“Quen… Quentin?!?” Ms. Americana gasped. The woman’s face went from one of abject shock to blind rage as she beheld Brenda Wade. “Nightmare Witch!!” she screamed. “You’re not getting your hooks into Quentin or anyone else here!!”
The enraged Ms. Americana leapt like a wild animal at Brenda, only to hit a hastily constructed energy wall made by Witchfire.
“Drop that barrier!” Ms. Americana screamed. “Why are you helping her?” “Let me at her!”
“Ah… shit.” Sully said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“She’s not Nightmare Witch, you freaking whackadoo,” Witchfire shouted. “She’s an offworlder like me.” “They both are.” “Look at her eyes, damnit.” “They’re blue like yours.” “Nightmare Witch has brown eyes or is your brain so addled you can’t even see that?”
“ADDLED!?!” Ms. Americana growled, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at Witchfire. “Who are you calling addled??” she demanded.
“You, as if it wasn’t obvious, you bitch!” Witchfire snarled, finally at her wit’s end.
“Witchfire, remember we’re trying to fix things,” Brenda said gently. “Fighting among ourselves isn’t going to resolve anything.”
“Bitch?!?” Ms. Americana snarled. “You spoiled little arrogant brat.” “I ought to put you across my knee and blister your ass!”
“I’d REALLY like to see you try,” Witchfire challenged.
“I get it now,” Ms Americana growled. “You’ve always thought you were better than me.” “Now you think you’re good enough to replace me.”
Sully muttered something that sounded like an obscenity, pulled out his flask and took a hit from it. Brenda stepped up and put a hand on Witchfire’s shoulder, trying to calm her.
Ms. Americana glared at Brenda. “Or did you bring this two bit pale imitation here to try to usurp me because you weren’t woman enough to do it yourself.”
“Fine, you want a throwdown… bring it, bitch,” Witchfire snarled. “This team would be better off with me leading it anyway.”
Brenda stepped in front of Witchfire. “Wait a damned second…” “Who are you calling a pale imitation??” “First of all, MY team doesn’t get raped 5 ways to Sunday every time they leave the base.” “THAT, in fact, is why we’re here; to TRY to get you and your team to the same level.”
“Nobody asked for your help,” Ms. Americana growled. “So how about you get your chubby ass out of my base?”
“Now wait a damned second,” Sully growled. “That was fucking uncalled for, I don’t care if you’re another Brenda.”
“I’ll handle this Quentin,” Brenda growled, snatching the flask from his hand and taking a belt of it herself. She returned her attention to Ms. Americana. “Tell you what, we’re going to settle this one on one.” “After *I* kick your ass, you’re going to sit down, shut up and start listening to the help we’re offering.” “Your childish antics are endangering multiple realities.”
“Brenda,” Sully interjected, “you didn’t even bring your power belt.”
“I don’t need it to beat this foul-mouthed cow,” Brenda said, thrusting the flask back at Sully and then pulling off her dress jacket. “I presume you have a training room here, albeit unused no doubt.”
“Oh yes…” Ms. Americana said. “This way to your butt kicking.”
Ms. Americana led everyone to the training room. The She-Legion and Sully all muttered in disbelief that things had gotten this far out of control. The group all gathered in a circle around the sparring ring as Brenda kicked off her high heel shoes and then took off her blouse and skirt, leaving her in her underwear.
“Brenda, geez…” Sully started.
“I’ll handle this, Quentin,” Brenda said firmly.
Brenda turned around and was immediately charged by Ms. Americana. Brenda jumped over the knee level tackle, and Ms. Americana went sprawling to the mat. Brenda immediately jumped on Ms. Americana’s back and undid her power belt. She tossed it aside and yanked up on Ms. Americana’s bikini bottom, giving her a wedgie and causing her to shriek in surprise. Ms. Americana managed to throw Brenda off, but Brenda rolled and came up in a fighting stance as Ms. Americana scrambled to her feet.
“Looks like we’re on even ground now,” Brenda said smugly.
“Good, you won’t have any excuses when I beat you and send you home crying,” Ms. Americana snarled.
