The Holly Report: The Goddess of Gods

By yearends

 

Holly Winters and Nicole Urbina are original characters of Darin Satre.

Nikki, Rin and Lilly are original characters of Nikki.

With contributions from Akane, CrypticCollaborator, and DragoTime.

 

Holly Winters sat in a hard chair at the end of a long hallway, a lit candlestick at the other end on a table roughly level with her bellybutton. Nicole Urbina stood behind her, massaging the tension from her omnipotent friend's shoulders while looking along almost the same sightline.

 

Holly held her hand outstretched, envisioning her fingers closing around the distant object, lining up her hand so that it appeared to be so from her perspective, willing what she saw to become reality...

 

...and the candlestick vanished from the table, the cold metal appearing in Holly's hand, the slight warmth of the flame beating at their faces.

 

Holly slumped in her chair, breathing heavily from the exertion of using her powers in such an unfamiliar manner.

 

"You see? You can do it," Nicole said quietly.

 

"Thanks, Ben," Holly replied. "Just, I don't really see the use of it. I don't really see the use of most of what I picked up from Jen and Ha-neul."

 

"Well surely some of it's been useful. You got the hang of being in multiple places at once pretty quickly, after all!"

 

"Sure, but that really is useful. I can do multiple shows now and take plenty of breaks to boot. There's always more news to cover when you can go anywhere you like."

 

Nicole shrugged, picking up the chair behind her and walking around Holly's to sit down facing her. "I bet someone like Awesome Girl would find it pretty useful."

 

"I guess," Holly conceded. "But being a superhero is her business and she gets on fine with what she can do. Honestly I could probably get on fine for what I want to do without most of my powers."

 

"Well, why not give her a few more maybe? Could make a whole docu-series about it, follow the adventures of an ordinary superheroine as she ascends to ultipotence!"

 

Holly smiled. "I studied Bianca and Blake pretty closely, Nicole, and looked around this little multiverse for anyone who might be able to handle it. Because you're right, it would be a great docu-series, and I'd love to do it. But I only found one person who could."

 

Nicole perked up. "Oh? Who was it? Awesome Girl? Or maybe Clairvoyant Babe. I bet it was Clairvoyant Babe, right?"

 

Holly smiled again. "I didn't say 'other,' Niki."

 

Nicole's face fell. "Hols, we've had this discussion."

 

"I know. I'm not trying to pressure you or anything." Holly shook her head. "Well, maybe I am, a bit. But not because of the docu-series! I just think I'd learn this stuff better if I had someone learning it alongside me, and you put a hell of a lot more thought into the potential of omnipotence than I ever did!"

 

Nicole sighed. "Holly, we've been through this. I already have to mentally put an asterisk next to every discovery I make with a footnote listing all the various omni-scale beings I know of that could just overturn what should be an immutable scientific fact with a thought. If I'm one of them--"

 

"--then I couldn't possibly know how much I'm biasing my own results and thus making them worthless as meaningful contributions to the sum total of human knowledge," Holly finished. "I know, I know." She asked another question she'd asked before. "Part-time?"

 

Nicole just laughed at her friend's persistence. "Not even. I'm afraid I'd become too reliant on having them and wouldn't want to go where I wouldn't have them. No, Hols. It's great to know that you all think I can handle it. But I wouldn't be happy with them."

 

Holly slumped a little, accepting her defeat. "Fine." She got up, walked to the end of the hallway to replace the candlestick, and walked back to try again.

 

Before she could, though, a chime went off in both their minds--purely telepathically, in Holly's, and in Nicole's from the implant she'd sketched out and that Holly had brought into existence despite what Nicole was pretty sure were countless inconsistencies with basic reality and outright logical contradictions in the details of its creation.

 

"It's from a 'Nikki'. Double 'k'," Nicole said, her instincts as The Holly Report's producer taking over. "She's an omni-scale being who calls herself the 'Goddess of Gods'." She snorted. "Sounds pretentious, if you ask me." She returned her attention to the datastream. "She'd like an interview on your show in three minutes, but she's coming n--"

 

Nicole cut off abruptly as a new figure appeared in the hallway, a woman easily taller than Holly even without her substantial heels, naked except for her latex boots and gloves, with huge breasts, a massive butt, and a long, thick penis dangling from her groin.

