The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Light and Shadows X: Eclipsed

by J. Darksong & Gbrn32e

* * *

Ch.1) James Frasier v/s The World

Okay... this is officially not fun anymore.

Jimmy Frasier growled angrily, diving behind a trash dumpster as a wall of flame erupted, flooding the area. The heavy metal canister absorbed most of the heat, shielding him, but the smell of cooked garbage billowing forth from inside the makeshift barrier made him almost prefer being roasted alive. He was relatively sure his Neuroweave suit would protect him from the flames if push came to shove, but truth be told, he needed the extra time to come up with some kind of a plan.

“What’s wrong, Darklight?” the flaming ex-villain taunted, hovering several feet in the air, held aloft by the intense heat she was generating. “Are you going to spend all your time there hiding, or are you going to come out and face me like a man?”

“Easy for you to say,” Jimmy grumbled back, rolling to the side as another plume of flame enveloped the spot where he’d been resting. “Some of us aren’t fireproof, or gifted with the ability to fly. Why don’t you come down to ground level and fight me up close and personal?”

Inferna frowned, tilting her head to the side, pretending to consider the argument for a moment... then shook her head, grinning wickedly. “Nah. It’s much more fun this way. Besides,” she added, gesturing, creating a circular wall of flames around his adversary, “it’s been a while since I’ve faced someone who didn’t blaze up like a piece of kindling after the first few seconds! I’m actually enjoying being able to cut loose again!”

Coughing a bit from the smoke, sweating like crazy from the heat, Jimmy groaned loudly. Shit. I do NOT have time for this! I need to take this hothead down and move on. Every second I waste on this clown is another second Katie has to bring the world crashing down around us. And... I still have no idea exactly where she even is, or WHY she’s doing all of this! On top of everything else, I need to gather information about what’s been going on since I was away... Glancing up at the side of the nearby building, spying the red painted pipe running down its side, he nodded inwardly. But first, I need to deal with Inferna. And I think I see just the tool I need to bring this confrontation to a close.

“Nowhere to run, ya squirmy little inkblot!” the flame haired villainess crowed victoriously, creating a huge fireball in her hands. “I’ve got you exactly where I want you!”

“Interesting observation,” Darklight shouted back, running straight into the wall of flames, covering his head and face as he dove through them to emerge on the other side, landing beside the outer wall of the nearby building. “I was just about to say the exact same thing!” Making a fist, he punched and grabbed the red painted pipe, turning it up towards a startled Inferna. A flood of pressurized water shot forth from the building’s fire suppression line, dowsing the flame covered adversary, who sputtered and flailed helplessly as she dropped to the ground below. Soaked, her fire neutralized, she was completely vulnerable and helpless. Shaking the water from her face, she glanced up to find her foe standing over him.

“Well, Inferna, you gave it your best shot,” he quipped, drawing back a fist, “but now it’s my turn.” He swung, and the redhead closed her eyes, flinching. With a smirk, Jimmy held back at the last second, instead flicking her forehead lightly with his finger instead. The impact was enough to knock the flame headed villain unconscious, however.

“She’s down!” a voice yelled out through a megaphone, causing Jimmy to turn. “I repeat, Inferna is down! Everyone, move in and surround the perp!” Oh, crap... the police, they’re back again. I’d rather not have to fight my way through them if I can help it. As the officers drew close, drawing their weapons, he pushed himself back against the side of the building, and extended his power, covering the area in pitch black darkness. “Wh... what the... I can’t see anything!” the captain yelled out, firing wildly. When the darkness finally faded, Darklight had vanished.

* * *


The Scotsman glanced up at the tall elderly man standing in his doorway. “Nigel?” he said calmly, gesturing him forward. “What is it? Something wrong?”

Nigel chuckled ruefully. “A rather broad question, that. Recent events would assert that yes, there is a lot that is currently ‘wrong’.”

Eugene chuckled as well. “A verra good point. Okay, in this context, is there something new that’s just occurred to add to the current list of general wrongness in our lives?“

“No, not as such,” Nigel replied with a sigh. “Frankly, old man, I’m not sure if I could handle much more going wrong.”

