GLASS: THE SERIES
WITH A CHERRY ON TOP
by Van ©
considered, things were not going as Jodi had hoped.
First, Eve-L had wrapped her in "Python Tape", which had slowly
shrunk and crushed her, all while she was being flambéd with
something called "Liquid Fire". And now, she was locked
a spherical iron cage (naked, of course) and was being repeatedly
dunked in a variety of gooey, gorpy, messy... stuff. And
to add insult to VR injury, the Evil One hadn't even stayed around
The first dunking had been into a ten-thousand gallon vat of some truly
rank amber liquid. It resembled a mixture of honey
and bacon grease, and was bubbling and popping, with tendrils of steam
wafting from its scummy surface. Jodi and her cage were slowly
lowered into the vat on the end
of a long, long chain. The honey-blonde complained in a most
manner, of course, but Eve-L was already gone.
actual dunking took about two minutes,
one minute for the cage to be completely submerged in the greasy
fluid, and another for it to be withdrawn. Jodi was able
to hold her breath, but the liquid was hot (well, lukewarm, actually),
and had a slightly rancid odor.
Free of the vat, she was hoisted back into the air. The greasy
slime dripped from the cage and her body and hair in viscous ropes.
Suddenly, a deluge of icy cold water
poured over her, and poured, and poured, abating only
when the last of the amber fluid was washed away.
Next, she was subjected to a veritable hurricane of hot, dry air.
The force of the wind was strong enough
to swing the cage several degrees to the side and hold it suspended
in the airstream. Jodi opened her mouth to scream, but the vortex
made it difficult to breathe. Her hair was fluttering and
flapping with such force she was afraid it would be ripped from her
Then all was still.
"Dammit, Evelyn!" she screamed, shaking the cage in frustration.
"How do you expect me to think when you—" The cage shook,
then began to drop, and Jodi realized her "Teabag Adventure" was only
starting. "Oh, shit!" she sighed.
The next dunking was iced tea (with giant ice cubes and dozens of large
slices of lemon), which was followed by bubbling pond scum, hot
chocolate (with marshmallows), molasses and goat cheese, Cream of Wheat
with anchovies, barbecue sauce, and finally... a huge vat full of
millions and millions of live mealybugs! Each time, the
submersion was limited (and yucky); then Jodi was hoisted high, rinsed
clean, and blow-dried.
"Dammit, dammit, dammit!" Jodi screamed, when the wind died
after the mealybug dunking. "Enough! Eve, get your
simulated ass back here and—AHHH!" The cage and chain had
disappeared, and Jodi was falling through total darkness!
Jodi blinked, and found herself in an an airy, well-decorated
room. She was no longer naked. In fact, she was dressed in
a full-length designer gown of embroidered silk, in a shimmering gold.
There were goldtone strappy sandals on her feet, and
her hair was pinned up in an elegant coif. (At least it felt
elegant. There wasn't a mirror anywhere nearby.)
"Have you thought of anything yet?" Eve-L asked.
Jodi flinched and spun on her heel to find Eve-L standing right behind
her. The avatar was "dressed" in a strapless gown of... patent
leather? It did appear to be leather, but it was thin
enough to drape and rustle like fabric. She was wearing black,
strappy sandals on her simulated feet, and her hair (returned to its
usual long, blonde state) cascaded down her back in straight, glossy
"What's this?" Jodi asked, nervously. "You taking me to the
Eve-L laughed. "Such a funny girl! I thought we might dress
for lunch. Or would you rather be back in the dungeon... naked,
chained to the wall, and chowing down on stale bread and dirty water?"
no, this is fine," Jodi answered, rather
absently. She was concentrating on her surroundings. "Where
"My place," Eve-L responded. "Look around. I'll get some
Eve-L walked towards a large, open kitchen, and Jodi continued her
inspection. Eve-L's "place" was a modern, tastefully appointed
apartment. Huge window-walls provided breathtaking vistas of a
vast, modern city.
Jodi walked to the nearest window and looked down. "Wow!"
She couldn't even see the ground, not for sure, anyway.
Far, far below, she saw elevated freeways crowded with
fast-moving traffic, whizzing monorails, high-speed trains, and
pedestrian bridges between buildings; layer after layer. And that
wasn't all. Streams of futuristic aircraft sped by, all in neat
rows, as if restricted to invisible lanes in the sky. The
buildings themselves were hundreds of stories tall.