 

"Well aren't you just the sweetest little omnipotent cutie I ever did see," said the newcomer, walking up to Holly. "I bet you'd look really good in a latex catsuit. Want to try?"

 

Holly abruptly realized that time was frozen. Even photons didn't move, not that she needed those to perceive her surroundings. "No, thank you. Nikki, the 'Goddess of Gods,' I take it?"

 

"No need for the scare quotes, dear. Now, how about we have a nice little chat before the interview, OK?"

 

Instead of answering, Holly turned her back to the vastly more powerful omni-scale being. She could feel power roaring out of Nikki, pressing in on all sides, making her feel weak and pathetic in comparison. Nicole was frozen in mid-word, trying to finish warning Holly of Nikki's impending arrival, and the sight filled Holly with another unfamiliar emotion: rage.

 

But it was no use, she knew, attempting to direct that rage at Nikki. Holly wasn't sure why she would assume such a grandiose title, but she knew that Nikki could swat her aside like a bug. Instead she channeled the emotion, focused on forcing Nikki's time freeze--which she suddenly realized extended not only to this reality, but to every reality, and even every non-reality, and even to places where time had no meaning--away from Nicole, her ire at Nikki's interruption and her desire to see her friend safe giving her the inner strength to force back Nikki's oppressive power, create a bubble of moving time around Nicole, deny Nikki just this one minor thing, prove that she was not what her name might imply her to be...

 

"--ow," Nicole said before blinking and groping about blindly. Holly pulled her in, kissing her forehead, temporarily giving her the same sort of sight she enjoyed.

 

"It's all right, Niki. It's all right..." Tears of fear stained Holly's shirt.

 

She whirled on Nikki angrily. "Never do that to me or Nicole again," she said flatly.

 

But far from mirroring Holly's emotions, Nikki looked incredibly pleased. "I knew you could do it! Angela and Jen told me you had more depths than you'd ever thought to plumb. And of course I wouldn't have let Nicole stay frozen, she's way too much a cutie too for me to ever think of doing that."

 

Holly, however, was not to be mollified even by such well-intended praise. "You barge in here, interrupt my break with no notice, freeze time without even saying 'Hi' first, put Nicole into shock"--Holly snuggled her friend closer to her chest--"and now you have the sheer fucking gall to say that you were fucking testing me? Fuck off!" And with her final words Holly let out a blast of pure omnipotence, attempting to reshape her universe to reject Nikki's presence in it, as if the "Goddess of Gods" were the disease and Holly's powers the cure.

 

For some reason, rather than simply swat aside what Holly knew was a pitiful effort, Nikki vanished.

 

Time, however, was still frozen, and though Holly knew it would be a simple matter to unfreeze it she let it remain so, giving Nicole what she needed to recover from the shock of a sudden time freeze and the incongruity of the radical shift from normal sight to absolute dark.

 

"Is she... coming back?" Nicole asked softly into Holly's chest.

 

"I can't keep her out," Holly admitted. "Not if she wants to get in."

 

Nicole's terror spiked, a fear that next time this "Goddess of Gods" would decide to toy with her by doing something like banishing her from existence until Holly could bring her back, and Holly realized that there was only one place where Nicole would feel safe. With her wrath at Nikki and her deep concern for Nicole still fueling her powers, she opened herself to another lesson from Jen and Ha-neul, carefully caging Nicole's mind before drawing her friend's consciousness into her own, Nicole's body vanishing as if it had never been.

 

Of course, Holly had no idea if even her mind was proof against Nikki's powers, and so Nicole's fear kept fueling her, an ironclad determination to protect her friend come what may, and she realized that she had become, for the moment, rather than a reporter who used her omnipotence to get her stories, a bona fide omnipotent goddess who enjoyed doing journalism.

