The Invincible Iron Woman

Gun-smoke in a forest fire.

It burned the mouth, scorched the throat, nourished the soul.

Bourbon. Expensive bourbon.

It was her fathers demon but she had embraced it. Like all her fathers' challenges she treated it as a test. If he had failed it, then she was determined to pass.

Stephanie Stark sat the crystal glass gingerly at her elbow, casting a glance out the window. The South Pacific rolled by below, angry gray sea obscured by clouds. The Quinjet V was an unmanned hyper-sonic aircraft with a cruising speed of Mach-3 making it the fastest mode of transit on Earth, but it was also the most luxurious. The pent-house of a five-star hotel would have trouble matching the high-tech comfort of the Quinjet's passenger compartment.

“Another whiskey Miss Stark?”

Steph glanced up from the rapidly passing island of Java sixty-thousand feet below.

“No Jarvis. Everything in moderation.”

“Very good Ma'am.” Jarvis said. Taking the empty glass, the automated steward moved away. Another one of Jarvis' many avatars appeared from the holo-screen in the mahogany table across from her.

“Miss Stark,” Jarvis' holo image began, “The board of directors is once again asking questions about the cost over-run of the cancer nano-vaccine. What would you like me to tell them?”

Stark sighed, pushing herself to her feet, adjusting her pencil skirt.

“Tell them the same thing I said last time. The cancer vaccine isn't about profit. It's about curing cancer. Cost overruns are not an issue for me. And find a way to subtly remind them who they work for.”

“Yes ma'am,” Jarvis said, “And Count Olaf Von Doom has left a fourth message asking you to dinner. What should I tell him this time?”

A smile passed over Stephanie's face at the thought of the infamous, handsome and dangerous Count impatiently waiting for her to call him back.

“Tell him I'm still a lesbian.”

And with that she pressed the button next to the door. The decompression was explosive, the change in air pressure apocalyptic. Steph just stepped out into the void, the wind tearing at her hair, the oxygen sucked from her lungs. The shape of the Quinjet receding rapidly, she simply fell, letting the earths gravity pull her downward.

“I shall make arrangements to pick you up in Tokyo, Miss Stark. Good hunting.” Jarvis said through her inner ear implant.

“Sounds good Jay.” Steph said, though Jarvis could not hear her. She made a subtle turn in the air and suddenly the nano-bots in her blood stream activated. Within seconds Stephanie Stark was gone, replaced by the infamous visage of IRON WOMAN.

The afterburners in her heels sparked to life and with a sonic boom, the Invincible Iron Woman streaked downward toward the island below...

(TBC)

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