WARNING: This story is fictional and is not intended to portray any real situations, nor is it at all intended to encourage the type of activity portrayed here. It is strictly a fantasy/parody, intended for the personal enjoyment of those who appreciate female costumed characters in fear for their life or the violation of their body. The story describes and/or hints at graphic sexual situations, including bondage, violence, non-consensual sex, and other elements unacceptable in certain communities. It is NOT intended, nor is it at all suitable, for minors. If you are under the age of 18, or if this type of thing offends you, you shouldn’t be reading it. If you are a person who does find interesting the material described above, then I invite you to enjoy this story.

This story contains characters of my own creation, and use of these characters in other stories would not really be nice unless you ask my permission first. All persons in this tale are fictional, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. An exception is the use of famous historical figures, and any treatment of their personalities is merely my interpretation of how I think they would act in the situation I created. This story is strictly done for non-profit enjoyment by other fans interested in this adult genre. This story may not be moved to, or included in any website that requires payment for content.

 

Wonder Lady

Blood of the Queen

by Alias the Rat

 

Wonder Lady - The First

 

In the first century, Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni, rallied and led the Celtic tribes to fight the Romans who had come to Britain. Her husband, the King, had negotiated a truce with the Empire, but after her husband died, the Romans stole his kingdom, flogged Quen Boudicca and made her watch as they raped her daughters. She gathered an army and was on the verge of destroying them, but events conspired against her and the Roman forces destroyed her army. She fled with her daughters, Comorra and Tasca, and they decided to commit suicide rather than allow the Romans to capture them and parade them through the streets of Rome as prisoners. Boudicca and Comorra took their own lives, but Tasca was stopped on the verge of doing so. Adark, a prince of the Trinovantes (another Celtic tribe that had fought with Boudicca) came to Tasca and told her that he loved her and begged her to flee with him to the north where they could hide from the Romans. She had also been in love with Adark, so she agreed. They lived a long life in the far north of Britain and their children were the basis of the nobility of Scotland. Back in the land of Iceni, as Boudicca's subjects fell under the rule of the Romans, they took the body of their fallen queen and buried her with great ceremony as befit a noted heroine of the Isle of Britain in ground consecrated to Druidic magic.

 

Late in the Victorian Era, an archeologist named Nathan Felch was digging through burial sites in County Norfolk when he found the remains of a high-ranking Celtic woman. The person must have been a member of the Celtic nobility from the first or second century, but there was no way to discover exactly who she could have been. One of Dr. Felch's assistants kidded him that it would be exceptional if these remains were those of Queen Boudicca, a historical find that would be the toast of English society. Felch laughed and said they would never know exactly whose remains they had found, and there was no telling where the Iceni had hidden the burial of their beloved queen who had led the fight against the Roman occupation. But it turned out he had found the burial site of the most famous woman of her era. The unidentified remains were moved to London and put on exhibit in a quiet corner of the British Museum.

 

Many years later, Lorna McGraw was working in the British Museum one night when the lights went out and the sirens began to wail. The young woman had studied ancient history at Edinburgh University, then had come to London to work at a position in the museum. But with the outbreak of the war, she felt she should be doing more. She thought of volunteering for the Women's First Aid Yeomanry Corps and going overseas to nurse the wounded men from the trenches. Since the inside of the museum was dark, she walked to a window and pulled aside a part of the black-out curtain. She looked out and saw the beams of the spotlights reaching up into the sky, searching for the zeppelins that had come to bomb London. There were flashes and a red glow to the south, and she imagined the docks along the Thames were being targeted by the Hun bombers. But although Lorna was the only living person in the museum, she was not alone. From the dust and bones of an exhibit next to her, there rose unseen the spirit of a warrior queen, dead these many centuries. Boudicca looked up in the skies over her island and felt anger that her home once again was being attacked by foreign invaders. She wished she could do something, but she was only a spirit. Only flesh and blood could act, and her flesh had long ago been reduced to dust. She thought that not a drop of her blood still existed in this good isle. She believed that both of her daughters had died as she had, leaving no progeny to carry her line on. But then Lorna McGraw moved to the side to look up at the sky, straining to see the German balloons when they were caught in the shafts of the searchlights. And when she did, her hand went over and she leaned against the case that was labeled, "Celtic Noblewoman - First or Second Century A.D. - Discovered by Dr. Nathan Felch." At that instant, the spirit of the Warrior Queen suddenly looked at the young red haired woman. Boudicca gasped as she looked deep into the essence of the girl. In Lorna's body she saw the mark of Romans, Norse, Angles, Saxons... and Celtic blood! Her Celtic blood! This girl was somehow her descendant!

 

The spirit form of the Warrior Queen came close to the body of Lorna McGraw and became faintly visible. As it shimmered in the air inches in front of her face, it spoke. "Descendant, someone must fight for the defense of this island. None can attack Britain without feeling the righteous hand of the Iceni Queen!" Lorna took a step back. "Who... or what... are you? Why do you attack me?" Even as she replied, the spirit touched the young woman and entered her body. "I am Boudicca, Warrior Queen of the tribe of Iceni. Druid priestess who tried to defeat the Roman invaders  many years ago. I could not stop the Romans, but I will use your mortality to fashion a warrior to fight these new invaders. I can do this because my blood runs through your veins. One of my daughters survived me and you are part of her progeny. Join me in battle!" As the spirit merged with the body of Lorna, the woman felt her body tingle with power. She felt light-headed. Her blue dress, slip and chamoise shimmered and changed into a blue cloth version of a battle outfit. She had a tight-fitting long-sleeved top and a skirt that only covered her legs to just below the knees. Her shoes had grown to boots that ran up to her knees. A thought ran through her mind that she would not want anyone to know who she was in such a scandalous outfit. At once, a blue cloth mask covered the top half of her face. The new merged person ran to the back entrance of the Museum and on the steps looked up at the zeppelin bombers caught in the beams of the spotlights. Lorna thought, "Well, what do you expect us to do..."

 

Suddenly the figure lept up and flew straight towards the chaos in the sky. "Mortal, druid magic is powerful, especially after I spent so many years in the sacred ground of the Iceni." As she flew towards the aircraft, Lorna thought that she should have picked up some kind of weapon. But the air shimmered by her hands and suddenly she held a glowing spear in her right hand, and a translucent shimmering shield of  the same magical composition appeared on her left arm. At one of the zeppelins, she saw a biplane with British markings swoop at the Hun, only to be hit by machine gun units mounted on the side of the airship. The plane smoked, and started to spin towards the ground. "We should save him!" she thought. "No. We are here to destroy this monster in the sky." The heroine flew towards the invader, and saw the men manning the guns point to her in amazement. An officer with a megaphone shouted out in broken English. "Stay back, Wunder Fraulein, ve are at war und ve will fire on anyvun, even und fraulein if you come any closer!" Lorna felt the spirit that had merged with her grow in ferocity. She flew straight at the officer, spear held high over her head. The machine guns chattered and lead flew at her. The shield grew to cover most of her body, and the slugs bounced away. But not all were repelled. A slug creased her temple, another went through her right shoulder. Each of her legs were nicked, and Lorna felt the pain going through her body. But in her frenzy, Boudicca ignored the wounds. She reached the gun mount on the side of the zeppelin and plunged the spear into the heart of the German officer. The men of the machine gun crew panicked at the woman's attack, and two ran through the hatch into the balloon's interior. One did try to rush Lorna and grab her, but she swatted at him with the shield and pushed him over the railing, so that he went flying into the darkness, screaming as he plunged out of sight. Boudicca pulled the spear out of the dead officer's body and the weapon shimmered and changed into a large sword. She swung it and it cleaved through the side of the zepellin. Moving inside, she swung at the the trusses and girders that made up the framework of the airship. Inside the skin, she also cut through the huge gasbags that held the hydrogen that kept the ship aloft. The flammable gas flowed out, and some hissed out the hole in the skin. She moved along the catwalk, cutting through the skin of the ship and chopping away at the framework and gas bags. German soldiers came at her. but in the hydrogen-rich air, they dared not fire their weapons. They tried to rush her, but the magic weapon that could easily cleave through the aluminum girders made short work of them. As the warrior went along, she left a bloody path.

