Sarah found it a little weird that some super high profile, or at least super infamous criminal organization would go through the bother of recruiting her only to almost immediately discharge her for a couple of weeks. She'd heard two different things about why that was. There was something about a more complete psychological profile which sounded odd to her, but then there was the statement that they just didn't want the risk of her breaking anything else in their super secret underground base and didn't have much for her to do at the moment. The second one made more sense to a degree to her, so she accepted that one. They insisted she accept a blindfold and though no one who escorted her could physically force her she went along with it, between Karen and some guy with mind manipulating powers they could force her and either of those people would be really cranky about being called in just to make the newest recruit follow a simple order. She ended up in the backseat of some sort of car and slept for a large part of the trip.
“Ugh... are we anywhere interesting yet?”
“Oh, hey girl,” she heard from the front seat, “you know, we're pretty far away now and we've made a couple turns. You can take the blindfold off.”
“Yay,” Sarah monotoned as she ripped away the thick cloth with a casual swipe. She barely felt the cloth as it tore apart around her head. “Where are we going anyway?”
“The beach at Southington.”
“Isn't that kind of fancy?”
“It's a bit expensive, but they're trying to soften you up with perks and such, possibly.”
“Hmm...” Sarah didn't want to dwell on the situation she'd found herself in so she thought a moment about what to change the subject to. “What's your power? Or do you have one?”
“Huh. Well, this is about the first time a girl that cute has asked me anything so I'll take it. Lava pretty much. I don't like the beach myself because the best I can do there is this weird kind of molten glass stuff and the ocean is a pretty effective way to stop it. Still, makes for pretty pictures sometimes.”
“Molten glass huh? That...sorta sounds cool actually. I just have strength, and toughness.”
“Hell of a lot of it though. You might have a chance to dethrone Briana.”
“Briana... I know I've heard that name...”
“You don't really keep up with the heroes? They called her the Bold Brawler for a while, she freaking benches aircraft carriers.”
“OH! Yeah I heard of her,” Sarah thought about what the doctor had said about that chair, if he was exaggerating then it didn't matter, but if he was telling the actual truth she had a real chance of being significantly stronger than the world's strongest meta-human.
She wouldn't be stronger-than, she would take the title of world's strongest, duh.
“I've never been to a real beach before, the coast a couple of times but there are always those big walls...”
“Yeah, they have to pay to keep a couple submarines around to chase off any monsters so that's why it's an expensive place. Don't worry though, your card will get you through the next week or so.”
Sarah frowned at that, there was something off about getting a free pass like that. She thought for a while and remembered the crime boss of her hometown would sometimes do something like that to get people into debt. She probably wouldn't have thought of it on her own but she was suddenly glad she knew criminals and decided she's use the card as little as possible. She did what she could to make idle chit chat over the rest of the drive and pass the time. When they arrived she was given a minimalist tour, shown a little cabin she would be staying in and left behind. Sarah looked the shoreline up and down and while the crowd wasn't small, it was far from overpopulating the beach. She had some time to kill for sure.
“Well maybe I'll just bat these big green eyes of mine at a few guys and see who's interested,” she floated the idea to herself, “wait, I should get dressed for the location first.”
Sarah went out and found a shop and then stole a swimsuit. The tag alarms didn't go off if the outfit left the store through the wall instead of the doors. Though her leaving made some noise she'd run off before anyone came to check things out. It helped that she'd left by simply running through the wall, she'd already had a start going. She found her little cabin again, rinsed off and changed. She was a little annoyed to see her tan lines but she was fairly sure her darker parts were fading.
“Alright, now I'm ready!”
“Do you always talk to yourself?” some rude guy asked her.
“Hey, I'm tiny and cute. I can afford to be quirky.”
“Uh-huh...yeah, I guess you can keep on telling yourself that.”
“Oh buzz off!” Sarah turned around and stormed off towards the water.
She'd actually gotten down all the way to the water before she remembered the way she couldn't quite swim in the pool a while back. Well...that really put a damper on the whole excursion then.
“Hey, you here alone?”
Sarah turned around and didn't think too much of the fact she had to look up to look them in the eye, she had to do that with most people. It was a guy a couple heads taller than her and he was followed by a small group.
