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Enhancegirl + Spectra: Tendrils of Darkness 3 by Damselbinder
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Enhancegirl + Spectra: Tendrils of Darkness 3 :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 201 30
Enhancegirl + Spectra: Tendrils of Darkness 2 by Damselbinder
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Enhancegirl + Spectra: Tendrils of Darkness 2 :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 269 29
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Enhancegirl 13-6: This isn't gonna end well... :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 17 18
KO'd OC DID! by Damselbinder
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KO'd OC DID! :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 244 14
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Enhancegirl 13-5: The Warrior :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 20 29
Enhancegirl + Spectra: ''Tendrils of Darkness 1'' by Damselbinder
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Enhancegirl + Spectra: ''Tendrils of Darkness 1'' :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 84 23
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Enhancegirl 13-4: Captured and Controlled :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 21 31
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Enhancegirl 13-3: Sinistrus' Somnolent Spell :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 28 19
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Enhancegirl 13-2: ''I have a cunning plan...'' :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 28 12
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Enhancegirl 13-1: The Penitentiary Supreme :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 24 18
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D.Feated :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 115 19
Perils of Enhancegirl Arc 2 Summary
We rejoin Sophie in part 6 some months after her kidnap at the hands of Madam Black. In defeating the psychic Mindblow, Sophie encounters Aerogirl, otherwise known as Maya Cierra. Maya is a powerful aerokinetic, but loses her powers when tied up, and she has a very poor reputation. Sophie decides to help her become more confident.
Sophie assists Maya in her investigation of a man named Ricardo Hosenfluss. He seems to have acquired a material - dexite - that might grant him the same power as the Indigo Titan, considered the world's strongest man. In their search they encounter a thief named Ocelot, who easily captures Maya with the aid of her drones, having encountered her several times before. She is bested by Sophie, who shows significantly improved combat skill, but manages to capture her too by inadvertently exploiting her weakness. She leaves the two bound in a closet.
Following this, we see that Sophie and Mariko have struck up a fairly close friendship, the standoffish Mariko exp
:icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 9 5
Perils of Enhancegirl Arc 1 Summary
We begin our tale with Sophie Scott, a spunky, quick-witted, but headstrong young college student, in the fictional city of Seacouver, somewhere in California. She seems already to be a superhero by the time we meet her, but she is not very experienced. Going by the name of 'Enhancegirl', she uses her vastly magnified senses (minus hearing) to fight crime.
In her first appearance, she encounters the slave trader Madam Black. Tricking one of Black's man into kidnapping her and taking her to Black's hideout, Enhancegirl frees herself and is about to put paid to Black's scheme...until a jar of chloroform is opened. She finds to her dismay that her senses make her inordinately sensitive to sedatives: an open jar of chloroform anywhere near her is as good as a pad in her face. Captured, she is left in a container, dismayed at the discovery of this vulnerability.
Our next chapter introduces us to Spectra, otherwise known as Mariko Asakura, a powerful, experienced and very popular superhero w
:icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 15 5
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Enhancegirl 12-8: Denoument :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 20 21
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Enhancegirl 12-7: The Claws of Hades :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 19 15
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Enhancegirl 12-6: ''Rescue me...'' :icondamselbinder:Damselbinder 20 16


2b retouch [real in patreon reward] by gao-lukchup 2b retouch [real in patreon reward] :icongao-lukchup:gao-lukchup 561 9 Keira as Wonder Woman - Ready for Transport by fightgirl2004 Keira as Wonder Woman - Ready for Transport :iconfightgirl2004:fightgirl2004 30 28 Metal Gear Wossy 2: Sumthin' 'Bout Liberty - Pt1 by WossaRem
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Metal Gear Wossy 2: Sumthin' 'Bout Liberty - Pt1 :iconwossarem:WossaRem 657 26
Tifa, Bound and Blindfolded by steveoreno
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Tifa, Bound and Blindfolded :iconsteveoreno:steveoreno 521 41
Donna's Chlofororm Abduction by LessRuth
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Donna's Chlofororm Abduction :iconlessruth:LessRuth 110 8
Sailor Mercury to the rescue! 5 by Natsuko-Hiragi Sailor Mercury to the rescue! 5 :iconnatsuko-hiragi:Natsuko-Hiragi 332 18 Keira as Wonder Woman - Chloroformed by fightgirl2004
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Keira as Wonder Woman - Chloroformed :iconfightgirl2004:fightgirl2004 52 58
[Commission] Selica - Captured! Part 2 by Wadaldo [Commission] Selica - Captured! Part 2 :iconwadaldo:Wadaldo 118 2 Shepard by SharpFFFFFF Shepard :iconsharpffffff:SharpFFFFFF 340 15 Taming the Yinping by RyonaBond
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Taming the Yinping :iconryonabond:RyonaBond 44 2
Maidimation by we-r-nomad
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Maidimation :iconwe-r-nomad:we-r-nomad 121 19
[Commission] Ishtar by fle-en [Commission] Ishtar :iconfle-en:fle-en 192 3 Tori,Summer and Jen by cailin020 Tori,Summer and Jen :iconcailin020:cailin020 384 10 Enhancegirl + Spectra: ''Tendrils of Darkness'' by Telikor Enhancegirl + Spectra: ''Tendrils of Darkness'' :icontelikor:Telikor 120 8 Crimson and Astra Girl - Lights Out Part 1 by CrimsonVlkyrie
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Crimson and Astra Girl - Lights Out Part 1 :iconcrimsonvlkyrie:CrimsonVlkyrie 31 35
ninjalong63 by luozhehong ninjalong63 :iconluozhehong:luozhehong 15 0




Enhancegirl + Spectra: Tendrils of Darkness 3
"Well I'll be damned..." the woman said. "Two lovely little moths all helpless in my net." She took a step closer, the blonde folding her arms across a buxom chest.
"Whh-mmmphh?" Sophie whimpered, writhing in the strong, slick tentacles which had captured her with such swiftness. "Who the hell's that?"
"I thought I might bump into you in this part of town, Enhancegirl," the woman said, eyeing up the slender redhead. "But you as well, Spectra? That is a fun little bonus." She stepped further into the light, her sly smile and fantastically curvy figure giving off a kind of overpowering femininity. "I was watching, you know. Before. When you two were rubbing your hands all over each other. Such naughty girls..."

"Mmmph! Mmm-RRMMPHHH!" Spectra growled, writhing in vain, trying again and again to summon her powers, but failing every time.
"Don't try it. My pets won't allow you to harm me, darling," the blonde said. "To're the newest member of the Pauldron? Not that I'm complaining, but oughtn't this to have been a touch more difficult, darling?"
"Mmh..." Spectra mewed, stung by the comment. Indeed, the thought of Imperion or Nova seeing her like this was not one she wanted to linger on.

"But I'm not here for you." With impressive, though far from supernatural, strength, she reached down took Enhancegirl by her soft arms, and hoisted her up to her feet.
"Mmph! Mmm-mmmphh!" the red-haired damsel protested, her slender frame no match for her captor's strength in her bound state.
"I've heard some very interesting rumours about your powers, Enhancegirl. I thought, perhaps, I might try my hand at resolving the mystery myself...I could always do with another project." She pulled the maiden close, Sophie feeling her captor's bust pushing against her back. The blonde spoke into her ear, almost whispering. "Especially a project so...seductive..."

Sophie felt it long before it reached her face. That sickly sweet tang, that feeling of dizzy, warm weakness sucking all strength from her - she knew what her captor was taking out of her pocket even before she really identified the smell: her one true weakness - chloroform.
"Nmmphh!" she whimpered. "Nmmphh, plhhhs - MMPHH!" The cloth was thrust over Sophie's mouth and nose, instantly flooding her senses with the scent and taste of it. "Nmmphh! NNNNMMPHHHH!!" she screamed, bucking against her captor, her tight, round ass and slinky hips wriggling and writhing against the blonde's thighs.
"Settle down, sweetheart," her captor said, feeling Sophie's struggles with relish.

And indeed, they did not last long. Far faster than any ordinary person, Sophie felt the strength drain from her. Her long, naked legs grew still. Her soft shoulders sank, her eyelids fluttering.
"Mmhh...mmphhh..." she mewed, still just about cognizant of what was happening. " weak..."
"Shhphhh! NNNMMPHH! MMRRGHHH!!" Spectra cried out, thrashing about on the ground, even as her willowy body was painfully bound and restrained, her struggles less than useless. "I won't let this happen! I can't!"

But Mariko was just as powerless as Sophie to prevent it. The redhead began to sway, and her captor pulled her closer to keep her still.
"Mmhhh...mmmhhhh..." she sighed, with an almost sensual helplessness.
"That's it to dreamland with you..." her captor whispered. Sophie's world was getting dark, her body totally limp. Her green eyes started rolling back in her head, as drugged somnolence took the defenceless, long-legged young lady into its anaesthetic tendrils.
"Mh...mhh..." Her moans were almost inaudible now. Humiliated by the ease of her kidnapping, just before she passed out, she lost all sense of her own strength. "M-Mariko..." she thought, "...please...rescue me..." That was Sophie's last thought before she was utterly defeated. She gave one last, long, sweet sigh, before dropping out of the waking world.
"Nighty-night," her captor giggled softly.

With Enhancegirl fully subdued, the blonde woman turned her limp body around, took her by the hips, and slowly eased her up and over her shoulder, happily gripping her by the waist and the thighs, Sophie's red hair falling about her in a fiery crest.
"Nmmph! NNNMMMPHHH!!" Mariko screamed, as she realised that Sophie was being kidnapped - and she was just being left there.
"Oh, yes, this must sting, mustn't it, Spectra?" the blonde laughed as she carried the helpless beauty away. "A few minutes ago, she was yours? Keeping you warm in the night, sighing your name, bringing you all the joy in the world...too bad, really: she's mine now."
"No!" Mariko screamed within herself, as captor and captive vanished into the night. "You can't take her! No! NO!"

Last page, ladies and gents! Hails and horns and all praise to :icontelikor:!!
Which EG girl would you most like to see depicted in a new commission?
37 deviants said Enhancegirl
14 deviants said Spectra
14 deviants said Valora
13 deviants said Aerogirl
9 deviants said Nova
8 deviants said Falcona
7 deviants said Insyte
4 deviants said Stellar
1 deviant said Other (explain in comments)
Enhancegirl + Spectra: Tendrils of Darkness 2
"WHHGGHHMMPHHH!!" Spectra cried out as the tendrils seized her, gagging her. Swiftly the globulous, many-eyed thing fastened itself to her back, wrapping its slick, strong limbs around her body, crossing them over her shoulders, grasping her arms.
"Mariko!" Spectra's lover cried, even as she herself was ensnared. "Get off me, you little shits!" she barked, as her pale arms were forced behind her back, dark green tentacles binding them together, wrapping around her torso.

Together the heroines writhed, but neither could escape. The tendrils probed further, bound tighter. Spectra found her arms' strength failing her, and they were pulled behind her, tied at the wrists and all along her upper arms. Enhancegirl's screams were muzzled as a tentacle wrapped three times around her mouth, silencing the lovely redhead. Down the tentacles went, over the smooth, exposed skin of the maidens' long, soft legs, wrapping, grasping and squeezing, tying them up with humiliating strictness and swiftness.

"MMMMHHHH!!" they cried as, bound, their balance failed them, and they tumbled to the cold ground, wriggling their helpless, scantily clad bodies. Spectra tried to use her powers to cut herself free, but something was wrong. As the many-eyed thing tied her up, it was doing something else to her as well.
"My powers!" Spectra thought, aghast. "I'm helpless!"
"Mrrhhkhh..." Enhancegirl whimpered, looking to her girlfriend for aid. "What's going on? They caught us so easily...and Mariko's powerless...what the hell did this to us?!"

And then they heard the sound. The slow, sure sound of footsteps, approaching them, of high heels clacking against the hard ground on which the supple damsels moaned and struggled.
"My my," came a silky-smooth voice, "what have my little pets caught this time?"

Once again, this deliciousness is by :icontelikor:! Praise her with great praise!
Just successfully moved house. Enhancegirl 13-7 is underway!

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"Oh shit, oh shit!" A young lawyer was cowering in the small waiting room. None of the visitors had been allowed to leave, and they could hear the sounds of battle, panicked voices from the radio of the lone guard who watched over them. As it happened, this lawyer - one Christopher Pullman - was there on Jason Johansson's behalf, trying to kick-start the parole process. He hadn't even let his client know he was there.

Though Hayward's interdiction against calls for outside aid had been implicitly lifted with his defeat, the visitors' confiscated cellphones still hadn't been given back. Except for Pullman's - he'd never turned his in.
"Come on, come on..." he mumbled as he nervously punched in some keys. He wasn't calling the police. What the hell would they do? No, he was calling another client of his, one whom he'd successfully paroled about seven months earlier. "Oh, thank god!" he cried out, when he heard the man pick up. "Max, how you doin'? Yeah, uh, still running with those...? Oh, great! 'Cause we're having a problem here, that I think you might just be suited for..."
What were Sinistrus' emotions, as she saw the return to power of her master? It was very hard to say. She was pleased, of course: for her plan had succeeded, and one hardly ever sniffs at success. She was surprised that his power had come back to such vigour - the door of his cell was torn clean off, hurled effortlessly to one side. But mostly, mostly she felt a sort of terrified, humble fear. He stepped out, cloaked in a wavering, light-warping aura of cerulean, a deep, beautiful blue light about him. His efforts of the previous year had not made him young, but he now had the appearance of a healthy, vigorous man in his early forties, when he was in fact nearly sixty-eight.

"It's been too's been far too long," Martin said, breathing deeply. "Gold, silver, whores - Caduceus, mate, you want it, it's yours!"
"Go to hell," Caduceus replied, shaking with guilt and fear. "Go to -" He didn't get to finish. A ribbon of deep-blue light shot out at him. It seized him around the throat, squeezed, and then hurled him bodily out of Martin's cell. He hit the opposite wall with a terrific, disgusting crack.

"Uurrghh..." Simon groaned. He could feel that two of his ribs were broken. Wearily, he placed his hand on his chest, and began to apply his power to himself, but he was weakened by his efforts at healing the Supremacist, and broken bones were not easily repaired, even by him. His vision blurry from the impact, he looked up - and saw a vision from his nightmares.

As powerful as many superhumans were, for most of the twentieth century supervillains had been problematic at worst. Threats to local police, or to cities, or even to small countries - maybe. Then he'd arrived. From the moment he'd thrown that Boeing into the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, everyone had known he was something different. Charisma aside, philosophy aside, private army aside - the Supremacist had been the first person where the idea of them taking over the world wasn't just a joke. He could have done it. If the Titan hadn't stopped him, he probably would have done it. The first real would-be-conqueror - and he was standing right over Caduceus, resplendent in the fullness of his might, the vigour of his newfound youth. Simon had never been more terrified in his entire life.

"I made you an offer of friendship, mate," Martin said, trying to look angry, but too delighted with the return of his full strength to seem anything but giddy, "and that's an offer I don't make more than once." He conjured in his mind the image of a sword, and one appeared. He decided that was a little dull, and so instead created a bifurcated, three-bladed chainsaw. Then, thinking that a little ostentatious, he dialled it down to an ordinary circular saw. "The Goldilocks of murder weapons..." he thought to himself with a chuckle.

