Dorothea Locke worked the door and occasionally tended bar at The Junction. Deep in the heart of Empire City’s Oldtown, The Junction was a place where deals got done while everybody looked the other way.
Dorothea didn’t like working there, but as far as she was concerned there were few other places for her. She was six-four without heels, and broad shouldered. And those were things she was always self-conscious of, even when she got occasionally compliments or was called pretty.
One night working the door she had dealt with two drunk frat boys who were in the wrong place but just didn’t know it. They had caused a ruckus inside and Dorothea bounced them before they got themselves a death sentence. They didn’t realize she had saved their lives as they shouted expletives and insults at her while they skulked away. Perks of the job she thought as she sighed inwardly.
When the night was called, Dorothea checked the building was locked up as usual, finally making sure the side door into the alley was closed. As she turned to head home, she saw two figures at the far end of the alley, blocking the only way out.
“Time for pay back, you owe us!” shouted one of the young men. He reached down and grabbed a discarded beer bottle and smashed it against the wall.
Suddenly there was a screeching as a black limo skidded to a halt behind the two men. The driver, a huge man, got out, wielding a club of some kind and immediately laid out the two would-be attackers. Behind him stood a man in a white suit wearing dark glasses. Dorothea recognized him from the bar earlier, but before then hadn’t seen him before. If he knew The Junction and what kind of place it was it made Dorothea wary.
“Hello there, my name is Teague,” begin white suit, “and this is Lawrence, my driver. Lawrence was almost seven feet tall and looked like he should have been a lineman not a driver. Lawrence looked on impassively.
“Miss Locke, I had hoped to speak to you after your shift tonight, but those young thugs interrupted my original plans. I represent an agency which is recruiting young people possessing exceptional physical attributes for screening program, and you fit the bill. Now you may find this intrusive, which I accept, but I can assure you that all is above board. We offer you what you would make in a month, for a day of screening and non-invasive tests. Come, don’t come, it is your choice. Here is my card.”
Then, as suddenly as they arrived, Teague and Lawrence left.
Dorothea thought about the offer all night. A big payday could allow her to get away from working at The Junction, and maybe find something better that didn’t leave her soul feeling dirty. In the morning she resolved to follow up the offer as strange as it had been, and despite her wariness over Teague. She soon regretted that decision.
Attending the address Teague gave over the phone, she was found to be a match for the profile they needed from the screening. The tests were carried out by lab types with no sign of Teague or his driver. When she thought she was done for the day one of the lab techs said they needed one more blood test. Dorothea awoke somewhere else; she didn’t know where.
The days and possibly weeks that followed were horrific as she was submitted to a battery of tests and procedures. She met others who were imprisoned, and that was the only thing that gave her hope. Then one day she and a group of other prisoners were being treated together when a freak explosion occurred. Suddenly their powers activated. Dorothea quickly found she was abnormally strong and resistant to harm. She knocked out one, then another lab-tech each with a single punch. She slammed two guards into a wall. Alongside her Sol Smith, now transformed into the rock-like Granite, called her ‘Kayo’ and the name stuck. They tore through the building leaving a burning ruin behind them.
Now, as Kayo, the Bouncer, Dorothea is on the run. She has found a newfound internal strength, enjoying her differences rather than shying away because of them. Alongside Headlock, Electrix and Granite she is searching for other escapees, not knowing who to trust or whether Teague is still out there.
“I’m a knockout!”
Kayo, the Bouncer – Astonishing Nu-Genix #2