MadisonPrologueby D.X. MachinaMen rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves.

Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

--Lazarus LongThe dreams still came. They always came. Though he was long pastgrieving, though he had long since moved on, still they came.

Sometimes, they would sneak up quietly, a glimpse out of the cornerof an eye in that dream where Betty White serves guacamole toeveryone but you. Other times, they were intense, and so palpablyreal that he woke up, gasping for air and disoriented until he lookedaround, and saw he was still in his apartment, still lying next tohis wife, still alive.

He cursed, silently, every time the dreams came.

He had killed her; he had long since come to terms with it. Her deathhad saved thousands, even millions. And it was hard to argue withresults. Those battles were done for, forever. There was peace now.

And if he hadn't killed her--well, she wasn't listening to reason.

She'd been insane. And he had done what he had to do, slaughteringher along with the best part of his soul.

He had done the right thing. He knew it.

Still came the dreams.

* * *He was back there, back in Madison. Shrunk to two inches high. Shekept him this height most of the time, though he was in her completecontrol. Sometimes he was larger, the size of a Ken doll. Sometimeshe was so small that he was barely visable to the naked eye. But hewas hers, utterly. The escape attempts had failed; besides, he wasn'tsure he wanted to escape. When she was sane....

The rumble came. The box lid was removed, and he instinctively puthis hand up against the blinding light. She was standing over him,backlit, her long curly red hair swaying like a crimson forest. Shelooked at him as one might look at a favorite pet. He relaxed. Shewas more sane than usual.

"LITTLE ONE," she said, her face betraying no emotion.

"HOW ARE YOU?""I'm fine, Liz," he said, reflexively, ignoring the littlevoice in the back of his head that said this isn't real, this is adream, you're lying in your bed next to Teri. She isn't here, youaren't here. It's a mirage....

"AND TERI?"This puzzled him, briefly. The dream-him knew no Teri, save for agirl he had known in high school. The now-him paused long enough tomutter an intemperate Ah. Something about now. Maybe now the dreamwill change scenes....

"She's wonderful," he said, and meant it.

"I AM GLAD. I NEED NOT WORRY ABOUT YOU WHEN I DO WHAT I MUST DONEXT.""What are you talking about, Liz?"She smiled, that brilliant white, dazzling smile he had come to loveand fear. "YOU DON'T HONESTLY THINK I'M DEAD, DO YOU?"Both sountracks in his mind went quiet. Finally, he started to say,"Well yes, Liz, I killed you."He started to, but her laughter drowned him out.

"SILLY. WHAT SPELL DID YOU USE? YOU DIDN'T KILL ME. YOU JUSTDELAYED ME BY A FEW YEARS."What spell did he use? Wait--he remembered. Shrink her to 1/5000th ofan inch, and bind it for ten years. No, she couldn't have survivedit. No chance.

"I'M TOUGHER THAN YOU GIVE ME CREDIT FOR, JAKE. I ALWAYS HAVEBEEN. BUT I WISH YOU NO ILL. I JUST WANTED TO GIVE YOU THIS MESSAGE:STAY CLEAR OF MADISON. THE TOWN IS MINE.""Liz--no. You know I'd have to defend Madison. I'm sworn toit.""DO YOU WANT TO KILL ME AGAIN?"The words hung in the air. He tried to respond, but before he could,a loud buzzing filled the air, and suddenly, the dream worldvanished.

* * *He showered and shaved, trying to put last night's dream behind him.

It had been so real. Like he was back in Madison all over again, withher.

Liz--oh God, it had been so hard. He envied Scott. Scott had come tohis crossroads, and he had gambled everything and everyone for love.

And he'd rolled boxcars.

But Liz, well, she was insane.

He'd done the right thing.

The drive to work was simple enough, listening to Tom Barnard bitchabout immigrants while stuck in traffic on Cedar. He needed to givemore thought to moving into the office--God knows he could make roomfor a mansion, if need be. Teri had broached the subject, but he'ddemurred. There was something about the drive that settled him,connected him to the real world. It would be easy to just get suckedup into this, to become nothing but the GTS Purveyor. It was good togo home at the end of the night and watch American Idol and snugglewith Teri. It made him more or less human.

He entered the office, and grabbed his morning coffee. Kari was inalready, and Scott was settled in. Sarah's office was empty, ofcourse--she rarely came in, what with her job as a law clerk for theHennepin County Public Defender.

Jake smiled inwardly. Good for her, going off and doing somethingelse. It would've been easy for her just to pal around with herhusband, go Godding around. With the power they had, they could rulethe world. But she simply went to law school and studied hard and didher best. He had tremendous respect for her.

He knocked on Scott's door. "How's it going?" he asked.

"Just fine, boss," said Scott, looking up from hiscomputer. "Just going over the billing statements. Money's alittle bit tighter since we hired on our star client.""Make money, lose money, point is to have fun," said Jake,thinking idly he'd heard that somewhere before. "Besides, that'sjust on the GTS Enterprises side of things. Our stipend from the GTSSociety ensures we'll never be living paycheck to paycheck--even ifwe shut 'er down now.""Yeah, well, it would be nice if we could show a consistentprofit.""Say, did you get the crystal out to Almovodar?""Of course, boss. But isn't he....""Gay? Well, yes. But he's also obviously interested in GTS. Whathe does with the crystal is up to him. The community owes himbig.""No pun intended, I'm sure," said Scott, grinning.

"Of course not. Now back to work."He wandered into the office and slumped into his chair, and opened uphis email. The date struck him. March 13. It had been almost tenyears. He'd defeated her on the Ides of March, he remembered, in1993. Idly, he flipped through the inbox. Spam...Spam..."ThankYou" from a gentleman at Northwestern University...Spam....

He cleared out the inbox and turned to the readings. Ingenious,really, the "listening" network that Scott had come upwith. It measured GTS energies across the globe. Well, in theory.

Really, outside of the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe, most of theglobe was a cipher. But coverage here was good.

He looked it over, noting briefly that there appeared to be slightlyelevated readings in the upper midwest. Well, stick two adepts in St.

Paul and you'll get that from time to time, he thought.

He turned away from the readings, and back to the mounting paperworkin front of him. Well, time to get back to work, he thought.

* * *The day ended, and Jake Thiessen closed up shop. Teri was out oftown, visiting Victoria at Society Headquarters in Chicago.

He didn't want to go home alone, not tonight. He'd called her,midday, and related the dream.

"I'm never quite sure how to feel when you're dreaming abouther," Teri had said, simply.