“That doesn't seem like much fun, where's your folks or whoever you might come here with?”
“My parents are at home and so are my friends, I just ended up being the only one that could make it out here,” Sarah said with a shrug, she didn't have a cover story but she didn't think she needed one. Just lie vaguely enough and people could draw their own conclusions on something like this.
“You sure you should be out by yourself?”
“Hey, I'm a big girl!”
The guy raised an eyebrow at her and held his hand at almost the top of his abs, just a bit under the chest, which would be about where the top of her head would land.
“Short jokes aren't the best opening move, buster,” Sarah pouted and folded her arms.
“Yeah I knew you'd hit on someone dude, but I thought you'd have a little sense about it,” one of his friends chimed in, “Not much mind you, but a bit.”
“Sorry, you just walked right into it though. I couldn't help it. I'm Justin, by the way, if it isn't too late to get acquainted.”
“Sarah, and who are your friends?”
“Dan” “Yo” “TJ!” “What's up?” “Jennifer” “Hi.” “And Sally.” “Mmm.”
“Do any of you mind me humoring your pal here for a bit?”
“Why not? If anyone doesn't get along we can just split ways.”
Sarah hadn't brought a towel, but her near-invulnerability meant she didn't notice any heat the sand built up and even stone was at worst an annoying texture. Most of the day went by with little worse than her feeling like a bit of a third wheel so to speak, technically she was a sixth member of the outing but she didn't know anyone. She made an effort to socialize and even sometimes flirt but it just felt a little empty. Eventually she accepted an invitation to a party that night.
Sarah went to her little cabin and traded out her clothing for something a little more covering and tried to make herself up as best she could. Untangle her hair and hide any fuzz on her face. She caught an odd smell of smoke and looked around to see if she could find anything burning. She found a light and went around and found something weird, a growing expanse of smoke and a slowly solidifying figure within. She stared at it with some confusion as the inner shape grew more and more solid until finally a person stepped out of the cloud of smoke.
“What the heck was that?”
“Oh,” the stranger jumped, “Um... I was just sent to teleport in to check in on you.”
“That... took a while. That's not a lot like...” Sarah frowned, referring to the woman as 'Karen' was frowned on by everyone and calling her 'Miss Hightower' just felt too much like she was talking about a teacher. That really only left one option, “...Shadestalker's teleport at all.”
“Well excuse me for being a piddly class 1 teleporter. You know how some super strong people can lift a truck, some can throw tanks and then there's, well, you? Well, teleporters can vary in range, how their teleport functions, and how long it takes to dematerialize and rematerialize. Miss Hightower's the only currently living class five teleporter. There were a few others for a time, but...eugh...”
“What happened to them?”
“Ah...if you believe the rumor mill... Miss Hightower did.”
“Is she really a Miss? She never married?”
The man raised an eyebrow at her and asked, “Have you met Miss Hightower?”
“... fair point. So...what brings you here? I don't buy the idea you're just doing a well check on me.”
“Heh, maybe I'm snooping. Maybe I'm here to see how much I have to cover up your activities. Does it really matter?”
Sarah just groaned. She hated it when people played coy or got rhetorical.
“Hey, don't leave just yet. One thing I was supposed to do was leave these for you,” he held out a bag and pulled out some boots, mostly green but topped with black.
“Are those the...”
“Not quite, these are more for testing. See if they're comfortable, and test how your feet wear them.”
“They're going to look weird if I wear them out on the beach.”
“Then wear them everywhere else.”
“Fine,” Sarah took the offered boots and stood there still for a while. “Is there anything else?”
The guy looked around uncomfortably for a while before muttering something.
“What was that?”
“I guess I could go, but... man, the teleport is...not fun.”
“You can always walk.”
“Alright, alright. I'm going. Just...could you please not walk into me or...inhale too much smoke? It's...not pleasant...”
Sarah crossed her arms and glared for a while as the guy emitted more and more smoke, seemingly from his pores or something. Eww He very gradually started to become more and more hazy as the cloud of smoke grew wider and taller. She lost her patience after about a minute and a half and headed for the party hoping that he was far enough along in his teleport that he couldn't just cancel it or whatever.
