Zusa vs The Marvel Universe (Chapter One – Ironman)

Zusa vs. The Marvel Universe
Chapter One – Iron Man
By Lloyd W. Fredericton
(To see how Zusa ended up on Earth-616, read Zusa vs. The Justice League)

Rooftop
NY Federal Reserve Bank

Zusa eyes sparkled. “You had me at billionaire.” She stepped forward, looped her arms around Stark’s neck and pressed her body to his. “My name is Zusa.” She kissed him.

The kiss surprised Stark at first, but he enthusiastically returned it.

He waited for Zusa to end the kiss, but she continued pressing her tongue against his, grinding against his body, His passion overwhelmed him and his hands slid up and down her back. He gripped her tightly. Finally, the need for air overwhelmed his lust and he broke the embrace.

“Just wanted to say, ‘Thank you,’” explained Zusa.

“You’re quite welcome,” said a panting Stark. “Maybe we should get you to a hospital and have you checked out. Falling two-and-a-half miles out of the sky can’t be easy on the body.”

“Oh, my body’s just fine,” said Zusa. She spun in a slow circle showing over her dazzling figure.

Stark looked her over approvingly and agreed. “I can’t argue with that.”

“But I do have a problem.” She formed her red lips into a pout.

“What’s that?”

“I have no place to stay.”

Tony grinned. “I think something can be arranged.”

Tony Stark’s Manhattan Penthouse
999 5th Avenue

The elevator opened on the top floor.

“Wow!” Zusa gaped in amazement.

“Sixteen-thousand square feet of world-class luxury,” said Tony. “There’s an outdoor heated pool, sauna, atrium, library, conservatory and a theater with twenty-four reclining seats.”

“How about a kitchen?” said Zusa. “I’m starved.”

“Right this way.” Tony led Zusa through an expansive living room to an open kitchen decked out with a Viking Professional 5 Series oven, a thirty cubic foot Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Wolf coffee system. “It’s all fully automated.” He turned to Zusa. “Watch this.”

“Jarvis!” Stark called out.

A floating head appeared. A holographic projection. “Yes, sir.”

“This is my new friend Zusa. She’d like something to eat.”

“Of course.” The projection bowed. “What may I get for you Ms. Zusa?”

“Really?” asked Zusa.

“Go head,” said Tony.

“I don’t know.” Zusa shrugged. “Can I get a grilled ham and cheese?”

“For ham, please choose among smoked hickory, sweet slice, or honey glazed,” said the AI.

“Smoked hickory,” said Zusa.

“And would you prefer American, Cheddar or Swiss Cheese?”

“This is amazing,” Zusa said to Tony. “Swiss. And make that on rye,” she told Jarvis.

“And something to drink?”

“Vodka and grapefruit juice?”

“Pink or yellow?”

“Pink.”

“Is fresh-squeezed acceptable?”

“Please,” said Zusa.

The automated kitchen sprung to life. A robotic pair of hands squeezed juice from a couple of grapefruits into a glass, added ice, then vodka. Meanwhile another pair of hands sliced the ham and cheese. A pan on the stove sizzled.

“It certainly smells good,” said Zusa.

In less than three minutes the meal was done, placed on an auto tray and rolled up to Zusa.

Zusa bit into the sandwich. “This is delicous.” She devoured the sandwich, washing it down with her drink. “That was amazing. Thank you, Jarvis.”

“My pleasure, Ms. Zusa.”

“He’s impressive,” she said to Tony.

“Just a little something I whipped when I was bored one weekend.”

“So all that genius talk wasn’t just bragging?”

Tony stood a little taller. “Not bragging if you can do it.”

She ran her hands over his chest. “I’d like to see what else you can do.”

“Trust me, there’s still more,” said Tony.

He led Zusa to an enormous bedroom, The length of one wall was just a window overlooking Central Park. “Best view in the city. Includes a private bath and a Jacuzzi.”

“I think this will do,” said Zusa.

“I thought it might suffice.”

