The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Light and Shadows X: Eclipsed

by J. Darksong & Gbrn32e

* * *

Ch.7) Perigee

A loud clatter sounded as a pair of blasters fell to the ground, from both women at the same time. Regina Baker and Rosella Contreras dropped their weapons at the same time, though for different intentions. Regina stood in shock, trying to interpret the feelings and thoughts flowing to her through her link to her beloved Goddess Aphrodite. Rosella, on the other hand, dropped to her knees, smiling and laughing, shaking her head even as tears began to run freely down her cheeks. “Yess... yess... oh oh, my goddess... it’s over,” she said contentedly, lowering her head. “It’s finally over.”

“What’s over?” Regina shrieked, walking over to the older woman, grabbing her up by her collar. “What the hell just happened? Why did the big bad overwhelming threat I sensed upstairs suddenly change? And what am I feeling and sensing from Goddess Aphrodite?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Rosella replied, still blissfully content. “Our Goddess lost to Mistress Supernova. She’s been converted, just as I have been. No... no, even moreso. Supernova embraced her fully, and made her an acolyte.” Regina’s eyes widened. “You can feel it too, can’t you?” Regina continued. “The Goddess you love and serve unconditionally is now the obedient slave of another. You want to feel outraged or angry, but you can’t. You can only feel content... because that is how SHE feels about the state of things.”

“Damn you!” Regina replied with no heat, releasing her hold on the older girl. “If only I could have gone up there with her...”

“It would have made no difference whatsoever,” Rosella replied, dusting herself off. “Trust me. We’re about evenly matched, you and I. Well, I’ve faced her myself already, and you’ve seen what happened to me! She just defeated our Goddess after all.” She sighed softly, “Mistress is simply too powerful... she’s on a completely different level. But, really, that’s okay. For me, this was the only way it would truly end.”

“What? What are you saying?”

“My Mistress wanted me to suffer for my part in everything that’s happened,” she confessed, glancing down at her feet. “A part of me understands that. Without me, Goddess Aphrodite would still be back in that hospital, staring blankly at cartoons, or coloring, or playing with dolls. I released her... and as a result, you, Hank, and hundreds... no thousands of people were turned into her slaves. I can’t consider it a bad thing personally... but at least in my case, I had a choice in the matter. A lot of the others didn’t.” She sighed again. “So my punishment was to continue to be my Goddess’ High Priestess, her servant... but no longer loyal. I would desire only to serve Venus Satore, but would follow Mistress’ Supernova’s commands. And I would realize and feel every agonizing second of that conflict the entire time.” Suddenly she smiled. “But now its over. The two conflicting voices in my head are finally in synch, wanting the same desires, following the same will.“

Regina nodded slowly. Having heard the reasoning behind it all, she actually sympathized with the poor woman. But still... “So you were hoping our Goddess would fail when you sent her up to the roof alone?” she asked. “Just to end your internal torment?” But Rosella shook her head.

“I was actually hoping for the opposite outcome. I wanted our Goddess to prevail, to somehow tame that blonde vixen and break her spell... to take control of her and this entire city in one fell swoop.” She shrugged. “But in the end, it doesn’t matter. Regardless of which one won or lost, Mistress Supernova and Goddess Aphrodite are both fighting for the same cause now. And now it’s our duty to support them both as best we can.”

Regina nodded, the slight conflict in her own mind fading with her words. “You’re right. The situation or cause doesn’t matter. It’s what our Goddess desires. So be it,” she said, walking to the elevator, this time without obstruction. “Let’s go and see our Goddess.”

* * *

Jimmy sighed heavily, rubbing his chin, wiping away the drop of blood from the side of his lip. “Well, I was right. I did say that this would hurt,” he muttered, getting back to his feet. “I just didn’t realize how much... and exactly which one of us would be doing the hurting.” Shaking his head slightly, he grinned at his silver skinned opponent. “Has anyone ever told you that you hit like a pile driver? And I would know. I’ve taken a hit or two from an actual literal pile driver.”