"M-master," Sinistrus said, as she saw him about to plunge his construct into Simon's chest. "Your power...!" Immediately, Martin turned to his servant. Saw the fair, beautiful woman - firm, and buxom with that thick, white hair, and silvery skin. Saw her eyes, staring up at him with amazement, and just the right amount of fear. He saw, as he always did, her limber, coiled confidence fade into pigeon-toed meekness in his sight, and he felt his restored heart pound in his chest. So young, and ripe...and he was not quite so old himself anymore, was he?

Without another thought, he reached out with his power, forming twin coils like the tendrils of a squid. They coiled swiftly around Sinistrus' body, snapping her arms to her sides. Gasping, she was hauled in, and found herself locked into a kiss with her master. If one could even call it that: he crushed her against his body, his hands squeezing and grasping her all over, kissing her with such furious, hungry intensity that she could barely breathe. She heard Pincushion and Red Alert whooping and whistling, and she felt almost faint. When Martin at last pulled away, her cheeks were burning red, her expression was as if she'd been subjected to the halothane she'd used to such a potent effect against her captives. He held her by the shoulders, and she looked up at him, with limpid eyes.

"Lisandra, my little ray of sunshine," Martin said, uncoiling Sinistrus. "I'll never forget this. I'll never forget what you did. And I'll reward often as you like." He stroked her cheek, almost panting with lust. "Your old man would be so proud of you, darlin'."
"Yes, master," she said. His power radiated out of him, wrapping her in it like a blanket; a thick, dark blanket, squeezing, choking - painful...but comfortingly familiar. Ever since his defeat and arrest the previous year, with Dextrus long since locked up she'd been running what remained of the Supremacist's organisation single-handedly. She'd hated it...and now she was free of it. Free to submit once again.

Caduceus, largely forgotten, lay gasping and groaning at Martin's feet. It was only when his own life was not under such immediate threat that he had the presence of mind to take in his surroundings. Only then did he see his wife.
"F-Felicity!" A tinge of relief covered his fear - she was alive. Unconscious and tied up, yes, but she was alive. This expiated his guilt to some extent, at least: his efforts hadn't been in vain.
"It's alright..." he thought to himself. "The Titan will stop him, or the Pauldron, or made the right choice - you couldn't let her die!" Yet even this was only the smallest of comforts.

"Right, back to business!" the Supremacist cackled. "How many more of our loyal brothers and sisters have we got in this little corner of the world?"
"Four in this section," Pincushion answered. "Nifelheim, Ferro-Mag, Generalissimo, and Five-Star. The rest aren't with us."
"Brilliant," Martin said. He reached out with his power towards the cell next to his, and tore away with a flick a security door at which Valora herself would have balked. The security field remained, but this was no barrier to him. He stabbed into it with simple spear-constructs, and drained away the energy in half an instant. He experienced the same explosive feedback that Chupacabra had - but with decidedly less effect on him than it had on her. Inside, a heavy, muscular woman with ice-blue skin looked up with amazement at her risen leader. "Lord Supremacist?"
"The very same, darlin'. Tell me...still got an appetite for buildin' a new world order?"

Sinistrus watched as her lord and master freed more of his greatest servants, feeling a kind of coldness within her. It was all she had wanted, to be back in his presence, but now that she was actually there...she felt nauseous.
"Poor girl..." Lisandra froze in place. Had that been her own thought? She looked around, confused. "Poor girl...such a shame about your father..."
"Who's there?" Lisandra turned around, but there was no-one. Was it a telepath, perhaps? It would have to be a very powerful one - she was normally pretty resistant to telepathy.

She walked further down the security hall, away from the others. Something was drawing her in - something was beckoning her along. Something with an intense familiarity. Sinistrus found herself triggering her field of ignorance. She didn't know why, but she didn't want the others to notice her.
"Your gratitude...your subservience...they speak well of you Lisandra. Such appropriately feminine qualities...ones I have always admired in you. But you've given them to such a foul beast of a man..."
"Who are you?" Lisandra only thought this response - if the voice did belong to a telepath, they would hear her.
"Such a pretty little girl you were when he took you in...and how he noticed as you ripened..." Sinistrus clutched her chest.
" could you know that?"
"Because you told me, of course."

Lisandra's coldness was gone, her nausea was gone. Everything was gone. It was like her field of ignorance had collapsed in upon itself, and now she could perceive nothing, feel nothing.
"Your gratitude is misplaced. You were a tool to object of pleasure. He degraded you...humbled you...oh, but then he spoiled it all by making a commander of you..."
"Y...yes..." Sinistrus said softly. It was if a cork were being undone, as if a great pressure were being released. She remembered. Oh, yes, she remembered now. The face of her father, kindly and loving even as his eyes burned with the passion of the true radical. Twisted in rage and shock as the knife went in, as his adjutant took control of everything he'd built, and destroyed the life that Lisandra might have had.

Why had she come here? Why had she disguised herself, passed unnoticed for so long? To free the Supremacist? After everything he'd done, after everything he'd made her do, why would she want to save him?
"Yes, that's it...that's it!" She began laughing, and crying, as her true purpose came back to her. She'd nearly remembered before, when she'd been subduing Leanne, but it had slipped away - yet no longer. There was only one she could serve, only one before whom she could kneel. Ever since that day, ever since she'd stumbled into her true master's nest, and been given her sacred mission. Now, there was only one more step. She just needed to wait for the Supremacist to do what he always did: destroy, and destroy, until there was nothing left. Until everyone would assume that there was nothing left.

For Lisandra was so encased in sin, now, that there was only one who could erase it. Only one who could consume it...

Though having enhanced hearing along with her other senses would certainly have had its advantages, there were times when Sophie had to admit that she was glad not to have to deal with the extra set of difficulties it would bring. The shouting of the men as they surrounded her would have been ear-splitting. Moreover, the jeers and catcalls were not something she would have wanted to listen to in any great detail.

Her muscles screamed at her as she leapt between rays of flesh-searing heat, ducked skull-shattering punches, and landed cripplingly precise attacks of her own. She could feel it. She was slowing. Every dodge was less graceful than the last, every call closer. Her senses still gave her just as dizzyingly vast quantities of information as before, her mind processing it all with the power of a supercomputer - but her body couldn't keep up.

A man named Zane, a dour criminal with no taste for theatrical codenames, was the one who spotted it first. Like Sophie, he had a heightened capacity to process information, though his was not a side-effect of enhanced senses, but of enhanced speed. He was the first to notice that she was weakening. He was not really an evil man, and he didn't like the idea of doing what he was about to do, but he liked prison even less. He wanted out. And if that meant hurting a woman, then so be it.

He zipped right up to her, in a flash, shoving past another villain to do it. He wasn't even as fast as Celeritas, but he was certainly more than human. He feinted left, then moved right, in an effort to confuse her. It didn't work. She knew almost before he did where he would strike. Had she been fresher, she would have oriented herself such that his blow would have missed wildly, and even Zane would not have been able to counter, so sharp was her brain, so perfect her proprioception. But her lovely body was rather letting down the side, and she was far, far too slow.

"Unghh!" Sophie cried out, as Zane's accelerated fist struck her in the back. She stumbled forward, her calculations and predictions ruined. She was always three steps ahead - but she'd got the first step wrong. Struggling to recalculate, she dove wildly to try to get out of the ring of prisoners. Her newly earned reputation helped her here: she was, after all, the woman who had felled Dextrus single-handed. She just about managed to get past them, but she hit her shoulder hard against one of the men on the outside of the ring. Her progress arrested, she was struck again in the back, and cried out sharply with pain. A second blow to her head, dizzying the heroine as she stumbled forward. She tripped, having to roll to keep her balance. Had she been anyone else, her movements would have seemed respectably agile, but by her standards it was almost oafish clumsiness.

"Uuunnhhh..." Sophie landed on her back, wheezing, almost unable to breathe. Her muscles ached, her heart pounded from exhaustion. With shaky limbs, she forced herself up, groaning. Looking back at the convicts, she let out a quiet moan. She had barely thinned their ranks at all, and she could feel that she was almost at her limit. Something moved in the top of her field of vision and - with an absent-mindedness borne of sheer fatigue - she looked up.

She saw a rather startled looking man with short brown hair looking back at her, from the level above. She almost recognised him, but couldn't quite place his slightly plain face. Panting, and in a state of quite some agitation, Sophie ended up giving this man a very fierce look. Startled and not a little frightened of the red-haired maiden, he almost instinctively triggered his power - and showed why it was so much to Enhancegirl's disadvantage that she had not committed the face of Mindblow to memory.

A blue flash filled Sophie's vision, and it was as though the rest of the world were purged away in an instant.
"Ah...ah...?" the redhead gasped. It was like every neuron in her brain had fired at once, and then gone silent. She couldn't move, couldn't see, couldn't think. "I...I can't...I..." she mewed. Her long, moist legs were shaking, her arms quivering. She tried to lift them to do...something, but they just flopped down to her sides. Her head bobbed forward as though she were dozing off, her eyelids fluttering. "W-weak...I'm...oh...oooooohhh..."

She had no defence against Mindblow's power. All her intelligence and strength were stripped from her. She wavered, and felt almost as if she might float away - but she fell instead. As she tumbled to her knees, her head flopped from side to side, her red hair caressing her naked shoulders. She hit the ground, and partly turned as she did, so that she slumped down on her side, then rolled onto her back.
"" she mewed, the last vestiges of consciousness still clinging on. Her legs were haphazardly crossed, one gloved hand resting on her forehead as though she were a swooning Southern belle, the other resting on her pert bosom, as though she were trying to feel her own heartbeat. "Have to...keep...fighting..." Sophie whimpered. "Have to...have to..." Unable to remember her victories, only her defeat, she passed out, felled at last, with a long, slow sigh.

"Oh...shit!" Mindblow stuttered. He hadn't even really meant to do it, though Hammerblow didn't really understand the nuances of the situation, and patted him on the back.
"Good work!" he laughed. He had, after all, been overpowered by her earlier that very day, and was pleased to see himself avenged.
"Uh...thanks..." Gregory mumbled back.

They descended on her like vultures. Fortunately, the convicts had no intention of killing the slumbering, helpless maiden, but they were voracious all the same. They rolled her onto her back, tearing strips off their own clothes to tie her up - for who among them could resist the opportunity? Enthusiasm made up for skill, and they bound her fast. The tough fabric was lashed around her wrists, her elbows, below and between her breasts. Five, six pairs of hands grasped at her legs, her soft, naked legs - forcing them together, tying her so tightly that the improvised bonds made distinct impressions into her body. They actually fought over who would gag her, with the winner eventually thrusting a piece of his own sweat-drenched, stained uniform between her lips, muzzling the defenceless girl.

"What do we do with her now?" one of them asked. They were still a little nervous of her, like a hunter outsmarted and cornered by a tiger - only for that tiger suddenly to be bitten by a snake and collapse. Half of them were sure that she'd spring up at any moment to break a few more noses. The other half, however, were bolder - and had darker thoughts.
"God, would you look at her..." one of them half-thought. And indeed, what a sight: a beautiful, supple young woman - bound and helpless, soft and sweet and totally defenceless...

"Get back!" The threat was not merely a threat. A wave of light energy burst through the throng, throwing them apart, horribly burning the ones caught directly in it, and hurling aside those who were not strong enough to resist it. "Get the hell back, right now!" Catastrophe leapt down between the throng and the fallen redhead. The short, spiky haired Baltimoreon glowered at them, preparing another burst, reminding them why - before a string of defeats - he'd been considered a major new threat.

"What's your beef, Jason?" one of the lightly injured felons barked. "You know how long it's been since I've seen a woman in a dress?! Just let me get a closer -"
"No! The Catastrophe Gang took her down," Catastrophe replied, nodding respectfully at the sheepish Mindblow. "So, she's our hostage."
"Bullshit!" another shouted. "You just want her for yourself!"
"Fuck off, pal," Jason growled. "Just because you're all perverts doesn't mean I have to be! She's a valuable hostage."
"Nah, you're just a faggot or something," the first said. "You ain't so tough." Perhaps not, but neither was he. For, when Hammerblow jumped down from the level above, the convict was practically flattened.
"Don't use that word," he said, seemingly oblivious to his target's half-conscious state. "I don't like it."
"You tell 'em, bro," Jason said, smiling. Even he wasn't sure what his motives had been. To take charge of an ever-changing status quo? Genuinely to defend a young woman from these predators? Either way, he was orders of magnitude more confident with Hammerblow at his side.

But the others weren't backing off.. Some of them stayed simply because they were insulted by the suggestion that they should be cowed, others by rampant lust for the bound Enhancegirl. But there was one there whose motivation was very different.
"She is not yours, Catastrophe. She belongs to my master and so, for the moment, to me." He had reddish hair - young, but with a sort of affectedly noble bearing about him. Greyhand hadn't released him, since he had no loyalty to the Supremacist, but he'd managed to free himself from his cell in the confusion. He ignited the power in his hands, the power to create superheated plasma. "I am Plasmarr. Servant and adjutant to Hades. That girl belongs to my lord, and I will escape from here and deliver her."

The two stood face to face, Plasmarr and Catastrophe. Each certainly had enough power to kill the other - the question was simply which of the two of them was the faster. The question was deferred, however, when they heard the knocking.
"What was that?" Plasmarr said. His distaste for Catastrophe notwithstanding, he set infighting aside. Another great thump, and this time the convicts realised that it had come from outside, from the wall of the prison, so thick and reinforced that even with their powers restored to them they hadn't yet resorted to trying to break it.

Another thump, and it hit so hard this time that the entire section seemed to shake.
"Save the bickering over the girl for later," Plasmarr said, trying to assert authority. "These might be reinforcements. Prepare to -" Plasmarr wouldn't have finished the sentence in any case, for Jason was about to tell him where to stick it. But it didn't even come to that. The wall of Q-Section was torn apart by a witheringly powerful ray of sickly green energy which, having ripped the prison's walls open, kept going until it slammed right into Plasmarr. His powers were already active, and for this reason only did he avoid disintegration, but he was thrown back so hard that, when he hit the bars of Zane's cell, he bent them to the point of snapping. The convicts gasped, or groaned. They'd miraculously survived the Generator, then the astonishingly formidable Enhancegirl - now what was it?

"Oh f-f-f-...shit! D-did I k-kill him?" A figure stepped through the hole - tall, armoured in an elaborate metal suit with a crested horn, bristling with all sorts of formidable looking weapons. A rather nervous posture belied its intimidating appearance, but only slightly. Every footstep made an impact, and all the convicts had a feeling that the armoured figure was looking at them personally.
"Chill out, Sam," another man said. "He's still alive."

He hopped through the opening, fists clenched. He was wiry, of medium height, with dark hair, and a thoroughly pissed-off expression etched so deeply into his face that there was an impression of permanence. He was dressed in a white overcoat, grey boots, and had a mask covering most of his face, pointed like a devil's horns, and stark white. "Hey!" He called out to the convicts. "I've been here before, and I was kinda hopin' I'd never have to be again. I'd prefer to get out of here as soon as possible, so I'mma dispense with the dramatic introductions and such. Would you chumps just do me a favour and get back in your cells? Me and my crew have got bigger fish to fry than you guys."
"A-and you'd b-better back off! Or The Pretender is g-g-oing t-to..."
"Dude," the other man said, shaking his head. "There's a moment for débuting a cool name. That wasn't it." Someone tried to take advantage of their conversation. An electrokinetic, weaker by far than Philip Hayward, ran screaming forwards, throwing lightning in a sizzling arc towards the two newcomers. 'The Pretender' dodged his attack and knocked him senseless with an off-handed energy burst.
"See," his partner said, "that would have been a good moment."

