Toxic, Part 6

(by Smokedawg, 17 December 2009)

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Toxic, Part 6

By Smokedawg (aka JbouleyJdog)



All DC Comics characters used for entertainment purposes only, and remain the
copyright of DC Comics and its affiliate and/or parent companies.

NOTE 1: This story is inspired by an idea presented to me by Blackbladder,
the author of many memorable smoking fetish tales, including the Buffy the
Vampire Slayer fan fiction story, "Demon Weed."

NOTE 2: If you find the mention of Superman's harsh actions toward Nick
O'Teen in this story and its follow-up chapters to be out of character, I
should mention that in one of the early 1980s anti-smoking campaign
commercials featuring Nick O'Teen, Superman is indeed depicted as doing just
what I describe him doing (although the injury and aftermath is my own
creation). There were several different commercials featuring Nick O'Teen,
but the one I refer to can be found on YouTube (in November 2009 anyway) at:

NOTE 3: The more this story goes on, the more I am, of course, messing with
DC continuity. Although most of this takes place in a relatively recent part
of DC superhero history (late 2009/early 2010), I've picked some things from
earlier points in the timelines and mixed and matched a bit. We'll just call
it artistic license instead of laziness, shall we?


Lois smoked fiercely. She still enjoyed the act, most of the time, but it had
a fervent edge today. 

Two days now, she thought, as she puffed.

Two days that Clark had been gone, give or take.

She'd called in sick for him those first couple days, but now she had just
gotten off a secure call with the Justice League. They had a network for this
kind of thing; for spouses, relatives and other people close to heroes with
secret identities who knew the secret. Medical records were being falsified
as she waited and worried. Calls from doctors would be faked if necessary. It
would keep anyone from wondering too much about Clark's absence - or linking
it to any extended absence of Superman - and soon, if he wasn't located, it
would seem to everyone as if Clark's so-called flu (as Lois had claimed) had
turned into a bronchial infection and landed him in the hospital. If
necessary, it would become some life-threatening pneumonia or something much
more mysterious.

All this effort to buy time, while they figured out if Superman was dead,
captured, injured, or whatever else might befall a superhero.

Two days.

She went to sleep, and dreamed fitfully. But in between the more troubled
dreams, she also dreamed of being pleasured, by hands that weren't Clark's.
In fact, by hands that weren't a man's. There was so much smoking in her
erotic dreams, too. When, she wondered, had she started associating her
smoking with sex?

When she woke the next morning and prepared for work, trying to figure out
how she would act like nothing too serious was wrong, it hit her.

Clark's disappearance coincided awfully closely to a lot of changes lately.
She was smoking now, and so many former non-smokers were, too, most of them
women. She had been thinking of Nick O'Teen a lot over the past week since
she had started smoking again, and she had been throwing the crippling of the
man into Clark's face repeatedly.

Smoking. Control. Disappearance.

It didn't take long to figure out that the cigarettes she was smoking were
from Millennium Tobacco; just a peek at the side of the pack. And it only
took a few more minutes on the Internet to discover it was a company wholly
owned by Teena International - a company once led by the man now known as
Nick O'Teen.

But wait, I already knew that before, Lois thought. How could those facts
have slipped my mind until now?

Lois also considered the fact that Persuasion perfume seemed to make smoking
more pleasurable.

Was the salon that sold the perfume also owned by Teena Industries? Was
Fantasia Luxe a front for an attempt to defeat Superman or even hatch some
larger scheme?

However, even if so, what could her smoking have to do with Clark's

As she mulled it all over, she also wondered how she could have been so dense
as not to make the connection between her smoking and Nick O'Teen earlier.

She looked at the pack of Glorianas, and felt a strong urge to pull one out
and smoke it. But no matter how good they felt - and tasted - to her, they
were suspect - something to be avoided, and perhaps brought over to S.T.A.R.
Labs for some analysis. She rifled through some drawers and dug out a pack of
Capris that she had bought a couple days before when she had run out of
Glorianas during the work day. She pulled one out, lit it, and sighed with
satisfaction as the smoke filled her lungs and the nicotine began to sing in
her blood.

Time to do that investigative reporter thing that I do so well, Lois thought.
She briefly considered calling the Justice League and letting them in on her
suspicions, but couldn't bring herself to do it. 