Sarah was only a modest dancer but she made it through the night without accidentally smashing through a wall or crushing anyone's foot so she considered it to have gone well enough. Then she got to drinking. As a thin young woman who had to round up to be considered five foot two she wouldn't have had much of a natural resilience, but super resilience was a part of her durability. She didn't know just how much the mad scientist sorts at Weaponry Unlimited had experimented on her so she was completely oblivious to the fact they'd tried to scrounge chemicals out of her body with nanites and subjected her to a host of diseases to test her immune system. She did know about the gas though and figured that if she could take a few hundred times the normal amount of knock out gas to put down then alcohol probably wasn't going to be much of an opponent.
She was right up until the point she was suddenly wrong.
Sarah turned out to be a cheerful drunk at least, she was laughing at things that a person normally wouldn't be, but that was ok, she was having fun for the first time in a while. She walked with some people out into the street and it was probably fortunate that the car hit her first and lost a good chunk of its momentum. Even if Sarah proved an immovable object, there was still some momentum and it had to manifest somehow, so the car nearly flipped up and spun to the side.
Sarah had a moment of more clarity at just the right time and slammed her hand down on the car's hood. However she still wasn't at a hundred percent and pushed it too far. She shoved the car down with enough force that the bottom smashed into the asphalt with enough force to crack both, her hand plowed through the car's hood and drove the engine into the road. The tires deformed and then straight up popped under the titanic strain.
Everyone around her went quiet at the display and Sarah stood up somewhat unevenly, but forgot to release her hold at all. The entire engine block and a good chunk of the front of the car tore away until the material gave out and it all fell down to the street in a crash.
The street remained fairly quiet save for a few people deciding to check on everyone around Sarah and the car's driver.
“I need you to move all of my furniture for the rest of time.”
“Only if you can pay,” Sarah smiled a goofy little smile before laughing.
The next morning she felt sick, but not as much as she expected to. Maybe her resilience pitched in on mending her or something. She spent most of the morning by herself until the group that had 'adopted her' the previous day happened to find her again.
“That was crazy last night. You weren't kidding about being super strong.”
“That? Um...what happened?”
“You swatted a car into the road so hard you shattered the car and put a crater in the road.”
“Ah, that's all? That's....good...”
“That's all? Did you seriously just ask 'that's all?' Just how strong are you?”
“It kind of depends, but hmm...let's find some rocks if you want a demonstration.”
The response to that was mixed, but there was some interest so the group went down to the shore and traveled until they found a rockier part of the coast. When Sarah saw a rocky outcropping out in the water that stood like a tower about forty feet above the water's surface she announced that it would do and set herself up to take a running jump. She ran a couple dozen feet before leaping and found she nearly overshot the outcropping even though it had to be about sixty feet out. She caught herself and moved around to where everyone could see her. She knelt down, made a fist, and shoved her forearm through enough of the rock to make an indent she could put her hands into. Then she squatted at the front of it with her back to the rock, and moved her hands behind her and into the groove. She stood up like she was performing a squat exercise very quickly and threw her arms straight up. The rock cracked and shattered and she felt a rush of air all around her.
She turned around to watch its trajectory and was almost surprised to see it tumble in the air a couple of times its height before coming back down and splashing into the water. She gasped when she saw the wave coming from the crash and thrust both of her arms into the rock beneath her as she dove down. Sarah was hit with a few tons of water, but aside from getting wet and holding her breath she barely felt affected. She turned around to check on the group and it looked like they'd run away in time.
Sarah jumped back but didn't quite make the distance, having to wade back to shore.
“Damn... I think I know who not to pick a fight with..”
“Anyone else have a power?”
“As far as we know, just Jennifer. She does a little fire.”
Jennifer snapped her fingers and a bit of flame appeared above them, “it should help with drying off at least.”
A week went by without all that much happening of greater note, but then one morning Sarah awoke to the smell of smoke and a strange feeling. She tried to place it to no avail as she started to get up. Se rubbed at her head and realized her arm looked to be sporting more muscle tone than usual, in fact it looked like she was in the beginning phase of powering up. She wondered if she had a nightmare or something, but she didn't feel particularly anxious or anything.
