ROBOT!by Van ©2011
  Chapter 4

The see the actresses I would cast in BAD ROBOT!—THE MOVIE,
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Cynthia parked in the loading dock, next to Rachel's Prius.  She turned off the engine, but didn't get out of the car.  Instead, she pulled her phone from her pocket and made a call.  "Sally, are you there?"

"Good morning, Dr. Webbel," Sally's voice answered.  Her tone was uncharacteristically stiff.

"Uh, good morning to you, too, Sally," Cynthia responded.  "Why so formal all of a sudden?"

"I don't know what you mean."

Cynthia smiled.  "You're being petulant 'cause you don't get to play.  Admit it."

"I am perfectly capable of observing what is going on inside this building without interfering or making my presence known."

"We've been over this," Cynthia sighed.  "It's highly probable—almost a certainty, in fact—that Rachel will be joining the Salamandras 'family.'  I don't want there to be even the slightest hint of a doubt in her mind that her achievements are not her own.  Jealousy doesn't become you, Sally."

"Jealousy?" Sally scoffed.  "You had it right the first time with petulance.  I regularly expend billions of machine cycles fine tuning my personality... and my efforts are wasted on you.  I guess I just have to keep trying."

Cynthia's smile broadened.  "Don't change a hair for me.  Not if you care for me."

"Stay, little valentine, stay!" Sally crooned.

"Each day is Valentine's Day," they sang, together, then laughed.

"Enough," Cynthia chuckled.  "I have to get up to the lab.  We'll talk tonight, after I get home."

"Before you go," Sally purred, "is there an actual reason you called?"

"Oh, yeah."  Idiot! Cynthia chided herself.  "Would you filter my calls 'til further notice, pretty please?"

"Emergencies only, I assume—excluding, of course, Professor McNiece."

"Including Professor McNiece," Cynthia huffed.  "The man just won't take a hint."  Wilfred McNiece was a Professor in the English department who fancied himself god's gift to the female faculty, and Cynthia was one of his persistent targets.  "I'll call you tonight," she reiterated.

"Okay," Sally chuckled.  "Have fun.  Goodbye."

"Goodbye, Sally."  Cynthia pocketed her phone and climbed from the car.  Slinging her purse onto her shoulder, she walked across the loading dock towards the stairs at the far end.  The vehicle entry door had rolled down while she was chatting with Sally and the loading dock was dark, lit only by feeble, yellowish lights set high in the ceiling.  The staccato tap-tap-tap of her heels echoed from the concrete walls, floor, and ceiling.


Cynthia paused.  What was that?  She turned and peered into the shadows.  The forklifts were all parked in a neat row, and other than the two automobiles and a row of large trash bins, the entire space was empty.  She glanced at the metal housing of the vehicle door's operating mechanism.  The chain drive must have slipped, she reasoned, then turned, bounced up the steps to the first floor level and continued on to the elevator.  She tapped the "▲" button, waited for the doors to open, then stepped inside.
Chapter 4
Cynthia pressed the button for the third floor.  The number illuminated and the elevator began to rise.  The numbers above the door glowed on and off as the car passed each floor.  "2"...  "3"...  She waited for the car to stop and the door to open... but the ride continued.  "4"...  "5"...  "What the hell?"  Cynthia pressed the "3" button, again, to no effect.  "6"...  "7."

The bell sounded—ding!—and the door opened.

Cynthia stepped out onto the seventh floor.  She knew suites of executive offices were clustered on the far side of the building, off in the distance, but immediately in front of the elevator there was a transverse corridor and a large, open space, a "cubicle farm" for about two dozen hypothetical human workers, with desks, chairs, filing cabinets, bookshelves, etc.  The morning sun was streaming through the glass of the east wall.

Cynthia turned as the elevator door closed behind her.  She reached for the button, then paused.  If the controls are screwed-up, she reasoned, I better take the stairs.  She turned towards the emergency exit door at far left end of the corridor.


Cynthia froze.  It was the same metallic noise she'd heard down on the loading dock.  She slowly turned—and gasped in surprise.
At the opposite end of the corridor a small robot had appeared, and it was very much a steel spider!  A shiver of dread rippled down Cynthia's spine.  She didn't like spiders.  Never had.

Roughly the size of a dinner plate, it was mincing towards her on thin, spindly legs.

Cynthia's heart was still pounding, but her initial fright had passed.  Rachel made a prototype autobot.  When did she do that?  As the spiderbot approached, Cynthia could confirm that its design was, indeed, very arachnid: eight fully articulated legs, a teardrop-shaped abdomen, a cephalothorax, and multiple eyes—three, instead of the eight of a real spider—at least Cynthia assumed the three red buttons on the front end were "eyes."  They were probably sensors of some sort.