“Aye. You and me both,” Eugene admitted, wearily. “I’m verra tired, Nigel. Not just physically, though that as well. I just feel soul weary. So many things happening now, Nigel... and so much of it my fault.” He shook his head sadly. “Both of these crises could have been prevented if I’d just made more of an effort with Rose and Katie both.” He sighed. “I’m not usually one for ruminating about what could have been, mind... but I cannae help but wonder what I could have done differently.“

Nigel frowned. “You’re right. This isn’t like you. What’s done is done. We can’t change the past. All we can do now is to focus on the present, and try to make sure we all have a future.”

“Huh. Ye’ve never met my Great Aunt Billie,” Gene mumbled softly.

“Eh? What was that?” Nigel asked.

“Never mind, just thinking out loud,” Eugene replied with a sigh.

Walking into his room, noting the open and nearly full suitcases, Nigel sighed deeply, considering his words. “So... you’re planning to head back to River City tonight, then?”

“Aye. That’s the idea.” He sighed and turned to face his friend. “And you’re still planning to stay behind?”

“As much as I’d like to go back, I believe one of us should stay behind and wait for the others to return.”

“Aye. You do ken it could be ANY time, mind?” Gene added, closing the first suitcase, before walking back to the closet to retrieve another load. “Time works strangely in that Yggdrasil place. Some visits, Lacie Ann might spend a week there and have a month pass here. Other times, she could be there a month, and less than a minute passes here. We could possibly go deal with things in River City and return here and still have weeks yet to wait.”

“True,” Nigel conceded. “Even so, I’d rather stay behind on the off chance that they do, rather than miss them and have the place be deserted if they return while we are gone.” The two men stood in silence for several more minutes before Nigel spoke again. “Eugene,” he said after a while, causing the aging Scotsman to let out a deep sigh of his own. “After all these weeks, I’ve come to think of you as a close friend. One of a very small number, actually. Moreover, you’re one of the very few people I can say I honestly like and respect...”

Gene turned to face him them, nodding. “Aye. I feel the same way about you as well, Nigel. So... let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? You want to ask me if all of this, everything that’s happened over the past several weeks, with Rose and Satore, and Katie Ann... if it’s all actually part of some grand sinister plot on my part.” He sighed softly, shaking his head. “The short answer, lad, is no. I was just as blindsided by all of this as you were. And believe me, I have nothing at all to gain in this; point of fact, no matter what happens between Katie and Venus when they inevitably cross paths, I lose either way.”

Nigel merely nodded. It was a valid question, just not the one he’d had on his mind. “Okay. I can accept that. And I suppose the question begged to be asked, after all. I’m not a man that trusts easily, Frasier. And ever since the day you stormed your way into my office, you and your family have turned my world completely upside down. Granted, most of the changes have been positive ones,” he conceded again, a bit of a smirk curling his lips, “but you must admit, you’ve taken me so far out of my comfort zone, I might as well be an in completely different dimension.”

Gene chuckled at that. “I could very well say the same about you, lad. I certainly wouldn’t have the relationship I do with Evangeline now if not for your influence.” Or perhaps, changed the entire situation with Rose, if we’d met and become friends earlier in life... if I’d known then that you could make a relationship like his work without cheapening or taking away from what Lacie and I share. sigh I only hope I haven’t ruined that with what just occurred...

“Oh?” Nigel replied archly, in mock protest. “You’re insinuating that I’m a bad influence on you? You were a dirty kinky old bastard long before I met you, Frasier.” Chuckling again, he sobered after a moment. “Seriously, though, Eugene. You know it wasn’t really her fault—”

“Aye, I ken,” he said shortly, turning away, sitting back down on the bed next to his suitcase. “And rationally, I know Anastasia had no control over what happened. That she was, for lack of a better term possessed. But... I cannae help how I feel, Nigel. And the lass... she’s an empath, so she knows damn well what I’m feeling even better than I do myself. Unlike with my thoughts, I cannae shut out my emotions behind a mental barrier.” He sighed once more, closing the last suitcase. “It’s just another reason why I need to leave for River City... to put some space between us, and give us both a chance to cool down a bit.” He sighed, then began coughing, a deep hacking cough that nearly doubled him over.

“Eugene? Are you okay?” Nigel asked, concerned, as the elder Scotsman struggled for breath.

“Aye, I’m fine,” Gene reassured him a moment later. “Just... a wee bit congested, I suppose. Nothing to worry about. The medication I’m on makes it a bit hard to focus, so I cut back a bit. But, aye, guess it’s time to start upping the dosage again.”