Sarah opened a cabinet and heard the wood creak under her fingers. She gave it a little effort and the wood pulverized between her finger and thumb, splintering apart into tiny little shards of wood that drifted to the ground. She pulled out a mug and found it cracked heavily between her fingers. She wasn't even trying to grip it with any force... Sarah frowned, she didn't feel the resistance she normally would, she had to guess at how to hold her fingers so that the next mug didn't fall down, but not to close her hand enough that it happened to break the mug on the way.
It didn't take long to adjust and soon she was managing to interact with things without accidentally pulverizing them. For some reason her slightly more muscular state lasted the whole day which concerned her, normally she only bulked up when a fight was on and it started to recede nearly immediately. She was concerned something was happening to her and her power, and her vacation buddies had noticed her change and extra care.
The next morning she had grown a little more and she noticed a considerable bulge in her bicep when she pulled her arm back at all. Her fingers didn't tear straight through anything she grabbed, but she had a bad tendency to dent or crack things from trying to close her hand just a little too far. It seemed like her skin wasn't indenting at all when it touched something else. She took a lot of care getting dressed and tried to keep her hands to herself at the beach. Some of the people that had gotten familiar with her were a little disturbed at her increased mass, some merely curious, but she noticed a couple seemed to appreciate it.
She herself wasn't that bothered with the look of it, not compared with the fact she was now strong enough to crush some kinds of rock without real effort. She also noticed as an aside that in spite of all the time she'd been spending in the sun she was getting paler. Rather than her pasty skin burning or trying to tan to match the parts of her that got exposed to the sun, the tanned parts of her skin were fading to match the parts that rarely ever saw sun. Could one get resistant to sunlight along with the resilience to bullets and bombs?
Sarah slipped up once during that day though. After refusing to participate in much and carefully keeping her hands to herself she had relaxed a little unconsciously and went ahead and jumped into a volleyball game when invited. She jumped a little too hard and high when she went to intercept the ball, but that wasn't the noteworthy thing in the scheme of things. When Sarah swung her arm to hit the ball she did it carelessly, with about the same relative force she would have swung with back before her powers had grown so immensely.
The ball deformed to the point the seams cracked and nearly split open when her hand connected but it didn't outright explode until it struck the sand. The remains of the ball were blasted a few feet into the sand and the exploding air and force of impact blasted out a sizable crater where it impacted. Needless to say activity on the beach stopped fairly quickly as everyone gawked at the result.
“Maybe I should just go...” Sarah was very nearly tempted to start looking up and whistling as she started to backpedal.
She got some distance at a slow pace before breaking into a more full run. She'd been kind of concerned about it the past couple days but all of a sudden the fear of hurting someone by accident was nearly overwhelming and she just kept running for a while, she wasn't sure how long. It took her a while to notice someone yelling at her. She stopped and looked around to see some red faced guy storming up at her.
“What part about 'we have this part of the beach reserved' do you not understand?”
“Uh, sorry...I just didn't hear you...”
“You look freaked out,” Sarah hadn't really noticed the woman before. She was in a little swimsuit and looking glamorous, making Sarah feel tiny, stubby and awkward. Her and her...twin...
“Is something wrong?”
“Uh...what did I interrupt?” Sarah looked back and forth between the practically identical women's faces and then one glance at the guy.
“Nothing that important,” said the one in the red swimsuit, “just some pictures” finished the one in the blue swimsuit.
“NOTHING IMPORTANT?!” the guy looked flustered but both twin women waved him down.
“What has you so upset?” “Is there a crime in progress?” “A villain attack?”
“Ugh, seriously, can you two forget your part time job for a bit?”
“Hey.” “Modeling is the part time job.” “Heroes have to be on call all the time!”
“No, noting like that,” Sarah said feeling confused and just a little bit dizzy from changing her focus from one woman to the other.
“Maybe you want to audition to be a fitness model yourself?” “Your tone is coming along for sure. You might want to be careful not to overdo the chemicals though.”