Robotica grinned back, fists clenched. “Cute. And nice try, by the way,” she said, activating her FrasierTech energy shields around the soles of her feet, deflecting the shadow strike coming from underneath. “You caught me off guard the last time. But I won’t be letting down my guard with you again.” Suddenly, she opened her left hand, palm out, as her fingers curled back, transforming into an energy blaster. She fired point blank, with her opponent less than three feet from her... yet, somehow Jimmy managed to swerve to the side, narrowly avoiding the blast by inches. Wow. Impressive reflexes. I calculate his reaction time to avoid that blast must have been less than point zero zero one seconds... at least a hundred times faster than the fastest normal human’s reflexes. I’d better not underestimate him.

Jimmy, for his part, glared at her, wide-eyed. “Now who’s playing dirty?” he growled, cloaking himself in shadows, completely black aside from his eyes. “From the impact it had with the wall behind me, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a stun blast. Are you trying to actually kill me, Robotica?”

“Kill you? No,” she replied, recharging, and taking aim again. “Hurting you bad enough that you collapse and give up? Absolutely. You’re a lot tougher than you look. I know exactly how much of the damage I deal out to you that you can handle. Don’t worry. When I’m done, there won’t even be any scars... but you WILL be out of commission for the next twenty four hours.” She fired again, this time taking into account his ungodly reflexes... but instead of dodging, Jimmy reacted by sending up a wall of shadows, blocking the beam, canceling it out. “Dammit!” she growled, backing away as Jimmy took advantage of her recharge time to charge at her, tackling her around the waist. She dug in her heels, breaking and shattering the concrete as she struggled to maintain her balance.

“Not... going down... that easily!” she growled, lifting both arms briefly, preparing to deliver a brutal overhead smash. At the last second, however, Jimmy disengaged, stepping back, avoiding the blow, and followed up, using Roberta’s momentum to pivot and twist, slamming her hard to the ground with an earthshaking thud.

“You were right,” Darklight quipped, standing over her. “That certainly wasn’t easy. But you did go down.” He planted a boot in the middle of her chest as she tried to sit up. “Now do us both a favor and stay down!” he growled. For a retort, Roberta rerouted the power coursing through her directly into her chassis, sending several thousand volts through her slender frame. “Gaaahhhh!” Jimmy yelped, shocked, knocked back by the charge. Landing hard on his butt, he shook his head to clear it, finding their roles reversed, with Robotica now standing over him, taunting.

“Didn’t expect that, did you?” she asked, going into full battle mode, as all of her weapon systems came online. “Well, I’ve studied your file, Jimmy. I know all your strengths and weaknesses. I know I’m just about as strong as you. And my quantum level processing power makes me just as fast as you, if not faster. And I can anticipate and counter anything you come up with—you’ll never hit me with the same trick twice. You might as well surrender now. You can’t beat me.”

Scowling, Jimmy rose back to his feet. “Okay... I suppose that’s a fair assessment,” he conceded, glancing around before dusting himself off. “You’ve worked with my dad for a number of years, and have no doubt studied his database on Supers. You’re strong, and you’re smart—I’ll give you that as well.” He lashed out suddenly, sending a wave of shadow tendrils at her. As before, she easily blocked every strike with her energy shields, neutralizing them before making contact. Her smirk swiftly changed to a look of horror, however, when several cables suddenly descended upon her from above, severed power lines from the power pole behind her. “But just because you adapt quickly doesn’t mean you can anticipate every move I make. It just means I have to be a bit more creative. Shadow striking you just now was just a diversion. My real target was the transformer on the power lines behind you. Once I shorted that out, I knew those lines would come down.”