 

She glared at the candlestick, stretched out her hand, and didn't even feel the effort as her vision became truth. She looked deeper, past the surface, down to the molecular level, atomic, subatomic, past even that, beyond any physics Nicole understood but which had become utterly trivial to Holly, observing the very skeins of reality itself as they danced and weaved. She could tell exactly how to alter them to turn the candlestick into a pen, or a microphone, or a camera. She knew how to create a duplicate from nothing but her own irresistible will, or how to erase the one she held from history, changing all of existence to account for the nonexistence of the particles that comprised it. She expanded her mind, perceiving the universe, the multiverse, all multiverses, and saw how trivially they too could be manipulated and warped by someone possessed of the sort of power she commanded.

 

She turned her attention back to the candlestick. Marshaling her untrammeled power--

 

Applause came from behind her, and she whirled, letting loose the blast of pure erasure on the interloper.

 

Nikki looked down and blinked as Holly's blow deleted her current body's abdomen from existence, her chesty upper body hovering somewhere above her wide hips.

 

"Never tried out not having an abdomen before," Nikki said, "but if this is how you want to interview me, I can go with it, cutie."

 

"Who said I wanted to interview you at all?" Holly shot back, feeling her power blaze outward, growing stronger by the moment as Nicole's fear fueled Holly's abilities.

 

"Now that's no way to treat a guest," Nikki reproved.

 

That only sent Holly's power spiking yet higher. "And you clearly don't know how to treat your host."

 

"You had the right idea before," Nikki said. Holly realized that the other was goading her, taunting her, but she didn't care. More power welled up inside her. "You can't actually think you can fight the Goddess of Gods, do you?"

 

Something inside Holly snapped. She ran up to the person whom she now saw only as an enemy, a threat to be not just banished, but vanquished. Plunging her hands into Nikki's chest, she used the connection to reach the core of the other's being and began to attempt to erase it. "MAYBE... I... CAN!"

 

Nikki vanished again. Time unfroze. For a brief moment, Holly Winters couldn't sense the other goddess--"so-called goddess", a small, vicious, triumphant part of her wanted to say--anywhere.

 

Then she passed out cold.

 

--

 

Holly awoke to the feel of someone splashing cold water lightly on her face. She opened her eyes.

 

And rage blazed behind them once more as she beheld Nikki.

 

But the rage died instantly as she realized Nikki was no longer any sort of threat to her.

 

"There, there, cutie. Get up slowly. You had a hard fall. Good thing omnipotent goddesses like us don't need to worry about broken bones or concussions!" Nikki laughed.

 

"What--what happened?"

 

"I'm sorry for what I did," Nikki said, and Holly could tell that the other was truly contrite. "But after Angela and Jen told me how powerful you could actually be, I just couldn't help myself. It's not every trillion years I meet someone equal to me in power, after all."

 

"Equal... power... what?" Holly was confused once more, as she so often was when attempting to contemplate that part of her being that could twist reality into a pretzel and eat it.

 

Nikki carried Holly to the chair she had been sitting in and took the one Nicole had been using. "I don't call myself the 'Goddess of Gods' because I'm being pretentious or grandiose," she explained. "I call myself that because it's true. It's quite literally impossible to be more powerful than I am. But there are a few beings out there who are equally powerful, and whenever I find out that I might meet one, I can't help myself. I'm sorry I put you and Nicole through that," she said, "I really am. But I could tell it was the only way to release your true potential."

 

Holly was still lost. "My true... what?" And then it dawned on her: just as power blazed off of Nikki, so too did it blaze from her, meeting the other's halfway, neither able to overcome the other. She stretched her perceptions outward, finding Angela, finding Jennifer and Ha-neul, finding that their minds were as transparent to her as Bianca and Blake's had been, realizing that they could no longer even know of her existence if she didn't want them to. She felt Nikki's power crackle against hers, perfectly matched, neither able to affect the other in any way except as they allowed.

 

Holly breathed a deep sigh of relief.

 

Nicole was safe again.

 

Nicole's consciousness knew it, too. "Is that how goddesses play footsies?" she said, a giggle in her thoughts.

