By Molly McMann
Molly McQueen was at the university gym finishing up her rigorous daily workout. A lifelong fitness junkie, she already had an Olympian’s body, but now that she was a famous superhero Molly was more determined than ever to maintain her perfect physique.
She was one of a mere handful of humans on the planet who had each been genetically gifted with a special power. Eight of them had emerged publicly as masked superheroes dedicated to using their powers for the benefit of mankind.
Molly, however, had scrupulously kept her own superpower a secret – until two days ago. Now, she wished she could go back to that moment when she saw the construction worker start to fall from the 70th floor of a skyscraper. She wished that in that moment someone else had saved him. Maybe Missile Man would have flown by to catch the man just in time. Molly would have gone on with her private, relatively anonymous life.
Instead, Molly saved the construction worker herself and in so doing revealed herself to the world – but unlike all of the other superheroes, she did not have a secret identity. The others had all planned their public debuts and had clever names and cool costumes. They wore masks covering just enough of their faces to preserve the private lives into which they could disappear until duty called again.
Molly had none of that – no mask, no costume, no fancy name and definitely no secret identity. Everyone knew she was Dr. Molly McQueen, professor of physics at Ionia University.
Fortunately, the Ionia University campus – including Molly’s faculty apartment — was more secure than most college campuses. As the nation’s premier center for science research, IU had many top-secret government contracts. In addition, some years back there had been a tragic shooting on the campus in which six people died. As a result of both of these influences, the IU campus was now surrounded by a high-security fence, and guards were posted at all four entrances. At least here she would not be bothered by the news media or curiosity seekers.
After running flat-out on a treadmill for 30 minutes and lifting weights for another 30 minutes, Molly took a steaming shower and washed her hair. This always took a while because her long, carrot-top red hair was so thick and wild. Molly considered her hair her best feature, but most men picked her breasts first, her face second and her hair third.
It was a sunny, chilly December day as Molly walked across campus to the Sciences Quadrant, her still-wet hair tied back in a pony tail. She only had one more class to teach that day, but first she had to meet with the rest of the science faculty for what was certain to be a very dull curriculum planning meeting. After the past couple of days, Molly was looking forward to something dull.
“Hiya Dr. McQueen!” Annie called cheerfully, falling in step beside her. Annie was Molly’s graduate assistant and Molly always enjoyed her company. They had a lot in common – both having graduated from college in their teens. Molly was now 22, but had finished her Ph.D. in theoretical physics at 19 and was now a full professor. Annie, at 17, was well along on her masters degree. Though advanced intellectually, Annie was still very much a teenager and had a crush on her professor that she was unable to hide. Her initial infatuation had exploded exponentially when she learned that her beloved mentor was also a superhero.
Annie’s feelings for Molly were not entirely unrequited. Had Annie been at least one year older and not her grad student, Molly would have hit on her the day they met. She was exactly the kind of girlfriend Molly always wanted – a brilliant, bubbly blonde who apparently did not own any bras.
As they entered the faculty conference room and slipped off their jackets, Molly saw that all of her colleagues were crowded around a television screen.
“There’s a hostage situation downtown” said Teddy Crittendon, the chemistry chair, over his shoulder. “Bank robber holding 16 people.”
On the TV, a newscaster was recounting the events leading up to the stand-off. Because the bank had glass exterior walls the news cameras were zoomed in on the action live as it unfolded.
Molly gulped, knowing that from now on everyone would expect her to jump into action at such times. “I guess I should . . . go check this thing out.,” she said. “Of course, this curriculum meeting is important too. . .”
Molly’s colleagues all rushed to assure her she should not worry at all about the curriculum meeting. A superhero had to do her duty after all.
“Well, okay then,” Molly reluctantly agreed. “I’ll guess I’ll. . . be back as soon as I can.”
And with that, Molly vanished.
This was her superpower – the ability to teleport herself anywhere in the world instantly. It was a pretty good superpower and Molly might have revealed it to the public much earlier except for one major drawback. She was only able to teleport her own body, and not any object she might be holding – or wearing.
