Written by HikerAngel :: [Friday, 17 January 2020 02:09] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 18 January 2020 16:02]
Special thanks to my partner in crime and editor ElF... ;)
Serena felt a torrent of gold/silver power begin to wash into her from Siphon. It was working! The voters were helping her – and Hannah – against Siphon. As a torrent of energy flowed from Siphon into her body, Siphon’s blows seemed to slow and weaken. Serena began to move faster, her arms and legs gaining strength. Blocking Siphon’s blows no longer seemed to hurt as much. Dodging seemed easier and easier.
As Siphon’s flurry of strikes began to slow, Serena had a moment to look toward Hannah. The girl’s head was tossed back as she absorbed unbelievable levels of power once more. A massive river of swirling energy streamed into the gorgeous blonde, her arms and legs tensed and trembling with the sudden overwhelming influx of energy. Had the voters been disproportionate with their desires again? It seemed they had. Serena watched as Hannah’s superpowerful body tremored, her lips curling into a victorious smirk. Serena had started much stronger, but Hannah now seemed to be gaining a LOT more power than her. . She wondered how the balance of power would stand when the remainder of their powers were extracted from the villainess. Not wanting to be distracted for too long against a still-dangerous opponent, Serena turned her focus back to Siphon.
Siphon fired a fist toward Serena’s hand, but the increasingly powerful superheroine was able to effortlessly knock it away. The power drain was in full force now, making this fight become more and more lopsided with each passing second.
As Serena prepared a strike of her own, she watched Siphon’s feet rise from the ground. Her eyes widened as she realized that Hannah had moved behind the villainess, picking her up and raising Siphon over her head. Serena noticed Hannah’s gaze on something above. She followed it to a news helicopter, a cameraman zooming in to Serena and Hannah’s battle with Siphon.
Hannah was playing to the cameras! Serena realized. She reached out to Hannah’s mind, attempting to hear the younger girl’s thoughts. But they seemed to be blocked to her… odd, since Siphon hadn’t been able to absorb their mental powers, and she had been able to sense Hannah’s thoughts moments before. Was Siphon somehow helping Hannah shield her thoughts? Why would she do that? She hadn’t done it before…
Hannah gave the cameras a dazzling smile, then slammed Siphon’s body into the ground with earth-shaking force. Siphon lay there, unmoving. Serena touched Siphon’s mind, then quickly pulled back. All she could sense from the villainess was overwhelming PAIN! Serena wondered again why she could sense Siphon’s thoughts but not Hannah’s now.
Hannah reached into the crater where Siphon lay and slowly gathered the fabric of Siphon’s blouse in her delicate-looking fingers. She pulled Siphon up from the ground, raising her up until the supervillainess’ legs dangled helplessly below her, showing her dominance for the cameras!
Siphon seemed to gather herself a bit while Hannah showed off for the news helicopter. She tried to throw a punch at Hannah’s face, but her next blow was so slow and weak that Hannah caught the other woman’s fist in her hand. A Cheshire smile crept over her full lips.
“I think the voters decided they’d rather give their power to, Angel,” said Hannah with a satisfied smirk. She tightened down on Siphon’s fist with her own.
At first nothing happened. Then, Hannah caught a look of discomfort creeping across the other woman’s face. It quickly turned into one of pain seconds later as Hannah felt a satisfying pop under her grip. Hannah tensed her forefinger atop of one of Siphon’s knuckles. A snap, accompanied by a groan from Siphon. Hannah tensed her middle finger. Another snap. Ring finger. Snap. Whimper.
“Not so tough without my powers now, are you, my delicate little Angel…”
Hannah released her grip on the supervillainess’ blouse as Siphon dropped to one knee, in increasingly obvious agony. Hannah released her hand.