Ms. Americana threw a straight punch at Brenda, who deflected it, stepped forward and to the side, and fired a knee into Ms. Americana’s stomach. The force of the blow lifted Ms. Americana off the ground and caused her to partially double over as well as painfully knocking the wind out of her. Brenda let Ms. Americana collapse to the mat again.
“Give up, you’re completely outclassed,” Brenda taunted.
Brenda reached down and grabbed Ms. Americana by the hair, then pulled her to her feet. Brenda drew back to throw a punch. Ms. Americana reached up and tore Brenda’s bra off. Brenda’s punching hand immediately moved instead to cover her exposed, massive breasts as she let out a humiliated shriek. Ms. Americana kneed Brenda hard in the crotch, causing her to scream in pain and stagger backwards. Ms. Americana knocked Brenda to the ground with a right cross, then jumped on top of her. The two began thrashing around on the mat. Ms, Americana tore off Brenda’s panties as they struggled.
“I will NOT lose to you,” Ms. Americana growled. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Brenda struggled to get back to her feet and made it to all fours, but Ms. Americana was partially beside and partially on top of her. Ms. Americana slipped a hand down Brenda’s butt and between her legs. Brenda let out a shocked squeal as Ms. Americana slipped two fingers inside her, then began squirming and thrashing like mad to escape. Brenda fell flat on the mat, and Ms. Americana laid across her as her fingers shot in and out of Brenda.
“Ssss… stop!” Brenda shrieked as she began to gasp and moan.
“That’s right,” Ms. Americana sneered. “Squeal for me.” “You think you’re so superior, but you’re just as vulnerable to this as any of us,” she mocked.
“Nnn… Noooooo!” Brenda yelled before letting out a high pitched cry of orgasmic release. Brenda’s body shook as she drenched Ms. Americana’s fingers and the mat with her juices. Within minutes, Ms. Americana had brought her to three more orgasms. Brenda lay panting and sweaty as Ms. Americana continued to violate her.
“That’s friggin’ enough,” Sully growled. “I’m putting a stop to this shit.”
Witchfire put a hand out to her side and in front of Sully. “You’ll forfeit the fight for her and cost everything we’ve been working for.” “Leave this one to me,” she added with a whisper.
As that exchange was taking place, Ms. Americana was tormenting Brenda. “Now who’s nothing but a slut and rape bait?” she taunted. She leaned in and whispered into Brenda’s ear. “After I’m done humiliating you, I’m going to remind Quentin what a real woman is.”
Witchfire’s muttered spell and barely noticeable finger gestures finished just as Ms. Americana finished that line. Ms. Americana suffered a massive Charlie horse at that moment and screamed in pain as her leg cramped up in knots. Fueled by rage over Ms. Americana’s taunts, Brenda was easily able to throw her now off-balance doppelganger off of her. She jumped on top of Ms. Americana and rained punches down on her face. When Ms. Americana could no longer fight back, Brenda jumped off of her. She stomped on the Charlie horsed leg, then walked over to where she’d tossed Ms. Americana’s power belt.
“You want to act like an infantile bitch, I’m going to treat you like one,” Brenda growled as she picked up the power belt.
She walked back over to Ms. Americana, who was now attempting feebly to crawl away, grabbed her by the ankle and then brought the power belt down hard across Ms. Americana’s ass. Ms. Americana cried out in pain as the belt connected with a solid smack.
“Now say you’re sorry to everyone for being a bitch, and that you’re going to listen and behave,” Brenda demanded as she brought the belt down a second time.
Ms. Americana responded by trying to kick at Brenda with her free leg, which resulted in Brenda bringing the belt down time and time again across Ms. Americana’s rear. Each time, Ms. Americana screamed in pain.
“OK, Brenda…” Sully said gently as he stepped forward. “That’s enough.” He looked at Ms. Americana sprawled out on the mat and crying. “It’s obvious to everyone that you won this fight.” “She deserved some of that, but they’ll never trust us if we act like monsters or dictators.”
“You’re… right, Quentin.” Brenda said, dropping the power belt at her feet.
“Wow… Sully being the voice of reason for Brenda… There’s a switch,” Witchfire snickered.
Brenda walked over and gathered up her clothes and began getting dressed. Meanwhile, Sully turned and addressed the She-Legion.