For an instant Molly’s clothes remained in the air in precisely her shape before they fell to the floor. Even Molly’s hair tie and the water that had been in her hair hovered for a fraction of a second exactly where they had been just before she disappeared.
Meanwhile, downtown in front of the bank where Captain Jack Dunn coordinated the police response, Molly was suddenly standing on the sidewalk – nude. Her hair, now completely dry and unrestrained, fluttered behind her in the winter breeze. She shivered and her nipples stood out.
“Naked Girl, I’m glad you’ve come,” Capt. Dunn said. “We could sure use your help right now.”
“Teleportation Girl,” Molly corrected. “I mean Woman. Teleportation Woman. Um, what’s the situation?”
“Bank robber took too much time and got himself trapped inside. If it weren’t for these damned glass walls he might have come outside, but he saw the squad cars. Dude shot the bank security guard in the leg and disarmed him. So far no other injuries, but he’s threatening to start killing hostages unless he gets $100 million and a helicopter. We’re stalling him and trying to get a good angle for our sharpshooters, but with all the people around we can’t risk it.”
He held out to her a pair of binoculars. “Here, take a look for yourself, Naked– I mean . . . Tele . . . transporting . . . person.”
Molly stepped closer, the cement cold under her bare feet, and took the binoculars. As she leaned against a squad car to hold them steady, it occurred to her that in this position her breasts were probably poking through the window of the car. She had not noticed whether anyone was inside.
Stepping back, Molly handed the binoculars back to Capt. Dunn and glanced into the window of the police car where a young officer smiled stupidly back at her, only now his eyes were lower down on her body. Although Molly did not shave her flaming red pubic hair, it only grew above her vagina and not on the sides, so her puffy white slit was unobscured.
Before they could see her blush, Molly disappeared and reappeared inside the bank lobby, hidden from the gunman behind a counter. All the hostages were on the floor, no one posing a threat, so the bank robber was off guard, holding his gun loosely at his side. Molly teleported behind him where she had spotted three thick wooden stools lined up at a counter.
As she picked up one of the heavy stools and held it above her head, the gunman must have heard or sensed her presence because he whirled around just as she brought the thick-legged stool down on him. His gun went off, but Molly had already teleported safely away. As the stool snapped his collar bone, the gunman lost his grip on the weapon and it skittered across the polished marble floor. Molly appeared directly in its path and stopped it beneath her bare foot.
The police SWAT team stormed into the lobby as Molly teleported back outside to give her report to Capt. Dunn. She was new at superhero work , and was not sure of the etiquette when assisting the police. Best, she thought, to check in with him before leaving the scene. Dunn, however, had joined his men running into the bank so when Molly reappeared on the sidewalk there were no police manning the barricades.
When they saw her, people in the crowd cheered and applauded, shouting “Naked Girl! Naked Girl!” At the same time, a horde of press rushed up and surrounded her, their microphones and recorders jutting at her face. Molly vanished.
She reappeared in the faculty meeting room almost exactly where she’d been standing when she left. When she saw that her colleagues all had their backs to her, still focused on the TV screen, she briefly hoped she might get her clothes on before they noticed she was back. Though she’d just been exposed to millions of people on television, Molly knew she would feel much more embarrassed to be seen naked up close by her mostly-male co-workers.
Unfortunately, Annie spoiled that plan when she threw her arms around the still-naked Molly crying, “oh thank God you’re okay.”
Because Annie had been seated and Molly standing, Annie’s arms were tightly wrapped around Molly’s waist and her face was pressed against Molly’s left breast as the other science professors turned around to see.
Molly could have teleported again to extricate herself from Annie’s grasp, but she decided not to because it was too late to avoid being seen and Annie was so distraught.
“It’s okay, Annie,” she said, stroking the younger girl’s hair. “I was never in any real danger.” Annie slightly loosened her grip and slid back down to a seated position, but for a moment still kept her arms locked around Molly’s hips, her hands on Molly’s butt and her face mashed into her stomach.
Molly tried to pretend the men were not there, but that was impossible because they would not shut up. “You were incredible, Molly!” they were saying. “Absolutely amazing! What a hero!”
