The Return of Nevermore part 11

Ms. Miracle flew through the air, immediately recognizable to nearly anyone who saw her. She was a gorgeous woman, with long golden blonde hair and a body that was both sexy and statuesque. The red and gold costume that covered her entire body from the neck down, was skin tight and left very little of her impressive form to the imagination, while the golden aura that surrounded her as she flew, helped to identify her as one of the most famous heroes in the country.

Of course, she was not the original Ms. Miracle, as the original had died nearly a decade ago, murdered at the hands of Baron Nevermore. The woman who currently bore that name had inherited it, her powers, and even her appearance, from her mother.

“He’s back,” Daphne muttered to herself, her voice tense with the barely controlled emotion. “Baron Nevermore is back.”

Daphne clenched her fists, filled with a mixture of anger, fear, and disgust at the thought of the villain. Baron Nevermore had murdered her mother, had taken away the only family that Daphne had, and had condemned her to growing up in a series of foster homes. Admittedly, Daphne hadn’t even known that her mom had been Ms. Miracle until after she’d inherited her mother’s powers and had become Ms. Miracle herself, but years of ignorance on her part didn’t excuse what Baron Nevermore had done.

“I thought I was done with him,” she spat out bitterly.

Shortly after she had gained her powers, when she’d changed from Dave to Daphne and had become the new Ms. Miracle, she’d had a chance to face Baron Nevermore. After all those years, the villain had finally returned, and she had faced him alongside her friends and teammates, the Miracle Men. It had been a terrifying fight, and in the end, Baron Nevermore had been sent to Hell. Literally. But now he was back, and the peace Daphne had gained from his previous defeat, had been disrupted.

Daphne itched to go after Baron Nevermore, to finally stop him for good. After what he’d done to Baltimore and all of those innocent people, there was absolutely no doubt in her mind that he deserved death, at the very least. However, she was not going after Baron Nevermore at the moment, which may have been a good thing. As the White Knight had pointed out earlier, there were a lot of personal grudges in play, and those could make people reckless and sloppy.

“That kind of thing can get people killed,” she reminded herself. “The wrong people.”

Thinking about personal grudges, Daphne wondered how good of an idea it had been to send Lady Hexx on the team that was going after Force. She definitely had a personal grudge, though admittedly, it wasn’t any worse than the one that she herself had against Baron Nevermore.

Daphne looked over at her current teammates, Lady Hexx and Counterweight, who were flying a short distance away, in an odd fashion. Counterweight was sitting on top of a Volkswagen Bug, using her gravity manipulation power to send it flying through the air, while Lady Hexx rode inside.

This certainly wasn’t the first time that Daphne had worked alongside Counterweight, who was a part time member of the Miracle Men, though admittedly, she’d also been working as a member of the new Crusaders lately as well. In fact, the first times they’d fought together, had been against Force.

Lady Hexx was a bit more of an unknown since Daphne had never met her before. Daphne knew that the eerie pale skinned woman had first appeared as a villain, going after Force. However, in hindsight, that now seemed quite reasonable of her. Ever since then, she’d been acting more like a hero, even working with some kind of search and rescue team to save people.

“It’s too bad Catalyst can’t be here for this,” Daphne called out to Counterweight, who immediately nodded agreement.

“Yeah, she’d make this a lot easier,” Counterweight agreed.

Catalyst was Counterweight’s girlfriend, and another reserve member of the Miracle Men. Since Catalyst had the ability to give powers to normal people, she could have recruited reinforcements to help them while inside the barrier. However, even more importantly, she could also take away powers.

When the Miracle Men had faced Force, Catalyst had been the one to finally defeat him, by the simple act of walking up and turning off his powers. Unfortunately, Daphne was pretty sure that they wouldn’t be able to end things so easily this time.

“There it is,” Counterweight abruptly called out, pointing ahead of them.

Daphne immediately saw what Counterweight was pointing at, and as they quickly got closer, she could make it out in even more detail. The black stone obelisk was sitting in the middle of a large grassy area, of what appeared to be a park. And as they approached, she could see the benches and small tables around the outside of it, confirming this impression.

However, in spite of the fact that the obelisk was out in the open, Daphne had no illusions that it would be easy to destroy. For one thing, there was a shimmering bubble around not only the obelisk, but the entire park. It reminded her of the much larger barrier that surrounded all of Baltimore, though it lacked the larger barrier’s purple color. Daphne knew, that in spite of the similarities, this barrier had not been created by Baron Nevermore, but by Force. She’d seen him create a force field like this once before.