 

The airship was fatally wounded, and it began to drop lower and lower in the London sky. When Lorna/Boudicca put another stroke of the sword through the skin, it flapped open and she looked out to see another biplane headed right at the airship. The guns were chattering and she saw the bullets, glowing red, moving towards the zeppelin. Lorna realized with horror what was going to happen. She had read that these defense fighters were armed with tracer rounds in their guns, which burned when fired. Even as she thought of this, the rounds entered the hydrogen filled airship and the area exploded in flames. She felt the flames lick at her body as she lept through the gap in the skin to fly downward. She landed in Trafalgar Square, and people there pointed with amazement at the woman standing there with glowing mystical weapon and shield. Then they all turned as the remains of the burning zeppelin crashed to the ground nearby. In the chaos, no one saw the warrior suddenly change to a mortal woman as the spirit of Boudicca left Lorna. Someone did find her minutes later and called for help for the poor, bleeding young woman who lay there in a tattered dress. Next day, the newspapers had on the front page that a mystical heroine had been seen over London. A few Germans who had parachuted from the crashed airship and survived told stories of an attacker who the papers dubbed Wonder Lady. In Charing Cross Hospital, the staff were glad to see the young woman who had been found with severe injuries that night would recover. There had been no reports of strafing, but if seemed she had been caught in gunfire that wounded her several times and she also had burns to her right arm and the back of her head. It was over a week before she was able to leave the hospital. She went back to the British Museum and stood in front of the glass exhibit case. Lorna concentrated, and thought, "Boudicca, are you back here? Do you realize that you almost got me killed?" A ghostly voice whispered up to the young woman. "Warriors fight. Warriors die. It is their fate. You are my descendant and it is your duty to do so." Lorna was shocked at this statement. Boudicca would sacrifice anything. The young woman wanted to help the war effort, but there was a limit. She didn't want to die. And if she merged with the Queen again, she knew she would. So that afternoon, she boarded a train and went back to Edinburgh. She vowed never to set foot in London again.

 

Wonder Lady - The Second

 

Later in the war, on a different train, Andrea Bancroft traveled south from Glasgow with her father, General Stanhope Bancroft, to London. As his family was part of the social elite in the north, the General had been put in charge of the defenses and training installations in Scotland. When he was asked to travel to London for a meeting with the War Council, his daughter begged him to let her accompany him so that she could do some shopping in the capital. She joined her father after his meeting, and told him of the things she'd purchased on her shopping spree. But as their taxi moved along, sirens began to wail. The General saw the streets turn dark as the lights went out. The taxi driver grumbled. "Criminey! Those bloody gas-bags haven't been here for a long time. We thought they had given up. We don't need to go through that again..." The driver suddenly jerked the wheel and swerved to the left. His brakes squealed and the cab jumped over the curb and smacked into a building. "Did you see that! Bloody lunatic wasn't watching where he was going and nearly ran into us. Are you two folks alright?" Andrea felt her father's pulse. He had been knocked out when the taxi crashed, as his head had banged the partition between the front and rear seats of the vehicle. She answered. "I... I think he's alright. He got a crack on his head, and he's out." The driver cursed. "Bloody Hell! Ohh.. 'scuse me language, miss. Can you sit with him while I find an ambulance?" She nodded, and the driver left. Inside the building they'd crashed into, the exhibits of the British Museum were deserted and it was quiet. Except for one glass case. Hovering over her dry bones was the spirit of the warrior queen. Boudicca cursed Lorna McGraw for abandoning her task as Britain's defender. How could she shirk this task, merely to survive. Warriors were born and bred to die. But then the queen realised, if she had pushed the girl too far, if she had died that night, there would still be no defender for the land. Unless... the Queen spread her senses, trying to feel the world outside the walls of the Museum. She suddenly sensed the presence of other examples of her blood, close by. Her spirit flowed through the walls of the structure to find the two people in the cab. She saw that both had the blood of the Iceni, her blood, flowing in their veins. But the man was injured, and besides, she felt she could not merge her druid magic into the form of a male descendant. But the young woman would do. The Queen became visible in the air in front of Andrea Bancroft, and the girl gasped at the sight. "What... a ghost? Why do you appear here, spirit?"  "I am Boudicca, Warrior Queen of the tribe of Iceni. Druid priestess who tried to defeat the Roman invaders  many years ago. I could not stop the Romans, but I will use your mortality to fashion a warrior to fight these new invaders. I can do this because my blood runs through your veins. One of my daughters survived me and you are part of her progeny. Join me in battle!" Andrea gasped as the spirit figure flowed into her body.

 

Stepping out of the cab, the dark haired girl felt her body tingle and the clothes she wore shimmered and changed. A brief outfit in purple barely covered her, as she knew she had to be unencumbered by heavy clothes to fight effectively. Andrea remembered what she had read in the papers of the woman who had appeared in London a year before, the one called Wonder Lady. Now she was to be the heroine, and some of the purple cloth flowed to cover part of her face. A belt appeared at her waist and the design on the buckle formed a "W" on it. She lept into the air and flew upwards, to attack the zeppelins. But as she went higher and higher, she noted something with amazement. "The airships are passing over the city, but they are not attacking. No bombs are dropping. Why would they..." The spirit of Boudicca replied. "The sky monsters are not the true threat this day! As the Romans generals would do, this movement is a feint, meant to draw defenses away from the true attack." Hovering high in the sky, Andrea/Boudicca stared down at the city of London, wondering what the Huns were really up to. "Invaders would attack Britain to harm the people, their goods, their leaders... That is it! I sense the invaders are using magic, ancient magic, below us. They meant to attack the seat of power for this Isle." Andrea could also feel something. She pointed to Buckingham Palace. "They are down there! Can you also sense it? The Royal Family is the target of the attack!"

 

Down on the ground, Count Haran Von Furstenburg, who had spent his life studying ancient Teutonic magic, led a band of thirty animated corpses through the corridors of the Palace. His force had reached the target location easily with the distraction of the air attack drawing the defenses away. His undead minions, who could not be harmed by the bullets of the guards here at the Palace, easily killed the men who were there to safeguard the Royal Family. And that was Von Fustenberg's target. If he could capture and sacrifice them, the mystical reprecussions would eliminate the British forces from the trenches and the stalemate of the Great War would dissolve. Germany would crush the weakened French armies and take Europe. The Kaiser would take his place as the new Holy Roman Emperor of the civilized world! The Mage and his ghaslty entourage moved along and burst into a room where people were seated. Women gasped and screamed as the saw the horrors. The Mage gestured and spoke in cryptic phrases, and certain members of the crowd were restrained. Most of the others fled. A few of the brave companions of the King and Queen tried to attack the invaders and were brutally pounded down. Then the captives were carried back to a large receiving hall, where they were tied to chairs. The Count had picked this date of May 26th, 1917 very carefully, as it was the fiftieth birthday of HRH Victoria Mary, Queen Consort of His Royal Highness, King George V. For this special occasion, their six children, even sickly Prince John, the youngest, had been brought together to celebrate. Only the simultaneous deaths of all eight of them would allow the spell he had constructed to eliminate British forces from the war. And now this was going to happen!

 

But a window in the hall was smashed as a female figure swooped in and landed. Wonder Lady held her mystical sword high, then slashed through the undead warriors. Several were brought down, but they swarmed at her faster than she could fight them and they grasped her tightly. The Mage came over and with a wave of his hand, dissolved and absorbed the energy of her sword. "So, a defender? Britain also has an individual who can use magic? But you cannot stand up to the power of the German Empire!" His arms gestured, and he spoke enchantments that caused chains to appear that held her in place. "Eight royals here will die to destroy the power of England, then I will rape and kill you, maiden, and steal all your power for my own use!"

 

 

Andrea/Boudicca struggled to free herself from her restraints. But she was held fast by the manacles that seemed glued to her skin. The mage ordered eight of his unholy followers to stand, one behind each of the eight bound members of the royal family who were about to die. He walked to Wonder Lady and cupped one hand at her throat. "You cannot stop me, fraulein. You can watch each of these people die in front of you, knowing you have witnessed the end of your British Empire and it's replacement in this world. Germany shall rule! Soldiers! Wrap your fingers around the throats of the sacrifices. Prepare to execute them!" But as he said this, Andrea/Boudicca took her arms and brought them up, flipping and twisting the chains that held her until they went up and over the head of Von Furstenburg. She snapped them tight and pulled the links of the chains into the flesh of the Mage's throat. He brought his hands up, wanting to get the chains off his neck. But she was pulling tightly. If the Mage could have gotten a simple phrase out, the chains would have been dissolved. But he could not speak, or even breathe. She held the chains tight until the magician collapsed, dead. Then Boudicca concentrated and managed to reform her magic sword. She slashed and cut through the chains that held her, and once she had done so, the broken shards dissolved away from her. The undead soldiers still stood with their hands on the throats of the royal family, waiting for the order to proceed with the executions. Wonder Lady went over and used her sword to decapitate each creature, down the line. As she did so, the lifeless hands relaxed and fell away from their victim. Boudicca noted with pride that the members of the royal family, even the youngest one, did not scream or panic as they were freed. Even now, the royal blood of Britain was a brave fluid. They did embrace each other, once thay had been delivered. HRH King George V then turned to the young woman who had rescued them and put his hand on her shoulder. "Thank you, young lady. I owe you a great debt, and so does England." Wonder Lady nodded her head and spoke. "I am here to defend Britain, to fight invaders who may deign to stain the soil of this fine island. Part of me is the spirit of the Druid priestess who was a Queen, Boudicca of the Iceni. I shall return when I am again needed." Then the spirit left the body of Wonder Lady, and the figure shimmered and was replaced by the weary, disheveled person of Andrea Bancroft. Exhausted by the ordeal, Andrea passed out and fell to the floor.

