RAELEE HILL as Dr Jamie Seaton


Jamie's Story — by Van
Chapter 1
Jamie was completely naked, gagged, and bound in a semi-reclined position.  Legs splayed widely apart, knees bent, arms outstretched and level with her shoulders, she was held in this awkward position by broad, black, tight, nylon straps encircling her wrists, elbows, forehead, waist, knees, and ankles; straps which bound her to a thinly padded steel frame.  The frame might have been described as a chair, but more accurately it was an armature; a tiny stool, a narrow backrest, extended arm and leg supports, and stirrups.  It held Jamie rigidly in place, with a minimum of bodily contact.  It was not designed for her comfort.  Jamie's gag, a large, black, mouth-filling, rubber ball, was held between her teeth by another of the frame's straps, this one slightly thinner and narrower.  Jamie flexed her arms and legs, then pulled against her bonds with all her might.  She heard a series of quiet pings, and all of her restraints (including her gag) tightened fractionally.  Jamie relaxed in her bonds, as best she could.  Struggling was futile, pointless.  Jamie knew she wasn't going anywhere.

Several small bright lights were positioned to shine in her eyes, reducing most of the background to either dazzling white or featureless black; however, she could examine every aspect of her captivity in several hi-resolution screens conveniently placed in her rather limited field of vision.  There were side and front views of her overall predicament; close-ups of her feet, upper body, and head; and extreme close-ups of her splayed crotch and red pubic hair, one pale freckled breast, and her worried green eyes. 

The background may be hidden, but the objects in the brightly lit foreground were clearly visible... and the view was quite ominous.

Several thin, steel, robot manipulator arms were clustered around her.  One arm ended in what looked like a wicked dental drill; another in a set of jagged forceps, like the chrome-plated claw of a particularly vicious crab.  She couldn't see how the ends of the others were configured. 

To her right, a metal cart held a tray of steel surgical instruments (all of which seemed to be designed to do very unpleasant and unnatural things), as well as an array of small clamps, clips, rings, and (Jamie noted with a shudder) a collection of curved, straight (and even barbed) needles. 

To her left, a second cart held an array of feathers, small paint brushes, cotton swabs and applicators; and several glass containers full of murky liquids, granular powders, and at least one thing that seemed to be... moving.

Suddenly, there was a dull echoing noise in the distance, perhaps a door opening and closing.  Nothing happened for several seconds, then Jamie heard footsteps approaching from behind the glare of the lights.  The footsteps grew closer—and the last person on the planet Jamie would have wished to find her in her current circumstances stepped into view.
Jamie's Story   Chapter 1

A Gondaloo Reef The shark swam a lazy s-circuit across the reef.  It wasn't a particularly large shark, and Jamie knew it would leave her alone if she left it alone.  Having seemed to satisfy itself that no gastronomic opportunities were likely to present themselves at this particular time and place, it swam to the ocean side of the reef and dropped gracefully into the depths.  Only a trained biologist, and a reef specialist like Jamie at that, would have noticed the subtle shift in the distribution and behavior of the various species of brightly colored fishes that surrounded her as the gray predator had passed.  It was all part of the constant dance of day and night, ebb and flow, storm and calm, life and death... the complex rhythms that make a reef community. 

Jamie completed her survey of the camouflaged sensor station before her, then kicked towards the last station in the circuit.  These semiannual inspections weren't really necessary as the Eve 6900's constant monitoring of all systems gave her routine warning of any real or potential problems; but the week-long series of inspection dives gave her an excellent excuse to visit every reef, islet, sandbar, and beach that fringed the main island, and she had made more than one chance observation while performing this "maintenance" that had led to a new hypothesis and/or research project.

A dolphin-like robot torpedo idled at the surface, one of Eve's aquatic sentinels, the artificial intelligence's eyes and sonar ears in the waters surrounding the island.  Today, this particular "robotorp" was acting as Jamie's diving buddy, watching over her 'til she safely returned to the surface. 

Jamie knew she hadn't been deeper than ten meters very often the entire day, but she checked her dive computer anyway to confirm her status.  (Some habits are not vices.)  Her current depth was about eight meters, she had more that eighteen hours oxygen and carbon dioxide scrubber capacity left in her rebreather, and she had incurred no decompression debt.  Like most divers, Jamie had started her underwater career on conventional scuba tanks.  She was still amazed by the difference the rebreather made in her impact on the reef and its inhabitants.  Silent, releasing almost no bubbles, there wasn't even the snap of a regulator diaphragm in this new experimental prototype.  Jamie was virtually ignored by the myriad of reef dwelling species surrounding her.