“Look, we’re not here to take over r anything like that,” Sully said. “We’re only here to help you improve your tactics and equipment so you’re better able to handle what’s thrown at you.”
The She-Legion members all looked at Sully skeptically and murmured among themselves.
“Look, when you know what to expect from your enemies and you’re trained to respond appropriately, life is a lot easier,” Sully continued. He motioned for a surprised Witchfire to step forward.
“What do you need me for?” Witchfire asked uneasily
“To make a point, and test an observation,” Sully replied. He looked back to the group. “OK, so to prove a point, she recently beat the Aberration.” “He’s tough, but preparation is everything.” He turned back to Witchfire. “Get ready, kid.”
Witchfire shook her head uneasily, sensing where this was going.
“One of the things with that jerk, for example, is that he always leads with a right cross,” Sully said to the group. “Now when you know that’s his opening gambit…” he continued, throwing right cross punch at Witchfire.
Witchfire instinctively dodged the right punch, grabbed Sully’s wrist and judo threw him over her shoulder and onto the mat.
Sully sat up with a slight chuckle. “I knew you were holding back some.” He looked at the rest of the group. “See what I mean?” “A little extra training goes a long way.”
“A choreographed throw really doesn’t…” Green Specter started.
Sully’s training lecture was cut short by the TV news interrupting with a special report. Amazing Babe was fighting a losing battle against a young Asian villainess who was glowing red.
“Another villain attack!” Champion Girl cursed.
“You gotta be kidding me,” Sully growled. “You depend on TV for crime reports?!?”
“Well… yes,” Ms. Americana replied sheepishly.
“We’ve got more work to do here than I thought,” Sully said, shaking his head in disbelief. He looked over to Witchfire. “Yer up, kid.” “Go kick her ass.”
“Shouldn’t we send more people?” Green Specter asked. “She’s apparently pretty powerful.”
“No,” Sully replied. Hs blunt tone left little room for debate. “She can handle this.” “Besides, I’m making a point here.”
Witchfire’s expression turned grim and she gave a nod. With a snap of her fingers, she was gone. A moment later, she reappeared on the street where the battle was taking place.
“I hope you know what you’re doing, Quentin,” Ms Americana’s doppelganger said.
“Trust me,” Sully said. “She still loves her, even if she doesn’t want to admit it.” “That was clear from her tone during our earlier talk.” It also factors into the point I’m trying to make.” “I want the rest of you to see what it’s like to fight with total focus and determination.”
A skeptical and nervous She-Legion gathered around the monitor to watch the battle unfold.
When Witchfire reappeared on the street, the Asian woman had Amazing Babe suspended from strands of glowing red energy. Amazing Babe’s top was already shredded, leaving her ample breasts exposed for all on the street to see.
“…and since all the other white whore superheroines are hiding, I think I’ll breed you first to send them a message, not that you’re worthy of my magical energy cock, filthy Gweilo (Chinese for ‘ghost skin’; a bigoted term for white people). She began loosening the red silk sash tied around the waist of her black silk traditional Chinese button down top.
Witchfire raised her staff and fired a bolt of dark blue eldritch energy. The bolt slammed into the woman and sent her tumbling down the street from the force of the impact.
“Nobody hurts her while I’m alive… ever.” Witchfire said. Her deadly serious tone and icy gaze unnerved the attacker for a moment.
“Another stupid white imperialist whore,” the Asian woman managed after a few moments. “No matter, you’ll all pay.”
Witchfire rolled her eyes. “You see the hair?” she demanded. “I’m Scots-Irish, you ignorant bigot.” “My ancestors got screwed too.” Witchfire caught herself in mid-rant and determined not to get sucked into the other woman’s hate. “Watch Braveheart or something,” she snarled.
“Nobody cares about your pathetic excuses,” the woman spat.
“Well, not a Sǐ Yú Yǎn (Chinese for dead fish eye – meaning somebody not all there) like you, that’s for sure,” Witchfire replied. The smirk on her face seemed to infuriate the woman even more than the insult.