As Robotica struggled to pull free from the tangle of lines, Jimmy swooped in, wrapping and coiling them behind the young gynoid’s body, effectively tying her up. Roberta let out a loud gasp, finding herself effectively pinned. “There. Snug as a robotic bug in a rubber insulated rug,” Jimmy quipped lightly, taking another length of cable, running it between her legs and around her waist, and up around her chest.. “You read through my file, huh? Well, I read through yours as well. And not just your physical specs, but your psych profile as well.” Robbie’s eyes widened, then narrowed. “Yeah, you know my dad,” Jimmy said with a shrug. pulling the cable tighter, causing her to gasp at the sensation. “If nothing else, the man in thorough.” Kneeling down at her side, he sighed softly. “Roberta Bayport,” he repeated back, word for word, “outwardly very assertive, calm and composed, but inwardly hides a submissive personality, a strong fetish for obedience training, discipline... and bondage.”

Despite her metallic skin, Robbie managed a deep burnished silver blush. “Just because I like being restrained... un.... under the right conditions,” she added, struggling mightily in her bonds, “doesn’t mean I want to be tied up by just ANY Tom... Dick... or Harry... that happens by with some steel reinforced cables!” she growled, managing to snap her bonds in a feat of strength, knocking her adversary back into a sprawl. Back on her feet, Robotica scowled at him. “When this is all over, and Mistress Supernova has completed her master plan, maybe I’ll let you make it up to me by having a REAL bondage session in private. For now... you can apologize by taking a very long nap!” she roared, hitting Darklight hard enough to send him flying, crashing into a nearby brick built store, through the building itself, and out the other end into the side of the building across from it.

Jimmy spat blood, groaning loudly, his head ringing from the blow. What the hell am I doing? he asked himself. Besides getting my ass handed to me, that is. I need to go and settle things with Katie... and yet here I am, still playing around with Robotica. He grunted, pulling himself free from the human sized crater he’d created. Why... am I still... pulling my punches? This fight should have been over long ago. I don’t have time to play nice here. I know what’s at stake. So... why the HELL am I still holding back?

“Damn... you really ARE tough,” Robotica replied, coming out from around the side of the building. “Still conscious after that? You just don’t know when to quit.”

“Oh, you know me,” Jimmy replied with a visible scowl. “I’m the goddamn Energizer Bunny. I keep going and going and going...”

“Well then, I think it’s about time your battery got pulled,” a new voice spoke from above. Robotica and Darklight both glanced up to gape at the newcomer. Hovering above their heads, held aloft by a pair of pristine white wings, stood a flame haired, green clad Amazon. A long spear was clutched tightly in her hands, the head of which, like her hair, was glowing with burning fire. Jimmy groaned silently as he instantly recognized the newcomer, despite the changes she had apparently gone through.

Great. And now the Tearbearers are joining the fray. Katie is really pulling out all the stops. Closing his eyes, he sighed inwardly. Well... this is going to royally suck.

* * *

The flight back across the ocean into the United States was a quiet and sober one. Nigel, Patty, and Connie sat together, quietly holding hands, pondering their current situation. On the other side of the aisle, Eugene and Eva sat together, likewise ruminating on events silently. In the back, Ellen and Delores talked quietly, the joy and excitement of their visit to the mythical land of their beloved Brunhilda subdued by the current crisis. And in the far aft section, Ana sat alone, keeping watch over Christina, though the former Syndicate boss was as quiet and subdued as everyone else.

For his part, Eugene was decidedly grim. Having compared notes with the girls returning from Yggdrasil, and the mention of their rather abrupt departure, he deduced that the situation back home was far more dire than he had assumed. He recalled all too well Lacie Ann’s talk about an approaching ‘event’, some kind of catastrophe that was said to bring about the end of the world. She’d strongly believed that she would somehow be the cause of it, and despite everything, had been actually somewhat relieved by the loss of her powers, thinking that she would be unable to cause the impending cataclysm without her goddess abilities.