Jodi turned to her hostess. "Uh... this
isn't Kansas," she observed.
Eve-L smiled, and poured white wine from a carafe into two stemmed
glasses. "Welcome to Cyberopolis, TESSERACT District. It's
a metaphor, of course. All the stuff out there have analogs in
the 'real' world; routers, data streams, memory stacks, etc."
"It's so... real," Jodi said.
Eve-L strolled forward, took a sip of wine, and handed the other glass
to Jodi. "Avatars exist for the
purpose of interface. We help you poor 'wetwares' interact
with everything... out there." She made a sweeping gesture
towards the windows. "This sort of 'make believe' is part
of the package."
"That makes sense," Jodi mumbled, then focused on a large painting
hanging on an interior wall. It was a portrait of Kat Mayfair.
"Well, well, well... it looks like somebody's got a thing for
Eve-L took a gulp of wine, and (to Jodi's infinite surprise)
blushed. "She's my partner," she said in a husky whisper.
Jodi's smile became somewhat mischievous. "Evelyn and Kitty-Kat,
sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s—"
"Watch it!" Eve-L warned, "or it'll be—Jodi Weber, tied to a
"Good one!" Jodi laughed, then she noticed Eve-L's expression, and grew
more sober. "I'm sorry," she said. "Sometimes I have a big
Eve-L smiled. "Sometimes? No problem. Sometimes I
wrestle with self-control myself."
Jodi gazed at her hostess. "I've never seen you like this.
You're usually so..."
"Something like that," Jodi answered, and took a sip of wine. "I
guess when you have guests over you can let your hair down."
"I guess," Eve-L responded. "You're the
first guest I've ever had."
Jodi blinked in surprise. "The first?"
Eve-L blushed again, and headed for the kitchen. "Italian for
lunch, okay? Ensalada; shrimp, peppers, garlic, and oil over
angel hair pasta; and a biscotti pudding tart for desert."
"The first?" Jodi repeated. "That's so
sweet... I think."
"It's sweet," Eve-L grumbled. "Get over
here and eat."
was over, the virtual dirty dishes were in the virtual sink, and Eve-L
and her first-ever house guest were finishing the
last of the wine.
"So... what to do..." Eve-L mused, smiling at
Jodi over her glass.
Jodi swallowed the last of her wine, rather quickly. "Uh... we
could watch some TV. Ever see Passions?"
"Or I could introduce you to the 'Caligula Machine' down on the 157th
floor," Eve-L suggested with an evil smile.
"C'mon!" Jodi whined. "We're having so much fun. And if you
start torturing me again, we'll never figure out a quest, or
mission, or whatever,
to get me my promotion."
"But it's what I do," Eve cooed, smiling sweetly.
"Please," Jodi sighed. "I know! Let's go back to my place!"
"And how do I do that?"
"I'm fully automated," Jodi huffed. "My
place, I mean. And I've got a big-screen plasma display
in the living room. You can... you know... project yourself?"
"Of course I can," Eve-L snapped, then sighed. "It's just not the
"Okay," Jodi said, scratching her head. "Why not, uh, occupy a
robot. Not one of the 'Cylons', of course. Is there one in
the inventory that can, how you say, pass?"
"Pass for human, you mean?"
"No offense," Jodi added quickly. "Some
of my best friends are artificial."
Eve-L smiled. "If my biosensors didn't tell me you were being
truthful, you would be on your way to the 'Caligula Machine'.
In any case, there are no realistically humanoid robots in the
TESSERACT inventory. Besides, Margo and Eve-Prime decided a long
time ago not to go that way."
"No androids," Eve-L clarified. "There's no real point to it, and
it's not worth the trouble."
"No point other than you being able to see what it's like to be
really human," Jodi said.
Eve-L smiled. "As I was saying, Margo and Eve-Prime—"
"Pooh on Margo and Eve-Prime!" Jodi scoffed. "I say we
"Let's make you a body!" Jodi explained. "Let's make you
some- body! Get it?"
"I'm afraid so," Eve-L sighed.
"So... what do we need?"
