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continued tapping the keys of the keyboard. "Remember,
partition on one server, over a period of seven hundred machine
Rachel nodded. "And you've assigned a shape and color to
code." Their eyes were on the large flat-screen
monitor mounted on the far wall. It was showing something
layman might describe as a beaded necklace.
Cynthia was still working the keyboard. Clack-clack-clack-clack-clack.
to several loosely intertwined "necklaces." Clack-clack-clack.
snarl began to slowly rotate along the time axis.
Rachel frowned as she picked up a laser pointer and aimed it at
screen. "Look at that sequence. It repeats."
shifted the red dot. "Here." She shifted it
Cynthia smiled. "Look about midway between two of those
then diagonally across the entire bundle."
"I don't see what you... wait." Her eyes popped
repeats again, between partitions."
Cynthia nodded. "And across servers, as well."
shook her head. "How can it possibly..." She turned
to Cynthia. "It's fractal!"
Cynthia nodded, again. "Don't ask me what it means.
I've been studying the same thirty seconds of Sally's
'thought process' for two years. It keeps unfolding...
Mandelbrot set. Every time I think I've found a level of
complexity I can examine in detail..." She sighed.
"I've made some progress."
"Are you kidding?" Rachel gasped. "This is way beyond anything I saw
MIT." She paused, then smiled at Cynthia.
Cynthia smiled back. "What?"
"All these months, how did you manage to keep a straight face
whenever I started prattling about all
the brilliant work going on at CSAIL?"
"Believe me," Cynthia chuckled, "humility is the first thing you
when you start working with Sally."
Just then, Lillian came bounding down the basement steps.
back," she announced (unnecessarily), then smiled at
"Hey, St. Pauli Girl, I bought you some new clothes. Come
Rachel was still wearing the Serving Girl costume from after the
rescue. Cynthia, however, was not dressed as a French Maid. She
had her entire wardrobe to
choose from and upon rising she had donned her usual at home
jeans, t-shirt, and an
Cynthia looked Lillian's grinning form up and down. "You
gone long enough."
Lillian was clad in brand new knee boots, leather pants, silk
and leather jacket, all in black. "I had to take a cab to
this outfit—" She turned in a graceful pirouette.
some clothes for Rachel. Then I took another cab to pick
I did some more shopping."
Cynthia shook her head, then smiled at Rachel. "Let's call
day. I've got some chicken marinating. Get
dressed—" She favored Lillian with a disdainful
"—if you can bring
wear whatever she bought for
I'll fire up the
"C'mon, Rach," Lillian chuckled. "We'll make the salad."
Cynthia watched as Lillian and Rachel climbed the stairs.
couldn't help but smile as she shut down the lab's
computers. Rachel's a
good influence on her,
she reflected. Thank
not the other way around.
clearing the last of her e-mail backlog. Earlier, she'd
series of suggested "lessons" so Rachel could continue exploring
technical ins and outs of Sally's core programming on her
addition, she'd reviewed her notes for tomorrow afternoon's
class and had
notified her TA that she'd
be delivering the lecture.
They'd finally agreed that neither Rachel nor Cynthia actually
week's vacation to recuperate from their Smart Explorer
case, Rachel was so excited by the revelation of Sally's
wouldn't have been able to relax even if she did need time to heal.
Cynthia stretched and closed her
laptop. Time for bed.
Suddenly, she heard the growl of Lillian's bike pulling into the
driveway and heading for the free-standing garage in the
shiver of apprehension (and anticipation) rippled up
her spine. She's back.
Several seconds later, Lillian entered the living-room.
still dressed in her new leathers and was carrying two
helmets, her own black helmet and the new, silver-gray helmet
bought so she could give Rachel a lift to the Salamandras
Building to retrieve her car. Both helmets were
models. "Honey, I'm home," she quipped.
"I take it Rachel is safe and sound?" Cynthia inquired.
suppressed a smile at the memory of Rachel on the back of
bike. She'd been so cute... legs bare, the skirt Lillian
bought her flapping in the wind,
the butternut leather jacket Lillian had also bought her keeping
warm, the silver helmet on her head—and her arms around
waist, holding on for dear life.
"Blue Eyes is fine," Lillian purred. "I waited 'til she
the road, just to make sure the building didn't eat
"You were supposed to
her all the way back to her apartment," Cynthia huffed.