Instead, it seemed that their daughter, Katie, distraught, mad with grief and bereft of her senses, had found a way to focus and channel her good luck.... or rather, he amended slightly, her ability to slightly alter probability, to set in motion a series of events that would in turn cause all of reality to collapse. Attempting to take over the city and brainwash the people into becoming ‘good law abiding citizens’ paled in comparison to breaking down the laws of reality itself in order to bring back her girlfriend from he dead! Worst of all, it was all happening right now, at this very moment, with him, Lacie, Nigel, Sioban, all of them—anyone who might have had a chance to reach her and talk some sense into her, all conveniently out of reach.

If this ‘Supreme Deity of Fate’ Lacie Ann is always going on about truly does exist, he thought dimly, she must have one truly sick sadistic sense of humor.

He glanced up as he felt Eva’s hand gently grip his own. “I know what you’re feeling, Eugene,” she said softly, “but piling more blame atop your shoulders at this point won’t help. We’re doing the only thing we can do now by heading back home as fast as we can.”

“Aye... for all the good it will do,” he said bitterly. “Even at the speed we’re traveling, we’re still three to four hours away. At this rate, it’ll all be over and done with before we even touch down... assuming there’s still a River City around to land in!” He shook his head. “Bloody useless, I am. And a damned fool. Not only did I not notice what was going on with Rose until it was too later, I didnae even notice what was happening with my own daughter!”

“Hey, easy, Gene,” Eva murmured softly, pulling him into an embrace. “We’ve already been over the issue with Rose. As for Katie... I think there’s enough blame to go around. None of realized what was happening with her. I’m psychic, for goodness sakes! And even I didn’t understand what was up with her.” She sighed. “Yeah, sure, I knew SOMETHING was a little off... but I just thought she was having trouble working through her loss.”

“Ach, well, she was, as it turns out,” he replied with another sigh, “in only the very worst way possible. But... yer right. Sitting here and worrying isn’t helping at all. And there is still hope, after all. The lassies said wee Sioban left to go to Katie herself. And the last I’d talked to Jimmy, he was heading back to River City as well. If the two people closest to her cannae talk her down, then I cannae imagine the lot of us faring much better.” Eva nodded at that, growing silent, considering his words.

Just a few feet away, Nigel Grimalde was facing his own crucible. Constance and Patricia were both at his side, clutching an arm for comfort. Constance, still reeling from her experience, from the knowledge of what Katie had done to her and used her to do, sat silently. Her thoughts and emotions, usually always present in the back of Nigel’s mind through their link, were silent, closed off, either on purpose, or simply do to her dour state of mind. She had spoken very little since coming to in his arms earlier that night, though the problem was obvious, even to him.

She doesn’t trust herself, he thought sadly, squeezing the young Asian girl’s hand. She’s afraid to let anyone inside her head, scared of what else might be lurking inside her mind. Not to mention scared that someone else might take control of her and turn her against us. And nothing I can say or do will reassure her. I’m only hopeful that another trip to Midas City later will help, that having Silver Girl use her Light to clear out any remaining hypnotic tampering will set her mind at ease.

He glanced to his right side, and the sadness he felt lost out to his anger. And Patricia, he lamented, staring for a long moment at his wife, the normally vivacious woman, sitting there, utterly subdued, holding to his hand like a lost child. She’s still in shock at the news about Satore being out and on the loose in River City. This woman, who was ready to go toe to toe with Duncan Frasier, who marched into my office to face Armor Man down with nothing more than an icy glare and harsh language... to see her reduced to this? It makes me want to break something. Or... someone.

Truth be told, he wasn’t honest sure who he wanted to hurt more: Venus Satore, for being the cause of Patricia’s suffering, or Rose, for being the one to release her back into the world. Or...

Or himself, for indirectly setting Venus Satore on the path of vengeance that set her against Patricia in the first place.

“So, Nigel Grimalde, thanks to you, I lost my mother to a violent crime that went essentially unpunished... that made me the woman I am today. How’s that feel, Mr. Moral Highground?” Venus Satore had sneered at him, “to know that everything that happened to your precious Patricia was set in motion by your own unthinking actions back before you ever met her?”