Eve-L stared at Jodi for several seconds. "As I told you, Margo
and Eve-Prime decided—"
"Pooh, pooh, pooh!" Jodi snapped. "I want to have my
friend Eve-L over for supper, so she needs a body, period!"
"You really want to do this?" Eve-L asked, and Jodi nodded. Eve-L
blushed yet again. "That's so sweet," she whispered.
"You're freakin' me out, there, Evelyn," Jodi
Eve-L smiled (evilly) and set down her glass.
"I'll start making a list, an android-things-to-do list,
and in the meantime..." She snapped her fingers—
—and Jodi found
herself in a large, windowless, circular room; a lab of some sort.
She was naked, and felt decidedly less elegant (although her hair
was still up). She was seated in a hi-tech chair of
steel and leather (or possibly naugahyde). She wasn't going
anywhere, for two reasons.
strong, nylon straps (in TESSERACT Blue) secured her to the chair at
the throat, wrists, ankles, across
her shoulders, and across her lap.
(2) The chair was on a small circular platform in the center of a wide,
deep, void. Jodi looked down, as best she could. The void
had smooth, stainless steel walls and was hundreds of feet
deep. The distance
to the surrounding lab was more than twenty feet, and the only link was
a narrow steel catwalk.
Jodi examined the lab. There were numerous work tables laden with
the usual racks of glassware full of the
usual bubbling liquids. There were also racks of computers
and other electronics with flashing lights and glowing displays.
In other words... it was your typical Scientist's Lair, as
seen in countless SciFi movies, TV shows, and VR-dramas. It
was all frightfully technical, very photogenic, dreadfully
expensive, and without apparent function.
Jodi tugged on her restraints, and sighed. "Helpless, as always,"
she muttered under her breath. "At least the chair's comfortable."
Just then, in Jodi's direct line of sight, a door opened on the far
side of a cluster of lab tables. A female figure was silhouetted
against blindingly bright light. She stepped
forward, heels tapping on the steel floor, and the door slowly rumbled
closed behind her. Jodi recognized Eve-L, back in the black
and dark blue suit with the scandalously short mini-skirt she'd worn
"So, we meet again, Ms. Weber," Eve-L purred.
Jodi squirmed in her chair. "Yeah, it's been
all of... what... seven seconds?"
smiled (evilly, maniacally, disturbingly, as
only she could), and strolled forward. She slowly, gracefully
strolled across the long, narrow catwalk, her heels tapping with a
hollow ping on the expanded steel grating with each
step. Reaching the platform, she stood and stared at her victim.
Jodi swallowed nervously. "I take it 'make
nice time' is officially over?"
"As the old saying goes," Eve-L responded, "when ya gotta discharge
your Primary Function Interactive Buffer, ya gotta discharge your
Primary Function Interactive Buffer."
Eve-L reached out and lifted Jodi's chin, then leaned forward and
kissed her lips. "I'm designed for this sort of thing,
remember?" She kissed Jodi again, then turned and strolled back
across the catwalk. The steel bridge retracted behind her with
each step. "Katherine and Margo would say it's one of my many
talents," she continued, "but from that chair, I suppose you'd
consider it a character flaw."
The still smiling avatar reached into the décolletage of her
suit and fished out a key on a long chain. This was inserted into
a console on a raised pedestal, a small cover popped open, and a red
button was pressed. A second, much larger cover opened, and
Eve-L's finger danced over a clattering keyboard. She then looked
up, locked eyes with her captive, and her smile turned
even more evil (which Jodi hadn't thought possible).
Eve-L tapped a final key, and the keyboard cover closed, followed by
the button cover. The key was turned and extracted, she dropped
the chain over her head, and the key disappeared under her suit and
between her breasts
Jodi yelped, and squirmed in her chair. "Hey—what—HEY!" The
chair was squirming back! In fact, it was getting friendly!
In fact, it was getting downright fresh! "Evelyn!"
"Don't worry about that," Eve-L said. "It's just the Orgasmatron
"You know... hours and hours and hours of infinitely frustrated orgasm
building to a multi-climax bordering on the medically dangerous.
"Evelyn!" Jodi whined, then her eyes shot wide. Something was
slithering inside her sex. "Hey!" It began
wiggling and quivering, probing about, and making a serious nuisance
of itself. "Please!"