 

Only minutes later she was revived as a damp cloth was pressed to her forehead. She opened her eyes and tried to bring into focus where she was and what had happened. She gasped as she suddenly realised that she lay in the lap of Queen Mary, who held her as Princess Mary dabbed at Andrea's forehead with the cloth. Standing over her was HRH George V, King of the United Kingdom, and his sons were nearby. Andrea gasped out, "Your... Your majesties! I am sorry!" She struggled, trying to get up. But the King crouched down and placed his hand on her shoulder and kept her from moving. "Please, young woman, relax. There is no need for you to be embarrassed by any failure in protocol. My life and the lives of all of my family were saved by your actions, and our gratitude can know no limits. Please tell us, who are you and how did this come to happen?"

 

"Well, your majesty, I am Andrea Rhianna Bancroft, daughter of General Stanhope Bancroft. My father came to London for a conference, and I accompanied him to visit the shops. This evening as we traveled by taxi, we were involved in an accident outside the British Museum. It would seem that the mortal remains of Queen Boudicca make up one of the exhibits there, and her spirit haunts the structure. Some power she has allows her to merge with a young woman who is a descendant of hers, and that is what happened to me. Ohhh - my father! He was injured! The driver went for help, and I was watching over him when the spirit entered my body." At this point several servants and security men entered the room where the royal family had been held prisoner. The King turned to one of them. "Reginald. A military man - General Stanhope Bancroft - was injured in an automobile accident near the British Museum. Send people to discover if he has been taken care of. We would like to know his condition. If he is not injured badly, arrange for him to be brought here." The security man nodded, bowed, and left. The King turned back to Andrea. "We shall make sure your father is alright. Now, pray, continue." She nodded her head. This night's events were a little overwhelming, now that she was reviewing them in her mind. "Yes, your majesty. Once the spirit merged, I -- we -- flew up to intercept the zeppellins, but we saw that they were passing over London without attacking, and realised they were merely there to distract our defenses from some other threat. Somehow we sensed the real danger was here, and came just in time." The King nodded. "Indeed! I will be happy to reward you for the service you have done to England and to this family. Your name will..." Andrea panicked. "Your highness, no! I would be so embarrassed if people were to find out what I did. They would look on me a some kind of freak." His majesty turned to his family. "Well, I think we can keep her secret, as we owe her so much. But Andrea, you really will have to tell your father." She nodded. Princess Mary spoke. "Andrea, some time ago the papers spoke of a person who exhibited powers like you showed here. She flew into the sky over London and downed a German zeppelin. Was that you?" Andrea shook her head. "No, your majesty. That must have been when the spirit merged with another of her descendants."

 

The security man re-entered the room accompanied by General Bancroft. The officer was relieved to see his daughter, but confounded at the bodies of the German attackers on the floor with the Royal Family standing around Andrea. He bowed his head, "Ahhh. Your Majesties, what has been happening here? I was very puzzled by your summons and would beg of you to relate how I can be of service to the Crown at this time." The King stood and walked to the General's side. "I have to thank you for bringing your daughter to London. Our life and the lives of every member of our family were saved through the efforts of this young lady. This family owes your family a great debt." The General was dumbfounded by such a statement, and he stood there, his mouth hanging open. Andrea stood up and went to her father. She told him what had happened to her after the taxi had crashed. Some people would have doubted such a story, but the General had always respected his daughter for having a very sensible head on her shoulders. He embraced her and whispered. "I am so happy you are alright. And proud you were able to do such an important service for England." For the next several days, the General and his daughter were the guests of the Royal Family in the Palace. His Majesty had decided to allow Andrea her request for secrecy, but he made an public announcement that General Stanhope Bancroft had been of great service to the country and the Bancroft family would be rewarded with the officer being named Lord Bancroft of Annam. No one noticed the official proclimation stated the appointment was due to services to the Crown that had been performed by the family Bancroft.

 

The ghost of the Warrior Queen went back to sleep in the British Museum. No invaders set foot in the Isle of Britain to disturb her. Andrea, later to be known as Lady Bancroft, became the close friend and confidant of Mary, the Princess Royal. When the King died in the mid-thirties, Andrea helped console her friend, and she was at her side when Mary's brother gave up the throne to stay with the divorced woman he loved. In the early sixties, when Lady Bancroft passed away, all the members of the Royal family attended the funeral.

 

Wonder Lady - The Third

 

But Bodicca's slumbers were interrupted in 1940 when the Germans returned to the skies over Britain. When German bombers appeared over London, the Warrior Queen sent her senses out looking for a trace of her blood. Maureen MacArdle, a nurse at Charing Cross Hospital, was watching the raid when she sensed the ghost approach her. The spirit told her, as it had done with the others, what was occuring and how the land needed a heroine to fight the invaders. The young blonde woman could scarely believe what she was hearing, but then the spirit entered her body and they merged to form a warrior to defend the Isle of the Iceni. Her nurse's uniform flowed and changed, and a white cloth mask covered the top of her face, like a half-helm. The warrior in white leapt up and soared towards the clouds, in pursuit of the German bombers flying over London. She flew up to one of them and the mystical sword and shield appeared in her hand and on her arm. The shield grew to protect all of her body as a gunner on the Junkers JU-88 turned his weapon to spray a stream of machine gun fire at her. The bullets bounced away and she flew towards the tail of the plane. She hacked with her sword, chopping away at the airlerons and rudder. The spirit within her asked, "Why do we attack here? Should we not cut off the wings off this evil bird?" Maureen thought that damaging the control surfaces on the tail might cause the plane to go down, but saw it was too difficult. She turned to the wings, and knew what they had to do. "No, Boudicca. The weakest spot of these attackers is their engines!" Wonder Lady swooped over to the wing and the sword in her hand transformed into a spear, which she drove through the cowling into the engine. Oil and fuel gushed out, and she dropped back as the mixture hit the hot exhaust pipe and burst into flame. The propeller stopped and the plane began to slow and turn. Maureen wondered if the plane could still fly with one of its pair of engines out. "We have to get the other engine!" As she flew over the top of the plane, she saw the top turret swing around and point at her. She brought her shield up just in time as the guns spat at her. She closed on the firing point and while blocking the fire with her shield, ran her spear into the turret to silence it. Then she went along the wing and used her spear to disable the other engine. The plane pitched over and started a deadly plunge towards the ground. Wonder Lady flew off, looking for another attacker.

 

Boudicca's attention went to a smaller aircaft that flew near them. "Another evil bird for us to swat from the sky..." But Maureen spoke. "No, your Majesty! That's a Royal Air Force Spitfire! It fights for England, defending the sky against the attackers!" As the fighter passed, Wonder Lady saw the pilot raise his hand to salute the woman who was fighting along side them. "Warriors once again soaring through the sky! What strange conflict the future has brought to this isle!" They swooped over and attacked another of the bombers. The gunfire directed at the heroine was stopped by the shield, as the ancient queen was more interested in keeping from harm the body she inhabited. If this young woman was killed or badly hurt, who knew when she might find another descendant to join with? And the Queen realised that this was a daughter of her daughter. A distant part of her family. That night they cut down five bombers from the waves of attackers over London. And the papers next morning announced the return of Britain's amazing defender, Wonder Lady. At her home just outside of London, Lady Andrea Bancroft read the accounts and smiled. She hoped this young woman would work with the spirit of the long-dead queen and help England in its time of extreme danger. Up in Edinburgh, Lorna McGraw Hunter read her newspaper and grew afraid. Did this young woman know what kind of horrible danger she was letting herself in for?

 

The London Blitz was a harsh time for the residents of the city. Nearly every night the Germans came to rain destruction on the capital of Britain. And when they did, Maureen would merge with the Iceni Queen and soar up to fight for the land they loved. The nurse got very little sleep most nights and her work at the hospital suffered. Finally, late one evening, Maureen was summoned to the office of Lady Adelaide Stoughton, director of nursing staff at Charing Cross Hospital. The older woman spoke sternly to her, pointing out that late night activities must not be allowed to go on to the point where they kept her from satisfactorily handling her duties as a nurse. Lady Stoughton began to tell Maureen that she was on the verge of being dismissed from her position and forced to leave the hospital when air raid sirens started to wail, marking another Luftwaffe attack. The director was about to tell Maureen to accompany her to the air raid shelter when she witnessed Maureen's transformation to the white-clad heroine of the skies of England. Maureen turned to the lady and spoke. "Lady Stoughton, go to your shelter. I cannot join you, as Queen Boudicca and I are needed up in the sky." The next day she returned to the director's office where she gave her superior details of what she had been doing at night. Lady Stoughton looked at her in amazement. "If you are doing this for us, you shall have all the time you need. I will schedule you to work every other day, and you can get some sleep at least part of the time you are off. If there are any days you feel up to working, come in and help. If there are any times you... have to do your duty to England, you are free to excuse yourself from your post here. Good hunting, Maureen."

