In the space of a month the crime rate in Grendon had fallen dramatically. This was noticed by many who now felt that it was safer to walk the streets once again. The people had one person to ask for all this and this was the city's superheroine At-Lass who had been fighting crime wherever she could and so far she seemed to be pushing back the constant wave of crime that had been plaguing the city.
For Sophie Bale things had been going better for her as well as she was becoming more and more use to her powers. Almost every night in the month she had gone into the streets and fought crime as the towering figure of justice, she had stopped numerous muggings as well as armed and car thefts. Quite a lot of the time she would grow to her peak size of sixty feet and simply pick them up. Many were afraid of her but the truth was that they didn't really have anything to fear from her. She wouldn't hurt them and she ensured that they all learned a lesson although she still let the police take them away.
Her recent efforts had also increased At-Lass's popularity amongst the citizens of Grendon. It seemed that whenever she appeared at her giant size she would hear cheering from people who could see her. She had even heard of rumours that there were people who would follow her around just to get a glimpse of her. She didn't think that it would be long before she even gained a fan club although a part of her thought that the notion was somewhat creepy.
Sophie's life outside of her superhero antics was going great for her as well. Her studies were keeping her grades steady and her basketball team were continuing to win their games. In each match she would be on fire as the opposition couldn't stop her from constantly scoring. This gave her team a much needed morale boost and it looked like they were set to go far this season.
At-Lass's superheroics were also benefiting the failing newspaper the Grendon Chronicles. After first reporting about her the newspaper saw a sharp increase in sales and every paper that featured her on the front page flew right off the shelf. It was even getting the attention of some national papers but for now it was the Grendon Chronicles that had the best scoops on her.
The people around Sophie's life also seemed to be benefiting from her actions as At-Lass. Her parents would comment how much safer things seemed now and her brother seemed to be a fan of At-Lass. If he realised that this new superheroine was his older sister then he would probably change his mind. Even her best friend Lizzie seemed to enjoy the fact that At-Lass was around. She would mention it to Sophie every now and again and she wished that she could tell her best friend the truth about the fact that she was At-Lass. However for now she thought that it was best that she didn't know.
Doctor Julius had also been improving the suit every now and again. He was mainly tweaking out any bugs he found and he wanted to push it passed its limits so that Sophie would be able to achieve more extreme sizes. However his attempts for the moment had been unsuccessful but it didn't deter him whatsoever.
One thing that he was thinking about doing was allowing Sophie to keep the suit on her person at all times. It would be shrunk in size and kept in her pocket but then enlarged when she needed to go into action. However until he was happy that every bug was eliminated he didn't think that it would be wise.
On this night Sophie did find herself in Doctor Julius's warehouse once again. She had just put on her suit and goggles and was already starting some of her training. Once again she was shrunken down and travelling around and even smaller scale model of the city. She was carrying a couple of plastic models which represented people and where before she found this sort of exercise difficult now she was finding it easy. The detail in the scale city was immaculate and had almost everything that one would expect to see in a city. There were scale models of cars and people and it even had all the electrical wiring one would expect to see in a real city. At this scale At-Lass was sixty feet tall in this city but she walked around like it was no difficulty whatsoever.
It only took her a minute a walk from one side of the model to another without causing any damage or dropping the tiny model in her hand. She began to step out of the model city and she felt Doctor Julius increasing her size all the way up to her normal size. She did take off her goggles and walked to her mentor like figure. She could see that he was still sitting down at the console. He was more than pleased with Sophie's progress since receiving the suit and he could see that he had made the right decision in giving her the suit. He didn't think anyone could have done a better job than her.
"So how was that?" asked Sophie as she approached Doctor Julius. He did look over to her and he did give her a smile.
"That was fantastic Sophie," replied Doctor Julius. "I can see a vast improvement in your skills, it's amazing to say the least."
"Well I'm not fully competent with this suit yet." She stretched her arms up a little and she did feel a little tired. However since it was a Friday night she didn't have to worry about going to school the next morning. "Maybe I can do a little bit of patrolling before I call it a night."