Too many variables and unknowns still, including whether or not either
company is aware it's being used, even if my suspicions are correct, she
considered. I need to know before I bring a bunch of superheroes down on
their heads. I need to find out more. And quickly.

Because above all, she wanted her husband back.

* * *

As Lois began her hunt for answers while draped in smoke, Superman raised his
head, waking quickly at the sound of someone entering his cell.

No, not a cell, he thought. Just a comfortable room with a door I'd normally
be able to tear off its hinges with a single finger. The cell is my body,
trapped on this bed, which won't do what I command it. A cell because of the
arms and legs that won't move after being infected with nanobots.

"Wakey, wakey, Kal-El," Nicoletta said.

Both excitedly and dejectedly, Superman noted that his cock rose in
recognition of her voice, even before she fired up one of her those special
cigarettes she had created just to sap his will, arouse his libido and
reinforce her hold on him. His nostrils flared as her smoked began to fill
the air, and he helplessly filled his lungs with as much as he could. But
even through a lust-addled mind and compromised will, he could still think.
He could still sort through much of what was happening, and try to keep a
grip on reality. He could try to keep his intellect in the mix and thwart
her. Maybe.

For example, he'd figured out her routines and the games she played, to some
extent. She called him by his Kryptonian name, Kal-El, when she was about to
regale him with how much she knew about his dead homeworld's technology and
his own genetics - often things that even he didn't know. She called him
Clark when she wanted to remind him that she held the keys to him returning
to his life in some capacity... returning to his wife... returning to the calm
disguise of pretending to be a human. She called him Superman when she was
wrapping her will around his own, or arousing him, or both... as if to remind
him that he was anything but a super-man in her presence.

Time to gain some kind of edge, he thought, and said, "So, what else do you
know from General Zod's files, or from Dr. Worther's studies of my neurology,
that you're about to drop on me?"

She grinned slightly, leaned over his bed provocatively, and blew some of
that floral-hinted tobacco smoke down into his face. "So, you play poker,
Clark? You've figured out my tells? Is Superman trying to gain an upper hand,
calling me and hoping that I'm bluffing? Really, I couldn't have made my
little hints much more obvious, could I? Batman would have figured it before
the first day of our time together was over. It amuses me to use all your
names, for different reasons, as I fuck with your head. And the thing is, the
more I do it, the more you love it."

She drew deeply and slowly on the filter of the mostly-blue cigarette, her
lipstick turning the filter even redder than it was already, and then she
pulled the cigarette leisurely from her still-closed lips, like a cock
pulling slowly out of a wet, warm pussy. Tiny little ribbons of smoke drifted
from the edge of the filter and out of one corner of her mouth, which opened
to reveal a dense ball of blue-white smoker in between crimson lips. Then the
smoke disappeared down her throat.

"So, Kal-El," she continued, after blowing that inhaled smoke across his face
and chest, and letting her fingers trail over his abdomen, so close to his
cock but not touching him where he so desperately needed her to touch. "I
don't know if you realized it, but apparently, a couple drops of 20% saline
solution, with a few milligrams of zinc and potassium, in each eye completely
inhibits a Kryptonian's ability to focus any kind of heat beam, for about an

With that declaration, she put her cigarette in her lips and leaned over with
an eye dropper. As she bent over his prone body, spreading his eyelids open,
dropping some liquid in each - her luscious breasts almost in his face, her
smoke swirling around him - he began to pant lightly. He felt an overwhelming
desire for her, stronger than ever.

Every time she comes in here, every time she does this to me with her smoke
and her words, I lose more ground, Superman thought. And less and less do I
even want to fight it. Guilt gnaws at me over Lois every time, but
Nicoletta's chain around my mind grows tighter still.

She lingered for a moment, cigarette dangling, breasts looming, knowing full
well the effect it was having on him. The scent of her aphrodisiac smoke, the
hint of womanly perspiration, the expensive and tasteful perfume she was
wearing. The nearness of her flesh, with nipples poking the front of her
blouse, so tantalizing to him and ready to be sucked.

Hell, maybe even the scent of my pussy affecting him, depending on how
sensitive his nose is, as it grows warm at the thought of bringing someone so
powerful so low, she considered. As I get hot at the thought of arousing
someone so strong, and leaving him helpless and unfulfilled.