Annie finally let go, but when she saw the wet streak of tears she’d left on Molly’s body she began to apologetically wipe it off with her hands – starting with Molly’s breast.
Molly allowed Annie to carefully wipe her tears from her skin. Annie mattered to her; the men didn’t. They were just an annoyance and by the time Molly was free to grab for her pink panties and step into them, she was more irritated than embarrassed.
“Why don’t you start your meeting?” she said testily, slipping her arms through the straps of her bra and arching her back as she reached behind to clasp it, “instead of just watching me dress.”
“Oh right, the meeting,” Dr. Crittendon said as Molly pulled up her skirt. “We really don’t have time now. Let’s reschedule. Friday okay with everyone?”
There were noncommittal mumbles of probable agreement, but the men did not want to take their eyes off of Molly to check their calendars until she was finished buttoning her blouse.
When the show was over, the men began reluctantly filing out of the room, all of them repeating their words of praise and admiration. Molly knew they were sincere, and she was proud of what she had done. She just wished she did not have to do it naked.
Molly still had a class to teach that afternoon, so she and Annie climbed the wide marble stairway to the third floor where Molly’s classroom and office were located. The physics building was one of the oldest on campus and all of its interior surfaces were marble, polished wood or brass. Molly’s classroom had tiered rows of wooden seats and a heavy oak door that led to her spacious paneled office.
They had 20 minutes before class was to start and needed to get a lengthy theorem written out on the chalkboard for the class. Annie volunteered to do it and insisted that Molly just relax.
Molly stretched out on the old leather couch in her office and closed her eyes, thinking of what her life used to be like. Only two days before Molly was “famous” only within the relatively small circle of other theoretical physicists – among whom her papers on spacetime were getting some attention.
She had, in fact, been in the middle of presenting a paper on that topic on the 70th floor of the downtown conference center when through the windows she saw a section of scaffolding collapse on the building across the street. A construction worker fell, his yellow hard hat dropping out of sight, but his foot caught in the cabling of the broken scaffold, and he dangled upside down as Molly’s audience ran to the windows to watch.
Molly did not remember actually deciding to do it, but she teleported from the podium and reappeared on the ledge just above the fallen man.
Watching from the windows, the physicists who had just been listening to her speak saw Molly materialize across the street – naked. Even had the distance been greater they would have instantly recognized her incomparable mane of hair, which billowed nearly horizontal in the wind like a red-orange flag.
Securing a rope to a steel beam, Molly lowered the other end of the rope to the man. He climbed up to the ledge where Molly grabbed at his shirt and helped pull him up.
But just when he was safe, Molly’s bare feet slipped on the wet ledge and she fell, plummeting from the building as onlooker screamed. Keeping her wits, Molly transported herself from mid-fall. She did not have time to decide where to go and for a moment she appeared on the crowded sidewalk below.
Annie had been in the conference room helping with Molly’s slides, and she had been just as astonished as anyone when Molly appeared naked on the ledge across the street. Annie ran frantically back and forth from the window to the vacant podium and back again, unable to comprehend what was happening. When Molly fell from the ledge, Annie fainted.
Molly meanwhile had decided that materializing on the sidewalk had not been the best decision. She was there only seconds – but long enough to be noticed – before she vanished again in front of dozens of witnesses and teleported back to the conference room. Behind the lectern she tried to wriggle into her dress before anyone noticed. While her head was inside the dress and the lower part of her body still uncovered she heard voices yelling, “look, she’s back! She’s okay!”
Pulling the dress down over herself, Molly looked at the staring faces and said, “um, should I finish my paper?”
Annie had by this time recovered and pushed through the crowd crying, “oh my god, you have a superpower! That’s why you’ve been working on your spacetime theorem.”
Molly nodded. “I was born with this ability and I went into physics to try to figure it out.”
“How does it work?” someone shouted. “Are you creating wormholes?”
“No, but I considered that. Here, I’ll show you what I’ve figured out so far,” Molly said, going to the whiteboard. The room became electric as she wrote out her partially formed theorem and physicists from across the country shouted out their ideas. Most of these she had already thought of and rejected herself, but others were fresh concepts that she found intriguing.
