Updated: Apr 26
Check out our episode here! Nimona by ND Stevenson
Ballister Blackheart, the biggest name in supervillainy, a true inspiration, has an intruder in his lair. The intruder is a kid called Nimona, who claims the Agency sent her to be his new sidekick. Errr, no. He doesn’t believe her, which is okay because it is a lie. Ballister tries to kick her out, he doesn’t need some kid following him around but Nimona tells Ballister she isn’t a kid, she’s a shark! Surprise! Well a shapeshifter actually. This changes things completely… Nimona, you’re hired!
They set about planning their evil plan: to kidnap the king with genetically modified dragons, demand a ransom and blow stuff up for emphasis. Nimona tries to offer some constructive feedback about adding chaos, murdering the king, stealing the throne and taking out Ballister’s greatest foe, Sir Goldenloin, but no, Nimona, that’s not how things work.
Ballister will kill Sir Goldenloin one day… one day. After all, Goldenloin was the one responsible for the loss of Ballister's arm. They were great friends once, heroes in training. Then one day they had a joust against each other. Ballister knocked Goldenloin from his horse, but in a jealous rage, Goldenloin took out his gun and shot Ballister’s arm clean off. Alas, the institution has no use for a one-armed hero, so now, with a robotic arm, Ballister has taken the only path open to him: villainy!!
In a test run heist for some science, Ballister and Nimona are caught by Goldenloin. Oooh he makes Nimona so mad! Ballister instructs her to stand down but then guards arrive. Before anyone realizes what’s happening, Nimoma has transformed into a wolf and starts ripping into the guards. At one point, she changes into a sweet, innocent girl only to steal a guard’s dagger and stab him in his back. One guard flees and raises the alarm, but Nimona is hot on his heels. Meanwhile, Ballister and Goldenloin have watched all this go down. While Goldenloin is sworn to fight Ballister, it is after all his job, Ballister just wants to stop the rampage of his new sidekick. Oh no. The self destruct sequence has been initiated. Flee! Run for your life!
Ballister wants to find Nimona, but there just isn’t time and he, along with Goldenloin, make it out just in time. Back at Castle Blackheart, Ballister is watching the news report about the explosion and feeling sad at the loss of his new sidekick when he gets a call from the Director of the Institution of Law Enforcement & Heroics. She notes that the swaths of dead bodies isn’t Ballister’s usual style, and that the rampaging kid needed to be stopped somehow, so a massive explosion was just the trick. Ballister can’t believe it, what kind of monster blows up a building to kill one kid?! The Director says that she isn't a monster, she’s a shark! Ha! It’s Nimona. She’s infiltrated the Institution and has stolen their big book of top secret stuff. Just as she’s about to end the call, a guard walks in and Nimona changes into a dragon and takes him out. Nimona, stop doing that!
Nimona returns to Castle Blackheart as a bird, grabs a soda from the refrigerator and turns into a cat to pounce off Ballister’s head to sit on top of the fridge. While Ballister is still not happy with Nimona’s tactics, Nimona is just as unhappy with Ballister’s lack of evil, and she wants in on his plans. Ballister however wants to know Nimona's back story. Of course it’s a downer.
When Nimona was six, raiders from the west constantly attacked her village. One day when she was out gathering berries, she stumbled upon a witch trapped in a hole. In exchange for the strength to beat the raiders, Nimona agreed to help the witch. The witch thought it would be a great idea to turn Nimona into a dragon so she could fly down, pick her up and be strong enough to defeat her enemies. Great! However the witch wasn’t very good and she never told Nimona how to change back into a girl and she was driven away from her village. After a few weeks of learning to master the shapeshifting power, Nimona returned to her village only to find it descimented. Fleeing back into the forest, Nimona learned to look after herself with her own tooth and claw. Anyway, can we order pizza?
Meanwhile, at the Institution, the Director isn’t happy with Goldenloin. He let a child bring about the destruction of their finest research facility and failed to mention her shapeshifting ability. She cannot allow this.