Finally, but slowly, she stood up and screwed the dropper cap back onto the
bottle of saline solution.

"Now, I don't know how General Zod found out about that eye-drop trick," she
continued. "Thoroughly useless in combat, and largely impractical. Oh, unless
of course your pet Kryptonian is helpless and can't even bring himself to
consider harming you. No sense in taking chances, though, either with me or
my employees, who will be in after a few more minutes. Right, Superman?" she
added, blowing smoke gently across his face, and toying with his nipples. "I
won't take chances. Even though you desire me so much it hurts. Even though
you are beginning to hope I will enslave you, and possibly take mercy on your
cock one day. Even though you willingly breathe my smoke now, deeply and

She smiled at that, proving her point with a thick cloud blown into his face,
and his chest expanding as he breathed it all in. Liquid dribbled slowly from
the corner of one eye, and Nicoletta wondered how much was the saline
solution that had temporarily robbed him of his heat vision, and how much was
a tear of shame.

But the erection he was sporting told her all she needed to know. He was
firmly on the road to being hers. Just a little more time, a week or so, and
he could be put to his first task.

"I want you," he whispered, so softly she almost didn't hear it, and she
smiled, hearing the delightful mix of desire and sincerity in his tone, even
if he was too ashamed to say the words loudly yet.

"I know," she said in a jauntily haughty tone. She took a long, slow draw
from the blue-and-red cigarette, kissed Superman just below his lower lip,
leaving a lipstick stain on his chin and letting the smoke slowly spill from
her lips and across his mouth.

She was feeling an increasingly strong sensation of cruel affection for the
pet Superman was slowly becoming, even if she still had disdain for the man
underneath who had crippled her father. One day he might even earn some
sexual release, though not for a long while, and not by her own hand - and
she told him so.

Then she gave his erection a quick squeeze through his pants to remind him of
his arousal and desire for her, and her growing ownership of him, and then
blew a thick, white cloud of smoke over his body. After that, she left him
there in the room to wait for various experts to come in and take some
readings, and then to await the beginning of the automated mind-fucking
program, and for more chemicals to be pumped into the air to soften his will
and make him her slave.

Soon to be Superman no more. Soon to be her sidekick Smokeslave.

* * *

"Lois could be a problem, mistress," Beth said to Nicoletta. "You told me to
keep a constant eye on her computer activity at home and at work, and she's
really trying to dig around about Teena International and Millennium Tobacco,
as well as the salon. She's clearly onto us."

"It was expected," Nicoletta said calmly, blowing smoke absently in Beth's
general direction. It was only slightly drugged; just enough to build up
Beth's desires a bit and help keep the bond between them strong. Mostly it
was true loyalty that Annabeth felt, but she also desired that loss of
control and autonomy, and she relished the notion that she was Nicoletta's
completely and utterly. "You shouldn't worry so much, Beth."

"I have to worry, Nicoletta," she said, running her fingers through her
shoulder-length blonde bob. "I'm your bodyguard, and you don't worry about
yourself near enough. Going into the room alone with Superman, for example."

"He's a harmless puppy now," Nicoletta said with a wicked smile.

"No, he's a horny hound, now, and still has bite if we slip up."

"I won't slip up, Beth," Nicoletta said. "Look, as far as Lois Lane goes,
this was expected and even necessary and desirable. As inquisitive and as
insightful as she is, I'm surprised that the mental blocks I put in place
held this long; I didn't expect them to last more than a day or two. I never
expected to be able to keep her from connecting the dots about her smoking,
her strange behaviors, Superman's disappearance and her visit to the salon.
And that's why I played to her personality, and made such strong suggestions
in her mind about the need to keep it to herself once she did catch on."

"Because she's such a control freak and wants every story to be utterly her
own," Beth said.

"Exactly. She will keep all of this to herself until she has the whole story,
both because she trends in that direction and because I told her to. But in
addition, I made it clear to her during her conditioning that the only way to
get the whole story is to go straight to the source. Now that she's `onto
us,' she will come to me on her own. I will complete her conditioning, and
she can be a help to us in the end."

"I just worry. What if someone trips across her notes?"

"Would you dare to go rifling through Lois Lane's computer files if you were
one of her co-workers, or even her editor?" Nicoletta asked, arching one

Annabeth Shields had to laugh at that. "No, I suppose I wouldn't. I'd value
my limbs too much."