Catastrophe stepped forward, a quizzical expression on his face. There was a ring of convicts between him and the newcomers, so he couldn't yet see them. But that voice sounded awfully familiar...
"Is that...?" The masked man had just seen through the throng of criminals, and caught sight of the young woman lying bound and helpless on the ground. The young, attractive, unconscious woman, surrounded by desperate criminals. "Well that just pisses me off!" He smacked his hand into his chest, and with a roar, was transformed. His hair stood on end like a porcupine's, his skin went ghostly-white, though pulsing with a blood-red aura every few seconds. "Righteous...anger...has to be righteous..." he growled to himself. "Stay in control...I'm the good guy...they're...evil! I...have to fight them!"

It was just as he was saying this that Catastrophe managed to push himself to the front. He froze. Not from fear, not exactly. Certainly this newcomer was a frightening sight - but that was not what chilled Jason's heart.
"Angermax?" he mumbled, softly. "...Maxie?"
"AAAAUUUGHGHHH!!" 'Maxie' didn't see him. He just plunged his fist into the ground - and unleashed a tidal wave of stone. Screaming, the convicts ran for whatever cover they could find, but they were hurled asunder by pillars of concrete, bursting out of the ground in a frantic rhythm. Catastrophe was tossed aside like a leaf in the wind. Others were thrown so high that they hit the roof of Q-Section.

Enhancegirl would certainly have been taken by the flood of stone - had it not been for a protector clad in metal. Just before Angermax let loose, the Pretender ignited the thrusters in his back. He burst forward so fast even Zane couldn't see him, his sharp feet tapping against the ground with the rapidity of a millipede's. The cortical stimulation his suit provided allowed Sam to time his next move well, and he snatched up the fallen redhead into his arms. Carried like a princess, the helpless girl dangled limply in Sam's arms. Her long, creamy legs gleamed in the harsh light of the prison's fixtures, her long hair flowed down in waves, her head fell back, drawing Sam's eye very much to her neck, her shoulders, her lovely chest...
"Holy crap, she's so hot!" He realised with some despondency that he had never been this close to such an attractive woman before.

It was fortunate that his cortical stimulation was so effective, for otherwise he too would have been caught in Angermax's wave of stone. But he managed to react in time. Needing a free hand, he threw Sophie over his shoulder - and by god, was that a memory he'd replay in his head a few times - raised his arm, and fired a burst of sheer concussive force. It burst through the wall of stone, but only for an instant. In that instant, however, the Pretender rocketed forward - Enhancegirl in tow - and managed to escape the carnage.

"HHHHUUUUAAAAGGHHHH!!" Angermax screamed again, just as the Pretender managed to get behind him, apparently on the verge of going totally berserk. "No! Focus...focus..." he said.
"Y-you okay?" Sam said to his partner, as skeletal hands laid Enhancegirl down by the hole he'd made in the prison wall.
"Mmh..." she mewed through her gag, unaware of her rescuer, and her soft sigh made Sam shiver.
"Yeah...I'm alright..." Max growled. He began walking forward, as if he didn't trust himself to move any faster.

Hammerblow, whose toughness had let him bear most of the brunt of the attack, didn't recognise his old ally. The mask and the difference in the appearance of his powers were all too much for him to connect the dots. He didn't see Angermax - he only saw that someone had hurt Catastrophe. He ran forward, charging like a bull at the man in white. Angermax barely paid him the slightest attention, throwing out a wave of pure seismic energy directly into Hammerblow's chest. He spun wildly into the air, falling back down a good thirty feet away, knocked unconscious with a single strike. It was only when he was down that Angermax recognised him.
"Liam?" he said, his aura wavering.

Many of the convicts on the upper level were still unscathed, and their eyes were very much drawn by that big hole in the wall that had just appeared. Many leapt down, and began running for it.
"Cowards!" Angermax roared, flattening several of them with twin shockwaves. But even he couldn't stop them all.
"Sh-shit!" Sam realised the mistake he'd made in being so imprecise with his entrance. He moved to block them, spreading his arms out wide.
"Outta the way, you Hades knockoff!" one of the prisoners, Flameball, shouted. He let out a stream of witheringly hot flame, and Sam instinctively threw his arms in front of his face. The flame engulfed him, enshrouding the armoured figure completely. The fire-wielder let up his attack, only for it to be followed by a vicious onslaught of energy particles from another convict, a man named Flechette.
"Aaahh, oh g-god, oh god...!" Sam cried out. As the smoke cleared, he was covering his head with his hands, practically cowering. "Aahh! Aahh...ahh...huh?" Suddenly, he stood up straight. "Oh. Oh, c-cool!" He was totally unharmed. Beneath his mask, he grinned, and fired a shockwave at the flame-thrower, breaking virtually every bone in his body. The others tried to run, but Sam wouldn't have it. "T-try to kill me, will you?!" He opened up a small slot in his left arm, and fired a withering volley of bullets at his aggressors. Metal tore through flesh, and screams of agony filled the air. Sam hadn't murdered them...but it would be a long time before any of them walked again.

One convict, however, didn't have to run. When Flameball and Flechette were attacking Pretender, he just lifted himself into the air, and with a cartoonish 'whoosh', went straight over Sam's head, out into the air, out into freedom!
"Ahahahaha!" he laughed. "See you later, fools! I, Leonard Barton, cannot be kept caged! This Hawk will always fly free!" He spun happily as he felt rain begin to splash against his face. He opened his eyes, looking over the ocean surrounding the island, felt as the rain fell up against him.

Fell up?

"Mmhhh...mmhhhhphhh?" Felicity whimpered, as she began to flutter into wakefulness. She remembered lying paralysed and helpless on the ground, the subject of humiliating defeat at the hands of Sinistrus. She remembered the chemical scent of halothane pulling her under...and in fact, she was still remembering it. "Mmhh...mhh?" The slim blonde shook her head slightly, and felt something soft wrapped around her mouth and nose, pressed in fairly tightly. Her mind swirled, but she realised what had been done to her. "Drugged...cloth...keeping me weak..." It was hard to think even something as simple as this.

She looked down at herself with half lidded eyes, and saw the extent of her captivity.
"Mhh..." she mewed in shame. Her wrists were bound behind her back, her upper arms fixed in place as well, and both by the same thing - thick, tough plasti-ties, the kind you'd use in a factory to seal a crate shut. Evidently Sinistrus had run out of tape, but the bonds were no less effective. Her naked, lightly-tanned legs were bound as well, her ankles tied together, and her supple thighs squeezed uncomfortably tightly, her legs tucked under her so that she looked like a humble penitent, kneeling in church.

"Mmh...mhhh...mmmmphhh..." Falcona found that she was not alone. Looking to her left, she saw a woman with green hair, light brown skin, and a sleepy, tearful expression. "Mhhh...mmmmhhhhphhh!" She too was bound, gagged with a piece of orange fabric thrust between her pillowy lips, plasti-ties squeezing her legs together, at the knees and at the ankles. She wriggled and writhed, but was clearly far too weak to escape. Her jumpsuit was torn, completely exposing her sandy-coloured, slowly shifting shoulders and her décolletage. Falcona realised now where the material for Leanne's gag - for it was she - had come from.

The green-haired lass saw that Falcona was awake, turned to her with desperate, pleading eyes.
"Plhhhff...plhhfff hhhllpp mhhh..." Leanne whimpered. She knew who Falcona was - a superhero, right? "She...has to save us..." But Falcona was just as helpless as the rest of them - Catherine lay against Leanne, still unconscious. Felicity did, however, have access to more information, and she scanned around for some sign of her captors. Sure enough, she saw Sinistrus standing a few feet away, apparently trying to access another cell. But she didn't see anyone else. Her husband was gone - and the Supremacist's cell was empty.
"No...oh Christ, no..." she thought, almost as tearful as Leanne.

Sinistrus noticed that her captives were awake. She turned to them, and smiled with the warm affection of a woman reunited with a lover after a long absence.
"I'm sorry for the roughness," she said, "but I couldn't take the chance of your attempting to escape."
"Whmphh...mmgghhmmphhh...!" Falcona complained, her sleepiness making it difficult to seem convincingly angry.
"Don't worry, Falcona," Sinistrus said. "The Supremacist...well, let's just say that I convinced him to ignore us. It wasn't difficult," she added, with a small laugh. "I know I've given you perfectly legitimate reason to fear me, but I won't hurt you. In fact, I'm going to help you...I'm going to help all of us."

"What's she...talking about?" Felicity thought. Seeing her confusion, Sinistrus came closer.
"Well, not me. Not really," Lisandra said. "My master." Anticipating further confusion, she said: "I don't mean the Supremacist." She laughed again, with a note of sadness in her voice. "A man of such rapaciousness..." She wrapped her arms around her chest, like she was defending herself. "All the vices of his sex made flesh: ambition, lust, egoism..."
"What the hell is she talking about?" Leanne thought. "Aren't they...working together?"
"I was here for months, in this place, this prison - planning, co-ordinating. Waiting for a moment where all the right elements would align. It was...the second month, I think, that I began to hear the whispers..."

Drugged and weak, Falcona was having trouble keeping up with what Lisandra was saying.
"I don't remember well...I keep forgetting, you see. Hayward - that scum - he keeps her unconscious, so she keeps slipping away from me. But she's so strong...even asleep I can hear her."
"Is...she insane?" Felicity looked into the cell that Sinistrus had been fiddling with. There was someone inside it, and she was unconscious, kept floating in some sort of liquid-filled tank. She was huge - about two metres tall. Felicity was very surprised at her imprisonment - Hayward was famous for not using such methods even with the most dangerous of his prisoners.
"I don't know," Sinistrus said, seemingly musing to herself, "why only I can hear her. I think it's because my powers are telepathic. There are so few of us, after all..."

It was Catherine's turn to awaken, and she did not wake up happy.
"Mmhh...mhhhphh?!" She came to tied and gagged, her wrists and ankles secured with the last of Sinistrus' tape. Her wrists were, in fact, taped to her thighs, keeping her from lifting her arms at all. "Mmmph? MMMPHHH!!" she screamed, aghast at finding herself, Falcona - and even her Leanne - at Sinistrus' mercy.
"Hush now," Sinistrus said, seeing Catherine's distress. "Don't be alarmed. I know it is frightening at first, but don't worry. You'll be redeemed. You can be good again. You want that, don't you?"
"Wh-whhmmphh?" Catherine was bewildered. "Redemption? What the hell is she talking about?"
"You've done bad things, haven't you? Terrible things. Things that make you want to claw your own eyes out when you think of them. That's right isn't it? That's why you were on Falcona's side." Catherine blinked. This was beginning to cut rather close to the bone. "I'm sure I've done worse than you...much worse. And yet," she said, stroking the faded pink of Catherine's hair, "even I'm going to be saved. I'm sure you can be too." She looked at Leanne. " and the one for whom you care so deeply...joined in the consumption of your sin."

Falcona ignored Sinistrus' ramblings, finding herself actually a little disappointed that the elegant, deadly warrior had turned out to be yet another fanatic, for a 'cause' that Falcona only heard as rampant nonsense. Trying not to dwell on the likely dark fate of her beloved husband, she looked into the cell again, at that bizarrely tall woman. This time, however, doing so made Falcona's blood freeze in her veins. This time, the Sin Eater looked back.


"Stay asleep...stay asleep!" the voice said, with a shrieking intensity. Why won't you just stay asleep?"
"I...I don't want to..." Sophie replied, confused.
"Want? Want?! You don't get to 'want' anything! You don't get to -

"Hey, w-wake up, lady!" The incongruity of the last thing Sophie heard in her sleep, and the first thing she heard as she awoke was certainly jarring, but as she woke she was too dazed to appreciate it. Someone in grey was standing over her, saying something, but she didn't listen. Her scrambled mind drifted, and she focused instead on two people standing a few feet away.
"Are you quite out of your mind? You want to use me as an ambulance?" one said. "I hardly think that I should -"
"Quit whining, man. You're the only one of us who can fly." This was a woman's voice. "And hey, don't you want the Generator to be in your debt and shit?"
"Hmph. I suppose so." There was a rush of noise, and the man, whoever he was, was gone, apparently with Philip Hayward in tow.
"Smarmy-ass trust-funder," the woman muttered. "I swear, if he wasn't so pretty..."

"Wh...what the fuck did I wake up to?" Sophie thought. She blinked a few times, instinctively checking if she was tied up, and finding to her relief that she was not. She blinked a few times. It felt very strange, waking from the effects of Mindblow's powers, not like being drugged at all. If anything, it was more like being in one of Hades' stasis tanks. It was with such unpleasant thoughts in her mind that she recovered her senses, and saw the large figure in imposing, silvery, skeletal armour standing over her. "Aahhh...aahhhhhhh!!"

What started as a scream of terror turned into a battlecry halfway through. She leapt to her feet, at least some of her vigour restored by her slumber, grabbed the nearest blunt object she could find - a small piece of one of the bars to one of the cells - and threw it as hard as she could at the armoured figure. It bounced off harmlessly, but they visibly flinched.
"You as well?!" Sophie yelled. "It's not enough to have one grade-A shitstain mixed up in this?" She was shaking. She hadn't thought she'd have been this afraid. "You know what, Hades? Now I hope he gets out. 'Cause whatever alliance you've got going? It won't last. You'll kill each other, and I'll -" She looked again. "Shorter than before...head's a different shape...way more weapons...? Okay," she thought, wishing for a better word than 'sheepish', "I'm dumb." She changed tack.
"Wh-what the hell are y-you talking about, l-lady?! I'm not H...H...Hades!"
"Hey, I'm sorry, I totally mistook you for someone else." Armour or no armour, Sophie detected an intensely nervous disposition, and smiled consolingly. "You saved me, didn't you? Thank you so much - I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't showed up." She shivered. "Actually, maybe I do know. What's your name, man? Or, wait, are you even a dude?"
"H...I...h-uh...?" Being shouted at, threatened, then sweetly smiled at and graciously thanked by the gorgeous young woman he had cradled in his arms was a little much for Sam. Just as Sophie was about to think he was going to faint or something, she heard a laugh from behind her.
"Boy, those elocution lessons sure are working, aren't they?"

Sophie found herself confronted with a somewhat familiar face. She was strong-looking, dirty-blonde, in an armless, blue outfit composed of thick, form-fitting leather. Her exposed arms were fairly muscular, and she had a kind of wry smile etched up one side of her face. With her enhanced senses, Sophie could also see small particles of cocaine in her nostrils.
"The one and only, Enhancegirl," the heroine replied. "Some of the cons say you took out Dextrus all by yourself. Not bad, sister." She patted Sophie on the shoulder. "Me and the crew thought we'd do the rest of the clean-up for you."
"The crew?" Sophie replied. She bristled a little in Farah's presence. The last time they'd met, she'd made an earnest attempt to kill Sophie's girlfriend. But then she realised what her presence might mean: "You mean you're back with the Pauldron?" Her face lit up at the prospect of Mariko's presence. However, Farah's friendly expression shifted into undisguised disdain.
"No, girlie. I roll with a different crew now. The Hades knock-off there -"
"He goes by 'the Pretender'." Sophie realised who he was: Mariko had mentioned the military experiment that Askancepoint and Fahrenheit had encountered - clearly this was him. "If you want to know who to blame for the name..." She jutted her chin forward in the direction of the cells. Standing guard over them, and ensuring that Q-Section would produce no further rebellion, was the mighty Angermax, assisted by a few of the guards who had returned to help. Sophie beamed. She'd met Angermax before: he'd been instrumental in saving her, Spectra and Insyte from being sold into slavery by Madam Black. That he was now, apparently, a superhero was beyond appropriate. Sophie was delighted that he had turned over a new leaf like this.