"Oh, Christ, I'd never want to be with her. She was insane,Teri. I just--it rattles me, you know? I wish I could get past this,get it out of my system. I hoped telling you...."He had trailed off. The conversation went away from the dream, and onto the more mundane and happy pieces of life.

The day ended, and Jake didn't want to be alone.

"Scott! Hey, are you busy tonight?""Nah. Sarah has class, and then she has to do research for aboutthirty hours on her law review article. God bless WestLaw, I don'tknow how she'd do the research if she had to go through thebooks.""You want to grab a drink? I'm kinda on my own 'til Teri getsback.""Sure," grinned Scott. He'd never admit it, but he lovedgetting to hang out with Jake alone. Not that he didn't love Sarah,but he was in such an intensively female-centric job that it was niceto get away from women once in a while. "Let me give the wife acall and clear it."* * *Sweeney's is a little neighborhood bar not too far from theCathedral--and not too far from what used to be a bad part of St.

Paul. It has everything a good local needs to have--good drinkselection, reasonable prices, an appreciation for the regulars.

Jake had been a regular here, briefly, a long time ago. He stillhomed in on the place when he needed a comfortable place to pass thetime. He ordered the scotch, drank it neat as he'd learned to, andsighed.

"I've gotta say, I've seen you happier," said Scott.

"You missing Teri?""No. I mean, yeah. But that's not it." Jake sipped a littlemore scotch, chased with water. What had he told Scott once? Theprice to achieve what we want is awfully fucking high.

"What then?""Madison.""Madison." Scott rolled the word around, trying to load itwith as much love and fury and anguish as Jake gave it. "You'venever told me exactly what happened in Madison. I've read the basicreports, but--""The basic reports are woefully inaccurate."Scott stopped short. "But haven't you--""I gave them what information was needed, that's all. I wouldn'tgive her up. That's the one decent thing I could do for her."The air was thick for a while. And then, slowly, Jake said the words.

"Scott, I think it's time I told you about what happened to mein Madison. All of it."Scott swallowed. Jake's exploits in Madison were legendary. They'dpopped up once or twice in odd comments, or brief mentions of this orthat.

"Okay, Jake, I'm listening," he said, taking a swig of hisbeer.

  PART ONE"What's gone and what's past help/Should be past grief."William ShakespeareThe Winter's Tale, Act III, Scene 2  Chapter OneIt was a crisp fall day in Madison, the kind you get in the uppermidwest in early September. The air was full of energy, and the worldseemed somehow more real than it normally would've. It was aSaturday. The Badgers were playing an away game at Washington, so thecampus was placid. I walked down Bascom hill toward Library Mall,drinking in the aura of my new home.

I was two weeks removed from Minnesota, and I was feeling pretty goodabout life. Today I planned to go down to State Street and kickaround for a while, maybe grab a Gyro at the Parthenon, maybe try tosneak in and grab a beer at one of the myriad bars. I expected itwould be a good day.

I walked through the mall, half-listening to the street preacherstelling folks that the end of the world was near. I passed by thefountain, and I saw her.

She was beautiful--long red hair, green eyes, a flawless, athleticphysique. She was short--no more than 5'2"--but somehow sheseemed bigger. I was instantly aroused the way you can only be whenyou're eighteen.

I passed by without talking to her. She was older than me, I couldtell, and she was out of my league. But her image was burned in mybrain. I didn't know at the time, but that was the first time I everlaid eyes on Liz Anderson.

* * *Liz was a junior. She'd been at Madison long enough to know theropes, long enough to fall in love with the city. On days when shewas a little more giddy than usual, she'd tell her friends it was hercity, that she owned it.

She was healing; her friends knew it, she knew it. She was healingfrom that day in March when her date had taken her further than she'dwanted to go. No point pressing charges; it was her word against his,and there just wasn't enough other evidence to support her claim.

She'd vowed revenge at the time, but now she knew that there was nopoint in that, either; if she killed him, she'd go to jail. She couldtry to beat him up, but he was much bigger than her. So she worked itout as best she could, with friends and the folks at the counselingcenter, and as time went by the wound scabbed over. It still came outwhen she was a little more manic than usual, or a little more down.

She was in the library, poking around the back shelves. She was doingresearch on the Holocaust for her history class; a 20-page term paperloomed, and she wanted to get a start on things. She was flippingthrough a series of books, including one by a holocaust survivor.

The book was old and worn--the publish date was 1952--and it seemedto call out to Liz. She opened it up and flipped through the pages.

The smell of must told her that this book had probably not beenopened in thirty years. All the better to quote it, she thought, asshe flipped.

Out of nowhere, a piece of paper dropped from the book. She bent downto retrieve it, looking at the folded piece of paper carefully.

Curious, she unfolded it, the yellow parchment almost falling apartfrom age. It was a hand-written note, in ancient black ink. What shesaw would change her forever.

Die Grundregeln des Wachsens und des Werdens kleinerThe principles of growing and shrinking? she thought, as she lookedat the German text. She'd studied German for five years, had takenthe AP test on it. She spoke it well enough to read the document infront of her.

It was a series of seven principles, seven incantations.

Straightforward. And a simple notation: "Wenn eine Person dieseGrundregeln mit malace in ihrem Herzen hervorruft, dann wird siesicher verdorben, und ihr Verstand wird bewölkt. Diese Warnung, dann.

Verwenden Sie diese Grundregeln nur für Ihre Verteidigung gegenMänner."Use these rules only for your defense against men, she mused. Shewould.

She carefully folded the paper and placed it in her breast pocket.

She quietly slipped out of the library, and back to the dorms.

* * *She couldn't say why she thought the paper was real. It read like badscience fiction. But in her heart, she knew. They were there, themain spells of GTS, the ones you've practiced and used: grow, shrink,parry, age reduction, claris, morpheus, and transport. Each onedetailed, with rules and information. The way shrinking makes youstronger, the way claris gives you eyes in someone else's head.

Liz didn't know it, but she'd stumbled upon an original copy of thesecret of GTS. The copy she held was written out in Bergen-Belsen bya Catholic Priest, who happened to be a Keeper of the Secret--a partof the organization that predated the Cadre. He was so disgusted bythe Nazis and the havoc they had created that he gave the secret to awoman and her family, convinced that women could not fail but run theworld better than men. This betrayal of the secret--no betrayal in mymind--led to the formation of the League. And of course, we all knowhow that played out.

The woman had made three copies of the Principles. One found its wayto the League. One has been lost to history. And one showed up inthat book at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. And eventually, inthe hands of Liz.

