Chapter – XXI
The fight between Cat and Christina had become something like a game of cat and mouse. Unlike the match between Erik and Sean Kearny, where it was truly a contest where one combatent had to use all his speed and agility to avoide the overwhelming power of the other, this fight was much closer to a stalemate.
Christina’s quickness and relatively small size kept Cat from bringing the full power of her shifted form to bear. But on the other hand, Christina’s size and long reach kept Christina from landing any meaningful blows on Cat’s body.
At one point it appeared that the battle might swing in Christina’s direction when Cat over-extended herself reaching for her darting opponent. Christina slipped inside of Cat’s reach in the blink of an eye and delivered a viscious combo to her massive core. But despite the grimmace of pain as Christina’s punishing punches hit home, Cat lunged forward hitting Christina with her chest. It wasn’t anything like a conventional move in any discipline outside of sumo wrestling, but given the extreme disparity in mass between the two supers, it was undeniably effective.
Christina staggered back, clearly off balance and surprised by the move. Cat capitalized by wrapping one giant hand around Christina’s waist and drove her other fist into the tatooed girl’s face. She followed that up by slamming Christina into the concrete floor. Cat held her opponent up to see if she was still conscious after the two crushing blows and was rewarded by Christina spitting in her face. It turned out to be a disgusting distraction as Christina slammed the point of her elbow down into the back of Cat’s wrist. She fell to the ground as Cat’s hand suddenly went numb. Christina wisely backed up out of Cat’s reach as she shook feeling back into her hand.
“You’re tough, I’ll give you that.” Christina said “What do you say we take this fight to the next level. Let’s see if you can keep up.” With that she closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again they were once again flashing a kaleidoscope of colors. But this time instead of cycling through normal hues like brown, blue, or green, Christina’s eyes flashed a dizzying array of wholly unnatural colors. One instant her eyes were red and silver, the next purple and yellow, another they were orange and white. This only went on for a handful of seconds until her eyes settled on a shade of grey.
“Huh. This one’s never come up before, but we can work with it. You strongman-types are always so straight forward. Let’s see if you can hit what you can’t see.”
Suddenly unsure, Cat took a half step back and raised her massive arms in a defensive posture. But rather than charge, Christina took a deep breath, and released it along with the tension she had been carrying in her shoulders. As she did so, her breath came out in a puff of mist, as though it were suddenly a cold day. The mist kept coming with every breath, and more began seeping out of her exposed skin. Before long the mist was getting dense enough that someone standing close to Christina would barely be able to see their hand in front of their face.
“What the hell?” Robin exclaimed “Okay, I am officially confused.”
“What?” Max asked, confused as well, but for a different reason.
“When she started the fight, Christina had super strength and endurance. Classic strong man. Now she’s doing that weird mist thing, and damn it’s getting tough to see in there. And if Victoria isn’t bullshitting us, Christina was able to use launch bolts of energy.”
“Indeed. And I told you the truth.” Victoria replied.
“So what’s the problem? She’s the number one rank for a reason, so she must be pretty strong” Max said, not understanding Robin’s confusion.
“I keep forgetting, you’re from a small town, right Slick?” Max nodded his aggreement. After all, it was true. “So I’m guessing you didn’t have much interaction with other supers growing up.”
“Nope, I was the only super in the town.” Max didn’t bother adding that he only recentely found out that he was a super and not a powered. His friends knew and there was no point in advertising that to the whole class.
“Well then you might not know; People just don’t have power sets that varied. That isn’t using the same power in different ways, those are three separete powers. That just doesn’t happen!” The ending of the statement as though she was accusing Christina of somehow cheating.
“Maybe Victoria knows” Danielle said quietly.
Max, Erik, Peter, and Robin let out a chorus of surprised gasps, causeing Danielle to jump in surprise herself.
Victoria chuckled quietly to herself at the exchange. She had noticed Danielle quietly walk up to the group, but it seems they hadn’t seen her.
“She’s right, I do know Christina’s secret. Those are her power, and none of them are. She has the power to randomize her power set. As nearly as I can tell, she can potentially have any power.”
Erik and Peter’s both wore expressions of surprise while Robin let out a low whistle. “That’s… That’s a good one. Wait, if it’s random, does that mean she doesn’t have any control over what power she has?”
“Not exactly, she has some basic powers or she has some advacned powers. Strength and her energy bolts are basic powers. This mist seems to be from her second tier of powers.”
“Damn, how do you fight against someone who isn’t even sure herself what her power is?” Robin asked rhetorically.
“Catherine will find away. She isn’t out of tricks yet herself.” Peter replied, though the question hadn’t been directed at him. Robin simply glanced at Peter with an arched eyebrow.
“Are you her roommate? How do you know all this?” Erik asked.
“It’s your power isn’t it?” Max asked, ituition sparking in the back of his mind.
“Ineed. I’m an advanced mind, though mine manifests in psychometry and tactile telekenesis.” Victoria took one look at the confused looks and realized she had to elaborate. “It means that I can read people or objects that I touch, and I gain a measure of telekinetic control over them.”
“Yeah, that still doesn’t make sense,” Erik said. “But random powers? That sounds pretty cool, unless she winds up with a tenticle beard or something weird like that. You’ll have to explain that psycho-whatever-tree to me some other time though.”
While Cat’s friends had been talking, the cell continued to fill with mist. Before long the light from the powerful lamps in the ceiling was defused and all Cat could see was a pale white mist.
Cat had originally assumed that her opponent’s strategy of obscuring her vision would only work to Christina’s detriment. In her sasquatch form, which Cat had long since nicknamed ‘Harry’, she had some pretty sharp senses. As woodland creatures, sasquatches had particularly keen senses of hearing and smell.
But as the combat cell filled with mist, Cat realized that not only could she not see Christina, she couldn’t smell her either. It wasn’t that the mist was obscuring Christina’s scent like it was obscuring the light, it was more that Christina was all Cat could smell. It was also muffling the sounds of the cell as well. She had been able to hear Christina’s breathing and pounding heartbeat, now the sounds were muted like on a snowy night.
Cat chuffed out a breath of frustration as she concentrated on each of her senses, trying to find some clue as to where Christina was and what manner of mayhem she could be getting ready to unleash next. But it was no use, whatever this mist was, it effectively neutralized all of her size and power. She couldn’t hit what she couldn’t see.
But, Christina wasn’t the only fighter in this cell that had more than one trick up her sleeves. If her sleeves weren’t lying shredded on the floor. After casting one more methodical look around the cell, Cat made up her mind and shifted back into her human form. Cat rippled as her fur faded, limbs shrank, and incredible bulk melted away. In a few seconds the petite Catherine Shaw was once again standing in the combat cell in her leotard. She was momentarily thankful that she had learned to shift in her leotard. Having an ever-present brother made learning to keep some way to protect her modesty an early priority. There wasn’t always a convenient tree to go change behind, and her clothes didn’t always survive her changes. The mist hid her change and preserved her modesty in front of her new classmates, but she still hadn’t anticpated having the whole class watch her change.
Realizing that she had even less of a clue where Christian was now that she was in her human form, Cat quieted her mind. She knew Chip would be able to find Christina, she just hoped that he would be able to bring her down, or withstand whatever her opponent had in mind next.