“You’ve been skipping your medications?” Nigel asked incredulously. “After having open heart surgery just a few months ago? Are you out of your blessed mind?!?”

“It’s not that big of a deal, Nigel,” Gene shot back defensively. “As I said, they... make it hard to focus. To think. And I’ve needed to have my wits about me, first in helping to find Jimmy, then in trying to track down and stop Satore! Maybe if I’d stopped taking them altogether instead of merely cutting back, I would have been clearheaded enough to realize what was happening in time to stop it!”

“Perhaps,” Nigel stated with a resigned sigh. “But at what cost, Eugene?”

Moments later, Constance and Eva walked into the room, Eva carrying her own fully packed suitcase. “All set and ready to go,” the blonde replied with a nod, frowning slightly, sensing the tension in the room. “Um... assuming that we’re still going, that is. Did something happen?”

Gene, despite himself, chuckled ruefully. “That’s the second time that question has been asked in less than five minutes. Nae, lass... just two old men talking things over, is all. Nigel is set on staying to wait for Patty and the others. And I’m still set on getting back to River City as fast as humanly possible.”

Everyone glanced up abruptly as a brief flash of light illuminated the room. A second later, Patricia Grimalde, and her group of former Tearbearers emerged, wavering slightly, momentarily dazed by the sudden transition back to the normal world once again. “Whoa... well, that takes a little getting used to,” Ellen replied with a chuckle. “A bit like being on a ship for a few weeks, and having to regain your land legs again.” The other two nodded in agreement.

Nigel blinked in shock surprise at the women standing before them. “Pa... Patricia? Delores?!? Is that truly you?” he asked, stepping towards them. “What happened to you? You both look... well...”

“I believe the words you looking for are, ‘fucking haawt’,” Eva volunteered helpfully, as Eugene elbowed her lightly.

“Youthful and revitalized?” Patricia said huskily, pulling her husband into a tight embrace, kissing him deeply. “Oh, Nigel! Home is sooo... well, I can’t really think of words to describe it! It’s absolutely breathtaking! They gave us some tea to drink, made from the leaves of this huge tree—that’s what made us young again! Oh, and the others, the goddesses there... they’re aren’t anything like we expected! And there were so many of them, even a young girl who looked younger than Robbie, who was actually older than Ellen! Oh, and the plants, and wildlife—”

“Yes, yes, sweetheart, I’m sure it was all wonderful,” Nigel said gently, pulling back from her for a moment. “And I swear, I want to hear all about it, in detail, as soon as possible. But right now, we have something of a situation,” he said, glancing over at Eugene. “It’s actually perfect timing, you all arriving back when you did. We were just talking about what to do next—”

“Hold that thought, Nigel,” Eugene replied suddenly, rising to his feet, getting a shock gasped from the newcomers. “Ach... aye, I can stand, and walk, of a fashion,” he said dismissively. “More importantly, I can count... and by my reckoning, more than half of our group is still missing. We’re short four people.” At that, Delores, Ellen, and Patty glanced around in confusion, noticing it as well. “Does anyone know what happened to Sioban, Tawnya, Angela and Lacie Ann?”

* * *

Okay. Now, I can take a moment to rest and catch my breath, Darklight thought to himself, pulling to a halt several blocks away, leaning idly against a wall. Infiltrating a city controlled by my sister is proving a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean, in a city this size, I hardly expected to be treated like ‘Public Enemy Number One’ as soon as I crossed the city limits. I’m seriously tempted to lose the costume and go around in my street clothes, and see if that attracts less attention... Catching his second wind, he turned, jogging towards the business district again, when a public mailbox a few feet in front of him suddenly exploded.

“UUGGHNNN!” he yelled, thrown back from the impact, ears ringing, more surprised than hurt, rolling back onto his feet in a defensive crouch. A loud familiar chuckle caught his attention, and he scowled, searching the empty streets for its source.

“Nice reflexes there, Jimmy. I’m impressed. You’ve been keeping up with your training, I can tell.” he sighed dramatically. “You really do your old teacher proud, you know? It’s almost a shame I have to take you down.”

Oh great. Talk about going from bad to worse. “Um, Uncle Parker?” Jimmy said, taking a step or two back, glancing around, trying to locate the source of his voice. “What is this? Why are you here? I thought you and your family were at Disneyland?”