Hannah seemed to be reveling in her massive influx of power. The girl’s muscles tensed, the effort carving them into sculpted perfection. God, this girl is so beautiful, thought Serena, in momentary awe of the Golden Goddess. Hannah radiated power, a golden aura not exactly visible, but palpable around her. Serena could feel ripples of the girl’s potent might rolling over her own skin turning her flesh to goosebumps.
“She’s mine now, Serena,” said Hannah, a dark smile forming on her luscious, vermillion lips.
As she spoke, Hannah raised a small, black-booted foot over Siphon… then slammed it down, platinum tresses fluttering in the wind, the dark smile twisting her lips into a sneer. The ground rumbled so violently with Hannah’s definitive strike that Serena stumbled and nearly fell to the ground.
Serena used her X-Ray vision to look at Siphon’s body. Her chest had collapsed under Hannah’s superpowerful stomp. Her heart was no longer beating. Hannah had chalked up yet another kill, her magnificent blue eyes sparkling with satisfaction…
No, thought Serena. With pleasure! Hannah looked toward the cameraman hovering above and winked.
Serena swallowed hard. Hannah had enjoyed killing Siphon. Granted, there was a part of Serena that wasn’t exactly sorry to see their opponent dead. But there was guilt as well. And shame.
Siphon had been beaten already. Her power was gone. She had been no threat to Hannah and Serena any longer. She was essentially made helpless against the two heroines thanks to the voters. There was no reason to kill her, was there?
Hannah apparently didn’t seem to feel the same, however. Maybe killing Ultraman had changed her. Maybe it had given her a taste for killing. How Serena wished she had access to the younger girl’s mind right now. She wished she could sense what the girl was thinking!
Serena tried again. Maybe if she pushed hard enough…
Hannah’s eyes shot to Serena, the spark of anger in them.
“NO!! MY THOUGHTS!!!” came a booming voice in Serena’s mind, far more powerful than it should have been, giving what Serena knew of Hannah’s mental abilities.
Hannah sprang forward and grabbed Serena’s long hair with one hand, rocketing her fist into Serena’s ripped stomach with the other.
Serena, shocked and unprepared for the sudden attack, felt pain as Hannah’s small fist slammed into her abdomen with untold power. Serena felt her diaphragm buckle inside her body from Hannah’s punch as her breath whooshed out. Her doe eyes found their way to Hannah’s but found only coldness, harshness in response to her unspoken plea. Tears welled in Serena’s eyes as Hannah’s hand pulled back for another blow.
Serena tensed her abs and squeezed her eyes shut in anticipation of the next blow. Serena could probably take a nuclear missile to those same abs and laugh it off, but Hannah’s strike was exponentially more powerful. Her fist didn’t drive as deep this time, encountering more resistance with Serena’s taut abs clenched, but it hurt nearly as much.
Hannah laughed as she repeated the motion over and over, her fist nothing but a blur, until Serena sagged from the blonde’s grip on her hair, coughing and retching from the damage inflicted by the young woman’s unbelievable power.
Hannah gave a smug smile, and released her hold on Serena’s hair. Serena crumpled to the ground in a heap.
“That’s for trying to steal my power from the voters, bitch. I’m glad they came to their senses in the end.” Hannah spun on her heel and walked away, leaving Serena to gasp on the floor, writhing in pain.
What was that?!? thought Serena. Serena had known that Hannah was beginning to have darker thoughts, to become more power hungry. She had even felt the girl’s uncontrollable rage when she had pounded Ultraman into oblivion. But she had also felt Hannah’s inner conflict, the turmoil within the girl in response such thoughts. Besides, Hannah had been influenced by Siphon at the time! Siphon had truly been responsible for those dark thoughts, hadn’t she?
Now, with Siphon dead, there was no more influence on Hannah. But Hannah seemed darker, less moral than ever before! Had she simply decided that, having Ultraman’s blood on her hands, she might as well embrace her darker side? It just didn’t seem to fit with what Serena had felt earlier. At a minimum, Hannah should be conflicted, uncertain, afraid. That would make sense.
