by Dan Swanson
Excerpt from The SuperYou Player’s Handbook:
Vanquish, the Deadly Domina
Not much is known about Vanquish, except that four demons in Hell created her from clay, and each of them granted her some of their own individual powers. The mission of Vanquish is to devastate mankind.
Default Powers: Super-Strength (2 points); Super-Speed (2 points); Flight (3 points); Superior Durability (1 point).
Additional Power Points: Pick any combination of Weapons and power levels from the Weapons table that add up to 3 points.
Additional Powers This Game: Unbreakable Whip (1 point); Whip Protects Against Projectiles (1 point); Whip Barbs Can Penetrate Invulnerability (1 point).
Vanquish cannot break her own whip, and she loses all her powers when bound by a man.
Vanquish the Deadly Domina had seen him coming, and she was trying to move out of his way, but she would be too slow. He hoped that meant they could wrap this up fast. Lily Martine, under her stage name of Lily Lovelace, was slated to play the role of Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? tonight. While she was normally the understudy to Mindy Dillon, Mindy was ill, and this could be Lily’s big break, which could perhaps help her catch someone’s eye and land a starring role herself. Maybe his wife would even start enjoying life again. Shiva sped toward the villainess with all four arms outstretched.
It wasn’t to be. At the last possible nanosecond, Vanquish sidestepped, and as Shiva swept by her, she smashed her clasped hands down between his shoulders.
As his angle of flight was deflected, Shiva plowed into the ground headfirst, driving at an angle and not halting until only his feet were still above ground. With his upper arms stretched over his head, and his lower arms now swept back and pinned against his body, he was unable to get good leverage, and he had to strain to break free. He pried apart the arms over his head and forced them down toward his sides, like a swimmer doing a slow-motion breaststroke through solid earth, tearing an opening in the ground in front of him.
Before he could slide forward into that opening so he could bring all four arms into play, something wrapped around his legs and jerked, threatening to dislocate both his hips, and he popped out of the ground at the end of Vanquish’s whip.
Vanquish had snapped her whip forward to wrap around his ankles, then back like a fisherman preparing to cast, jerking him free and sending him flying in a long arc up over her head and then down toward the ground behind her. Just before he reached the ground, she snapped the whip forward again, and it tore free of his ankles, and he again smashed into the ground, this time whirling at high speed. Either of these attacks would have been fatal to an ordinary man, but this villainess was a killer, not to mention extremely fast, and vicious as well.
As Shiva struggled to his feet, Vanquish rushed forward and kicked his head upward, like the punter on his favorite football team, the New York Titans, and he was thrown up into the air, again spinning madly.
Exerting his will, Shiva pulled out of his spin and waited, floating motionless in the air. He wasn’t about to let this being get in any more surprise attacks. When she didn’t fly to meet him, he dropped cautiously to the ground.
As he landed, she raced forward, then stopped abruptly and lashed him with her whip. It moved far faster than he expected, and touched him on the cheek. The business end was weighted, and the weights, which were barbed, actually broke his skin. This had never happened before, and Shiva had begun to believe it was impossible. It hurt. There was some kind of steam or smoke coming from the wound, and he had no doubt the end of the whip was poisoned, but the power of Vishnu protected him against any poison. Vanquish flipped the whip again, and this time the tip was headed for his eye, but this time he was ready.
With the speed of Garuda, he watched the whip approach as in slow motion. Reaching out, he carefully grabbed it behind the tip with its dangerous barbs, then snapped his own wrist. The wave this created traveled back up the whip and easily tore it from Vanquish’s grasp. The handle dropped neatly into one of his own hands, and he immediately ripped the whip apart.
Or at least he tried, but the magical material of the whip stretched instead of tearing. The stunned Vanquish had now had time to recover.