"So," Nicoletta said, rising, and then giving Beth a smoke-filled kiss, and
filling her mouth with her tongue as well. As she gradually and wetly
disengaged from the kiss, she added, "Now, after I ravish your taut and
delicious body, you will make sure to begin the arrangements for Lois Lane to
get in touch with me for an interview. Don't make it too easy, though, and
make sure it only happens after she has a chance to get her information
fetish on with some more reporting for another day or two."

* * * 

Superman found himself drifting. Not drifting in and out of consciousness
exactly, but bobbing up and down on a sea of awareness, sometimes sensing
everything with crystal clarity and at other times only as a faint and
transient sensation. Mistress... not, not Mistress... Nicoletta and her team
seemed to be making more use of music now. Thrumming, low beats that he
couldn't ignore. Scents abounded and changed, but they always seemed to match
the music somehow. Warm, soft lights sometimes varied their illumination in
time with the music, but subtly, or in time with his own breathing and

The music, which had been playing for hours, or maybe days, began to fade in
volume, and the illumination rose slightly, and he smelled smoke. Nicoletta's
smoke was for him, and him alone. It was special smoke that gave him desire
and arousal, but also comfort, somehow. 

"You see, Kal-El," she said in a silky tone as she came up from a blind spot
almost behind him and rained smoke down upon him, "there's so much we know.
Something that Zod only danced around the edges of, but which we've
trail-blazed: Harmonic and sub-harmonic rhythms that put a Kryptonian mind
almost in a meditative state, but just slightly suggestible."

She covered him in smoke again, and rested her chin on his forehead. She drew
again on one of those special cigarettes made for him and slowly released her
inhalation like a veil for his face.

"It would never be enough to compromise you, Kal-El, except that we have you
immobile and helpless to shut it all out. And because we're incessant. And
because my smoke is specifically designed to open you up to me; to make you
want me and want to please me. Because the nanos inside you have hyped up
your senses. All together, Superman, it has made you malleable. So that the
Man of Steel may be softened, shaped, and re-forged. We're in the middle
stages now, so you're not ready. But you're close enough to see your new

Someone rolled in a mannequin, and Superman looked upon what Mistr... Nicoletta
wanted him to wear, as he slowly breathed in more of her smoke and twisted
his hips just a little, just enough to give some pressure to his throbbing

The costume was not that different from his, in general. The bodysuit was all
white, but with no separate shorts as his previous one had. The cape and
boots were just like his own, but in a deep reddish brown, like fine tobacco
in a cigarette, with black accents. There was a wide belt, and an emblem in
the same stylized "S" design of his last costume, and both of those features
were colored in a two-tone tan pattern just like the filter of a cork-tipped

"It's very nice," Superman said, sighing as more smoke washed over him.

Nicoletta moved into his view, next to his bed, and he wanted to reach out
and touch her. His arm moved, which startled him after so long immobile, and
he maneuvered it slowly, gently. He touched her hip, and ran his fingers down
the silkiness of her dress. Silky, like her voice sometimes. Silky, like her
smoke. Mistress' smoke for him.

"No, Clark," she said, grasping his hand and putting his arm back down on the
bed gently, then turning and blowing smoke so close to his mouth it was
almost a kiss. "No touching. You cannot touch me. But you can admire me and
receive my smoke. That is how you can honor me. And if you are good, someone
else, someone who belongs to me, will give you what you want, while you
breathe my smoke."

"Thank you," Superman said, knowing the words were wrong, and that he
shouldn't be saying them, but they felt so right.

His mistress Nicoletta graced him with more smoke and left him. The costume
remained where it was, for him to look upon as the music swelled again, and
faint whispers rolled in his ears with the music. Then the air warmed, and
pleasing mists drifting across his body at times, almost like Nico... Mistress'
smoke. He smiled, and almost touched himself. But she had told him someone
else must do that. That he hadn't earned release yet. And so he did nothing
but imagine touches upon his skin, as the mists touched his lungs and the
music touched his ears.

As he gazed upon his new costume, and imagined how good it would feel on him.

* * *

"His arm moved!" Beth said when Nicoletta returned from the room. "Why didn't
you trip your panic button?"