“Well, basically, we were,” he said, his voice echoing, sounding as if it were coming from everywhere at once. “Had a great time, by the way. Lucy just loved it!” he chuckled. “That first night, I thought were going to have to sedate her to actually get her to go to bed at the hotel! Yeah, she enjoyed herself, and Roni and I had a nice refreshing break to simply spend time together with our daughter.” He sighed. “And then, a few days ago, there was an… ‘incident’ at the Fantasy Faire. I won’t go into the specifics, but suffice it to say, we were forced to come back home in a hurry.”

Jimmy winced in sympathy. ”And I don’t suppose that ‘incident‘ had anything to do with a certain old enemy of yours reappearing out of the blue, desiring to wreak havoc and have her revenge against you?” He sighed softly. ”Yeah I know all about Venus Satore. My friends back in Portland ran afoul of her a few days ago.”

”Oh... I’m sorry to hear that,” Parker replied sincerely. ”My condolences. But, if its any consolation, Satore won’t be much of a concern to anyone very soon, and your friends will be freed—”

”They already are,” Jimmy told him with no small amount of pride. “Devon managed to shatter her control and free the Beautiful Gems. We’re.... not quite sure exactly how, or if she can do it again, but we’re kind of hoping to keep her in reserve in case the worse happens.”

”Huh. Wow. That’s... really... wow. And, did your girlfriend come to River City with you?”

”Nope, sorry. It’s just me for this trip.”

Another sigh. ”Well, that’s too bad. We could always use another member for the cause. No matter. Right now, Jimmy my boy, you’re the one we’re talking about. I have a very simple message from your sister Katie: Go back to Portland. She doesn’t want to fight her own brother, and truth be told, I’m not looking forward to fighting you here and now. If you just agree to leave the city and let us continue spreading the good word, then you can go. No one else will bother you or attack you. So... what do you say?”

Jimmy took a second or two to consider his options. Like Parker, he wasn’t exactly eager to fight members of his own family. He was quickly starting to realize just how far and wide Katie’s influence had spread. If he continued on, he would likely have to fight his way through the entire city to reach her... something he found strangely parallel to the situation his Uncle Parker had faced himself several decades ago. Still, he remembered all too well the reason why he’d come back home in the first place, and the vision Devon had shared with him of what would happen if he was unable to stop Katie. In the end, his choice was really no choice at all.

“Sorry, Parker,” he replied grimly, drawing his extending metal bo staff from his costume, “but I came back here for a reason. I can’t leave, not yet. And as much as it pains me... I can’t let you stop me.”

“Said like a true hero,” Parker replied, his voice still echoing strangely from all directions at once. ”And an interesting word choice as well. As much as it pains you now, you’ll be in quite a bit more before I’m done with you...”

* * *

Rosella stood quietly just atop the roof of the nearby diner, staring down at the street below. Just a few yards below, the enemy of her Goddess was fighting against the son of her former Master, and the man she’d been hired to protect. Watching the confrontation, she couldn’t help but feel somewhat torn in multiple directions. On one hand, she rather liked Jimmy. He was funny, smart, and didn’t take himself too seriously. Most of all, he somehow managed to keep a positive outlook despite all the unlucky things that seemed to happen to him on a regular basis. She admired that. Plus... the boy had saved her life, literally taking a bullet for her, despite the fact that she’d been hired to do that for him.

On the other hand, he was openly opposing her Mistress... well, technically, both of them, from what she’d heard from Goddess Aphrodite about the incident with Julie and the Beautiful Gems. His girlfriend, Devon, one of the few people on this planet that she still considered a friend, had somehow managed to break her Goddess’ control over the Gems! She, and by extension, Jimmy, were a major threat, one that needed to be eliminated!

Or... not so much eliminated as swept out of the way and rendered no longer a threat. The ink scribbling away inside her mind, editing her thoughts and feelings, felt rather strongly about that. Jimmy was Mistress Katie’s beloved brother, and she did NOT want him hurt if there was any way to prevent it. A few bumps and bruises here and there were fine, but lethal force was quite another matter. Not completely off the table—Mistress’ plan came above all other considerations, of course, and he, like Jess, could always be revived later—but only as a matter of last resort.

