniscule nuance of the original material, she took a mental snapshot of the atomic structure. Then she returned her attention back to the amalgamated cell, toiling to understand the delicate nature of the unusual bonded membrane. With committed effort, she compared the slight differences between the two cells, trying to extrapolate the origins of Niko’s living tissue. After ten minutes of careful scrutiny, she began to comprehend the distinction between her mortal remains and the molecules of steel. With fanatical exertion, she pulled the amalgam away from Niko’s delicate tissue, praying that the remaining cells would regenerate.
Suddenly, Lieutenant Godiva could hear boisterous screaming from the ground as the crunching sound began to fall silent. In pure excitement, Eddie shouted, “You did it, Ms. Godiva! The transformation is receding!”
To everyone’s utter astonishment, the horrendous process began to reverse itself, slowly returning Niko’s shoulders and thighs to flesh. Before long, silvery metal began to slink down at a rapid rate of speed, until the exhausted woman fell free from the bonds holding her aloft. Lieutenant Godiva swiftly scooped up the plunging maiden, delicately cradling her precious friend in her arms.
Instantly, Niko could feel her spirit becoming pulled as she saw her limp body being lowered to the ground. As her wandering soul became fully embedded within her rightful body, she could hear Esper whispering to her. ‘We did it, sister! We stopped Emperor Titus before he could enslave the whole human race. I’m so proud of you, Jessie! Now don’t forget about setting me free, okay?’
As the dazed woman began to sputter back to life, she smiled affectionately at the warm faces watching over her, each revealing deep concern for her health and safety. Lieutenant Godiva instantly embraced the treasured woman in her arms, truly overjoyed that her friend was back to her old, adorable self.
“How are you feeling, kiddo? We were worried we might lose you,” exclaimed Lieutenant Godiva as she released her tight, reassuring hug.
With a warm smile, Niko said gratefully, “Thanks, Godiva. I knew you’d find a way to help me!” A single tear of joy trickled down her cheek as she asked, “Now that Emperor Titus is vanquished, when can we get started on restoring the others?”
Lillian glided closer to Niko before saying, “Soon, Jessie. I promise, we’ll be able to free Rebecca as soon as we take care of Scientist Turner.”
Eddie quickly chimed in, asking in confusion, “But, I thought Emperor Titus was calling all of the shots? With Titus out of the picture, the Valerians don’t have a chance, right?”
Lieutenant Godiva began to feel her face becoming flush with rage as she considered the very real threat Scientist Turner presented. In a determined voice, she said, “Lillian is right, Eddie. Even though we took out their ultimate commander, another can easily spring up to take his place.” Turning to Niko, Lieutenant Godiva asked in a sympathetic tone, “Are you feeling well enough to travel, Jessie?”
Affirmatively nodding ever so slightly, Niko said, “Sure, I think I’m ready to finish this. To rescue Rebecca and all of the others, I will definitely continue to fight until they all are free once and for all.” As she rose to her feet, she seemed to sway for a moment before steadying, obviously drained from her recent experience with Emperor Titus.
With determined steps, they walked through the corridors, until they reached Sergeant Magnum. Carefully, Magnum lifted his neck as they approached, obviously suffering extreme pain throughout his battered body. As Lieutenant Godiva crouched down next to her brave teammate, Magnum asked, “Did you guys take down Emperor Titus?”
With a somber grin, Lieutenant Godiva replied, “Yes, we managed to destroy that wicked emperor, but we’re not out of the woods, yet.”
In acknowledgement, Sergeant Magnum slowly bowed his head. Suddenly, the brash sergeant asked abruptly, “It’s Turner, isn’t it? We’re not through until Scientist Turner has been dealt with, right?” As she looked into the somber faces around him, he immediately realized his assessment was correct after all. “What about Meg’s team, Eddie? Maybe her troop took care of Turner already?”
“That’s right!” shouted Eddie as he sprinted towards the preparation room. Suddenly, he let out a gasp as he realized the only exit out of the control room was sealed up tightly. “Am I crazy?” asked the weary editor, “or are we locked in?”
Lieutenant Godiva instantly swooped in to assist, asking in a rush, “Are you sure this where you guys came in?”
“I’m positive, Ms. Godiva. Damn! Now I’m extremely worried about
what’s going on out there.” Quickly fearing the worst, Eddie added,
“Something must have gone horribly wrong for Meg and her team.”
To be continued...
On to Part Twenty-Two