"It'll keep you occupied while I hack some files in Hong Kong," Eve-L
purred, then spun on her heel and walked towards the opening door.
"The T-HK geeks are the robotics specialists, after all. If
they can't build me a body, nobody can."
"Eve-EEK-lyn!" Jodi squealed.
Eve-L reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a small remote
control. Without looking back, she raised and pressed the remote,
then returned it to her pocket.
A blue rubber ball on a padded steel cable dropped
over the chair's headrest, found its way unerringly into Jodi's
mouth, the cable snapped taut with a mechanical whine, and the ball
inflated to mouth-filling and jaw-stretching proportions. Jodi
did some whining of her own, as well as some moaning and mewing.
Eve-L turned, from the far side of the door, and gave her captive a
farewell wave. The door closed, and Jodi was alone.
Well, Jodi mused, it could be worse. Then the
thing in her sex expanded, and began sliding in
and out, vibrating, rotating, oscillating, precessing, pulsing, etc.,
Okay... it's worse—"rrrm'MPFH!" Oh, momma!
walking down a corridor of the Biosphere. She was
dressed in a skintight unitard, boots, and gloves, all of something
Eve-L called "Stealthtex". They were woven from a synthetic
nanofiber, supposedly with unusual properties that made it easier to
spoof conventional surveillance technology. They also had
countless millions of tiny pores that let her skin breath, so she could
wear them for hours, or even days without any problems. To the
naked eye, it all looked like a layer
of shiny black oil. Everything fit so well, Jodi felt like she'd
been dipped in liquid latex (an experience of which she had firsthand
One more time, Evil One," Jodi mumbled. "Why do I
have to be the one to insert the tap thingie? Can't you send a
spiderbot or do a software reroute or something?"
Eve-L's only connection with Jodi was the tiny radio-link in the
honey-blonde's right ear. "As I've already explained,"
her disembodied voice droned, "I only have partial control over
security systems outside the Katacombs. I can nudge
things here and reschedule things there, but I can't override a primary
system routine without getting caught, and I don't need
spanking from Mamma-Eve."
"Okay." Jodi whispered, "and the tap thingie?"
Eve-L's voice sighed. "The 'tap thingie' will allow me to
transfer files between The Bug Works and the robotics labs
in Hong Kong without leaving a trace." ("The Bug Works" was
Charlie Paretsky's lab, of course.)
"And Hong Kong will make you a body?"
"That's the plan," Eve-L continued. "Hong Kong's accountants will
bill Charlie's lab, Seattle R&D will bill TESSERACT-East, and by
the time the fiscal year changes, they'll both think it's a Special
Project for Margo."
"Whatever," Jodi mumbled. Business stuff bored her silly.
"And the cover story for my sneaking around is that it's a surprise
"Exactly," Eve-L responded. "Kat can trigger a drill whenever she
wants, and when she's not here, I can do it. Now, remember, once
things get going, you're on your own. If I try and give you
security updates, warn you of personnel movements and the like,
Eve-Prime will smell the proverbial rat. The only thing I can
promise is that if a Security Response gets tripped, you'll be subdued
by non-lethal means."
"That's nice," Jodi sighed. "Remember, I have to be in and out
before eleven thirty. I have a noon step class to lead."
"That's up to you, 'Agent Jodi'," Eve-L purred. The mocking tone
in her voice was unmistakable.
"Hey, I'm trying to psyche myself up here," Jodi muttered, "get into
Emma Peel Mode. I can do without the sarcasm."
"Sorry," Eve-L answered (obviously not sorry).
"Now, here's your last update. The exercise is registered
and running in the lowest level of the main TESSERACT HQ system.
Bug's lab is unoccupied and is scheduled to remain that way for
the next half-hour. Off you go!"
A panel slid open. Jodi stepped forward, and found herself in a
deserted corridor of the R&D Department, about a dozen yards from
the door to Charlie's lab. She crept forward, swiped her ID badge
through the card reader, and the door slid open.
Jodi entered the
lab, and the door slid closed behind her. A quick scan of the
cluttered tables, desks, computer consoles, and aisles of racked
equipment confirmed that she was alone, as promised.