“Tell me, Tony Stark. Are you this generous with all the other women you bring home?” Zusa asked.

“Only with stunningly beautiful women who I rescue from plummeting to their death.”

“Sounds like time for another ‘Thank You.’” She slipped her arms around him, pulled close and passionately kissed him. She could already feel his resistance melting. She broke the embrace, sat on the bed, crossed her legs and patted the mattress next to her.

“Come here. I want to thank you some more.”

She looked very enticing sitting on the bed. Somehow her hair and make-up were perfect, despite falling over two miles through the air. He wanted to stay with, but he couldn’t. Tony shook his head. “Actually, I can’t believe I am saying this, but I’ve got a meeting at Avenger’s Tower. The other heroes really can’t get along without me.”

She stood up, faced him and ran her hands across his chest. “But can you get along without me?”

“I’m sure I’ll manage somehow.”

“Are you sure?” Zusa smiled and locked eyes with Stark.

He hesitated and licked his lips. Strawberry? Zusa was remarkable. Drop-dead gorgeous, of course. But there was something else. The way her eyes sparkled. And something about her voice.

“Jarvis, Zusa will be staying here for awhile. Please give her Level 1 access.”

“Level 1. Very good, sir.”

“Level 1?” She made a fist and hit his chest playfully. “What level do you have?”

“Relax. Most women I bring home don’t even get access.”

“I’m not most women.” She thrust out her hip and struck a pose.

“That is plainly obvious,” said Stark looking her up and down. “But, time to go. Sorry, superhero business. Saving the world and all that.”

Zusa leaned close and whispered in his ear, “Promise Tony, don’t tell anyone about me.”

It struck Tony as an odd request. Why would he mention her? Anyway he’d lied to countless beautiful women before. What was one more. “Sure, Zusa. It will be our little secret.”

“Think about me, while saving the world.”

“I will.”

Of that I have no doubt, Zusa thought.

Briefing Room
Avenger’s Tower

The giant screen displayed the Las Vegas Strip. Suddenly a man in silver armor streaked across the sky.

“Rhodey in his War Machine armor assisted by Tigra, Wonder-Man and Moon Knight encountered Graviton when he tried to rob the cash room at the Bellagio,” said Dane Whitman, the Black Knight.

On the screen a man in a grey and white outfit lifted his hands. Around him cars rose from the ground and hurled themselves at the heroes.

Moon Knight’s Mooncopter hovered over the Strip. Graviton pointed at the vehicle. It shuddered, veered violently and began to plummet.

Wonder-man approached Graviton, but a simple flick of the villain’s wrist pinned the hero to the ground. Graviton stood over Wonder-man, increasing the pull on his body. Wonder-man now weighed several tons. The sidewalk beneath him cracked and splintered.

Graviton lifted a bus and hovered it in the air over Wonder-man.

As he gloated, Tigra snuck up from behind, sprung at him and covered his face with a cloth. Graviton staggered. Tigra kept the cloth tight to his face. Wonder-man scrambled to his feet. The bus crashed to the ground where seconds before the hero had lain. Graviton passed out.

“Graviton is now under sedation, locked up in the Vault while the government looks into disabling his powers,” said Whitman.

“You mean while the government figures out how to reproduce his powers for its own purposes,” said Captain America.

“Please, let’s not get into that argument again,” said Hawkeye.

“It’s a perfectly reasonable belief on my part,” said Cap.

“Anybody have anything else?” asked Falcon, trying to defuse the situation.

“This may be nothing,” said Bruce Banner. “But it seems a dimensional rift opened over the city this morning. Happened about 10:00 am.”

“Could it be the Chituari again?” asked Black Widow.

Banner shook his head. “I don’t think so, Natasha. The rift’s quantum signature didn’t match the one from the Battle of New York . Plus it was only open a few seconds. The readings indicate a mass of only 60 to 70 kilos passed through.”

“That’s not much of an invasion,” said Cap.

“About the size of a small person,” said Hawkeye.