"Because I knew his arm could move; because I released the hold of the nanos
on him. I let him do it because I expected it."

"Why take a risk like that?"

"To see how well the training is going. To see how much he will revere and
obey me," Nicoletta said. "If his brain had signaled some sudden movement,
the nanos would have locked him down again. But I had to let him have that
freedom, so he could give up his freedom to me."

"You've broken Superman?"

Nicoletta smiled, but shook her head. "No, I'm not even trying to break him.
Just shape him. He's not done yet, but he's definitely becoming easier to
work with."

* * *

"All right," Nicoletta said over the secure channel. "Team Toxic, we will be
engaging soon. Heat-Sink and Toxine, remain hidden, and do not enter the fray
unless I order it or, if I go down, Cigarillo orders it. If we both go down,
hit him hard, with everything you've got, and get us the hell out of here.
Heat-Sink, you will retrieve Cigarillo and me if need be, and Toxine, you
will retrieve Vitriol if he's down, too."

"Nicotina," ventured a voice on the comm-link. "What about me? What if..."
"Ripstream, you have the most state-of-the-art powered armor that wealth can
create," Nicotina responded. "You are our tank to engage the target and to
soften him up, and even if by some miniscule chance he incapacitates you in
the process, the lighter armor you're wearing directly against your body
underneath that exo-shell will phase-shift you back to headquarters. I assure
you it will work. We've tested it on you enough times, haven't we? I wish I
had a copy of it on my own body, but it would fuck up the systems in my
costume. And no one else can have one because if two of you activated at the
same time with the phase-shift so close to each other, we'd rip a hole in
space-time. Relax, Ripstream."

"Sorry, ma'am, I always get this way before a tussle."

"Not a problem, Ripstream, just stay on point. Your rating in combat practice
was fantastic," Nicotina said. "Everyone, try to stay off the comm from here
on unless it's critical. Just remember our plans and use hand signals
primarily. Target should arrive in three to five minutes. Remember, don't
screw this up. I have an interview with Lois Lane tomorrow and I don't intend
to miss it because I'm in jail."

They got into position, and Nicotina worried about the one thing she couldn't
control: Would Green Lantern arrive more or less on time, and would he be
alone? It was tricky enough to figure out a way to manufacture a fake threat
and make him aware of it, much less attract his attention and give him the
impression that there was no time to waste, and for him to know exactly where
to go, which was someplace secluded and out of sight of any bystanders who
might be witnesses. All of this had to be done without seeming suspicious,
and in the hope that he actually wouldn't be able to call in any help, at
least not in time for them to make it to the actual battle.

Then she saw the speeding emerald glow, and saw no one flying near him, and
breathed a cautious sigh of relief.

He flew closer, and Green Lantern got close enough to get a look at his
supposed enemy, a Manhunter holding Green Arrow in the metallic grip of one
hand. Except that both of them were automatons. Both of them were fakes.

But Hal Jordan didn't know that, and Nicotina smiled beneath her helmet as
the imitation Manhunter dropped the fake Green Arrow to the ground and
attempted to engage Green Lantern. The hero struck fast with a bolt of green
energy, and the Manhunter, which had been made to appear already injured, as
if by Green Arrow's arsenal, stumbled backward, fell, and exploded. All at
once, with shock on his face and surprise, Green Lantern swooped down to make
sure that the green-costumed automaton he thought was his friend and comrade
was still alive after the explosion. 

The moment he touched the ground, Nicotina gave the signal, and Ripstream
made his attack, rushing at high speed across the ground, an imposing vision
of heavy, weapon-laden gleaming metal. Green Lantern heard him coming from a
long way off, and blasted him with a fierce bolt of verdant energy, right
where Nicoletta expected him to - right into Ripstream's chest, the
breastplate of which buckled, shattering his breastbone. But even if that
hadn't happened, it wouldn't have mattered, as the armor did what it was
meant to, and the systems inside it overloaded, electrocuting the man inside.

All well and good, Nicotina thought. A fitting enough end for a child rapist,
a fitting enough diversion for Green Lantern in this battle, and a fitting
enough red herring for other heroes to follow later. This corpse will lead
them on a merry chase; assuming, of course, that I've set up the clues
carefully enough to get the finger pointed at LexCorp.

Then she signaled the real attack.

