by Van   © 2003
—Chapter 2
To see the actresses I would cast in preproduction: THE MOTION PICTURE, please follow this LINK , and use your browser's "Back" feature to return.
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Bess cast a forlorn glance at the door, hoping that Maggie would return.  She then lifted her hands and regarded her "Slave Mitts," the plastic sheathes that made even the simple task of turning of a standard door knob an absurd impossibility.  Finally she shrugged, turned, and approached the first work in the gallery.  It was a large bronze on a three foot pedestal.  The subject was a nude woman, semi-reclined on a tilted slab of rough stone.  Her arms were raised and manacled to a ring set into the rock.  Her left knee was bent and her left sole flat on the hard surface; her right leg fully extended and the foot en pointe.  Her ankles were shackled, the heavy connecting chain passing through a second ring set lower down the boulder.  Her head was turned to the left and half obscured by her long, wavy hair.  She was very beautiful, both in form and features. Her waist was narrow, her breasts full and rounded, her limbs lithe and well toned, her feet perfect, her hands strong and graceful.  Her eyes were downcast and her lips slightly parted, her expression and demeanor at once sad and brave.  Realistic and natural, the meter long bronze maiden was truly stunning.  The plaque on the pedestal read "ANDROMEDA (FINAL TEST CASTING.)"

Bess recognized the piece from catalog illustrations.  It was one of Maggie Kilborn's early works, one that had solidified her reputation and launched her career into high gear.  Bess walked a slow circuit around the mass of dark metal, mesmerized.   The photos didn't even begin to do it justice, she mused.  It was as if the bronze beauty was alive.  Bess almost convinced herself the metal maiden was breathing.  "Poor Princess," Bess whispered under her breath, then started, shaking her head to break the spell.  "She's good!" the embarrassed brunette muttered and turned to the next sculpture.

This one was new.  Bess certainly would have remembered it if she'd seen it in the catalogs.  It was also in bronze, a tableau of two figures.  One was a young woman with short hair, dressed in Victorian bush costume: boots, mid-calf riding skirt, military jacket, gloves, and pith helmet.  A mischievous grin on her pert face, she was gazing down at a cage.  Inside the cage was the second figure, a bound and gagged nearly naked young woman.  The prisoner had hair identical to the gloating Victorian; however, she was dressed in what amounted to a leather bikini.  She also had a necklace of animal teeth around her throat and bracelets of hammered metal on her upper arms. Her wrists were bound behind her back and more rope bound her ankles, knees, and elbows, and bands of rope framed her breast and pinned her arms to her sides.  Her gag appeared to be a thick scarf, which was very tightly cleaving her grimacing mouth.  The young woman outside the cage was gloating and happy.  The young woman inside the cage was angry and very much un-happy.

There was something else...  Bess examined the figures' features more closely.   They're... the same, she realized, twins!  The plaque on the pedestal read "REUNION-I (FINAL TEST CASTING.)"  Again, the style was realistic and natural.  Bess smiled.  One twin a "jungle girl," the other "civilized."  Separated at birth, no doubt, Bess thought.   The story practically tells itself... from a single frozen moment .  She's not just good... she's brilliant.

The twins were the subject of the next statue as well, only this time the jungle girl (still in bikini, necklace, and slave bracelets) was free.  She was leaning on a spear with a very self-satisfied smile on her pixie face and her civilized sibling was tied to a tree.   The tables have turned!  Cute!  The captive's bush costume was ripped and tattered.  Her back was to the tree and braided jungle vines lashed her in place from her throat to her booted ankles.  A stick was tied between her teeth, her pith helmet was abandoned on the jungle floor, and it was her turn to be angry.  The plague read "REUNION-II (FINAL TEST CASTING.)"

The remaining sculptures were rather more tame, yet every bit as vibrant and engaging.  One was a clear crystal of a nude dancer.  Another was a bronze of a nude woman curled into a tight fetal tuck.  Another was a nude self portrait in marble, the likeness of Maggie Kilborn unmistakable.  She was kneeling back on her heels with her hands gracefully resting on her thighs.  Bess smiled.  In the flesh Maggie's jeans and top had done little to disguise her figure, and in marble she was enough to make Hef gulp his Viagra.  Stunning.