They spent half an hour doing this and Molly became so excited by the collaboration she forgot about having just exposed herself to who knew how many people (in more ways than one). But as they were wrapping up, someone who had left to go to the restroom returned with the news that dozens of reporters and TV cameras were set up waiting for Molly to emerge.
“Oh crap,” Molly said, finally realizing the implications of what she’d done. Stuffing her underwear and her purse into her tote bag, Molly handed it to Annie. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” she said. “Meet me at my apartment and we’ll talk.” Molly disappeared and Annie watched the empty dress fall to the floor. She folded it neatly and put it into the bag also.
Two hours later, Molly and Annie were on the balcony of Molly’s apartment on campus, an empty bottle of wine on the table between them. Molly had consumed nearly all of it herself. Annie, who rarely drank – and legally was not supposed to – had barely touched her own glass.
Molly told Annie all that she remembered, from her first experiences as a child when her mother assumed she was just taking off her clothing and making up stories.
After Annie left, Molly drank Annie’s wine in a few gulps. As she set down the glass she heard a whooshing sound and looked up to see a man in red tights and a blue cape hovering a few feet from the ledge of her balcony. She recognized him immediately.
“Sorry to pop by unannounced, Dr. McQueen,” Missile Man said in his distinctive English accent. “Might we chat a moment?”
“Of course,” Molly said, fidgeting with her dress and wondering if her hair looked okay.
Missile Man – so named because he could fly as fast and as high as a missile – had burst onto the superhero scene six years earlier when Molly was only 16. Even now, back home at her parents’ house, posters of Missile Man remained tacked up on the walls of her former bedroom.
He stepped from the air onto the stone ledge of the balcony as if he were getting off an elevator, and instead of jumping from there down to the deck he hovered down gracefully.
Most of his head was covered by a tight-fitting blue hood that exposed only the lower half of his face, but Molly recognized his strong jaw line, cleft chin and his always-confident smile.
“I’m afraid I can’t stay long,” he said. “I need to be in Paris in a few minutes, but I wanted to meet you.”
“You did?” Molly giggled girlishly.
“Certainly,” he said. “You do have a superpower, don’t you? Or was that just trickery we all saw on the news today?”
“It . . . was . . . not . . . trickery,” Molly said as she teleported herself four times, disappearing and reappearing all around him until she was standing in front of him, only inches away. Had she not just consumed an entire bottle of wine, Molly might have thought ahead before displaying her superpower to him because now she was displaying her body as well.
Missile Man smiled his dreamily captivating smile. “Very impressive indeed, Dr. McQueen. Or would you prefer to be addressed as you are known by your adoring public — Naked Girl?”
“Oh crap, is that what they’re calling me?”
“I’m afraid so. You neglected to provide your own superhero name so the press picked one for you. It does have a nice ring to it.”
“But superhero names are suppose to be about your power, not how you dress,” she pouted. “They don’t call you Red Tights Man.”
“Because I picked the name Missile Man myself, else the public might have dubbed me Flying Quite Fast Man. You must control your own image, my dear. I can introduce you to my publicist if you’d like. He’s quite good, but he only represents good superheroes, not evil super-villains. I suppose I should ask: Are you good or evil?”
“I’m good!” Molly exclaimed.
He grinned. “Of that I have no doubt.”
At that moment Molly wanted most of all for him to kiss her because, well, she was drunk and he was Missile Man and she was naked and it seemed so very right. But he didn’t.
“Well, I must be off,” he said, “I have to go catch some art thieves at the Louvre. But first might I borrow your phone?”
Molly laughed. “You’re not going to call Paris, are you? My phone plan doesn’t cover international.”
“I don’t need to ring up anyone,” he laughed. “I wish to give you an encryption code so we can contact you.”
“The Council of Superheroes. Until today there were eight of us. Now there are nine. So . . . your phone please?”