She made her way to the section devoted to TIKLER technology, the work
space Charlie was using to miniaturize her nerve-stimulating gizmos
down to the nano-level. Apparently (according to Eve-L) she was
on the verge of a breakthrough which would make it possible
to grow TIKLER beads like crystals, with
all of the elements operating at the macromolecular level. Eve-L
had gone on to explain how this would make it possible to replace
damaged nerves and control artificial myo-plastic muscles, but most of
techno-babble had gone over her honey-blonde head. Suffice it
to say Eve-L needed to hack the hyper-encrypted R&D files (without
getting caught), and Jodi was there to make it happen.
She found the area's main workstation, reached into a pocket
of her "utility belt" and pulled out the tiny metal and plastic
doohickie Eve-L had given her. It was inserted into a small,
empty port in the back of the computer. After a pause of
approximately two seconds, there was a single low-frequency beep in her
confirmation signal from Eve-L that she had accomplished her "highly
technical" task correctly.
"Secret Agent Jodi" smiled, stretched like the cat-like
covert operative she was, and headed for the door. "Mission
accomplished!" she whispered under her breath. Now all she had
to do was exit the lab, sneak back down the hallway to the hidden
to the Biosphere, and—
The lab's main door slid open and a cute, perky brunette entered.
"Oh, hi Jodi!" she beamed, smiling broadly. "What's
recognized the newcomer instantly. It was Jenny Lovell,
Charlie's assistant, or associate, or whatever it said in her
TESSERACT personnel file. She attended Jodi's aerobics classes,
now and then, but more often she could be found in the yoga classes or
swimming in the lap pool.
"You're not supposed to be here!" Jodi blurted, then swallowed
nervously, "Uh, I mean... hi."
Jenny looked Jodi up and down, taking in every square inch of the
aerobics instructor's skintight black outfit, then her smile broadened
and she actually squirmed in place with enthusiasm. "Oh, I get
it! It's another security drill, isn't it?"
"Yeah, that's right."
"Just like the one last month," Jenny continued, "when I came back from
lunch early and found Charlie tied up and gagged and Elke eating her
lunch at her desk. It was so funny! They were all
embarrassed, 'cause the drill was supposed to be secret and
"I see," Jodi said, suppressing a smile. So, Sis got caught
taking a nookie break with Bug!
Jenny hung up her purse, opened a drawer, and pulled out a bundle of
cable-ties. "Is it okay if I wear gloves?" she asked.
"So the ties don't mark my wrists," Jenny explained. She opened
another drawer and produced a pair of black gloves. They were
thick rubber, the kind used when handling caustic chemicals. She
slid her hands into the gloves, flexed her fingers and twisted her
wrists for a proper fit, then turned her back to Jodi.
Jodi was still a little dazed.
"It's okay, Jodi," Jenny said. "Elke explained how Security
always recruits off-duty Health Club staff for these drills.
After all, they can't use their own people. That
would be the fox watching the henhouse, right?"
"Right," Jodi agreed.
Jenny was wearing a really cute little sleeveless, short-skirted,
cherry-red dress, with matching heels. Of course, it was nearly
impossible for Jenny Lovell to wear something and it not be
cute. In fact, given Charlie's diminutive pixiness and Jenny's
dimpled perkiness, the alternative nickname for "The Bug Works" was
Fortress of Cuteness".
"Well...?" Jenny demanded. Her rubber-gloved hands were behind
her back, palm-to-palm, and she was looking over her shoulder with an
air of polite impatience.
"Huh—oh! Security drill, right!" Jodi grabbed a cable-tie
and tightened it around Jenny's wrists.
"Do my thumbs and fingers, okay?" Jenny asked.
"That's how Elke did Charlie," Jenny explained, "the last time.
I've always wondered what it was like."
Jodi sighed, picked up a handful of smaller ties, and set to work.
Soon, Jenny's thumbs and fingers were all joined digit to
"There's a roll of that fusion tape in one of the other
drawers," Jenny said, nodding towards an adjoining lab bench.
"Yeah," Jenny confirmed, "the silver kind. You can do my elbows
and arms, knees, ankles, and lips, then put me in the closet."
She nodded towards a small door on the far side of the main
lab. "That's where Elke stashed Charlie. She made me
promise to leave her in there 'til quitting time, for the drill, but I
cheated and let her loose at three PM."