 

Holly knew Nicole wouldn't mind her sharing the thought, and she and Nikki laughed.

 

"Ready to come out, sweetie?" Nikki said. Nicole put an affirmative sense in Holly's mind.

 

Holding her friend's consciousness firmly in her mental grasp, Holly carefully rebuilt the body she'd erased once Nicole had no need of it. Her mind able to encompass everything that ever was or is or could be or could have been, even able to perceive subtle differences between the beyond-subatomic aspects of existence that allowed her to judge between them which was better than another, she used only what she deemed the very best materials she could find, pulling them to her, making a body for Nicole in a way no one else could, gently placing her friend's mind into her new form.

 

Nicole stretched as she took command of her body. "This isn't the same one I had before," she said.

 

"No," Holly admitted. "That one no longer exists. I couldn't bear the thought of looking at your corpse. So I rebuilt it, carbon copy, using only the very best materials to be found."

 

"I can tell. Feels a little different." She glared at Holly. "You sure this won't bias my results?"

 

"I only changed which particular particles were used," Holly promised.

 

"I'll see for myself in a bit," Nicole muttered.

 

"Well," Nikki cut in, "there is still the small matter of whether you want to interview me."

 

The other two both looked at her.

 

"I really am sorry for how we met," Nikki reiterated, "but I truly do want to be interviewed on your show. Especially now that the host has joined me at the top of the omni-scale being club!"

 

"I wasn't really aware there was one," Holly said. "I just wanted to be a reporter. Omnipotence was just a means to that end."

 

"And you are, cutie. You just also happen to be tied for first in the most-powerful-being-in-all-of-reality contest," Nikki pointed out.

 

"You know, I think we're well past three minutes since your arrival," Nicole reminded the two goddesses.

 

"We would be, if I hadn't frozen time again right after Holly 'killed' me," Nikki said. Holly started as she realized that she had become so powerful she didn't even notice that time was frozen, and started again as she realized how incredibly simple it was to make time move however she wished.

 

"Bet that's something that'll come in handy when you want to get a story," Nikki added. At Holly and Nicole's glares, she said, "Hey, cuties, I do my research, too."

 

"Were you spying on us?" Holly said, a bit accusingly.

 

"No more than I spy on everyone, what with being literally all-seeing and such. Well, I guess I focused a bit more on you. But that's because, as I said, I had to look more closely at you to figure out how best to unleash your full power."

 

"Sometimes I wish I'd just stuck to this little corner of existence," Holly grumbled.

 

"Well if you had you'd never have unlocked your true power. You'd just always have been the biggest fish in a pretty small pond," Nikki pointed out.

 

Holly shrugged. She supposed the ability to hide herself from everyone could come in handy for things like hidden-camera investigations, since nobody'd be able to blow her cover, but ultimately it didn't really matter to her where she ranked power-wise compared to other omni-scale beings. If she'd run into one who was more powerful than her and they decided to remove her from existence, well, that was just part of the risk of doing front-lines journalism, and she'd accepted that.

 

She realized, though, that given the choice, she'd prefer to be as powerful as she was now, because it meant that she couldn't be affected as Jen and Ha-neul had done (though looking back on it she found she didn't really mind that, either), and because it meant that she'd no longer ever have a reason to feel the way she had when she thought Nikki was threatening Nicole's very existence. She didn't like the part of herself that had come out then, but now she knew for an absolute certainty that she could protect Nicole against anything or anyone, including Nikki.

 

"I'm curious," Nicole said. "Is there anyone else who's as powerful as you are? Well, and Holly too, now."

 

Nikki thought. "Only two that I know of. Lovely couple from what I hear, though we just keep failing to run into each other. How many times have I teleported into some reality only to find that they just left, or vice versa?" She began to count on her fingers, growing new ones as she kept going, her hand staying its same size, her fingers not shrinking, until it was clear she had simply thrown geometry out the window to make them all fit. "Anyway," she went on, closing her fist and returning her hand to normal, "they like to travel around a lot, too. Often they'll have another pair with them, slightly less powerful but still definitely omni-scale by your definition. One of these days we'll run across each other."