Nigel had replayed that conversation in his head a few thousand times since then, trying to figure out a way to tell his girls about his connection to Venus Satore. It was stupid, he knew... he’d had no way of knowing his actions as a young man just starting out in his twenties would affect them all in such a way fifty years down the road. And he knew Patricia and Angela wouldn’t blame him, that they’d understand and love him just as much. At the same time... some instincts and learned behaviors were simply too deeply ingrained to overcome. He was paranoid, and closed, not easily sharing his feelings freely with anyone, and above all else, he tried NEVER to show weakness. Admitting his connection to Satore felt like admitting that he’d failed somehow... that the reason his Patricia and Angela had had to suffer the trauma that had shaped their lives back then was because of his personal shortcomings.

And so, he merely sat next to his girls, suffering his own silent torment as he tried in vain to help them both deal with their traumas as best he could.

“Would you like something to drink?”

Anastasia Albinn glanced up sharply, the stewardess standing before her having caught her completely off guard. She’d been so deep in her own thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed the other woman’s presence, despite her psychic abilities. Although, really, she thought to herself, considering the emotional states of everyone aboard this jet, I suppose its natural that I would unconsciously shut everyone out of my mind. Shaking her head, she forced a smile. “Um, no... no thank you. I’m fine.” The woman nodded, then offered a drink to Ana’s seating partner, who accepted a diet coke. After she left, the two of them continued to sit there silently for several minutes more.

“You feel guilty, huh?”

Ana glanced over at Christina, the villainess known as Serpentina, as she sat primly, sipping her soda. “You feel guilty,” she repeated, “about having sex with Master Eugene. Even though it wasn’t your fault, and you were basically brainwashed, acting out what had been put inside your mind, you still feel guilty about it.” At Ana’s stare, she shrugged. “You don’t have to be psychic to guess that. Everyone here seems to be suffering from a bad case of guilt and depression.” She sighed, sitting back in her seat. “Not exactly the best way to be spending what could very well be our last hours on Earth... but I suppose, in my case at least, it’s better than rotting away inside a prison cell, waiting for the end to come.”

Ana blinked in surprise. “You know about what’s going on?” she asked curiously.

Christina smiled sadly. “While no one has come right out and shared the details with me or anything, I’ve picked up enough details to get the basic idea.” She sighed softly. “As Master Eugene and Master Nigel’s tamed little slave, I’m usually there in the background when everyone is talking, unseen and mostly ignored, unless I’m needed for something, like helping your son prepare for facing Venus Satore’s minions.” She frowned slightly. “I suppose that’s kind of sad in a way. I used to be the kind of woman that commanded attention wherever I went. Being relegated to the background like this, and having it feel normal, comforting means I’ve lost a lot more of my old self than I thought.”

Ana nodded, sighing. “Perhaps. And I haven’t had the dubious pleasure of meeting you as Serpentina... but I can honestly say that the person you are now is a very welcome change, and a pleasure to talk to.” She sighed again. “And you’re right. If this does turn out to be the last few hours we all have, I don’t want to spend them sitting here moping.” She stood up. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go talk to Eugene and my sister.”

* * *

What the hell am I doing?

Flipping back, Jimmy narrowly avoided being stabbed/slashed/burned by Dragonfyre’s flaming spear, only to get knocked to the side as she followed up with a brutal kick, sending him careening toward Robotica, who’s followed up with a roundhouse of her own, slamming him into the ground. Growling, he sent out a mass of shadow tendrils in all directions, across the ground, and in the air, at both targets, to no avail. Robotica’s shields continued to hold, and Sioban... the new improved Sioban, was moving like lightning, literally disappearing and reappearing from place to place in rapid succession, dodging each strike as easily as if it were moving in slow motion. He had just an inkling of warning, enough time to brace himself, before she appeared directly in front of him, lashing out with a kick to the temple that would have possibly decapitated him had he not blocked at the last second.