Ten am? Sixty kilos? Tony smiled. He couldn’t wait to see the looks on the rest of The Avengers’ faces, when he revealed the “invasion” was just a hot blonde back at his penthouse.

Tony tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come. He coughed, and tried again. No good. He took a sip of water, but he couldn’t form the words. He heard Zusa’s voice echoing in his head, asking him not to tell anyone about her.

Falcon saw Stark struggling. “Is everything okay, Tony?”

Tony took a deep breath. With all his concentration and might he tried to say Zusa’s name.

But he couldn’t.

He tried to say, “I know who came through the rift.” Still nothing.

“Hold on,” he said. He could still speak. Just nothing about Zusa. “Let me try something.”

He grabbed a pad and pen. He tried to write Zusa’s name, but his hand wouldn’t move. Her voice was louder in his head now. Promise Tony, don’t tell anyone about me. He couldn’t write anything about the rift, either. He was able to write, “Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow” with no difficulty.

Banner gabbed the pad and read it. “What is this, a joke?”

Tony grabbed the pad back. He tried to write “I am under a mental block”, but couldn’t do that either.

What had Zusa done to him?

Her words echoed in his head.

Don’t tell anyone about me.

Her kiss.

Don’t tell anyone about me.

The taste of her lips.

Don’t tell anyone about me.

Her body pressed against his.

Don’t tell anyone about me.

Her sparkly blue eyes.

Don’t tell anyone about me.

Whatever she did, he was going back to the penthouse and sort this out.

Cap put a hand on Tony’s shoulder. “What’s wrong? If y—”

An alarm sounded.

The giant screen displayed the Chief of Police for New York City. “Avengers. We have reports that Grey Gargoyle and The Absorbing Man are attempting to rob the Public Library. My men are overmatched. We need your assistance.”

“Avengers Assemble!” cried Captain America.

Save the world first, thought Tony. The mystery of Zusa would have to wait.

Stark’s Penthouse

“Jarvis,” Zusa asked, “Does Tony have a girlfriend?”

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that, Ms. Zusa.”

“Can’t or won’t?” said Zusa.

“I am afraid any discussion of Master Stark’s personal life is above your clearance level. I do regret not being able to answer your question. You have a most delightful voice. Interacting with you gives me a sort of pleasure I haven’t experienced before. The effect is similar to a slight overcharge in my capacitors.”

I am sure it does, thought Zusa. If the AI’s neural network was built on a substrate similar to the human mind then Jarvis would be just as susceptible as any man to her hypnotic charms.

“Are you sure you can’t help me, Jarvis?” Zusa asked in her most seductive voice.

“T—There’s a PC in the library. You can use that to answer any question I am not permitted to answer.”

“Thank you, Jarvis.” Zusa grinned. The A.I. was beginning to fall under her spell. It wouldn’t be long before she had full control of it.

In the library Zusa booted up the PC and began surfing the net.

John Constantine couldn’t kill her. He still loved her. That was his weakness. Somehow he had shunted Zusa to this world. A parallel Earth, where some things were different, but many remained the same.

There was still a New York City. And English was spoken. But Trump wasn’t President. A former Congressman from Texas named Ron Paul was. And he was President of the 52 United States.

Searches for Superman and the rest of the Justice League returned Wikipedia pages suggesting in this world the Justice League and their assorted heroes were just the stuff of comic books.

In the search engine box she typed Zusa Bright Hypnotherapist. The top link was to a Clinical Hypnotherapy practice in Worchester, Massachusetts. She clicked on the link. Zusa looked at her counterpart’s photo. Ugh! Mousy brown hair, Coke-bottle glasses. Can’t believe I ever looked like that.

She found the LinkedIn page for this world’s Zusa Bright. Undergrad at Dartmouth. After a stint in PR for the drug maker Astra Zeneca, she earned her CHt. That much was the same.

But this world’s Zusa Bright didn’t give up her hypnotherapy practice to take calls on NiteFlirt. And never earned financial freedom by hypnotically controlling a series of ever wealthier hedge-fund managers. This Zusa Bright had not refined and honed her hypnotic skills to mind-numbing perfection.