"You can do if you please, I'm sure that there's someone who needs your help out there." He began to type away at the console again and just as Sophie put her goggles on again she felt herself beginning to shrink in size once again. She stopped when she was around three inches tall and now Doctor Julius seemed gigantic in comparison to her. He then passed her the jetpack and waited for her to correctly attach it to her back. "Good luck tonight and try not to push yourself too far."
"I know the drill doc, I don't want to pass out again." She still remembered what happened last time she passed out while performing her superhero antics. A night in the sewers was not the most pleasant experience in the world.
After everything was secured Doctor Julius pressed a few more buttons on the console and At-Lass began to lift up into the air. She waved goodbye to him as she flew out through an open window. It was a clear night and it was easy for her to see with her night vision. Doctor Julius was also keeping an eye on what she was seeing. If anything looked out of the ordinary she would most likely be told about it.
Around a mile away a man was walking the streets. He wasn't so much as walking but rather staggering around. He was a man who at one point had a promising future ahead of him, in high school he had a promising career in Football. Unfortunately a leg injury prevented him from going any further and to deal with the disappointment he had turned to the drink.
Eventually the drink led him to be taking substances that were both more potent and a lot more illegal. He was a man who had truly hit rock bottom and was addicted to drugs. He would do almost anything he could in order to get these drugs and he didn't care about who he had to go through to get these drugs.
A few minutes earlier he had taken a drug that had only just hit the streets. He had heard that it was supposed to be very effective and for now it was going quite cheap. He had taken his first dose but rather than feeling good about himself he felt absolutely terrible, it felt like his insides were melting.
The pain that the man was feeling was unbearable and he thought that he was on the verge of death. He could hardly stay on his feet and eventually he did fall down to the ground and he was in pain.
However this had not gone unnoticed by a passer-by who quickly came to his aid. The man who had come to his aid was a paramedic who just happened to be walking the street at that particular time. He quickly turned the man over to his back and tried to figure out exactly what had happened.
One thing that he did notice was that the man wasn't breathing so quickly the paramedic began to perform CPR in hopes of reviving the man. After the first few seconds there didn't seem to be any response and he feared that the man was dead. Despite this he continued his efforts in the hopes of reviving the man.
Suddenly the man's eyes opened and the paramedic thought that the man was saved. However for his troubles the man punched the paramedic but rather than falling to one side the paramedic flew several feet into the air. The blow had killed him before he hit the ground and slowly the man got back up his feet.
The man didn't stay on his feet for long as he almost keeled over in absolute pain. He felt every muscle in his body beginning to expand and the clothes that he was wearing ripped off of his body. His muscles swelled to the point where it almost looked cartoonish and only a small part of his trousers were covering his private parts. All of his other clothes had ripped off and he stood as a towering figure of muscle and he was completely filled with rage to the point that he wanted to rip everything apart.
Right next to him was a car and it took minimum effort for him to pick it up and throw it into the air. This got him noticed by a few people around him who began to run away in fear. These sort of things did happen in a few other cities but for Grendon this was something new and terrifying.
However they weren't the only ones who noticed what was happening. In the skies above the tiny At-Lass was flying through the air. She was looking for any signs of trouble but for now she hadn't spotted anything significant. She did see a couple of cars that were illegally parked but she thought that she would leave it to the parking authority to deal with it. She was thinking about a big game that she had next week and how it could lead the Grendon Dreams to the state championships.
"There's something I'm just wondering Sophie if you don't mind my asking," said Doctor Julius through the communicator. He was seeing everything that she was seeing at the safety of the warehouse.
"Shoot," replied At-Lass. She didn't know what he was going to ask but she didn't think that it would be any harm.
"Do you regret accepting the suit? Do you wish that you had never met me and was just living your life like a normal student?"
"Well there are times that the suit does hamper with my everyday life but no I don't regret it. We've already done so much good with this suit and I'm sure there's plenty more that we could do with it. There's also something I'm wondering, can this suit make me a few inches taller? My team's playing a particularly important game and the other team are particularly tall. If the suit made me like six foot three then I think it could really help my team. Hell it would be fun to have everyone else in the team taller."