“WHAT?!” Sarah felt offended for a moment before remembering what happened to her body as her power grew, “Oh, no...I have the power to get stronger and it...seems to be getting a little out of control.”
“Oh, that happens sometimes.” “There are places that help with things like that, they're usually tied to some hero school or another.”
“Ah-hahaha...ah, thanks but no...I'll just turn around and go back... I'm sure it will settle out.”
“Hmm, ok if you don't think it's that big a deal.” “Should we give you a card or something? If you get it under control you could probably abuse it a bit and model like we do.”
“Ah, gee...that's nice, but I don't look anything like you and I'm super short, as you can see,” Sarah continued backing away hoping the hero topic did not come up again.
“Well we generally don't either.” “It takes some outside effort to get made into a cover model.”
“I'm fine. Honest. Sorry for interrupting, have...fun or whatever,” Sarah said more decisively and turned around to walk away after she waved, trying to be polite. She did cast a look back after a while and saw the two twins posing in their contrasting outfits, and then they starting doing some routines like one holding the other up over their head and it made her think back to her cheerleader days.
“Do you know who those two were?”
“Uh...no... should I?”
“Maybe not, but they're kind of famous to a certain circle. Alice and Kathleen Hooper, supermodel superheroes. No secret identity or anything. They have a fire and ice thing going on.”
“... oh...kay...” Sarah shrugged and knew she looked a bit helpless, she really wasn't interested in the guy's favorite models.
Sarah went back to her cabin and tried to quietly stick to herself until she was bored and tired enough to sleep. She found herself rudely woken up in the middle of the night by a glass of water to the face. She coughed and sputtered as she sat up and one of her flailing arms rammed through the metal rails at the head of her bed and tore straight through them like they weren't an obstacle.
“It's not a time of night most people are up but it was my first opening,” Karen said from the foot of the bed dressed in what was the closest to casual clothing Sarah had ever seen her in with a purse at her side and one hand behind her back. There was something weird... Sarah squinted at her and realized she'd actually bulked up again when she raised a hand to her eyes, a protruding bicep flexing back easily with the motion.
“What...?” Sarah blinked and flinched out instinct even though whatever Karen had removed from her purse and thrown at her didn't even really register as an impact.
“Those are done, the gloves are next.”
Sarah grabbed whatever had been thrown at her to look at them and found a pair of shoes. Then something else got thrown at her and she recognized it as something that could get hurt in time to lean herself back so it didn't smash straight into her chest. It was a dog. For some reason.
“It would seem that artificially inducing your powered up state for a protracted period of time is working. We're a sink or swim sort of operation Sarah, so learning how to use your power in a restrained and precise manner isn't going to be done with any hand-holding.”
Sarah looked away from Karen to the little dog that was choking and coughing in her lap. She'd seen the motion right away but hadn't realized what was happening. Karen had teleported in with the dog, holding it by its collar until she threw it at Sarah. She was kind of afraid to touch it and did it as gently as she could and was suddenly struck by a horrible realization.
“Roger...you brought me my dog! You were at my house! YOU NEARLY CHOKED THE LIFE OUT OF HIM YOU EVIL BITCH!”
Sarah wasn't quite thinking straight and got up as quickly as she could without trampling the little dog, with every intention of trying to punch Karen to whatever effect that had.
“Fifteen thousand, seven hundred and eighty five.”
“The hell are you...?”
“One try to be more creative. Two, be careful. You wouldn't want another tragedy so soon, would you?” Karen flashed her an evil little smirk before teleporting away in the blink of an eye and flash of purple light.
“YOU...YOU... HUMAN-SHAPED PIECE OF EVIL!” Sarah swung her fist in impotent rage and clipped the nearest post, causing the bed to jerk to the side with enough force to snap apart and the bottom of the foot of the bed to hit the floor even though the assembly at the head was merely tweaked.
Her dog whimpered and looked at her with sad dog eyes. Sarah kneeled down and pushed him towards the floor gently with a completely opened hand. She was scared to grip the dog at all given what she'd done to the bed's metal framework. After he coughed for a bit he wagged his tail at her and tilted his head for a rub.