“Shut up!” the woman screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Ohhh… wait, I recognize you now,” Witchfire continued with a chuckle. “You’re the mental case that got her powers from a unicorn horn and had that battle with Nancy,” she added. (See Deanna Troi’s Delta City PI #9 for that encounter) “So which name did you settle on for your career as a bat shit crazy serial rapist?” “Was it Horny Girl or Cock Girl?”
“How dare you mock me!!” the other woman screamed. “I am Golden Qilin, and I will destroy you and then breed this fat titted whore.”
“Cào nǐ zǔzōng shíbā dài,” Witchfire snarled (Chinese for fuck your ancestors to the 18th generation. It doesn’t get much worse for insults in Chinese)
Golden Qilin screamed in blind rage and charged at Witchfire with magically enhanced speed. She made it to ten feet in front of Witchfire and vanished. A microsecond later, she appeared two feet in front of a brick wall and slammed into it at full force. She collapsed to the ground with a bruised face and broken nose.
“That never gets old.” Witchfire said with a self-satisfied smirk. “Did that hurt?” she asked Golden Qilin. “That looked like it hurt.” The deadpan mocking tone of Witchfire’s voice only infuriated Golden Qilin further.
Golden Qilin staggered to her feet, a look of murderous hatred on her battered face. “I’ll kill you for that,” she growled before spitting blood from her mouth.
“Bring it, Horny Girl,” Witchfire growled. “I’m about sick and damned tired of the rape happy pukes like you in this city.”
Golden Qilin started to try to conjure more of her magical tentacles, but felt the ones binding Amazing Babe start to weaken.
“Looks like you got yourself into a bind there,” Witchfire gloated. “Try that on me and I guarantee my magic will beat it, and you’ll free her.” “Then it’s a two for one butt kicking.”
Witchfire leveled her staff at Golden Qilin and fired a bolt of mystical lightning at her. The lightning struck the center of Golden Qilin’s chest and she cried out in pain.
“That hurt, you bitch!” Golden Qilin snarled. “Too bad for you my unicorn powers protect me from most of the magic.”
“It wouldn’t protect you long enough.” Witchfire replied as the two women paced toward each other. “Let’s settle this the old-fashioned way instead.”
“Your arrogance offends me, Gweilo.” Golden Qilin snarled. “It will be a pleasure to beat it out of you with my superior strength.”
Golden Qilin swung a wide punch at Witchfire’s head. Witchfire ducked the punch fired a punch into Golden Qilin’s floating ribs, cracking two of them.
“Strength without control is wasted energy,” Witchfire retorted. She immediately fired a kick at Golden Qilin, who spun away from the kick..
Golden Qilin immediately stepped forward with a kick of her own, which Witchfire countered with a stop kick to Golden Qilin’s shin. As Qilin continued her advance with a straight punch, Witchfire used an open hand parry to deflect it and punched her in the throat with her other hand. Golden Qilin fell to her knees and elbows, clutching her throat with both hands. She coughed and weased, struggling for breath.
“I know I’m being a smart ass, and pretty malicious as well,” Witchfire said. The venomous tone of her voice was plain to hear. “However, I’m really getting sick and tired of the abuse I’ve been enduring since arriving here.” “You’re also a complete bitch and remind me of my ex and his family.” Witchfire brought her leg up in an arc and dropped her heel straight down on the small of Golden Qilin’s back. “I could have crushed your throat or broken your back.” “Be thankful I have higher morals than you do.” Golden Qilin was driven flat against the pavement and screamed in pain from the blow to her back.
“Alright, that’s enough Witchfire,” said Lieutenant Falcon from behind Witchfire.
“Not a problem,” Witchfire replied matter of factly without turning around. “She’s down, so she’s all yours.” “Amazing Babe is my only concern now.” So saying, she walked toward the defeated heroine, who was now laying on the sidewalk instead of suspended.
“Holy Shit!” Champion Girl exclaimed, watching the fight on the news feed. “She destroyed her.” “But… she’s a just a magician… how…” Hexanna gave Champion Girl a murderous look.
“She did it because she’s better trained and more capable than you all have given her credit for.” Sully replied bluntly, his arms folded across his chest. “And she was fighting for someone important to her.” “She needed this fight to remind her of both.”
“I get it,” Ms. Americana growled. “You made that clear with the sparring match.” “We’re all second rate screw ups compared to you.”