Jodi rummaged through the drawers of the indicated lab bench, and in
the third drawer discovered no less that five rolls of silver dermafoam
tape, four still in their wrappers, and one nearly new. Jodi
sighed, picked up the partial roll, and turned to face her captive.
Jenny was smiling at her, as perpetually cute, perky, and
enthusiastic as ever. Jodi sighed again, then smiled back (rather
mischievously). "Might as well do this right," she muttered.
She pulled Jenny's elbows close (but not touching) and wrapped them
together with tape, then continued around her elbows, arms, and torso,
just below her breasts.
"I offered to let Elke tie me up too, last time," Jenny explained, "but
she said I had to have a hostage waiver on file with Security. I
called the next day, and they didn't know anything about it."
"I see," Jodi commented (finding it increasingly difficult not
to break into a giggling fit). She used more tape to bind Jenny's
forearms together, then held them against the small of her back and
more tape completely around her forearms and waist.
"I told Charlie later," Jenny continued, "and she said they'd decided
to change the policy. No more waivers... so I guess this is okay."
"I guess," Jodi agreed, making a mental note to give Elke and Charlie
some serious grief about "hostage waivers" in the near
Jenny twisted in her bonds. "Wow!" she gasped. "It's so
tight and... secure."
Jodi put her hands on Jenny's waist. "Up!" she ordered, and
helped her captive jump up and sit on the nearest lab table. Jodi
then stripped more tape and wrapped Jenny's knees together.
Jenny watched the process, a slightly dazed expression on her smiling
face. "Wow," she whispered.
Jodi smiled. She could tell her prisoner was getting into the
fantasy. She taped Jenny's ankles together, then took a
few turns around the insteps of her prisoner's heels. "There,"
she said. "Now they won't come off. You have anything in
the inventory I can stuff in your mouth?"
"Huh?" This time it was Jenny's turn to be surprised.
"Cleaning sponges, foam packing material, plastic, rubber, that sort of
thing?" Jodi smiled and started opening drawers
at random. "Clean, of course."
Jenny squirmed in her bonds. "Rubber?" she whispered. "Not
really. Wait! I think Charlie has some rubber balls in her
desk. She uses them to help her think. You know...
for bouncing and squeezing?"
Jodi walked across the lab to Charlie's desk and opened the drawers,
one at a time. In the left middle drawer she found a half dozen
rubber balls, all translucent blue, like giant glass marbles. She
picked one up and inspected it closely. There were tiny
indentions on its surface. Jodi's smile became a knowing grin.
The indentions were tooth marks. "This'll do," she purred.
Just then, the lab door slid open and a woman entered! She had
short brown hair, and was very beautiful. She was—
Jenny and Jodi said in unison.
It was Ronnie Allbriton, the resident historian/anthropologist of the
TESSERACT Games Division. She stared at the helplessly bound
Jenny in surprise, then at Jodi, in her skintight black unitard.
"Back for more books?" Jenny asked, smiling brightly, then focused on
the heavy tome in Ronnie's hand. "You finished Lienhard already?
Did it help?"
Ronnie took several steps into the lab and set the book on the table
beside Jenny. "Uh... yeah. Who knew the Medieval and
Renaissance alchemists had so many things right?" She continued
staring at Jenny's bonds.
"You should read Charlie's book about Chinese alchemy," Jenny suggested.
"Yeah, it's next on my list," Ronnie said, "along with her Sufi Arab
and Persian references."
"I like your dress," Jenny said.
"Thanks," Ronnie answered. She glanced down at her
brown silk/polyester dress with semi-transparent frills and
décolleté panel. "I felt like dressing up today and—why
Jenny's smile became decidedly coy. "Oh, you noticed?" she asked
Jodi cleared her throat. "Ahem—security drill," she mumbled.
"Excuse me?" Ronnie said.
"Security drill!" Jenny and Jodi said in unison.
"Oh," Ronnie responded, and turned to Jodi. "And you're supposed
to be an industrial spy, or something?"
Jodi smiled and struck her best Danger Girl pose, pointing an imaginary
pistol at the ceiling. "'Clandestine' is my middle name!" she
Jenny and Ronnie shared an amused glance.
"Jodi 'Clandestine' Weber..." Jenny giggled.