Bess turned to the last sculpture and her smile became an expression of awe.  The pedestal was low and the bronze figure life size.  It was a woman (apparently all Maggie's subjects were women) and she was dressed in a rather Xena-esque corset-like harness and breastplate and a pair of open-toed sandal boots with greaves.  A broken sword lay at her feet.  An iron collar was around her neck, linked to manacles and shackles by a heavy chain.  Her long tousled hair half-obscured her face, strands plastered to her skin as if by sweat..  A bandage was tied around her left bicep, the finish of one small patch somehow suggesting the dampness of soaked blood.  Held at her waist, her captive hands were clenched in tight fists, her flushed beautiful features defiant.  The plaque at the base was much smaller than the others, the font tiny and difficult to read.  Bess knelt and leaned forward.  It read "UNCONQUERABLE  (FINAL TEST CASTING.)"

Still kneeling, Bess raised her head... and gasped.  The effect was electric.  The bronze amazon captive was athletic, strong, and radiated charisma.  That's why she made the plaque so tiny, Bess realized, so I'd kneel and get this perspective .

"My second choice for the title was 'The Double Riddle of Steel.'"

Bess started.  Maggie Kilborn had returned.

"You surprised me," Bess gasped.  She scrambled to her feet, then realized the knot in her robe's sash was coming untied.  She lifted her hands to retie it, and realized this would be impossible while locked in "Slave Mitts."  She tried to hold the robe closed but found the mitts' slippery plastic covering was making this impossible as well.

Maggie smiled and studiously ignored Bess' blushing, awkward struggle.  "I apologize," the redhead said.  "I'm so used to pattering about here all alone.  Next time I'll cough politely... or ring a gong."  She gestured towards the captive bronze.  "Isn't she stunning?  I know that sounds conceited.  I wasn't referring to the technical or artistic aspects of the piece, but the model."

Her arms crossed above her chest (the only way she could maintain her modesty), Bess nodded.  "She's Andromeda as well, and at least two of the others."

"Very perceptive," Maggie said, then stepped behind Bess and grabbed the shoulder seams of the robe.  "Let me help you with that."

Bess opened her arms, but was alarmed when rather than close and retie the robe, Maggie removed it completely.  "Uh..."

"Don't," Maggie commanded.  She spun Bess around and looked her nude body up and down.  "Oh... very nice.  Yes.  You've never modeled?  Really?"

Maggie blushed and covered her sex with her right hand (and mitt) and her breasts with her left arm.  "Uh... no.  Can I please—"

"Stop that," Maggie scolded, slapping the mitt covering Bess' private parts.  "Hold your hands at your sides."  Bess hesitated.  "Are you going to model for me or not?" Maggie demanded.

"Boom-Boom... I mean Steph didn't say anything about nude modeling," Bess protested, still blushing.

"What part of 'whatever it takes to move things along' has you confused?" Maggie snapped.  

"I'm not a piece of meat," Bess whispered.

"And I'm not a butcher," Maggie responded, then reached out and lifted Bess chin, using her other hand to part the brunette's tousled hair and pull it to either side, tucking errant strands behind her ears.  "You have a beautiful face."

"It's not that beautiful," Bess muttered.

"Your features are even and pleasing and when you smile..."

Despite herself, and still blushing, Bess felt her lips curl into an amused smirk.

"There it is," Maggie purred.  "That quirky little grin... and that petite moue you get when embarrassed... that's the one.  You're very beautiful Bess.  When Star Fox is sorted out I just have to capture you."

"Capture me?"

"In bronze, silly," Maggie said with a chuckle.  "In case you haven't noticed, I've captured you in person already."

Bess laughed, then blushed again, clenching her fists inside their inescapable mitts.  It's true, she realized, and felt a frisson of sexual tension pass through her body.

"Hands at your side," Maggie repeated, and this time Bess complied.  Maggie took a step back.  "Hands raised... higher.  Mitts atop your head."  Still blushing, Bess followed every command.  "Slow turn."  Bess shuffled until her back (and clenched behind) was to her... captor?  "Stop."

Maggie stepped forward and took Bess' right mitt, pulled it behind her back, then the left mitt and pulled it down as well.  Bess heard a quiet click... and found her hands were joined behind her back, by the rings of the mitts' cuffs.  "What the—"

"This is how the first captured Ranger gets led into the Interrogation Chamber in Scene 23," Maggie said, spinning Bess around by her shoulders.

"But she's not naked!" Bess objected.

"I don't do costumes," Maggie huffed (as if that explained everything), then walked away towards the door.  Bess watched her depart, pulling on her inescapable mitten-cuffs.  "Are you coming?" Maggie asked from the gallery threshold.  "I'll let you back into the gallery later if you want a better look."