To be so certain of her callous actions, though. It just wasn’t like Hannah! It was almost as if she were a completely different person!
Serena recovering as fearful thoughts about Hannah consumed her mind, sat up, then, gingerly, stood. She was lucky that Hannah had ceased her assault when she had. Serena didn’t envision having to fight this more powerful Hannah version 2.0.
Serena looked to the skies a distance above, seeing a dozen members of the Fairness team fighting off Killer Kings. The Killer Kings must have taken advantage of Siphon’s power up – and the absence of Galaxy Girl and Ultraman – to attack! Shaking away the thoughts of Hannah for the moment, Serena knew she needed to help the Fairness team right now.
Finally catching her breath, Serena rocketed into the sky… and was immediately blasted by an energy beam from Surgical Precision, a core member of the Killer Kings. Luckily, thanks to her incredible recuperative powers and her still-obscene power level, it barely hurt.
Serena pulled Surgical Precision toward her with her telekinesis, then fired a punch into his solar plexus. She watched his eyes bulge as he flew backward through the sky until he was out of sight. One down!
She turned her eyes toward the rest of the battle. She watched as Shockwave, another villain, sent Blunderbuss, one of the less powerful Fairness Team members, tumbling away with a ripple of the air around him.
A small group of regular people that worked in the Fairness Team compound stood below, beginning to scatter before Blunderbuss crashed into their midst. They would be too slow, however, Serena realized, gauging the speed with which the hero was moving toward them with superhuman accuracy.
Serena formed a telekinetic shield around the people as she flew toward Shockwave. Blunderbuss bounced off her shield harmlessly, the people underneath cowering until they realized they had been saved. Several of them whooped and waved at Serena in gratitude.
Serena turned her gaze from the people to Shockwave, now free to put her full focus on the powerful villain. The man sent a ripple of energy toward Serena, seeming to put everything he had into it. Serena felt the rumble of power...barely. It felt like a massage. She smiled as she realized just how disparate her power was to that of these other superpowered combatants. It wasn’t really even fair. She tried to suppress a smile, but she couldn’t quite do it. She gave him a light, brief blast of laser vision, and he cried out in agony, writhing and falling from the sky to land in a cloud of dust on the ground below.
Serena pulled one supervillain away from another of her allies on the Fairness team with her mind, while she let out a torrent of superbreath to blast another of her adversaries into the stratosphere.
Serena flew to another skirmish, grabbing a Killer King as she flew. She threw him like a football, head first, into another of his teammates, striking her like a missile. They both cratered into the ground.
She noticed more news helicopters circling around her, catching the devastation she was raining on the Killer King’s efforts. Serena frowned. Didn’t these people know what a dangerous position they were putting themselves in, flying around in the middle of the battle like this? She wasn’t thrilled about having to keep an eye on them while she attempted to focus on turning the tide of this battle. At the thought, a superhero was thrown on a collision course for an aircraft. She grabbed the flying form with her telekinesis and lowered him gently to the ground, preventing the copter from being knocked from the sky.
After several more minutes and the quick incapacitation of several more Killer Kings, the remainder of the enemy group retreated in an attempt to regroup. Serena used her brilliant, green X-Ray eyes to survey the landscape. She watched as various members of the Fairness Team collected the battered villains that she had dispatched with ease, carrying them to the indestructible cells within the Fairness Team’s headquarters.
The immediate danger now passed, Serena’s thoughts returned to her next priority. Where was Hannah?
She reached out with her mind. Nothing. She inspected the surrounding area, her eyes finally coming to rest on a platinum-haired goddess in… the Fairness Team video conference room? Why was Hannah there? That room was where she met with the Director for her biweekly check-in.
Serena adjusted in mid-air, then rocketed toward the conference room. She burst through the reallyverytoughium ceiling to land in a pile of supermetal detritus before a smiling Hannah, the Director on the video screen behind wearing a beatific expression as well. What was going on here?