Then, as if outright claiming this force field bubble as his own, Force hovered above it. He was posing, with his arms crossed, radiating a sense of arrogant power. And he was staring right at them.

“It looks like we lost the element of surprise,” Daphne announced, a moment before Force flew straight at them.

Suddenly, the car that Counterweight was sitting atop of, began to melt and change, courtesy of Lady Hexx’s powers. The metal body reformed into the shape of a giant fist, while Lady Hexx climbed on top and joined Counterweight. They briefly spoke, too quietly for Daphne to hear, but she could see the broad grin on Counterweight’s face.

“Let’s do it,” Counterweight exclaimed, using her gravity powers to send the massive metal fist straight at Force.

Right before impact, Counterweight and Lady Hexx leapt off. For a moment, Daphne planned to grab them, until Counterweight grabbed the white skinned woman, and the two of them began falling much more slowly.

The flying metal fist slammed into Force, who was thrown back from the raw force, though he barely seemed to feel it. As the metal fist was reclaimed by gravity and fell back to the ground, Force remained floating in the air, looking angry.

“You,” Force started in a loud voice. “Allied with that white skinned bitch… If it hadn’t been for her…”

Force looked down to where Lady Hexx and Counterweight had just landed on top of a brownstone building. The expression of fury on his face burned with pure hatred. A moment, later, he fired a concussion blast down at the building. However, the roof seemed to melt and reform, rising up to form a shield that protected Counterweight and Lacy Hexx from the attack. Force was about to launch another attack on them, so Daphne flew straight at him, only to get hit with a force blast instead.

“Damn,” Daphne exclaimed as Force’s blast sent her flying back. It stung and would probably leave a few bruises, but it could have been much worse. She retaliated by firing her own blast of golden energy at the former hero, though Force barely seemed to notice it.

“I don’t know how you got past Nevermore’s shield,” Force announced. “But I can assure you, you will NOT get past mine…”

“How could be part of this?” Daphne yelled at him. “You used to be a hero…”

“And you used to be dead,” Force responded with a sneer. “Things change.”

With that, Force flew straight at Daphne, punching her hard enough to send her flying back until she crashed into the wall of a building. She grunted at the impact, knowing that she was going to have some serious bruising from that, but immediately climbed out and flew back towards him.

“I wasted two decades of my life,” Force exclaimed, “saving the world and protecting those ungrateful wretches. No more. Now, I’m going to make every last one of you pay for turning on me…for locking me up in Mount Prometheus like some common villain…”

Force charged at Daphne again, looking like he was going to try another punch, though he surprised her with another force blast instead, sending her flying back, though this time she avoided hitting anything. She caught herself in the air, glared at the former hero, and wondered how she was going to beat him. She’d fought him before, but hadn’t been able to do to so then. Catalyst had been the one to do that.

“But he isn’t coming at me with everything he has,” Daphne mused in realization. “He’s holding back.” Her eyes darted to the force field surrounding the obelisk. “Or he’s diverting his power to that thing…” A faint smile formed on her lips.

A moment later, Daphne turned her attention to her teammates, who were both still standing on top of that building. Unfortunately, since she and Force were flying, that meant that Counterweight and Lady Hexx couldn’t help much. Lady Hexx couldn’t fly, and Counterweight’s gravity powers didn’t give her the speed or maneuverability for a good aerial fight.

“But if I lure Force towards them,” Daphne told herself with a faint smirk.

Daphne blasted Force with another burst of golden energy, though it couldn’t penetrate the invisible force field that surrounded his entire body. However, the attack did annoy him, and he came at her again, though she backed up, leading him closer to her allies.

Once they were close enough, the roof of the building began to melt and flow, and a large hand reached out and grabbed Force, holding him tight. The brick and building material continued to flow around him, covering Force completely.

“I have you now,” Lady Hexx announced, standing out in the open with her cloak flapping in the wind. She gestured to Force, and the stone sphere that had been a hand, separated from the ‘wrist’ and fell. It smashed into the ground right beside the building.

“Come on,” Counterweight exclaimed, grabbing Lady Hexx’s hand and jumping off the edge of the roof. The two women floated down to the ground while Daphne flew down to get a better look at Force.

Force hit the ground pretty hard, but he’d been cocooned in brick and stone, so she was pretty sure he wasn’t out of it yet. The bastard was far too tough to be taken down that easily. And just as Daphne expected, the stone sphere shattered and exploded, revealing an angry looking Force.

“YOU,” Force snarled, glaring at Lady Hexx as she and Counterweight landed a short distance away. “You were the one who turned everyone against me…”

“You did that yourself,” Lady Hexx announced as she bent down to touch the ground.