Sully whipped around on his heel to face Ms. Americana, a disgusted look on his face and his fists clenched in frustration that bordered on rage. “God damned it, you are the most stubborn woman I’ve ever met!” he shouted. “We’re not here to upstage or replace you.” “We’re here because we want to help you be better!” “Get it through your thick skull already!”
Ms. Americana started to retort but Brenda quickly got between them. “Calm down, both of you!” She gave Sully a stern look before turning her attention to Ms. Americana. “I understand how frustrating this is for you.” “I never liked admitting I needed help from anyone either.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Sully muttered, taking a swig from his flask.
Brenda Wade gave Sully an evil look before continuing. “I’d bet you even left your Sully to protect him from our father’s killers and to prove you could stand on your own, just like I did.” “I was wrong though.” “As good as I was, I’m better since my She-Legion learned to overcome our shortcomings and work together.” “You almost beat me even with that training.” “We’re here because we believe in you and how much greater you can still become with just a little help.”
Ms. Americana buried her face in her hands. “You… you’re right,” she said weakly. “I’ve felt like such a failure since the entire team was captured…” “Like I couldn’t do anything right, and everyone else saw it too.”
“Brenda Wade is anything bit a failure,” Sully said, having regained his cool. “Doesn’t matter which Brenda it is.” He glanced back at the monitor for a moment. “If Red there is right, you’ve had the deck stacked badly against you from the get go.” “We just have to figure out how to even the playing field for you.”
“You think we can?” Green Specter asked.
“If we work together, I know we can.” Brenda answered.
Ms. Americana nodded silently and then turned to the rest of the She-Legion. “How about it, Ladies?” “Are you all up for this?”
Everybody either quietly nodded or let out a small shout of agreement.
“Great,” Sully said, truly relieved that things appeared to finally be swinging their direction. He looked at Ms. Americana. “I’m curious about one thing from Witchfire’s account of things.” “Maybe your version of things will help me make sense of it.” “She said you as a group had seemed to accept her at a couple of points, but then went back to being defensive and insecure.” “Did something happen those times?”
The She-Legion looked at each other, pondering the question but clearly at a loss.
Ms. Americana finally spoke up. “I’m not sure, Quentin,” she said. “I remember we were all grateful for her help after the capture and the other times she’d helped us.” “It was like… the more time that passed though, we got indignant and insecure about everything.
Most of the members of the She Legion nodded in agreement.
Sully scowled and rubbed the light stubble on his chin. “Maybe it wasn’t really your fault then,” he said. “Let’s get some chemical specialists in here to check the air and water supply.”
“You really think somebody went that far to weaken the team?” Brenda asked.
“Hard ta say.” Sully answered. “Just a hunch, since it’s not like you or most of the ladies here to act like that towards a proven friend.” “Either way, better safe than sorry.”
“Maybe we should move operations to the old hangar we staged the rescue from, just for a day or so until the building is swept,” Night Raven said.
“Good idea,” Sully replied. “If there is something here, we don’t need to get sideswiped by it while trying to put the team on the right track.” “We may already have, given how out of control things got a little while ago.”
Just then, Witchfire reappeared with a now re-clothed Amazing Babe in her arms. Everybody in the room clapped seeing the two together.
“You two are much better as a couple,” Wolf Woman said.
“Maybe so, but we still have some things to talk out,” Witchfire said.
Amazing Babe nodded quietly in agreement.
Six hours later, the She-Legion had discreetly set up a temporary headquarters at the old aircraft hangar.
“That was more work than I expected,” Sully said.
“Maybe, but we needed a clean space to regroup,” Night Raven replied.
“That we did,” Sully said. “With any luck, the headquarters won’t be compromised like we suspect.” “Either way, once it’s dealt with, we can get things moving forward.” He glanced over to Witchfire. “I think it’s time we had that talk with this Nancy of yours.”
“Let me talk to her alone first,” Witchfire said. “She knows me already, and is a bit… frustrated with the rest of the She-Legion right now anyway.” “I’ll get her up to speed, and try to pave the way for a future meeting.”
