aka Ferris Kimball
Ferris Kimball is practically superhero royalty.
Her grandfather, Natu Kimballah, was once known as the Black Cheetah, one of the earliest known black superheroes; Africa's very FIRST superhero, and an original member of the illustrious Freedom Warriors, possibly the world's most famous superhero team.
Natu had a handful of sons and daughters, who, thanks to the mystical bloodline, developed superspeed... a lot of whom also became superheroes. (Save for his son, Matthew, who became the murderous superspeed villain known as Maelstrom.)Her cousins
, Stephanie and Vanessa Gibson, who are originally from England, are making headlines in Ocean City, California as Streaque of the team, System Alpha, who are the next wave of the Freedom Warriors legacy, and Armada, of The StarBrats, respectively.
Her own father, David Malik Kimball, is known far and wide as the Silver Bullet, high speed protector of Chicago.
Ferris, like many of her cousins, has often dreamed of the day that she will follow in the footsteps of her grandfather and father. A natural overachiever, she has had a hero name picked out since she was 7. She studied at high speed and learned sewing, leather crafting, and even shoe cobbling in a matter of hours. She pored over volume upon volume of books about physics, temporal theory, friction and the states of matter, trying to dissect the way her powers work.
She was BORN to be a superhero, and, when she reached 14 years old, a freshman in high school, she figured she was ready. She surprised her father, Silver Bullet, during a battle with a small cadre of his archenemies:
(The superstrong, dense and thick-skinned reptillian thug, who called himself "Dinosaur Man".
pyrokinetic Mr. Molten
arsenal/jetpack wearing Aviatrix
and Throttle, another superspeedster with the added menace of strength-enhancing taser gauntlets.)
"Lightning girl", as she called herself then, held her own against Aviatrix, and, actually succeded in taking Mr. Molten down. However, she was captured, injured and held hostage by Throttle.
Silver Bullet had taken out Dinosaur Man and Aviatrix by making them accidently attack each other, but, Throttle was the smartest and most ruthless of that bunch.
He bade Silver Bullet to let him go, or he'd harm "Lightning Girl". Silver Bullet made the hard, but expected choice. He let Throttle escape, and, told his daughter in no uncertain terms that she was not to continue trying to get into the "Family Business". She was just a kid, after all, and he didn't want her hurt, or worse.
Good girl that she was, she obeyed her father... at first.
She put an end to "Lightning Girl", but continued to study up on her speed powers and practice whenever her father's back was turned.
It would be another 2 years before she actually donned a costume again.
Throttle was back in action. This time, though, he was leader of a new crew of miscreants, as his former partners were still, no-doubt, rotting away in that almost-secret metahuman penetentiery the government had for the REAL super-killers and bad guys.*
Throttle and his new crew
-(Turbine and Magnetron, 2 androids who claim to be from a parallel dimension. Their goal is to funnel fuel/energy from our world to their all-but-dead Earth to propel the mechanoid uprising and eradicate the alien infestation that all-but wiped out humanity.
HypnoSis, daughter of the old school villain, Ant Queen, who inherited her mother's pheromone powers, and her innocent enslaved thralls, codenamed Tiger Lily, Excess and Cobalt**.),
decided to steer clear of Chicago, but their robbery of the plans for an experimental hand-held neutron weapon en route to the Lister, Michigan branch of CyberMetahuman Dynamics, In Broad Daylight, got a lot of news coverage.
Ferris wanted revenge. Revenge for humiliating her, and making her father crush her dreams "for her own safety".
At the time, The Silver Bullet was off on another case. He, as well as a myriad of other heroes, and even villains were down in the city of Fort Riker, Missouri, battling an insanely powerful mad demigod calling himself "Ragnarok". It too, got a lot of media coverage. So much so, that very few were paying attention to the band of superthugs robbing an armored car heading for a Research and Development firm.
Ferris Kimball was paying attention.
She'd hidden all her attempts at costume making in the old suitcase in the back of her closet. She couldn't be "Lightning Girl" anymore. Dad made her promise. Of course, the Law of the Loophole says she could be someone ELSE.
A lot of the successful and well-known heroes, she noted, named themselves after animals. What was fast? Cheetah? Grandpa would be proud, but that was a little too 'on the nose'. Rabbits? Pumas?
Mixing and matching bits and pieces of her many attempts at costume creation, she went with earthtone colors, and called herself THE GAZELLE.
Swift. Graceful. It would do.
Summoning all her strength (and Mapquest), she took off from her Michigan City, Indiana home, she ran across the state line and headed north to Lister, Michigan.
The element of surprise was a beautiful thing. Only Throttle himself was fast enough to even SEE it coming, and before HE could react, Gazelle had kayo'd the large, strong and igneous-looking powerhouse, Cobalt.
She, of course, broke her hand.
None of the villains recognized this newcomer hero. Throttle hadn't given her a second thought, 2 years ago, so he didn't really recognize her now, in a different costume and name, as the 'Lightning Girl' he'd held hostage previously.
HypnoSis sic'd the feline Tiger Lily and self-replicating Excess on the girl. They were just kids her own age!! Fully hypnotized, they viciously attacked her. Gazelle's own powers rapidly healed her hand, but the pain was still excruciating. She dodged Lily's claw swipes and parried Excess's multiple martial arts punches as best she could.
(Note to self, she thought, learn kung-fu!)
