February 6, 2004

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This Month's Other Stories:

Giant Robot Rampage in Afghanistan

Super Humans Rumble in Holland

Super Humans Riot in California

Bride of the Ultimate Darkness!

Giant Robot Programmer in Hiding

Super Humans Rumble in NYC

Related Stories From Our Archives:

Here Comes the End of the World

Paintballs Against the Space Jellyfish

The Space Jellyfish Strike Back

Super Humans Weigh In on the Aleutian Crisis

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Kristi Halsted doesn't think of herself as a superwoman. "I'm just a woman," she says.

But Kristi's deceptive. She's "just" a woman who can mimic the powers of any panther, whale, or bear.
"I don't know why the Panther picked me. Maybe I was just the only one who asked."

How does Kristi use her powers? "I know people who know people who need help," she says. That's led her into more adventure than she likes sometimes; for instance, "don't get me started on the Jellyfish." But she's helped bring people out from under alien mind control, and she's saved lives.

Kristi doesn't like talking about her past very much. All she'd say was, she came from a place of great sadness. "I know now it's better not to go back, even if I could," she says.

Where she lived, the land was ravaged. Kristi didn't think it possible that anyone could commune with nature any more, but she felt she had to try. And she says, a Panther Spirit answered. "I don't know why the Panther picked me," she says. "Maybe I was just the only one who asked." From that vision quest, she got panther powers.

"Don't call me Whale Girl."

She tried to leave her sadness behind her, when she hooked up with a wayfaring stranger. "He was a kind of holy man," she says. "Not a guru so much as a holy fool." The stranger hooked her up with the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. They, in turn, hooked her up with a Whale Spirit. From that vision quest, she got whale powers. "But don't call me Whale Girl", she says.

Kristi didn't stop there. She launched herself into a life of adventure, carrying out secret missions along paintball-slinging militiamen to save the Earth from alien invaders.

In the end, the nonstop pace of battle was too much for her. So she dropped out, and found an opportunity to commune with a Bear Spirit.

"It had something to do with there being no Pilgrims."
Kristi says, "These spirits don't live here;" in our world, our nature spirits are all stunted little caricatures of what they should be. So Kristi went in the spirit, so to speak, to a land where the spirits are still strong.

Kristi found herself in an alternative America, where white settlers were sparse and the Indians still roamed the land. "It had something to do with there being no Pilgrims," she says.

And she wasn't the only visitor; Kristi ran into ten other travellers during her latest spirit quest. "Some people want to kill the spirits; some want to cage them," she says.

The spirit-killing party included right-wing militiamen; the spirit-cagers were self-proclaimed "black mages" who were looking for spirit power to barter to the Indian nations, especially the Aleuts who want magic power to back their bid for independence. "They were saying this could change the balance of power all through the world," Kristi says.

The spirit visitors were gathered at the trading post which we know as Vincennes, Indiana, where the forest and the plain meet; the hunting was at its best there. The militiamen had gotten into a fight at the post hotel, and gotten detained, but the black mages had taken the field to hunt the Spirit Bear. Kristi followed them.

When she caught up, she found the mages just starting to bring the spirit under control. "They had some kind of big net," she says, "and it was hurting him."

So Kristi used her panther speed and claws to free the bear. The enraged mages turned upon her, but she then used her whale powers to dive in a pond. "It's not the first time I've had to dive to survive," she says. Before the mages could further attack her, the Spirit Bear attacked and scattered them.

Kristi and the bear shared a glance. Then Kristi found herself back in the real world - with the strength of a bear.

So what's next for Kristi? "I'm not collecting animals," she says. "The important thing is, I can help people with whatever powers the spirits grant me."

One thing is certain: whatever else life brings, the spirits have made Kristi ready for it.

Special to the World Journal Monthly by Sylvester Morrow

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