Sully let out a frustrated sigh. “Alright, we’ll play it your way for now.” He glanced over at Brenda and Ms. Americana sitting and talking in a corner of the hangar. “Besides, I don’t think I’m getting those two separated any time soon,” he added with just a hint of anxiety in his voice.
“Oh, don’t worry…” Witchfire said with an evil giggle. “How bad could them talking be?” The evil grin on her face did nothing to ease Sully’s nervousness. “I’ll be back later with a full report.” With a snap of her fingers, Witchfire disappeared.
Witchfire reappeared in Nancy’s apartment, just inside the front door. Startled, Nancy grabbed for her pistol sitting on the table, but Witchfire teleported it back out of Nancy’s hand to the far end of the table.
“That’s a bit extreme,” Witchfire said with a hint of a chuckle. “Do you always try to shoot visitors?”
“No, but most of them have the courtesy to knock,” Nancy replied flippantly.
“Fair point,” Witchfire said. “Secrecy was vital this time though.”
Nancy raised an eyebrow. “I was hoping for a few less secrets actually,” she replied. “You were pretty vague last time around, and so was Brenda Wade.”
“We’re… working on getting Brenda’s act together,” Witchfire replied. “The others as well.”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Nancy replied coyly.
“Look, I know you know,” Witchfire said. “This isn’t the place though,” she added, looking around. “Wow can you pick them.” “Hellmouth at the office and a ley line nexus point at home.” She shrugged. “At least the nexus keeps your frequent office guests away.” She turned back to Nancy. “Look, I’m sure you’ve figured out there are bigger things than the gangs and second rate supervillains going on in Delta City.” “There’s some bad, bad juju going on in the shadows.” “I think it’s past time we compared notes and got you up to speed.” “It’s the only way we’re going to put a stop to the madness.”
Nancy tilted her head, studying Witchfire and let out a sigh. “You’ll have to pardon me for having mixed feelings here.” “I’ve been up to my armpits in my own messes; demons, corrupt politicians, Skylar Bridge…” “That last part being something Brenda Wade dumped on my lap because she was unwilling to deal with it herself.” “So, you’ll have to understand if I’m a little wary of directly involving myself with her little group.”
Witchfire’s expression remained stoic. “I get it…” she said. “I feel pretty burned by them too at this point.” “Like it or not, they’re the best hope for getting this disaster straightened out, and both of us getting to go home.”
“You hinted at that before,” Nancy said. “You care to finally fill me in about that?”
“I’m here to tell you everything… at least everything I know, and suspect.” Witchfire replied matter-of-factly. “Also, to show you what we’re fighting for.” “Just not here, where your ‘friends’ might be listening.” “When I get us where we’re going, you’ll understand my caution.”
Nancy nodded. “Fair enough,” she said. “For what it’s worth, I’ve been watching you also.” “I appreciate the way you’ve been trying to help people.” “Granted, I’d appreciate a little more transparency, but it’s the others I’m annoyed with.”
“Thanks,” Witchfire said. “I admit I’ve made mistakes, but never out of malice.” “Ready to go?” “Grab your gun, stash it and then put your hand on my shoulder and I’ll teleport us.”
Nancy raised an eyebrow again as she picked up her gun. “Anything dangerous ahead?” she asked as she pocketed it.
“Quite the opposite,” Witchfire said. “Always keep your tools at hand though.”
“We may be just a little more alike than I thought,” Nancy said with a slight smirk. “Let’s get out of here.” She put her hand on Witchfire’s shoulder.
With a snap of her fingers, Witchfire teleported, taking Nancy with her.
An instant later, the duo appeared in the bar area of Sanctuary.
“You’re making a habit of this lately.” Dani quipped. “Probably a good thing the Doc isn’t here.” “He’d probably be having a fit.”
“He’ll get over it.” Witchfire said flatly. “We have to clean up the mess, then we get to decide how to do so.”
“Well, you’ve certainly got fire,” Dani said in an amused tone. “I think that’s why he likes you.”
“News to me,” Witchfire grumbled.
Nancy had only been half paying attention to the conversation between the two other women, but her ears perked up at the mention of “Doc”. “Doc?” she asked breaking in. “Tall jerk with a mustache and beard can’t make up his mind if he is going to be a cowboy or a pirate when he grows up? Fancies himself a sorcerer?”