 

“What about your own relatives, though?” Nicole followed up. “Surely they’d have to be pretty powerful.”

 

"My mother is an exceedingly powerful sorceress, so powerful that she was banished from her own world and dumped into one where she had to hide who she was for fear of persecution. Anyway she had me there, but I didn't feel all that comfortable changing the place wholesale, but eventually some stuff happened and it was changed just enough that I did. After that it got a lot more fun to be there."

 

Holly decided to change the topic to something more relevant to the upcoming interview. "Why the outfit--or lack thereof, I suppose," Holly asked. "Seems rather needlessly lewd, if you ask me."

 

"Because I'm an infinitely lewd goddess," Nikki said, laughing. "I know you've spent your whole life focused on being a journalist--and don't get me wrong, you're an excellent reporter, I've had The Holly Report broadcasting into my mind since the moment you started!--but I just want to have fun with my powers. Sometimes I'll put something on but generally not too much. I never know when I'm going to find some cutie I want to fuck right then and there and I want as little as possible between them and the fun zones. I don't think I'd be caught dead in what you wear--not that I can die--but it works for you."

 

Holly looked down and realized that she was still in the casual wear she had put on to experiment with her powers: a huge T-shirt that nonetheless strained around her large bust, loose shorts, and ankle socks. But since this chat wasn't broadcasting, and her guest was exposing significantly more skin, she didn't bother to change.

 

"And what's with the penis?" Nicole added.

 

"Well how else would you recommend I display my total superiority over everyone? Besides, it's great fun when fucking."

 

Holly shrugged uncomfortably. She couldn't deny that the night she'd spent with Jen and Ha-neul was among the best in her life, and certainly she and Nicole had had some fun times since then, but the thought of spending her existence mostly just having sex in every way she could wasn't all that appealing to her.

 

"And the latex?" Holly continued.

 

"Well, I just love how squeaky and shiny it is," said Nikki, rubbing her shins together. "Fits like a second skin and I can use it for any sort of clothing I want." A latex bra-and-panty set popped onto her, along with a latex sheath for her phallus and what appeared to be some sort of brassiere-like contraption for her engorged scrotum. "My latex is guaranteed to make any cutie at least 200% cuter," she added, winking.

 

Holly hastily made sure that Nikki could not affect what she and Nicole were wearing.

 

"Don't knock it until you've tried it," Nikki reminded them, deleting her clothing.

 

"You know, I'd feel much better if you'd cover up again for the interview," Holly requested.

 

"I'd rather not. Being lewd and sexual is part of who I am. I don't mind if it's only broadcast to those people who don't mind watching such things."

 

"I was hoping to interview the 'Goddess of Gods' on my main show," Holly said.

 

"I'll help you edit it in post for a re-run," Nikki promised. "Just as long as I don't actually have to wear the stuff!"

 

Holly took a deep breath. "All right," she said. "But I don't think we need that three minutes now. And where would you like to be interviewed?"

 

Nikki smiled. "I was thinking right here in your studio. Seems the most special place of all considering that you hardly ever use it."

 

Holly nodded.

 

"Oh, and a little test of your powers, if you're willing." Nikki looked levelly at Holly. "Focus on anchoring us here. Then reach out, grab hold of time, and advance it. Simply order that it shift as you will it." Holly realized that Nikki had lowered her defenses. She still couldn't affect the fundamental nature of who she was, but she could have put her into a loop of endless pleasure--or endless pain, she thought, shuddering--that would leave her unable to concentrate sufficiently to end it. Given what she'd tried to do not that long ago, the level of absolute trust was heartwarming, and all the more so since Holly didn't think she could have brought herself to reciprocate it. Not yet, anyway.

 

Reaching out, she ordered time itself to bow to her will... and it did.

 

--

 

"Greetings and hello, everyone! Everyone, everywhere, regardless of your home town, planet, universe, dimension, reality bubble, or other such place or non-place of existence or non-existence!" Holly began her show. "Today on The Holly Report I have an extremely special guest, another omni-scale being! She calls herself the Goddess of Gods but would much rather you refer to her as Nikki--as long as you're a cutie!"

