Book III: Starship Earth, SSW vs Mr. Black
Olga Yezhov had endured and overcome incredible instances of pain and injury since donning the costume that made her the Soviet Superwoman. The thunderous hammer blows of super-strong brutes like Koschei the Deathless and Genocide had broken and fractured her bones, collapsed her lungs under their merciless fists. Ultrawoman, the Velorian conqueror, had once used her own laser vision to punch twin beams directly through her liver, almost killing her a few years back. The Warlord had ripped into her very mind and made her own thoughts, her own nightmares, into weapons against her. Hitler himself had once stabbed her in the chest with the Spear of Longinus, the Spear of Destiny as it was called. All of those and so many, many more she had managed to survive due to her regenerative properties, invulnerability and sheer willpower at times. Suspended in the air, punctured in so many places by the writhing, tenebrous tendrils of the being known only as Mr. Black, she knew a pain unlike anything she had ever experienced before. She could feel the very life draining away from her, an icy numbness that was spreading from her limbs across her entire body. The pain was unimaginable. Despite herself she let out a scream, but it came out as little more than a silent shuddering from her gaping mouth.
"The end is coming soon." she heard Black say in his monotone voice. She turned her head to the left and tried to focus on him. He looked like nothing more than a blurry shadow, bereft of human form. Focusing her bloodshot eyes she was able to make out his form more clearly.
"There is no need to struggle against the inevitable. Simply acknowledge that your time has come my dear. Accept it. After a few more moments, all of your pain will be over."
Olga squeezed her eyes shut and thrashed her head from side to side. Never. She would never simply accept defeat and die. There were evil men in the world and she had made a promise to herself once, long ago, that she would never let those evil men cause harm to anyone she loved ever again. If she fell here, Maia would be next. Her beautiful, wonderful Возлюбленная would try to avenge her death and might possibly meet her demise at the hands of this evil man as well. And after Maia, who else might fall? Claire? Her friends like Polygirl and Mindy? Hundreds and thousands of innocents would perish if she fell here today at his hands. She thought of the friends she had lost along the way already. She thought of her old friend Osipenko, killed by German bombs...of the man she had failed to save from Sajmište. Her eyes flashed back open even as another wave of unbelievable anguish racked across her muscular form.
"I will never accept it..." Olga managed to growl through her clenched teeth.
Black let out a sigh and shook his head. "Defiant to the last, I expected as much. Very well, struggle if you must. It will only make the process that much more painful. The end result will be the same: your life essence will be mine. Everything that makes you who you are will belong to me."
Even as his words reached her ears, Olga began to struggle against the tentacles with everything that remained of her strength. Her mind was flooded with memories. Memories of Claire laying face down in the besieged streets of Paris, a single gunshot wound in her back. Olga was remembering all the smells, the feel of her small hands on her hard body, the way she flipped her hair as she laughed. Memories of Leningrad...Stalingrad...Sajmište...all of the horrors of war that she had experienced first hand. Maia. Her tall, flame-haired lover and wife. The woman so full of passion that she loved with such an intensity that a version of herself from the future, mad with grief and rage at her loss had almost destroyed the world to reacquire. A version that had been willing to sacrifice everything including herself to keep Maia alive. Olga had understood completely. Maia was always there as a source for her inspiration, love and hope. Maia was the greatest and best thing that had ever happened to her. Her love for her knew no bounds...her scent, her beautiful emerald eyes...her American accent...the feel of her strong powerful arms wrapped around her...Maia was everything she had ever wanted in the world and she would do anything to get back to those arms again.
Black took a step backwards, a confused look on his face. He had attempted to quickly dismiss it, but Olga had managed to catch a glimpse of it and recognized. It was uncertainty.
The Soviet Superwoman redoubled her efforts, straining and pulling to free herself from the tendrils that pierced her flesh. They somehow seemed weaker...perhaps it was the force of her positive emotions that was affecting Black, or the fact that she simply refused to lay down and die. Maybe the struggle had gone on too long and he was expending a great deal of energy to continue. Whatever the reason, Olga was determined to take advantage of it. She could feel the grip of the shadowy tentacles ebbing and loosening. With a bellow of equal parts agony and determination, The Soviet Superwoman ripped her right arm free from the barbs that had held it in place. Blood oozed down her numbed, frozen limb. There was barely any feeling in it save a terrible tingling and stinging coldness. Black's eyes widened into pools of pure darkness as her freed hand reached over and began to physically pull the other barbs from her impaled flesh. He rushed forward, more tentacles streaming seemingly out of his back and his shadow. He moved near one of the overturned cars Rick had pushed out of his way to reach her.
Olga's eyes flashed red.
The fuel tank exploded, blasting the vehicle into a fireball of wreckage and flames. Black was caught almost directly next to the blast and blown clear. Olga didn't have time to consider where he had gone, but his tentacles were disintegrating all around her. They turned into a fine, smoke-like ash that vanished as if it was struck by a fierce wind. She was free from their grip and dropped heavily to the pier. Her body felt like it was made of cold, blood-spattered gelatine. Her breathing come in long, heavy gasps as she tried to shake of the incredible numbness that made it unable to currently use her legs. She could feel her healing factor doing it's best to compensate, knitting her wounds closed and attempted to give her full control of her muscles again. Olga doubted that the explosion was going to be enough to kill a being such as Black. The best she could hope for was to regain some use of her legs and press whatever advantage she had. Black had seemed confused by his inability to consume her essence...or whatever he called it. Perhaps now he was also stunned or disoriented.
Despite her legs still feeling like dangling pieces of meat, Olga took to the sky and began to scan for Black. He wasn't difficult to spot. The once refined looking gentlemen, dressed in all dark formal attire was gone. Standing near the edge of the pier was a tall, nearly naked man. His shirt and shoes had been blown off or burned away. His pale, ghost-like flesh was still smoking and covered in lacerations that did not bleed. Black turned to face her. Also gone was the smug, condescending look of contempt he had held her with. It had been replaced by pure hatred and rage. The ebony pools of his eyes regarded her now like a bug that needed to be squashed. Her own eyes flashed red as she slammed another blast of laser vision down into his body. Black staggered backwards as the beams crashed into him and doubled over. His head snapped up to continue locking eyes with her.
"It appears I have underestimated your willpower...your resolve..." he began slowly and deliberately.
"Last chance to yield." The Soviet heroine snarled down at him as her eyes burned with a red glow.
"...a mistake I will not repeat." Black finished, drawing himself back to his full height.
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