But what had just happened was impossible. In her mind there was no one fast enough to grab her whip, and Vanquish was momentarily stunned. Then her rage exploded, and she surged forward. In a flash, Shiva rocketed into the air, meanwhile coiling the whip and slipping it under his belt; it might come in handy later to have an unbreakable line. He didn’t fly at his top speed, hoping to entice Vanquish to follow, so he could move this fight to a location where fewer people would be endangered.
Vanquish refused to chase him. Instead, she snatched up a chunk of stone the size of a garbage truck and easily tossed it toward the perimeter the military had set up.
“Coward!” she yelled at him. “Return and fight, or our audience dies!”
Shiva had to fly at top speed, and even then just barely caught the deadly missile in time. He would have to win this fight on her chosen battlefield.
Where Martin Martine had grown up, it was flat out, one-hundred percent wrong for a man to strike a woman, and Martin had never questioned this basic rule of life. His wife Lily, Lady Victory, and the other super-heroines he knew all told him he was being ridiculous, but the rules you learned growing up were hard to break, even for a super-being in the midst of a battle with a very powerful, super-powered woman.
Even in this fight, the wisdom of Brahma showed him a way to win without breaking this rule. He would need to catch Vanquish by surprise, and he would need all of the speed of Garuda, the strength of Shiva, and the power of Vishnu to pull it off. But virtually every villain he had fought had overlooked the advantage of having four arms.
Once again he zoomed toward Vanquish, then pulled up just short. As she started punching and kicking him, it took all his speed to avoid her. He received some scratches and puncture wounds before he realized that she wasn’t trying to punch him, but was instead trying to slash him with the barbs and spikes on her bracelets and boots. Once again the wounds smoked, and once again he was protected from her poison by the power of Vishnu.
While he was dodging and blocking, he pulled the whip behind him with his lower arms and tied a noose at the end of it. He then left himself open to a slash, and dodged, managing to ensnare her wrist in the noose. Then he launched himself in a high-speed spiral, wrapping her in her own unbreakable whip. She struggled, but was unable to break free of her own whip. He used all his strength to stretch the whip to maximum, and within seconds she was bound from head to foot, unable to do anything more than squirm.
Shiva rubbed his hands rapidly over the surface of a large rock until it melted, then covered Vanquish entirely in molten rock, except for her head. He flashed out over the river and found a rowboat, which he filled with water and poured on the molten rock, repeating this until it cooled and solidified. Satisfied that Vanquish was vanquished, he flew high into the air and tried to locate his wife.
Sounds like that of thunder caught his attention, and he was able to make out the battling figures of Kali and F’ant O’mah perhaps two miles away. He sped in that direction and arrived just in time to see the column of smoke that meant that Kali had said her magic word, and then F’ant O’mah attacked his helpless wife. When the alien tossed Lily Martine’s limp body toward the ground, Shiva used all the speed of Garuda to catch her. He carried her to one of the rescue teams and left her in their good hands, then sped back to the villain.
Shiva was incredible angry — feeling anger beyond anything he had ever known. Driven by his anger and the power of Vishnu, he announced himself in a way that he knew could cause his enemies to tremble and quake in fear:
“I AM CREATED SHIVA, THE DESTROYER — DEATH, THE SHATTERER OF WORLDS!”
“Another four-armed hero? You related to Kelly, goddess of vacuum cleaners?” F’ant O’mah the Lunarian Lawbreaker quipped, laughing derisively. “Maybe you shatter worlds, and she cleans up your messes, eh?” Twin beams of fire lanced out from her eyes, and splattered on Shiva’s chest.
Shiva somehow used all four arms to gather the splashing flames into a fiery ball, patting it down like a snowball, then flung the compressed fireball back at F’ant O’mah. Her eye-beams vanished, and the fireball died as well.
“Can’t hurt me with my own powers!” she jeered.
“Because Kali still lives, I will give you one chance to surrender — NOW!” The final word thundered from Shiva, his powerful voice a flat, dangerous monotone, his manner deadly calm. Though she couldn’t appreciate it, this was a side of Shiva that no being on Earth had ever witnessed before.