His previous joke about being the Energized Bunny not withstanding, he was beginning to get winded. He had been training physically a lot since deciding to do the hero thing in earnest, and had sharpened his somewhat rusty skills to a mirror sheen. Nevertheless, he was, admittedly, not at his peak. He was still recovering a bit from the torture and forced starvation from Serpentina a month or two ago. He was much leaner and faster than before... but he still hadn’t fully regained his stamina. And facing a magically enhanced and upgraded Tearbearer of the Norse gods, and a high tech cybernetic Amazon warrior upgraded with his dad’s tech, Jimmy had to face the fact that he might very well lose this battle.

What in the hell am I doing?

Deciding to focus for the moment on the bigger threat, Darklight created a dome of shadows, surrounding the flying redhead on all sides. With an effort, he clenched his hand into a fist, shrinking the dome, contracting it down until it enveloped her completely... and took a sharp blow to the back of the head for his troubles as the girl merely teleported out of the sphere to attack him from behind. Staggered, he was all but helpless when she followed up by grabbing him by the waist, suplexing back to slam him head first into the concrete. Groaning, he slid down to the cracked and pot marked street, stars dancing before his eyes as the two women stood above him, glaring down at him.

He was going to lose. They were just too strong. He couldn’t take them both. No way. No way at all.

WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING?!? he yelled to himself.

“Well, he’s down,” Roberta said archly, holding a few lengths of power line in her hands, “but not out. Perhaps a little lesson in bondage will keep him still for a while.” She shook her head. “Mistress Supernova wasn’t kidding when she said he was extremely tough. I think my batteries might actually die out before his do.”

“Fine,” Dragonfyre replied grimly, flaming hair dancing idly in the wind. “Then I’ll end it. I’m still learning to use my new powers... but I have enough control to drain away his remaining energy and will.” She held up a softly glowing hand. “It’s only fitting after all, don’t you think?” she said with a smile, “that he should join Mistress’ and stand at her side, as a willing participant instead of an adversary.”

Jimmy groaned, struggling to get up only to cry out as a metallic foot slammed down on his chest, pinning him. “Dammit... Sioban! You can’t do this! I can understand Roberta... having her mind hacked and reprogrammed... but you? You’re stronger than this! You’re... uuugghhnn... supposed to be... resistant to mind control! How can you let Katie control you this way?” Suddenly, his eyes widened, as he realized what had happened. Well of course she succumbed. Deep down, a part of her wanted this... wanted to submit to Katie rather than fight her. She might have resisted and fought back against anyone else trying to control her mind...but not against Katie. Goddammit... never even took a damn college class but my sister would have aced Psych 101...

Sioban’s eyes narrowed. “Nice try, Darklight, but you can’t sway me from my righteous path with mere words. I serve my Mistress fully and freely. Together, we shall change the world. And I will not allow anyone to stand in her way!” she announced, the glowing hand moving forward, towards his head.

Shit, Shit! SHIT! This is it! It’s over. I’ve lost...


I can’t afford to lose!

And there it was. The moment of clarity. In that instant, everything seemed to snap into focus, becoming sharper, somehow clearer, than before. Jimmy saw the block within himself, within his mind, that self-forced limitation he’d imposed upon himself nearly from childhood, shatter and crumble. From the day he’d been playing with his dad and accidentally broke his arm in a feat of unrestrained strength, he’d exercised restraint within himself, suppressing his true powers almost fanatically. His ‘bad luck demons’, the more active aspect of his power, was locked away, suppressed and hidden, only leaking out accidentally now and again when his control slipped. And even then, it was always bad, always a minor tragedy of some kind. He’d grown up knowing one absolute truth in his life: when he let his emotions out, when he lowered his restraint, bad things happened.

But he wasn’t a child anymore. He was a man grown, with knowledge and understanding, and a will of iron forged from years of hardship and self denial, of conquering his own inner demons, and finally finding peace and coming to accept himself, faults and all. The world was in dire straits, and his sister needed him. It was time to stop holding back. It was time to finally let his inner darkness out.