 

Maureen had a boyfriend who she was very serious about who was serving in the Royal Navy on a cruiser in the Atlantic. She had not mentioned to Tom Graveshelm in her letters about the link she had with the long-dead Iceni Queen, or how she was fighting the Germans in the sky over London. She thought it was too bizarre for her to put such facts in a letter. Then Tom came to London on a leave and was able to spend a few days with her. Normally it would never have happened, but in wartime, two people in love know all too well that any time they spend together may be their last. The two of them ended up in bed one night, making love furiously as they thought about the death and destruction that surrounded them. She had her arms around Tom, and his body pressed up against her made her feel so wonderful. But she still struggled to find words to tell him about her adventures as Wonder Lady. Every time she started to speak, what she was ready to say just seemed wrong. Finally, laying next to him in his arms, she managed to tell him what she had been doing. He looked at her in shock, then wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. "I will worry for you, Maureen, and pray you will not be harmed. But I know you have worried about me while I did my duty. Darling, I love you and this just brings us closer, one more feeling to share." She made love to him and thanked God that the stormy skies over southern England kept the Germans out of the sky for one night.

 

As the months went by, Maureen spent much more time in the skies over Britain. In mid 1941, the German attacks began to lessen as the Axis forces turned their attention to the east for the great crusade against Russia. The bombing raids of London became infrequent and Maureen's merging with the Queen began to occur less and less. Lady Stoughton once asked her why she did not go out to attack the enemy in France. Maureen replied, "I sense the magic that gives me power is based in the soil of Britain. If I left England, I would not take the powers of Wonder Lady with me." In 1943 Tom's cruiser was sunk while escorting a supply convoy to Murmansk. He was one of the few survivors. When he was brought back to England to recover from his serious wounds, Lady Stoughton went to people in the government and petitioned for the sailor to be transferred to Charing Cross Hospital. She got no satisfaction with her request until she brought it up at a Royal hospital oversight commission meeting and mentioned that one of her nurses, serving in Charing Cross Hospital, had risked a lot in her dual life as Wonder Lady. The sailor was her fiance and she deserved to have a chance to be with her young man as he recuperated. Maureen had served England with great valor and deserved this small request. The committee members were all astounded by this news and several said they would think it might be possible to... But the discussion swiftly ended as the head of the committee, Lady Andrea Bancroft stood up. "This young woman has risked her life many times over for her country. There is no question that England as a whole and Charing Cross Hospital in particular should do anything they can to help her." After the meeting, Lady Bancroft went up to Lady Stoughton and made a request. "I shall visit Charing Cross Hospital in the next day or so. I would very much like to meet with the young lady. I would like to talk over with her certain... things we have in common." A couple of days later Lady Bancroft and Maureen spent an afternoon talking over what it was like being paired with Queen Boudicca  to fight for the defense of England. Both women shared thoughts and feelings about the things they had done, opening up to reveal what they could not express to anyone else. At the end of their meeting, Maureen bowed, and thanked the Lady for her time. Andrea smiled. "You and I have a shared experience that bonds us closer than sisters. If you were not here, I wonder if the Queen might have once more called on me to serve. I would not have been comfortable soaring through the air and battling the Hun at my age. Boudicca's work is best suited for a young woman. If there is ever anything I can do to help you, do not hesitate to ask."

 

In 1944, the horror returned. First the Luftwaffe returned for several months early in the year, trying to disrupt the cross-channel invasion that both sides knew was coming. It was only days after the allied forces made their beachhead in Europe that a new terror came to haunt the residents of London. In the skies over England, day and night, small jet propelled missles roared across the channel and rained destruction. The V-1 Doodlebugs were a new menace to the land Boudicca loved, and very often Maureen found herself changing into the form of Wonder Lady and soaring into the air to try and intercept the death from above. Some times she arrived in time to divert the weapons, but often she got there only when a smoking crater and the dead waited for her. About a hundred V-1 bombs a day were being sent at London, and although the RAF fighters and anti-aircraft fire stopped some of them, over half struck home. These were more than one heroine, with all her powers, could stop. In the air, Wonder Lady saw the smoking craters dot the city. Maureen read in the papers the list of dead. At the hospital she saw the people being brought in, horribly wounded. She stood and cried, begging Boudicca to find a way to do more to stop all this suffering. And when she became Wonder Lady, Maureen could sense the misery that the long dead Queen was also feeling. But things got worse. In the fall of 1944 the V-1 bombs were joined by the V-2 rockets, the first true supersonic ballistic missles. They traveled much faster and were nearly impossible to stop. As hard as Wonder Lady tried, she could never intercept one of these terror weapons from striking its target. Only the ground forces moving towards Germany in Europe were able to stop the attacks as they overran and destroyed the launching sites.

 

Eventually, Maureen grew relieved as the attacks began to occur less and less. Germany's resources were not unlimited and the war was moving towards a conclusion. On a fine spring day in 1945 Maureen sat out at a patio table at Charing Cross Hospital with Lady Bancroft. "I have a letter from Tom. He's been promoted to head gunnery officer on the battleship HMS Duke of York. The ship is steaming for the Pacific to be part of the British Navy's contingent to help the Americans finish off the Japanese. He won't have a chance to get leave, so I won't get to see him..." Andrea smiled and took Maureen's hand. "There, there child. You just need wait a little while longer. We can see the war is winding down. Soon we will be at peace once again and your man will come home. You will have no more battles in the sky." But Maureen suddenly felt the spirit of Boudicca enter her, and she changed into the figure of Wonder Lady. "I sense a menace... greater than any before... we must stop it!" The heroine shot skyward at a tremendous speed, and Maureen wondered what it could be that would make the Queen so fearful. What were they about to face? Lady Bancroft had also heard the voice of the dead Queen and she grew afraid.

 

In Germany, in a secret underground installation at Salzwedel - halfway between Berlin and Bremen - Grup Kommander Oberst Koesheim had been ordered to destroy all the materials in the laboratories if the allied forces approached. None of the German weapon secrets were to fall into the hands of the enemy. But the SS officer took the experimental weapons he had and combined them to form one last terror weapon to strike back at England. Just enough components for one rocket, a V-4 that was twice as big as the V-2, were available. A prototype of a new type of experimental bomb, that used the power of the atom itself to produce incredible destruction, had been finally produced. He ordered the components put together and prepared. His mind was full of hate. He knew Germany could not survive very long. But London would precede it into oblivion! He had pressed the button and launched the missle towards England.

 

Maureen could taste the panic in Boudicca's mind as they went aloft. "I sense the fate that approaches us. This weapon will somehow cause more destruction than any have in the past. It has the potential to destroy the entire city!" Mauren gasped at such a thought, and they turned to head south eastwardly in the sky. But the missle was approaching very quickly. The heroine flew high, higher than ever before, until Maureen was chilled to the bone and gasping for breath. They saw the misslle. It was turning, to drop down on the city they had tried so hard to protect these past few years. They flew over and came up close to the missle. She formed the mystic sword in her hand and hacked at the casing, the fins, trying to damage it. But it was very sturdy. She pushed at it, trying to get it off course. Nothing seemed to work. Maureen glanced down at the city she loved and grew resolute. The sword in her hand shimmered and became a spear. Wonder Lady came up to near the tip of the missle and held the spear with both hands. She whispered, "Goodbye, Tom..." and with a tear in her eye, slammed the spear through the casing into the warhead. The rudimentary nuclear device did not go critical, but the explosives packed around it detonated, destroying the warhead and the missle, and sending out a spray of shrapnel that killed the woman flying alongside it. The body fell to earth and despite its horrid condition was identified as the remains of Maureen MacArdle. All of London turned out for the funeral of the young woman who sacrificed herself to save so many lives. The King himself spoke at the service, moved greatly at the thought that for a second time a young women working with the ancient queen had saved his life. Tom Graveshelm was flown back from the Pacific theatre to be there when his fiance was buried. Celeste MacArdle, who was Maureen's younger sister, also attended. She listened as Winston Churchill spoke about the bravery and self sacrifice of her sister and only felt that her dear sister had been sent to her death by that damned ghost.

 

Wonder Lady - The Fourth

 

Twenty five years had passed, and as she sometimes did, Celeste MacArdle Gowan traveled from Glasgow to London to mark the anniversary of her sister's death. She went to the statue of the heroine that had been erected in Trafalgar Square and shed a tear as she looked at it. This trip she had been joined by her daughter, Shona. The younger woman had been born some time after the end of the war and never met her famous relative, but she knew a lot about her from the articles she had read and the angry recollections of her mother. Celeste had drummed into her daughter that she felt the long-dead Celtic ghost had forced Maureen to give up her own life for glory when there probably would have been a way to solve the problem without Maureen having to die. But on that sunny day in the late spring of 1969, Shona wondered if that was really the case. The young adult was reaching a point where she questioned what her mother told her. The times were such that youth and rebellion were hand in hand. Her political feelings leaned towards the anti-nuclear movement that was very strong in Britain. Many young people were marching and protesting to have nuclear weapons banned in England and through-out the continent. They took to heart that if not for Wonder Lady in 1945, London would have been the first victim of the atomic age, enduring the same horrors as Hiroshima or Nagasaki. The anti-nuclear movement took Wonder Lady to heart as a champion, giving her life to stop the nuclear attack. Some groups called themselves the Followers of Wonder and pledged to do their part to stop the spread of atomic weapons. Shona had been repeatedly asked to speak at these rallies but while she stood alongside them, she was too embarrassed to get up and be a spokesperson.