In response F’ant O’mah began to grow, and in a moment, she was huge. Moving with unbelievable speed, she slammed her closed fist down on his head, and Shiva smashed violently to earth. The giant that she was then stomped on him and ground him into the dirt, twisting his body like a corkscrew.
Shiva couldn’t gain any leverage to lift the giant off of him, so he dug a short tunnel instead. Quickly he burst from the ground directly in front of the giant, and rocketed skyward, aiming at her chin. He had fought giants before, and they often caused a lot of collateral damage before he could subdue them, so he put everything he had into an immediate knockout attempt.
F’ant O’mah swept her arm through the air, smashing him away with a backhand that would have made any tennis pro proud. So much for his immediate knockout. Still, a super-being this size should hit much harder, and there was something else about this situation that seemed strange. He put the wisdom of Brahma to work on solving the mystery, shunted the problem to the back of his mind, and launched another attack.
At high speed he looped around behind her, hoping she wouldn’t be able to turn fast enough to counter. She couldn’t, but she just lifted quickly into the air, spinning as she lifted, and was well above him before he could complete his attack.
Now he knew what had bothered him earlier; as large as she was, and as fast as she was moving, she made almost no noise at all.
Most people never thought about it, but a lot of air had to move out of the way when a giant made even a small motion. And that moving air made noise. In addition, there was usually the sound of the rustling of giant garments, and that cape of hers ought to have been making flapping noises that should have been impossible to miss. Yet as a giant she made no more noise when she moved than he did.
“Illusion!” he gasped. Illusions were easy. As he used the wisdom of Vishnu to guard his mind against mental influences from others, the giant figure became almost transparent. He could now see through it, and F’ant O’mah was there, hiding inside the illusion, flashing around within said illusion to wherever the giant needed to bring force to bear.
Shiva decided to pretend he couldn’t see her yet, since surprise might come in handy later. He smashed a pit into the ground, then threw some large rocks skyward at super-speed.
F’ant O’mah flashed across the sky, batting each boulder back at him, and the illusion was compelling as she remained hidden inside the giant hand, while the illusory body twisted and flexed perfectly. It appeared as if the giant was playing handball with the rocks.
Shiva let a couple of the returning rocks shatter on his invulnerable body while he planned his next move. His Super Squad radio beeped at him, and Master Man’s voice let him know the rest of the team would be there in minutes. He flipped on the homing beacon, then hurried back to the attack.
Using all the speed of Garuda, he flashed toward her. Just before the giant’s hand could swat him, he put all of his powers to work to halt his flight, and came to a dead stop in the air. She missed, and he was able to grab her ankles. The illusion vanished, but it no longer mattered.
Shiva started to spin in place, whirling her around him faster, faster, faster than he had ever moved before. As he began to get dizzy and tired, he called more than ever upon the stamina of Ganesha to sustain him. Recalling the trick skaters used to keep their balance when spinning, he concentrated on a single point, and with the strength of Shiva, the power of Vishnu, and the speed of Garuda, he kept spinning faster and faster. Seeing that F’ant O’mah’s body was actually starting to elongate due to the tremendous centrifugal forces, he aimed very carefully, then let her go straight down.
F’ant O’mah covered the half-mile to the ground in an instant, then smashed into the bedrock he had exposed earlier, gouging out a pit. As he had hoped, the impact actually melted some of the rocks around her. He followed her down, and started adding molten stone to the flow that was dripping down onto her by rubbing his hands over the surface of rocks at super-speed to melt them. She was encased in molten rock three feet deep in only a few seconds.
Now Shiva put all of his formidable powers into an effort to cool that lava. By windmilling all four arms at super-speed, he created a powerful wind, and the magma solidified quickly. Within seconds, he dug a large chunk of now-solid rock out of the pit, with F’ant O’mah trapped inside.
He knew that she could probably break free, given a chance, but he expected that this makeshift prison would hold her until the rest of his team arrived. With Master Man to help him, he was sure that they could subdue her again if necessary.