Vitriol came in fast and as near silent as was possible, but just loud enough
to give Green Lantern warning, just in case he wasn't attentive enough to see
or sense the attack coming. A rain of caustic fluid sprayed toward Hal Jordan
from Vitriol's hand, and the hero erected a concave green shield to deflect
the acidic assault.

Then Cigarillo attacked from the other side, just a hair later than Vitriol,
sending a multitude of small explosives toward Green Lantern, who extended
the shield around his entire body, the bombs going off harmlessly against it.
Vitriol was on the force field fast, pounding it with his armored fists,
which were painted yellow just for this occasion - just for effect, so that
Green Lantern might assume them to be ill-informed about his powers and

"Guess you didn't get the memo, whoever you are," Green Lantern said. "Yellow
doesn't counteract my powers anymore. Not since we got Parallax out of the
power battery."

With that, he dropped the shield for just a moment, keeping his attention
partially on Cigarillo to see what her next attack would be, and he slammed
Vitriol with a force blast from his ring.

That was the moment they had all choreographed this for, so that Nicotina
could access her hyperspatial interface mode, rise up from her hiding place,
and send out her "hard smoke" against Hal Jordan in that moment he was
unshielded. The off-white energy, flowing and sifting much like smoke,
enveloped the hero in an eyeblink.

Now the fun begins, Nicotina thought.

* * *

Suddenly, he could see nothing but some kind of pale mist all around him,
holding him fast and tight. But, he noted, not painfully. There was no clear
attack here. Two foes had tried what seemed like lethal assaults and now he
was just being restrained. For a moment, he expected that this strange cloudy
energy would try to crush him, but it didn't. He prepared to form an aura
around himself and expand it outward, but he was distracted. 

This smoke-like substance was embracing him so softly. It felt so good
against his skin, soft and warm. It was like a multitude of fingers rubbing
him, yet holding him. He could feel it even through his costume, but the
feeling was most intense directly against the skin of his face. Smells
suddenly overwhelmed him, too. Something like almonds and caramel, on top of
the scent of a woman's aroused pussy, and the faint smell of cigarette or
cigar smoke all around it.

And now a taste in his mouth, like a woman's kiss and a woman's cunt
combined. And something smoky and sweet inside that flavor as well.

Hal Jordan felt his cock press against his costume; against the smoky stuff
embracing and holding him.

So hard to think, the Green Lantern thought. So hard. It feels so good. Do I
even want to break free?

A whisper in his ears, seeming to even speak through his skin, was telling
him to submit. To sleep. Telling him that pleasures untold could be his in
smoke and service.

He struggled up through desire. He marshaled his will; that same will which
enabled him to use his power ring, and he focused. He focused his thoughts.
It was too hard, though, to bring enough brute force and shove the
smoke-stuff away from his body. So he made a kind of lever or blade with the
energy from his power ring. He made something like a sharp pry bar that cut
through the smoke and them spread it apart, so that he could fly out through
the opening and get some sense of what was going. He needed to figure out how
many enemies he had, and get help if needed.

The cocoon of silky, perfumed, blissful white parted gradually before him.
Standing there, waiting for that moment, was the woman in the powered armor
who had flung explosives at him. Her helmet was open now, and there was
cigarette smoke around her face, and now filling his vision, and as Hal's
head began to swim, she took a deep drag on a cigarette she was holding, and
blew it into his face. The Green Lantern's mind filled with thoughts of sex
and desire. Confusion. Bliss. 

"Cigarillo's smoky kiss for you," she said sultrily, then quickly inhaled and
blew smoke at him again, and he wanted more of it even as he desperately
sought escape.

He pressed a bolt of energy forward through the hole he had formed, but
Cigarillo's helmet snapped shut, and she dodged away. Hal Jordan was still
spreading the smoke-like prison around him apart, which had made it difficult
to attack Cigarillo anyway, and finally he pushed free. 

As he stumbled back to his feet, he saw another woman, dancing before him,
saying, "And now Serpentine's dance."

This new foe's dance was provocative and intense, made more so by the
shifting patterns on her costume, which were throbbing and a little
smoke-like, making him think of the sultry exhalations into his face;
reminding him how they tasted and smelled. His cock twitched, and he found
himself wanting little more than to follow the patterns on the sinuous female
body before him while Cigarillo covered him in smoke...

