Hellsister: Part 2
The bolt of power which had freed the Fatal Five had also transported them to Zerox, the Sorcerors' World. Now Tharok, Mano, Emerald Empress, the Persuader, and the mighty Validus stood before their benefactor.
Mordru looked back at them, and he was one of the few beings in the universe who could make them afraid.
"I am gathering a strike force to confound or destroy my enemies," said
the white-bearded mage.
"Though my power dwarfs that of any single being, I cannot function in many places at once...not with full coordination of purpose. I have brought you here to work as some of my agents. Accede, and great wealth and power shall be given you. That, and the lives of your old enemies, whom I will send you against. Refuse, and you die on the spot. Make your decision."
Mano had taken his protective glove off. His hand sizzled with disintegrative power. Tharok, who was half-man, half-machine, and beyond genius in intelligence, stopped him with a single look.
The Persuader thumped the butt end of his atomic axe on the floor, impatiently. The Emerald Empress's glowing mystic orb hovered three feet above her left shoulder, protectively, but she knew it would be of little use against Mordru.
Among all of the Five, only Validus might be seen to have a chance against their host. Yet, though Validus outpointed Mordru in strength, the dark sorceror possessed many more abilities than just the lightning-headed giant's raw, unfettered power. Validus towered above them all, in the back, and waited for what Tharok would say.
But there was only one thing Tharok could say.
"We're in, Mordru. Now show us the Legionnaires."
- S -
In Legion Headquarters, Supergirl was still staring up at the image of the masked woman on the screen above her.
The purplish-black headmask the woman wore showed her cruel, hate-radiant blue eyes, plus her sneer of defiance and half-smile of arrogance. Supergirl and the Legion had only encountered her once, but that had been more than enough.
"Satan Girl," breathed Kara. "Great Rao forgive us."
She turned to the other Legionnaires. "How could she have returned? She was merged back into my body."
Brainiac 5 replied, "Then, unless this is someone else impersonating her, she got taken out of it again, Kara."
Blok, the rock-fleshed, silicon-lifeform giant, rumbled, "The Satan
Girl case is one I have not
studied, since she was marked as deceased. Was she cloned from your body, Supergirl?"
Kara walked to a seat, sat down, and clenched her hands together on the table before she replied. "In a way, Blok. Let me tell you the story, then you all can bring me up to speed."
She sighed and recalled the events of her most crucial Legion battle.
The one after which she had
never wanted to see or read any version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
"It happened some years ago, both in my time and yours. I was coming to your era to attend a Legion meeting. Just routine business, but the bylaws stated that a member had to attend a minimum number of meetings to keep her status, and I chose this one. And just after I popped into your time, I ran right into a chunk of Red Kryptonite."
"That's the stuff that always has crazy effects on Kryptonians," said Shrinking Violet to Blok, helpfully. "Makes 'em fat, or crazy, or giants, or gives 'em ant's heads, and like that."
"Please continue, Kara," said Blok, rumbling at a softer pitch.
"All I knew at the time was that I had a fainting spell," said Supergirl. "While I was out, the real Red K effect came through. The thing...it..." She fumbled for words, then burst out: "I was cloned! It cloned me, and the clone was, well, my evil side. My dark side. And it was just as real as...as real as me."
The room was silent. The female Legion members around at the time remembered the case all too well.
"The thing was, the clone was awake, and aware, and it knew what had happened. Red K exposure effects wear off in 48 hours, tops. She didn't want to merge back into my body. And...she knew how to prevent that.
"If the Red K radiation were sapped from her body, the clone could continue
to exist. So she left me there, unconscious, in space. And
she made a bracelet weapon that could pass the radiation from her body
into that of, well, non-Kryptonians. That's usually impossible, but
she managed it. She made a costume for herself, all dark colors,
with a lead-lined mask so I couldn't see through it.
"I...you'll have to forgive me," said Kara. "This is something
I hoped I'd never have to dredge up
again." Despite herself, she shivered. Brainiac 5 touched her shoulder. She didn't shrink from him, but didn't encourage him either.
"Pardon me, Kara," said Blok. "I can learn the rest from our computer records."
"No, Blok, that's not the same as getting it from somebody who was there," said Kara. "I want to do this, because I have to do it. Please, Brainy, get me some coffee. You still make coffee here, don't you?"