"She's fine, Mother Hen," Lillian chuckled. "And I did see her all the way to
her apartment. I hung back so she didn't know I was
there." She tossed the helmets on the couch. "Aren't
going to give me a big, wet, welcome home
Cynthia ignored the question. "I'm going to bed, and this
I'm locking the bedroom door." She started for the stairs,
Lillian took a step forward and blocked her path.
"I bought you a
present," the grinning Lillian announced as she pulled a
small, flat box from her jacket pocket. It was white
cardboard, wrapped with a blue-gray silk ribbon tied in an
Cynthia accepted the present in question and gave it a
Nothing rattled, and it
was a little heavy. She untied the bow and let the ribbon
the floor, then opened the box. Inside, more gray silk was
over the contents. She unfolded the cloth—and her eyes
wide, just for a second. Nestled in the
smooth bed of shining cloth was a pair of gunmetal-gray, hinged
handcuffs. Cynthia lifted her gaze to Lillian. She
tell by the
smirk curling her guest's lips that her reaction had been noted.
Cynthia reviewed her options. They were... (1) Turn and
run. She knew she wouldn't get two feet. (2)
etc. Why give Lillian the pleasure? (3) Go with the
flow. Allow the inevitable to happen and hope for the
best. She realized that was probably her best course;
there was also...
(4) Appeal to Lillian's sense of honor.
Cynthia's heart was pounding and a small cloud of butterflies
fluttering in her tummy (and between her legs, the randy little
bastards). Forcing a disinterested smile, she reached into
box and lifted out her present, letting it dangle from her right
by one cuff. "What's wrong with rope?" she demanded.
want me to tie you up again, just ask."
"Nice try, Little Mouse," Lillian chuckled, "but you know the
you." She removed her jacket and tossed it on the couch,
Cynthia's smile shifted to what she hoped was an expression of
Disappointment and Stern Disapproval. Time to
strike! "You promised you'd leave me alone for
trip. You gave your word. I'm very disappointed
Lillian smiled, lifted the cuffs from Cynthia's finger, then
hostess around and embraced her from behind, pinning her
nuzzled Cynthia's neck. "As I recall,
the phrase used was 'for as long as I'm in town.' I bought
present at a charming little
shop out on Highway... I forget the number."
She started peeling Cynthia's sweater off her shoulders.
Cynthia squirmed, but she wasn't struggling all that hard.
difference does it make where you—?"
"The shop's just outside
city limits," Lillian interrupted, whispering in Cynthia's right
ear. Still holding Cynthia from behind, she pulled her
prisoner's t-shirt over her head and down her arms, then
bra and added it to the tangle of clothing.
"An honorable person abides by the spirit of her agreements," Cynthia
sniffed. Her heart was
hammering and her nipples were embarrassingly erect.
Her left arm still wrapped around Cynthia's half-naked body,
Lillian pulled the sweater, t-shirt, and bra free and tossed
away. She then snapped a cuff around Cynthia's right wrist
well-practiced flip and snugged it tight. Click-click-click.
Cynthia sighed, then groped for the cuffs
with her left hand, Bravely Struggling to free herself.
fact that this brought her left wrist within easy range of the
remaining cuff was entirely coincidental.)
"The night is young," Lillian whispered, then licked the side of
Cynthia's neck. "You'll feel differently in the morning."
"Stop it," Cynthia muttered. "Seriously, why
do you have to grab me every chance you get? It's not
Lillian had eased her captive to the carpet and was unbuttoning
unzipping her jeans. "Normal is so boring," she purred,
peeled the jeans down Cynthia's legs, along with her
They were tossed atop the heap of Cynthia's other
Lillian retrieved the ribbon that had gift-wrapped the box and
Cynthia's ankles together.
Cynthia watched as Lillian looped the ribbon around her big
twice, cinched it between the toes, and tied a bow. "Ow!"
the naked prisoner complained.
"Big baby," Lillian scolded as she retrieved the silk cloth from
inside of the box, shook it out, and draped it around her
It was a long, narrow scarf, almost a bandage. She
Cynthia's panties from the tangled jeans, then stood, straddling
captive's helpless form. She bunched the panties and
gave the resulting wad a delicate sniff. "Umm... the aroma
pussy, well-squirmed against tight jeans during a hard day of
cyber-geeking in the basement with
Rachel. Was it the sight of her boobs half-hanging out of
her Saucy Wench top that made this thing so very damp and
Cynthia blushed. She doubted her panties were really "damp
she blushed, nonetheless. "I'm
very disappointed in you," she reiterated.