The final inspection complete, Jamie checked her compass and pushed off towards the location of her waiting zodiac.  Reaching the anchor, attendant line, and teardrop silhouette of her craft overhead, Jamie began her ascent, her rebreather system automatically purging its breathing reservoir and buoyancy control bladders as she slowly kicked towards the surface. 

Jamie broke the surface at the stern of the semi-rigid boat, removed her mask and fins and tossed them onboard, then climbed the short ladder onto the diving platform and into the bright tropical sun.  The rebreather system was feather-light, more like a streamlined vest and body harness than a conventional scuba rig.  Jamie removed her gloves, snapped open the harness buckles and pulled off the rebreather, then unzipped her skintight reef-suit to the navel, peeled it off her shoulders and her arms out of the sleeves, and tied then together across her stomach.  The light, stretchy, green-gray suit fit like a second skin, and was more a full length leotard than a wetsuit, designed for protection against coral scrapes and sunburn rather then to retain warmth.  Many a tourist diver had discovered that the shallow waters of a tropical lagoon offer only limited protection from UV rays, and Jamie, with her fair complexion and copper-red curls, had found that even waterproof sunblock and several million freckles could take her only so far.

Gondaloo from the air After stowing the dive platform and her gear, Jamie started the zodiac's twin, outboard, water-jet turbines, and headed towards home base, TESSERACT's fabled Gondaloo Resort.  The late afternoon sun felt good on her bare upper body as the boat bounced from wave crest to wave crest, but by the time she had negotiated the entrance to the island's main lagoon, she felt more than ready for some shade and a cool drink.

Even after nearly two years of residence, Jamie was still amazed by how well the resort blended with the island's natural setting.  Only the boathouse and a few buildings were freestanding structures, tastefully designed to resemble a traditional South Seas village.  The vast majority of the complex was designed to mimic the terraced cliffs that surrounded the island side of the lagoon.  Luxurious guest suites, spas, exercise rooms, libraries, studies, lounges, meeting rooms, dining rooms, the laboratories of Jamie's Marine Institute, the automated kitchens, storerooms, maintenance tunnels, and support facilities; almost everything was completely hidden from external view.  Even the spectacular undersea lounge built into one side of the reef was concealed, as was the docking bay for Neptune's Bride, Jamie's 100 meter submarine yacht.  (...Well, okay, it was Margo's submarine... but Jamie was the Captain!)

Jamie docked the zodiac, trusting Eve and the boathouse systems to handle its care and maintenance, but rinsed and inspected the diving equipment herself.  (Another good habit.)  Finally, reef-suit hung to dry, rebreather and dive computer plugged into their rechargers/diagnostic stands, Jamie climbed into a set of her blue Gondaloo Marine Institute coveralls, tucked her freckled feet into a worn pair of deck shoes, her damp hair into a navy blue TESSERACT cap, and headed for one of the resort kitchens.

"Any urgent messages, Eve?" she inquired.

"There is a VR message waiting for you in the SPHERUS Chamber," Eve's voice answered.

Jamie felt a thrill of anticipation.  "Is it from Gwendoline?" she asked.

"Gwendoline is involved," Eve answered.

"'Gwendoline is involved?'  What the hell does that mean?" Jamie demanded with a bemused frown.  Eve knew a simple yes-or-no question when she heard one.  Something was up.

"I've been asked to inform you that a VR message is waiting," Eve intoned.

"Asked by whom?" Jamie persisted.

"The message is meant to be a surprise," Eve said.  "If you wish to invoke command protocol and attempt to override the address restriction, you must use your code phrase; however, security overrides should only be attempted when—"

"I know the bloody rules," Jamie said... then smiled.  A surprise message and Gwen was "involved"?  The anticipatory thrill returned... in spades.  Jamie thought of Gwendoline as her "VR pen pal"... but in truth, she didn't even know if Gwen really existed.
Jamie's Story   Chapter 1
When the third generation SPHERUS Virtual Reality Chamber had first been delivered to the island, Jamie began running interactive versions of some of her favorite Internet vid-stories.  With the power of the SPHERUS system and Eve's expert help (and "imagination"), the effect had been phenomenal, infinitely more realistic than the role-playing games of her previous experience.  Jamie's passion for fantasy melodrama had reached a whole new level.  Sometimes the heroine, sometimes the villainess, (often a damsel in peril), Jamie had run numerous scenarios, all of them challenging, fun, (and exciting).

Then "Gwendoline" had entered the picture. 

Jamie began noticing that from story to story, encounter to encounter, the same tall, tan, athletic, strikingly attractive blond character keep appearing, first in "supporting roles," but increasingly as one of the main protagonists.  On impulse (during a lull in the opening chapter of a decidedly "Mature Audiences Only" Flash Gordon adventure Eve had concocted) Jamie had asked the blond character her name. 