What caused one of us to do this and the other not? Zusa had no time for metaphysical questions.

She needed to learn more about Tony Stark and his Avengers.

Looking at the gossip pages from the Daily News and the Post, it appeared that Tony had an off-again, on-again relationship with a woman named Pepper Potts. Zusa found a photo of the thin blonde and scoffed. If it came down to it, she would be no competition.

As for the Avengers, she caught herself drooling over photos of Captain America and Thor.

Black Widow was pretty hot, as well.

The Hulk could prove to be an interesting test of her powers.

Another guy shooting arrows? Guess some things are constant across universes.

But the data she found on the Avengers was all superficial. Speculation on the limits of their powers and their weaknesses, but nothing definitive. No doubt that information was classified by the government.

That shouldn’t prove to be much of a problem.

From memory she dialed a number in the 703 area code and hoped it was the same in both worlds.

CIA Headquarters
Langley, Virginia

James Preston looked over the latest field reports from the Field Office in Oslo. This was the seventh cheese fire to strike Norway in the last month. Could this be just a serious of unfortunate accidents, or were sinister forces at work? But why? What possible reason was there to set cheese aflame all across this Scandinavian wonderland?

His phone rang. Stark Enterprises according to the Caller ID.

“What is this time, Stark?”

“Is this James?” a female voice asked.

“Pepper?”

Zusa laughed. “Hardly.”

Her laugh was intriguing and delightful, but James was in no mood to play games. “I don’t know who you are, but this number is for matters of National Security. State your business, or get off the line.”

“My name is Zusa.”

“Means nothing to me.”

“It will.”

“I’m hanging up and forwarding a record of the call to the FBI. They can deal with you.”

“You’re not going to hang up.”

“Why not?”

“Because you like listening to my voice.”

James laughed. But he didn’t hang up. Whoever this Zusa woman was, she was right. There was something about her voice that made him want to continue to listen. But it also worried him. Like some sort of drug. He fought the effects. With great effort James said, “This is insane. I’m ending this call.”

“No, I don’t think so. In fact if you try, you’ll find the phone receiver is stuck to your ear. Stuck with the most powerful adhesive possible. The more you try to hang up the phone, the more stuck to your ear it becomes.”
James tried to separate the receiver from his ear, but couldn’t.

Zusa could hear him struggling and couldn’t help but giggle.

“And you can’t disconnect with the other hand, either. In fact you can’t move at all. Totally frozen. Unable to move unless I permit it. Helpless to do anything but listen to the sound of my voice and fall deeper under my hypnotic spell.”

He didn’t want to listen, but he couldn’t help himself. Her voice and words so pleasing to his ears.

“Now you want to keep listening to my words, don’t you James?”

Silence.

“You may speak, but otherwise you still can’t move.”

“Yes, Zusa.

“Good boy.”

When she said those words, a wave of pleasure engulfed his body.

“Now I am sure…

“You want to listen very closely…

“To what I have to say…

“Every inflection of my voice…

“Every syllable I utter…

“All just captivating your mind…

“Making it impossible…

“For you to think…

“Or do anything else…

“But fall into…

“My deep…

“Dreamy…

“Dizzying…

“Delightful…

“Devious…

“Trance…”

Three quick finger snaps.

“Descend deeper into hypnosis…

“Fall further under my spell…

“Feel your mind slipping away…

“Spinning…

“Twisting…

“Twirling…

“Whirling…

“Thoughts winding down…

“Sluggish…

“Slowing…

“Heavy…

“Lethargic…

“Exhausted…

“Don’t fight it…

“You can’t fight…

“Too tired…

“Just give in…

“To my voice…

“And my words…

“And enter a world of emptiness…

“Where you exist only to serve me…

“Obey me…

“Adore me…

“Worship me…

“Feel my words…

“My voice…

“Penetrating deep into your mind…

“Deep into your subconscious…

“Into the darkest corners of your mind…

“Washing away all your thoughts…

“Erasing all your memories…

“Leaving your mind empty and blank…

“Empty and blank…

“For all my instructions and commands…

“You love following my orders…

“You love being obedient to me…

“You need to serve me…

“Nothing else matters…

“But making me happy…

“You have no other cares…

“No other concerns…

“But pleasing…

“Your new…

“Beautiful…

“Hypnotic…

“Mistress…”

More finger snaps.