“Well crap... I guess I need to get you some food at least...” she kind of hated to not give him any affection but she was rather scared of herself so she kept her hand open and moved it over his head, just barely touching. She still had some control over pressure, but at this point in her bulking up cycle the relative strength needed to not crush most things was comparable to handling extremely fine fragile things most of the time and she'd discovered that the slightest bit of carelessness often left fingerprints in whatever.
Sarah went out and this time bought the dog food, but it turned out to be an inconvenient sort of can and she had no can opener so she just stuck her fingernail into the side and twisted the can so her nail cut the top off. She tried to figure out how to go to sleep in her wrecked bed to no avail and ended up just putting the mattress on the floor.
It was almost noon the next day when the little group that let Sarah tag along found her moping alone on the beach with her poor little dog really trying to get her attention. They asked about the dog and she hedged as much as she could, saying he'd been dropped off and didn't bother to mention she lived a few hundred miles away. She knew Karen could teleport quickly and miles at a time but she wasn't privy to the exact details, she had no idea just how long he'd been toted about by his collar. She didn't mention the animal abuse or Karen of course. Then they got to pushing her about what was wrong, she felt it was absurd, they had to notice her practically body-builder worthy build didn't they?
“My power's out of control. Hold Roger please?” Sarah scooped up some sand in both her hands and waited for them to do as she asked.
She gripped as hard as she could, pushing one hand shut harder with the other and watched the muscles and tendons flex and bulge and shift under her skin as she applied more and more force. The sand resisted a little, then mostly oozed out of her hand, but the last little bit trapped inside finally started to feel a little warm after about a minute of effort. She was getting questions about what she was doing until she finally opened her hands and let a few little flecks of molten glass dribbled between her fingers and splashed down into the sand. They cooled quickly into tiny little balls of opaque glass.
"Well, it does look kind of cool," Sarah muttered to herself.
“I could probably tear through almost anything at the moment. By the time my power fully manifests it won't even take real effort.”
“That would have to take...like, I dunno a million tons of force?”
“I have no clue,” Sarah shrugged her seemingly ever expanding shoulders as she spoke. She knew they were doing something to her she just had no idea how. In the cabin made some sense but her bulkiness should fade away quickly if there was something in it...they must have other ways of hitting her with whatever chemical or ray or whatever they were using to do this to her.
Sarah knew she wasn't good company. She humored a few requests to feel her arm muscles but didn't really care. She got a few comments that it still felt like skin and her hair still felt like hair but they did notice it was impossible to pierce or cut or do anything to either. Some were impressed that they couldn't make her muscles move or dent at all, but that sort of annoyed her. Of course they couldn't do anything, knives snapped and bullets bounced and concrete crumbled to dust. Clearly there was nothing their little hands could do to her. They noticed something black rise out from underneath the water and drift inland, which prompted one of the others to check the news, discovering that one of the guardian submarines was scheduled for maintenance, leaving just one out there guarding the population. It didn't seem like a big deal, it had to happen sometimes.
There was another party that night, much closer to the shoreline. The little group went there early as the light started to fade to wait for it to start and Sarah didn't have much else to do but wallow about alone with only the dog for company. Sarah felt like she had to refrain from drinking entirely just in case she lost any control. She talked as much as she could but she was getting annoyed about being asked why she was so 'ripped' or any number of slang terms. There was only so many times one could explain it had to do with their mutant power before it got repetitive. The people with gills or glowing embers embedded in their skin never had to deal with that sort of thing, those things people just kind of realized had to do with a mutation.
As the sun started to set and twilight was kicking in the warning siren kicked in a little too late. Sarah only barely saw the tentacle in the dimming light and torch fires when it whipped into view and promptly vanished with a party goer.
“HEY!” she wasn't heard by many people in the growing hubbub of the crowd.
“PEOPLE!” Sarah stamped her foot down hard but the sand merely poofed out every which way in a non-spectacular manner. Apparently sand wasn't something that behaved too extremely if it got kicked with super strength.
When the second tentacle appeared Sarah just threw one of the kegs at it, only to have the thing catch it and crush it in its curling grip. Beer spilled out in a random gush that sprayed a number of people and finally more than a handful of people paid attention. Just in time to see another set of tentacles creeping on the party group from each side.