* * *"Do you think it was coincidence?" asked Scott, sipping aSummit Maibock. "Or do you think someone planted it there forLiz?""I don't know," allowed Jake. "I've long since learnedthat there is a destiny that shapes our ends. For whatever reason,though, she found it."* * *Liz studied the document well into the night, well after her roommatehad gone to bed. This was it. This was the key to it. This was herrevenge.

She decided to test it out. Holding the paper, she incanted theshrinking spell. Seconds later, she was two inches tall--the heightshe had hoped for.

She let out a whoop! and fell to the ground, laughing. After a fewmoments, she restored herself, and went to bed. Tomorrow. Tomorrow,she'd have her requital.

* * *Greg Vanderhague was a cocky, arrogant bastard, or so I'm told. Hewas a Fiji, the kind of guy who was on the football team in highschool (but not the star quarterback), who is in the frat in college(but not an officer), who thinks he's God's gift to women (but treatsthem like shit). He was a bit of a pretty boy, but that was more thantrumped by the depths of his stupidity. If not for his ineffablecharisma, he would have been a loser.

But ah, that ineffable charisma. He could be described by a line fromMy Fair Lady: "Oozing charm from every pore/he oiled his wayacross the floor." As such, he did get his share of women--for awhile, anyhow, until they realized what a dunderhead he was. And hegot his share of sex--sometimes, by putting a toe--or other bodypart--over the line.

He was meandering down Langon, heading for class, or maybe not--hethought maybe a brewski would be good, it being the late hour ofeleven A.M. Or maybe he'd stop and see that one girl--what's hername? Julie? She gave good head, or had last week. Yeah, maybe he'dsee if she was up for a little hide the banana. Out of the corner ofhis eye, he saw her approaching. He admired the body for half asecond before he realized who it was. Oh, shit, that crazy bitch whocried rape on him. Well, yeah, technically she'd said no, but comeon, she wanted it. They all wanted it, really, even if they said theydidn't. He could see it in her eyes.

He started to turn when she called out to him. "Greg!" shesaid, smiling a winning smile.

"Uh, hi, uh--""Liz. Liz Anderson. You probably don't remember me," shesaid, tossing her hair.

"Uh--sure I do. Liz. Right., how have you been?""Look, I know it's a little awkward," she said seductively,leaning in and dropping her voice a half-octave. "I know I saidsome things I shouldn't before, but, well, I was scared. But you wereso good...I mean, I just wanted to thank you."Greg's mind was reeling. This was not an unusual development. Thewheels went round until they finally stopped on"SHE--WANTS--ME."It's hell being that stupid.

"Um, well, yeah, well I knew you wanted it. You were justnervous.""Well, duh! I mean, you're so much man, and I'm just me. I mean,I just wanted to pay you back what I owe you," she said, runningher finger down his chest. "That's all."* * *Five minutes later, they were back at the house. They bounded up theback stairs and into Greg's private room. He had asked her for ablowjob, and she'd assented. Well, there you go, proof in Greg'sprowess. He was stripped naked before she even removed a stitch ofclothing. Liz turned to him and smiled.

"Oh Greg? Time for me to pay you back what you're owed."He smiled, and leaned back, his tumescent cock ready for her lips topleasure him.

"Shrink," he heard, "1/24th scale."What a funny think for her to say, he thought, as he waited. After afew seconds, he opened his eyes and started to sit up. What are youwaiting for? he was going to ask. He didn't have all day...well hedid, but that was beside the point....

He didn't say any of that. He sat up, and his mind went blank.

This was not an unusual development.

But what had happened was. He was still on his bed, but it wasenormous. And that girl--she was approaching him--oh Christ, she wasenormous. She was a hundred feet tall. Oh, fuck oh fuck oh fuck....

"Well, Greg, I'm paying you back. You know, it's funny. You lookso pathetic down there that I almost feel sorry for you.

"Almost." She grinned down at the tiny man, now scootingbackwards away from her, a look of terror on his face.

"Where are you going? I didn't say you could leave." Shereached down and grabbed him firmly, lifting him up into the air witha jerk.

Greg's stomach did flips as she held him in front of her enormousface. He was still trying to figure out what had happened. I mean,she had come on to him, but now...his brain hurt. "I thought youwanted me!" he called out. He could see immediately it was thewrong thing to say, though he didn't know why.

"Greg, you're an idiot. And unless I stop you, you'll do toother women what you did to me." She grinned. She had beenunsure about this last part, but now she knew it was perfect. Poeticjustice. "You know, you like pussy so much, I think I'll giveyou a close-up view." She pulled her panties down a bit and puthim up her skirt, enclosing him between her thighs.

Greg was staring up at the enormous twat, trying to figure out whatshe was going to do to him. He thought about reaching out to touchit, but he didn't dare.

Then, suddenly, the pressure came. The thighs swung shut tightly,pushing him into the pussy, forcing the air from his lungs. He gaspedas Liz crushed him slowly, his brain trying to understand what washappening. But in the end, it failed him. His last thought,incongruously, was of Coors Light beer. Or so I like to think. He wastoo dumb to ever realize why Liz had marked him for destruction.

She reached into her panties after five minutes of squeezing andremoved Greg's lifeless body. She laughed at it, and then shrank itaway to dust size. She walked out of the house free as a bird, andlighter than air.

She thought as she walked down Langdon of how many women had gonethrough what she had. How many women faced rapists and sexualpredators, with no hope for recourse. She could avenge them. Shecould give them justice. She had the power.

This city was hers. She owned it.

* * *"So where do you come into the story?" asked Scott, as hedug into the pasta. They were on their third round--time to starteating, or it would be a very drunk night.

"Soon enough. But you'll miss a lot of background if we justskip to my part of the story. This is all important, Scott. It'simportant you know that Liz started with the best ofintentions."Jake sipped his scotch, and said, sadly. "But it got away fromher. It always does." Chapter Two"So how do you know all the stuff that happened before you gotinto the picture?" asked Scott. It was a good yarn, but he wasstarting to wonder if he should call Sarah. This could take allnight, at the rate D.X. was telling it.

"Eh? She told me. Told me everything she ever did. Sometimes shewas proud of it. Sometimes less so.""Then maybe she made it up. I mean, maybe her rapist didn'tdeserve--""Are you calling her a liar?"Jake's countenance was cold, his eyes blazing.

"No, I just mean, maybe she misremembered."Jake pulled back, and sighed. "I investigated pretty thoroughlyafter--after. By all accounts Greg Vanderhague was as big a jerk asshe told me. I won't waste two tears over the guy; other than hisparents, I don't think anyone did. But are you gonna let me tell thestory, or are we going to debate all night?""You're right, Dix. So she'd just decided to become Madison'savenging angel, right?"Jake smiled a thin smile. "Right."* * *The next few days were a blur for Liz. She couldn't believe thatshe'd actually killed Greg. Crushed him to death between her thighs,next to the thing he'd taken from her by force. Part of her wassickened by what she'd done. He'd deserved it; she truly believed arapist deserves death. But that didn't mean she didn't feel someguilt about being the judge, jury, and executioner.