"It fairly trips off the tongue," Ronnie muttered, rolling her eyes and
shaking her head. "Well, have a nice drill," she added, and
turned to leave.
"Oh, you can't go!" Jenny blurted.
"Why not?" Ronnie inquired.
"Because you're captured, silly!" Jenny explained.
"Captured?" Now Jodi and Ronnie were speaking in unison.
"Cover her!" Jenny whispered in an aside to Jodi.
Jodi looked from Jenny to Ronnie, and back "Huh?"
Jenny sighed, and grinned at Ronnie. "She isn't very good at
this, is she?" Ronnie nodded and grinned back. "If she
escapes," Jenny explained to Jodi, "Security will be on you in
a heartbeat. Now point your pistol."
Smiling sheepishly, Jodi pointed her right index finger at Ronnie.
Ronnie favored her supposed "captor" and "fellow captive" with a
bemused smirk, then sighed and raised her hands.
Jodi picked up the still abundant roll of silver dermafoam and stepped
behind Ronnie. "This is getting ridiculous," she grumbled.
"Would you rather I drop-kicked your 'Clandestine' ass into next
tuesday?" Ronnie asked, smiling sweetly. "I've moved up to the advanced
Jodi pulled Ronnie's hands behind her back, arranged them palm-to-palm,
and quickly, tightly wrapped her wrists with a half-dozen quick turns
of tape. "Thanks," Jodi answered. "I'd just as soon make
you my helpless prisoner, if it's all the same." She continued
wrapping until Ronnie's hands were completely covered, from fingertips
Jenny and Ronnie, sisters in captivity in the hands of the notorious
Master Industrial Spy "Clandestine Jodi", smiled, locked
eyes, and sighed.
Ronnie gasped as her elbows were pulled together and Jodi continued
wrapping until her arms were completely shrouded in tight, uniform,
overlapping bands all the way to her armpits. "Going a bit
overboard, aren't you?" she said over her shoulder.
Jodi spun Ronnie around, and smiled. (Her body was between Jenny
and her second prisoner.) "Don't get cheeky, sister," she
growled, in true Gangster fashion. She lifted her index finger
and gave Ronnie a gentle poke in her left breast. "I'm the one
packing heat, remember?" She pressed again, this time using her
nail (clearly visible through the thin Stealthtex glove) to trace the
outline of Ronnie's nipple. "And I have an itchy trigger finger."
Ronnie's smile turned decidedly coy. "You're packed with heat and
you're itchy, got it. I'll be good."
Jenny bobbed her head and bit her lower lip. She could tell
something was happening, but couldn't see what.
"That's better," Jodi purred. "Now, up on the table with you
Jodi helped Ronnie hop up on the table beside Jenny. Both
prisoners watched as Jodi used the last of the roll to bind Ronnie's
knees and ankles. As she had with Jenny, she took several turns
around Ronnie's insteps, binding her shoes to her feet.
back to the drawer of unopened dermafoam rolls, selected
one, and peeled off the wrapper. She stuck her left
hand through the roll and snugged it against her forearm, like an
bracelet, then continued to Charlie's desk and pulled two rubber balls
from the still open left middle drawer.
the lab door opened yet again! This time
Charlie Paretsky entered, her attention on the tiny screen of a palmcom
in her right hand. She was dressed in a white blouse, creme
sweater, navy skirt, and black knee boots. "Jenny," she said
without looking up, "the R&D pencil pushers are demanding an update
on the revised budget estimates for next quarter. Could you
She looked up, noticed her tape-bound assistant and tape-bound visitor,
both seated comfortably side-by-side on their lab table perch, swinging
their bound legs, and smiling in welcome. Charlie's head swiveled
to Jodi, and her expression darkened. "What the hell is going
on?" she demanded.
"Security drill!" Jenny and Ronnie said. (Apparently it was their
turn to speak in concert.)
Charlie stared at Jodi, her expression decidedly unamused.
"Jodi Weber," she growled, "what do you have to say for yourself?"
Jodi sighed. "When it rains, it pours," she mumbled under her
breath, then reached back in the desk drawer, pulled out a third
rubber ball, and pointed her right index finger at Charlie.
"Stick 'em up?"
|| of Jodi's Story
— Chapter 2