"Sure. Coffee, Computo," called Brainy. A relay clicked somewhere in the building and hot brown liquid poured from a nozzle into a cup. Within seconds, a robot server device would bring it to her.
"Within hours, she located the female Legionnaires, and passed some of her radiation into them. They turned red and got sick. You remember it, Imra, Tinya, Salu, Ayla. That happened to all of them, Blok, and all the girls who were Legionnaires at the time. Plus Night Girl. She was a Substituter then.
"Satan Girl showed herself to the male Legion members then, and insisted
she be admitted to the
group. She said she could do everything they could, and more. Naturally, they refused, and Satan Girl flew off and threatened to kill the girls. She found them on the world where they were being quarantined and gave them another ray treatment. They were sick. They were dying.
"That's about when I turned up. I didn't know this 'Satan Girl' from Eve. All I knew was that she was hurting my friends, and I had to stop her. But I couldn't. We fought all over the place. She was every bit as strong as me. She had on that lead mask, and she kept me from tearing it away. Finally, she gave me a pretty good shot to the jaw and turned out my lights for a couple of seconds. That was long enough for her to be parsecs away.
"I thought at first she was a Daxamite, but the lead mask ruled that out, unless she had something like Mon-El's serum. Then I thought she might be Kryptonian. But I laid a Green K trap for her, and she shrugged it off. She'd anticipated me doing that, and tricked herself out with a suit of lead armor. She hit me with Kryptonite, and I nearly died. Lightning Lad here dug me out in time."
The coffee had arrived. Kara took time to sip it. Then she continued.
"I finally hit on the idea of
using the Super-Pets. I'd seen she couldn't use her ray-power against animals. So Garth took a Bubble and rounded up Streaky and Krypto and Beppo and Comet, and they finally took her down.
"At that point, it was too close to the 48-hour deadline for her to
recoup, and she admitted she'd
failed. She unmasked. I just about...well, never mind what I just about. That was my face staring back at me. And she looked like a female Hitler, staring at me. Any of you who don't know Hitler, look him up, okay?"
"He was in Superboy's body once," said Mon-El.
Colossal Boy said, "And like I've said ever since then...I'm glad he didn't know I was Jewish."
"Gim, shut up," said Violet. "Let her finish."
"Anyway, there she was," said Kara, not looking at anybody. "My Mr. Hyde. She told me about how she came to be, and how, if she'd just given the girls one more ray treatment, she'd have been able to live on beyond the 48 hours. And then...then..."
Brainiac 5 bent over her. "Kara, you don't have to say anything more."
"Brainy, please!" snapped Kara, crunching the coffee cup in her hand. "Let me finish it. Then, her body just flowed out of that blasted black-and-purple suit she wore, and it flowed back...into me!" The cup wasn't destroyed, only dented. Kara gulped down the rest of the brew and cleaned the slopped coffee off her hand and the table with a burst of heat-vision.
"Ever since then, at times I've wondered if someday she'd take over, or break out, or something. She had so much power. I have so much power. But we were lucky that time. She didn't kill anybody, didn't even hurt anybody."
Dawnstar spoke up. Looking directly at Supergirl, she said, "Well, that sure isn't the case anymore."
Kara jumped up, knocking her seat backward. "What do you mean? Has she done something?"
Ultra Boy was out of his seat and grasping her arm gently. He could use his energy for one Kryptonesque power at a time. Right now, he had his ultra-strength on, to restrain her if need be. "Take it easy, Kara. We've got some bad news for you."
"What's she done?" yelled Kara.
Mon-El was by her side as well. "Get it under control, Kara.
This is going to be hard to take.
Don't tell her yet, Brainy."
Quietly, but with tense muscles, Supergirl said, "Tell me, Brainy."
Brainiac 5 met her gaze. "She showed her face to a United Planets spy-ray station. She wasn't even trying to hide. The Science Police and the Intelligence Corps put it together with a U.P. cruiser incident that happened shortly beforehand."
"What kind of incident?" said Kara, her arms slack enough that Ultra Boy and Mon-El eased their grips.
"Kara...no survivors. 318 people, dead."
No one said anything at all for ten seconds.
Someone coughed. The Legionnaires who were still seated fretted in their seats, waiting for her to break the silence.
Kara gazed at Brainy for all that time, without moving.
"Rao," she said. "Great Rao."