Whatever qualms she felt about killing Greg, however, were more thantrumped by the feeling of peace it had given her. Her friends hadmentioned it to her. So had her roommate, Sue.

Sue Nguyen was the daughter of Hmong immigrants, the first in herfamily to go to college. She was bright, witty, and insightful. Shewas also drop-dead gorgeous; I mention this only in passing. She hadbroached the topic with Liz two days after the incident.

"I don't know what it is about you, but you seem happier thanI've seen you since....""Since March?" asked Liz, who was presently painting hertoenails a deep blood red.

"Well...yeah. Now that you mention it.""Maybe I'm finally over it," said Liz, carefully buffingthe nails to a mirror shine. "It's been seven months. I don'tknow, I just feel control." With that, she laughed insuch a way that Sue was put off a bit--it seemed, well, evil.

"That's...that's good, Liz. I'm glad." Sue went back to herreading, trying to put the odd laugh out of her mind. Well, heck, Lizhad been raped. She was allowed a little weirdness once in a while.

And she did seem happy. That was a good thing.

As for Liz, she was getting ready to go out alone. It was a Saturdaynight, and she was going to try out her new found powers. She'd godown to Langdon and see what was going on--and see what she could doto help.

* * *The Claris spell still disoriented her briefly, but it was a quickway of figuring out what was going on--who was safe, who wasn't. TheSigma Chi party seemed clean, she noted happily as she leaned againstthe wall. Nobody seemed to be getting groped beyond reason, and whilethere was plenty of fornication going on, it all seemed pleasantlyconsensual. She didn't mind consensual sex. She was after thenonconsensual kind.

I'm going to have to get a costume, she mused to herself. Micro-Girl,or Giganta, or something like that. She laughed a little as sheturned the corner and walked by the Langdon.

Casually, she reached out to try a few minds. A boy and a girl wereengaged in hot and heavy action. She tarried just a moment in themind of the woman as her boyfriend licked her clitoris softly,achingly slow. Liz pulled out of the moment feeling happy and calm.

Perhaps she'd go home.

She found her way to the Lakeshore Path, and walked along thedarkened path back to the dorm. She was relieved. She was starting tothink that she didn't want to be an avenging angel. Maybe it wasbetter just to be a coed again, graduate, and move on with life.

A chill wind blew off of Lake Mendota. Liz shivered involuntarily.

And then she heard it.

It was muffled, coming from up the hill a bit. She turned, trying tohear what was being said. After a few moments, she gave up.

"Claris," she whispered, putting her consciousness in themind of a girl.

She was on the ground, a rough hand covering her mouth. She struggledto scream, but he had her pinned well. The glove was thick andleather, resisting her teeth. He was trying to spread her open withthe other hand, causing her intense pain, but he didn't care. He wasgoing to take her, she could see it in the eyes that peered out fromthe mask.

Liz pulled herself out of the woman's mind and started sprinting upthe hill. "Back off! I know you're up here, and I know whatyou're doing. Get off of her now!"She saw them now, shilouettes in the moonlight. He stood up to faceher, and pulled out the knife. "Fuck you, what'cha gonna do,bitch? Tell you what, you get on the ground, and I'll do you after Ido her."She slowed now. He was backing away. He was just looking for an exitstrategy--he didn't want to kill the women, at least not both ofthem.

But Liz was undeterred, and more than a little angry at thearrogance. "What am I gonna do? This," she said, raisingher right hand.

* * *When he woke up, the man found himself unable to move. He struggledto look around, and saw himself in a field of brown grasses, aboutthe same height as he was. He looked down, and screamed, or wouldhave if he had lips.

He was one of the blades of grass.

But that wasn't right. It wasn't grass at all. It

He saw a slight clearing off in the distance. A yawning chasm. Afamiliar scent wafted from it.

My God, it was a giant pussy.

He tried to scream, to run, but he couldn't. He was no longer human.

He was just a hair in the bush of a nineteen-year-old sophomore.

His life from that point on was grim routine. Watch her pee, watchher masturbate, watch helplessly as she and her boyfriend had sex.

Watch as the years went by, and babies emerged from the great chasmin the distance. As far as I know, he's still watching today.

* * *She helped the girl to her feet, helped her pull her panties back upand get back to a state of dress.

"Thank you," said the girl. "What did you do? Wheredid he go?""He won't bother you any more," said Liz, simply.

"He's gone."The girl nodded. She didn't know what had just happened, but she wasgrateful. "I...I need to get back to my dorm.""Where are you?""Bradley."Liz smiled. "Okay, I'll walk you back."They walked in silence along the Lakeshore Path, until they reachedthe Lakeshore dorms. "Thank you again," said the youngwoman, turning to look at Liz. "I never even got yourname.""I never mentioned it," said Liz. "Just think of me asanother coed who knows what you've been through."The girl nodded. "My name is Angie. You saved my life. If youneed anything, ask and I'll do it."Liz smiled. "Just remember, it wasn't your fault. You need feelno shame. He was an animal, and that's all."With that, Liz turned, and headed back towards Elizabeth Waters Hall.

She felt a lightness in her step. She'd helped Angie. Saved her fromrape, for sure; probably indeed saved her life.

It was her destiny, she thought, to end this evil that men could do.

It was her destiny to fight for women on this campus. She would haveto keep up her patrols.

And she had to work on that costume--or at least the mask.

* * *Liz didn't catch another rapist for two weeks. Despite what somefeminist literature asserts, rapists are not common; they're nearlyas rare as murderers.

But they do exist. And it was only a matter of time before Liz hadthe opportunity to exact revenge on behalf of her sisters.

She was at a party at the Theta Chi house. Her friends had drug heralong after noticing that she wasn't exactly doing a lot ofsocializing. It was a good time, she thought, though she demurred ona few passes her way; she wasn't really interested in men right now.

Instead, she danced and watched as the party unfolded, ready to dowhat she had to do.

She saw him early on. He was grabbing women's asses, and getting shotdown regularly. Liz' eyes narrowed; it wasn't rape, not quite, but itwas close. She kept a vigilant watch on him as he groped his wayaround the dance floor. After he cupped a fresman girl's breast, Lizwanted to scream. The girl did scream, and threw a drink in his face.

He just laughed and walked away.

It was at this moment Liz made a fateful decision.