Catastrophe was not quite so sure about his feelings on the subject. As Sophie had slept, he and his old partner had had a little heart to heart:
"So, what, you're a cape now?" Max didn't answer. "Seriously? You're a super-powered bank robber, not a goody-two-shoes 'hero'!"
"I guess ever since I help save you guys and those heroines from Hypnotra, I...I kind of got a taste for being the good guy. I like it. It even makes me stronger! Righteous anger kicks my power way up."
"Oh well, good for you," Jason huffed.
"Oh, by the way," Max said, "we never robbed a bank, man," Max replied. "Never successfully." He looked at Jason with a wistful expression.
"We...? Oh, yeah. We never did, did we?" He laughed mirthlessly, after which there was silence for about a minute. "They pay you?"
"Yeah, actually. Our, uh, manager guy managed to swing a contract with the state. It's not a lot, since I'm on parole but...I got my own place."
"Awesome," Jason said, before remembering he was angry. He turned away. His face was bleeding from Angermax's attack.
"I'm sorry I hurt you, man," Max said. "I didn't see you. I just - look, what's so bad about me being a hero? I mean, money's money, isn't it?" He looked hurt.
"Oh, god!" Mindblow was sitting further back, listening. "He's not angry because you're a cape. He's angry because you're stronger than he is. Geez. I thought that was obvious. Was that not obvious?" He addressed this to Hammerblow and Miles.
"No," Hammerblow said, simply.
"I don't care," Miles replied.

"Is that true?" Max asked. "Is that why you're pissed?" Jason growled.
"Fine, yes! I'm getting sick of everybody being able to kick my ass! Next thing you know it's gonna turn out that fucking Big Shot is Hades or something!"
"So it's just about being a tough guy?" Max asked. "Why be a criminal, then? Superheroes do way more fighting, and villains spend half their time in jail, or getting their asses handed to them by the big guns. Hell, why don't you join up with us? I think I could persuade Julian to let'cha -"
"No! No!" Jason stood up, grabbed the bars, shoved his face through them as far as he could. "I don't want to be some tights-wearing, stuck up cape, Maxie! I want to...I want to be like Flash-Fist and - and Terror-Gator and the real badass villains, from when we were kids! Before all these West-Coast pervs started coming out of the woodwork, when a - a supervillain was a guy who stood his ground and didn't take shit from nobody! Someone you respected! Is that so much to fucking ask?!"
"Jason, dude..."
"No, screw you, 'dude'!" Jason was incandescent with rage. How dare Max excel him? How dare Max be stronger, more successful, happier? He was the leader! He was the one who was supposed to lead them to success. And yes, they could share in his glory - Max most of all - but it should have been his glory they were sharing in. "I mean, what's this big epi...epe...uh, epiphany you had, anyway?! If you thought it was so stupid being a villain, why the fuck did you join the Catastrophe Gang in the first place?!"

Jason did and didn't feel Max's response to his question. He certainly felt something - it was like he'd just leapt into ice-cold water. It did not feel like what it was - that being Max reaching out, and very gently stroking his cheek, with the forefinger and middle finger of his left hand.
"You know why."

This conversation had concluded just as Enhancegirl and Hydrocita were reacquainting. Though Jason was stunned, Enhancegirl was pumped. Angermax, this Pretender person, and now Hydrocita? Sophie felt a new hope rising within her. No, they weren't the Pauldron, but they were powerful. As skilled as she and Falcona were, they were by no means heavy-hitters. In terms of raw strength, Enhancegirl had been the physical inferior of virtually everyone she'd fought that day, and she was starting to become frustrated by her lack of 'oomph'. Angermax and Hydrocita, and presumably Pretender as well, had oomph-a-plenty.
"Alright," Sophie said. "So, what's our plan for the Supremacist?" Hydrocita blinked. Pretender made a sound most nearly approximated by the word 'yipe'.
"The Supremacist? Oh, shit, is he mixed up in this too?"
"You...didn't know?" Sophie found her confidence waning. They had seemed pretty relaxed. She'd thought it was because of their confidence in their abilities - but it was just out of ignorance? A thought occurred to her. "Hydrocita, who's the leader of your group?"
"I am, obviously. And shit, does it feel good to be in charge!" A stuttering military experiment, and a former criminal - with a drugged up ex-Pauldronian leading the pack.
" then," Sophie mumbled. "Couldn't have been the Pauldron showing up...or the Congress...or even the L.A-dies..." She shook her head. "Oh man, I really hope Falcona managed to -"

There was a sound. A terrible, horrible sound. To anyone in that section - to anyone on the entire island - under the age of twenty-five, it was one associated with abject terror. An electronic shriek, and then a boum - and the entire roof of the prison was torn off with one flick of a deep blue tendril of energy.
"Oh no..." Sophie moaned. "No, no, no, no...!" Such was the sentiment of many who saw the man slowly rising above them. But only for Sophie did horror mix with the sting of wasted effort. "Oh god...Falcona and Caitiff!"
"I-is th-that him?" Pretender stammered. "Is that the Supremacist?"
"Yeah," Hydrocita replied. "That's him." To Sam's astonishment, she was grinning.

"I don't want to say 'it's a new day'," the Supremacist called out, swathed in a shimmering robe of royal blue. "It's an old day really. The same day. The same day it's always been: the day where us - the strong - rule the weak, and eliminate the useless. I s'pose the only difference between yesterday and today is that now it's time for us to stop pretending." Two flanked him in the air - Generalissimo and Five-Star, two of his strongest lieutenants. Both had similar powers - flight and great strength and durability, but it was thanks to Generalissimo, who could augment energy that travelled through him, that the Supremacist's speech was audible to so many.

Martin breathed in and out, deeply, enjoying his restored youth and his restored power. He felt it around him and through him, suffusing every pore of him. It felt...beautiful. Any old man returned to health and strength would have felt the same, but for Martin it was different. The dream was not dead. His world could still become real.
"Any superhuman, now matter how you got your powers, no matter where you came from," he said, "is welcome at my side. Even if you were one of my jailers, even if you're a superhero - even if you've personally fought me, and you're not dead. Everyone is welcome." He looked down into Q-Section. Saw a weird looking guy in armour. He seemed tough, Martin thought, and nodded sagely. He saw Hydrocita, and a glimmer of worry entered his mind. No match for him, of course, but not one lightly to be dismissed. He saw some guy in white with a wispy aura around him. "We'll put a pin in that one."

And then he saw the other superhuman woman in Q-Section. A certain young lady in a gold dress and red mask. A certain young lady who had foiled his plans and left him totally powerless for nearly a year. A certain young lady whose face he had never forgotten.
"Uh, yeah, so you know how I just said that anyone was welcome? Small amendment to that. Everyone is welcome except the Titan - obviously - as well as..." He clenched his fist. "Commandante Cantankerous -" At the mention of this name, Five-Star and Generalissimo growled. " - And a certain little lady who goes by the name Enhancegirl." He looked at her. He knew she'd be looking back. "G'day, sweetie. How nice of you to -"

Alarmed, Martin turned his head to see that Five Star had a very large hole in his chest.
"B-boss...?" he mumbled, before tumbling to the ground. He was dead. Looking down, he saw that the weirdo in the armour had opened a large panel in his chest. Everyone was looking at him.
"Uh...h-had we not started?" he said. "I th-thought we'd s-started!"
"Well we have now, stud," Hydrocita said. "Come on, Pariahs! Let's fuck this guy up!" Grinning wildly, Hydrocita launched herself up into the air on a great aquatic pillar.
"Inspiring," Angermax muttered. "Now...get mad...he's a murderer...a racist, wannabe dictator."
"I hear he's a homophobe too!" Mindblow piped up.
"Really? Ah, good, that helps," Max said, grinning. "Urrrrrrrrrr-AAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!" His skin blazed white, his eyes turned blood-red beneath his mask, and Angermax's power came to him in full. He couldn't fly, but he still rocketed into battle, slamming his fists into the ground, and hurtling forward with his seismic powers.
"Face it, Jason," Mindblow said, as he watched his former ally leap into the fray, "without us he's managed to get pretty cool."
"No," Jason said with equal parts affection and resentment, "he's always been pretty fuckin' cool..."

"Take her," Martin said, quite casually, to Generalissimo. "The blonde, I mean."
"Yes, sir!" he howled, and threw himself down in a dizzying parabola, with every intention of knocking her head off. He didn't get far, however. The rain rushed in a great torrent towards its master, before she turned it into a whirling buzzsaw of water, and hurled it at Generalissimo.
"That will never work against...Generalissimo!" the villain laughed, tearing his jumpsuit open to reveal a muscled chest and a virile carpet of hair. And indeed, the buzzsaw struck him, but did not cut him, grinding against his skin to no apparent effect.
"Hey, man," Hydrocita said, arms akimbo, "never say never." With a flash of her eyes, the buzzsaw shifted, becoming not one saw, but two - grinding in different directions.
"What the - auuughhhh!!" Generalissimo cried out. The buzzsaws, spinning at such high pressure and speed in opposite directions, worked like a crank, pulling open Generalissimo's hyper-tough skin. He was badly wounded, and tried to fall back, but Hydrocita was having none of it. She pulled the same trick on his shoulders, leaving deep gashes, before grabbing him by the ankle with a water-tendril, and hurling him bodyily into the cold sea surrounding the prison.

The Supremacist had to admit he was surprised. Seeing Hydrocita deal so brutally with Generalissimo, and seeing Five-Star outright killed  - well, it was unusual to see superheroes behaving in this way.
"I'm impressed," the Supremacist said, as Hydrocita squared off with him, "normally you capes don't have the balls to do what needs doing. Sure you wouldn't be better off at my side?"
"You know, I'd consider it..." Hydrocita said, "but that accent...I just can't take it. 'Oi, Bruce! I'm gonna, take over the world! Crikey!'"
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Martin said. "But, sweetheart, y'don't actually think you can beat me, do you?"
"Normally? Probably not," Hydrocita said. "But it's pouring with rain...and we're surrounded by the ocean." She flexed her biceps. "You're on my turf, shitheel!" From all sides, water - it flowed from the sky, from the pipes of the prison, and from the ocean itself. All to Hydrocita, all in a great mass. She surrounded herself with it, compressed it, focused it, not relenting for an instant.

Actually concerned, the Supremacist accessed his own power, forming a wedge shaped barrier around himself. When the attack came - and it certainly did come - it hit Martin with unbelievable force. She could have destroyed a city block with just the first wave. In his first battle with his restored powers, the Supremacist realised he was being tested far more than he would have liked. But - he was still the Supremacist.

Keeping the barrier up, he formed in his mind two propellers, exactly like one would find on a warship. True to their function, they cut through Hydrocita's attacks with ease, threatening the heroine herself. But she was too fast, and burst away from Martin's attack. She let off another high-pressure cannonade, and at the same time focused drawing the spent water back to herself, with the Supremacist between her and it.
"Brilliant!" he laughed, as he was struck from both sides. There was a rush of foam obscuring him, and Hydrocita backed off, fearing that she'd just made a counter-attack easier. But when he became clear again, he was just floating there, applauding. "You really are good! I mean, shit, you're one tough missy!" Martin replied. "Problem is, darling...I'm the Supremacist."

Something began to emerge from him - like a royal blue, glowing pair of bladed wings. Smiling wickedly, he unfolded them, and expanded them...and expanded them. Hydrocita gaped. By the time he'd finished, his construct had to be a mile wide from tip to tip.
"Hydrocita, there's something you gotta understand about me," Martin said. "You're always on my turf."

Below, the battle was going a little more chaotically. Rumble-Man and Nifelheim had arrived, and the two powerful, though inexperienced heroes, were having quite a time with them.
"Rrggghhhh!!" Nifelheim was harrying Angermax with bullets of ice, his seismic aura the only protecting him from getting shredded. He would smash her frozen body to pieces over and over with his powers, but she would just reform. While his frustration was certainly powering his abilities well enough, it wasn't helping him to win.
"You can't destroy me, hero!" The icy warrior-woman shrieked. "I will chill your heart until -"
"Hey, Lady Frigid!" The Supremacist's servant turned her head, filled with umbrage, towards the cells containing the rest of the Catastrophe Gang. More to the point, she turned to the cell containing Mindblow. "Say cheese!" A blue flash travelled directly into Nifelheim's eyes. She blinked a few times... and then collapsed unconscious on her back. Angermax glared at Mindblow, and he shrieked, but the fearsome warrior was merely pausing to give him a thumbs up.

Ferro-Mag was giving Pretender a much harder time. This was not because he was more powerful than Nifelheim - he wasn't - but he did, alas, have the power to control metal. As in, the substance Sam was encased in.
"D-damn it!" Sam growled, as yet another attack went wide, his arm yanked to the side at the last moment. His armour contained only trace amounts of ferromagnetic metals, but it was enough. He was hurled back, landing hard, what little skill he'd developed completely failing him.

"You look big," Ferro-Mag said, "but you sound like a little boy."
"F-f-fuck you!" Sam replied. "Just 'cause y-you've got a type advantage...!" He opened up a panel in his back, and launched out a small missile, which instantly homed in on Ferro-Mag.
"Whoa!" The villain was surprised at the extent of Pretender's arsenal - but he wasn't unprepared. The missile had plenty of metal inside it for him to work with, so Ferro-Mag grabbed it, turned it around, and slammed it into the one who had fired it.
"Oh n-" The missile slammed into his chest, producing a terrific explosion.
"Pretender!" Enhancegirl screamed, sure that he'd been killed. She ran forward to intervene, but then saw something that made her stop in her tracks. "Now that is clever..."

As the dust and debris cleared, the armoured figure of the Pretender stumbled to his feet.
"Unnhhh..." he groaned. He had survived, though his armour was dented. "You'll get it for that!" Clunkily, almost robotically, Pretender ran towards Ferro-Mag, firing a cornucopia of weaponry at his enemy. But the magnet-wielder easily blocked or evaded all of these until, finally losing his patience, he seized the Pretender by the throat with his powers, and hauled him in.
"Damn it!" Pretender cried out, held up like he was being crucified.
"I'm bored of this," Ferro-Mag growled. "I'm an infiltration specialist, not a...a...gladiator! This ends now." Punctuating his remark, he reached out with his powers to the centre of the Pretender's armour.
"No! Don't!" Pretender protested. It seemed as if his speakers were damaged, because his voice now came out tinny and flat. Even his scream came out strangled and odd as Ferro-Mag used his powers to tear the armour completely open.
"Huh?" Ferro-Mag wondered if he'd had the right idea about whom he was fighting. "Are you...a robot?"
"N-no, d-dumbass," said a voice from behind him. Ferro-Mag turned, and found himself looking at a lanky, awkward young man, about the same age as Sophie. "I'm the P-Pretender!" Before the villain could react, Sam punched him hard in the face. He was certainly much weaker outside of his armour - but he was still a superhuman. Ferro-Mag went flying, severely concussed.