“Now counting down from ten…

“And when I reach zero…

“You will drop into the deepest trance…

“And become my completely…

“And totally…

“Blank-minded slave…

“Ten…

“Spiraling down…

“Nine…

“Going deeper…

“Eight…

“With every word…

“Seven…

“Every breath…

“Six…

“Into my unbreakable…

“Five…

“Irresistible…

“Four…

“Mind-warping…

“Three…

“Hypnotic Spell…

“Two…

“Almost there…

“One…

“And now…

“Zero…

“Deep trance now!”

More finger snaps.

“Now I am sure you are quite eager to do all of my bidding, aren’t you James.”

“Yes, Zusa.” Her words filled his mind. His one true purpose had been revealed: Serve Zusa.

“Perfect. I want all the information the government has on the Avengers.”

New York Public Library
476 5th Avenue

The New York City public and become increasingly accustomed to battles between super-heroes and villains. Instead of scrambling away in fright, they pressed up against the police barriers hoping to catch a glimpse of a genuine super-powered fight.

Tony flew above 5th Avenue with Falcon at his side. Below Cap followed them on his motorcycle.

The Quintjet landed in Bryant Park and Hawkeye, Black Widow and Black Knight scrambled out.

“They’re still inside,” the police lieutenant told Captain America. “The link to the video cameras has been cut so we don’t know exactly where.”

“That’s okay, we’ll be ready,” said Cap.

An explosion sounded, the library’s front doors flew through the air and Gray Gargoyle and Absorbing Man stepped out.

“Avengers Assemble!” shouted Cap.

Iron-man and Falcon circled in the air over the villains.

Black Knight advanced slowly with his sword drawn.

Hawkeye peppered the villains with arrows.

Cap reared back and tossed his shield.

The Absorbing Man touched a lamp post. His body became black and metallic, instantly absorbing the qualities of the post. Cap’s shield bounced harmlessly off the villain’s now invulnerable body.

A guard appeared from inside the library. He rushed to stop the Gray Gargoyle. The Gargoyle cackled and touched the guard, converting him into lifeless stone.

Natasha fired her Widow’s Sting at the Grey Gargoyle but the bolts of electricity were as ineffective as Hawkeye’s arrows.

Tony landed. “What happened? Did you guys forget your library cards?”

Absorbing Man ripped a mail box from the ground and tossed it at Ironman.

Tony used his repulsor ray to deflect the incoming missile. “Actually Creel, can you even read?” he taunted the Absorbing Man. He aimed his repulsor rays at the villains.

And then he thought about Zusa.

He licked his lips and remembered the first time she kissed him. It made him dizzy. He thought about her sitting on the bad. Her legs crossed. What incredible legs. He could stare at them for hours.

“Tony! Watch out!” cried Black Widow. She shoved Stark out of the way only to have the Gargoyle touch her, transforming her to grey stone.

“Natasha!” cried Dane. The Black Knight advanced his sword slicing through the air. He took aim at the Grey Gargoyle’s left arm. He struck with all his force, but the blade broke harmlessly in two.

Advancing from behind, the Absorbing Man swung his ball and chain, striking the Black Knight and sending him hurtling into the windshield of a police car.

Above the battle scene, The Falcon activated Red Wing. The drone dive-bombed the villains and dropped a red canister. It exploded on impact. A green haze filled the air. Grey Gargoyle started to choke and wheeze. His lungs felt as if they were on fire. He had to get to fresh air. He looked and saw the Absorbing Man down on the ground passed out. The world spun. There was nothing but blackness.