Sighing deeply, she slid a hand into her side pocket, then groaned silently. She’d been reaching for a cigarette, an old habit she’d thought herself broken of for several weeks now. Guess I’m more stressed out about all this than I thought, she admitted to herself. Belonging to my Goddess was bliss, perfect bliss. My only worries were in how best to serve her. Now... forced into the role of a double-agent, forced to betray the woman I live to serve, that bliss is gone. Everything feels so... uncertain. She closed her eyes for a moment, turning away. Even belonging to Eugene Frasier was better than this. With him at least, I knew where I stood.

Fingering the knife at her belt, she sighed softly pushing such thoughts away. She’d made her bed and now she had no choice but to lie in it. The fact of the matter was, things were out of her hands. She could only follow the orders she was given, and hope that things somehow worked out for the best. Turning to watch Jimmy and Parker square off, she found herself feeling anxious again... not sure which side to root for, but knowing that if Parker failed, that she would have to step in...

* * *

“Urrrkk!” Jimmy yelped, crashing into the side of a building, cracking the brickwork slightly. “Okay. Ouch,” he murmured, rubbing the back of his head. “So it’s like that, then?”

“Yeah, it’s like that,” Parker replied, still hidden and out of sight from his target. “I’d tell you to surrender peacefully, but we both know that’s not gonna happen. So, I’m just going to continue to pummel you into submission and drag you in. That should satisfy your need to defy and fight the good fight for your principles, and for me to vent a bit, and get some needed exercise.” He fired, sending out a blast of compressed sound waves, slamming Jimmy back up against the wall again, hard. “So, Jimmy, how does that sound to you?” he quipped.

Grunting, Darklight picked himself back up off the pavement. He removed his black Ray-bans, cracked from the sonic attack, and tossed them aside. “Okay,” he growled, cloaking himself in shadow energy, “I didn’t want to do this, but you’re forcing my hand.”

The sound of Parker’s laughter echoed from all directions around him. “So, you’re planning to actually fight back now?” he challenged. “Think you stand a chance against an ‘A-lister’ bro?” Another blast struck him, seemingly from nowhere, knocking the dark haired youth off his feet. “How do you plan to fight me, when you can’t even find me?”

Huh. A very good question, Jimmy thought dimly, shaking himself slightly as he regained his feet. His insides quivered slightly, and it felt as if he’d spent the past eight hours running a jackhammer. Truth be told, the sonic attacks stung quite a bit, but didn’t do any real damage to his tough physique. And yet, Parker had a very good point; fighting him this way from a distance, repeatedly wearing him down with sonic blasts, might take a while, possibly hours, but he would eventually win. Unless he found a way to draw the older hero out of hiding and bring him within range, there was no way Jimmy could mount any kind of offensive. He needed a strategy. Well, there’s always the ‘usual method’, he thought, steadying himself.

“Really, Echo?” he said, sighing dramatically, dusting himself off. “Sonic blasts from far away? If we were in South Park, this would be the equivalent of Cartman trying to kill Kyle by hitting him repeatedly with a wiffle ball bat! It’d more annoying than painful.” He shook his head ruefully. “You’re the one who made it sound like you wanted a fight. If you’re not even going to TRY and take this seriously, then I might as well just leave and head deeper into the city for someone else to try and stop me.”

Parker chuckled despite himself. “Huh. Clever. Trying to goad me, taunt me, into charging in, eh? Sorry James, but I’m not one of those dim witted, lackluster criminals that we usually fight. I know when I’m being played... and how to respond in kind.” Another sonic blast fired out, but this time Jimmy was ready, moving to the side, dodging as the concussive wave zipped by. Parker let out a slight yipe of surprise himself, jerking quickly to the side as the shadows of the wall he was hiding behind came alive, surging forward to engulf him. “Heh heh... you’re a lot smarter than I gave you credit for, kid,” he said, zipping around the corner, finding another hiding spot. “You kept me busy monologuing enough for you to pinpoint where my voice was coming from. Not an easy task with the way I’m bouncing it off the walls.”

Jimmy smirked at that. “I wrote a paper on Ivan Dokmanic in high school... and trigonometry was always a strong suit of mine. So, now what, Uncle? Want to call this farce of a battle over, and go chase down someone more deserving of your angst, like Venus Satore? From what I gather, she should be here in the city by now.” Silence. Jimmy frowned. “I’m not just fishing here, she actually IS on her way here. Considering the past you two have, I’m sure you’d rather—”

Another blast, this time coming from directly in front of him, send Jimmy flying, slamming him back into and through the window of a repair garage, sliding him across the ground, and smacking him against a Buick in the process of having its engine rebuild. Oooow... okay, note to self... Venus Satore is a touchy subject with Uncle Parker... Mind still racing, he took stock of his surroundings, a quickly hatched makeshift plan taking shape. Sitting up, he activated his power, cloaking the entire garage and area in pitch black darkness.