"Nice move!" Sophie said, jogging towards the victorious Pretender. "You can control the armour remotely?"
"Y-yeah," Sam said. He was trying to get the armour to stand up by itself, and he was just about managing it, but it appeared to take incredibly intense concentration, like he was trying to do a hard trigonometry problem. "It's...not as useful as it s-s-sounds," he added. "It's w-w-weaker without me in it - like way weaker. Still p-pretty cool, right?" He tried giving Sophie a sly smile, but he just looked sort of...deranged.
"For...sure," Sophie said. As Sam put himself back inside, Sophie decided that this was the moment for her to make her exit. Not to retreat totally - but to look for Falcona and Caitiff. Trying to pickup Falcona's scent, she realised that this was not in fact the right time to make her search - as Hydrocita crashed into the ruins of Q-Section.
"Urrghhh..." she groaned, hauling herself up. She was bruised, but not seriously injured. Her face was twisted with rage, however. She sniffed, rubbing her slightly reddened nostrils. Angermax rushed to help her up.
"Are you alright?" he growled. It was difficult to talk at all in his transformed state.
"Okay," she said, "I may have overestimated myself a little..."

The Supremacist descended slowly after her.
"Please stop fighting me, Hydrocita," he said, "with your power, you could be the next Dextrus, for cryin' out loud!"
"Oh, please," Farah spat. "Like that's going to be tempting!" Martin's patronising smile flickered.
"Well, if I have to take the time to convince you..."

He focused for a moment, and suddenly they were all of them bathed in a royal blue light. Looking up, Enhancegirl saw to her horror that the Supremacist had constructed a sort of...dome of energy around the prison.
"He doesn't want anyone getting out..." Sophie thought. "What the hell is he gonna do?" Farah saw too, but didn't allow herself to be afraid.
"Pariahs, get him!"
"What? Oh, r-right!" Sam's armour was healing around him, but was still damaged. As he fumbled around for a weapon to use, the Supremacist off-handedly defeated him with a construct shaped like a fan.

Angermax was next. He slammed his hands into the ground, spearing the Supremacist with pillars of concrete, but they crumbled against his shields. He directly shot his seismic power into him, but the shield twisted into a complex ribbon of energy, and Max's attack was redirected harmlessly around it. The villain tired of being creative, and just seized Max by the throat, and hurled him away.

"I'm an idiot," Sophie thought. "This isn't someone I can fight. There is nothing I can do. I'm, like, physically incapable of hurting him!" She started running towards him. "Seriously. Live to fight another day. This is dumb!" She increased her speed. "Why am I doing this?" She weaved between snakelike tendrils, bands and spears of blue that tried to stop her, aware that the slightest misstep could mean death. "Wow, I really am doing this aren't I?"

As cascades of water tried in vain to quell and oppose the shimmering blue constructs of the Supremacist's mind, Sophie leapt between them, always trying to get closer and closer to the eye of the storm. She was fast - incredibly fast for someone without superhuman speed - and agile as a fly. But all Martin had to do was think - and even Enhancegirl was not faster than thought.
"NO!" Sophie cried out, as a shimmering net manifested in front of her, instantly seizing her. As soon as she was in its grasp, the net shifted, becoming thick, blue chains that wrapped around Sophie's gorgeous, slinky body. She was caught.

"No! Unnhhh! Noooooo!!" Sophie cried, as the chains flowed freely over her, forcing her arms behind her back, binding them together, and forcing them against her spine. Her perky breasts were squeezed tightly by the chains around her chest, and a cross-hatched pattern ran over, down and even between her long, moist legs, completely chaining her up. "Get off me you - MMMNNNMMMPHHHH!!" Her mouth was not spared. Chains thrust themselves over her lips, muzzling her, practically silencing her completely. "Mph! MMMMPHHHH!!" the captive redhead screamed, as she was slowly pulled towards her captor.

"I've been waiting a long time for this," Martin said. He focused all his attention on the wriggling damsel floating before him, allowing his powers to do the work in seeing off Hydrocita. "I thought when I saw you again, you jumped up little tart, I'd just break your pretty neck." Sophie shuddered as she saw him quite obviously admiring her chest. "But now...well, I'm a young man again. And here's this lovely little thing all chained up in front of me...I'm beginning to get some different ideas. Maybe I'll snap your neck after I run out."

And then, a rather strange look came over him. A kind of bemused shock. He looked up, at the dome he'd created.
"But that's impossible," he said. "I put nearly half my power into - AAHHH!!" He dropped Sophie, who fell in a chained up bundle to the ground, and staggered back. No-one but Sophie really paid this very much attention, because it was just at this moment that the dome shattered into royal blue splinters with an ear-shattering 'boom', so loud that over the water, windows shattered in Seacouver's docks.

When the dome was gone, all that was left was a fading orange light, like someone had just let off a bomb, and a man. A man, floating - flying - in the air. A sallow, thin man, with deathly pale skin, a flicknife grin, and a billowing, black overcoat. A man with the power of a nuclear inferno at his fingertips. Hydrocita pumped her fist in delight: the fourth Pariah was back.
"Martin! As I live and breathe!" Ivan Nazarov shouted down from his atomic perch. "Oh, this is going to be a very good day!"
Enhancegirl 13-6: This isn't gonna end well...
It keeps on going! This chapter, a new faction enters the fray! What the hell is going on?!
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A couple of the women from Sinistrus' entourage - latterly under the command of Jade - had fought Enhancegirl before. It was during her early days, between her initial encounter with Madam Black and the first time she met Spectra. She'd managed to defeat them, yes, but it had been a close run thing to say the least. Honestly? Enhancegirl had been lucky to escape with her life. One of the two - Armos - had enhanced strength, the other - Beamos - could fire energy beams from her hands, and both were skilled at using their powers. As Smokin's flames died, and the two saw Enhancegirl running full pelt towards her, they were therefore quietly confident that she would fall to them.

That confidence was shattered when the one with enhanced strength took a fragment of green crystal to the shoulder
"Aaaaaugghh!" she screeched, blood spurting out of the wound. She gaped at the wound, and so did her partner.
"What is that?" the other said. In fact, it was a snapped-off piece of Jade's armour, but neither had much time to work that out. Enhancegirl leapt towards them, driving the heel of her silver boot into the taller woman's face.
"GYHHAAKKHHH!!" she cried out, dazed not quite into unconsciousness, but into a defeated stupor. She might have been stronger than the average, but she was no more resilient. Sophie landed on her back, but was in that position for less than a second. She leapt onto her hands, threw herself forward, and locked her legs around the other woman's neck. The convict tried to reach up to blast her, but Sophie grabbed her wrists, forced her palms to face away from her. Beams fired off, but none hit Enhancegirl.

"If I remember right," the heroine said, "you got a good feel of my legs back when you guys were having fun with me. Well - are you still enjoying them?" She squeezed tighter, and Beamos saw dots in front of her face. "I'm only just getting started!" Beamos weakened, began to sway. Sophie unhooked her legs from her enemy, flipped off her with all the grace of a dancer, and then roundhouse kicked her squarely in the face. "Who's next?!"

Two convicts on the upper levels dropped down behind her, ready to ambush the ravishing redhead. But the instant - the very instant - that they landed, both felt something jabbing into their spines. They seized up, unable to move, unable to talk.
"I knew a martial artist once." The speaker was behind him, talking with an elegant, lilting voice that was sweeter than honey. "He told me that it had taken him quite a while to learn how to exploit pressure points in combat. He was so very irritated that my powers let me do it more or less without even trying." Three strikes in rapid succession to different spots on their spines, and the convicts screamed, gasped, and finally sighed, collapsing onto the ground. Falcona flexed her fingers, and clicked the bones in her neck. "Oh, it feels good to be untied!"

"She's not like Enhancegirl," Miriam thought to herself, as she approached the blonde from behind. "She only has super vision. If she's not looking at me, I can sneak up on her." Miriam was an old soldier, so to speak. She'd fought with the Supremacist for years, and knew her place in the rankings, so to speak. Strong, but not that strong, she knew that she would never be a match for someone like Spectra, or Hytherion, but she'd had her victories. This woman she could beat, she assured herself. Continuing to move with surprising stealth, she made sure that she was out of Felicity's field of vision at all times. Then, when she assured herself she was close enough, she leapt forward, her strength propelling her with great speed, closing a five metre gap in less than a second. She didn't see Felicity's charming, sly little smile.

A nail on the other side of K-Section, a little piece of one of the convicts' collars was facing a fragment of broken glass from a security camera. This fragment was, in turn, facing a steel nail knocked loose from some of the wall panelling, which was facing a droplet of sweat that Enhancegirl had left as she hurtled wildly into battle. It was via each of these objects in turn that Falcona saw the woman approaching her, when Enhancegirl herself would not have seen.
"Whoa!" Miriam found herself side-stepped at the last possible moment. She was skilled enough not to fall, but her momentum carried her forward for twice the height of her body. Steadying herself, she turned, raising her arms to block a strike she was sure would come. Her prescience didn't help her, though. A strike in the throat - only two of Falcona's fingers actually touched her - and Miriam's throat seized up. She fell back, gasping. She stared in astonishment at the waifish, lovely young blonde in a short dress - missing one shoe, even - who had effortlessly defeated her. Falcona blew her a kiss, and Miriam went down, hard.

Falcona was very much aware that, of the many enemies they faced, she had only taken down three. As satisfying as it was to be loose, she was still in great peril. She and Enhancegirl would have to work together if -
"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!" The cry had not come from Enhancegirl, at least, not exactly, but from a woman she'd just punted into the bars of a cell. A bony spike was hurled at her by another prisoner but she caught it in mid-air.
"Gifts?" Enhancegirl said, twirling the spike between her fingers. "You guys are so generous!" Emphasising her pleasure at her 'gift', Enhancegirl ducked under a stream of green flame, and nearly broke one of the kneecaps of the woman shooting it at her. She screamed in pain, so Sophie knocked her out with a spinning kick. Falcona saw six women already unconscious or groaning in pain on the ground.
"Good lord," she muttered. With a great deal of admiration, and just a tiny amount of jealousy, Falcona realised just how far Sophie outclassed her.

Three more convicts surrounded the redhead, certain others now a little nervous of the gold-clad redhead.
"One with the big-ass mole, she's moving her fingers - long range power? Electricity maybe? Weak hip joint - strike there; taller one's got a stiff arm, boxing stance, feint left, take her from the right; middle one...not sure: just be fast." This line of thought took about one sixth of a second for Sophie's enhanced neurons. Even without verbalisation she took in a thousand other things - smelt a greater tang of sweat from one enemy, indicating lower stamina, felt the tremor of feet shuffling around nervously, saw muscles tensing - and knew who would be the first to strike: herself.

As the woman with the mole gathered little shards of ice about herself, she opened her mouth to quip. Actually it would have been pretty funny - she was a noted wit. But Enhancegirl didn't care, and with devastating speed and accuracy, she hit the wit hard in the hip joint. She screamed with pain, but Enhancegirl didn't hesitate for an instant, and downed her with a solid punch to the jaw. The taller woman changed her stance, and Sophie responded instantly, hurling her newfound weapon and striking her enemy in the the skull. She reeled, but didn't even have time to fall back one step before Enhancegirl launched herself forward, snatched the bony club out of mid-air, and hurled it at the remaining convict.

Unfortunately for Sophie, the last woman - Waver - was faster on her feet than her allies, and she ducked underneath Sophie's projectile. She clapped her hands together, sending out a shockwave of force that would have hit Sophie so hard that she'd have died without urgent medical attention. But, then, it didn't hit her. She, unlike most of Waver's opponents, could see her shockwaves. Enhancegirl drew her limbs in towards her body, twisted herself in mid-air so that the shockwave went just underneath her. Before Waver could prepare another, Sophie collided at full speed with her enemy. Both were a little stunned as they hit the floor, but Sophie recovered first, and a whiplash kick knocked Waver senseless.

"Okay...are we starting to get the picture here?" Sophie said, as the remainder of Sinistrus' loyalists grew increasingly nervous.
"Are you kidding me?" one replied. "There's still just one of her! She ain't no Valora, let's just - BLLHHRRMMGHHLL!" A wadge of pink goo slapped across the speaker's face, covering her mouth, nose and eyes. Blinded and breathless, she collapsed.
"Oh, there's more than one." Catherine, the gel wielding woman who had freed Sophie and Felicity, stepped forward, at Enhancegirl's side. Using her powers, she contracted the gel slightly, freeing her victim's nose- but only just.
"I'd say," Falcona interjected, "that against three superheroes - well, two and a half," she added, winking at Catherine, "you lot would certainly be better off heading back to your cells, no?" One prisoner demurred, and leapt forward, transforming their hands into silvery blades. A glob of gel struck her in the face, a roundhouse kick nearly cracked her skull open, and a pinpoint strike to her stomach almost completely paralysed her diaphragm. She fell wheezing, spluttering and helpless onto the ground.
"You know what?" another prisoner said, looking at the battered, groaning bodies of her allies. "On second thoughts, I agree with you."

It didn't take long for Sinistrus' loyalists to be back in their cells. As order was restored, at least in this section, Sophie took a moment to breathe. She was shaking slightly, the adrenaline of combat still flooding her system. Felicity approached her, and Sophie was so jumpy that she almost attacked again.
"Fine moves there, Elena," Falcona said, clapping her on the shoulder.
"Likewise," Enhancegirl replied. Regrettably, the heroes had no time to chat. "I think I know what this is all about. They're trying to -"
" - heal the Supremacist. I know," Falcona replied. "That woman who captured us - Sinistrus - she works for the Supremacist. One of his two highest ranking warriors, actually."
"You guys have met?" Falcona nodded. "Is she, like, a telepath? She totally got the drop on me before." Falcona shrugged.
"I think technically, yes, she's a telepath, but she's no mind reader. She can do one of two things: make you ignore her presence, or make you focus entirely on her." Enhancegirl couldn't help being impressed. Most of the time, the enemies she faced had much more obviously potent powers than her: greater strength, energy attacks, durability, and so on. However, this Sinistrus person had an ability even less obviously battle-focused than Sophie's own, yet she had carved out a place for herself with a man for whom power was...well, everything.

Catherine overheard their conversation.
"Hey, did you say the Supremacist? Shit, no wonder it was all of the normie-haters that were rioting. What's the next move?" Enhancegirl turned towards the mostly-mauve haired woman, and stared at her for a moment. She then slapped her hard across the face. "Ow! Ahhh, what the hell, why did you do that?!"
"Elena, why did you -?" Sophie raised her hand.
"You know why, Caitiff," Enhancegirl said. "What you did to me and Spectra isn't something a person just forgets. But - now I can actually feel grateful for what you saving me here. So...thank you." It was an odd feeling, being punished and forgiven at the same time: but Catherine decided to accept it.
"I see these two have a little history..." Certainly, Felicity saw Caitiff's pupils dilate every time she looked at Sophie, but elected not to jump to any conclusions. "As to our next move - we stop the Supremacist." To Sophie she added, quietly: "Can she be trusted to help us?" Sophie shrugged.
"She put herself on the line for us. That's gotta count for something, right?" Felicity gave a small bow of assent.
"Can your friend help us, um...Caitiff?"
"I have a debt to pay," Caitiff replied. "She doesn't." Smokin' had been hurt enough already, Caitiff thought. She didn't need to risk anything else.

It was as Falcona was planning the best possible route to where her husband was that Enhancegirl first felt the tremors. Something was shaking, something directly above them. The redhead turned her eyes heavenward, and though her sight could not pierce the metal foundations of the Penitentiary Supreme as well as Falcona's, she could see people moving above them - the Pen-Supreme's guards, apparently in combat. They appeared to be fighting against a lone opponent - and they appeared to be losing.

