Jodi's Story: R-E-S-P-E-C-T
by Van © 2005

Chapter 2

All things 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 in 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 to watch!

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 vociferous manner, of course, but Eve-L was already gone.

JENNIFER ANISTON as JODIThe 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about two minutes, one minute for the cage to be completely submerged in the greasy fluid, and another for it to be withdrawn.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 head!

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's Story  Chapter 2
"...AHHHH—huh?"  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 sheets.

"What's this?" Jodi asked, nervously.  "You taking me to the 'Inquisition Prom'?"

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?"

A.I.*s have apartments?"No, no, this is fine," Jodi answered, rather absently.  She was concentrating on her surroundings.  "Where are we?"

"My place," Eve-L responded.  "Look around.  I'll get some wine."

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 Kitty."

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 tree, t-o-r-t-u-r-e!"

"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 mouth."

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..."

"Megalomaniacally evil?"

"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."
Jodi's Story  Chapter 2
Virtual lunch 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 same."

"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 do it!"

"It being?"

"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 whispered back.

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—
Jodi's Story  Chapter 2
—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.

Jodi in *the chair* (1) Wide, 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 pageboy and dark blue suit with the scandalously short mini-skirt she'd worn earlier.

"So, we meet again, Ms. Weber," Eve-L purred.

Jodi squirmed in her chair.  "Yeah, it's been all of... what... seven seconds?"

Darth Evelyn is back!Eve-L 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 warming up."


"You know... hours and hours and hours of infinitely frustrated orgasm building to a multi-climax bordering on the medically dangerous.  The usual."

"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., etc., etc.

Okay... it's worse"rrrm'MPFH!"  Oh, momma!
Jodi's Story  Chapter 2


Jodi was 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 knowledge).

Babe in Black, walking"Uh... 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 another 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 security drill?"

"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's Story  Chapter 2
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 the 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 earpiece, the 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 entrance 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 up?"

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT as JENNY LOVELLJodi 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 all."

"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 "The 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 matching digit.

"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 wrapped 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 future.

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—

CATHERINE BELL as RONNIE"Ronnie!" 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.  "What the...?"

"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 are you tied up??"

Jenny's smile became decidedly coy.  "Oh, you noticed?" she asked innocently.

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 proclaimed.

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.  "Hands up!"

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 Tae-Bo class."

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 to forearms.

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 too."

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. 

 Jodi sauntered 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 oversized bracelet, then continued to Charlie's desk and pulled two rubber balls from the still open left middle drawer.

Suddenly, 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 please—"

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?"
THE END   of Jodi's Story Chapter 2

Chapter 1 _ Chapter 3