- S -
Satan Girl hovered in the void within Zerox's solar system and luxuriated in existence.
Ahhhh, to be free once more from Kara's body, to be thinking, to be experiencing urges and lusts and pleasures... Her body quivered in sensuality, even in the vacuum and cold. And it was a further joy to know that she could even ignore that.
Kryptonians could survive in space without a suit. Was that not a pleasure? It certainly was. She could live her life between the stars, and never once need to breathe.
She could devastate planets, wipe them clean of life. Rebuild them at her whim.
She could tyrannize worlds, whole systems of planets, make them bow to her mighty hand, instantly execute anyone who dared protest--or just anybody she wanted to kill.
She could explore pleasures of the body that Kara never would have dared
to, satisfy lusts that the
blonde beast never even knew she had. She could force herself upon any suitor, male or female or whatever, and destroy them after their job was done. Or perhaps just maim them, so that they could never again do such a job for anyone else. Satan Girl smiled. Now that was being imaginative...
She could have children from those couplings, or kill them in the womb.
She could become a goddess to an unsophisiticated planet's people. Drinking in their worship, demanding sacrifice.
All of this she could do, she would do, and more.
For Kryptonians and Daxamites were gods, off their homeworlds. They really were. What a pity their morality forced them not to realize that fact.
She clasped her bent knees to her chest and thought. The problem
was, in this time, she was hardly unique. Billions of Kryptonians
existed on Rokyn. Billions more Daxamites, with the same power, existed
on Daxam. Luckily, there was only one prisoner still left in the
Phantom Zone, that old poop Gazor, so there wasn't much competition there.
But, somehow, she'd have to do something about both planets. Daxam would be easy. A shower of leaden hail across its surface, and the dead would litter the ground in heaps beyond Hitler's and Stalin's dreams.
That world would stink of corpses for eons to come.
She laughed soundlessly.
Rokyn would be more problematic. Regular Kryptonite would not harm a Kryptonian under de-powered conditions, under a red sun. Anti-Kryptonite, such as that produced beneath Argo City a thousand years ago, would do the trick. But that was hard to make, especially in the quantity needed to kill a world.
Well, there was magic. And Mordru had plenty of that. Rao knows, he could do the job, if he wanted to. If she could persuade him. And, running her hands over her body, she guessed that she had just the means to persuade him. It might be fun, too.
Satan Girl had no illusions about her power relative to Mordru's.
He could blast her from
existence. Kryptonians were powerless against magic, and Mordru was the mightiest sorceror of the age. Possibly he was monitoring her mind, even now.
She might have to watch out for him, as well. If she were viewed as a tool, he might intend to simply use her and destroy her once the job was finished. How could she guard against that?
A point to ponder, indeed.
Well, until she received her first assignment, she was free to consider
that and other things, and to
comport herself in any way she choosed that did not call attention to Mordru's plan.
She had been manifest two other times, in different guises. Once, Supergirl had been given a contentious second head by Red Kryptonite. That was her first known instance of consciousness. She had been bitchy then, but not evil. Not yet refined enough for that.
The second time had been her first outing as Satan Girl, and it had almost worked. Except for that stupid group of animals, it would have. Kara and the Legion bitches would have been dead, and she would have been extant from that time to this. She was evil then, but she hadn't really killed anyone.
The third time, she was manifest as Nightflame, a giant sword-wielding
woman who wreaked havoc in San Francisco, born of her old identity and
some other elements added from Kara's psyche, amplified by a mage who existed
in a sub-atomic universe on a world somehow within Kara. Even she
was confused by that one, and didn't comprehend it all. She supposed
that the sword and magic came from those Moorcock novels that Kara had
run through once. That time, she had very nearly taken over Kara's
body. Only the girl's undeniably strong will, and some psychic help
from her friend Geoff, had withstood her. So she had gone back into
No killing that time, but she had wreaked undeniable mayhem. It had taken Supergirl a whole afternoon to clean things up.
Now, she was back. And she intended to stay that way. No stupid Red K time-limit to worry about. No little mage within Kara's brain.
And once again, she had refined her evil.
Time to give the old body a test drive again.
She spied yet another craft, a pleasure cruiser, far enough away from their system to be "safe", even though the U.P. had now cordoned off Zerox's block of space.
One of the worlds in Zerox's system was uninhabited, and had moons.