Green Lantern sensed it was some kind of mind control, and he pulled as much
of his gaze away from Serpentine's costume as he could, and tried to focus
more on the scenery in his peripheral vision. Pulling himself together, he
erected a green wall of energy between him and Serpentine. Through a lens of
green, the patterns on her costume were muted, and his mind cleared just

...just enough for him to see a brown baton in Cigarillo's hand point at him
from the side, between him and the screen he had erected between himself and
Serpentine, blowing some kind of gas toward him.

He caught just a whiff before he held his breath, and it was something
honeysuckle-sweet that made him dizzy from just that hint, and he knew he had
to flee, and fast, before he lost all his wits.

Green Lantern flew upward, as fast as his muddled senses and compromised
willpower would allow.

* * *

As Hal Jordan flew, Nicotina made her move.

This was the trickiest part of all, and she had hoped it wouldn't be
necessary. But at the same time, Nicoletta Teena had known that the other
assaults might not subdue him enough. And so she was now pitted against Green
Lantern's power of flight.

It was a power that no one on her team possessed.

Once she had Superman totally enthralled and reshaped, she would have that
power at her command, and other heroes to follow him who could fly. But she'd
have to move against Green Lantern now without that tool. She had to subdue
Hal Jordan now, while she had the opportunity, and before anyone might
suspect that other Justice League members would be targeted. 

Green Lantern was flying, and she could not.

But she could phase-shift with the hyperspatial access powers of her costume.
She had lied to Ripstream, the former Leon Dunwoody, that his armor had such
power, although she had faked it for him often enough in training. But she
had lied to him about a great many other things as well, such as his combat
prowess, her attraction to him and his importance to the team. But it was a
power at her command, and she used it.

It was tricky, because she would be working against gravity, and that would
drain her will and her reserves quickly. But as Green Lantern rose into the
sky, Nicotina vanished, and appeared in the air near him, almost at his
level. He flew up past her as she floated for a moment, and then she shifted
again, upward, appearing near him, and just a little bit above him.

She repeated the maneuver a few more times, to set the pattern. 

Green Lantern was trying to escape her, and tracking her, and expecting her
to be well above him this sixth time.

Instead, she phase-shifted to just below him, and struck him hard, and
unawares, with a burst of hard smoke. It struck him just below his
breastbone, just enough to knock the wind from him.

But he didn't give up, and she hadn't expected him to. He brought his ring to
bear, and Nicotina brought her own hand around, wielding a streamer of hard
smoke like a whip, coming at him from his left.

Green Lantern had begun to catch on that her hard smoke was in some ways
similar to the green energy of his ring, though perhaps weaker in some ways.
Still, while he might have more brute force, he had only one ring with which
to focus the power that all Green Lanterns wielded, and he had to make a
choice. He could blast her, or deflect the oncoming tendril. His instinct put
him into defense mode, thinking he could attack her after thwarting her whip

Except that as he deflected the whip, she slammed him from the side with a
large, smoky fist.

You have only one ring, but I have two gloves to focus and project
quasi-matter, Nicotina thought. My hard smoke might not be quite as powerful
as your energies, but I can hit you from two places.  

Hal Jordan's concentration faltered at the blow, and he was disoriented, and
he fell. It was too hard to focus on flight, but his survival instinct kicked
in to form an energy shield to protect him from the fall. He hit the ground,
still jarred a bit by the impact, and swung around to face his attackers.

A musky brown mist came at him from his left, courtesy of one of Cigarillo's
batons, and as he turned away from that, the sexy lightshow of Serpentine's
dance capture his gaze. He turned away from that, and Nicotina was there, her
helmet gone to reveal her gorgeous dusky-complexioned face, and a cigarette
between her fingers, and smoke billowing into his face while smoke-like
tendrils from her gloves wrapped around him and stroked him.

More brown mist came from Cigarillo, making him dizzy. More erotic sensations
came from the smoky little tentacles around his torso and now sliding up
around his neck to kiss at his throat and stroke his face. And Nicotina
exhaling a sandalwood-scented smoke that filled his awareness with nothing by
lust, and she was upon him, kissing him with smoke-tinged lips. Feeding him
her luscious smoke. 

And finally, Hal Jordan didn't know what to do, and used his ring no more.
But his body reverted to the instincts that evolution had made so strong, and
he gave into his desire, and kissed Nicotina back, and consumed her smoke.