She raised her hand and murmured, "Shrink, 1:576 scale."This done, she went back to dancing.

She didn't realize she'd turned a corner; not at that instant. Theguy was a lout, but he didn't deserve to be shrunk; he wasn't arapist, just a cad. Of course, Liz told herself that she hadn'tkilled him; she'd just shrunk him to 1/8". But we knowdifferent.

* * *"How do we know different? He could've survived," saidScott. "I did.""You were a bit bigger than 1/8 inch tall. But your point iswell taken. He could've survived. People have. But he didn't. He diedabout two weeks later, alone and scared.

* * *Liz would check up on him from time to time, to see what he wasdoing. He had bravely survived being shrunk on the dance floor--noteasy when half-mile tall people are moving all around you.

Fortunately, he'd been over by the doorway when Liz struck. He wasable to escape into a corner, where he tried to figure out a way toget in touch with somebody.

He had an opportunity almost immediately. A rather inebriated ChiOmega stumbled over to the corner and plopped down on the ground,pulling her knees up to her chin and burying her face in her hands.

She was wearing a short skirt, which the man quickly entered. Hecrawled up the crotch of her panties without hesitating a second; hewas able to turn off the lothario act when survival was on the line.

But of course, she got up eventually, and went back to her sorority.

She peeled off the panties, which he had clung to somehow, and tossedthem in the laundry. To make a long story short, he spent the nexttwo weeks trying to get in touch with one of the girls in the house.

He came close a couple times--once he even got into the ear of one ofthe girls, and if she hadn't been half stoned, she may have realizedthat she wasn't hearing voices. But in the end, he finally met hismaker by falling onto a bed while that stoned girl made love to anequally stoned freshman girl; he was crushed under the breast of thefreshman, a breast he'd cupped at a party two weeks before.

* * *"That's a helluva story," said Scott, pensively.

"It's hardly the only one," said Jake. "Once Lizdecided that low-grade lotharios were worthy of death, well, let'sjust say things picked up a little. Over the next three weeks, threemore guys disappeared. Well, when five people disappear from acollege campus in a seven week period, it's bound to come out. Andwhen there are rumors that a possibly mythic vigilante callingherself 'The Coed' is involved, well, that's when things start to getinteresting.

"It's also when I enter the story," said Jake, sipping hisMacallan. "And when I enter the world of GTS." Chapter ThreeMeanwhile, in New York, an intriguing report was coming in from afield operative.

Veronica Ceres listened as the woman on the phone detailed thegoings-on in Madison. Nothing concrete--men disappearing, rumors ofsomeone calling herself "The Coed," one rumor that the menseemed to just disappear.

Ceres gnawed on her pencil. She'd risen a fair ways in the hierarchyof the Athena League, but she'd failed to deliver the Big One.

Not that this was unusual; nobody had delivered the Big One. TheCadre had pretty much foiled the League at all turns.

This thing in Madison. It wasn't necessarily GTS-related. But itmight be. Could she afford not to gamble on it?She hung up the phone, and called her travel agent. She'd get inposition. Just in case.

* * *Liz sat and watched TV, trying to shake the odd buzzing in her mind.

It was always there, ever since she started to exact her revenge.

Like the soundtrack of a movie turned down almost to nothing, barelyperceptable, except for that occasional blip where you'd hear a carcrash, or a scream, or a stray word.

She knew what the buzzing was telling her to do: go out, getvengeance. There were bad people out there, and she could dosomething about it.

She wished Sue was in. She needed someone to talk to. But Sue was offstudying.

Liz got up and turned off the TV.

* * *It was late in the evening on a Sunday--Saint Crispin's day, as Irecall. Liz walked through the cool streets of Madison, the chillbreeze of early winter whipping through her bones.

She was heading for the southeast dorms, a likely location of illicitactivity. She shook involuntarily as the wind buffetted her,wondering why she was out that night. She just knew she had to be. Itwas a duty. It was something more.

Mentally, she started flipping through the rolodex of minds in OggHall, trying to get a fix on any negative behavior. She had gained agreat deal of control in the past few weeks. She could see the mindslike a picture-in-picture, flipping back and forth while stillutterly aware of what was going on.

She stopped on one. A man was pressuring a woman. No, it was morethan pressure. It was eerily similar to something she'd been through.

She turned, and entered the building.

* * *I entered the elevator and headed to my dorm room. I had been goofingaround, playing on a MUD that my friend had showed me--MUDdog, as Irecall. It was entertaining enough--a text version of D&D. I was kindof addicted to it, I thought, and I was probably going to have to getun-addicted, if I was going to do well in class this week.

I flipped through my copy of The Badger Herald, and chuckled at theanti-Perot editorial. The guy writing it had some skills, I thought,as the elevator stopped. I exited, and headed to my room.

I put the key into the door, and opened it.

My roommate jumped up off his bed. "Christ, don't youknock?" he said, as a farly attractive young woman quickly roseand exited past me. "Shit,, Hell."Tom Neiderman was a hard-drinkin' guy from Milwaukee, who seemed outof place in Madison. I disliked him intensely, but we were roommates,at least through the end of the year.

"Tom, it's my room too. If you want privacy, you've got to giveme some fucking warning," I said, as I tossed my jacket onto mybed. I was thinking I should turn around and head to the lounge--dosome reading, and maybe watch some TV. I grabbed my text of Plato'sRepublic and turned around.

* * *She stood in the doorway, a picture of beauty. She was taller thanshe'd been before, by a couple inches. But I recognized herimmediately.

She didn't look happy.

"So, a little date rape, eh? Boy, you picked a bad night to trythat. Shrink, 1:24 scale."Suddenly, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach, and the worldseemed to slow. I saw the walls start to rush away from me, all atonce. But that wasn't possible. I looked at the girl, and she wastaller. Six feet. Eight feet. Twenty feet. But this wasn't possible.

When the ride stopped, she appeared to be a hundred feet tall. Igasped as she took steps into the room, the floor shaking with eachvast footfall.

"BOTH OF YOU NEED TO COME OUT WHERE I CAN SEE YOU," shethundered. I knew she wasn't referring to me--I was already in themiddle of the room, and she could certainly see me. Nevertheless, Iwalked towards her, looking up her massive denim-clad leg to herface, ten stories above me.

Tom came out too, shaking like a leaf. I'm not sure why it neveroccurred to either of us to hide; maybe we both instincively knewthat someone who could shrink us to three inches tall wouldn't bedissuaded by our merely hiding.

The building-sized woman in front of us crouched down, and I gasped.

So much mass dropping so quickly--and then freezing perfectly. It wasunreal. I looked at the girl, and found myself getting aroused inspite of myself. So much power....