"Aaaaahhhhhh!!" A hole had been torn in the ceiling above them - and what had been a ceiling to Sophie was a floor to the woman who fell through. "Unnnghhh!" Forty feet she plummeted, hitting the ground with a metallic clang. Indeed, her whole body was covered with metal - had it not been, she'd have surely died.
"Jesus!" Enhancegirl rushed over to the fallen guard. "Hey, lady, are you okay?"
"D-de..." She croaked, her voice appropriately tinny.
"What?" Sophie didn't get an answer before the guard passed out. "What's going on?"

Something dropped through the hole that the guard had fallen through. It was a sphere - a perfect sphere - purplish black, descending straight down towards them.
"What the hell is that?" Enhancegirl could see it, right enough, but she didn't understand at what she was looking. Falcona looked up - and her crystal blue eyes went wide with terror.
"For God's sake, grab onto something!" she cried out - before the sphere exploded.

That is, it burst. It did not explode in the traditional sense, of projecting force outwards in all directions. Rather, the three woman found themselves being pulled in.
"Wh-what the fuck?!" Sophie half-screamed, as she found herself hauled up into the air. "What's going on?!" As she got closer to the sphere's remaining core, she felt a painful strain on her body, worse and worse as she got closer. Mercifully, before she was in true agony, the sphere vanished, and she fell back to the ground. "Unnnhhh!" she cried out, dazed and nearly winded.
"What was that?" Caitiff cried out. She'd only been spared Sophie's ordeal by affixing herself to the ground using her gel. "Holy crap!" Chunks were torn out of the ground, bars had been ripped off some of the cells, and the machine which had bound Falcona and Enhancegirl together was utterly wrecked.
"That was me."

From the jagged hole in the ceiling, a figure descended. He dropped slower than he should have, adding to a sense of unsettling wrongness about him. He was huge, almost as tall as Hades, with long, blonde hair, a bristling beard, thick, pouting lips. Bare chested, he swept his hair out of his face like a supermodel, smiling at the three woman who faced him.
"Dextrus!" Falcona gasped, her voice trembling.
"Unghh..." Sophie stumbled to her feet. "Dextrus? Who the hell is that?"
"The keeper of the flame..." the man said. He smiled, and Sophie shuddered just from the sight of it. "That's what they called me, anyway. More like an attack dog, really." He didn't seem dissatisfied at this description of himself. He stepped forward, his image seeming to waver, even to Falcona and Enhancegirl. "Now...three lovely little treats for me to take a bite out of." He licked his thick lips. "You look delicious...eehehehehehhe...AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" His eyes flashed, and another sphere shot out at them from his chest. Roughly knowing what was coming, the three superhumans leapt for cover, but they were pulled in all the same when the sphere burst. They were almost pulled right into the sphere, but it vanished completely just before this happened, and they were sprawled at Dextrus' feet.

"Unnhh..." the three groaned, their bodies hurled about with ease by Dextrus' power.
"Some kind of...gravity power..." Sophie thought. "Maybe I can...aaahhh!" Before she could recover, Dextrus grabbed her by her long, flowing red hair, and hauled her up to her feet. He was strong, incredibly strong. It seemed that his powers had some fringe benefits as well.
"Elena!" Falcona cried out. She rushed to help her friend, but with a wave of his hand, Dextrus shot out another sphere, past Falcona. It burst, and she was thrown back, far from Sophie.
"Get off me, you...fucking...low rent Kurt Cobain!" the redhead demanded, squirming in his grasp as he clutched her hair.
"'re a quipper. I hate quippers..." Dextrus said, sounding well and truly bored. "Oh, could you say 'you'll never get away with this'? I love it when people say that. Imperion said it with such gravitas..."
"Urgh...I'm guessing he's the one that kicked your ass and put you away, right?" Sophie grinned. "Bet it stings whenever you -" Dextrus had locked eyes with her. They were huge. She felt like she would sink into them, like pools of tar.
"It took the entire West Coast Congress to put me down, little girl. When I fought Imperion, I made him howl in pain like an infant...that was quite funny." Sophie's powers gave her a very accurate capacity to tell when people were lying - and it seemed that this man was telling the truth.
"He...he beat Imperion?" Such a thing did not seem possible. "What the hell am I supposed to do against someone like that?"

Unimpressed, Dextrus tossed her back down, and Sophie got as far away from him as possible. From the cells, jeers and whoops went up, as the Supremacist's loyalists cheered on their greatest champion against the woman who'd defeated them.
"There's no real threats here," Dextrus muttered to himself. "But I suppose I'd better kill you..."
"Hey!" Caitiff shouted, in a panicked attempt to distract his attention. She lobbed a great quantity of gel at him, aiming to have it hit him in the mouth. But Dextrus was faster than his massive size suggested, and he launched out another sphere. As it travelled, it came into contact with the projectiles Caitiff had thrown. They were not evaporated, or disintegrated, or atomised. They simply stopped existing. Caitiff was almost frozen, but her wits returned to her long enough for her to run. There was a terrifying shriek of metal as the sphere burst, ripping apart the walls of the prison, and throwing sunlight within its confines. Again, Caitiff barely managed to avoid getting pulled in herself, and she looked on with terror.

Falcona wasn't quite in that state, but she certainly was afraid. Dextrus was not as flashy or as visually impressive as Nucleon or, indeed, his master. His powers would never be able to destroy a city, for instance - even a building would take a fair amount of effort. No - his was the power of an assassin. Could he do as much damage as, say, Nova? No, or not as quickly, at least. But one on one? There was no defence against those gravity spheres. One could only flee.

Which is why it was especially surprising that Enhancegirl was slowly approaching the long-haired demon. Falcona saw her muttering to herself. She thought she saw her say 'four seconds.'
"Falcona," the redhead called out. "Go to your husband. Stop the Supremacist. I'll deal with this guy."
"You'll what?!" Felicity was astonished, and that was putting it mildly. "Don't you know who he is? He'll kill you!"
"Maybe, maybe not," Enhancegirl said. "Either way, I'll hold him off." She fixed Falcona with a steely gaze. "You know it's worth it." Falcona opened her mouth to speak, but stopped herself. Sophie was right. To stop the Supremacist was worth her life.

Enhancegirl ran full tilt in the opposite direction from Falcona, picked up and hurled a chunk of ripped-up masonry towards the mangy villain. He threw out another gravity ball, disintegrating the redhead's attack. The gravity ball burst, and Sophie was yanked back towards it, but she grabbed onto a fixture in one of the walls, and rode out the suction until it stopped.
"Naughty...naughty girl..." Dextrus hummed. "You want all of my attention? You must be very...badly brought up. I' you. You and your -" He noticed something. He was not pleased to notice it. Enhancegirl was now the only one facing him: Falcona and Caitiff had slipped away. "Oh...oh, you have made a mistake," Dextrus growled. "There's nothing I hate more than clever women!"
"In that case," Enhancegirl said, "you're gonna fucking detest me."

"Can I make a suggestion?" Sara said, just as their helicopter landed on the roof of Bayview Precinct.
"Of course," Mariko replied. They hadn't talked much during their flight. "What is it?"
"Your outfit."
"My -?" Mariko didn't understand.
"We're about to meet with some grieving cops, and...I mean, I know we're superheroes, but your outfit is a little..."
"I see," Mariko said. She didn't see at all, but assumed that Nova would know better than her in such matters.
"I think we have one of those all-purpose bodysuits that Mark and Shane use."
"No need," Mariko said, with a sly smile. "Spectrum is Red." Her silver outfit vanished, replaced by her civilian clothes. But she wasn't finished. "I haven't done this in a while..." she thought.

Not since she'd called herself 'Lumina' and worn that truly ludicrous little two-piece ensemble had she employed this particular aspect of her powers. Here, her experience as a model was of great use, as she redesigned herself within her own mind. Concentrating deeply, she activated her powers once again - and was transformed.
"Ah good, it worked." Spectra said. The only thing she kept from her previous costume was her silver domino mask; the rest was totally different. She was now clad in a skintight bodysuit, of the same silvery, latex-ish material as her former outfit. It covered her completely, from her feet to her neck, even incorporating flat soles into the outfit itself. There were white accents at her chest, and shoulders, breaking up the unitary colour scheme, and the material covering her legs was a slightly lighter shade of silver, almost suggesting the appearance that Mariko was wearing tights, or stockings. The heroine looked down, admiring herself. "That should do it."

"That's...quite a fringe benefit you have there," Sara said, more than a little surprised by what she'd just seen.
"More appropriate?" Mariko said. Sara didn't answer at first. Certainly Spectra's new costume showed less skin - but it might as well have been painted onto her body, so completely did it reveal the graceful contours of her tall, gracefully feminine body.
"...sure," Sara said.

The two made their way inside, and met a sombre mood. No-one looked happy, but there were a few cops who were, or seemed recently to have been, crying.
"McTaggart," Nova said, approaching a woman in her early forties. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry..." She hugged her.
"A second..." the woman said, her voice shaking, "just a second and they were...they were gone!"
"We'll do everything we can to make it right," Nova said. "I promise.

Somewhat uncomfortable with this interaction, Mariko looked around for someone else to talk to. Many were upset, and some were eyeing Spectra and Nova with what was anything from distaste to full-on hatred. Confused by this, Mariko found someone who looked a little less emotional.
"Hello," she said. "I am Spectra, of the Pauldron."
"Hi," the policeman replied. "I'm Fuller." They shook hands. Spectra liked this man immediately: he had a thoroughly businesslike quality to him.
"What's the status of the suspects?"
"One of them's still unconscious." Fuller was a sergeant, a burly man in his thirties, but he spoke with the gruffness of a grizzled old captain. "The other one...I mean, he's not exactly being co-operative, but he's sure talkative."
"What does he say?" Fuller grimaced.
"He...he said he did it for Hades."

Nova heard this too.
", no..." she thought. Images flashed into Sara's mind, the toxic-sweet smell of chloroform, the sensation of metal hands running all over her body, the humiliation. "Why her? Why is it always her?" Mariko was no more pleased to hear it.
"Is he working for Hades directly?" Spectra asked.
"I doubt it. He was rambling on about superhuman domination of the weak...he sounded more like one of the Supremacist's guys than anything else. I think he just heard the name and...used it as an excuse."
"She's like a virus..." Mariko thought, meaning Hades. "She doesn't even have to command people..."

"This is bullshit!" Another cop burst in, in the dark red of a CAEP officer. "You did this!" He was pointing at Nova.
"What? What the hell are you saying?"
"You - the Pauldron! Your fucking boss and his fucking RRA!" It took a moment for Nova to realise that he meant the Reduced Responsibility Act.
"What's the meaning of this?" Spectra said, coming forward. A few of the angry looking officers behind her stood up as well.
"Those little shits who killed our friends - they're only sixteen."
"So what? They can still be tried as adults for murder if -" Nova froze. "Oh, crap..."

The idea had been a noble one. Often, young superhumans just discovering their powers would hurt or even kill others by mistake as their abilities first manifested. This would lead to prison time - and all too often, push them towards earnest criminality with their newfound power. So, the Reduced Responsibility Act had been designed to prevent this from happening: minors killing with their powers would be immune from full prosecution. Unfortunately, youth did not always mean innocence.
"They're not gonna go to jail. Not real time, anyway," the CAEP officer said.
"They're children," Spectra said. "Isn't it better this way?"
"Better?!" This was one of the officers standing behind Spectra. "They killed cops - they should fucking fry!"
"Your role is to uphold the law," Spectra said, turning a withering gaze onto the officer. "If you want to change it, then resign your position." Nova glared at her.
"God damn it, that sort of talk is not gonna help right now!" She turned to face the CAEP specialist, the one who'd started shouting.

"Listen," Sara said. "There's very little legal precedent yet. For all we know, a skilled prosecutor could argue that this is terrorism, so it'd be a federal crime: the RRA is only law in California."
"Shut it!" the CAEP bellowed. "Fucking're all so god-damned arrogant!" Nova raised one of her hands, in an intended gesture of conciliation, but he didn't take it that way, and drew his pistol.
"Jesus, Cory, what are you doing?" Fuller cried out.
"She's pointing a lethal weapon at me, isn't she?" Cory said. "You could kill us all in twenty seconds, isn't that right?"
"But I'm not going to. Put the weapon down," Nova replied. "I know you've lost friends, but -"
"Shut up! Just shut up!"

Mariko had no interest in talking Cory down. She had calculated a much safer way of bringing him to heel. It would require only a miniscule fragment of her power to disarm him. She didn't understand why Nova was bothering to talk to him - except, perhaps, for the fact that her powers were more intrinsically destructive.
"I merely need to -" She hadn't seen it coming. She couldn't have. She couldn't have processed why someone would do something so irrational. One of the officers behind her, the one she'd told off, had drawn his billy-club. And as Spectra focused on the CAEP specialist, he walked right up behind her, and struck her hard across the back of the head.

"Aaahh!" Mariko cried out, stars flashing in front of her eyes. She tried to turn around, but her legs wouldn't obey. They trembled, and so did the rest of her. "Hhnnh...uhhh..." she moaned, as a helpless wooziness took hold of her. She stumbled forward a step, her arms falling to her sides. "Wh-what...wh...why...?" Stultified by the blow to her head, she couldn't think, couldn't use her powers. "Too...dizzy..." she mumbled, as her vision grew dark. "Unnhhh..." Swooning, the tall beauty dropped down onto her knees, her confident poise now reduced to meek, passive impotence.

"Spectra!" Nova cried out, but froze when Cory cocked his gun. The other officers, aside from the one who'd clubbed Spectra, were frozen in shock and confusion. That is, some were frozen, and some had drawn their weapons, now pointing them at each other, unsure who was ally and who was enemy.
"Don't move...don't even move!" Cory growled. Mariko had no choice but to move - that is, to fall. Her sparkling jade eyes grew dull, her eyelids fluttered.
"Ohh...ooohhh..." she mewed, as her eyes rolled back in her head, only a glimmer of her irises visible, as if she were looking heavenward for salvation. Slowly, but inevitably, she flopped forward. "Noooo..." she moaned as she fell prostrate onto the ground. The silver clad damsel lay flat on her front, slim arms by her sides, her long, gorgeous legs neatly placed next to each other, the former model seeming unable not to pose.
"Damn, that was easy..." was the last thing Mariko heard before her eyes settled shut, and the Mistress of Light was lost to darkness...

"Uunnnghhh..." Caduceus groaned. He had never before encountered injuries like the Supremacist's, and the process of healing him was exhausting his strength.
"Oh...god, yeah!" Martin laughed. The charred lines on his skin were fading, an indigo fire in his eyes returning. "That's more bloody like it!" He grinned, and dared to test Caduceus' progress. He closed his eyes, and imagined a drill. Not just an image of one, not the idea of one, but in intimate, expert detail, down to the last working part. Martin didn't actually possess a university degree - in his youth, it just wasn't seen as necessary for everyone - but over the course of his life, he'd become a pretty proficient engineer. This wasn't for the sake of learning a trade, but for making his energy constructs all the stronger. He breathed out - and his vision flared into life.

"Boss, your powers!" Forrester said. "They're back!" But, within a moment, the construct flickered, faded, and vanished.
"Not done yet, I see," Martin said. "But progress is progress!" Forrester and Randolph cheered. Caduceus grimaced.
"They could lock me up for this," he thought. Would people blame him? Yes, probably. But he didn't care. Or rather, he did care...he just cared about his wife more.
"Lock us up," Martin said. Simon was startled by the coincidence of phrasing, Forrester and Randolph being startled by what was actually said.
"Um, boss," Forrester said, nervously, "we can't open this door from the inside."
"Nothing gets in until I'm fixed. Nothing gets out until I'm fixed. Get it?"
"Sure, boss." With a good degree of heaving from the Supremacist's men, the cell was shut tight. Simon felt a shiver run through him: now he was truly alone.