“Welcome, Serena,” said the Director, seeming to relish her words as if reciting a cherished Shakespearean monologue in pentameter. “I was wondering when you would tire of chasing super-nobodies and join us for the real test.”
“Congratulations on defeating Siphon. The woman was actually my Plan A. She had such a malleable mind – so easy to control. That, combined with her unique power, made her quite useful for my purposes.”
“And everything was going quite swimmingly until the voters unexpectedly gave you enough mental ability to surpass my own. You very nearly found me out before I was ready when you questioned Amplifier a second time. I had to dispose of him. Such a shame… he was a very useful tool.”
“But I was also cultivating Hannah as my Plan B. It was a nice touch, influencing her a bit to rid myself of Ultraman, not that he mattered much any more, with the level of power that Amplifier helped the two of you to reach. Still, he’s been a thorn in my side for years. It was… fun… to watch his death through my little Hannah’s eyes.”
“But then you very nearly thwarted me again, shielding Hannah from my influence and helping her to figure out a way to pull your power back out of Siphon. For a moment, I thought that I might need to sink back into the shadows.”
“But there would never be an opportunity like this again. I knew it. I had to make this work. The moment came when you dropped your shielding of my little Hannah here, thinking that Siphon was about to be defeated. It allowed me to influence her again. That, and Hannah’s love for the eye of the public. We both found it rather delightful that the public gave her more power after she destroyed Ultraman. I suppose that the crowd can love a good public execution from time to time…”
“This time, however, I was a bit smarter with Hannah, using her own mental powers to supplement my own. The two of us, combined, are stronger, mentally, than even you, Serena.”
“Siphon was no longer of any use to me, so we disposed of her. Just as we will dispose of you...”
Serena’s expression, turning more serious by the second as the Director spoke, was now truly grim. Hannah moved languidly toward her, a lioness casually closing the distance before pouncing on her prey for the kill.
Think! Serena pressured herself. Hannah is stronger than you. With the Director’s assistance, her mind is more powerful than yours as well. What else do I have at my disposal?
The light of realization dawned in her mind. Of course! The voters…
Serena used her telepathy to feel it – the hum of desire from the voters that still connected her to them… and to Hannah. Their desire was so powerful, giving The Two power beyond comprehension. Would that power be used to defend or destroy? Serena wasn’t quite sure any more, but it was her only chance. She felt into the connection, using it to access Hannah’s innermost feelings, even if she couldn’t hear the girl’s thoughts.
She felt a raging conflict inside Hannah. She could feel the battle raging inside the young girl, as her emotions teetered between a desire to help the Director and the desire to cast away the Director’s influence and join Serena in standing against her. The evil path held the dark appeal of freedom, liberation from the confining manacles of the so-called right thing that an increasingly decadent society claimed to value. Once she defeated Serena with the Director’s help, she could find a way to cast the Director out of her, perhaps with a final surge of untapped power of the voters, off and be truly free. With her power, she could rule this world. The people, the voters might even enjoy the rule of an impossibly beautiful, insanely powerful dark goddess realizing her full glory.
The noble path held the appeal of being the supreme hero she had always imagined herself through her childhood. She could be the new Ultraman, the Golden Goddess, responsible for casting away evil influence and saving the world from the Director’s dark designs. She could be the savior of the world, praised by humanity for generations to come.
There might even be another option. Maybe the voters could pull power from her into Serena as well. Maybe she could fight the Director’s influence for just a moment, just enough to allow it to happen. Maybe she could give up her desire for fame, for adulation and give it to Serena. Was she willing to give it up?
Serena paused, pulling back from Hannah’s warring emotions. One little push in any direction would influence Hannah to any of those courses of action. Serena, knowing she had no other choice, used her telepathic link to the voters to make a final plea, knowing that they would shape the fate of The Two… and the fate of humanity itself.