Sarah didn't bother to move much as the crowd took off running in random directions, she was one of the closest to the water so there wasn't much of anyone to get out of the way of and she wasn't exactly at risk from trampling. She found herself thinking an inner monologue to herself. 'How is this my life? The two times I get to the coast it gets attacked by a giant monster. Who the hell gets that unlucky?' One unfortunate gal wasn't looking where she was going and bounced off Sarah fairly hard but she was back up and moving fairly quickly. Sarah kicked a tentacle that tried to grab the other girl and it soared skywards for a while, stretching out and thinning until it reached some kind of limit and snapped back towards the ground as it widened back out. She didn't manage to get out of the way in time and it hammered her into the sand like a nail.
The not-so-sturdy nature of sand made it an annoying and slow task to remove herself from her sand burial, during which time she felt everything shake around her, so things had gone from bad to worse by the time she could see what was going on again. The kraken had apparently started throwing things out in the crowd's way to trap its intended food. The cracked hull of a submarine was flanked by pieces of smaller ships and boats and more were raining down. They were forcing people to go around and the tentacles were snatching up people in groups before retreating back to the water.
Sarah saw the twins from earlier and it was true that they had a fire and ice thing going. They were working together with very impressive precision, one blasting the tentacles with fire, the other freezing the tips so they couldn't constrict until they shattered the ice and even helping each other get a better shot by throwing the other into the air. Tentacles receded but came back after they managed to trap one and burn off the end of it. Sarah looked around a while and tried to think of what to do, eventually coming to the conclusion to run straight at what was left of the submarine, the biggest obstacle forcing people to run the long way around. She didn't get far before a tentacle wrapped around her foot and she tripped.
Sarah managed to turn around as it drug her towards the water and kicked it with her other foot. The tentacle deformed at the blow and she saw vibrations travel down its length even as she felt them but she didn't succeed in breaking anything, it was just too flexible. She bent herself over and grabbed the tentacles in her arms and brought them together, squeezing the massive limb in between. It bulged and grew transparent as her arms came closer together and finally it just snapped apart in two, freeing her and spraying strange blood as the rest pulled away in a frantic rush. Sarah threw the part around her leg at the water and ran back for the submarine.
Sarah pushed at it with both hands but the metal warped and flowed around her fingers, the mass wasn't moving in any degree she could perceive. She turned around and shoved her back into it but the only thing that happened was she dug her feet and then legs into the sand. She remembered she had a bag with her boots and hoped they hadn't fallen out. It didn't take long to find them and she put them on. This time when she shoved her back into the beached vessel the energy field effect spread the force across the sand for a few dozen feet each direction. It held beneath her as she shoved against the submarine but this time the hull started to bend and give way against her back. She growled with frustration and turned around and kicked the massive object. It bounced in the air a little and gave out a weird noise as a rippling wave ran throughout its length.
“Well shit, now what?”
Sarah turned around and saw the twins fighting a slowly losing battle. They kept pulling people out of the monster's clutches and searing away or freezing bits but the burned stumps would just come back from another direction, often joined by more tentacles still. Clearly there was more than a squid's ten tentacles to the monster. Sarah saw Jennifer from the group get saved by the twins and then her dog jump out of Jennifer's bag.
Sarah stuck her arm into the submarine's hull and moved like she meant to throw it, but her own lighter body moved first and she just launched herself backwards. 'Yeah, starting to get the hang of this physics thing just a little.' She landed by one of the boats that had been tossed alongside the sub and kicked it. The smaller mass flew away from her even as she tossed herself back into another beached ship, sailed upwards and then came crashing down on the group of tentacles emerging from the sea.
Smashed down to the ground near their emergence point the tentacles flailed about and dug trenches in the sand. The ice twin held out her hands and the fire twin jumped up and they timed it so the ice twin threw her up and the fire twin jumped at the same second, launching her high into the air where she launched a massive fire attack at the cluster of tentacles further down. They thrashed away from the heat and the ice twin started building up walls of ice to block some directions of attack.