“What’s wrong, Darklight?” Parker taunted him loudly. “Did that last blast actually do some damage? I upped the decibels a bit more that time, just to make sure you actually felt it!” He frowned, staring into pitch black area. “Heh. Giving me the silent treatment won’t work, kid. I can hear everything... the sound of your heartbeat, the rasp of your breathing... the subtle barely-there sound of your footfalls as you try and inch your way out of that shop and back onto the streets. So, sorry... I don’t have to see you to be able to find you.” He held up a fist, focusing his sonic powers, concentrating it into his hand, causing it to vibrate fiercely. “You were right about one thing, though. I can’t spend all my time here playing with you. Venus will be arriving any minute, if she’s not already here now. So, forgive me, but I’m going to end this quick.”

Channeling a large portion of his energy into his speed, Parker took off, sprinting across the street in the blink of an eye, rearing back to deliver a sonic punch directly to the helpless boy’s temple. He smirked as he drew close, excited to be able to let loose this way again. His sonic punch was his trump card, his coup de grace, so to speak. Not exactly suitable for your run-of-the-mill crooks, it was highly effective on the tougher-to-crack nuts. In their first encounter, he’d even taken Omega Girl out with it. As he closed the distance between them, he was confident that it would prove just as effective against her son. In less than a second, it would all be over—

And it was, though not in a way he could have ever predicted.

“Aaaaaahhhhhh... shiiiiitttt!” Parker yelled as he began skidding and sliding wildly on the pavement, his feet flailing out underneath him. Unable to swerve or stop, he merely covered his head with his arms, grunting as he fell and tumbled, rolling into several cans, bottles, and crates of tools, before finally slamming hard into the far wall of the garage. Groaning loudly, the wind knocked out of him, he managed to lift his head briefly as the darkness withdrew, absorbing back into Darklight, who stood just a few feet away, clutching a large, open, jug of thirty weight motor oil in both of his hands.

“Heh... heh... clever... using your... shadows... to obscure the oil... covered ground...” he managed, before collapsing back down onto the ground. “We... taught... you well... kid...”

That you did, Jimmy replied with a nod, sighing deeply, turning back towards the open street once more. That you did. And I while I’d normally stay and toss some sand or something over that huge oil slick on the road, right now I think I’d better get the heck out of Dodge before someone else—

Reacting quickly, Jimmy leapt backwards, just as three daggers landed where he’d been standing a moment before, embedding themselves into the asphalt. Whirling around, he found himself staring at the blade of a gleaming silver katana held by the black clad figure of Shinobi, his Aunt Veronica, Parker’s wife and steadfast ready partner.

—shows up, goddammit, he groaned inwardly. “So. I guess I should have counted on you being around as well, eh, Shinobi?” he said idly, rapidly calculating the odds of either leaping back out of her range or shadow striking her before she could make a move: significantly less than zero. The attractive brunette merely smirked.

“What can I say? We’re a team. I have to say, though, that was actually pretty impressive just now,” she said, gesturing with her chin, keeping her eyes and sword trained on Jimmy. “I would not have predicted that kind of outcome. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders.” Her smile turned wicked, and she lowered her sword, sliding it seamlessly back into its sheath. “I’m afraid Mistress Katie needs me to do something about that, however,” she added, extending her right arm, sheathed in a glowing pale blade shaped light.

“Oh, crap!” Darklight yelped, trying to leap back out of range. TRIED to, as he suddenly found himself unable to move at all, completely frozen in place. What the HELL?!? he thought, glancing the small seven year old girl standing on the corner from the corner of his eye. Lucy?!? You brought your daughter to a battle?!? Helpless, he cold only stare in dread as Shinobi stepped closer, the sparking, gleaming blade inches from his face. “Um... come on... can’t we talk about this?” he asked, stalling for time. Veronica merely laughed.

“Sorry, Darklight. You’re not talking your way out of this one!”