At first taken aback, the blonde had smiled shyly and answered, "I'm... Gwendoline," in a cultured English accent—but before the conversation could continue, Emperor Ming's Elite Space Commandos attacked, and in the ensuing struggle Gwen was bound and gagged, dragged to a waiting space cruiser, and spirited away to Ming's Palace on the planet Mongo.  Jamie didn't manage to rescue her for several more game sessions, and only after having been captured herself by the Spider Queen, escaping to the tree city of Arborea, being captured again by Princess Galadria of the Cloud Amazons, and entering Ming's palace disguised as a slave girl, and—
Meanwhile, back in the "real world," (between thrilling episodes of "Rocket Rangerettes On Mongo "), Jamie had asked Eve if there was some way she could contact "Gwendoline"... and was tactfully informed that it was very bad form to inquire about another SPHERUS player, or even whether another player was a real or a generated character.  Jamie had been decidedly chagrined.  Until that moment she had believed that all of her VR adventures had been completely... private (not counting Eve, of course).  Eve explained that certain select TESSERACT employees and invited guests were also participating in "Jamie's" adventures, as part of the TESSERACT Entertainment Division's research effort... and not to worry, as with all other participants, Jamie's true identity was being carefully protected by the system.
—and the Mud People had helped Jamie enter Ming's Harem, but "Gwendoline," they discovered, had just been sentenced to the "Chamber of Exquisite Torture" for her insolent refusal to play "Mongo Twister" with Emperor Ming, so Jamie had arranged to have herself dragged to the Palace Dungeons in chains (with Galadria's disguised Amazon Warriors as her "guards") and they had rescued Gwen from a ridiculously over-complicated rack device.  (It turned out "Exquisite Torture" was something of a misnomer; "Exquisite Pleasure " might have been more accurate.  Jamie wasn't sure Gwen had actually wanted to be rescued... just yet.)  Finally, rescue, escape, game-over, Gwen had asked Jamie what her name was.

"My name's Matilda," Jamie answered.  (This time, she knew the correct SPHERUS etiquette and had a nom de VR ready.) 

Over the next several months, "Gwendoline" and "Matilda" had enjoyed (and I do mean enjoyed) many adventures together, and had became fast friends.  (...and Jamie still didn't know if Gwen was "real".)

"Hmm..." Jamie mused aloud, "I bet you and Gwen have cooked up something special, and you want me to 'come out and play.'  Is that it, Eve?"  Eve didn't answer (...which Jamie took to be her answer).  Jamie's stomach growled.  She was hungry, but another appetite was asserting its authority.  "Eve, I've decided to have a late dinner," she announced, and headed for the tunnel that led to the SPHERUS Chamber.
Jamie's Story   Chapter 1
The door to the SPHERUS Chamber hissed open and Jamie entered.  Lights flashed on the numerous electronic cabinets built into the walls, but the VR apparatus itself dominated the room.  This third generation model incorporated two spherical frameworks: a fixed outer sphere which aligned the mechanical armatures and sensor channels, and a free-rotating inner sphere, whose much smaller, rod-like armatures supported the central "VR cocoon".  (When she first saw the device, Jamie had mused that the overall effect was something like a family of gigantic steel tarantulas lying on their backs and juggling a large geodesic globe, while inside the first globe, a second family of somewhat more emaciated spiders with proportionately much longer, thinner legs, had their backs pressed against the walls of a second globe, and were juggling a robot-like suit of armor.)

Jamie walked to the second of a row of storage lockers near the door, the one bearing the label "Jamie Seton".   (The first locker was larger than the rest, and was labeled "Margo Wells".)  She used the security transponders built into her signet ring to open her locker, stripped off her coverall, deck shoes, and cap, and carefully donned a thin, white, hooded leotard.  (She knew she could enter the cocoon completely nude, but wearing the leotard made cleanup easier for Eve's maintenance robots.)  Finally, her red curls carefully tucked under the hood, a few stretching exercises confirming that the garment was aligned to give her full freedom of motion, with only her freckled hands, feet, and face exposed, Jamie approached the SPHERUS apparatus.

Jamie carefully made her way between the exterior and interior armatures, reclined inside the cocoon, and snuggling her fingers and toes into the "gloves" and "boots" of the complex exoskeleton.  "Ready, Eve," she announced.  With a soft hiss, the cocoon closed, and Jamie felt the millions of pin-sized sensor heads of the cocoon slowly slide into contact with her body.  Then, the hi-resolution visor projector built into the helmet section came to life, colors swirled, there was a moment of disorientation, and...
Jamie's Story   Chapter 1

Jamie was completely naked, gagged, and bound in a semi-reclined position.  Legs splayed widely apart, knees bent, arms outstretched and level with her shoulders, she was held in this awkward position by broad, black, tight, nylon straps encircling her wrists, elbows, forehead, throat, waist, knees, and ankles; straps which bound her to a thinly padded steel frame...