Immensely flattered at being invited to the Council of Superheroes – by Missile Man himself — Molly dashed back into her apartment to retrieve her phone from her purse. In doing so, she had to pause in front of the full length mirror next to her bedroom door. Her bathrobe was hanging in easy reach. Molly looked at herself, naked in the mirror. She looked at the bathrobe. Then she picked up her phone and sauntered back out the patio doors and across the deck, watching him watch her as she approached.
He took her phone and began rapidly punching in codes and commands. Pretending she wanted to watch, Molly stepped closer to him.
When he was done, he handed the phone back to her and said, “welcome to the Council of Superheroes, Naked Girl.”
“Teleporter Girl. I mean Teleportation Girl. Woman.”
“We’ll have to work on that,” he said and zoomed into the sky leaving behind a rush of wind that carried a hint of his cologne.
“Dr. McQueen,” Annie whispered, touching her on the shoulder. Molly opened her eyes and sat up on the leather couch. “Is it time for class?”
“Almost, but your purse was making a funny noise. Did you get a new ringtone?”
Molly ran to her purse and opened her phone. There was a message from “M.M.” saying “Urgent Council meeting now. Come to these coordinates.”
“Oh my god,” Molly said. “Annie, I need you to teach the class for me. I’ve been called to an emergency Council meeting.”
“The Faculty Council?”
“No,” Molly said, looking up at Annie. “The Council of Superheroes.”
“Oh my gosh! Sure, of course I can teach the class. And Dr. McQueen if there’s anything else I could do to help you, all you have to do is ask. I know I’m just your grad student, but I . . . I just really . . . want to help.”
Molly’s heart melted. “Well there is one other thing you can do.”
“Just name it, Dr. McQueen.”
“Unless there are students or faculty around, call me Molly, okay? And you’re not just a grad student to me, Annie. You’re very, very special.”
“I am?” Annie asked plaintively, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Of course you are,” Molly whispered. “You have been since the day we met.” A single tear spilled out of Annie’s left eye and ran down her cheek. Molly wiped it away with her thumb and put a kiss in its place. “But as long as you ARE my grad student I shouldn’t kiss you any more than this. Even though I want to.”
Without waiting for a response, Molly disappeared, her dress again dropping at Annie’s feet.
Molly materialized naked in a spacious conference room where eight colorfully dressed men and women were seated at a long table. Every superhero Molly had seen on the news was right here. Missile Man, Ice Woman, Tornado Kid, Lightning Girl – they were all here, and now they noticed her standing there naked.
“Well, well, well,” Lightning Girl said, standing up and walking around the table to approach her. “I’m so glad to meet you, Naked Girl.”
“Um, actually I’m thinking of calling myself . . . Teleportation Girl,” Molly said. “Or something like that.”
Lighting Girl’s super suit was the color of dark storm clouds and she had a light blue “L” on her chest that was shaped like a lightning bolt. She usually wore a dark visor that covered the top of her face, but as she approached she lifted it up to show her face. The irises of her eyes were like crackling blue electrical sparks.
“That name is too long,” she said.
“But your name is long.”
“Lightning is two syllables. Teleportation is, let’s see, five. Too long.”
“Well . . . what would you suggest?”
Lightning Girl looked down Molly’s body all the way to her toes and partway back up again. “Oh, I like Naked Girl,” she said. “I think that’s perfect.”
As she said the word “perfect,” a blue spark jumped from her eyes and Molly felt as if the most expensive vibrator in the world had just been tested on her clitoris and nipples simultaneously.
“Pardon me,” Lightning Girl said, lowering her visor. “That was . . . accidental.”
“Might I inquire if you ladies are ready to begin our meeting?” Missile Man asked politely. “We do have rather pressing business to attend to, but if you require a few more minutes to complete your flirtation I suppose we could accommodate that.”
Lightning Girl whirled around and walked back to her seat. “I was just welcoming the new member,” she said. “Let’s get down to business.”
Molly had been having a difficult enough time being naked at the Council of Superheroes, and it did not help that her previously private parts were still tingling from Lightning Girl’s electrical caress. There were nine chairs around the table and Molly took her place at the Council, the plush leather seat cool against her bare bottom.
“Okay then,” she said, calmly resting her hands on the table. “What’s our mission?”