"I know that last part was a joke so I'm taking it as one. Your first point however is impractical. If you were to take off your suit at any stature that is not your own it can cause more harm than you could imagine. Such a thing is out of the question but I can give you tips on how to grow taller, although they never worked for me."
Before At-Lass could say another word her jetpack automatically caused her dodge past a car that had gone flying right towards her. It had caught her by surprise and if not for the jetpack's automated systems it would have easily killed her. She watched as it went right by her and harmlessly hit the ground.
"Where the hell did that come from?" asked At-Lass in complete surprise. She expected to have to dodge many things while flying high above the city but a flying car was definitely not amongst them.
"Well either Back To The Future Part II finally came true or there's trouble down there," replied Doctor Julius. Back to the Future was a film series that he had enjoyed for numerous years and had been waiting to use a reference to it for a while. "I'm sending you to its point of origin, be prepared for anything."
At-Lass's jetpack changed direction and quickly went down to where the car had been thrown from. There At-Lass was very surprised to see the muscular man that was still on a rampage. Everything around him had been more or less destroyed and so far it looked like the man hadn't finished. Everyone who had sense had fled the scene although there were a couple of people there with cameras. They were trying to catch the best shots to sell to the newspapers.
With the help of Doctor Julius At-Lass detached the jetpack from her back and then grew up to twenty feet in height. The sudden change of height did make her dizzy for the moment but it only took a few seconds for her to recover. She looked down at the now seemingly tiny man who was still on his rampage. She couldn't believe how large his muscles were and she was surprised that he could even move.
"Hey you!" shouted At-Lass. This instantly got the attention of the man who looked up at her. She was by far the largest person that he had ever seen but his mind couldn't fully comprehend this. "Stop what you're doing right now, believe it or not I don't want to fight you." She took a few steps towards him and then went down to one knee. "Please stop what you're doing and I promise that things will go easier for you. You've caused enough damage, please don't make it any worse."
She then extended her giant hand towards him as a sign of piece. Despite all of her training one of the most important things that she was taught was that it was always best to try the peaceful solution before resorting to violence. In the past it had worked as many would be crooks would see that they had no chance against her. Most gave up on the spot and some tried to run although she would easily capture them.
The man seemed to stand there in confusion for a moment. His mind couldn't process what was being said and his rage quickly built within him. Without even a thought he punched away At-Lass's hand. This caused the giant superheroine some pain as she quickly pulled her hand away and rubbed it for a moment. She could see that diplomacy wasn't going to work and that violence was in order. Quickly she stood back up to her full height and glared down at him.
"Fine if you want to be that way I guess I'll just have to show you the errors of your ways with my fists!" said At-Lass. She could hear Doctor Julius through her communicator and he told her that he was about to increase her size further. Only seconds later she felt her body growing again as it stretched and expanded even further. It was a sensation that she had gotten used to and within a few moments her height had tripled from twenty all the way up to sixty feet. Her strength had also increased exponentially and she was easily one of the strongest people in the world. This was her peak size since if she grew any larger than this her strength would begin to decrease as it was diverted to simply supporting her enormous body. "Ok Tom Thumb, let's dance."
The man made the first move as he picked up a nearby car and threw it at the towering giantess. However At-Lass saw it coming and was able to catch it mid-air, to her it seemed like a model car. Rather than throwing it back she placed the car to one side and then took a few more steps towards the man. She kicked him as if he were a soccer ball and almost instantly she felt pain. It was like she had just kicked a brick wall and for a few moments she thought that she might have broken one of her toes.
The kick did send the man flying but she hadn't kicked him that hard. He landed on the ground and he got back to his feet as if it had been nothing. If anything all the kick had done was make him angry. He roared at the top of his lungs at At-Lass who stood several metres away.
At-Lass was very surprised with what she was seeing. She thought that the kick would have been more than enough to take him down for the count but he had gotten up as if it were nothing. She took a couple of steps back as she tried to think of a way that she could win this battle but so far nothing was coming to mind.