A single spoke word, but it somehow changed everything. Robotica let out a loud scream as she found herself flung back, hard, into the nearby side of the building. Rather than simply slide down, however, she found herself held there, pinned, as if from the force of a giant magnet embedded just behind the bricks. She struggled fitfully, to no avail, unable to move even a finger. A soft sigh escaped her lips as she powered down, her energy draining away as well, a small black shadow tendril woven and wrapped around her body, behind her shielding, draining away her strength.

Dragonfyre proved to be more difficult to pin, likewise flung back by that mysterious force, only able to right herself at the last second, using her wings to gain some altitude and distance. Scowling, she glanced down at her adversary from below, only to gasp in shock. Outwardly, he seemed the same as before, completely unchanged, but to her magical senses, It felt as if a small hurricane swirled around him now, a veritable magical tempest. A very familiar sensation... the same one she’d felt swirling around her Mistress when she’d taken her, and shown her the Light. Sioban felt a moment of panic... but she shrugged it off.

No. This is for my Mistress! she vowed silently, marshaling her courage. I pledged myself to her, and vowed to make her dream come true no matter what! She’s counting on me to do what none of the others could... to stop her brother. She channeled her own powers, cloaking herself in invisibility, preparing to go on the offensive. Katie... She’s counting on me, she thought grimly, as she began her charge, pulling her wings in as she dove, and I will not fail her!

The instant before her attack connected, however, Sioban found herself frozen in midair, unable to move. Gasping in surprise, she struggled to pull free, to break whatever grip was holding her in place, only to find her muscles locked, unable to move anything but her eyes. She was unable to use her magic as well, unable to teleport to safety. As she floated there, helpless, Jimmy walked slowly around her, staring at her frozen form critically, like an art enthusiast looking over a new piece, bringing out a blush at being gawked at so brazenly.

“This isn’t you,” he remarked with a frown, causing her to blush ever redder. “You’re not a six foot tall muscled sculpted Amazon with literal flaming hair. Not the real you, anyway. Oh, it’s you in part... maybe an idealized version of you, the fabled warrior princess fighting on the side of righteousness... but that’s not really the truth, is it?” Sioban gasped, finding herself spun around in place, now staring at a perfect copy of herself at another angle. “Maybe this is how you wish you were... maybe it’s how you see yourself inside. I know it’s how my sister Katie sees you. What you are now is her perfect image of you.” He shook his head. “But it’s not who you really are.”

Strangely, she found her mouth still worked. “What the hell do you know?” she spat back angrily, still struggling to break free. “We’ve only met once in passing, when you were in the hospital! You don’t know anything about me!”

“You’re wrong,” Jimmy insisted, shaking his head. “I’ve seen you a million times in my dreams.” He blinked, then sighed. “And that’s not as creepy as it sounds, by the way. I mean, I’ve seen you through my sister’s eyes, through out connection. I’ve seen the two of you together, seen you laughing, seen you serious, seen you at your most heroic and your most vulnerable.” Sioban’s mouth dropped open. “And I know how my sister feels about you... and how you feel about her. That’s the problem here, Sioban. You’ve let your feelings for Katie turn you into this person staring back at me now. But this isn’t you. You KNOW what Katie is doing is wrong. I’d be willing to bet you tried to stop her up until the point she converted you to her cause. Or... rather, up to the point where you let yourself be converted!”

Sioban sighed closing her eyes. It was true. There had been a point in all of this when she could have resisted... could have fought back and brushed off Katie’s control. But the truth was, she hadn’t really wanted to fight Katie. Her heart hadn’t truly been in it. And her heart had led her to the inescapable conclusion that it was better to give in and submit to her, to at least be able to BE with Katie as her slave, as her cherished servant, than to risk losing her completely. Even now, a small tiny part of her balked at going along with Katie’s plan, knowing the risks, that it would be very likely none of them would survive the attempt... but the overwhelming bliss of belonging to her, of being WITH Katie, if only in this small way, far overshadowed such concerns.