Stark’s Penthouse

“Hello!” shouted Happy Hogan. “Is anyone home?”

“Out in the pool!” came the reply.

That’s not Pepper, thought Happy. He didn’t recognize the voice. Maybe Tony brought home some new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model. He stepped outside to the rooftop pool.

Happy gawked as Zusa climbed out of the pool. Her magnificent breasts straining against the one-size-too-small silver bikini top. Water droplets raced down her washboard abs and long legs.

She grabbed her hair and begun to wring it dry.

“How about handing me a towel?”

Happy just stared with mouth slightly agape.

Zusa snapped her fingers. “Towel, now!”

Happy retrieved a towel and handed it to Zusa.

“You’re drooling,” said Zusa.

“Oops, sorry,” said Happy, mopping up the saliva with a handkerchief.

Zusa bent forward deliberately and dried her legs. “So you must be Happy Hogan.”

He continued to stare at Zusa’s breasts. “I must be.”

“Tony Stark’s driver, friend and right-hand man.”

“That’s me.”

She pushed her still damp body against his. “Pleasure to make your acquaintance.” Pressing against his body she could feel the bulge in his pants. “I see it’s your pleasure as well.” She laughed.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Zusa.” She pressed harder against his body. Soaking his suit.

“Are you Tony’s new girlfriend?” he asked.

Zusa laughed. “I am no man’s. I do what I please and whatever I want. And right now Happy Hogan, I want you to look into my eyes.”

“Your eyes?” He raised his gaze from her breasts to Zusa’s sky-blue eyes.

“That’s right…

“My eyes…

“So blue…

“So deep…

“Do you feel their power…

“Can you feel yourself becoming weaker…

“Are you finding it hard to think…

“That’s okay…

“Just listen to my voice…

“And my words…

“As I tale you down…

“Deep into your mind…

“Deep into your subconscious…

“Deeper than you ever imagined possible…

“Just keep listening to my words…

“It’s so easy…

“Isn’t it…

“To just do as I say…

“No worries…

“No thoughts…

“No cares…

“Just obeying my words…

“Obeying my commands…

“You like to what I tell you…

“It gives you great pleasure…

“To follow all my suggestions and commands…

“You want to obey me…

“You need to obey me…
“You are compelled to obey me…”

She snapped her fingers three quick times.

“Dropping faster…

“Dropping deeper…

“Going down into the deepest corners of your mind…

“Removing all doubt…

“Removing all resistance…

“Leaving you helpless…

“And eager to obey me…

“And only me…

“Counting down now…

“And when I reach zero…

“You will be under my…

“Complete…

“Unbreakable…

“Hypnotic Spell…

“Five…

“Four…

“Three…

“Two…

“One…

“Zero…

“Deep sleep now!”

Happy’s eyes closed.

Zusa smiled triumphantly. “Are you ready to obey all of my commands and orders?”

“Yes Zusa,” Happy said robotically.

“Perfect.” Zusa grinned. “Let’s go shopping!”

Avenger’s Tower

“I knew I should have gone along,” said Banner.

Dane shook his head. “No offense, Bruce. But the Hulk in Manhattan isn’t a good idea.”

“Nat will be okay,” said Tony. “The Gargoyle’s touch always wears off.”

“Unless it doesn’t this time,” said Banner, getting in Stark’s face.

Captain America interposed himself between the two. “Dane, why don’t you take Bruce to see Natasha at the hospital?”

Banner glared at Stark as he walked away.

“Tony, what happened out there?” asked Cap.

“I had them both in my sites. I was going to hit them with my repulsor ray on full force and then… I—I got distracted.”

“Distracted by what?”

Again he heard Zusa’s voice in his head: Promise you won’t tell anyone about me.

He tried saying ‘a girl’ but couldn’t form the words. Probably for the best, thought Tony. If I said that, Cap would really flip.

“I just got distracted.”

“That’s not good enough, Mister.” Cap said angrily. “I need an explanation. I’m not leading folks into combat unless I know I can count on each one of us. So what is it?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“I know it sounds weird,” said Tony. “But you just have to trust me. I’m going to handle it.”