I was broken from my reverie by her booming voice. "YOU TRIED TORAPE A GIRL, DIDN'T YOU?" This was aimed at Tom. I turnedtowards him. He was trembling, and the look on his face gave himaway.

"You tried to rape her?" I said, advancing on him.

"You cocksucker. You fucking son of a bitch." I wasonrushing him now, and without thinking, I tackled him.

* * *It had been four years before that she'd been raped.

My sister. Mindy. She was attending Rice on an engineeringscholarship. This was before my dad died, but after my mom. Mindy hadcome back from class, and was studying in her room when the bastardstruck. Broad fucking daylight. The police said she struggled, butthere's not much defense against a knife when you're bound andgagged. Happily, they found the rapist. And happily, he lived inTexas, so he went to the chair.

But not before my dad passed on. Not before he had to travel to Texasto identify his daughter's broken body.

* * *I caught him with a roundhouse across the jaw, not even conscious ofthe bizarre circumstances that surrounded me. Suddenly, I foundmyself lifted off of him--and then up--and up--and up.

The fingers were vise-like. I struggled, but there was little pointin that. They turned me to face her.

Her red hair flowed like a raging torrent around her face. Hermassive maw could easily surround me now. It was drawn tight. Herface was the size of a billboard, a huge one. I tried to gather itall in, but it was like trying to take in a forest while your facewas plastered against tree bark. Her green eyes fixed me like a flyin amber. There was something odd behind them, some kind of internaldebate I could barely recognize. "YOU," she said.

"WHAT PUNISHMENT WOULD YOU GIVE THIS MAN FOR ATTEMPTINGRAPE?"I thought not a second. "I'd kill him," I said.

"DOES HE DESERVE DEATH?""All rapists do." I wasn't lying, or trying to impress her.

I believed it--still believe it.

"WELL THEN," she said, turning to look at Tom, who layprone forty feet below. "DEATH IT IS. SHRINK, 1:100 SCALE."With that, Tom dwindled to nothing. Then she stood, and withtremendous force, brought her tennis shoe down on the spot on thelinoleum he had occupied. Then, for good measure, drug the foot.

"CLARIS," she intoned, cocked her head, and smiled.

I was trembling. She turned back to me, and my stomach flipped. I'dwitnessed a vigilante killing. A just one, but still. "NOW, WHATAM I TO DO WITH YOU?" she asked. It was a rhetorical question.


"NO, I CAN'T DO THAT. YOU'VE SEEN ME, YOU KNOW WHO I AM. IF ILET YOU GO, YOU COULD LEAD THE AUTHORITIES TO ME.""They'd never believe me," I said, trying to persuade her.

"Besides, I know if I told anyone I'd risk Tom's fate. You cantrust me."She looked at me, and I could see she was torn. But she shook herhead, sadly. "NO, I'M SORRY, BUT I CAN'T TAKE THAT RISK. I'LLHAVE TO DISPOSE OF YOU."She started to set me on the floor. I was crying, but I knew I had nochoice. I thought I might try to run as soon as I hit the floor. I'dhave to try to live, even if only mouse-sized. It was a long shot,but the only chance I had.

But before we reached the floor, the hand stopped.

"I CAN'T DO IT. I CAN'T KILL YOU," she said, one tearrunning down her cheek. "YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. BUT I CAN'T LETYOU GO, EITHER." With that, she rose back up to her full height,and opened her purse.

"I'M AFRAID YOU'LL HAVE TO STAY WITH ME. I CAN'T RISK ANYONEFINDING OUT ABOUT MY SECRET."With that, she unceremoniously dumped me into her handbag, andzippered it shut.

* * *As the handbag swayed and I tried to avoid motion sickness, I triedto wrap my head around this bizarre turn of events.

This afternoon I'd been a normal guy. Now, I was smaller than asmurf, prisoner of a probable serial killer. Because this woman wasalmost certainly The Coed, the vigilante who'd been kidnapping guys.

Now I knew why they were disappearing.

Were they all rapists? If so, I sure felt okay about her killing thebastards. Heck, I might even offer my assistance. If she'd unshrinkme, I could talk to guys--hey, guys talk. Maybe I could offer herthat....

No. I had to face reality. I was probably going to be stuck at threeinches for the rest of my life.

I tried to think of what this meant, and struggled to. Images ofGulliver's Travels swam in my mind, and The Borrowers. But they wereall wrong, I knew immediately. The world was a big, scary place, andone lone person was going to have trouble surviving in it withouthelp.

Somewhere in this, the image of my captress pushed its way into mymind. So big, so powerful, so beautiful. Out of my league. But shewas going to take care of me. I was going to stay with her.

There was a bright side to this.

It was pretty dim, but it was brighter than the other side.

* * *It had been a few hours. I'd been set down--the purse had, anyhow,and I heard talking between my captress and another woman. I hadtried to sleep a little, but my sleep was fitful. Well, I shouldn'thave been surprised--I was trying to sleep in a purse. Finally, thepurse began to move again, before it was set down. The skyparted--well, the zipper, anyhow--and the face of the woman lookeddown on me with concern.

"I'M SORRY TO LEAVE YOU IN THERE SO LONG. I DIDN'T WANT MYROOMMATE TO SEE YOU. I FINALLY GAVE UP AND HEADED TO THELOUNGE." She reached in and gently hoisted me out, and set me onthe table in front of her.

I was just below breast level, which afforded me a spectacular view.

Still, I forced my head northwards--I did not want to be caughtogling her. "I'M LIZ," she said, simply.

"Jake," I replied. "Jake Thiessen.""WELL, JAKE, WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH YOU?" Shehad a different countenance than before. Her face was softer, and hereyes were clear. "I WISH I HADN'T SHRUNK YOU.""I wish I hadn't been in the room. If I would have hung out inthe lab half an hour more...." I paused. "No, if I'd havewaited, I wouldn't have interrupted Tom. And that girl would havebeen raped, not just assaulted."She looked surprised. "YOU'D TRADE THIS FOR HER SAFETY?""Yes," I said. "Yes, I think I would."Liz looked down at me, stunned. She'd later tell me that at thatmoment, she started to have feelings for me. But she simply said,"YOU'RE A GOOD PERSON, JAKE. I'M SORRY TO DO THIS TO YOU. AREYOU HUNGRY?""No, I'm not. Thanks, though.""WELL," she said, "YOU'RE PROBABLY TIRED. HERE, COMEWITH ME, I'LL FIND YOU A PLACE IN THE ROOM TO SLEEP."She picked me up in her hand, and cupped the hand around me. Theflesh was soft and yielding, and I felt utterly safe. She carried megingerly back to the room, and suddenly, opened the hand, dropping meinto a drawer.