Sarah was starting to wonder what the next step might be when she was caught about the leg again and flung into the air. She kicked and punched but no one tentacle held on to her for long enough for her to get a solid hit in as they tossed her from one to the other, keeping her in the air. Then they drug her into the water. Everything went black for a bit but then she saw light from a constant barrage of flames from the surface. She could just barely make out a giant beak and enormous black eyes in the depths. Bubbles of air floated around her as something happened...the beak opened and closed multiple times as the tentacles took turns dragging her down. She saw it after a while, the monster was eating the rest of the submarine, its beak cleaving through the underwater warship with no difficulty, slicing away chunks of hull with each chomp.
Sarah lost her control and her last breath escaped from her, bubbles of water heading up for the surface. She could feel herself growing now, her arms meeting bodybuilder levels and then surpassing as they bulked up further and further. It only made her heavier and heavier though, as she found she couldn't struggle to stay afloat at all. The water didn't give any resistance as she thrashed and paddled for the surface. She was sinking helplessly towards the submarine's last remains. She happened to get lucky and her thrashing foot struck the next tentacle just in time. It bounced away from her like it was rocket propelled and snapped against its owner's face for lack of a better term like a whip. Momentum carried her into the sub and Sarah looked up trying to figure out if she could make it to the surface in time.
Then inspiration struck, she'd seen on TV and hoped it was true, that air pockets could survive in a sinking ship for a while. She drove her fingers into the metal and at her full strength it gave away as easily as jello and she clawed her way through its armored hull in a few moments. The water came in with her, but there was a little air in here! She put her head up next to the ceiling of the deck she was on and took a moment to breathe as normally as she could. Then she started to tear her way through walls and deck plating to reach the other side. When the next wall proved to be thick like the outer hull was she swam back a little, took some deep breaths before a final inhale and kicked off against the wall, throwing herself at the outer hull.
Sarah tore through the hull like a bullet cutting its way through drywall and the submarine's husk rolled away from its captor with enough force to break free of its suckered grip. She saw a horde of tentacles get in her way but her body tore right through them, though they did throw her off course so she tumbled through the water and hit the kraken's main body in a splayed manner. She saw the beak open to her side and then the mass of the monster shifted and that massive, sharp, submarine shearing beak closed down on her little body.
And did nothing. Sarah was surprised for only a moment and then she put a foot up against the lower jaw and her hands against the upper jaw and stretched herself out, forcing the beak to open wider. Feeling the ease of it she shifted to just one hand and stretched herself straight and raised that one arm slightly. The beak cracked and groaned under the strain but it held and Sarah shifted her hand and extended two fingers. She extended her arm all the way with just two fingers and then one pressing against the upper beak and it just kept giving way without a struggle she could feel. The material cracked and splintered and her finger started to dig into the monster's mandible.
Sarah shifted so she got a reversed grip on the monster's maw and twisted her body around so that she came clear of the jaw, letting it snap shut behind her and floated up to the top of the beak. She curled up, pressed herself against the monster and looked for the faint light up above. She lost her breath and kicked with all the force she could muster.
Sarah flew straight out of the water, soared over the battlefield of the beach where coast guard and police forces had joined in, and kept going right into the city. The buildings up ahead seemed to shake about before she got there. She turned herself around so that she hit the first skyscraper with the full breadth of her now very muscular back and smashed through it from her momentum. As she exited it she turned around in the air again and hit the next one boots-first. A massive crater erupted in the side of the building as she impacted, and about every window in it shattered as the building tipped sideways from the impact. Then she fell straight down, making a crater in the sidewalk.
Sarah only took a moment to dust herself off before rushing back to the beach in incredible leaps and bounds. When she got back she found the sea marred by a giant, distorted, multi-colored and seemingly shapeless blubbery mass which turned out to be what was left of the kraken after she kicked it into the sea floor with enough force to cause a moderate earthquake.
“You're like a force of nature... oh, and you're starting to shrink.”
“Oh thank goodness...” Sarah felt relief sweep over her as she looked herself over and saw that the analysis was correct.
“You can take your dog back then?”
“Probably, let's just see if I go back down all the way to normal first?”