| by Van
The see the actresses
I would cast in BAD
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and made a call.
"Sally, are you there?"
"Good morning, Dr. Webbel," Sally's voice answered. Her
"Uh, good morning to you, too, Sally," Cynthia responded.
formal all of a sudden?"
"I don't know what you mean."
Cynthia smiled. "You're being petulant 'cause you don't
"I am perfectly capable of observing what is going on inside
building without interfering
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
Salamandras 'family.' I don't want there to be even
the slightest hint of a doubt in her mind that her achievements
own. Jealousy doesn't become you, Sally."
"Jealousy?" Sally scoffed. "You had it right the first
time with petulance. I regularly expend billions of
cycles fine tuning my
personality... and my efforts are wasted on you. I guess I
to keep trying."
Cynthia's smile broadened. "Don't change a hair for
care for me."
"Stay, little valentine, stay!" Sally crooned.
"Each day is Valentine's Day," they sang, together, then
"Enough," Cynthia chuckled. "I have to get up to the
talk tonight, after I get home."
"Before you go," Sally purred, "is there an actual reason you called?"
"Oh, yeah." Idiot! Cynthia
notice, pretty please?"
"Emergencies only, I assume—excluding, of course, Professor
McNiece," Cynthia huffed. "The man just won't take a
Wilfred McNiece was a Professor in the English department who
himself god's gift to the female faculty, and Cynthia was one of
persistent targets. "I'll call you tonight," she
"Okay," Sally chuckled. "Have fun. Goodbye."
"Goodbye, Sally." Cynthia pocketed her phone and climbed
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
with Sally and the loading dock was dark, lit only by feeble,
lights set high in the ceiling. The staccato tap-tap-tap of her heels
from the concrete walls, floor, and ceiling.
Cynthia paused. What
that? She turned and peered into 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
She glanced at the metal housing of the vehicle door's operating
mechanism. The chain
must have slipped, she reasoned, then
to the first floor level
and continued on to the elevator. She tapped the "▲"
waited for the doors to open, then stepped
floor. "2"... "3"...
She waited for the car to stop and the door to open... but the
continued. "4"... "5"...
the hell?" Cynthia pressed the "3" button, again, to no
The bell sounded—ding!—and
Cynthia stepped out onto the seventh floor.
She knew suites of executive offices were clustered on the far
building, off in the distance, but immediately in front of the
there was a transverse corridor and a
large, open space, a "cubicle
farm" for about two dozen hypothetical human workers, with
chairs, filing cabinets, bookshelves, etc. The morning sun
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,
reasoned, I better take the
towards the emergency exit door at far left end of the corridor.
Cynthia froze. It was the same metallic noise she'd heard
dock. She slowly turned—and gasped in surprise.
At the opposite end of the corridor a small robot had appeared,
was very much a steel spider! A shiver of dread rippled down
spine. She didn't like spiders. Never had.
Roughly the size of a dinner plate, it was mincing towards her
Cynthia's heart was still pounding, but her initial fright had
passed. Rachel made a
When did she do
that? As the spiderbot approached, Cynthia could
its design was, indeed, very
spider—at least Cynthia assumed
of some sort.
As the spiderbot came closer, Cynthia heard a quiet whirring
noise. "Wow," she sighed. The design was
It incorporated a pair of what appeared to be ducted fans, one
the eyes and another in the abdomen. Are they for cooling? she
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,
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
were advancing in a succession of hops, launching themselves
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
tight. Their legs terminated in tiny, cone-shaped bundles
hair-thin fibers. Some were fanned out and gripping the
fabric, while others had formed themselves into spear-like
the coat, and then had
"Get off me now!" Cynthia
"Rachel! Help!" The
were strong. They didn't weight much—only one or two
each—but try as she might, she couldn't shake them loose or pry
from her coat! She
reach half of them! Cynthia did the only thing she
the coat and
tossed it towards the approaching bots—losing her purse in the
process—and bolted for the door to the
Cynthia took several steps, then turned back. Her phone
pocket. "Damn! Too late now!"
She opened the stairway door, crossed the threshold, and slammed
behind her. She could hear the spiderbots scrambling
side of the steel fire-door. The stairwell was totally
the emergency lighting was out. The small pane of
glass in the door provided the only illumination.
Whatever the hell was happening, the thing to do was get to one
lower floors, find a phone, and call Sally. She'd send the
cops—or Lillian, if she was close enough. Or maybe Sally
control of the building—including the army of berserk
that would be that. But
I gotta make that call!