She pushed herself off of nothingness, and speeded towards one of those moons, quickly passing light velocity several times over. Satan Girl kept picking up speed, her arms crossed before her face. The white, crater-pocked surface loomed before her, filling her range of vision.
She hit it.
There would have been a tremendous boom, if the moon had had an atmosphere. But it did not, and there was only silence and an awesome impact of body with lunar matter.
Satan Girl had struck the moon at an angle to spin it free of its orbit. She ricocheted away from it, unharmed. Uncounted tons of rocky substance wobbled away from the world that had tethered it. Below, the tides of ammonia seas on its mother planet reached thunderously towards the orb that had pulled them, and finally crashed back to the surface, inundating and destroying land.
She smashed into it again and again, at certain points she had calculated. The moon was spinning and hurtling through space at the proper velocity and on the course she had mentally charted.
She could have waited a few days to see the result, but Satan Girl was impatient. Instead, she accelerated and vibrated at a certain frequency, warped out of normal space-time, and phased back in at a point two days in the future.
The pleasure cruiser was unable to change course in time to avoid a rampant moon that no one had charted before.
It slammed into the surface, and part of the craft was vaporized.
Satan Girl looked at the scene with rapt attention.
Her face was flushed with pleasure. That was what she could do. And it was only a demonstration.
She entered the space-time warp again, going backwards, emerging only
three seconds after her
initial departure. Then she headed for Zerox.
Mordru had just had an audience with some other newly-made minions. It was impossible to surprise him. He was now alone with his chamberlain, and looked up at her entry.
"Do not do such a thing again without my permission," he said, flatly. "It could lead to imbalances within the forces that hold our planets in orbit. Luckily, there is no problem now that cannot be corrected."
"As you wish, sire," she said, touching down on her feet before his throne. The chamberlain, a black-haired, black-bearded man in an orange tunic and pants, looked upon her with trepidation and male response.
Mordru looked upon her, waiting.
"Before my assignment, lord, I'd love to perform another duty with you,"
she said, smirking. "My
recent--exertion--has left me quite stimulated. In fact, I feel quite overheated."
She undid a fastening at the back and pulled off her purple costume, shucking her boots, gloves, and mask as well.
She hovered a few inches off the ground, displaying herself like a seductive model in a skin magazine. Naked, with the body and face of Supergirl, but with the smile and cruel eye of a harlot.
The chamberlain gulped.
Mordru was silent for another moment. Then he motioned to his aide. "Leave us," he said.
"Yes, milord. At once, milord," said the man, bowing and scraping backwards as quickly as he could.
Mordru said, "Do not presume that such an act will bend my will in your favor, woman. You are still a pawn."
Breathing heavily, Satan Girl said, "Yes. King's mate."
He took her there on the carpet before his throne.
The castle shook with the throes of their pleasure.
And the cries of her consummation shattered windows all over the structure.
She decided, afterward, that it was kind of a nice reward for a mass murder.
- S -
White Witch was addressing the other Legionnaires. As their resident sorceress, she had the necessary background in the case at hand.
"We're getting reports in from Takron-Galtos," she said. "Despite the force-fields that inhibit space-warps in their vicinity, some of the bigger cons are getting teleported out of prison. I don't know if this would have been possible if they hadn't already been hit so hard there by the Crisis some weeks ago. The Infinite Man is still in check. My guess is that he might be too hard for even Mordru to handle, so he's been left alone.
"The bit is, the Fatal Five are out, a lot of the Legion of Super-Villains
are out, and it looks like
he's going to be using them as shock troops. Brainy's guess is that they'll be stalking-horses, used to distract us from Mordru's true objective. I'll concur with that, from what I know of him.
"A U.P. spy on Zerox reported that a group of mystics thought they could purge him magically of his evil impulses, get a good Mordru as an end product. They got him out of the crypt we'd put him in. It didn't work."
"They died," said Violet. "The spy was called home in a big hurry. Mordru took charge again at warp speed."
Kara reviewed mentally what they knew of Mordru. Zerox had been a sorceror's world even in her time. Populated entirely by homo magus, "magic man", its inhabitants had been everyday manipulators of forces beyond normal human ken. Mordru had somehow sapped most of their power into himself and raised his own ability by several orders of magnitude. It was as though one man had the power of all men on that planet. When the men were as powerful, magically, as the Zeroxians, it presented a threat to the entire cosmos.