"Uh... sorry."  Bess pattered after her captor.  Her robe lay abandoned on the gallery floor, at the feet of the unconquerable bronze amazon.

—Chapter 2
Maggie continued through the house at a rapid pace.  Bess struggled a dozen strides behind, unable to close the gap despite her best efforts.  They reached what was obviously the kitchen, but the nude prisoner wasn't granted time to inspect the large, airy room.  Her captor and employer was waiting, holding a door to the outside open and frowning impatiently.

"You have to learn to follow orders immediately if this is going to work," the redhead said sternly.

Bess paused at the threshold.  The sun was setting and the air had become a little brisk.  "We're going outside?"

"You have a mind like a steel trap," Maggie said with an impatient sigh.  "The Star Fox prototypes are in my largest studio.  It's not far."  Before Bess could object further Maggie gave her a gentle shove and they were outside.

Bess blinked and pulled on her mitt-cuffs as Maggie pulled the door closed behind them. The path under their bare feet was concrete.  It was the color of the native soil and blended into the surrounding vegetation and rocks as if it were completely natural.  The hard surface was cool under Bess' feet, textured to provide traction but not rough enough to be uncomfortable.  The evening breeze lifted a few strands of her tousled hair and Bess was embarrassed to find her nipples responding to the cool gusts.  She blushed when she found Maggie inspecting her body with detached interest.

"I love goose flesh like that," the sculptress whispered.  "It's very difficult to capture."  With a final leering smile she turned and continued down the path.

Bess jogged to catch up (blushing again when she realized her breasts were flopping and oscillating as she ran.)  They passed several bunker-like doors and finally came to a concrete wall set into the hilltop.  It had a large steel garage-style door set beside a steel pedestrian door.  Maggie punched a code into a keypad and the smaller door clicked and opened.   She led Bess inside and the shivering brunette was glad to find the large dark space within well-heated.  The door closed behind them and Maggie thumbed a wall switch.  Overhead fixtures illuminated a series of tall curtains on metal tracks suspended from a complex tackle of chains, ropes, and pulleys.  Bess recognized the "green screens" used for special effects.  Elements were filmed in the foreground and the uniformly bright green background provided by the backlit curtains was replaced by the image of the director's choice.  In the old days it was done with difficult and expensive masking and compositing.  Now, in the Digital Age of Hollywood, it was relatively cheap and easy.

Maggie pulled back a long curtain and Bess beheld a large platform with two curving uprights.  The base was a rounded oval, the uprights were like two great elephant tusks curving inwards.  Base and tusks were painted a glistening gunmetal gray and as Maggie led her forward Bess could see a myriad of fine details.  Curving pipes and conduits emerged, ran flush along the base or tusks for varying lengths, parted and rejoined at complex junctions, then disappeared back under the surface.  Maggie threw a switch and dozens of dim red lights began flashing and blinking on the tusk's inner sides.

Bess was positioned on the platform between the two tusks.  They loomed to either side like nine foot steel fangs.  Maggie knelt at Bess' feet and before the nude captive realized what was happening soft black nylon cuffs were wrapped around her ankles.  They were held snug by broad bands of velcro and were stitched to narrow black nylon straps that trailed along the platform and disappeared into the base of each tusks.  "What's this?" Bess demanded.

Maggie stood and began fumbling with and released whatever was locking Bess' mitts behind her back.  "Scene 23?  Are you usually this inattentive?"

Bess watched as long nylon straps on swivel snaps were clipped to the rings on the cuffs of the mitts.  She followed the straps and found they disappeared into steel housings set in the tips of either tusk.  She realized she was now inescapably albeit very loosely bound, left ankle and left wrist to the left tusk, right ankle and right wrist to the right tusk.  "Interrogation?  Th-this is the interrogation scene set?" she stammered.

Maggie walked over to a computer on a workstation desk.  "I'll ask the questions, Star Ranger spy," she said with an amused smirk, then tapped several keys on the computer's keyboard.  Bess noted that the monitor was an HDTV flat screen, the CPU one of Apple's most powerful (and expensive.)

Bess heard a quiet hum and noted with alarm that the straps attached to her ankle and mitt cuffs were shortening, reeling into their housings at the base and tips of the tusks!  "Hey!"

Maggie ignored her captive's concern, continuing to tap the keys.

"Uh... Maggie?"  Bess' ankles were pulled about three feet apart, then the ankle straps locked with a quivering vibration.  The wrist straps continued to shorten, inexorably pulling Bess' wrists higher and higher.  "Ms. Kilborn?"

