Shirlee Bryant was a young blond hired by Malcolm Donalbain as a spokes-model for his fitness club. Although Donalbain suffered from severe haphephobia, Shirlee served as arm candy in his meetings with potential investors and partners.
Donalbain learned of some work Dr. Joanne Tumolo, a University of Chicago professor, had done on the "nervous system and motor responses." There was nothing she could do for him, but he became fascinated by a private experiment she was conducting 'to allow ANY woman to totally fulfill her physical and mental potential -- despite the handicaps places upon her." Donalbain realized he could use Dr. Tumolo's process, a battery of chemical and radiological baths, in his new chain of clubs. He agreed to subsidize further work, since Dr. Tumolo had expended her own funds. He chose Shirlee to be his "first lovely guinea pig."
Dr. Tumolo had her own choice for the experiment, her assistant Greer Nelson. She was unimpressed by Shirlee and decided to cancel the experiment, until Greer persuaded the doctor to allow her to undergo the process as well, in secret. "Both women were conditioned to receive the maximum amount of stimuli -- to perceive physical and mental impulses with an almost psychic ability." All their faculties were improved -- vision, hearing, physical strength and agility, and mental prowess.
Donalbain had Shirlee clandestinely copy Dr. Tumolo's designs, and built a duplicate of her equipment according to Shirlee's specifications. Once that was complete, he revealed his ultimate plan to Shirlee: dressed in yellow catsuits with blue gloves, sashes, and boots, his trainees would form a secret army. Using his nationwide chain of health clubs as a front, Donalbain's force would slowly subjugate the entire nation. Although Shirlee liked the way Donalbain's uniform showed off her sleek figure, she objected to its cat-themed headgear. "Okay, okay -- I'll wear the mask, too -- but I still think it looks like a Halloween costume." Donalbain reassured her that it mechanically amplified her vision and hearing, and she found that it did. "Adorn your lovely neck with this accessory," he continued, "and I'm sure we'll see eye-to-eye." The studded blue collar, the "will-nullifier," rendered Shirlee helpless to resist his wishes. "At last," he exclaimed, "the perfect woman! Totally obedient -- and strong enough to do anything I command!"
The cat costume gave its wearer improved night vision, through special eye-coverings in its mask. The cat-ears were acoustically coupled to the wearer's ears through folded hyperbolic horns molded into the cowl, for enhanced hearing. The gloves and boots contained retractable case-hardened steel claws, with which the wearer could dig into surfaces for climbing or engage in hand-to-hand combat
Donalbain commanded Shirlee to attack and disable his bodyguards, which she did with ease. He then ordered her to demonstrate her acrobatic abilities by climbing a six-story wall, using her claws, and leaping across to the opposite wall. Shirlee misjudged her leap and fell to ther death.
Donalbain was unconcerned, calling the fallen girl an "incompetent fool." He vowed to create as many more subjects as he needed to carry out his plan.