As the spiderbot came closer, Cynthia heard a quiet whirring noise.  "Wow," she sighed.  The design was impressive.  It incorporated a pair of what appeared to be ducted fans, one behind the eyes and another in the abdomen.  Are they for cooling? she wondered.  Surely they're too big for


The spiderbot's fans had revved and it had leaped into the air, sailed the remaining distance, and landed on her coat!  "Eeeeek!  Get off me!"  At the same time, more spiderbots appeared, leaping from the top of nearby cubicle partitions.  Even more were rounding the far corner of the corridor and scuttling in her direction.  Some were approaching in a scramble of legs and some were advancing in a succession of hops, launching themselves into the air with a combination of legs and fans.

Cynthia was only peripherally aware of the approaching horde, for a half dozen spiderbots had already landed on her coat and were gripping it tight.  Their legs terminated in tiny, cone-shaped bundles of hair-thin fibers.  Some were fanned out and gripping the fabric, while others had formed themselves into spear-like points, pierced the coat, and then had fanned out.

"Get off me now!" Cynthia screamed.  "Rachel!  Help!"  The spiderbots were strong.  They didn't weight much—only one or two pounds, each—but try as she might, she couldn't shake them loose or pry them from her coat!  She couldn't even reach half of them!  Cynthia did the only thing she could.  She peeled off the coat and tossed it towards the approaching bots—losing her purse in the process—and bolted for the door to the stairs.

Cynthia took several steps, then turned back.  Her phone was in her coat pocket.  "Damn!  Too late now!"

She opened the stairway door, crossed the threshold, and slammed it closed behind her.  She could hear the spiderbots scrambling against the other side of the steel fire-door.  The stairwell was totally dark.  Even the emergency lighting was out.  The small pane of wire-reinforced glass in the door provided the only illumination.

Whatever the hell was happening, the thing to do was get to one of the lower floors, find a phone, and call Sally.  She'd send the cops—or Lillian, if she was close enough.  Or maybe Sally could regain control of the building—including the army of berserk spiderbots—and that would be that.  But first, I gotta make that call!

There was no way to jam or block the door.  All she could do was hope she was fast enough to keep ahead of the spiderbots.  She was wearing pantyhose and a pair of medium heels.  Heels or nylon-clad feet?  Better keep the shoes, she decided.

Her back still to the door, Cynthia took several deep breaths—then launched herself down the stairs, skirt flapping and boobs bouncing under her blouse and bra.  She rounded the first flight, her left hand gripping the rail as she made the pivot, started down the next flight, and—"Ahhh!"  Something had tripped her!  She fell forward and landed on a tangled web of hundreds of taut, thin threads stretched across the stairwell!

Spiderbots landed on her from above as she struggled to extricate herself.  She quickly realized that at least some of the robots were equipped with the technological equivalent of spinnerets.  They scrambled over her thrashing body, deploying more thread and weaving the semi-elastic strands around her thrashing limbs and twisting torso.

"Nooo!" she screamed, her voice echoing from the concrete walls.  "Stop!  Get off me!"

More and more spiderbots arrived and joined the fray.  And whether their thread was unreeling from internal spools or was some sort of fast-setting, extruded plastic, the result was the same.  The tangled web was making her more and more helpless.

"Rachel!" Cynthia screamed.  "Rachel, help meeeee!  No, no—nrrr!"  Several spiderbots had seized her head and were holding it more or less still.  Thread was passing over her mouth and around her head, being stretched taut, and forcing itself past her lips and clenched teeth until it cleaved her mouth.  "Nrrr!"  Thread followed thread, then, the 'bots began weaving their individual threads into net-like ribbons.  Now they weren't just cleave-gagging her, they were wrapping her entire head, concentrating their efforts on her lower face.  "Mmmm!"  Through the lattice of threads stretched over her eyes, Cynthia watched as even more spiderbots arrived and joined the swarm enshrouding her feebly twitching body.

"Cocooned" was becoming a progressively more accurate description of Cynthia's predicament.  With coordinated effort and inexorable collective strength, snipping any threads in their way, the scrambling swarm pulled her legs together and dragged her arms to her sides, and the wrapping process continued.

Now, Cynthia could barely squirm.  She couldn't be sure, but some of the newly arriving bots were slightly larger and somewhat slower, and they were wrapping her with bands of something that was more like sticky tape than thread.  She was now totally encased, from her lower face to the toes of her shoes, and the spiderbots continued wrapping even more of their "silk" around her helpless form.