Outside, Chupacabra was pacing, biting her nails. The woman who'd rescued and recruited her, the silvery, buxom Sinistrus, stood nearby, waiting, guarding.
"Um..." Leanne started, but silenced herself. "Hey, um...Sinistrus?"
"Yes?" Sinistrus looked up at her, her long eyelashes fluttering. Leanne heard herself whimper.
"Um...when...when you asked me to help you..." She clenched a fist. "When you asked me to help you, I didn't realise you were working for the Supremacist!"
"Is that a problem?" Sinistrus asked, apparently without sarcasm or threat.
"Yeah! I thought...I mean, I knew you were breaking someone out, but not like...the worst supervillain ever!"

Sinistrus moved forward a couple of steps.
"Are you going to try to stop him?" she asked. Leanne was panting. "Do you have the moral courage, I wonder?" She came closer.
"I..." Leanne backed off. "He...he's killed thousands of people..."
"I know. And he'll kill more, I'm sure. He'll kill, and kill and kill, until the whole human world has been torn apart."
"Why would you want that?" Leanne gulped. She didn't like the look in Sinistrus' eye one bit.
"Because we're superior. Because it's what should happen." Her voice wavered slightly as she said this. For the first time, Leanne saw her expression flicker, representing something other than total poise. Actually, there had been one other occasion: when the Supremacist had kissed her. But her unflappability was swiftly restored. "There's really only one question, isn't there?"
"What are you willing to do about it?"

Chupacabra backed off a step.
"I..." 'Do'? What could she do? What was she supposed to do against the Supremacist? But then, she didn't have to fight the Supremacist, did she? "I...could probably take those two goons...yeah...holy shit, yeah! I could...I could take them out...I could save the world! I bet they'd give me a pardon! A-and Catherine too...I could lie and say she helped! I could - MMMMPHH!!"

It was such a strange feeling. She'd known that Sinistrus was there, of course, but she just hadn't been able to take her into account. Not even in the abstract - she'd pushed the white haired villain out of her mind completely. It had been simplicity itself for Sinistrus to simply walk behind her, dose in halothane the same rag she'd used to subdue Enhancegirl, and thrust it over Leanne's mouth and nose.
"You've completed your task now, Leanne...I think it's time for you to have a"
"Mmhh! Mhhgghhhmphhh!" Leanne tried to get her hands onto Sinistrus, to use her powers to suck out her strength, but her jumpsuit covered too much of her body. Simply by wrapping one arm around her chest, Sinistrus kept her from getting her hands onto her, and Leanne's long, soft green hair prevented her from touching her captor with the skin of her face. "What's she doing?! Wh...what's going on? Why is she...drugging me...unnhhh..." Already the girl found her vision growing blurry. Her legs kicked, her hands flapped at her sides, but every more slowly, ever more uselessly.

She pulled Leanne a little closer, hearing a muffled mew from the dazed damsel as her limbs started getting looser, softer. A fog had descended over her, a thick fog, thinking now like trying to swim through tar.
"Ghmphh...mmhhbhhmhh..." Leanne mumbled, her body undulating softly as the halothane took her strength from her.

"A callow little fool," Sinistrus said. "Not a villain...but not an innocent either...not an innocent at all..."
"Mmmphh...mmmhh...hhhmm..." Leanne felt herself going totally limp, her lovely green eyes fluttering, as though she were trying to flirt. "Not...fair...I's not..." She blushed slightly as Sinistrus drew her even closer, feeling the villain's ample bust against her back. Her arms slackened, and Sinistrus let them go, as they flopped down towards the ground.
"I smell it, Leanne, I smell it on you..." She buried her face in Leanne's thick, green hair. "You've done bad're a sinner...but you're not like me, are you? Not even like Caitiff..."

Leanne was so drowzy that she couldn't be sure of anything. Her ears were ringing, her limbs felt numb and shivery - but she could have sworn she felt something dropping onto her forehead. "'s...tears...?"
"I was going to use you...I thought you were another wretch like Greyhand," Sinistrus said, and even now Leanne could hear the emotion in her voice. "I was going to toss you aside once I was finished with you, but there is something to save, isn't there? A softness..."
"Mmmmhhh..." Lightly fondled, Leanne nonetheless found herself blushing as Sinistrus held her. "Can't...get"
"I've done terrible things, Leanne. Awful things in service of the world to come...but you haven't. You're crooked, but nowhere near evil. There's still time." She felt a strange sensation come over her. It was joy, and submission and a kind of...holy surrender. Where had it come from? No, it had always been there. Sinistrus' tears flowed in earnest now. "You can be what you ought to be," she said, embracing Leanne with an almost maternal tenderness. "She can -"

Despite the fact that Sinistrus had power over people's perception of her, she herself did not possess any increased capacity to detect the presence of others. Still, she was an experienced fighter, and had learned to trust her instincts, and her instincts told her that someone was behind her. With half a second's focus, Sinistrus triggered the aspect of her power which caused her to be ignored. At the same time, she spun around, Leanne still in her grip, and shoved the green-haired lass forward. This was intended simply to get her out of the way, but it had another effect as well.

For Sinistrus' attacker had aimed her projectiles at the villainess' back. But when Sinistrus triggered her power, the assailant instantly forgot her - but she was still attacking. So without thinking, she found herself aiming at the not-quite-unconscious Chupacabra. Three projectiles hit the sleepy convict - one in the calves, one in her chest, and the other over her mouth.
"Mmhhh...?" She was too drained of strength and presence of mind really to notice what was happening. Pink gel slapped across her lips, gagging her at once. The gel that hit her chest and legs immediately spread out to bind her limbs, affixing Leanne's arms to her sides, and snapping her legs together as the gel stretched, constricted and squeezed. "Mnnnnmmhh..." Leanne mewed as - drugged, gagged, and helplessly bound - she began to tumble in a heap to the ground.

"Oh, shit!" It was Catherine. Guided by Falcona's vision, the convict and the hero had made their way towards the Supremacist's cell as swiftly as humanly possible, every second growing more astonished that Dextrus had not killed Sophie and caught up with them. Almost getting the drop on her, Catherine had aimed at that woman with the white hair, but now she was gone - like she'd never even been there. "How the hell...?" As her sighing, sleepy friend slumped down onto her side, Catherine ran to help her.
"Stop!" Falcona's voice rang out with aristocratic authority. "It's Sinistrus' doing. Back away from your friend." Gingerly, Catherine did so. Looking back at Leanne, she gulped. Seeing the lovely, green-haired lass - with her fine features, pretty, slanted eyes and deliciously trim figure - bound, gagged and drugged into mewing, doe-eyed made Catherine shiver with pleasure, even as she chided herself for it. But still, mostly she just wanted to rescue her from Sinistrus' clutches - all the more literally now - and was frustrated in the extreme by the fact that this was not a viable option. She looked around for the villain in question, but it was difficult even to remember that she was looking for her.

"Mmmhh...mmmhhh?" Leanne's vision was blurry, but there was no mistaking the figure of her beloved friend in front of her. This gave her no comfort, however, but merely added to her dismay. Tears ran down her light-brown cheeks as the dazed damsel only felt another betrayal. "Why...why" This thought defeated her. She mewed more and more softly, until finally she was as still and quiet as a statue - save for the slow undulations of her chest.
"Leanne!" Catherine cried out, as she saw her friend slip into unconsciousness. She felt like a fool. "Damn it, where is she?" Catherine growled, ignoring the woman with white hair to her left as she looked for Sinistrus.
"Give me a moment..." Falcona said, as Sinistrus passed unnoticed behind her. She concentrated as hard as she could, allowing herself to see everything. She saw the walls' composition, the advanced inlay of a dozen different alloys and polycarbonate shells; she saw reflections of reflections, saw into Leanne and Catherine's cardiovascular systems, saw the reduced brain activity in the slumbering Leanne, saw the frenzied activity beneath Catherine's skull, failed to see Sinistrus moving right up close to her.

And she saw, too, the men within the Supremacist's cell. Pincushion, Red Alert, the Supremacist himself - and her beloved Simon. She saw him struggling, panting. Saw the hated villain sitting across from him, waxing in strength as Caduceus waned. She felt fury - not at Simon for co-operating, but at the Supremacist for taking advantage of his love and devotion to her. It distracted her greatly, and that distraction proved crucial.

Crucial in Falcona's favour, that is. Distracted by her anger, she stopped looking for Sinistrus, just for a moment. Thus, when she perceived a mote of dust moving in the periphery of her left field of vision, it was sufficiently disconnected in her mind from her search that Sinistrus' powers could not quite get her to ignore it. For this reason, Falcona instinctively lashed out - and struck Sinistrus in the neck.

"Ungh!" The white haired villain fell back, gasping with pain. Falcona's strike was uncharacteristically inaccurate, but it was still painful. Sinistrus' concentration was disrupted, and her 'field of ignorance', as the Supremacist had once called it, was shaken.
"There you are!" Felicity called out, and followed up her attack by delivering a snap kick to Sinistrus' temple. If she'd remained stiff, this would have knocked her out, but Sinistrus bent like a reed, allowing herself the force of Falcona's attack to push her over. Hitting the ground still hurt, but it was better than being knocked out.

"Not so smooth and silky when you aren't ambushing people, are you, Sinistrus?" Felicity said. She'd fought Sinistrus before - one outright loss, and a couple of briefer, inconclusive encounters. This was going to be sweet.
"Falcona," the villain replied, hopping to her feet. "I have no wish to harm you."
"Then surrender, darling," Falcona replied. "I feel awkward enough as it is fighting in this dress." Felicity gestured at her short, loose, summer dress. "Really, I don't know how Enhancegirl does it..."

Knowing that it would not be possible to get Falcona to completely forget about her presence now that she was so fixated on her, the villain tried to disorient her, triggering and turning off her field of ignorance in rapid succession. Perturbed, Falcona backed off. The sensation was like Sinistrus flitting in and out of existence. If she'd just faded out, Falcona's super-sight would have been able to search for subtle signs of her presence, but it couldn't adjust. Sinistrus seemed as if she were teleporting back and forth, with no logic as to her appearances. She closed in, and struck, intending to wind Falcona into helplessness with one punch.

"Urgh!" Felicity's eyes caught just enough at the very last moment that she managed to twist herself partly out of the way. But the blow still caught her in the side, and she was put off balance. Stumbling backwards, Sinistrus would probably have defeated her then and there, had Catherine not intervened.
"Hey, did you just forget about me?" Caitiff barked, hurling a volley of gel globules, each primed to stretch over and bind anything they struck. In a position of vantage, Sinistrus was more than able to dodge the projectiles, but she grimaced at the situation in which she found herself. She'd deprived herself of any assistance when she'd drugged Chupacabra - though it was possible that she'd prevented it from being a three-on-one battle - and Pincushion and Red Alert were on the other side of Martin's cell door. This left her 'field of focus' more or less useless, since its best function was to distract foes from one of her allies.

Sinistrus looked at her two enemies, and frowned deeply. She found a sort of deep disappointment bubbling up for both. For Falcona, whose lack of vision was an almost cheap irony. And Caitiff, the lustful pervert, vainly trying to redeem herself, a pretense of nobility. "Poor wretches," Sinistrus thought, "ignorant, hypocritical...sinners..." As that last word rang in her mind, a stratagem presented itself. Her scowl turned into a smile.

"Keep up the assault, Catherine!" Falcona said. She allowed herself a smile despite the situation. She didn't know why Sophie had felt the need to slap Catherine, and she didn't want to know. Gel-Belle was showing herself to be a resolute, reliable ally. "As long as you don't hit me, just keep shooting - put her off balance!"
"Right," Catherine said. This was weird. Fighting alongside Falcona, trying to stop the Supremacist. Even Enhancegirl had seemingly forgiven her after taking a pretty meagre revenge. She felt like...she felt like a hero.

The problem was, she didn't feel like a very good one. Whatever her skillset was, this wasn't in it: firing randomly as cover. Like Sinistrus, she was an ambush fighter at heart. Her enemy flitting in and out of her pereception - it was maddening!
"Maybe I snag the Sinister Missy," she thought, "maybe I give her the - " Before she could even realise the less than moral direction in which this thought was tending, Sinistrus suddenly appeared, or rather, became perceptible. She looked tired, angry, as if her power were running out of juice. "Gotcha!" she laughed. She began spraying gel at her enemy, who managed limberly to dodge, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. Caitiff's focus was totally on Sinistrus. She could see nothing else, think of nothing else. Unfortunately, this was true of Falcona as well.

Both Falcona and Caitiff saw nothing but their white haired enemy, and so neither took the other into account. And so, despite her incredible vision, and the fact that she had seen it coming, Falcona didn't notice the glob of gel until it was too late.
"Aah!" she gasped, as the sticky, purple gel slapped over her right hand, smacking it against a wall and trapping it in place. "Shit!" She tried to wrench her hand free, but she wasn't strong enough. The heroine realised instantly what had happened, and felt a fool for allowing herself to be tricked. Caitiff felt even more a fool: that was twice now that Sinistrus had used her own powers against her.

The heroine and convict's shock and embarrassment was all that Sinistrus needed. Shifting the polarity of her power, she triggered her field of ignorance, and even Falcona now lost track of her. Caitiff looked around, her inexperience in pitched combat making her unfocused, almost fearful. It did not, alas, do her any good. Sinistrus closed the gap so quickly that Caitiff would have been caught off guard even if Sinistrus hadn't been using her powers. As it was, she sprang forward, drew back her left leg, and thrust her knee hard into Caitiff's stomach.

"Oooohhhgghhh!" the mauve-haired criminal gasped and groaned all at once. Her legs went shaky, her lungs felt nearly crippled, and her spots appeared in front of her eyes. She was devastatingly winded, and she collapsed to her knees, clutching her stomach, coughing and spluttering. Stronger in her abdominal muscles than Dr Yveson had been, she was not knocked unconscious, but she was taken totally out of the fight.

Perhaps because Caitiff was weakened, Falcona felt the gel trapping her hand begin to loosen. Summoning what strength there was in her thin arm, with a great grunt she pulled herself free. She opened her eyes as wide as she could, and tried to take in any and all visual information that she could possibly absorb. Unfortunately, though, her field of vision was no wider than that of an ordinary person. Everything in front of her, she could see. Knowing that she was looking for Sinistrus, her senses were just too powerful to fool completely...but Sinistrus didn't need to fool them completely. All she'd need to do was to get behind the spry, bare-legged blonde.

"It's over," Sinistrus said, and before Felicity could so much as blink, she felt Sinistrus' fingers driven into the base of her spine.
"Ah...!" Falcona could do nothing more than give a short, breathless squeak. Her whole body went stiff. Her arms, legs were frozen. She couldn't even turn her head.
"I've always admired your mastery of pressure-point techniques, Falcona," Sinistrus said. "When you nearly captured me with them in El Paso last year, I realised that it behoved me up." She slowly ran her free hand up Falcona's back.
"Grhh..n-no!" Falcona could barely open her mouth. She couldn't move a muscle. Frozen by her own, perfectly imitated techniques - it was agonisingly shameful.
"Did you really think you could stand against us, Falcona?" Sinistrus said. "A droplet of water cannot resist a waterfall - it can only add to the flow, not diminish it."
"Wh-why? Why d-do you want this? Why do you want t-to free him?" Falcona's voice was croaky, strangled. She felt panicked, her heart thumping against her ribcage. They'd failed. She'd failed. The Supremacist would be free, all because of her insufficient skill.
"I...?" Sinistrus did not hesitate because Falcona had caused her any doubt. She hesitated because she literally didn't understand why anyone would have asked. She elected to ignore the question entirely. Centring herself, she took a long, deep breath, extended the middle and index fingers of her free hand - and jabbed Falcona six times with devastatingly effective accuracy.