* * *

Half a day later, Martian Manhunter and the Flash figured out where Green
Lantern had gone, and retrieved the armored corpse there, which was the only
remnant of whatever struggle had gone on.

Hours later, in the Justice League Watchtower in orbit, Batman came out of
the room where he had been studying the armor, Atom on one side of him and
Doctor Light on the other.

"Although Doctor Light's powers are a bit erratic these days, her scientific
knowledge was helpful," Batman said. "And Ray was able to shrink down and get
me a lot of data fast, and add his physics knowledge to the mix."

"What did you find out?" Martian Manhunter asked.

"We don't know who the man inside is yet," Batman said, "but we do know that
the armor incorporates some base technology from LexCorp, with the addition
of just a few things from Wayne Enterprises, and a great deal of technology
from Teena International, including some things I suspect are part of Teena's
more hush-hush R&D programs. Things I doubt they want any competitors knowing

"That makes Teena International our number one suspect, then?" Booster Gold
asked. "Didn't that company's old CEO fight Superman briefly some years back?
Nick O'Teen? Seems like a logical connection."

"Except that the suit was rigged to fail, we think," Batman said. "And I
doubt any of the Teena-owned companies would want to be so clearly implicated
by leaving a suit of armor laying around, filled with their tech."

"Besides," interjected Robin, stepping away from a computer terminal, "Teena
International reported a security breach and some theft of data about seven
months ago, and I bet a lot of this tech will match that. Police caught the
thieves a few months ago trying to fence some data, and it turned out that
one of them used to work for LexCorp. Also, what would Nick O'Teen or anyone
affiliated with him want with Green Lantern?"

"Given Superman's disappearance, and the long history between him and Lex
Luthor, not to mention the fact that many of us have tangled with Luthor's
schemes too, I think our resources have to go in that direction primarily,"
Batman added. "But even so, all this is purely circumstantial, and Luthor is
hard to pin to anything under the best of circumstances."

"Boy, with all this talk of LexCorp and Teena, you sure are letting Wayne
Enterprises off the suspect list awfully easy, despite some of its technology
being in there," Booster Gold said with a wink.

Batman turned his gaze toward the man and sighed darkly, "Shut up, Booster."

* * *

Toxine stepped into Nicoletta's office. Now that she was doing a better job
of controlling her powers, she was allowed to move around the building more,
but it was still a dicey thing. Her presence could trigger severe allergic
reactions in some employees of the company, and random little accidental
dispersals of chemicals from her body had more than once caused several
cubicles full of people to start coughing or make their eyes tear up.

"You wanted to see me, Justine?" Nicoletta asked, smiling at her cousin.

"Toxine, Nicoletta. Call me Toxine. I have no use for my human name anymore."

"Justine, there are still some employees working late around here. This isn't
the place for our codenames or the time for them. What's bothering you,

"You have one of your two real prizes," Toxine said, sitting down, and little
silver tears forming at the corners of each eye. "I want mine."

Nicoletta suspected the tears were mercury, and said, "Please, honey, calm
down, and listen. You will have Flash soon. I promise you. But I can't make
that move just yet. I know your heart isn't in this super-powered combat
thing. I know you want out of it and you want someone you can touch and love
and who won't die from it. I will make that happen. But I need you first. I
need your help."

"It's not fair," Toxine said. "I need him. Now... soon."

"Justine, I won't make you help me capture my second prize. That will be a
hell of a tussle potentially. But I do need you to help Beth and Sarina with
that side project of mine. Please. Help them secure those two secondary
targets, and give me time to get my second big prize, and then we will all
move together to get you what you need. You'll be there, to help bring the
Flash down, hopefully without damage, and you can take him home after. For
good, for life."

"You promise?" Toxine asked, wiping away a silver tear, seeing what it was
and realizing she had lost control of her powers a bit, and then she took a
deep breath and straightened her posture. "I know you wouldn't actually
betray me, Nicoletta. We're family. But can you really promise that this will

Nicoletta put one hand atop her cousin's on the desk, and looked her in the
eye. "I promise, Justine. I promise for my father, who is your uncle. I
promise for myself. And I promise for you."

Toxine nodded, and then smiled, and left Nicoletta's office.

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