 

Nicole, sitting in the audience, applauded, the studio's properties making it sound as if the place was full of cheers and claps and whoops.

 

Holly sat down, facing her equal. "So, Nikki, why did you give yourself the title 'Goddess of Gods'?"

 

"Well, it's pretty simple, really. Once I started looking into my powers and how powerful I was, I realized that it was quite literally impossible for anyone to be more powerful than me. I mean, there's a lot of beings out there who can reasonably call themselves a god, but I'm more powerful than just about any of them--all of them put together, really. So if I'm like a god to other gods, it made sense for me to call myself the Goddess of Gods."

 

"All of them put together? How many gods have you faced off against at once?"

 

"I've faced so many so-called 'gods' that it can get hard to remember all the details, even when you have a perfect memory like I do!" Nikki laughed. "But let me see..." Holly smiled as Nikki did the same trick she had off-camera until she had a few million fingers splayed across her hand. "About that many, give or take a few thousand."

 

"Is that what you do with most gods you come across? Fight them?"

 

"Goodness no! There's plenty of them out there who are really super cuties and we get along really well. You've met a few, I know. I've got nothing but love for them--in every sense of the term."

 

Holly nodded. There was a part of her very much looking forward to experiencing the other senses of the term. "I noticed you're wearing latex. It's not exactly a common choice of clothing, at least that I've seen. Care to elaborate?"

 

"Sure! I love latex. It's smooth, and it fits like a second skin. Nice and squeaky and very shiny, too. Where I'm from lots of people wear it. Well, now they do. Probably my desires permeating the collective subconscious."

 

"Where you're from?" Holly asked. "What's it like there? It must be a special place to have produced such a powerful being."

 

"Well, I'm only sort-of, kind-of from there," Nikki said. "My mother Rin is an extremely powerful sorceress from a different reality, but not so powerful that those who feared her could not banish her. So she ended up in this incredibly uptight, puritanical place and had to hide who she was. That didn't stop her from continuing to practice her magic, of course, and she performed countless arcane rituals to impregnate herself, her daughter's genetic base being a mixture of her own and her magic. The combination of the two in a single being as it developed produced me." Nikki smiled. "She wasn't quite expecting to be on the other side of the power equation with her daughter, but we love each other too much to resent or lord it over the other."

 

"So, if your world's so uptight, is this how you go about there?"

 

"Well, now it is," Nikki said. "There was an accident some time ago that altered the shared social norms. Before that, if I wanted to have some fun, I either had to head off to another reality or search through the people in my world who were not only willing to embrace their suppressed fetishes but give everything they knew up in order to do so. Probably it has something to do with my having been born there, but pretty much everyone where I'm from has a serious latex fetish. Anyway, once society began to change, I felt I could reveal myself, and I made a few changes while I was at it."

 

"What sorts of changes?" Holly continued.

 

"Well, frankly, women where I was were not treated all that well. So I reversed that. I created a bodysuit, the Morphsuit, and handed one out to every woman in the world. It lets the wearer radically alter their body shape at will, can be made to resemble any articles of clothing while still feeling like latex on the inside, and makes them significantly more capable physically. Just that alone would have made women the dominant sex--in addition to a few others to whom I gave Morphsuits, provided that they henceforth retain a female form--but I also turned every woman into a futa. Plenty of them choose to hide it with their Morphsuit, though."

 

"A futa?" Holly asked. She knew what it was, of course, having experienced it with Ha-neul and Jen, but she knew many of her viewers would not.

 

"Short for futanari," Nikki gladly explained. "Basically just a woman with a cock. Can reproduce as either male or female. Generally larger overall than either men or women."

 

Holly nodded. "Any other changes you made? I think it's interesting how much of an impact a single omni-scale being can have on a world when she really wants to."