Suddenly, two massive stone hands rose up from the street on either side of Force, and slammed together. Then, almost immediately, the hands and Force were pulled back down beneath the ground, while a wave of stone formed up from behind them and came down on top, burying Force completely beneath the ground.

“Holy pothole,” Counterweight exclaimed, staring at the spot where Force had vanished beneath the ground. She glanced over to Lady Hexx. “Remind me not to piss you off…”

“I’m really pushing myself to control that much at once,” Lady Hexx responded with a grimace. “And to keep holding him down…”

“Don’t let him go,” Daphne called out.

However, just as Daphne finished speaking, the ground exploded and debris was through everywhere. Lady Hexx and Counterweight were through back, with Counterweight letting out a yelp of pain as a piece of rubble hit her shoulder. Lady Hexx immediately got back to her feet, revealing a bloody nose, which clearly stood out in contrast to her white skin.

Force floated up from the newly formed crater, a look of fury on his face. “DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU CAN BEAT ME?”

“It can’t be that hard,” Counterweight joked. “I hear a sixteen year old girl did it a few months back…”

Force snarled in rage and flew straight at her with his fist raised. Daphne desperately threw herself at him, knowing that if he hit Counterweight or Lady Hexx, he’d kill them instantly. She slammed into his side, barely in time, and hit him as hard as he could. Force flew back until he crashed into his own force field barrier and came to an abrupt stop.

“I’m going to kill you all,” Force yelled, right before flying straight at Daphne again.

“And you called yourself a hero,” Daphne spat at him, hitting him back as hard as she could.

Daphne and Force traded blows, going higher and higher up as they did so. She realized that she was taking Force out of their range to help, and she wasn’t sure she could take him by herself. However, at the moment, she was the one who was best equipped to handle his raw power.

“Damn,” Counterweight exclaimed, holding her injured shoulder and wincing. “Maybe I can get up there and hit him with another car.”

“Maybe,” Lady Hexx agreed, though she wasn’t looking at Force, but his force field barrier. “As for me, I’m going to hit him where it hurts the most. His pride.”

Counterweight chuckled faintly at that. “Well, his ego is big enough that it makes an easy target.”

Lady Hexx nodded. “I’m going to make him fail.”

With that, Lady Hexx bent over and touched the ground. Suddenly, a deep hole formed, with stone stairs going down. Lady Hexx didn’t say another word before she began walking down those steps and vanishing from view.

“I wish Catalyst was here,” Counterweight grumbled, looking up at Force. “Or Kaboom. I bet she’d be able to dish out some nice damage.”

Daphne flew at Force, firing a blast of golden energy into his face, then dodging back to avoid a force blast to her own face. She quickly looked over the surroundings, noticing that most of the buildings nearby were relatively unharmed, except for the damage that they’d caused since her own arrival. However, she did notice that one building was completely destroyed, and it looked very recent. She looked at her opponent, suspecting that he’d destroyed the building as a show of force. And she was pretty confident that the former hero hadn’t even waited to make sure it was empty first.

“One I’m finished with you,” Force announced, “I’m going to bring your body to Nevermore to show her how to do the job right…”

Daphne snorted at that. “So, you’ve gone from hero, to being a henchman. Quite a comedown…” Force snarled and fired a massive concussion blast at her, but she’d seen it coming in time to drop down and out of range. “Then again, you were never a very good hero anyway…”

While Daphne was taunting Force, she saw Lady Hexx climb out of a hole…inside the force field. It took Daphne a moment to realize that her white skinned teammate, had just dug under the dome, and was now going straight for the obelisk. And as Daphne watched, she touched the base of the black stone pillar, which began to crumble and dissolve.

Counterweight yelled, “TIMBER,” right as the stone structure toppled over and shattered.

“NO,” Force yelled, his expression a mixture of anger and fear. Without another word, he turned away from Daphne and flew straight down at Lady Hexx.

A vaguely humanoid figure made of dirt and stone rose up from the ground and punched Force. Force destroyed the thing with a single force blast, but while he was distracted, Lady Hexx sank into the ground and vanished from sight. A moment later, Counterweight dropped a large chunk of stone on him from above, a chunk that had been part of the obelisk until recently.

“You will pay for that,” Force exclaimed. “You will all pay…”

“I will say this for you,” Counterweight commented from where she floated in the air. “You sure have the villainous monologue down pretty well.”