“I already met him then. He helped me with a plumbing problem this morning,” said Nancy.
That seemed to both surprise and puzzle Witchfire which secretly pleased Nancy a bit since it had seemed up until now that the young witch knew everything and that was supposed to be her job as a professional snoop.
Witchfire gave her head a small shake as if to get her thoughts back on track.“ “Anyway, Nancy… Dani… Dani… Nancy.”
“Hiya,” Dani said with a slight smile. “Welcome to Sanctuary.”
“Sanctuary??” Nancy said, a modest amount of surprise slipping past her usual calm façade. “It’s real…” She looked around at the aged bar. “Cyril’s mind would be completely blown if he found out,” she added with a wry chuckle.
“Needless to say, that can’t happen,” Witchfire replied in a serious tone. “I’m pretty sure you get that.” “If not, take a look around.” “Everybody here is trying to hide from and forget drama back in Delta City.”
“Wait…” Nancy interrupted. “BACK in Delta City?” “Where the hell are we?”
“A pocket dimension.” Witchfire replied. “About as isolated and safe as you… or these folks… can get.”
“And you get cable too…” Nancy said, raising an eyebrow.
“Magic,” Witchfire replied with a smirk. Her expression turned serious again. “These folks have suffered everything from hate crime related assaults to being hunted, raped and experimented on by gangs, people like Bridge and another high tech group they call hunters.” “I suspect these ‘hunters’ are low level soldiers for the group behind everything.”
“OK, you’ve got my attention,” Nancy said, her expression turning to a slight scowl. “Let’s sit and talk.”
Witchfire nodded and then turned to Dani. “Have Pari bring us a couple of bottles of Guiness when her shift starts.” “The real stuff too, not that imported piss they serve in the US,” she added with a smirk.
Witchfire led Nancy to a booth in the back. They sat down and Witchfire filled Nancy in on everything from right before her arrival through all the recent events, including her suspicions and evidence for a conspiracy.
“That… was a lot to take in,” Nancy replied. “Not just your origin, but the whole conspiracy as well.” “It does certainly put a few things in perspective though.” “Bridge has connections beyond what one would expect for the owner of a moderately sized telecommunications company.” “I have to agree there’s too many odd coincidences also…” “Something bigger has to be behind this.” “They’re careful, but not above taking solid action when needed.” “Dragon Queen must have had them really scared.”
Witchfire nodded. “My thinking too.” “We’re still trying to figure out what to make of her reappearance though.”
Nancy thought for a moment. “My guess is she’s a clone.” “I have some experience there.”
“It’s the most logical explanation,” Witchfire said. “Cloning is still far beyond most corporations and governments though.” “That limits suspects.”
“Limits them to some potentially very dangerous people,” Nancy added.
“Which is all the more reason we need to keep Sanctuary hidden,” Witchfire said. “On top of providing a temporary reprieve for some, it acts as an underground railroad when we can get to somebody truly endangered in time.” “I know what you’re thinking, but resources are limited.” “I wish we could do more as well.” “That’s why we need to get the She-Legion truly functional.”
“You really think this… Special Agent Surly… is right about the drugging, and can turn them around,” Nancy asked skeptically
Witchfire snerked. “It’s Sully,” she replied knowingly. “And just because he helped them get organized on his own Earth doesn’t make him an oppressive male.”
“I’ll reserve judgment,” Nancy replied plainly. She glanced around the room. “So how do we come and go here?”
“Up till recently, there were doors… gateways hidden around Delta City,” Witchfire said. “As things have gotten crazy lately, those were closed and there are talismans that will let you teleport here.”
“Seems riskier that doors.” Nancy replied.
“The talismans are keyed to their owner.” Witchfire said. “Anybody else tries to use it, it melts down.” “Even their appearance is pretty unremarkable,” Witchfire added as she tossed Nancy a silver dollar sized coin that looked like tarnished brass.
“An AA sobriety chip?” Nancy said, looking over the coin. “You’ve got to be kidding me…”
“Can you think of a more likely to be ignored object, especially found on a poor person?” Witchfire asked in reply. “Nobody seeing it is likely to think anything more of it than they are that arcade token I gave you.”