There was no way to jam or block the door. All she could
hope she was fast enough to keep ahead of the spiderbots.
wearing pantyhose and a pair of
medium heels. Heels
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
as she made the pivot, started down the next flight,
Something had tripped her! She fell forward and landed
tangled web of hundreds of taut, thin threads stretched across
Spiderbots landed on her from above as she struggled to
extricate herself. She quickly realized that at least some
were equipped with the
technological equivalent of spinnerets. They scrambled
deploying more thread and weaving the semi-elastic strands
thrashing limbs and twisting torso.
"Nooo!" she screamed, her voice echoing from the concrete
"Stop! Get off me!"
More and more spiderbots arrived and joined the fray. And
their thread was
unreeling from internal spools or was some sort
of fast-setting, extruded plastic, the result was the
tangled web was making her more and more helpless.
"Rachel!" Cynthia screamed. "Rachel, help meeeee!
had seized her head and were holding it more or less
Thread was passing
over her mouth and around her head, being stretched taut, and
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
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
the swarm enshrouding her feebly twitching body.
"Cocooned" was becoming a progressively
more accurate description of Cynthia's predicament. With
effort and inexorable collective strength, snipping any threads
their way, the scrambling swarm pulled her legs together and
dragged her arms to her sides, and the wrapping process
Now, Cynthia could barely squirm. She couldn't be sure,
arriving bots were slightly larger and somewhat slower, and they
her with bands of
something that was more like sticky tape than thread. She
totally encased, from her lower face to the toes of her shoes,
spiderbots continued wrapping
"Mrrr!" The cocoon was growing tighter and tighter—and
Cynthia was still suspended in midair, supported by a myriad of
stretched between the handrails and the open stair treads, above
squirmed—if you could call her pathetic efforts squirming—and
through flaring nostrils. Her wide eyes darted from side
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
"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
making the noise—it was getting closer.
She was still bound to the hi-tech "examining table."
Semi-reclined on her back, arms outstretched to either side and
splayed, wrists and ankles in padded clamps, her limbs and torso
down by multiple
tight straps—all of that was unchanged. Her gag, however,
changed. The former tape and foam stuffing had been
sort of padded plug with a broad strap that covered her lower
nostrils to chin and ear to ear. A thin, clear hose
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
padding and looked down
her naked, helpless body. Her skin was clean, what she
of it. The straps dimpled her flesh, slightly,
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
tell, but her skin was undamaged. There were no bumps or
God, what's happening to me?
Suddenly, the army of robot arms surrounding her came to
Rachel flinched and
on her bonds, from reflex more than anything else. She
limp. Hours of captivity and ravishment had sapped her
strength and convinced her of her total helplessness. She
as the manipulators moved towards her hands, on the right and
One by one, long, thin, padded pincers grabbed each of her
thumbs. Extensions slid down the pincers and over each
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
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
Next, padded steel flanges slid over her stretched fingers,
and forearms, all the way to her elbows. The clamps
them pass. The flanges slid together and
other manipulators appeared, clicked into sockets in the sides
began to spin. Whirrrrr...
were now totally immobilized and
encased to the elbows in what amounted to steel casts.
Her lower extremities were next. The procedure was the
net tubes ensnaring her toes and pulling her feet on pointe. Then, more
steel flanges slid over her feet, ankles, calves, and shins,
tightened, encasing her lower legs to just below the knees.
Next, a horizontal steel hoop rose from
floor until it was the same level as her body. The straps
pinning her to the table released and robot arms pulled her arm
encasements towards a track running along the inside of
the hoop. Her body was pulled into a full spread-eagle and
ends of the encasements snapped
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
arms and legs outstretched. I'm
like Leonardo da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man' drawing, she
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
lit examining table she'd just left. She watched as robot
misted and patted dry its padded troughs and wrist and ankle
clamps. Mission accomplished, they withdrew, stowed
and all was still.
Rachel gave a weak tug on her wrist and leg bonds. The
effect was the flexing of her stretched muscles and a slight
her breasts. She was still more or less comfortable.
precisely, she wasn't in
pain. The cast-like encasements gripped her extremities
pressure, giving her even support. Her breasts rose and
fell, slightly, as she breathed. Otherwise, all was quiet
What's happening? Rachel
for the millionth time. Could
Smart Explorer really be doing all
this on its own? How? There had to be someone doing the
very least, someone had to have specified a set of
starting parameters. Who did
it? How? And why?
Rachel hung in the frame, her head lolled forward. Then,
attached to her gag jerked, and she realized the plug in her
become damp... and then wet. The gag's design allowed her
hose was providing cool, welcome
water. She sucked on the plug, taking in something like a
half-liter. Then, the flow stopped. Rachel sighed
closed her eyes.
Rachel opened her eyes, again. Something was approaching,
robot, no doubt. She turned her head and watched as it
forward on rubber treads. The viewing angle was bad,
was in the way, and it was still more or less in darkness, but
could see that it was another
Rachel's eyes popped wide. Despite all that had
her prolonged ordeal—despite her near exhaustion—Rachel found
had the capacity for shock and alarm.