Once again, a pair of giant stone hands rose up from the ground and reached for Force, but he snarled and released a blast of raw force in every direction at once, creating an explosion that destroyed the hands and everything nearby. Lady Hexx had used some of the stone from the obelisk to create a wall to protect herself, though Force immediately turned and blasted the wall, destroying it.

“I’m going to enjoy killing you,” Force said, staring straight at Lady Hexx.

“You already killed me,” Lady Hexx responded grimly. “You destroyed my old life. You cost me everything…”

Daphne flew straight at Force and was about to hit him, when he snapped around and blasted her, sending her flying back and into the side of a building. She cursed as she dug herself out of the building and took to the air, realizing that they may have toppled the obelisk, but their situation had just gotten even worse. Force no longer had his power and attention divided in the effort to maintain that force field, which meant he could now focus everything on destroying them.

“Damn, I wish my team was here,” Daphne muttered. She worked pretty well with Counterweight, and even Lady Hexx, but she really could have used the rest of the Miracle Men right then.

Before Daphne realized it, Force came down and hit her from above, sending her straight to the ground where she smashed into the middle of the street. She winced in pain, struggling to get up to keep fighting, but Force was on her again. He slammed into her, driving her painfully back into the hole she’d made with her previous impact.

“You will not beat me,” Force grimly stated as he grabbed Daphne by her throat, tight enough that she couldn’t breathe. “I was the most powerful hero who ever lived, and you were all so jealous of my power that you turned on me. Well, I’m going to make you regret that. I’m going to make the entire world wish that they’d never turned on me…”

Daphne desperately scrambled to break free from Force’s grip, but he held her too tight. She silently called out to help, praying for someone to get him off her. Then, as if to answer her call, a pair of metal arms grabbed Force from behind and yanked him back. Force released Daphne, who fell to her knees. And as she rubbed her sore neck and gasped for breath, she looked at her savior, an armored metal figure that looked it had been made from a car. It took her a moment to realize that Lady Hexx was controlling the thing.

“You disgust me,” Lady Hexx’s voice exclaimed from her armor. “You’re a monster…”

“And you are dead,” Force responded, slamming into Lady Hexx and sending her flying back.

However, a moment later, Counterweight added, “And you’re easily distracted.”

Counterweight grabbed Force from behind, and they both shot up into the air about thirty feet, right before she reversed gravity and drove Force right into the ground. Unfortunately, Force immediately returned to his feet, releasing another explosion that knocked everyone away. Counterweight cried in pain, grabbing hold of her shoulder, which she’d hurt earlier, while Lady Hexx’s armor melted off so she could release herself.

Daphne grimaced and slammed into Force again, hoping that if she could keep him close to the ground, than the others might be able to keep helping her. She couldn’t beat Force on her own, but if the three of them worked together, then they might have a chance.

Daphne’s hope was short lived as Force hit her with a concussion blast, then immediately flew over to punch her, sending her flying halfway down the street. Before she could recover, he was on her again, alternating between blasting her and punching, not giving her a chance to catch her balance.

“Go down,” Force commanded, frustrated that she kept getting back to her feet.

“Not for the likes of you,” Daphne spat, glaring at the man she’d once looked up to. Once upon a time, Force had been one of the most respected heroes in the world. Now, it was hard to even imagine it.

Daphne blasted Force, then charged him to follow up with a punch. He blocked her attack and immediately backhanded her hard enough to slam her into the wall of a neighboring building. She grimaced as she climbed back out, getting more than a little tired of this. Force charged her again, and a moment later, she found herself being slammed into the ground again. Once again, Force was on her, grabbing her by the throat.

“I am going to kill you,” Force said with a sneer. “Then I will go after every single person who dares to call themselves a hero…and I will crush them as well.”

“You’re insane,” a new voice exclaimed, right before there was a flash of gold light, followed by Force being yanked off her. “I didn’t believe it at first, but now…”

Daphne dropped to her knees for a moment, feeling dazed and gasping for breath. “Thanks,” she said, not sure who it was that had just helped her out this time.

Then as Daphne looked up, she saw a woman floating in the air a short distance away, while Force was digging himself out from the next building over. It took Daphne a moment to realize that her savior was Channel, and another second to realize that Channel was dressed in a red and gold uniform that was identical to the one that she was wearing.

“David,” Channel asked, staring at Daphne with a strange expression. “Is that you?”

“How did you…?” Daphne started to ask, wondering how Channel knew her other name, until it dawned on her. Channel was wearing her costume. “MOM?”

Daphne stared at Channel…at her mom, who was in Channel’s body, feeling stunned and overwhelmed. Her mom was dead. She’d died years ago, killed by Baron Nevermore. But Channel had the power call forth the dead, bringing Daphne face to face with the one person she’d never expected to see again.