"What is it?" Maggie demanded, her eyes on the monitor, continuing to tap keys.

"Uh... stop this thing, okay?  Please?"  The straps were taut and Bess was being pulled up onto her toes.  "Maggie! "  The straps locked and quivered and Bess found herself in a standing spreadeagle.

"Oh, good," Maggie muttered.  "I got the calculations right.  You're not getting stretched too badly, are you?"

Bess tugged on her restraints.  She had very little slack.  "As a matter of fact—"

"I've put tension controls on the winch motors," Maggie explained, studiously ignoring Bess' displeasure, "so when Nicole or one of the others are in your place they can slack between takes and stretch her right back again with the touch of a button."

Bess watched as Maggie donned an earpiece with an attached wire mike, tapped another dozen keys, then stepped to the side, away from the computer.  Several cables snaked across the floor towards something hidden under a dust cloth.  Maggie jerked off the cover... and Bess beheld an HDTV camera on a tripod!

"Hey... Wait a damn minute! " Bess shouted, tugging on her bonds.

"Hush!" Maggie scolded, strolling back to the computer.

Bess struggled in earnest.  "I don't want to hush!  And I don't want to be—"

"I said hush!" Maggie barked.  "I'm trying to make a call."

Bess stared at her captor (there was nothing else she could call her now), but closed her mouth as ordered.

Maggie smiled.  "Boom-Boom?  Hi Sweetie!  Yes...  Yes..."  (She tapped more keys.  To Bess' alarm the lens on the camera whirred.)  "How's that?  Okay...  Your control."  (The lens whirred again and the camera rotated a few degrees to the left.)  "Okay..."  Maggie stepped away from the computer and stood before Bess, regarding the nude tranctioned prisoner with a rather feral grin.  "Yes, it's ready...  Are you sure?  Okay, okay, cool your jets."

Bess watched Maggie walk to the side and disappear behind the curtains.  Then the camera whirred again and the lens lengthened.  Bess tugged on her bonds, blushing and embarrassed.  "Look..." she called, still staring at the lens, "I came up here to help you with your work, not to get trussed up and put on display like a—M'MMPFH! "

Maggie had appeared behind her and thrust a ball of foam attached to a thick band of rubber in Bess' mouth.  She stretched the band over the struggling, mewing brunette's head and snapped it at the nape of Bess' neck.  "Hold still, silly," she muttered in Bess' left ear.  "It's just a gag.  Here's the rest of it."

Her eyes wide, Bess tugged on her bonds in frustration as Maggie fitted a rubber mask over her lower face.  It cupped her chin and pressed against her lips.  She mewed and complained as her captor tightened the wide strap, stretching the thin rubber of the mask tightly against her lower face.  Maggie pulled Bess' hair out from under both straps, and tightened the mask strap another notch.

Fire in her eyes, Bess pulled on her bonds and howled through her gag, glaring at Maggie as the smug redhead stepped to the front and regarded her now silenced model.

"Yes, this is the generic prototype," Maggie said, her eyes locked with Bess but continuing her phone conversation with Boom-Boom.  "The foam ball will be integrated into the mask, but I'll do it so when it's used, first the ball gets crammed, then the mask is applied.  That'll make the close-ups more dramatic... Right...  After that we'll use panels cast from life masks, and there won't be any stuffing...  Yes, a semi-rigid cast under the rubber panel.  They'll look like something's crammed in the mouth, but they'll be comfortable for hours and can be removed and reapplied with no continuity problem.  Yes...  Why thank you.  I think it's pretty clever myself."

Maggie turned her back on Bess and ambled back to the computer.  Bess shook her head, struggling to dislodge the gag, and pulled on her bonds.  "Yes...  Yes...  I'll forward the files," Maggie said, continuing her conversation.  "Wait, I'll put you on speaker and you can tell her yourself."  She tapped a key and a new voice filled the room.

"Bess, we're all very happy here.  Great job."

Bess recognized Stephanie Canon's soprano voice.  The prisoner's eyes popped wide and she pulled on her bonds.   WE'RE happy???

Steph's laughter echoed through the small speakers of the workstation.  "What a ham," she chuckled.  "Seriously," she continued, "keep up the good work and I'll see you get a nice fat bonus... maybe even a screen credit.  Ciao!"  The speaker hummed, then went silent as Maggie tapped another key.

Hands crossed above her breasts, Maggie walked in front of Bess and regarded the naked captive, a coy smile on her beautiful face.  "Well... I'm happy, Boom-Boom's happy...  All in all it's been a good first day."