The master mage set about carving an empire out of his part of the galaxy, sometimes using his own power directly, other times sending the armadas he had subjugated to his will. The worlds were beyond the ken of the United Planets, and the beings whose worlds made up the U.P. were as fearful of his approach as they would have been of a Sun-Eater's.
In the second year of the Legion's existence, when Saturn Girl was still leader, Mordru had come to Earth.
He meant to conquer it single-handedly, and he was totally capable of it.
Most of the Legion fell before his power. But they only served as decoys. Their real strike force was Superboy and Mon-El. While Mordru held the other Legion members helpless, the two young heroes hurtled at him from opposite directions, each bearing half a solid block of reinforced steel. They slammed the halves together at lightspeed, fusing Mordru into a solid steel block. From what little they knew of Mordru, they hypothesized he was an air-breather, and, deprived of it, would lapse into a comatose state.
For tense seconds, as the stricken Legionnaires revived, the Kryptonian and Daxamite youths stood guard over the block.
Finally, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and a cheer went up from the observing crowds. Mordru had indeed been rendered inert. Superboy and Mon-El took the block and placed it in the deepest recesses of the Legion's vaults, and prayed that no reviving air could get to him.
Eventually, it did.
The four Legionnaires on duty at the time had fled to Superboy's time, but were trailed there by Mordru himself, who was intent on vengeance. His power was far beyond their own, but, by mistake, he trapped himself and was held prisoner by rock and earth, a thousand years out of his own time.
Of course, he broke free again.
The Legion, and even Superboy or Superman alone, had had to cope with Mordru's menace on several other occasions, each time restoring him to an earthen tomb. In the last instance, it took the might of the Legion and the time-crossing Justice League and Justice Society to subdue him and the three demons, Abnegazar, Rath, and Ghast. There were also legends of a great Magic War of the early 21st Century that Mordru had somehow been involved in, along with the legendary mages John Constantine, the Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate, Dr. Occult, and Timothy Hunter, but there were no reliable records of this.
Supergirl realized that her knowledge of this had been restored with
her crossing into the 30th Century. She, too, was prevented
from learning immediate future events from her own personal history, or
from Earth's. The Magic War had been written of in a book created
from a long interview with John Constantine, but most of his friends thought
he was a few buttons shy of a
Kara wasn't so sure.
For all that, she had never encountered Mordru. She only heard of him from Superboy and Superman, from the other Legionnaires, and from their casefiles. Considering his power, she was glad not to have made his acquaintance.
She snapped back to the present. White Witch was still talking.
"So, although we'll be obligated to send sufficient forces out to deal with individual menaces, we're also keeping some members and some on-call people in reserve to try and learn Mordru's ultimate objective, and to abort that operation...if we can."
Element Lad, the current leader, said, "That's my decision, as it stands. The other Legionnaires are being pulled in for this one. We can only hope Mordru or his forces haven't gotten to them yet."
The blonde youth turned to Supergirl. "Kara, you've been called in as point woman on a task force to seek out and neutralize Satan Girl, however you can. You're at her power level, and you've fought her before. But just remember...she's apparently become a killer, and Mordru wouldn't have taken the trouble to get her without targeting you, specifically. Be prepared for something in her you haven't encountered before, though I don't know what it could be."
Supergirl slapped her hands down on the table.
"Okay. I'm ready to intercept her. If she's killed 318 people already...that means I'm responsible for it, in a sense. Who's on the task force, and where do we go?"
"She'll probably be operating around Zerox, and it'll be dangerous for you to go there," said Element Lad. "Enough magic around to turn the universe backward, and that's one of your vulnerabilities. But we've gotten a couple of old friends to help on this one." He looked up. "Computo...tell the two Reservists to come in."
A door schussed open. Kara swung her head towards it. Into the room walked two figures, a man and a girl.
The girl was a beautiful black-haired wench in a black bikini costume and a red Superman-style cape. She smiled and waved shyly. "Hi, Kara," she said. "I'm kind of, like, awed to meet you. I mean...well, my name is Laurel Kent."
The man was about Kara's age, brown-haired, handsome in a James Deanish way, dressed in a simple green costume, and quite confident in manner. Despite herself, Kara caught her breath. He was...interesting.
"Hello, Kara," said Dev-Em. "Long time no see."