You know what isn’t a problem for a girl who can shapeshift into a rhino? Doors with uber high security. Nimona’s ability to change size and mass is fascinating to Ballister and he wants to do some tests but Nimona is, well, not gonna let that happen. Subject change! Let’s snoop through the Institution's top secret plans. After a boring 6 minutes of decoding, Ballister finds plans involving jaderoot, a very rare, very poisonous, very outlawed plant associated with dark magic and that the Institution are stockpiling it. Time to make some trouble for the Institution!
At the Institution, the Director is told to turn on Channel 6 news. They are covering a story about the Institution hoarding jaderoot and advising people to check their food for the poison. Goldenloin comes running in, demanding to know if it’s true, of course it isn’t… the Director orders some guards to take out the news anchor and when the news anchor starts covering a story about Goldenloin’s codpiece, that incites Goldenloin to join them. At the news station the anchor is nowhere to be seen, but then Goldenloin spots a pink rat. Quick! Catch that shapeshifter! Chasing the rat down a corridor, he’s able to get his hands on it but it’s covered in paint, oh rats. A guard leans in and whispers, “good try though'' before disappearing.
Ballister has a multi-phase evil plan. Yes! For this phase he has concocted a poison he's put into apples that will make people sick causing rumors to spread about the jaderoot, and instilling distrust in the Institution. Nimona will plant the poison apples, a classic approach, through the city disguised as a cantankerous old crone. Then, they just sit back for a few weeks while the poison works. Weeks? Boring! Fine, let’s go rob a bank. Yay!
In the bank, the cashier asks if Ballister is making a deposit. Nope, a withdrawal... with this gigantic gun!! Nimona takes the opportunity to change into a veritable zoo's worth of animals in the background knocking out guards and scaring the customers. The cashier takes Ballister to the vault, and the door is HUGE and THICK. Should be no problem for this completely untested gun… BOOOOOOOOM! Yeah, it works. And there is so much gold!! Nimona wants all the loot, but Ballister instructs her to change into a dragon on the roof and give everyone a good scare. Meanwhile, Goldenloin has turned up and is trying to get the guards to raid the bank for him with minor success but Goldenloin will not let Ballister and his sidekick evade him again so he enters the bank. Nimona has relayed Goldenloin’s presence to Ballister who readies his gigantic gun, lets fire at a wall in time for Nimona to swoop down and fly away with sacks of gold and Goldenloin shouting in the background.
Back at Castle Blackheart, Ballister notices Nimona has been shot in the leg with an arrow. He patches her up and orders her to rest until it heals so they play a game of World Domination. Meanwhile, the hospital is recording more and more cases of this weird sickness and the Director of the Institution instructs Goldenloin to take care *wink* of the sidekick problem *wink.* No, not arrest her, Goldenloin. Dispose of her. Kill her!!
Ballister is watching the news reports of the outbreak of a mysterious disease rumored to be linked to the Institution when Nimona comes in and plonks a crown on his head. She’s convinced Ballister will take over at the culmination of their evil plan, but Ballister is more pragmatic. While Nimona goes to make dinner on her newly healed leg (shapeshifter magic) Ballister gets a phone call from Goldenloin. He wants to meet.
At the Antlered Snake, Goldenloin warns Ballister to send his sidekick away because he has orders to take her out. Ballister calls him out for the unheroic nature of his orders. Things degenerate from there, tension from their joust years ago is still at the surface. Goldenloin thinks Ballister should be over it, but hello! he lost an arm and was forced to become a villain. Thrown words become thrown fists and the brawl crashes outside where Ballister knocks Goldenloin to the ground. He walks away from Goldenloin, saying, unlike the Institution, he won’t take his arm, even though he is the villain.
The next day as Ballister is inspecting his wounds, Nimona pushes a flyer under his door to a Science Expo. Ballister could use the cheering up, but they can't go to an exposition! They're villains! Well then, here, wear this fake beard.