Understanding that the kids weren't in control of themselves, she apologized and brought her full speed to bear. Tiger Lily was felled by 436 superspeed punches to her jaw and gut. She was out for the count, but still managed to get off a few deep slashes into Gazelle's arm.
Excess was not as easy. Every time she turned around, he was there. it was like fighting someone almost as fast as she was. Outnumbered, she decided to retreat. She used her powerful legs to leap gracefully over the heads of dozens of replicants, making her way toward HypnoSis. The villainess knew her foe's plan and ordered Magnetron and Turbine to defend her. At the last moment, Gazelle changed course and ducked into a hardware store. She returned in a blink with case upon case of ballbearings and launched them by the handful at the mechanoids, who used their magnetic powers to redirect the metal projectiles back at her. Which is what she counted on. She danced backward between the throngs of Excess's clones. They caught the worst of the storm of balls. Gazelle returned to the hardware store, then zipped out the back and through an alleyway, emerging at the other end of the block and made a beeline for HypnoSis. The androids, still following orders to protect her, got between her and the speedster. Again, Gazelle had a surprise. bags of sand and sawdust, which she covered the mechanoids in. The grit and granules worked their way into gears and servos, grinding them to a halt. Two punches and HypnoSis was down. The villainess had a glass jaw. With her unconscious, Gazelle figured the kids would be free of her once the initial dose of pheromones wore off.
Not bad for an absolute beginner, 6 villains down, and one to go. The one she came for in the first place. before she could even blink, Throttle was upon her. His taser gloves sent a shock through the girl's body that would probably have killed anyone without an already boosted bioelectric metabolism.
Throttle gloated. Or so she thought. Her ears were ringing, and she was sore all over. She couldn't tell WHAT he was saying. He looked awfully pleased with himself, though.
Sizing up the situation, she knew she couldn't beat him.
He was a rather large man, who looked like he knew how to handle himself. She had hyperenhanced strength, but, obviously, so did he. Exponentially more than she, no doubt. She wasn't a great fighter, yet, and this guy held his own against her dad and who knows who else.
She knew she'd gotten lucky. The element of surprise was on her side with the others, but this guy's perceptions were temporally augmented, just like hers were. She had to do something... unexpected.
"You're used to fighting big heroes", she said to him, "But I bet you never fought a girl!"
"You'd be surprised, sweetheart", he sneered, "At what I have and haven't done. A little girl like you should leave this stuff to the big boys. You're gonna get yourself hurt. Last time i hadda deal with someone like you, I--"
And suddenly it dawned on him. he remembered the fight with Silver Bullet from 2 years ago. He put the pieces together.
"YOU!", he shouted. "Oh ferfucksakes, It's YOU, ain't it?!"
The laughter could be heard for blocks.
"Apparently you didn't learn your lesson last time we met, kiddo. Your Big Daddy ain't here to negotiate for your release this time."
"I don't need him. I'm gonna take you down myself. I think i have a pretty good shot. You don't look all that smart to me."
"Whatta you gonna do, kid? Kick me in the shins?"
Before the sentence was finished, that's just what Gazelle did. 3 times in a nanosecond. She then snatched the disk with the Neutron Weapon's plans and took off running.
Throttle gave chase. He was as fast as she was, if not faster. His strides were longer, too.
Gazelle ran south as fast as her legs could carry her, with Throttle hot on her heels. His ElectroGauntlets crackled just behind her ears. They covered miles with every heartbeat.
Throttle spat curses and threats, but Gazelle wouldn't be distracted. He was strong, but she was agile, crafty and determined. She ducked, dodged and leapt over obstacles. She'd gained a little ground, but Throttle made it up on the straightaways. He was almost upon her when she called out over her shoulder: "Do you know the secret trick to running on water"?!
Throttle looked up ahead and saw Lake Michigan looming larger on the horizon. Gazelle gained 2 more steps on him in that momentary distraction. She feinted to the left just at the lip of the shore. Throttle went 10 or 12 steps across the surface of the water, then hydroplaned, as he skidded in an arc. His momentum waned and he sank a bit. His sights set on Gazelle on land, he pumped his legs to get started again, but it was too late, he'd been knee-deep in the water and his running only churned the lake. He made the mistake of trying to brace himself against sinking with his hands. As soon as the gauntlets touched water, it was over. There was a "Phoomf"!! and the smell of ionization in the air. Throttle sank, unconscious beneath the waves.
he woke up, shackled to a hospital bed, overseen by a half dozen armed guards. They told him that the girl he was chasing saved his life when the electricity dissipated. She also left him a message.
"The secret to running on water is not to STOP'".
Gazelle had called the police/MetaCrimes unit in Chicago to pick up Throttle and had them call their counterparts in Lister, Michigan for the rest of his associates. She explained the situation with Excess, Cobalt, Tiger Lily and HypnoSis and hoped that the authorities would be lenient. She arrived home, showered and changed, just ahead of her mother, Janice's arrival from work. They sat and watched the news coverage of the ongoing battle in Fort Riker against Ragnarok. She hoped her father was alright.
Her mom reassured her that her father was right about her not going into the superhero business. It was far too dangerous, but, Ferris Kimball, overachiever, had decided that she WAS cut out for superheroing, and she would eventually be The Gazelle again. But, to at least somewhat honor her dad's wishes, she would wait until she was 18.
*Devonshire Ultimate Security Penetentiery for Metahuman Offenders. est. 1973.
One of 3 facilities built to house metas that is controlled by the U.S. Government.
** Who would later go on to join the ThrillSeekers team that UberWoman put together.