“I get it,” Jimmy continued, breaking her out of her introspection. “You want to put your trust and faith in her. You want to hope with all your heart that if you help and support her, if you believe in her enough, she’ll be able to do the impossible and bring Jessica back, and that you’ll all be together again, as a group, a happy healthy group, living in this ideal world Katie has tried to hard to create. You want that to be reality... but it’s not. THIS,” he said, snapping his fingers, “is reality.”

In a flash, everything shattered. Sioban screamed, feeling herself torn apart ripped to pieces as the world around her dissolved away in a blast of flame and light and death. The ground and sky cracked and crumbled away, leaving behind only a black empty starless void that pulled at her, sucking her inevitably into its darkness. Screaming, she flailed about frantically, searching for something, anything, to hold onto... but there was nothing. Nothing. She was falling endlessly into the abyss—

And then, miraculously, the world reasserted itself, and she found herself lying on the ground, panting, sweat soaked, shaken to her very core. She was back to her normal self, her shorter, softer, non-flame spouting self. Above her floated a small glowing orb of what appeared to be liquid ink, hovering gently above Jimmy’s hand. “Huh. I see,” he said softly, closing his eyes. After a second or two, the orb moved forward, merging into his shadow covered form. He opened his eyes again, nodding slightly, as Sioban slowly regained her feet. “So, how do you feel now?”

“Lousy,” she replied weakly, shaking her head. “What was that just now? That... what I experienced. Was that some kind of illusion? Were you messing with my mind? Or... did that actually happen?”

“That was a glimpse of the near future,” Darklight said grimly. “I pushed you forward about an hour or so in time, to what happens if Katie is not stopped, then brought you back to the present.” Sioban visibly shuddered. “As for that orb I just... absorbed? That was what as inside your head, manipulating your thoughts, and letting Katie control you. I drew it out of you when I drew you back to the present, undoing all of Katie’s tampering... mental and physical.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” Sioban replied with a bit of sadness, glancing up at the much taller hero that she’d stood shoulder to shoulder with moments before. “So... its true then? You can warp reality around you just like your sister?” Jimmy sighed and nodded. “And here I thought Tawnya and I got impressive power upgrades. I’d really like to know when and how all this came about... and why you let Robotica and I wail on your for all this time when you could have simply ended it with a flick of your wrist! But I guess time is of the essence right now.”

“Very true,” Jimmy replied, tiredly, dropping down to one knee. Sioban, concerned, moved to his side, but he waved her off. “I’m okay. Just tired. You want to know why I didn’t use these amazing world bending powers earlier? The short answer is, I couldn’t... not until you and she pushed me to my breaking point.” He sighed. “I realized the scope of what Katie and I can do a few days ago, back in Portland, and frankly it scared me shitless. I was scared of using my powers that way when it was just random bad luck events—the idea of being able to conscious control and alter everything around me at my whim is infinitely worse. I think I created a psychological block in my mind to keep me from accessing it until I was ready. And I’m pretty sure it was the same with Katie. Something must have happened recently that pushed her past her limits, and shattered her mental block, letting her access that level of control over her powers.”

“She told me,” Sioban confirmed. “She was being attacked by Ms. Machina, Red Rocket, Wrecker, and Nytro, all at once. Machina was about to crush her with one of her giant robots... and something just snapped.”

“Yeah. That would do it.” He groaned softly, getting back to his feet again. “And that’s the other part of the problem... the reason why Katie absolutely will not succeed. Using this kind of power, at this level and scope... it comes with a price. Defeating you and Robotica wasn’t hard, but pushing you forward and backwards in time like that, with no lasting effects, was extremely draining. This power draws on the person’s life energy, Bonnie... and the strain of making such a lasting permanent change to the space time continuum like Katie is attempting to do? It will kill her, plain and simple... and all of us as well.”