"Mrrr!"  The cocoon was growing tighter and tighter—and then the wrapping stopped.

Cynthia was still suspended in midair, supported by a myriad of taut, thin threads stretched between the handrails and the open stair treads, above and below.  She squirmed—if you could call her pathetic efforts squirming—and panted through flaring nostrils.  Her wide eyes darted from side to side, but all she could see was the the red, glowing eyes of her robotic captors as they crawled across her body and the taut web.  "Nrrrf!"  Her gagged efforts to scream were weak and pathetic, even in her own ears.

And then, Cynthia heard whining motors echoing up the stairwell from below.  Whirrr-click-whirrr-click-whirrr-click...

Whatever the source—whatever was making the noise—it was getting closer.
Chapter 4
Rachel opened her eyes.  She was tired... so very tired.

She was still bound to the hi-tech "examining table."  Semi-reclined on her back, arms outstretched to either side and legs splayed, wrists and ankles in padded clamps, her limbs and torso pinned down by multiple tight straps—all of that was unchanged.  Her gag, however, had been changed.  The former tape and foam stuffing had been replaced by some sort of padded plug with a broad strap that covered her lower face from nostrils to chin and ear to ear.  A thin, clear hose stretched up from the front of the gag and disappeared into the darkness.

In another change, the strap that had been across her forehead and holding down her head was gone.  Rachel lifted her head from the padding and looked down her naked, helpless body.  Her skin was clean, what she could see of it.  The straps dimpled her flesh, slightly, and—"Mrrrfh?"

Her pubic hair had been trimmed!  She now had a "Brazilian," a narrow strip about an inch wide and three inches long.  On either side, she'd had been completely defoliated.  Whether she'd been shaved or waxed, she couldn't tell, but her skin was undamaged.  There were no bumps or redness.

God, what's happening to me?

Suddenly, the army of robot arms surrounding her came to life.  Rachel flinched and tugged on her bonds, from reflex more than anything else.  She then went limp.  Hours of captivity and ravishment had sapped her strength and convinced her of her total helplessness.  She watched as the manipulators moved towards her hands, on the right and the left.

One by one, long, thin, padded pincers grabbed each of her fingers and thumbs.  Extensions slid down the pincers and over each digit, then retracted, leaving behind loosely woven tubes of clear thread.  Then, the pincers released her fingers and withdrew.  The tube nets remained, stretched taut and trapping each individual finger and thumb.  She gave both hands a perfunctory flex, and the tubes tightened and stretched even further.  Now, she couldn't move her hands and fingers, at all.

Next, padded steel flanges slid over her stretched fingers, hands, and forearms, all the way to her elbows.  The clamps holding her wrists opened to let them pass.  The flanges slid together and interlocked.  Then, other manipulators appeared, clicked into sockets in the sides of the flanges, and began to spin.  Whirrrrr...  Finally, interior padding began to inflate.  Hisssss...  Rachel's arms were now totally immobilized and encased to the elbows in what amounted to steel casts.

Her lower extremities were next.  The procedure was the same, with net tubes ensnaring her toes and pulling her feet on pointe.  Then, more steel flanges slid over her feet, ankles, calves, and shins, then tightened, encasing her lower legs to just below the knees.

Next, a horizontal steel hoop rose from the floor until it was the same level as her body.  The straps still pinning her to the table released and robot arms pulled her arm and leg encasements towards a track running along the inside of the hoop.  Her body was pulled into a full spread-eagle and the ends of the encasements snapped into the track.  Then, a pair of robot arms gripped the hoop and lifted it upwards, taking Rachel with it, of course.

The hoop rotated and spun several degrees, then snapped into a mechanism running along a horizontal track in the ceiling.  Rachel found herself with her head up and arms and legs outstretched.  I'm like Leonardo da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man' drawing, she mused.  The thin hose remained attached to her gag, but the slack had been taken in and it still stretched upwards and out of sight.

Rachel dropped her chin and found she had an excellent view of the brightly lit examining table she'd just left.  She watched as robot arms misted and patted dry its padded troughs and wrist and ankle clamps.  Mission accomplished, they withdrew, stowed themselves, and all was still.

Rachel gave a weak tug on her wrist and leg bonds.  The only effect was the flexing of her stretched muscles and a slight bounce of her breasts.  She was still more or less comfortable.  More precisely, she wasn't in pain.  The cast-like encasements gripped her extremities with uniform pressure, giving her even support.  Her breasts rose and fell, slightly, as she breathed.  Otherwise, all was quiet and still.