 

"We certainly can!" Nikki agreed. "For the people who truly love rubber and latex as much as I do, I turn them into rubbersoldiers, or rubberpolice, or rubbermaids. It makes them essentially indestructible. Most of them hang out in a different reality I created, though, where they have fun slowly demonstrating the futility of opposing an unstoppable force."

 

"What exactly is a rubbermaid, then?" Holly queried.

 

"It's a sexy woman made entirely of rubber!" Nikki said, excited, and visible magic flowed across her body, changing her from the feet up, her skin becoming black and shiny, her hands squeaking against her torso as she felt herself up. "This isn't just the skin, of course," Nikki went on as she pulled her body apart, revealing that she was, for the most part, composed entirely of solid rubber.

 

"I guess life comes in all shapes, sizes and forms," Holly agreed. "One of the more impressive things an omni-scale being can do is impart life and sentience to anything she wishes."

 

Nikki, still rubbery, nodded in agreement. "I like doing that sometimes. I've changed the occasional glove or stocking into a person--usually a rubbermaid, of course. But sometimes you want to go the other way, too."

 

"The other way?" Holly asked.

 

"Well, when someone's just being plain rude, or you want to have a little fun and you know they'll enjoy it--much easier for them to do that when they'll get to be next to an omnipotent goddess's body, of course!--you can just turn a person into your clothing, or a sex toy, or jewelry, or something. You can even leave them completely self-aware if you want. Of course, not all of them find it all that fun. I admit I enjoy a spot of existential horror every now and then."

 

That made Holly shudder. The idea of being trapped in a form not of her choosing, held indefinitely against her will until a more powerful being chose to release her was not one which she had previously contemplated--but, she reminded herself, not one about which she'd ever have to worry again.

 

"So it's not all sunshine and rainbows where you're from?" Holly inferred.

 

"Nah, part of the fun is that everyone else can do what they please. It'd get pretty boring if everyone just got along and played nice. Besides, I enjoy playing the superhero every now and then, and I could hardly do that if there wasn't anyone around for a superhero to deal with."

 

Holly nodded. The idea of being a superhero held no appeal for her, but it wasn't like she was blind to the way infinite power would make it pretty simple. She supposed Nikki just chose only to employ a few powers at a time.

 

Nikki continued. "And then, of course, there's Lilly."

 

"Lilly?" Holly replied.

 

"A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," Nikki said. Holly made a mental note to ask more on the matter later.

 

"So what else do you do for fun?"

 

"Well, besides visit all my omnipotent friends, I also like to go to various realities where there aren't any native omni-scale beings. It's always so much fun seeing how whichever natives think they're the top dogs react to the appearance of someone like me. Sometimes I'll even take some of them away for my own fun. If I do that, though, I generally freeze the place in time so that nothing goes wrong until I give them back. Can't have the villains running amuck just because I wanted a little fun."

 

"Are you always the one paying the visit, though? I mean, we can all hop between realities at will, after all."

 

"True. And I get plenty of visitors, too. It doesn't really matter to me who decides to show up on my world; I'm more powerful than them anyway. My friends are always welcome and the others know to stay away."

 

"So how often do you get company?"

 

"Plenty often! There's lots of opportunities for immortal, omnipotent beings who can be in as many places as they like at once to meet up. Most people there really do welcome my taking an interest in them; when they realize it's not just me but a friend or two along with they're generally overjoyed."

 

"Do you think there are any omni-scale beings out there you haven't yet met?"

 

"Oh, certainly. But I'd love to meet them!" With Holly's permission, Nikki added a subchannel to the broadcast, detectable only by those who could sense the subtle fluctuations in the structure of reality on which it was carried, inviting one and all to come to her universe for some fun.

 

"And what should someone do if, having seen this, they want to meet you?"

 

"Well that depends on what they want to meet me for, of course. If they just expect me to show up like some sort of wish-granting genie, well, sorry, doesn't work that way. I might show up anyway but I'll probably leave with a new pair of boots. On the other hand, if they want to be a rubbermaid, then I'm much more likely to make an appearance. I'd really love to have at least one rubbermaid from every reality out there."