“I suppose you’re right…” Nancy said.
“The only catch is it won’t activate if anyone is watching you.” Witchfire continued. “It’s safety for you and Sanctuary both.” “You don’t have to explain how you vanished and where you went.” “Beyond that, you’ve got access now.” “Use the bar as a Sanctuary.” “Maybe you can even get some of the regulars to open up to you for your investigations.” “They’re skittish there though.”
“No luck in that regard?” Nancy asked. “I figured between working here and being on TV, you’d be golden with them.”
“They respect me,” Witchfire said. “Respect and true trust are different things though.” “They see me on TV, but they’ve also seen me with the She-Legion and the police.” “Neither of whom they particularly trust.”
Nancy shook her head. “We really have our work cut out for us,” she said with a sigh.
“That we do,” Witchfire replied. “The alternative is pretty ugly though.”
The conversation was interrupted as Pari walked over and put two bottles of Irish Guiness on the table. “You’re getting to be quite the snob with your drinks,” Pari said to Witchfire with a teasing giggle.
“More like the She-Legion making me need good booze to forget their screw ups.” Witchfire said, taking a sip of her bottle.
“Still brooding, hmm?” Pari replied. “I’d thought you’d be in a better mood now that you’re back together with your love.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Witchfire grumbled. She reached into the pouch that hung on her hip and pulled out Nancy’s bricked tablet, then tossed it to Pari. “Here, show us what you can do.”
“My tablet!” Nancy protested. “Where did you get that?”
Witchfire chuckled. “I think you know where it came from.” “I removed the dark magic energy permeating it.” “Pari is a technopath; she talks to machines.”
Nancy crossed her arms in front of her and stared at Pari.
“Oh my!” Pari gasped, her eyes going wide as she stared at the screen. “Such language!” She continued to fiddle with the device for a few more minutes, then placed the rebooted tablet on the table in front of Nancy. “Your device has some very unladylike vocabulary,” she said. “Some of the things it told me to do I don’t believe are even anatomically possible.” She shook her head, blushing and then turned and scurried off to the bar.
Nancy raised an eyebrow and stared in disbelief at the now functional tablet. “Was she kidding?”
“I…doubt it.” Witchfire said. “She doesn’t have much of a sense of humor.” “Probably leftover influence of the demon magick that shut it down.” “That should be gone now that it’s rebooted.” “Advice; keep it in a lead lined box when not in use.” “That’ll block any magic directed at it.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Nancy said uncertainly. She picked up the tablet and stuffed it into her coat pocket.
“OK… I’ve given complete disclosure as a sign of good faith,” Witchfire said. “Your turn.” “I’ve tried to keep a superficial eye on you when I can… to help if needed.” “There’s still a lot I don’t know however.” “I’m particularly interested in any proof of this “reset device” I’ve heard you speculate about.”
“There’s no physical proof… yet,” Nancy said, taking a swig of her own ale. “Hmm, no bad…” she said glancing at the bottle before returning her attention to Witchfire. “OK, here’s what I do know however…”
15 minutes later, Nancy had finished her story.
Witchfire nodded then finished her bottle off. “Well, I have to agree that this… reset device is a possibility.” “Some sort of mass hypnosis or memory eraser seems more likely to me.” “That would imply the people behind this have some vested interest in the She-Legion though… guinea pigs perhaps?” “Another piece of the puzzle to figure out…” “The info you’ve provided will give us a few more clues though.”
Nancy nodded, then got up. “Agreed.” “We both have more work ahead of us.” “If this conspiracy is as big as it seems, we’d both better be very careful in how we move forward also.” “For now…” Nancy said, glancing down at her tablet, “I have to figure out my next moves.”
Witchfire nodded silently as Nancy pulled the teleport token out of her pocket and used it to teleport home, arriving right where she’d stood when they left for Sanctuary.
After Nancy departed, Witchfire walked over to Dani at the bar. “I’ll be back for my shift in about a half hour.” “I just have to go check back in with the She-Legion for a few.”
“See yah then,” Dani replied with a mock salute as Witchfire disappeared.
TO BE CONTINUED… YET AGAIN.