Disguised as a father with his little boy, our villainous duo have a lovely time at the Expo, and when Nimona, sorry little Gregor, gets tired, she transforms into a cat to be carried. At one stall Ballister meets Dr. Meredith Blitzmeyer who is trying to harness anomalous energy and has a green glowing thingy as a demonstration which goes FWEEEEEEE then FWSSSHHH which is odd. It’s at this moment guards spot Ballister and try to arrest him. Ballister runs and obviously chaos ensues and it's made worse because Nimona can’t transform from her cat shape. Things explode, catch on fire and are destroyed. Thankfully Nimona is able to change into her dragon form and they make it back to Blackheart Castle where Nimona rages at having her powers stuck. This doesn’t happen. It is not okay. At this point Nimona pretty much Hulks out with Ballister trying to calm her down and we see again that Ballister likes his sidekick and is trying to take care of her. Nimona, unfortunately, has been hurt too much in the past.
So, Nimona changes her hair color to purple. It looks good. Ballister orders a pizza, without sardines, for them to enjoy. Goldenloin meanwhile is getting an upgrade. The Director is none too pleased with his failures so he’s getting a kickass mech suit and a similarly outfitted team of people. While the Director wants him to eliminate Blackheart as well, she’ll settle for him being removed and the sidekick terminated. They’re going to set a trap for our villainous duo.
At a Royal Trap Tournament, Nimona spikes an attendee’s food which causes them to be sick which panics the crowd, making them think it's the mysterious disease again. Goldenloin’s souped up guards zero in on the commotion and under the orders of the Director, start to subdue the crowds and save the nobles. Ballister can suddenly be heard over the loudspeakers telling the people he is not fighting them but the corrupt Institution and they can help. The crowds turn on the guards.
The Institution has zeroed in on Ballister’s location and Goldenloin secures him. Ballister puts up no fight and is rather smug the whole time he’s being taken back to the Institution and to a new awfully spacious room. Then BAM, an ankylosaurus bursts in causing the room to go into lockdown. Nimona takes this challenge and turns into a triceratops and a bear and a fox and an octopus, taking out the guards left, right and center. Eventually Nimona transforms into her dragon form while Ballister and Goldenloin fight with their words and their swords. Eventually Nimona is overwhelmed and, in trying to escape, turns into a huge monstrous lizard, Ballister shouting at her to get out, to escape. A guard cuts off her head, Goldenloin knocks Ballister unconscious and the Director receives a report that it’s over.
But it’s not. Nimona transforms into this black and fiery monstrous creature and burns the guards. Goldenloin only just manages to hide under his shield. Then Nimona takes Ballister home. Goldenloin is badly injured, and the Director informs him he is being replaced.
Ballister is in a terrible mood and snaps at Nimona because she has been gone a while (she also has a new hair do). Nimona has found out that some of the infected rioters have died which makes Ballister angry as that shouldn’t have happened. Plans need to be brought forward. He’s going to have to heal the sick people. Nimona struggles with this a little as she sees this as an opportunity to strike at the Institution, however Ballister would see this as being no better than the Institution. When Ballister tries to talk about what happened during the battle, Nimona becomes defensive and can’t recall what witch Ballister is talking about who gave her the power to shapeshift. Ballister realizes Nimona made her whole story up. Nimona leaves the Castle, angry at Ballister. Ballister tries to rest but can’t so he goes to his lab and tries to call Nimona but the call fails. Instead he contacts Meredith Blitzmeyer and discusses a hypothetical shapeshifter problem. Blitzmeyer suggests that this hypothetical shapeshifter of Ballister’s could be the one from the legend of Gloreth, it was this great “scaled beast” that was slain by Gloreth, but what if the beast killed Gloreth and took her place?