 

As the two closest relatives of the dead heroine stood at the memorial, Shona wondered what her aunt had felt like when she faced the threat over London. Had she known the magnitude of what she was up against? Had she... suddenly Shona felt the strangest sensation coming over her. Her body tingled and she staggered a step. She heard a voice in her head, and her yellow miniskirt and top flowed to form a brief costume and part of the cloth moved to her forehead to form a mask. On her belt, the buckle morphed and formed a large "W" on it. "Young Woman, descendent of my line, I am Boudicca, Priestess-Queen of the Iceni. I call upon you to help stop a menace that threatens Britain." Shona stammered out a reply. "The ancient Queen? Oh my God... What menace? There is no war at this time, no invaders... unless... Oh no... My Queen... Is it the Russians? Have they launched their missles at England? Has the Cold War suddenly gone very wrong?" "No. This threat is not in the sky. It comes from under the ground, an invasion from the depths of the Earth!"  The powerful figure sprang into the air and flew swiftly westward. Celeste MacArdle Gowan looked after the departing heroine with fear clutching her heart. That damned Boudicca had taken her sister away from her. Now, was she going to lose her daughter?

 

Shona/Boudicca soared through the air westward. Shona had flown before, but being a passenger on a commercial jet for a class trip to Paris was nothing like this! She stared down at the ground passing below, up at the clouds that covered the sky, and she felt the air streaming over her body. It was... exhilirating! Finally her thoughts came back to the words of the Queen. "Ahhh... your highness? What did you mean by an invasion from under the ground? Where are we going?" The voice of reply trembled inside her head. "Young woman, I can sense when danger threatens this land and when the normal defenders are not able to cope with what is approaching. I know now that strange creatures, not quite human, emerge from their subterranean world to attack the people of Britain. In the area of Cornwall these things stream out of the ground to attack."

Shona gasped. "Cornwall? But that will take us so long..." "No, we are almost there already." "What!? How fast are we flying?" "Very, very fast."

 

Soon Wonder Lady approached the village of Alcombe. On a sunny day you could look north over the sea and catch a glimpse of Ireland. But this was a day of overcast, and looking north only gave you a view of the choppy sea. People were milling about and she saw a line of four military trucks parked in the center of town. The soldiers clustered around an officer, but they looked as confused as the townsfolk. Shona/Boudicca landed near the officer and he looked up at her with a started expression. She held out her hand. "Sir, I am... Wonder Lady. The spirit of long dead Queen Boudicca has sensed danger to the land and brought... me here." She had paiused in her statement. It was still hard to accept that she was now Wonder Lady and the "me" was actually "us." The Major took it better than she thought, and nodded before replying. "Wonder Lady? I recall the stories. Welcome back. We may need you. A mining tunnel sank a deep shaft to test out new equipment and broke through into a stretch of connected caverns far, far beneath the surface. The men who went to investigate reported finding a strange civilization and then their communications gear went silent. Next thing we know, bizarre creatures are streaming up to the surface. Most are armed with clubs and seem to have such a thick hide that bullets don't bother them. We can't find them -- reports from the countryside are so confused. Word is out and people are panicking. Most roads are jammed with people trying to get out, and the low clouds mean we cannot use air recon or fighters against the invaders. I am trying to bring units with heavy weapons in to..." Shona broke in. "Major, has there been any effort to communicate with these things? Maybe we can reason with them and get them to return to their caverns without armed conflict. If we can get them to understand that their world was contacted by us by accident, we can surely work out a peaceable solution." The officer stared at Wonder Lady for a moment, then sighed. "Young lady, these are violent creatures and they have come to the surface to do as much harm as we let them. Until we strike them hard and fast, they will continue to menace the area. If you don't want to fight, just let us know where these things are and we will do our job."

 

Wonder Lady told him she would scout the area, and determine what the creatures were up to and see if a non-violent solution could be found. As she took off, she could see by the look in his eyes that he was expecting no help from this young peacenik version of Britain's defender. And Shona heard a ghostly voice bounce through her mind. "How can you think of peace in a time of war? These creatures swarm over the land and mean harm to these good folk! We shall find them, form a mystic weapon and destroy them!" Shona sighed. "Your Majesty, times are changing. We want to work at resolving conflicts, not just striking back. People feel that..." Then they heard a young woman's screams, and swooped through the air towards the cries. In a hilly area, a bicycle lay on the ground near the side of a dirt road. A young woman was on the ground struggling with one of the strange creatures. Wonder Lady landed, grabbed the thing by the scruff of the neck and tossed him to one side. "Are... are you alright? What did he..." Shona gasped as she saw the young woman was bloodied on one side of her face and her forearm was black and blue. Worse, her blouse was torn open and her clothes had been pulled off her below the waist. "Oh... my goodness..." The heroine turned and looked over to where she had thrown the creature. She saw it was getting back up and coming towards her. It was man sized and mostly humanoid, but shaggy brown fur covered it from its clawed feet to the top of its weird mishappen head. It looked powerful, and the large eyes, black as coal, were menacing. Shona/Boudicca tilted her head back and spoke in a low voice. "Ah... Miss, you'd better get out of here." But even as she said this, a glance back saw the girl was on her bike, pedalling away as fast as possible. Shona thought she should reason with this thing. "Ah... mister furry fellow? Now there is no reason for you to attack people, we only want to help you out. You probably are confused by your surroundings and if I help you find your way home..." But the creature suddenly sprang forward and smashed his hand against the side of Wonder Lady's head, stunning her. He grabbed her arm with his powerful hand and pulled her towards him. His other hand reached down and tore away at her skirt. Dazed, Shona began to realise the thing was after her. She saw his tail lashing behind him and she saw his other tail... no, wait, that was... oh, crap, his erect furry brown penis was sticking out. He wanted to rape her! That's what he'd had planned for the other woman! Shona panicked, and tried to pull free but he held her tight. "Strike him! Concentrate your mind and form a weapon to destroy this abomination! Do something!"  But Shona's mind was so befuddled by the blow to her head and the horrid situation that she could not concentrate enough to form the weapon. She felt the power in her body, and she did think of pushing back at the thing, to get free. Suddenly the mystic energy burst forth. It did not form into a weapon, but streamed from her hand to crash as a pink cone of light into the chest of the monster. It flew backwards, and she was free.

 

 

The heroine sprang into the air and looked down at the creature sprawled on the side of the road. It was already getting up, and glanced in the air at her. Then it shuffled away, in search of easier prey. From in the air, Wonder Lady began to notice other spots of brown moving though the countryside, and figured out there were many of the things in the area. She heard another scream, and swooped down on another road where a woman was on the ground, stuggling with a creature who was clawing at her clothes. Shona formed a spear, but as she flew towards the fight, she spun the weapon around and bashed the blunt end of the shaft into the back of the creature's head. It went down and the threatened victim scampered away. "Child! What are you doing?" "Boudicca, I don't want to kill anyone... or anything if there is any other way!" "Shattered bones of the Druid Lords! How can you have my blood in your veins and refuse to fight, you accursed coward!"  This argument in her head was interupted. Shona had brought the dull end of the spear's shaft again against the head of the creature in front of her, and it wasn't moving. She hoped she'd managed to knock it out. But another one came at her from behind and ripped at her top. It shredded and left her breasts bouncing as she pulled away from the second attack and knocked this monster down. She saw another approaching her, reaching for her, and wondered if she could hold out against three of them. Suddenly a lorry came around the corner and screeched to a halt. Its headlights were on and it brightly lit the struggle. The creatures let her go and scampered away at this, and the driver stuck his head out of the window. "Little lady, you appear in a damned fine pickle! Come on and I'll drive us out of here!" But suddenly a half-dozen of the monsters came up from another direction and approached the sides of the truck. They battered, tore at it untill the tires were wrenched off, and reached into the cab and yanked the man out. They were pummeling him until Wonder Lady punched her way through to grab the man and soar up in the air where the pair were safe from the threat. She flew off a short distance and saw a Landrover with British Army markings. The soldier driving gave a low whistle. "Ho, sweet, what happened to you?" Shone blushed as she realised she'd lost her top and half of her skirt. She put her free arm across her breasts to try to cover up. "The creatures believe in love... and war. This man's hurt bad, can you get him out of here?" The soldier nodded, and pulled off his tunic and offered it to her. She pulled it on and thanked him. "We've been trying to get people out. Our weapons don't hurt the weirdos much and we keep getting pushed back. If they surround our vehicles, they tear them apart." The conversation ended as a half dozen of the creatures were seen coming down the road at them. These held clubs and looked even more dangerous. Wonder Lady put the wounded lorry driver in the Landrover and told the soldier to get moving. She said she would hold them off. He looked at her and with mouth agape cried, "You're gonna... WHAT!?" But Shona suddenly thought about how the creatures had acted when the lorry first drove up. She reached in the Landrover and flipped the switch for the headlights. "Switch to high beams, quick!" When the fellow did so, the group of monsters all cringed and fell back. Shona smiled. "Private, get back with this fellow and alert your officers. They can't stand bright light! We can use that against them!" He nodded. "Crikey, you're right, miss!"