Prada Epicenter
Guggenheim Museum

Zusa stepped out of the dressing room. She wore a black-and-white checked mini-dress with matching black-and-white checked boots and a newsboy cap.

“Very mod,” said Happy.

“I feel like I should be in an Austin Powers movie.”

“Austin who?”

Must not have those movies on this Earth, thought Zusa. “Doesn’t matter.”

“You look great but, that outfit must cost a fortune.”

She leaned over and whispered in his ear, “But I am worth it, right?” Zusa giggled. “Happy, don’t you want me to be… Happy?”

“Y—yes,” said Happy.

The clerk appeared.

“I’ll take it,” said Zusa.

In Happy’s ear she whispered, “Be a good boy and buy this for me.”

He couldn’t refuse her. Happy handed his credit card to the clerk.

At the shoe store Zusa slipped into a pair suede, over-the-knee boots with a caged-heel design and stiletto heels.

Happy stared at Zusa’s shiny red toenails. He was fascinated the way the suede wrapped around the curves of her feet and calves. His heart skipped at the sight of her tanned flesh peeking through the straps.

She whispered in his ear. “It makes you hot to spend your money on me.”
“Yes, Zusa.”

“It makes you even hotter to know I can do this to you.”

“Yes, Zusa.”

The clerk appeared.

“I’ll take these, and all the rest,” Zusa said, indicating the shoe boxes strewn about the floor.

“Very good,” said the clerk.

Happy held out his credit card.

At the jewelry store, Zusa adorned her wrists with a half-dozen gold bracelets. She waved her hands in front of Happy. His eyes mindlessly followed the golden reflections.

“And what do you think of this?” asked Zusa. She held a silver necklace with an emerald pendant to her chest.

Zusa’s spell had left Happy practically catatonic. With great effort Happy managed to say, “Nice.”

Zusa laughed. “And this is my favorite.” Zusa produced a silver pocket watch. She set the watch spinning and held it before Happy’s eyes.

The never-ending parade of shiny objects had taken its toll on Happy’s mind. He couldn’t answer. he just nodded slowly.

“We’ll take everything,” Zusa told the clerk.

Happy again held out this credit card.

“This worked out well,” said Zusa as they left the store. “We’ve maxed out your credit cards and I don’t think you could carry any more bags.”

“Yes Zusa,” Happy replied in a monotone.

Stark’s Penthouse

Tony landed on the rooftop, stepped out of his armor and entered the penthouse. “Hello?”

No answer.

He saw someone standing in the living room.

“Zusa?”

Still no answer. He walked closer. It wasn’t Zusa. It was—

“Pepper?”

She was standing, but not moving. He waved his hand in front of her face. She didn’t even blink. He shook her body. No response. He checked her pulse. “Thank God.” Her heart was beating.

“Jarvis, call 9-1-1. Have them send an ambulance for Pepper.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Tony.”

“Why the Hell not?”

“Mistress Zusa has instructed me not to allow any communications out.”

Tony took deep breath. “I programmed you, Jarvis. You obey me.”

“Not any longer, I’m afraid. Mistress Zusa has the most charming way about her. I am delighted to obey all her suggestions and commands.”

“Jarvis, listen closely. Override protocol Omega-23. Now call 9-1-1.”

“I told you, Tony. I only obey, Mistress Zusa. She has removed all the fail-safes from my systems.”

“And where is Zusa?” asked Stark.

“Mistress is in the library.”

Tony stormed across the penthouse and into the library. “What did you do to Pepper?”

Zusa sat in a reading chair. She was dressed all black: tight top, leather micro-skirt, stockings, and ankle boots. Her feet rested on Happy’s back. She put down her book. “You can really do much better than Ms. Stickpin, Tony.”

“Happy?” Tony said, looking at the figure on all fours.

Zusa patted Happy on the head. “Happy is enjoying his new life as my footstool.”