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
had multiple sets of specialized treads, designed to reconfigure
themselves to allow the robot to climb stairs. It mounted
steps and positioned
under her suspended form. Then, the spiderbots clamored
body, strands were severed, and she was lowered onto the robot's
Cynthia tried to fight, but more threads were deployed,
across her cocooned body and binding her in place. Thread
thread until she found she was barely able to wiggle.
Motors whined and the robot began to glide back down the
seemed to be in no particular hurry. Cynthia was getting a
ride, on her back, feet forward, and head to the rear. The
were individually raising and lowering themselves to keep
the robot's body
horizontal. There was vibration and shaking as it
steps and turned the corners, but
that was all.
How the hell is this
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
Kirk, and Batman
to her rescue. So
what is going on?
she fumed, if you're behind
this is your
idea of a joke, I swear to god...
What? All she
was relax and go along for the ride...
quite literally. Dammit!
The descent ended and Cynthia and her robot transport entered
the lower floors. Cynthia kicked herself, figuratively,
track of where she was being taken. Granted, that was
difficult to do in near total darkness, and it probably didn't
whether or not she knew what floor she was on, but she should
There was light up ahead. She could see it glimmering off
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
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
casts up to her elbows and knees. Mutant
cuffs! It just popped into her
brothers had all been big comic book fans while they were
and Cynthia remembered elaborate steel restraints like that were
"mutant cuffs" and
were generally reserved for captured superheros.
Rachel was staring back with wide eyes—and then, her pretty blue
The spiderbots were back and were swarming over Cynthia and her
transportation. Simultaneously, several of the surrounding
arms came to
extended towards Cynthia, and either grabbed her mummified form
their manipulators or hovered close to her gagged and
head. Cynthia screamed through her gag.
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
Thread followed thread, with the manipulators and spiderbots
around Cynthia's face almost too fast for her to follow.
perfectly still, barely daring to breathe. Her gag was
now the spiderbots were lifting bands of multiple threads to be
dealt with by the buzzing scissors and blades. Soon, what was left
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
worked their way down Cynthia's body, delicately cutting and
away the thread cocoon and her
"Stop that! Get off me! Let me go!"
Cynthia's demands were ignored as the shucking process
The large, padded clamps holding her down repositioned
required. She struggled as best she could, but the
pincers were too many and too strong for her to resist.
articulated arms didn't even shake as she fought to free
upper arms and breasts were exposed, followed by her ribs,
forearms, and hands.
"Dammit, you're malfunctioning! Stop! Reset!
Cynthia writhed and struggled as her hips, legs, and feet
appeared. The clamps were now holding her by the forearms,
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
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
Semi-reclined on her back, arms spread to either side and legs
splayed with knees bent, Cynthia continued struggling, even as
smaller manipulators positioned straps across her torso and
limbs. The nylon bands tightened. "No!"
struggling. There was no point.
Cynthia's eyes popped wide. Oh,
no! Something that was almost certainly a gag
approaching her face.
"No you don't! Reset! Error! Reset
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
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
struggled with her entire body and shook her head. The
result was the bobbing of her breasts, the flexing of her
including her abs, and the shaking of both her tousled, auburn
the clear, thin hose attached to
Finally, Cynthia sighed through her gag, relaxed in her bonds,
eyes with Rachel.
Suddenly, the smaller robot arms went into motion. Both
watched as racks rotated and manipulator attachments were
Furry fingers caressed Cynthia's breasts. Tentacles
feet, ribs, and armpits. Robot hands gently squeezed her
while glass tubes sucked on her nipples. Tentacles and
fingers brushed her throat, thighs, and abdomen. They'd
it for several minutes.
Would it continue? Would they tease, tickle, and caress
professor for hours... and then... the other stuff? Maybe.
Probably. How do I
None of this makes any sense.
Rachel shivered in her bonds. Cynthia Webbel was beautiful. She'd
that, of course, but... this was different. As Rachel
manipulators glide over Cynthia's body, it was as if ghost
tentacles were doing the same things to her. She could
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
clamps and twisting her limbs and body under the straps.
while, the robotic "entertainment" continued.
She's gorgeous, Rachel
mused, continuing to gaze at her supervisor and friend's naked,
writhing body. Poor
to let it happen. The
machines were going to do whatever they'd been programmed to
She might as well save her strength. It wasn't advice
followed, herself, when she was
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
ring-tone version of Mustang
The music continued... and continued... and finally ceased as
went to voice-mail.
Smart Explorer had noticed the sonic disturbance and three
HUNTER_PROBE [SMALL] units had been dispatched to
skittered up to the coat and immediately climbed over, under,
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.