 

As the driver quickly backed down the road, Shona again flew up in to the air. "Boudicca, this magic of yours. Would it be powerful enough to burn off these clouds?" The Queen understood what her descendant had planned. "So, you are no coward, just a careful planner who wants to pin down the weakness of the enemy before she acts. Good thinking!"  Wonder Lady flew high and began to be surrounded by a sphere of light and heat as the druid energy inside was brought to bear. The cloud cover began to dissapate and the sun burst through, brightening the area. The creatures ceased their hunting for prey and began to stop and hide where they could to avoid the sunlight. Wonder Lady flew back to Alcombe and found the Major she'd spoke to earlier. "By your appearance, young lady, I would think you have had a disturbing encounter with those wretches." She put a hand up to the borrowed tunic that was giving her a modicum of modesty. If any of these overstrained buttons popped, she was going to be very embarassed! "Major, we can defeat these creatures with light. Bright lights make them retreat. By the time night falls, we have to get vehicles and spotlights down here. We can use them to push the things back to where they emerged. Men with powerful hand torches can push them back down the tunnels, and once they are down deep where they came from, we can blow up the passages so they can never emerge again." The major saw the logic in this course of action, and passed the information up the chain of command. Further forces were rushed to the area with the equipment to drive the creatures back, and soon the area was secured and the invasion had been stopped. Once the monsters had been sent back to the subterranean realm the came from, the tunnels were destroyed to prevent them from ever returning. Boudicca maintained the meld with Shona long enough for the heroine to return to London. There Shona told her mother how the heroine had saved the day. But Celeste MacArdle Gowan kept insisting that the damned ghost had just been trying to get Shona killed.

 

Wonder Lady - The Others

 

It was a wonderful day as fall came to the British Isle, and to a streetside table in a quaint little cafe in Mayfair. Shona Gowan Taggart was happy to enjoy a pleasant reunion with her four daughters. Her husband, Kendrew Taggart, had business in London at a trade show for businessmen who dealt in mining equipment, and Shona and her youngest daughter had taken the train down with him to enjoy the capital during the event. She loved living in Glasgow, but a trip to London was always pleasant. Her oldest daughter, Rhianna, was an officer in the British Army and on leave following her term of duty in Iraq. Joanne was a designer who had a small shop in Fleet Street. Dorothy had a recurring part in the BBC's Doctor Who television show and had appeared in a number of films. And the youngest girl, just 19, was Maira, attending college but still undecided what she was going to do with her life. It had been some time since the four girls had gotten together, and they were enjoying it very much. Suddenly all five heard a voice in their heads. "Shattered bones of the Druid Lords! There is danger... extreme danger! Last time it was nearly this bad Maureen died to stop it... but even that effort may not be enough to prevent all these deaths. I fear we cannot stop this..."

 

Shona shook her head and winced, for Boudicca's voice was shouting in her mind. What could make the druid Queen panic so? Shona gasped as she watched the transformation of mortal woman to super-heroine. But she saw it happen simultaneously to all four of her daughters. Not one, but four versions of the Mystic Maid were now seated at the table. Rhianna shook off the disorientation the fastest, and sat there in a blue blouse and red skirt. Beneath her long blonde hair, a mask of red covered the top part of her face. The army officer tried to concentrate on calming herself, and wondered what terrors had arisen to call for the appearance of Wonder Lady once more. Silver haired Joanne was also masked. Her facial covering and her entire outfit were tan and brown. The design had come from her mind, and she thought of changes in the details of the outfit. She gasped as every thought in her head seemed to be immeadiately come to pass in her apparel. She thought of a wider belt and boots that were calf length instead of short. The changes at once were there. Dora had, at least this year, red hair, and her mask and costume were silver and grey. She thought of the outfits worn by heroines in some of the productions she'd been a part of, and combined the best features of each to appear as beautiful and heroic as possible. Maira had a blue costume to complement her blonde hair, and as she thought about it the halter top and hot pants began to shrink and shrink. She was approaching what appeared to be the briefest of bikini tops with a thong bottom when her mother spoke sharply. "Maira, stop that!" The young woman sighed, and the costume went back to a slightly more modest blue sports bra top and hot pants. Her face had a simple domino mask by her eyes. Their table on the patio was next to a stone planter. Maira reached out and grabbed hold with her hand. She giggled as asd a chunk of the stonework broke off in her hands when she pulled. Rhianna chastized her. "Mar, we have to find out what is going on! We were not given these powers to destroy the cafe!"

All five could hear murmuring of the ghostly voice in their head. "Deaths... So many deaths. I can't stop it. I have to stop it. I can't sit back and watch it happen. One person would be helpless. What about two? Or more? Can we do anything? I can't watch all those people die! But I am trapped here, my dried bones hold me to this place. If I bond with one of my descendants, I may still have to face death. I still hurt from when Maureen sacrificed her life. A million strangers or one daughter. Can either horror be lived with, even by someone dead as long as I have been?" Dora looked at her mother. "What is going on here? What are we supposed to do?" Shone conveyed helplessness as she shrugged her shoulders. "I only joined with her that one time. Back then she spoke to me with confidence and knew exactly what we had to do and where the menace was. She took us there. But she sounds totally panicked now..." Rhianna cut in. "Ghost or not, she sounds like she's in shock, unable to think straight. She may have split herself too thin when she joined with all four of us at once. We'll have to try to do whatever is needed without her help. But we don't even know where the crisis is... I can call... damnit!" Rhianna had reached to her waist to grab her cellphone. But like all her original clothes, it had vanished when they became the costume she wore. Shona pulled a phone from her purse and gave it to her daughter.

Rhianna punched in a number, then asked for a certain extension. "Captain Argyle here. Who's calling?" Rhianna spoke quickly. "Tony, I need to know where the big crisis is! I know you work at the emergency response headquarters and must know what is going down today." He answered. "Captain Taggart? There is no way I can pass you that information. You are on leave and this isn't even a secure phone line..." Rhianna knew that Tony would not have stayed on the line even this long if she hadn't dated him briefly last year. "You remember what I told you about my Mum and that crisis back in the sixties, Tony? Well, now I have morphed into Wonder Lady and it's my turn to be a hero. But I have to know where I am needed!" She heard his gasp, and then for a minute the phone was silent. Finally he decided to speak. "OK, Rea. A  large group of terrorists has seized the Iranian Embassy. They are armed with automatic weapons and are firing at anybody they see nearby. We have pulled all people out of the area and surrounded it. The fanatics say they have the people who were in the embassy and a bunch of hostages taken from the nearby streets. Any police or military response will result in the deaths of the people they are holding." Rhianna took this in and asked. "That's bad, but I know there must be worse. What else?" Her friend revealed more. "We captured one of them outside the building and have been questioning him. He laughed at our threats and said all of London would be punished for what British forces have done in the middle east. One of the interregators lost his temper and got rough. With a bloody face the prisoner said that they may kill him, but in an hour all of London will be dead under a mushroom cloud." Now it was Rhianna's turn to gasp. "Oh my god. Nuclear terrorism. The worst possible nightmare.Thanks, Tony. I guess I'm going there to stop them. Wish me luck." He did so as she hung up the call. She laid the phone down and told her mother and sisters the news.

Joanne groaned. "Terrorists with an a-bomb? Oh, shit, there's no way we can get involved in this! Let the bobbies or the army take them out. You remember what Grandma always said, 'That damned ghost got your great-aunt killed, and if you let her pull you in with promises of power and glory she'll get you killed too.'   She never forgave Mom for getting suckered in that one time. We can't be heroes. That's how you get killed!" Maira turned to her older sister and put her hand on Joanne's shoulder. "Joey, you were always the one who believed Grammy about what happened to Great-Aunt Maureen. But didn't you hear what the Queen said? She merged her being with us, so we all know she can't be lying or holding anything back. She's as broken up about what happened as grandma was. Part of the reason she can't talk to us now is that she's scared to death that she might lose us. She's not trying to kill us, Joey. She's being forced by the crisis to ask us to try to save London... even if it costs us our lives." Joanne's head sagged for a few seconds, andd she sighed. Then she looked up and into  the eyes of her sisters. "Ok. Let's do it." Shona looked at her daughters, and thought back to that day when she became Wonder Lady. She told them about thoughts, senses, the essence of magic as used by Queen Boudicca. While the powers were the work of the Queen, anyone who merged with the spirit knew how to do the magic and what to do to form the magic weapons and shield. Or at least, they should have, but her daughters' meld with the Queen was flawed. Shona had to tell them what they needed to know to be the heroines they had been transformed into. In a few minutes, they knew what to do and how to do it. But these words would have made no sense at all to anyone else. Only a woman who shared the essence of the Iceni spirit could comprehend what could be done.