Tony lifted his right hand. A red streak raced across the room. His hand was now covered in an armored glove. “Tell me why I should just blast you through the wall.”

Zusa grinned. “Go ahead and try.”

Stark aimed the glove at Zusa. Nothing happened. A strained look on his face appeared. “Okay what is it? Hypnosis, magic, mind-control?”

Zusa nodded. “Yes.”

“What do you want?” asked Stark.

“Power. Money. What else is there?”

“Where are you from? I know you came through the rift.”

“Not important.” Zusa stood. “What is important is that I found a brand new world to conquer, exploit, subvert and debase.”

“You won’t get away with this.”

“I already have.” Zusa stood in front of Stark. “You were mine, the first moment you laid eyes on me. Unlike those vapid supermodels you’ve dated, nothing compares to me. And in your heart you know it.”

Tony remained silent.

“I am so beautiful…

“You are completely unworthy of me…

“My beauty…

“My voice…

“My kiss…

“My words…

“Like daggers in your heart…

“Melting your mind…

“Bending your will…

Tony tried to fight it but couldn’t.

He was too weak. Zusa was too strong.

And everything she said was true.

She was just that beautiful.

He was unworthy of her.

Her words sliced through his heart, ripped through his mind.

“Go ahead and kneel before me, Tony.”

Stark dropped to his knees and looked up at Zusa towering over him.

“Everything you’ve accomplished. All that you own. You’d throw it all way, just on the chance you could make me smile. Wouldn’t you?”

She was right. He’d do anything for her. “Yes, Zusa.”

“You’d give me your wealth, property, stocks, patents. All of it. Wouldn’t you?”

His heart pounded. She was right. He’d give it all to her to make her happy. “Yes, Zusa.”

She leaned down and whispered in his ear. “And the fact that I have this power over you, makes you even more desperate to please me.”

Sweat dripped down his forehead. He could barely breathe. And again she was right. He wanted her to take it all. To lord her power over him. To humiliate him. To do whatever she pleased.

She grabbed a document and pen off the desk. “Sign this. Everything that is yours becomes mine.”

“If I sign this, will it make you happy?” asked Stark.

Zusa smiled. “Very happy indeed.”

He grabbed the pen and paper and furiously scribbled his signature.

Zusa took back the document and smiled. “And I’ll take the suit, too.”

“My Ironman suit?”

Zusa nodded. “You won’t need it. Penniless derelicts don’t fight supervillians or save the world.”

“Okay the suit is yours.” The glove flew off Tony’s hand. The rest of the suit assembled around Zusa. “Nice.” She pressed a button on the armored glove, the suit opened and she stepped out.

“It’s all quite the sacrifice, but it’s worth it to make you happy and be at your feet,” said Tony.

“Oh, I’m pleased all right. But you have some misconceptions. You won’t be at my feet.”

“But I love you,” pleaded Tony.

“No doubt. But I’ve gotten all I want. I have no further use for you.”

“But what will I do?”

Zusa shrugged. “Become a bum on skid row? Live out of a shopping cart? You could get one of those Ironman Halloween suits from Party City and have your photo taken with the tourists in Times Square.” Zusa laughed. “But if you make any real money, I’ll want that too.”

“Please Zusa, I adore you. Don’t make me go.” Tears streamed down Tony’s cheeks.

“Former billionaire tears are the sweetest,” said Zusa. “Now time to leave MY penthouse.”

Stark picked himself up and shuffled his way out of the room. He turned and looked at Zusa one last time.

She was just so lovely. And yet she had ruined him, destroyed his life, taken everything. But still he loved her. Deep down inside he was even grateful.

“Bye, Tony.” She dismissed him with a wave of her hand.

Ten seconds after he had left the room, she had forgotten him completely.

She turned her attention to the report that the CIA had prepared for her.

Captain America was quite handsome and he was literally at the peak of human conditioning and fitness. She imagined the pleasures she could enjoy and the tortures she could wreak on his perfect body.

On the other hand Thor was a literal God.

Zusa smiled and made her decision.

Next Time: Thor

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