Part 1 * Part 2

Golden Flyer swooped down through the condo towers and landed on her balcony before anyone could see her streak through the air.

She quickly moved through her living room and in to the bedroom where she removed her costume and tossed it on the bed before taking a quick shower and tossing on a pair of jeans and t-shirt.

She headed back out to the living room and flopped down, a long day of crime fighting behind her, she had just an hour or so before she’d have to get to work.

Unlike the A list hero’s, she wasn’t rich or supported by the League, she was just an up and coming hero that still had to hold down a job to afford the rent on her condo, let alone maintain some kind of life.

She flipped over to the 24 hour news channel to see if she’d made the highlights, she’d managed to stop two robberies in different parts of the city earlier in the day.  But to her disappointment, several League members had stopped a full scale “World Ending Plot” and there wasn’t even a mention of her.

She sighed and got up, turned the TV off and grabbed her work clothes before heading off for another shift at the restaurant where she waitressed.

Tammy looked over the pictures, her fingers lightly touching each one of the women’s faces before moving on to the next one.  She knew they were connected somehow, each one having disappeared without a word, but she was still struggling to figure out how.

It was the case that would finally break her in to the big leagues in the city’s hero community.  Dozens of missing women, from all backgrounds, but all young and beautiful, would have had any other city on the brink of panic.  But here, with so many super villains running around and threats to the entire planet spawned nearly every week by them, missing women seemed like a low priority to most.

But if she managed to crack it, it would defiantly make the front page and the Golden Flyer would get invited to join the League, she was sure of it!

The early morning light creped through her window and reflected off her costume on the bed, several smudges of dirty dulling it and she frowned, grabbing it and tossing it in to the laundry basket that was about to overflow.  That was another difference between her and the A listers, she didn’t have a butler or sidekick to do the laundry and the hero business was a dirty job.

She reached in to her closet and pulled out the last clean costume she had and slipped it on.  She’d have to do the laundry tonight when she got off work, fortunately her increased stamina meant she only need an hour or so of sleep each night so she always did her laundry late at night when no one else was in the condo’s laundry room.

She walked out to her balcony and flew in to the air, eager to continue her search for the missing women.

Golden Flyer threw the remains of the wooden crate at the retreating henchmen as she picked herself up from the remains of it as she’d crashed in to it.  She’d been surprised at the powerful blast from the gun the henchmen carried and it had thrown her off balance and crashing in to the crates.

She managed to get up just in time and fly over, grabbing the last man running and taking him down.

Her strong grip held him firm and she reached up to remove his mask just as she realized something was wrong with him.  He was no longer moving but his body was ridged and his eyes seemed flat, almost painted on.

She stepped back just in time to watch his clothes bulge at the seams as he inflated and then burst like a balloon.

She quickly flew up and scanned the area for any others that might still be around but they had fled in the confusion and so she landed once more, examining the remains of the man.

The small pieces of plastic scattered between the shredded clothing left her know doubt as to who he had worked for, The Inflater.

It was the first hard lead she had in the case, she’d come to the warehouse after receiving a tip from one of her informants that one of the missing women had been seen there shortly after her disappearance.  But the place was empty except the few crates in the one corner, just another warehouse like dozens she’d seen in her career.

Well it had been empty for the first few minutes until the henchmen had arrived, they’d reacted quickly and fled even more so.

She looked up at the fading light and knew she’d learned something important today, it would be a good place to start tomorrow.  She flew once more in to the sky and headed back home.

Tammy pushed the chair back as the washing machine ran, it was just a little after 4am and work had been as boring as usual.  Which was good, she’d had enough excitement during the day and she now had a real lead to go on.

She flipped open her laptop and started to search for info on The Inflater, but didn’t find much.  No one knew exactly where he’d come from, or even what his powers were exactly, but everyone agreed he wasn’t like most super villains.

Unlike most, he kept a very low profile, only showing up publicly every few years to pull off some reasonably minor heist of some kind.  A jewel robbery or a bank heist, most didn’t even really consider him a super villain, just a run of the mill criminal.

But one thing stood out, the few times the League or another hero had gone up against him, the one power that he was known for had come in to play.

Each and every hero; magic, alien, techo or other dimensional had fallen to it.

Each one had found themselves suddenly transformed in to some kind of rubberized balloon and inflated until they floated away on the breeze.

Fortunately the effects wore off after 24 hours, but the Leagues greatest minds hadn’t been able to work out how he did it or defend against it.

She heard the laundry room door open and she nearly fell backwards off the chair as she looked up to see a man holding a gun of some kind standing in the door way.  A sudden bright burst of light jumped from the barrel of the gun and struck her, sending a strange feeling cascading through her.

She found herself unable to move and with the loss of control, the chair fell out from beneath her, but she found herself floating gently to the floor as the man walked over to her.

She tried to speak, to move, but she was completely helpless and she knew her attacker must be The Inflater, somehow he’d tracked her down.

She stared up at him as he leaned down and pushed her t-shirt up her body, exposing her belly button.  Then, his fingers worked at it for a moment and she felt something “pop” out of it.  The strangest feeling came over her as all the air that was inside of her rushed out through her belly button, leaving her flat as a pancake.

She watched him walk over to the washing machine and take out her half finished laundry and put it in her basket, then he reached down and picked up her flat, limp form and folded it, tucking it between the other items before walking out of the room.