Later Ballister sneaks into the hospital and cures the sick people from his poison and is captured and knocked out by the Royal Guard. He wakes up in a cell with Goldenloin as his guard who has been demoted right down the ladder. They have a bit of a heart-to-heart and we find out that Goldenloin was told by the Director to win the joust all those years ago, that she supplied a “special” lance to ensure his victory. Goldenloin didn’t want to use it, and wasn't going to as he was confident he would win. But the balance of the different lance was off and made him misjudge. He doesn’t remember shooting Ballister’s arm and is sorry that he did it. It’s the first time he has apologized. Suddenly the alarms sound.
The Director has summoned Ballister. She has Nimona trapped in this large glass prison and keeps zapping her. No matter what Nimona transforms into, she can’t escape. Nimona unfortunately fell for the Director’s trap and tried to rescue Ballister. The Director then zaps Ballister to force Nimona’s compliance to extract some of her blood. Nimona is getting angrier and angrier, eyes going white, fangs growing. Nimona taunts the Director for not doing her homework as the extracted blood, which seems like normal human blood, explodes and reforms. Nimona has control of her individual cells and is able to create a beast of smoke, fire, darkness and rage and releases it to rampage. It spews fire all over the lab. Goldenloin grabs Ballister and they run from the facility, Ballister begging to go back and help Nimona. The Director has also managed to make it out.
While the monstrous beast rampages through the city, burning Institution buildings and the palace and killing the King, Ballister formulates a plan. If they can get Blitzmeyer’s machine, they can trap Nimona in one form long enough for Ballister to rescue human Nimona. Blitzmeyer, who doesn’t watch the news or look out a window it seems, didn’t know of the rampage and is happy for Ballister to borrow the only prototype of her life’s work if he returns it unscathed. She’s excited to see that the hypothetical shapeshifter is not so hypothetical after all.
Meanwhile, the Director has a jaderoot gun and fires it at the beast. Bad idea, it just makes it angrier. The Director is burned alive. Goldenloin, back in his knight armor, distracts the beast. We get a flashback at this point to a young Nimona in a hole after her parents gave her up. Nimona was a sickly child until one day, after a particularly bad illness, she recovered. Her parents think she is an imposter. Nimona was taken to a facility where she was subject to terrible tests, essentially as a small child, she was hideously tortured. When Ballister finds her in the glass prison, Nimona is the small child again, she’s been split in two and needs to put herself back together.
Together, Ballister carrying Nimona, they head to the beast who is battling Goldenloin. Though Goldenloin is putting up a good fight, he is losing badly. Ballister begs the beast to let him go. As Nimona tries to change or reform, she realizes she can’t because of Blitzmeyer’s device. This angers Nimona and she tells Ballister that he is just like all the others. Ballister begs and pleads that he is her friend, he knows she isn’t a monster. The beast rears up for a huge blast of flame, but Ballister is able to escape, grab a jaderoot gun and fire. The beast falls, and so does Ballister, to his knees, and tells Nimona that he is sorry before grabbing Goldenloin. Unfortunately the self-destruct system at the facility has kicked in. As the purge is about to hit, Nimona holds on to the beast as Ballister with Goldenloin escape the facility, the white hot explosion behind them.
At the hospital, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and former villain turned champion of the people Ballister Blackheart are credited with bringing down the beast and ending the night of terror. Goldenloin is in critical condition, and though Ballister isn’t in great condition himself, he won’t leave Goldenloin’s side. A doctor comes in and checks Goldenloin’s chart, and Ballister challenges her when she calls Nimona a monster, saying she wasn’t, she was his friend. Blitzmeyer comes in then and she tells Ballister it isn’t his responsibility to save everyone, though that is difficult to accept. A doctor comes in then, hang on, she’s already been in. When the doctor looks at the chart she wants to know why there is a picture of a shark. Ballister tears out of the room. In the distance he sees Nimona, she turns back and offers Ballister a wave before disappearing into the crowd. Sir Goldenloin wakes up and is asking for Ballister.
The city is being rebuilt. Blitzmeyer and Blackheart Labs have been established, and Goldenloin is in slow recovery. Ballister hasn’t seen Nimona, and probably wouldn’t know it was her if he did. If she does come back, he wants her to know that she’ll know him as her friend.