The cliche in Giantess fiction is that the man is made to sleep inthe Giantess' underwear drawer. I had no such luck. She put me intoher desk drawer, and dropped in a handkerchief. She mouthed"Good night" to me, and seemed to wait just a second, as ifshe had something more to say, before she shook her head and walkedaway.

The lights were doused a few moments later, and I was left indarkness to wonder what fate had in store for me.

* * *There was silence between Scott and Jake for a moment or two.

Finally, Scott said, "I never knew how your sister died. I'm sosorry, Jake."Jake sipped his scotch, and looked at his watch. "I'm reallytired, Scott. What say we continue this tomorrow. We'll clear thedecks right away, and I'll continue regaling you with stories of myyouth. Hell, bring Sarah. She probably could stand to hear the story,too.""Okay, boss. You want to settle up?""'Son me," Jake said, as he dropped a hundred dollar billon the table. He rose, and headed out to his car. Time to head home,give Teri a call, and see how she was doing.

And hope the dreams didn't come.

 Chapter Four"Jesus," said Sarah, as she listened to the story Scottrelayed to her.

"No doubt." Scott felt like he'd been run over by a truck.

And not just because of the four beers. He'd never seen Jakeso...well, so down. D.X. was the sort of guy who was generallyupbeat, the sort of guy who could take a six irregulars into theheart of the League, and make everyone believe that they could win.

"Good thing I don't have class tomorrow morning. I think Iprobably need to be there. It sounds like he needs some people totalk to."Scott sat down next to her. And then quickly embraced her. Jake'sstory was also bringing up some old wounds. Scott had been orphaned,too. And shrunk against his will. At least he'd found Sarah.

Thank God he'd found Sarah.

* * *"So do you feel better for telling him?""A little. I just want to get free of it. There's a piece of mestuck there, Teri. And I've been trying like Hell to free it. I justwant to free it. Or cut it off.""No Jake," said Teri. "You don't want to cut it off.

You don't want to lose your connection to Madison. It's part of whoyou are, and part of what you do."Jake sighed. "Teri, I love you," he said into the phone.

"I know," she said, quietly. "I love you too. Pick meup at the airport at five?""I'll be there," said Jake. They said their goodbyes, andhe hung up the cell phone.

He looked at the gate of the cemetery. It had been a while since he'dbeen here to visit her. It was late, and the gates were locked, butthat was hardly a problem. He shrunk the car until he could drive itunder the gate, and proceeded a ways in before restoring it to thesize of a remote control car.

He drove the paths by feel. He knew exactly where he was headed.

Finally, he stopped at a corner of the cemetary, near a stand ofwillows.

He exited the car and restored his height to full.

"Claris," he said softly. The guard was watching TV, andeating pizza; it would be a while before she did a round. He walkedforward, and saw them.

Donald Andrew Thiessen, born July 8, 1948, died August 12, 1991Mary Elizabeth Thiessen, born October 4, 1948, died March 4, 1988Melinda Elizabeth Thiessen, born March 11, 1970, died December 4,1989And Jake fell to his knees, and he cried.

* * *And the dreams came.

"Little One," she said to him, "did you never loveme?""Of course I loved you.""Then why did you try to kill me?"...Try to kill her. There it was again. Her insistance that she wasalive. In his dream, he tried to initiate the "Claris"spell, but to no avail. No, she was surely dead.

"It doesn't matter, Little One. Only a few more days."* * *The office was a little more somber than usual. Scott and Sarah werechatting about the daily news, the run-up to war. They had barelynoticed the time--had they, they would have seen that D.X. was late.

That's unusual.

A few minutes later, he appeared, bearing a box of Krispy Kremedonuts and some juice. "Sorry, guys, it was a weird night lastnight. Here, enjoy," he said, dropping the food on theconference table.

Scott and Sarah filed in, both took a donut, and both sat down. Andwaited. D.X. smiled. "So...story time, eh?"Scott chuckled. "Well, I've brought Sarah up to speed....""Oky doky. So let's see," said D.X., munching a donut.

"Where were we?"* * *I awoke disoriented. I sat up, and instantly regretted it.

I was still in the drawer that Liz had put me in.

I had been secretly hoping she'd unshrink me while I was asleep,leave me to think that it had been some odd dream. But she hadn't.

The drawer was open a crack. Carefully, I crept to the edge. I couldreach the top if I stretched. Doing my best, I pulled myself up. Ifound to my surprise that it was not as difficult as it would havebeen if scaling a similar wall full-sized. I pulled myself onto myelbows, and looked around the room.

It was a pretty standard dorm room in Elizabeth Waters Hall, theall-women's dorm. "The Virgin Vault," I snorted derisivelyunder my breath; of course, that wasn't quite true. And, backtrackingin my mind, I realized that if my sister had been living in anall-women's dorm, she might be alive today.

Liz was nowhere to be seen; she must have awakened and headed toclass. I was surprised I hadn't awakened when she had.

The door swung open, and I prepared to drop--if Liz was returning,she might not be happy to see me halfway out of the drawer.

But it wasn't Liz. Instead, it was a gorgeous Asian woman with herhair wet, wearing a robe and carrying a massive container with bathproducts.

I probably should've called out to her, but I was too stunned.

Especially a few moments later, when she took off her robe.

The woman--I would later learn her name was Sue--looked thoughtfulfor a moment, and then walked over and locked the door. Walking backto her bed, she laid down, and spread her thighs, and dropped a handbetween them.

I gasped as I watched her work on herself. She was justmasturbating--but it was awe-inspiring, watching this giant beautywork on herself. As she finished, I found myself rock-hard, gaspingfor breath. She simply finished, and after a moment or two ofafterglow, she got up and dressed, and unceremoniously exited.

I dropped back into the drawer. I wasn't sure what the implicationsof this were. I didn't want to be three inches tall forever.

But I didn't mind the show.

* * *It wasn't too much longer before Liz entered. She walked over to thedrawer, and smiled down at me. "GOOD, YOU'RE UP. SORRY TO NOT BEHERE, BUT I HAD CLASS."I looked up at her, awed by her beauty. She had obviously just gottenout of bed and rushed off to class--her hair was pulled up in a ponytail, and her face was bereft of makeup.

"No problem," I replied, stretching. "I just woke up afew minutes ago.""I BROUGHT YOU SOME BREAKFAST. SCRAMBLED EGGS. I HOPE YOU LIKETHEM--THOUGHT THEY MIGHT BE EASY FOR YOU TO EAT.""Thanks," I said, meaning it. I was hungry. I had anotherurgent need, as well.