 

In the Iranian Embassy, Ambassador Tarak sat tied up and gagged behind his desk in his office. Next to the desk was a coffin-sized metal case that held the nuclear weapon. The head of the terrorists, Arim Bal-Akar, looked down at him with disdain. "You are part of the puppet regime that the westerners put into our country to subjugate our people. But the Brotherhood of Allah fights to destroy the cursed Judeo-Christian alliance. We nearly succeeded earlier this year in destroying a city in the United States when a nuclear device we stole was about to detonate. But one of their damned costumed heroines thwarted the plans of Arakim Daraba and his unit of the faithful. We used many of our resources to obtain a second warhead, and since the Americans' defenses are on high alert, we smuggled the device into England. It is righteous we set it up here, in the lair of our brothers who have crawled on their bellies to serve our enemies. Daraba's bomb was stopped at the last minute by a damned infidel woman. This bomb will not be twarted. It has three seperate triggers. There is a timer that will set it off in less than an hour. There is also a red button on the case, and it can be set off by any of my men pushing that. Finally a radio signal sent by a unit in my pocket can cause it to go off if anything interferes with the others. Daraba's men set up the timer on their bomb and left to escape. But my men and I are not going anywhere. We will stay here and die in the blast, martyrs for the cause of Allah!"

 

The four sisters flew up and approached the building from high overhead. There were occasional bursts of gunfire from the windows designed to keep the authorities or the media from trying to approach the building. The terrorists did not announce demands or offer to negotiate. They meant to die in their attack. A gunman was on the roof, but he was looking down, watching the streets for movement. He would have looked up and fired his weapon if he had heard a chopper try to move anyone onto the roof. But he didn't hear the four super-heroines swoop down, quiet as birds. Rhianna touched her feet to the roof right behind the man, very quietly. She reached for him, but one of her sisters landed too heavily and there was a thump on the rooftop. The man tried to spin and react to the sound, but Rhianna locked an arm around the man's neck. Her other arm wrapped around his head and twisted. With a sharp snap, she broke the man's neck, then let him drop to the roof. The other three ladies gasped in shock at their first sight of a man being murdered violently. The real desperation of ther task began to sink in. Dora had appeared in a few low budget action films and thought she was used to seeing deadly violence. But she saw it was very different when the stuntman didn't get up and walk away after the filming stopped.  Joanne and Maira also stared at the dead man and tried to come to terms with their situation. It was a natural response for people, even very brave people, to have when they first came up against violent death. And from around a roof-top structure a second terrorist came and aimed his AK-47 at them. Three ladies were helpless targets, but not Rhianna. She had been one of the first women to be allowed to join England's elite anti-terrorist force, the Special Attack Group. In Iraq they had fought the nastiest battles against the Al-Quida resistance. She knew better than to allow her guard down at any time. She saw the man and when he raised his weapon, she lept between him and her sisters. When he fired, she formed a wide shield for cover that deflected the bullets streaming at her. In her other hand, a mystic spear formed and she threw it, hitting the gunman in the chest. By the time his finger eased up on the gun's trigger, the spear through his heart had already killed him. Rhianna chastized her sisters. "This is your first lesson. Don't waste time on a dead enemy. Keep watch for the next attack." They nodded. Dorothy asked. "Wow. I suppose we have to go down into the embassy and find the damned bomb. Do we split up?" Rhianna thought hard about this question, which had already been on her mind. Splitting up would make sense. A lot of sense. It might help find the nuclear device faster. But these were her sisters. She'd just seen that they were not trained warriors. She knew that they would probably get themselves killed if they went off on their own. "No... we'll stay together."

 

Rhianna went to the roof access door to the stairs. Before she opened it, she spoke. "Don't hesitate. React. If you see anything, get them before they get you. These men want to kill you. To kill us. To kill these hostages. To kill everyone in London. So to save all those people, you have to kill these monsters first. If you want to regret that, save it for later. OK?" Dora and Maira nodded, but Joanne cocked her head to one side. "Wait... don't the rest of you feel that? I sense something... something very important.. and dangerous. It's several levels down the stairs and to the right." Her three sisters turned to face Joanne quzzically. But as they concentrated, they too felt the sixth sense that was alerting them about some importance in the noted location. Dora spoke. "Mom used to say Boudicca could tell somehow where great danger was and knew where to go to stop it. Is this something we're silently getting from her?" Rhianna nodded. "That could be. We'll check out that spot first and see." She eased open the door and started down the stairs, her sisters behind her. As they cautiously moved along, they passed a landing with a doorway. Three were past the door when it suddenly opened and a terrorist stepped out. He saw them and was bringing his weapon up to fire. But Maira, last in line, grabbed the man's arm and pulled at him. She caught him by surprise and smashed him into the wall opposite the door. A sword appeared in her other hand and she plunged it into his chest. When she pulled it out, he  was dead. Her three older sisters were startled that the young woman had done this even faster that any of them could react. Maira looked at them, then down at the body. She said, "Wow." and then bent forward and threw up.

 

Down the stairs and and along a hallway in the ambassador's office, Arim Bal-Akar still stood by the bound diplomat and the nuclear device. The phone suddenly rang. The head terrorist picked it up and spoke. "Whoever you are, we are not prepared to negotiate. Stay back or hostages will be flung dead from the roof and lay rotting on the street." The voice on the phone spoke. "Sir, wait! I am with the IBC. We want to offer you a chance to speak on television. If we pull our van to the front of the embassy, you could be interviewed live on our network and tell the world your message. Please, don't just sit back and let the world wonder what is happening." Arim considered this. The authorities and the media still thought his group were a bunch of thugs who could be bought off. They would offer him inducements in exchange for the release of hostages. But they did not know that he and all of his men all were planning to die with the city of London. He glanced at the timer and saw it had twenty mintes. He was intrigued by the chance to get his message out to the world. They could see his face, the determined face of a righteous man. He would speak and at the end of his interview the explosion would register on the screen. That would be a wonderful way to present the event. "I will be in front of the building in five minutes. Pull your van across the street. One cameraman and one person to interview me. No more." Telling ten of his men to stay and guard the bomb, Arim left the office and went down the front stairs even as the Wonder Ladies were moving down the back stairs to the second level.

 

Their sixth sense was pulling them towards the office as they started down a corridor. Rhianna was in the lead, ready for anything. But a terrorist moving about came up behind them. They heard him only a instant before he fired. They brought up their shields, but Dorothy was an instant too slow and a stream of gunfire stitched her left leg and her left arm. Joanne, protected by her shield, moved towards the man and soon was close enough to engage him. She hacked at him with her mystic sword. She tried to recall any kind of swordplay techniques she may have seen in the past, but her heart was racing like a triphammer and she was breathing hard. Only when Maira put her hand on Joanne's shoulder did the woman stop slashing out at the bloody mess in front of her. Joey tried to calm herself and catch her breath. Rhianna was at Dora's side and pulled down a curtain at a nearby window. She tore it and wrapped strips over the wounds, stopping the blood loss. "We have to get you to a hospital." Dorothy shook her head. "No, you're here to stop that bomb. All three of you may be needed to do that. I'll be alright here. If you make it, you can come back and take care of me. If not... it won't matter."

 

The three sisters didn't like the idea, but Dora was right. They left her sitting there and moved down the hall to the room that was calling to them. Rhianna paused, with her hand on the doorknob. "The bomb is in there. We can feel it. But so are some of them. So we go in fast and lash out at anybody who tries to stop us. Keep your shield in front of you and keep moving. Watch out for hostages. Ready?" Joanne and Maira nodded. Rhianna open the door and they rushed in. The men in the room began blasting at the women, and bullets were deflected away by their shields. The ladies pressed in, seeing the metal case that held the device on the other side of the room by the desk. Rhianna threw the spear she held and skewered one of the gunmen. At once another spear appeared in her hand. But as the trio advanced into the room, the gunmen were on either side and the heroines were being fired upon from multiple directions. Joanne cried out as a bullet creased her shoulder. Maira threw her spear and another terrorist went down. The ladies got to the side of the bomb and were surprised to see the ambassador tied up and gagged behind the desk where Arim had left him. Rhianna formed a sword in her hand and hacked at the casing of the bomb. But it was constructed of a very durable alloy that resisted her attacks. On one end there was the timer device. It was imbedded in a block of molded clear polymer acrylic resin, stronger than steel. The light display showed there were only twelve minutes left. She hacked at that, but barely chipped away at part of it. Suddenly, Maira screamed. "Rhia, look out!" One of the terrorists had tossed a hand grenade across the room. The ladies ducked behind the case of the bomb as the grenade exploded. "We have to stop that timer!" Rhianna stood up and held off the gunfire with her shield as she continued to hack at the covering over the timing device. But she could not get into it. Joanne murmurred "I think this might work. God, I hope so..." Joey stood and the shield on her arm dissapated. She formed a spear and holding it in both hands. raised it over her head and brought it down with all her might on the top of the timer unit. It pierced the casing and plunged into and through the timer. The unit went dead. But when she had done this, she had been exposed to the fire of the gunmen. Bullets stitched through her body, and she died before she even was aware she'd succeeded. Maira looked with horror as the body of her sister dropped to the floor next to her. Rhianna gasped, "Oh Joey, no...." She held up her shield and sprang out from behind the bomb. She flew swiftly at three of the men with bullets bounced away from her. She was on them and slashed out, cutting them down. Other gunmen fired, and the bullets came close to her. Two who were firing at her were struck down by spears thrown by Maira. Rhianna saw there were three men left and she charged at them. One went down with a spear in his chest, and a second she ran into with her shield and smashed through the wall. The last one was pounding at the breech of his gun. The AK-47 had jammed and he looked at Rhianna. She took a breath, and asked him. "Do you surrender?" But he brought the gun up and smashed her in the face with it. She staggered back, stunned. He came up behind her and wrapped a forearm around her neck. He growled over towards Maira, "Now you will surrender or I will snap this one's neck like a twig!" Maira thought for a second, then pulled at her top, ripping away at it. Her breasts were exposed and she cried out, "OK, I give up. You can have me!" The man stopped and stared at the young topless woman, his jaw dropped. As he did so, Rhianna's mind cleared. She formed a mystic sword in her hand and drove it back into the gut of the man holding her. He collapsed to the floor, dead. Rhianna looke over at her little sister and asked, "What the hell was that?" Maira had a sly grin. "Well, I thought you could take him out if I distracted him." Rhianna frowned. "What if he'd been gay?" The youngest girl snorted. "A gay arabic terrorist? I don't think so." The pair went to where their sister's body lay, and stared at it for a minute. Tears were in Maira's eyes as she knelt down and put her hand on Joanne's shoulder. Meanwhile Rhianna turned to untie the ambassador who had managed to live through the battle.