What's happening? Rachel wondered, for the millionth time.  Could Smart Explorer really be doing all this on its own?  How?  There had to be someone doing the programming.  At the very least, someone had to have specified a set of starting parameters.  Who did it?  How?  And why?

Minutes passed.

Rachel hung in the frame, her head lolled forward.  Then, the hose attached to her gag jerked, and she realized the plug in her mouth had become damp... and then wet.  The gag's design allowed her to swallow—thankfully—and the hose was providing cool, welcome water.  She sucked on the plug, taking in something like a half-liter.  Then, the flow stopped.  Rachel sighed and closed her eyes.


Rachel opened her eyes, again.  Something was approaching, another robot, no doubt.  She turned her head and watched as it rolled forward on rubber treads.  The viewing angle was bad, machinery was in the way, and it was still more or less in darkness, but she could see that it was another robot.  It rolled under the lights and—


Rachel's eyes popped wide.  Despite all that had happened—despite her prolonged ordeal—despite her near exhaustion—Rachel found she still had the capacity for shock and alarm.
Chapter 4
Cynthia continued to struggle against her cocoon bondage, even though she knew there was no way she was gong to squirm her way to freedom.

The noise she'd heard after her capture and mummification had been the approach of a robot about the size of a small golf cart.  It had multiple sets of specialized treads, designed to reconfigure themselves to allow the robot to climb stairs.  It mounted the steps and positioned itself under her suspended form.  Then, the spiderbots clamored over her body, strands were severed, and she was lowered onto the robot's padded back.

Cynthia tried to fight, but more threads were deployed, stretching across her cocooned body and binding her in place.  Thread followed thread until she found she was barely able to wiggle.

Motors whined and the robot began to glide back down the stairs.  It seemed to be in no particular hurry.  Cynthia was getting a smooth ride, on her back, feet forward, and head to the rear.  The sets of treads were individually raising and lowering themselves to keep Cynthia and the robot's body horizontal.  There was vibration and shaking as it negotiated the steps and turned the corners, but that was all.

How the hell is this happening? Cynthia wondered.  Rachel built some autobots and programmed them to kidnap me?  Smart Explorer spontaneously became "sentient" and decided to become a super-villain?  She considered both "possibilities" about as likely as Doctor Who, James T. Kirk, and Batman coming to her rescue.  So what is going on?  She squirmed for all she was worth and forced an angry "Mrrrrf!" through her gag.  Sally, she fumed, if you're behind this, if this is your idea of a joke, I swear to god...  What?  All she could do was relax and go along for the ride... quite literally.  Dammit!

The descent ended and Cynthia and her robot transport entered one of the lower floors.  Cynthia kicked herself, figuratively, for not keeping track of where she was being taken.  Granted, that was difficult to do in near total darkness, and it probably didn't matter whether or not she knew what floor she was on, but she should have tried.

There was light up ahead.  She could see it glimmering off the machinery on both sides and overhead.  It's the fifth floor, she realized, the automated factory!  She rolled forward and under a bank of spotlights.  All around were large and small robot arms, and—"Mmmpfh!"  Off to the side, Rachel was naked, spreadeagled inside a ring of steel, and was hanging from the ceiling!  She was gagged and her arms and legs encased in metal casts up to her elbows and knees.  Mutant cuffs!    It just popped into her head.  Her brothers had all been big comic book fans while they were growing up, and Cynthia remembered elaborate steel restraints like that were called "mutant cuffs" and were generally reserved for captured superheros.

Rachel was staring back with wide eyes—and then, her pretty blue eyes popped even wider.

The spiderbots were back and were swarming over Cynthia and her transportation.  Simultaneously, several of the surrounding robot arms came to life, extended towards Cynthia, and either grabbed her mummified form with their manipulators or hovered close to her gagged and thread-wrapped head.  Cynthia screamed through her gag.  "Nrrrrrf!"  The business ends of the arms not clamped around her helpless body bristled with cutting tools!

The spiderbots delicately teased individual threads away from Cynthia's head.  Then, robot arms darted in and severed them.  Thread followed thread, with the manipulators and spiderbots dancing around Cynthia's face almost too fast for her to follow.  She lay perfectly still, barely daring to breathe.  Her gag was next, but now the spiderbots were lifting bands of multiple threads to be dealt with by the buzzing scissors and blades.  Soon, what was left of the sheath covering and cleaving her mouth was peeled away.

"Mrrrf—Help!" she screamed.  "Somebody HELLLLLP MEEEEE!"

What followed was less a stripping than a shucking.

Working in concert, the spiderbots and the small, medium, and large robot arms worked their way down Cynthia's body, delicately cutting and pulling away the thread cocoon and her underlying clothing.  First her throat and then her shoulders appeared, her tan skin shining under the bright lights.