Before she could come up with an idea the man leapt towards her and within seconds he was at face level with her. He was about to punch her but in panic she was able to slap him away and he hit the ground hard. She had struck him with all of her strength and her hand did ache from the impact. She thought for sure that he would be down for the count but in horror she watched as he got back to his feet once again and it seemed like the strike had been nothing more than an annoyance.
"Doc I'm in trouble," said At-Lass through her communicator. "I keep knocking this guy down but he keeps getting up."
"I can see that," replied Doctor Julius. He had seen everything that was happening and he couldn't help but feel some concern. This was something that he had not expected and he too was trying to figure out a clear path to victory. "Whatever gave this guy his newfound strength seems to be preventing him from feeling pain."
"I do have an idea Doc, you've gotta push me up to my maximum size."
"That's a very bad idea Sophie. You know that you'll only get weaker as you grow larger than this. At that size you'll only have your normal size strength."
"I know but trust me on this one." There was a pause of silence for a few moments from Doctor Julius as he considered her request.
"Ok I'll increase your size to maximum but don't plan on causing him any damage. You'll only be damaging yourself."
Doctor Julius began to click away at the console. He didn't think it was a good idea but if Sophie did have a plan he did trust her. He set the instruments to increase her size further but he was careful about the limitations. If he pushed her too far then she would collapse and probably break several of her bones in the process.
At-Lass felt the odd sensation run through her body once again as she felt herself grow even taller. The world was shrinking all around her again but normally the feeling of empowerment was beginning to fade away. Instead she felt her body straining as it continued to grow and she placed her hand on a nearby building in order to support herself. It was a very unpleasant feeling but if her plan worked then it would have been all worth it. She could only hope that things went off without a hitch.
By the time At-Lass finally stopped growing she was a staggering a hundred and twenty feet tall. It was the tallest that she had ever been and the sight of everything being so small did take her breath away. She was taller than all the buildings surrounding her and she truly felt like a giantess in a world of little people. She couldn't help but feel dizzy as well and she placed her hand on top of a nearby building for the moment.
She looked down at the man who now seemed even smaller than he did before. He had stopped in his tracks and was looking up at her. Like anyone watching he was amazed to see such an enormous woman and for a moment even At-Lass was lost for words. However she did remember what she needed to do and she looked down at the man.
"Ok buster listen up," said At-Lass in a commanding voice. She took her hand off of the building and stood up straight even though this was quite difficult for her. "I'm bigger than you and I'm a hell of a lot stronger." She clenched her fists and showed that she was ready for a fight. "And if you think this is my maximum size then you're wrong buddy. I can make myself a lot bigger than this so you might as well give up now before you really hurt yourself."
There were a few moments of silence as the stand-off seemed to be a stalemate. The transformed man continued to look up at the gigantic At-Lass and she did wonder if he fully understood her threat. Even if he didn't her sheer size was a deterrent, all she could do was wait for his response as she was too weak to cause him any harm.
At-Lass got her answer when she heard the man roar at the top of his lungs. It was deafening even at her size and he ran towards her. Once again he leapt towards her but she was too big to get out of the way in time and he struck her square in the chest. The force of the blow made the giantess fall back and she landed on the ground hard. The impact didn't break any of her bones but she was unable to get up and her chest was bruised. It had also knocked the wind out of her and she was struggling to catch her breath again. She knew that her gamble had not paid off.
Before At-Lass could get up the man climbed onto her chest and she lifted her head to look at him. She was completely helpless on the ground and she saw the man lift up his hands as if he were going to slam them into her chest. The impact would most likely be fatal and she could only hope that Doctor Julius shrank her in time before he struck her chest. She closed her eyes as she waited for the impact.
However before the man could slam his fists into her chest he felt pain in his chest. Naturally he placed his hand onto his chest and it looked like his one arm had stopped functioning. His voice was quiet and he keeled over on At-Lass's chest, it was only then did she open her eyes and see what was actually happening.