 

But as soon as she got the gag off his mouth, he babbled out. "The bomb... there are three ways to trigger it. You have to stop Arim Bal-Akar, the head of the terrorists! He has a remote control box with a button that can detonate it. The timer was one way, that red button on the top of the box is the second, but Arim Bal-Akar has the third with him. He means to die here with all of London going with him. He went down to the front of the building where he he talking to the television people. He wanted to be live on the TV when the bomb goes off!" Rhianna's mind raced at the new information. "Maira, stay here and guard that red button. Don't let anyone near it. I'm going after Arim Bal-Akar." She ran from the room, down the stairs towards the front entrance to the embassy. She stopped by the door and looked out the window. Outside in the street there was a TV cameraman who was lined up on a pair of individuals. One, the reporter, held up a microphone to a dark-haired man who was preaching how the evils of the western world were going to result in the city of London being punished. Divine punishment would burn out the arrogance of the West. She knew this had to be Arim Bal-Akar, and she saw he had one hand in his jacket, even as the other waved back and forth to emphisize his ravings. That hand in his pocket had to be on the trigger. If she moved at him, he would set it off. But then he paused and glanced at his wrist, checking his watch. His face clouded, and she figured he had been expecting something that hadn't happened. He knew the timer had been foiled. If he just pushed that button in his pocket right now, everyone for miles around was dead. She held her breath waiting to see if the world would end, but exhaled as she saw him pull the remote out of his pocket and hold it up above his head. He cried out, "And now the Brotherhood of Allah will stike out at..." "Too theatrical, you ass-hole!" she muttered as she dove through the window at the terrorist. Her mystic sword cleaved through the air and chopped the man's hand off at the wrist. The lethal device dropped to the ground, held by fingers that could no longer push the button because they were dead. While his blood gushed from his severed wrist, Arim Bal-Akar dove and reached for the unit with his other hand. That hand never got to the remote before the sword came down in his back, going through him and pinning his dying body to the pavement. Wonder Lady breathed easy and bent down to grab the remote, carefully holding it in her hand. Once this occured, a huge horde of police and army personnel rushed towards and into the embassy. Rhianna saw an officer she knew, and she reached up and peeled off her mask. "Captain O'Roarke, the bomb is up in the ambassador's office on the second floor, guarded by... another heroine. Get the disposal units up there, and tell them not to touch the little red button on top." Rhianna hoped that Maira wasn't still standing up there topless. But she wouln't put it past the kid.

 

Now that it was over, the three ladies spent the first of many days mourning the death of their sister. They tried, as the days went by, to get over their loss. England showed its gratitude with a huge solemn funeral for the dead and great ceremony for the living. They were awarded Britain's highest honors. Dora was offered the chance to have the role she had on the Doctor Who show spun off into her own series. But she turned that down to pursue some of the many movie roles she was being offered. The critics were surprised to admit they thought the young lady was a reasonably good actress and her small part in Peter Jackson's film of The Hobbit got her very good reviews. She worked at picking the best roles from what they offered her, and got an academy award nomination for her portrayal of a nurse who falls in love with a dying patient during the Korean War. Maira went into modelling and was seen everywhere. The newspapers thought it was scandalous the way she was seen on the beaches of the Riviera in the briefest of swimwear. Then a tabloid ran a series of distinct, though grainy, photos of her cavorting topless on a beach in Spain with a young man whose family ran a huge chain of department stores. She married him... briefly. And he was the first of many husbands she went through. Rhianna continued the career she loved in the army, with a promotion to Major. She did have to adjust to changes in her life. She was required to appear at many functions to show off her medals and allow the army hierarchy to mingle with a real hero. She was asked (and she was sure if she had refused, it would have become an order) to pose for ads and appear in commercials for army recruiting. The photographers were interested in swimsuit shots on the beach, but she insisted if she was going to promote the armed services, she would do so only in her dress uniform or her fatigues. This made her face known to everyone in the country, and like her sisters, she was constantly pestered for autographs.

 

A few weeks after the battle of the embassy, the Major thought the crowds may have thinned down a little at the British Museum, so she donned a topcoat to hide her uniform and a pair of sunglasses to try to hold off the public. She entered the museum and went to the hall where the remains of Queen Boudicca of the Iceni were prominently displayed. She stood to one side and concentrated her thoughts. "Your majesty, are you here? Did you recover from what happened to you?" The others in the room had no idea a conversation was going on. Only Rhianna and the long dead  queen heard it. "Yes, my daughter, I am here, and I have recovered from my incapacitation. It would seem that even I have limitations. I tried too hard to react to the crisis and was rendered helpless when I was needed most. It was fortunate that you four were so capable. I'm... I'm very sorry about Joanne. I hurt over this as much as you do. I was linked with her when she chose to sacrifice her life, and I felt the icy hand of death take her. Rhianna, I was wondering when you would come to speak with me. I know what is on your mind." Rhianna was startled. "What? How could you..." "Although I was helpless, I still was merged with you and your sisters. I felt your thoughts at the end of the battle and I knew you would come here to chastize me." "I merely wanted to tell you that you did make a mistake in the past, one you can avoid in the future, although I hope there will not be any crisis so severe that the form of Wonder Lady is needed. In the past, your highness, when danger came to Britain, you found a young woman who was one of your decendants and offered her great powers and abilities to transform her into a warrior. But the gifts you give do not make someone a warrior. They have to learn to be one. When I was touched by you, I already was a trained soldier. Your gifts made me a superior fighting person, capable of doing much more than my sisters could do." "Yes, daughter, you are right. I was a fool not to see it. The young women I merged with have been chosen poorly. I never thought to look for the best qualified person. They fought well, but struggled. I think Maureen, as I fought with her over the years, became an excellent warrior, and I was very proud of her. I loved her dearly and was heartbroken when she died. But I see that without you, your three sisters would never have succeeded in stopping the terrorists. Thank you."

 

Rhianna paused for a few minutes before she replied. "Queen Boudicca, I would like you to know that I would be willing to serve should the times call for it. The next time you need to bring your power to a mortal, please call on me." The Queen was very proud of the descendant she called her daughter. "Bravo! I will hope to spend a long time slumbering in this place, not needed. But if I am called upon, we shall work together to save Britain and its people from harm!"

 

---< Author's Note >---

 

This is a story of costumed heroines with a little twist here and there. Young ladies suddenly find themselves seized upon to fight for their country and their people. A story that ranges from the first World War to today. A story with excitement, danger, sex (hmmm... not a lot of sex - sorry, it didn't really fit in most of the time) and death. Each young woman who becomes a different Wonder Lady reacts a little differently to the task.

 

The plot started with the comic cover maniputations I do for the Wizard's Lair - a couple of which you see here. These started as covers from Nedor-Better's WONDER COMICS from the 40's that had Brad Spencer, Wonderman featured on the cover. In each case I took Brad out of the cover and left in his sidekick, Carol, whose job was similar to many sidekicks in the history of comics. She was there to get into trouble and need to be saved. I added a mask to Carol in the cover manips and altered the logo to proclaim it was Wonder Lady! Nice looking babes in bondage and/or deadly peril seemed just right. But I was bothered by the fact that these two WONDER LADY covers have two heroines who don't look at all alike. I thought up a reason for this, and created a costumed super-heroine who is a different person with the involvement of different young ladies. With this hook, I fleshed the story out with various conflicts that ranged over a time span of over 90 years.

 

I am very interested in hearing from you readers about how you feel about my work. Please e-mail me at therat4040@yahoo.com  and tell me what you thought of this story. Alias the Rat 6/08