Jimmy struggled futilely to move, his muscles completely unresponsive. “Ughhnn... listen. You really don’t want to do this!” he protested, eyes widening as the energy blade penetrated his head, cutting directly into his psyche...

“Good boy,” Shinobi purred softly, as his mind opened to her, establishing a link. “Now, let’s cut away all those naughty disobedient thoughts, and teach you how to be a good obedient...” she cut off, frowning slightly. “What... wait... no. NO! AAAAAHHHH!” she yelped, jerking back away from him suddenly, eyes wide in shock. Gasping, shuddering, she stumbled back a few steps, before sliding to her knees on the pavement, staring straight ahead at nothing.

Shuddering again, Jimmy, sagged briefly, his body responding again as if suddenly thawed out from a block of ice. A loud squeal caught his attention, as the familiar form of Lucy Albinn ran across the street over to her mother, shaking Veronica’s arm lightly. “Mommy? Mommy! What’s wrong? What happened?” Eyes wide, she glanced up at Jimmy. “What did you do to my Mommy?!?” she asked, her bottom lip trembling.

“Oh, nothing, sweetie,” Jimmy said gently, kneeling down to her level. “Aunt Roni used her powers to see inside my head. She’s just a bit... stunned by what she saw inside, that’s all.” Lesson number one against a psychic invasion—hit them with the most shocking, most disturbing experiences you have. And it looks like thrusting her waist deep into the trauma I suffered from Serpentina all those months ago was a bit too much for her. Oh well... I did try and warn her. Reaching down, he gently but firmly pulled the teddy bear from the young girl’s hands. “I’ll hold onto Mr. Bear for now, sweetie,” he told her with a smirk, “but don’t worry, I’ll bring him back later.” He sighed deeply, shaking his head ruefully.

“That’s not fair,” Lucy protested, frowning. “Katie said if I was a good girl and helped mommy and daddy stop you from going to visit her today she would treat me to ice cream at Baskin Robbins later!”

Jimmy paused at that, considering. “Tell you what, sweetie,” he said, kneeling back down again, reaching into his pocket for his emergency provisions. “Your mommy and daddy are gonna take a little nap for a while. If you’re a good girl and watch over them ’til they’re up again, I promise to take you to Coldstone Creamery for ice cream instead!” Lucy’s eyes lit up with delight—Coldstone was her absolute favorite, though Parker and Roni tended to take her there sparingly, for special occasions only. “Here,” he added, tossing her his Hershey’s Cookies and Cream white chocolate candy bar. “Consider this a down payment.”

Sighing deeply, the weary hero got back to his feet, and started sprinting back towards the business section of town once more. Well, this has been a weird day. Talk about fighting my way through the entire city, I’m starting to feel a little like Scott Pilgrim... He drew to a stop, blinking, thinking back. Wait a sec... Fireball tossing dork, an A-ranked hero and badass fighter, a lesbian ninja girl and psychic, a pair of twin menaces... holy crap, I AM Scott Pilgrim. Shaking his head again, he took off running again, eager to leave the area before a sword wielding negative version of himself suddenly showed up to challenge him...

* * *

Katie cracked open an eye, glancing up as several people landed lightly atop the roof, moving to stand around her in a semicircle. She smiled, opening both eyes, and rising back to her feet, not alarmed in the slightest at their sudden appearance. Indeed, these were her most loyal and trusted lieutenants, her servants, and friends. Valkyrie, Ms. Machina, Red Rocket, Voltaire, Spice Girl, Techna, Discharge, and her newest convert, Ultra Girl, all stood patiently, waiting for her to speak. Unlike many others in the city, each of these eight women had been converted personally, each being shown the Light by Mistress Supernova herself. Each of them, she knew, would willingly sacrifice their very lives for her cause, if the need arose.

“Ladies, thank you for coming,” she stated formally, nodding to each in turn. “And thank you, all, for all your aid and hard work in helping me spread the Light to the entirety of our great city. Aside from a few recent additions, the entire city has conformed and accepted our guidance. The crime rate has dropped to nearly zero, and it is thanks entirely to you, and your fellow city guardians. It’s my hope that River City might stand out as a beacon, not only to the rest of the state, but to the entire world.”

All of the others blushed deeply. “Mistress Supernova, you flatter us,” Megan Tanner stated sincerely. “It is only through your leadership and vision that we were able to make your dream a reality.” The others nodding their agreement, but Katie merely shook her head.