 

"I'm afraid that's all the time we have, Nikki," Holly said. She shared the other's silent humour at the notion of an omnipotent goddess being constrained by the concept of time. "It's truly been a pleasure to meet you."

 

"And you too, cutie," Nikki returned.

 

--

 

Holly, Nicole and Nikki sat in the corridor, Holly idly having fun altering reality to match her perception of it, making hers and Nikki's faces react in various weird ways, or just shifting her body shape to try out various new things. She'd used her shapeshifting before, of course, but that was only ever to hide among the natives on whatever planet she might be reporting from. The thought of using it to change her body while still keeping the same species had never occurred to her, but she was having fun trying it out.

 

"So who's Lilly?" Holly asked in stereo before retracting her second head.

 

"She's my enforcer, if you like," Nikki explained now that they were no longer broadcasting. "I didn't want to be especially mean, but there were a lot of bad people in my world who just didn't fit with the more laid-back society I wanted to foster, and never mind all the really bad people everywhere else. So I found Lilly, an incredibly sadistic dominatrix whom I knew would be perfect for punishing all those people. I gave her power almost equal to mine and let her do her thing while I mostly have fun now. Naturally I make sure she doesn't go overboard with it."

 

"I'd hope so," said Nicole. "Doesn't sound like the sort of person I'd want to meet."

 

"Nah, as long as you were with me you'd be perfectly safe. She's quite devoted to me and wouldn't dream of touching anyone whom I think is a super-cutie like you."

 

"What about those other two you mentioned?" Holly asked. "If they're the only others who are as powerful as you and I, I'd love to interview them and have the full set."

 

Nikki nodded. "They're not easy to get a hold of, unfortunately. Move around a lot. Of course, so do I, probably why we keep missing each other. But if you invite them and stay around here, and they're interested, they might show up, and you might have better luck than I do when it comes to meeting them!"

 

"Well," said Nicole, picking up one of the champagne flutes Nikki knew she would want for a toast, "here's to a great interview, and hopefully more to come." The glasses clinked and the three drank.

 

"Anyway," Nikki said, "I must be off. Got cuties to meet, somewhere. For me I've found that there's two certainties in life: taxes, and meeting cuties."

 

"You pay taxes?" Holly asked, a bit taken aback.

 

"So do you," Nicole pointed out before Nikki could answer.

 

"Course I do!" Nikki said. "Can't ask more of other people than I do of myself after all." And with that, she vanished.

 

"Yeah," Holly said, "but I pay taxes because I'm a reporter first, second, third, fourth and fifth and omnipotent at most sixth. Using my powers to dodge my responsibilities to society would just be cheating. Nikki's an omnipotent goddess first and foremost, though."

 

"Doesn't mean she can't feel the same obligation you do," Nicole pointed out.

 

"True enough, I guess," Holly said. She sat silent for a moment, restoring her body to normal, and looked Nicole straight in the eyes.

 

"Are you sure--really sure--about not wanting powers?"

 

Nicole rolled her eyes.

 

"Just hear me out, please. One last time," Holly begged, going down on her knees in front of her immortal, but powerless, friend. "My powers, now, they're so easy to use. So instinctive, responsive. I need to get some control over them. And as I said--"

 

"--having someone learn alongside you would be helpful," Nicole finished. "I said no, Holly."

 

"I don't think I'm entirely exaggerating when I say that the fate of reality itself might depend on this."

 

"I know," Nicole said. "My answer is still no. But..." She trailed off in thought.

 

"What?" Holly asked, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

 

"You can experiment on me."

 

"WHAT?" Holly exploded.

 

"You can experiment on me," Nicole repeated calmly. "Controlled conditions. Let whatever random, wild thoughts you have about me come true until you get a sense of how to hold on to them and not have them become real."

 

"What about all the other random, wild thoughts?"

 

"You can be remarkably single-minded," Nicole pointed out. "That will be an asset if you keep your thoughts focused on me."

 

Holly's mind reeled.

 

"I can see the love in your eyes," the powerless immortal sang softly.

 

"And I can feel the power within you," her omnipotent friend replied.

 

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