"Ahh!!" Felicity gasped, feeling like electric shocks were travelling through her body. She shivered, mouth agape, eyes wide. Something was happening to her - the rigid stiffness that had been inflicted on her was passing away, only to be replaced by the total loss of any and all strength. Felicity could feel herself growing limp. Her slim arms flopped to her sides, her bare legs quivering as they lost the capacity to hold her up.

"Do you feel it, Falcona?" Sinistrus said. "Do you feel the weakness? There's no escaping it've lost. Fall, Falcona. Fall..."
"Ahh...ahhhhhhh...!" Felicity moaned, her slight, feminine frame betraying her. She felt herself begin to tumble down, first to her knees, the impact briefly exposing her as the hem of her dress jolted upwards, her modest, perky breasts shaking visibly in the loose fabric of her outfit. "No..." the lovely blonde mewed, with an aghast finality, as she slumped down onto her front, her cheek resting on the cold, hard ground. She lay there, still, subdued and helpless - totally paralysed, and utterly defeated.

Sinistrus tried to disguise her heavy breathing. Her victory had been hard-fought, to say the least - but it had been a victory. She looked down at her fallen enemy, tutted to herself: she looked so dishevelled. She took Falcona's long, limp legs and placed them neatly side by side, before moving her arms, which lay askew about her, in straight lines by her sides.
"S...stop..." Felicity said. "P...please stop..."
"I won't hurt you more than I have," Sinistrus assured her. "It has always been my position that you have a place in the new world."
"Stop him...he'll many people...m-my husband..." She was under no illusions of the Supremacist's mercy. She believed fully that he would kill Simon when he was finished. "I couldn't save him..."
"You're very beautiful, Falcona," Sinistrus said. There was an odd flatness to her voice as she spoke. On the next sentence, however, it wavered greatly: "If you...submitted, I'm sure you could save your husband." As she spoke, she was removing the cloth she'd subdued Leanne and Sophie with. Finding it dry, she reapplied the bottle of halothane, drenching the thick cloth in far more than was needed.
"You can' can't..." Falcona moaned, "you - mmmmmmmmmppphhhh!" Sinistrus didn't bother to hold the pad down, or anything like that. She simply lifted Felicity's head, placed the cloth under her mouth and nose, and left it there. "Mmmmhhh! MMmpphhhh... nnnhhhmmmpphh..." Paralysed, Falcona couldn't only lie there, breathing in the sedative, her failure and dismay pulsing through her slender body, even as the defeated damsel grew sleepier...and sleepier...

Nearby, Catherine was still wheezing, barely holding onto consciousness herself. She, alas, was not treated with even as much dignity as Falcona had been, her captor striding up to her, giving her a dirty - even contemptuous - look.
"You're disgusting," she said. "I can smell it on you..."
"Wh-" Barely a phoneme escaped Catherine's lips before Sinistrus kicked her. The kick snapped her head back against a wall with a sickening thud. "Unhh...uuuuuuhhh..." Catherine groaned, as she slumped to the side, her eyes rolling back in her head.
"She needs to be corrected." The thought that passed through Sinistrus' mind was odd. It felt foreign, intrusive...yet quite accurate. She glanced deeper down the security hall, to the other max-security cells. Something drew her attention, but she wasn't sure what it was.

As for Falcona, she lay on her front, trim and neat and pretty as a rose-petal in the way she'd been laid out, humbly, obediently allowing herself to be sedated. Her mind grew foggier, a great soft cloud wrapping around her, subduing her thoughts, choking her intellect and keeping her weak. Her long legs glistened with sweat, her slowly rising and falling bosom pushed lightly against the ground, and she continually, helplessly whimpered and mewed as slumber overtook her. She'd been captured before, she'd been defeated before - and galling as it was, she took defeat better than most. But not now. Not with all that was at stake. As she drowned deeper and deeper in warm, stifling darkness, she only felt despair at her loss.
"Simon...Simon..." she thought, though calling her half-conscious mental sobs 'thoughts' might have been generous. "Darling...please...don't..." Don't aid the Supremacist? Don't sacrifice yourself? Don't die? Even Falcona didn't really know what she meant. As her pretty, blue eyes fluttered, one last bastion of useless resistance before her slide into powerless slumber, she gave a long, slow, muffled sigh into the drug-soaked rag, before she gave in entirely. Two criminals, and one hero lay, unconscious and defeated at Sinistrus' feet. But the villain did not pity them. No. Soon, they would learn their place. And once Dextrus had done his work, provided that he did not kill her of course, so too would a certain smooth-limbed redhead...

"So, gents, this is how it's gonna work," Greyhand said, flexing his special hand. "Anyone who's with the Supremacist, any 'the Future Belongs to the Super' types - today's your lucky day. A little bird tells me you guys are gonna be real happy in not too long, alright?" He had attracted quite a crowd. Hades' loyalists followed him because he was formerly relatively close to their master's inner circle; the Supremacist's loyalists followed him because of the instrumental role he seemed to have played in their master's imminent freedom. And no-one wanted to fight the man who had just defeated the Generator himself, who now lay bleeding profusely at Raymond's feet - surely dying.

Nearby, Catastrophe slunk into a corner. He had a mind to attack Greyhand, but he didn't. It was because of all those other superhumans around him, yeah. Oh - and also because with his metal-eating power, he might be able to help them escape prison. That was it. He definitely wasn't afraid of him. Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Hammerblow and Mindblow followed his lead of course, but neither were very happy about it.

"After what I just did," Greyhand went on, "the Supremacist is gonna be very grateful, I'm guessing. And hell, when he takes over the world, or whatever, dude's gonna need governors or generals or whatever. Well you're looking at one of them." No-one wanted to question him. Raymond had probably never felt this happy in his life. The fear in the others' eyes - the respect! Small fry, was he? A chump, was he? Well not anymore! Now he was the guy who'd beaten the Generator. Now he was the top dog!

That was certainly how he felt until the wall behind him exploded, at least.
"Urrghh!" He grunted, using his hand to protect himself from flying chunks of metal. Several of his peers were not quite so lucky in the nature of their powers, and were pelted with debris. When the dust cleared, Greyhand - and quite a few others - were rather surprised to see what had come through the wall of their block. "Well," Raymond said, "isn't this a fun reunion?"

There was a woman lying on the ground, grimacing. One of her bare shoulders was grazed, her gold dress was torn in places, and she had a pained grimace on her face. A year ago, she'd have been a face only those few who'd met her personally would have recognised. Now, however, they all knew Enhancegirl.
"Urrghh..." she groaned, panting, half-exhausted. Struggling to her feet, she gasped for air. " he?"
"Well, look what we found?" Greyhand laughed. "A cute redhead chick in a little dress...come to entertain the boys, have -"
"Shut up, and back off!" Enhancegirl barked, with such obvious urgency that Greyhand couldn't help but fall silent. "I mean it, unless you want to die, back off now!"

A few of the prisoners actually obeyed the heroine, and started moving away. This was just as well, for a dark, pulsating orb of energy hovered in through the hole that had been carved in the prison's wall.
"Oh, shit!" Sophie picked herself up and ran as fast as she could from it. "Get out of the way, get out of the way!" she cried. Most, including Greyhand, were sensible enough to do this. Some even knew themselves what was coming. Some weren't.
"AAAHHHHH!!" A criminal named Masterson screamed as the sphere burst, sucked him in towards it. He screamed in terrible, agonising pain, until his screams were strangled, his bones contorting with sickening, squelching crunches.
"No! NO!" Enhancegirl screamed. She didn't know that this man was a vicious, violent murderer. She just knew that he was a human being, and he was terrified. He was dead about a second before he reached the orb, but it didn't stop him getting sucked right into it, compressed into a sphere of blood, bone and bile and then - as far as anyone could tell - simply removed from existence.

"J...Jesus Christ!" Greyhand quailed, backing away even more hurriedly now. "What the hell w-was that?"
"Little girl!" A voice rang out, a slow, low voice that nonetheless quivered the eardrums of those who heard it. "Little've scurried about for too long." Out of the darkness, a huge man with straggly blonde hair and thick, feminine lips stepped through the breach.
"Dextrus!" Raymond's fifteen minutes of fame, as it were, were over. The terror of Dextrus saw to that.

"No more running. No more chasing. This wasn't what I was meant to do. If the master is angry with me because of your...scurrying, I won't be pleased. I will punish you. Or...wait, no." He grinned. "I'm just going to kill you here." While the other prisoners scurried away, Enhancegirl did not. To Dextrus' great surprise, she actually stepped forward.
"Are you enjoying this? Huh? Are getting your jollies from scaring and killing people?" That man's screams still rang in her ears. "Do you like it? Do you find it fun, you fucking psychopath?!"
"Yes, little girl," Dextrus replied. "I find it very fun. It's...delightful." Sophie kept coming forward. "Oh no. No, this is just obscene! By god, you don't actually think you can defeat me, do you?"
"Defeat you?" Enhancegirl clenched her fists. "I worked out how to defeat you about ten minutes ago. I just didn't know how to do it without killing you." She picked up a small piece of broken metal. "I think this should do it."
"Absurd...disgustingly absurd!" Dextrus roared like an animal, and shot out another of his orbs. Again, Enhancegirl ran to evade it, but an eagle-eyed observer would have seen that she was counting to herself.

The sphere burst, gravity ripping up the ground, ripping up any object that happened to be close enough. Sophie had to grab onto the bars of a cell so as not to get pulled in herself, but she wasn't just evading. She looked straight at Dextrus - and she threw.
"Huh?" The throw was wide, by anyone's reckoning. It first appeared like she'd been trying to throw a projectile directly at Dextrus, avoiding his gravity sphere. She'd tried this before, but his enhanced strength and durability - necessary by-products of the strain put in him by his own powers - had meant that she'd not be able to damage him much. No, if anything, it was like she was aiming at the sphere itself. Yet even then, she was wide of the mark. So much so that the projectile was caught in the sphere's gravity well, but didn't even get sucked in. It orbited the sphere, spinning round in a half-circle.
"Three..." Enhancegirl counted off. ""

Right on cue, Dextrus' sphere vanished. It hadn't taken long for Sophie to realise the regularity of Dextrus' attacks. They always travelled at the same speed. There were always four and a half seconds between Dextrus manifesting them, and their gravity effect triggering. That effect always lasted for almost exactly three seconds. Half by analysis, half by instinct, Sophie had realised how she could use this. The projectile she'd thrown was caught in the sphere's gravity well, and then, when the gravity effect ended, it was released, the centrifugal force carrying it at a far, far greater speed and force than Sophie could possibly have mustered unaided. It moved at roughly the speed of a bullet from a high-powered rifle, and struck Dextrus in the head with such force that it would have torn clean through the head of a normal man. As it was, the blow merely fractured his skull.

"Augh! Auhhh...hhhhaannhhhkkkhhhhh!" The indecipherable gargling from Dextrus was all the stunned villain was able to say. Blood spurted from the wound he'd been given. His body convulsed, and shook, before with a groan, he collapsed onto the ground. He wasn't dead, but he easily could have been. Sophie was pleased to know that she hadn't taken his life, but rather got the feeling that she wouldn't have been all that broken up about it if she had. She turned, exhausted, and grimacing, towards the other prisoners, standing victorious in what would later come to be known as 'The Hall of Upsets.'

Greyhand took his opportunity, and stepped forward. This was the moment to reclaim his status.
"Bet you're pretty pleased with -" Enhancegirl didn't even look at him. There was plenty of debris to choose from, and she kicked some up into her hand. She threw it against the bars of Rockhead's cell, off which it bounced, before ricocheting off a broken security camera, and then colliding with the back of Greyhand's head. "...uh...ow...?" Raymond said, before he fell flat on his face, knocked unconscious with a single blow.
"Oh, fuck yes!" Mindblow cackled, seeing Greyhand fall. "Ah, shit, I think I've got a new favourite superhero."

"Well?" Enhancegirl shouted, breathless, panting, her long legs glimmering with sweat, her breathing heavy. "Who...else wants some?" She was tired. She was a personal enemy to many of them. She was gorgeous, and looked oh-so-vulnerable in her glimmering, revealing dress. Many was the man who wanted to subdue her, and she knew it. As the shock faded from the faces of her enemies to confidence, and even outright lewdness, Enhancegirl realised something. "I can't win..." If she'd been fresh, if this had been the beginning of her battles, then she would have had a chance. But she was exhausted. The humiliating ordeal of her capture. Jade and the others from K-Section. Her running battle with Dextrus. She couldn't take them all, not as she was then. But she didn't have to. She'd kept Dextrus away from Falcona and Caitiff. Better than that, she'd defeated him completely. She imagined Mariko hearing about it. She knew how proud she would be, how pleased for Sophie, how her respect would grow. Sophie, outside of her darker moments, felt already that she stood as an equal with her lover as a woman, as a person. But now...was there a hint, just a hint...that she could stand as her equal as a hero as well? That thought pushed her on and, smiling, she leapt into battle, with all the fire and grace that her name had come to imply.

It was tragic, then, that the maiden's efforts had been in vain. For, as Sinistrus finished tying up her slumbering captives - Caitiff and Falcona - she saw a light coming from within Martin's cell. A blue light. The unmatched, cerulean might of the Supremacist...
Enhancegirl 13-5: The Warrior
It keeps on keeps on keeps on going, ladies and gentlemen! It's time for the counter-attack. In the red corner, the lovely Enhancegirl!

In the blue corner, everyone else!

EDIT: I changed the dialogue at the end of Spectra's section, because people were reading into it something that I hadn't intended.
Sweet, merciful Jehoshaphat, can it be true? When I joined the merry ranks of Deviantart all those years ago, I hardly thought I'd get to this stage. That's like...enough people to fill a really big church! Or a really small stadium!

Seriously, though, thanks very much to everyone who watches this page, everyone who reads my goofy-ass, weird stories, especially to people who are kind enough to comment - but shit, my love goes out to y'all lurkers too. Thanks very much, everyone!


Just zis guy, you know

Journal History

Which EG girl would you most like to see depicted in a new commission? 

37 deviants said Enhancegirl
14 deviants said Spectra
14 deviants said Valora
13 deviants said Aerogirl
9 deviants said Nova
8 deviants said Falcona
7 deviants said Insyte
4 deviants said Stellar
1 deviant said Other (explain in comments)


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Doozer73 Featured By Owner 5 days ago
Thank you for faving Wonder Woman Roped By Ares!
zincuntainted Featured By Owner 6 days ago  New Deviant
Nice gallery.
Damselbinder Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Thanks. Any interest in the stories, or just here for the commissioned art?
zincuntainted Featured By Owner 6 days ago  New Deviant
I've watched you so that when I have more time I can delve into the stories at my leisure.
Damselbinder Featured By Owner 6 days ago
DiDRulez Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
Thx bud for the 2 favs :)
Damselbinder Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
You're more than welcome!

And yes, DID indeed rules. Er, rulez.
DiDRulez Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
:laughing: and so does the binder of damsels
Damselbinder Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2017
Thou art too kind. Have you read any of my stories?
(1 Reply)
Rob66 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2017
Thanks for faving the recent Alazar art post  ;) (Wink)
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