Just then At-Lass did finally shrink until she was back down to sixty feet tall. She felt like she had the strength to sit herself back up and she grabbed the man. The one thing that she instantly noticed was the fact that he wasn't moving at all. This made her incredibly worried and she could feel her own heart rate increasing.
Doctor Julius was also concerned and he looked at the man through the cameras in At-Lass's goggles. He had done a few upgrades with them over the last month and he was using it to scan the man's body. As if it weren't obvious before there was no heartbeat from the man and it was obvious that he was dead.
"Doc is he…" said At-Lass with some worry in her voice. She feared that that the worst had just happened.
"Dead?" replied Doctor Julius through the communicator. "He has no pulse, you need to listen to me very carefully if you want to try and save him. First I need you to place him on his back."
As she was commanded At-Lass placed the man on his back and then she felt herself shrink down to around eight feet in height. She listened to Doctor Julius as he instructed her on how she could jumpstart the man's heart. She followed his instructions but her attempts seemed to be in vein as the man didn't respond. Doctor Julius was constantly monitoring the heart and there was still no pulse. At-Lass tried as much as she could but eventually Doctor Julius had to admit that it wasn't working.
"Sophie you've done all you can," said Doctor Julius. "You can't save him." He knew that this was something that she wouldn't want to hear but it was the truth nonetheless. They had done everything they could but it hadn't worked.
"No I can bring him back," replied At-Lass as she continued to try and jumpstart the man's heart. She refused to believe that he was dead and was willing to keep trying no matter how long it took.
"If he could have been saved he would have responded by now. I know that it is not the most pleasant thought in the world but he's gone. The only thing that can be done is to allow the proper authorities to take away his body and have it examined." For the first few moments At-Lass seemed to ignore him but eventually even she had to admit that her efforts were for naught. It broke her heart but eventually she did have to stop and accept the fact that the man was dead. An enormous wave of guilt overtook her and she couldn't help but look down at him. He still had enormous muscles but he lay completely still and it almost seemed like he was a statue "Sophie I'm going to bring you back here, prepare for size reduction in a few seconds."
At-Lass said nothing as she felt herself shrink from eight feet all the way down to three inches. The change in size didn't really bother her and she just waited for the jetpack to come to her. Silently she strapped it onto her back and allowed it to fly her away from the scene. There were tears in her eyes but her goggles prevented her from crying properly. All she did was wait for the journey to end.
Within minutes At-Lass reached the warehouse. Almost as soon as she took off her jetpack she felt herself grow back to her normal size. She quickly took off her goggles and began to wipe her eyes. Doctor Julius did approach her and he could tell something was off with her, he could see just how upset she was.
"I killed that man," said Sophie. She was fighting back the need to cry outright, she was considering herself to be a murderer now.
"No you didn't Sophie," replied Doctor Julius. "He died of a heart attack and there was nothing that you could have done to help him."
"There had to be something, also our fight must have done something towards him just dying like that."
"I seriously doubt it." He had been watching the fight and there were some parts that did disturb him somewhat. None of At-Lass's attacks had done any damage to the man and if he hadn't had the heart attack he could have killed her. "I believe that he was more or less dead as soon as he became that monster. Nothing could have been done to save him and although I know that it isn't what you want to hear it's the truth. I know that you want to save everyone but unfortunately that is a fantasy. Not everyone can be saved and this is something that you have to learn, I suggest that we call it a night and you go home to rest. It has been a pretty stressful night for you, maybe you'll feel better in the morning."
"M-Maybe you're right."
Sophie didn't think that she would feel any better. She did take off her suit and put her normal clothing back on. All through her actions she remained silent as her mind constantly repeated what had happened over and over again. She still thought that there was something that she could have done, she refused to believe that the man had died and that she couldn't help him.
Once again Sophie left the warehouse in silence as Doctor Julius began to go to work. What had happened during the battle did disturb him and he needed to get to the bottom of it. He had no idea just how the man had become such a monster and he thought that there was a possibility that something similar could happen again. If it did he wanted Sophie to be ready even though at that moment in time she was a shadow of her former self.