Bess pulled on her bonds.  Aren't you going to ask me if I'm happy? she fumed silently, shaking errant strands of hair from her face.

"I'm going to go start dinner," Maggie continued.  "Part of the test for this rig is to see how comfortable it'll be for the actresses on the set."  Maggie turned and walked towards the door, ignoring the well-muffled complaints Bess was sending her way.  "You know how it can get during filming, the talent holding their marks while the crafts fiddle with their toys?  The straps can be slacked and retensioned, like I said, but some periods of full stretch will be required... especially while they adjust the lighting."  She paused at the door, turned off the lights (including the effect lights playing along the tusks), then hit a second switch.  A motor whined, and a set of heavy curtains opened.  Behind was a wall of picture windows, providing a magnificent view of the sun sinking towards the hills.  

"I'll be back," Maggie said, and the door was closed.

—Chapter 2
I'm gonna kill her! Bess fumed.   Then I'm goin' back to LA and kill Boom-Boom!  She tugged on her bonds.  ...if I ever get free, that is.  That Bitch!  Sending me out here; isolated and alone; nobody for miles...  Bess felt a thrill of despair.   Nobody for miles...  Naked, bound and gagged...  Bess resumed her efforts to escape with increased vigor.  She concentrated on her right wrist, straining with all her strength, leaning her body to the left for added leverage.

To her surprise she managed to pull about a foot of slack from the housing at the tip of the right horn.  She remembered what Maggie had said about the strap mechanism having automatic tension control.  Apparently with the power off the drums or reels or the coiled mass of the straps themselves could be made to slip.  She applied the same tactic on the left and was rewarded with the same amount of slack; however, no amount of effort produced additional slack, despite Bess having gained improved leverage.  Next she concentrated on her ankles; but found the splayed position of her legs made it difficult to apply any real force.  Most of the work was falling on her inner thighs, and soon the muscles burned from the effort.

Finally, panting and glistening with sweat, her breasts heaving, Bess admitted defeat.  She was still helpless, her hands still several inches from being able to touch her gag; and she knew her slave mitts wouldn't have allowed her to do anything about the gag anyway, even with infinite slack.  At least my feet are back on the floor, she noted with relief.

What now? Bess wondered.   Will she just leave me here?  Will she come back and ?  She tugged weakly on her bonds.  Bess had no current boyfriend but considered herself heterosexual.  There had been a romp with a girlfriend back in college, but it had been brief and experimental, friends having fun rather than what either of them considered a romance.  She had to admit Maggie Kilborn was a very attractive woman, especially when she took charge.  Bess pulled on her bonds.  And she's definitely taken charge of me.

Bess sighed through her gag and stared out the window wall.  The sun was almost gone.  The hill sloped down to a narrow valley framed by the more distant hills. Mature oaks mixed with pines filled the valley floor and continued up the slopes on either side, a great forest sweeping to the horizon.  Under the sheltering branches, at least in the immediate area, conditions were park-like, with only the occasional fern or low shrub visible in the deepening gloom.  The electrified fence that encircled the hilltop complex ran parallel to the forest edge, perhaps fifty yards from the window, much closer to the house than on the slope with the road and gate.

Despite her circumstances, Bess smiled behind her gag.  A doe and fawn were browsing near the fence.  Now that she looked, Bess could see a trail emerging from the trees off to her left.  It approached the fence, then disappeared back into the forest to the right.

Suddenly, the doe lifted her head and stared intently to the left, her ears twitching.  The fawn noticed its mother's behavior, lifted its head, and froze.  Seconds passed, then the doe bounded away to the right with the fawn on her heels.

Bess frowned.  I wonder what spooked them.

The answer appeared in the form of a woman running down the trail and approaching the fence.  She was dressed in running shoes, tights, and a windbreaker, her long brown hair swaying in a ponytail.  Even at this distance Bess could tell she was beautiful, athletic... and somehow familiar.  She paralleled the fence for several yards, her breasts bobbing and ponytail swaying.  Then, still following the trail, she headed for the trees to the right.

Bess lunged forward to the extent allowed by her bonds and screamed through her gag... then relaxed, feeling somewhat foolish.   She couldn't hear me even if I wasn't gagged.  The runner's swaying hair, strong back, churning legs (and firm buttocks) disappeared into the trees.

Bess tugged on her bonds, absently staring at the setting sun.   So... I'm not quite as isolated and alone as I thought.   Maggie has a neighbor.

—Chapter 2

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