"I also kinda, uh....""WHAT IS IT? DID YOU WANT SOMETHING ELSE TO EAT?""No! No. It's not that. It's....""OH. OH! OF COURSE. UM--ARE YOU TOO MODEST TO USE A PLANT?"* * *After I saw a man about a horse, we sat down to breakfast. Me,perched on the edge of a plate from the cafeteria, eating handfullsof egg; she, seizing pieces of egg the size of my torso. We talkedabout her powers, about their source, about what she'd done.

"Any chance I can see the scroll?""HAH. NO, SORRY JAKE. THE LAST THING I NEED IS FOR YOU TO FIGUREOUT THESE TRICKS TOO.""Hey, we'd make a good team. Between the two of us we'd prettymuch have the state of Wisconsin covered. If we found some people wetrusted, we could branch out. Sort of like the Superfriends."She smiled a bemused smile. "I DON'T THINK SO, JAKE." Then,her face fell, just a bit. "NO, I WON'T DO THAT TO YOU.""It's a burden, isn't it?" I asked, after a few moments.

"OF COURSE IT IS," she snapped. Then, sighing, she simplysaid, "I MEAN, I KNOW I'M DOING THE RIGHT THING.""But it doesn't always feel right."She just looked at me for a minute, like she wanted to correct me.

Instead, after a moment or two, she smiled, and said simply,"ENOUGH OF THIS. SO, JAKE, TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF."* * *It was late evening when we finished talking. We were down by thelake, me tied into her hair so I wouldn't get lost. We'd talked aboutjust about everything--her rape, my sister's rape, the upcomingelection, our mutual interest in the new "alternative"music, whether she should fork over money for an email account, howcool gopher was, whether the Badger Herald or the Daily Cardinal wasa better paper, whether American democracy was simply a means ofimpressing a patriarchal system upon the masses--the basic thingsyoung students at Madison talked about when they were falling inlove.

We were silent, now, looking out over the lake. She broke the silencein a most unexpected way.

"YOU KNOW," she said, "I HAVEN'T BEEN WITH ANYONESINCE I WAS RAPED.""I would think not," I said. I wasn't sure how you could beintimate with someone after that kind of violation.


"What's that?" I asked.

"I HAVE ALL THE CONTROL I EVER COULD NEED." With that, sheuntied the knot of hair that held me in place, and brought me up toher face, and without a word, she kissed me.

To say I was startled would understate the point completely. I was sostartled that I failed to enjoy the kiss--at first. Indeed, Istruggled and pushed her away. Well, tried to.

Actually, she backed off quickly. "OH MY GOD, I'M SORRY, I NEVERMEANT--""No! No no no!" I cried, realizing quickly my mistake.

"I was just surprised. Had I been expecting it, I mean....""OH, LIKE IF I HAD SAID 3...2...1....""Yeah, that would have oomph!" She kissed me again at zero.

This time, I didn't struggle. Her plush lips played over my entirebody, covering me in saliva. Her tongue pushed out slightly, lickingme. I was bathed in her hot-pungent breath. I did my best to kiss herback--not that I think she noticed much. But when she finally brokethe kiss and pulled her head back and smiled, I gasped and smiledright back.

Despite everything, I was the happiest man on earth.

* * *I went to bed that night trying to envision what it would be like tobe with her in the biblical sense. I tried to imagine what it wouldbe like to make love to a woman with a vagina the size of me. It wasan awesome possibility--one I'd never really considered before. Ifound myself excited by the prospect. I hoped Liz would allow me theopportunity.

Certainly, she seemed like she cared for me. She'd kissed me goodnight, and stroked my hair tenderly. Of course, I was still in herdesk drawer. But things would come together, all in good time.

* * *"That's just sweet," said Sarah, munching on the burgersScott had brought back from Andy's for lunch.

"Yeah, Jake," said Scott. "It's a little like ourstory.""Except I had nothing to do with your shrinking, and we didn'tkiss until later.""It's just like us," said Scott, grinning wickedly.

"Jake was even spying on a woman while she--""Oh, we're going there, eh? Am I to surmise that you'd like meto morpheus you right into my insole again?""Hey, come on, I'm just teasing. Put your hand down. Hey--don'tmake me parry--""You won't parry. Not if you know what's good for you."Scott and Sarah dissolved into hysterical laughter, falling backagainst the chairs and giggling until their sides hurt. Scott knew,of course, that Sarah really would turn him into her insole aspunishment later--it wasn't like she hadn't done it before. But he'dgo along with it, especially since they both knew damn well that hedidn't mind it a bit. Later, he might turn her into something. And ifnot, he'd probably just turn himself into himself, only smaller. It'sgood to know what you both like.

Jake smiled, and rocked back in his chair. "Are you twofinished? I'm trying to tell a story here.""And a sweet story it is, boss. Liz seems like a nicegirl.""Oh, she was. She was one of the top five women I've ever met.

If that asshole hadn't raped her, she could've become anything."At this, the room fell silent, and Jake's face hardened for a second,before softening again. "It would get worse later, but thattime--the end of 1992--that is one of the happiest times of mylife."He smiled, and said simply, "I've got to check the report quick.

I'll be right back."As he entered his office, Sarah looked at Scott, and said, for theeight thousandth time, "Honey, I'm sorry about New York.""I know, Sarah. I know. I just thank God things turned outbetter for us than they did for D.X. and Liz."" want to be my insole tonight?"He grinned. "Only if you want me to, my love."Sarah laughed, and said quietly, "I do." Chapter FiveD.X. returned from the office slightly vexed.

"Anything wrong, chief?" said Scott, turning his thoughtsaway from merging with various articles of his wife's clothing longenough to notice his boss' concern.

"Don't think so. Just a bit of a spike in activity in the uppermidwest.""Huh. Sarah and I weren't really parrying or anything there, youknow....""Don't make me go God-teacher on the bit, Scott. I know you tworapscallions were just engaging in a GTS version of a PDA. Whichreminds me, when exactly are you planning on settling down into aboring, staid marriage?""Right after Proteus strips us of our powers," said Sarah,matter-of-factly.

"Last week it was Gaia," teased Scott.

"Really, Sarah, you need some internal consistency. You had toldme it was Loki.""Truthfully, if Gaia, Loki, or Proteus show up and want to stripme of my powers, they can have them. Though it will destroy my dreamof being Inch High Attorney at Law."Scott smiled. "I think I speak for men everywhere when I say I'dprefer Attack of the Fifty Foot Lawyer.""Okay, you two, get a room. Sheesh. Anyhow, I don't thin