“No, no. I am serious, Techna. I could not have accomplished this without all of your help. You have all proved invaluable. You have truly helped me make River City into a safe and peaceful place to live.” She sighed softly, glancing away. “Some of you know this already, but for those of you who don’t, I recently suffered a personal loss. My girlfriend, the woman I loved, was killed, shot to death, right before my very eyes. I was helpless to stop it, and unable to save her. Since then, I’ve looked for a way to make up for my mistake... my failure to protect to person most important to me. I’ve worked hard to make this city into a place where everyone can live in peace and security.”

She finally turned to glance at them again, her eyes sparkling, glowing with a soft black and purple glow. “And yet, what real use is it all when the person who most deserves to witness it isn’t here to see it? That is why I have made the trip up here to the roof of this tower. I intend to use my newly discovered powers and abilities to undo that mistake... to bend time and space to my will and bring Jessica back to me.”

The other girls merely nodded, accepting her words at face value, but Karen Summers frowned slightly. She’d only recently been taken, after all, having confronted Katie back at the mansion the day before and had been shown the Light. “Um... Mistress? You’re talking about bringing someone back from the dead! Can... can you really do that?”

“Our Mistress is a living goddess!” Tone interjected harshly, scowling at Ultra Girl. “Do you dare to doubt her power?”

“Easy, Valkyrie,” Katie said gently, facing the doubtful older blonde directly. “Yes, Ultra Girl, I believe I can do this,” she answered confidently. “and at any rate, I am not actually reviving the dead as much as I am going to pull her from the past, a moment before she was shot, forward to the present, to the here and now, fully intact and alive.” She gestured with her hands, and the area around them suddenly changed, becoming a grassy field, full of flowers and birds. “My power allows me to alter reality as I like,” she stated, gesturing again, returning the roof back to its normal state once more, “but making permanent changes that last takes a lot of energy. To actually bend time and bring Jessica to the present will take a hell of a lot of energy and focus. I’ll need to stay here, meditate and prepare for a few hours before I can attempt it. And that, my dears, is where you come in.”

“You mean the newcomers?” Bethany replied with a scowl. “The ones that are causing such a ruckus downtown?”

Katie nodded grimly. “That would be my brother, Jimmy, come to try and stop her ‘wayward sister’ from her dastardly plan to take over the city and destroy the world as we know it,” she replied in an exaggeratedly bored tone. “But he’s not the only troublemaker in our fair city. Thanks to Discharge and Ghost Girl—who’s currently out scouting for me right now—I know that their former Mistress and would-be goddess, Venus Satore, has returned to River City. She intends to wrench control away from me and set herself up as the Queen and undisputed ruler of our town.”

Katie glanced sidelong at the older blonde beauty, standing quietly, the wind blowing her long flowing locks around gently. Unlike her partner, Chloe had been given the ‘full treatment’ so to speak. The former Crescent City heroine was completely loyal and devoted to her cause. And yet, Katie knew she had to feel at least a little conflicted about her role in things... being forced to betray the woman who was responsible for restoring her mind and body for her. She’d talked to her at length earlier, about how she felt about the assignment she had been given, but Chloe insisted that she was fine with it. “If it’s what you need me to do, Mistress, then I will do it without reservation,” she’d told her. “I just won’t enjoy it, that’s all.”

Katie shook her head with a sigh. “Both of them will have to be dealt with. While I am meditating, I will be vulnerable, so I will need you, my loyal and dependable of servants, to act in my stead. Techna, I want you to meet up with Ghost Girl and take care of my brother. Discharge, I want you to handle Satore, and bring along your friend Sgt. Matthews with you for backup, just in case. The rest of you will defend this tower from unwanted visitors, with Valkyrie, Spice Girl, and Ultra Girl watching the ground, and Ms. Machina and Voltaire keeping the skies clear.”

“Of course, Mistress Supernova,” the women replied in unison. “Let your will be done!” As each of her sisters departed, leaving to obey their instructions, Bethany glanced around in confusion.

“Mistress? What about me?” she asked in a small voice, upset at being singled out. “Isn’t there some way I can serve you as well? What would you have me do?”

“You, my dear Red Rocket, I would have you stay here, at my side,” Katie replied with a smirk, eyes flashing briefly. “I know exactly how best you can serve me. Don’t worry, my dear... I have something very special in mind for you!”