...Jamie heard footsteps approaching from behind the glare of the lights.  The footsteps grew closer—and the last person on the planet Jamie would have wished to find her in her current circumstances stepped into view. 

It was Katherine Mayfair, Margo's strikingly attractive head bodyguard, dressed in her costume of choice: skintight catsuit, boots, and gloves, all in black leather.  Jamie knew from previous encounters that "Kat" was probably the single most dangerous person she was ever likely to meet... certainly the most dangerous person on the TESSERACT payroll.  A world-class martial artist and weapons expert, Kat was fiercely loyal and protective of her employer, and she also had a well-deserved dark reputation.  Kat took an appropriately feline delight in toying with any helpless females that might fall under her control, whether in the line of duty, or... recreationally.  Jamie knew her current condition was Virtual... but it also felt very much like Reality.

"Sorry for the gag," Kat purred with a gloating smile, "but, as you are no doubt well aware, I have very little interest in anything you might have to say." 

Jamie squirmed in her bonds and mewed through her gag, despite her vulnerable position, more than a little peeved to be dismissed in such a manner by "Margo's pet kitty" as Kat was called (...a nickname no one ever used in Kat's hearing, of course... more than once).

 "Margo asked me to send you a message," Kat continued, "and I saw no reason why the setting for the message couldn't be... fun."  Kat gestured around her.  "Do you like the ambiance?  This is one of the venues I like to use when Margo asks me to... ah, communicate with employees who are, shall we say, out of favor?  Of course, Margo's petite little Aussie Freckle Fox and walking biological brain trust... namely yourself... is very much in favor, but since Margo didn't give me explicit instructions not to indulge myself, I've decided to hijack your evening's entertainment."

Jamie glared at her captor.  Stringently bound and gagged as she was, she was able to do little else.

"Of course," Kat explained, "If you don't like my choice of message formats, you can take it up with me personally... tomorrow.  That's the message, by the way," Kat smiled.  "Margo, myself, and two others will be arriving to spend a couple of days on the Island prior to the start of a series of boring business meetings in Kyoto and Shanghai.  No need for you to worry your pretty little freckled head.  Eve has already started making all the arrangements... so you can just sit back..."  Jamie squealed through her gag as Kat pressed a button on a nearby control pedestal and Jamie's "chair" abruptly reclined several more degrees.  "...and enjoy yourself."

Kat tapped another button and the robot arms surrounding Jamie hummed to life.  The naked captive squirmed and struggled as the dental drill began to whine, the "crab claw forceps" clacked ominously, the other arms picked up surgical tools, feathers, etc., then slooooowly began drawing close to several of her favorite body parts.

Kat savored this tableau for a few seconds, then sighed and tapped a third button.  Abruptly, all the robot arms dropped their various tools (which clattered, pinged, rattled, and fluttered to the floor) and returned to their original positions.

"Just kidding Freckle Fox," Kat said pleasantly, ignoring several rude and well-muffled remarks Jamie was attempting to send in her direction.  Kat then walked to one of the carts and picked up a large cotton pad and a bottle of clear liquid.  "Your actual entertainment will be a little more creative," Kat continued, "something Eve cooked up."   With a gloating smile, Kat poured some of the liquid onto the pad.  Having a good idea of what was coming, Jamie renewed her struggles, even though she knew her situation was completely hopeless. 

Kat approached with the wet pad in her right hand, and a leering grin twisting her lips, reached out, and idly ran her left hand over Jamie's flat stomach.  She then cupped the petite redhead's right breast and gently squeezed .  The pale, freckled flesh bulged between Kat's gloved fingers.  "Sooo many freckles," Jamie's leather-clad tormentor mused.  "Too many, I think.  If you were mine... I'd keep you someplace nice and dark... 'til they all just... faded... away."  Two pair of green eyes, captive and captor, locked gaze.  Kat squeezed her hand just a little more, and Jamie clenched her eyes and mewed in complaint.  Kat released Jamie's breast, and watched a white hand-print slowly fade into the fair, freckled skin.  "But you aren't mine," Kat continued, with a theatrical pout... then made a show of noticing the neglected pad in her right hand, and grinned.  "Nightie-night, Freckle Fox," she purred, and pressed the pad over Jamie's nose and gagged mouth.

Jamie's eyes grew wide as an an acrid, sweet odor seemed to fill her head, and the room began to swirl around her.  Her last impression was of Kat's grinning, gloating face, growing smaller and smaller, draining of color 'til it was ghostly pale, then black and white, and finally... gone... like everything but the darkness.
THE END   of Jamie's Story Chapter 1

Chapter 2