"Stop that!  Get off me!  Let me go!"

Cynthia's demands were ignored as the shucking process continued.  The large, padded clamps holding her down repositioned themselves as required.  She struggled as best she could, but the vice-like pincers were too many and too strong for her to resist.  The long, articulated arms didn't even shake as she fought to free herself.  Her upper arms and breasts were exposed, followed by her ribs, stomach, forearms, and hands.

"Dammit, you're malfunctioning!  Stop!  Reset!  Reset, dammit!"

Cynthia writhed and struggled as her hips, legs, and feet appeared.  The clamps were now holding her by the forearms, lower legs, and waist.

"Command prompt override!" Cynthia screamed.  "Reset program!  Dammit, I order you to— "  Uh, oh.

She'd glanced to the side and for the first time noticed the "examination table," with its body-shaped troughs and padded clamps at the wrists and ankles.

"No!  Stop!  NOOOOO!"

Cynthia was lifted into the air and over the table, then lowered onto the padding.   Motors whirred as her wrists and ankles were positioned inside the open clamps—snick-k-k-k—and they snapped closed.

Semi-reclined on her back, arms spread to either side and legs splayed with knees bent, Cynthia continued struggling, even as the smaller manipulators positioned straps across her torso and limbs.  The nylon bands tightened.  "No!"  Cynthia stopped struggling.  There was no point.

Cynthia's eyes popped wide.  Oh, no!  Something that was almost certainly a gag was approaching her face.

"No you don't!  Reset!  Error!  Reset program!  Nrrrf!"  A pair of robo-hands held her head and what amounted to a pair of dental forceps manipulators gently pried her jaws apart.  Then, the plug slid into her mouth.  The gag's straps came together and tightened against the nape of her neck—"M'mmmpfh!"—and the hands released her head and moved away.  She struggled with her entire body and shook her head.  The only result was the bobbing of her breasts, the flexing of her muscles, including her abs, and the shaking of both her tousled, auburn hair and the clear, thin hose attached to her gag.

Finally, Cynthia sighed through her gag, relaxed in her bonds, and locked eyes with Rachel.

Suddenly, the smaller robot arms went into motion.  Both prisoners watched as racks rotated and manipulator attachments were changed.
Chapter 4
Rachel's eyes were welling.  The robot arms were doing the same things to Cynthia that they'd done to her!

Furry fingers caressed Cynthia's breasts.  Tentacles tickled her feet, ribs, and armpits.  Robot hands gently squeezed her breasts while glass tubes sucked on her nipples.  Tentacles and soft fingers brushed her throat, thighs, and abdomen.  They'd been at it for several minutes.

Would it continue?  Would they tease, tickle, and caress the professor for hours... and then... the other stuff?  Maybe.  Probably.  How do I know?  None of this makes any sense.

Rachel shivered in her bonds.  Cynthia Webbel was beautiful.  She'd always known that, of course, but... this was different.  As Rachel watched the manipulators glide over Cynthia's body, it was as if ghost fingers and tentacles were doing the same things to her.  She could almost feel their delicate touch on her helpless, stretched body... like tactile memories of her earlier ravishment.

Below, on the table, Cynthia fought her bonds, tugging on the padded clamps and twisting her limbs and body under the straps.  And all the while, the robotic "entertainment" continued.

She's gorgeous, Rachel mused, continuing to gaze at her supervisor and friend's naked, tan, writhing body.  Poor thing.  Rachel wished she could speak.  She wished she wasn't gagged.  She'd tell Cynthia to relax, to let it happen.  The machines were going to do whatever they'd been programmed to do.  She might as well save her strength.  It wasn't advice she'd followed, herself, when she was on the table... but that's what she'd tell her.
Chapter 4
Cynthia's abandoned coat was a tangled heap on the carpet of the seventh floor corridor.  The spiderbots—that is, the Smart Explorer program—had left it where it had been tossed, and her purse, as well.

Suddenly, music sounded from one of the coat's pockets—specifically, a ring-tone version of Mustang Sally.  It was Cynthia's phone, of course.

The music continued... and continued... and finally ceased as the call went to voice-mail.

Smart Explorer had noticed the sonic disturbance and three HUNTER_PROBE [SMALL] units had been dispatched to investigate.  The spiderbots skittered up to the coat and immediately climbed over, under, and through the crumpled cloth.  One of them extracted the phone and it was carried away.  The destination was the server farms and electronic workbenches on the third floor.


 Chapter 4

Chapter 3
Chapter 5