“It is you,” her mom cried out with tears in her eyes. “But you look like me…or like how I did when I was using my powers. How?”

“I don’t think this is a good time for question and answer,” Daphne told her, reluctantly pointing at Force, who was about to come at them again.

“I wouldn’t worry about him,” Daphne’s mom said, looking rather smug.

“I know that I’m not,” another voice added. Daphne looked over at Lady Knight, who stepped out from around a corner and was staring straight at Force. As soon as Force saw her, a look of fear and panic crossed his features. Daphne wasn’t sure why, until the pink haired girl simply commanded. “You have no powers.” She had an evil smirk on her face as she added, “Or any bowel or bladder control.”

“YOU,” Force exclaimed, still looking terrified of the girl, but also furious at the same time. He flung out his hand to hit her with a force blast, but nothing happened.

“I think we’ve been through this before,” Lady Knight said, “so you know the score. Now, sit down, don’t move, and don’t say a word.” To Daphne’s surprise, Force did exactly as he was told. He looked furious and kept glaring at Lady Knight, but he obeyed. “And close your eyes,” she added, almost as an afterthought.

“How?” Daphne asked Lady Knight.

“Mind control,” the pink haired girl responded smugly, making a show of buffing her nails. “I took him down the same way a few months back.”

Daphne wanted to ask Lady Knight more about that, and why she hadn’t been on their team to deal with Force, but she had other questions that took priority. She turned her attention to her mom, who had landed on the ground a short distance away, and who was alternately looking at Force and at her.

“David,” her mom started, looking awkward and uncertain. Daphne could understand that, because she suddenly felt extremely self-conscious about being a woman.

“I usually go by Daphne now,” she admitted awkwardly.

Then on a whim, Daphne flipped a mental switch, and felt her body beginning to change. Her breasts shrank, deflating and pulling back into her chest, while she felt a pressure building in her groin. Though she was aware of all the other changes occurring in her body, she tried not to think about them. Instead, she just stared at her mom, seeing her reactions. Seconds later, Daphne was gone and Dave stood in her place.

“I’m a skitzomorph,” Dave explained awkwardly. “I can change back and forth…” Of course, it had been about three weeks since the last time he’d been a guy. Anymore, he felt much more comfortable being in his female form, where he also had his powers.

“Me too,” his mom responded with tears in her eyes. “Or at least, I was.” Then without warning, she grabbed him in a hug. “I’m so sorry I never told you about this part of my life…”

“You lied to me,” Dave exclaimed once they broke apart. Tears still ran down his cheeks, and he wasn’t sure whether to be angry or ecstatic. “You disappeared without any warning, and I got dumped into foster homes, thinking that you’d just abandoned me and ran off…”

“I’m sorry,” she gasped, looking guilty. “I always meant to tell you when you were a little older.”

Dave wasn’t sure what to say to that, though he was about to respond anyway when he suddenly saw movement from the corner of his eye. A black figure was rushing straight towards them, and as he turned, he saw a man in a black costume that resembled some kind of ninja outfit. However, the figure also had a black bladed kabana, and was going straight for Lady Knight.

“Look out,” Dave yelled, reacting on instinct and throwing himself at Lady Knight, shoving her out of the way an instant before a surge of pain tore through his side.

Dave dropped to his knees, grabbing his side and the sticky warmth of his own blood spilling out. “DAVE,” his mom yelled desperately in Channel’s voice, right before she punched at the ninja. The ninja just leapt backwards and out of range.

“It seems that we arrived too late,” a new voice commented.

Dave grimaced and glanced at the speaker, who was another man dressed all in black. This one was wearing some kind of old fashioned suit and was leaning on a cane. Obviously, he’d come with the ninja, who now stood right beside him.

“Nevermore sent us to assist you with your task,” the man with the cane told Force. “But it seems we are too late. Now, I’m sure Nevermore would like to have a word with you about your failure.”

“You’re not going anywhere,” Lady Knight exclaimed, though a moment later, there was a swirl of red energy, and the two men in black were gone, as was Force. “Damn. They got away.”

Dave blinked, feeling dizzy. His mom was suddenly by his side, holding him tightly. “No,” she cried out, her tears falling onto Dave. He vaguely remembered the last time his mother held him, all those years ago, and in spite of his pain, he smiled faintly. “I didn’t come back for this. Not for this…”

“Mom,” Dave whispered, wishing he had the strength to hug her back…to tell her goodbye now that he finally had the chance. And with that, everything went dark.

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