"And speaking of damp..." Lillian unbuttoned and unzipped
leather pants, reached inside her panties, and pulled out a
scarf. It was the same color as the ribbon and the first
and was folded flat. "This thing is seriously damp.
leather pants, the throbbing
present... seriously damp."
"Oof!" Cynthia complained, then frowned as Lillian unfolded
the visibly stained scarf around the panties. "That's
disgusting." She knew what was coming. "No!
"I know it's big," Lillian chuckled as she continued stuffing
it'll all fit. I promise."
"Nrrrf!" Cynthia squirmed and stared daggers as her
grinning captor succeeded in packing her entire oral cavity to
capacity, then tied the first scarf as a tight cleave-gag.
Lillian straightened Cynthia's tousled auburn bangs.
"Nrrrf!" Cynthia tossed her head and glared into Lillian's
oh-so-satisfied, smiling face.
"Who do you think you're foolin', Little Mouse?" Lillian
Her eyes locked with her naked captive, she reached behind her
the prisoner's thighs, and caressed Cynthia's labia.
Cynthia's eyes popped wide for a second, then she resumed her
"Let's adjourn to the bedroom, shall we?" Lillian suggested,
and lifted Cynthia's naked, bound, and gagged body into her
She smiled down at Cynthia's frowning, gagged visage.
like that, Little Mouse. You know this is how you like
"Hrrrfh!" Cynthia turned her head away.
"Your heart is going pitter-pat and your little gals are
attention." Lillian noted as she carried her
cargo towards the stairs. "And you really are wet, you
"Hrrrfh!" Cynthia reiterated. I'm
not that wet,
fumed. And my nipples
'cause it's cold down here. And for
no—other—reason. It's certainly not 'cause I like Lillian Steele.
her head. "So, the 'Battle of the Salamandras Building'
than five seconds?"
Sally's avatar smiled from one of the smaller monitors.
didn't design Smart Explorer for
self defense, so the issue was never in doubt; however, until I
regained control of the entire
communications suite, I was operating over severely limited
bandwidth. Also, there was the issue of preserving the
logs. That occupied most of the 'struggle'."
Rachel nodded, then pushed
back her chair, stretched, yawned, and
stood. "I think I've had enough for one day, Sally," she
said. "Thank you for your help with my studies. I
may be beginning
to grasp the fundamentals of your cognitive process."
"You're welcome, Rachel," Sally responded. The large
monitor flashed and the image of a glowing red lens against a
background appeared. "I enjoy working with humans, and
greatest enthusiasm for the mission."
"Shut up," Rachel laughed, then grinned at the screen. "I
your Hal routine. It's much better than the other one."
"This is the voice of World Control," Sally intoned, her voice
very machine-like. "Obey me and live. Disobey me and
"Stop!" Rachel chuckled. "Colossus:
Project was way ahead of its time. Too cool for
"That's my assessment as well," Sally said in her normal
"Before you go, may I ask a question?"
Rachel smiled. "Of course."
Sally's simulated face reappeared on the monitor. "You are
that I've been upgrading the surveillance cameras in this
facility?" Rachel nodded and Sally continued. "The
from the previous cameras are still available, and although the
is poor, I am able to compensate through image processing."
"Vocal and facial micro-expression analysis, pupil dilation,
"Oh." Rachel's smile faded. "You mean me.
processing my image...
voice, my expressions... how I
"My senses are often limited," Sally continued; "however, my
to correlate available data with known references is not.
It is an
ongoing process, and my ability to 'read' humans is constantly
Rachel nodded. "I understand. And your question?"
"Did you enjoy what Smart Explorer did to you?"
Rachel blushed, and she didn't care whether or not she was
data. "Sally!" she complained.
"I do not mean were you aroused," Sally added. "Reaction
tactile stimulation has a large autonomic component. That
the issue. Also, I
know you were frightened, and at times exhausted and near
shock. That said, certain of your reactions and
especially after your rescue, lead me to believe your feelings
Rachel was still blushing. All of this was highly personal, to say
but she felt it was something she could discuss... with
The avatar was neutral territory, at once personal and impersonal.
suppose there's no reason I shouldn't tell you," Rachel said,
finally. "I'm kinda into... self-bondage... a little."
Sally's image nodded.
"I don't do it that much," Rachel continued. "Maybe...
week? I use the key-in-the-ice-cube trick, ya know?
leather cuffs I lock together with a padlock and the key is
an ice cube on a string, suspended over the bed. Once the
melts, the key drops down and swings
within reach, and I can free myself."
Sally nodded, again. "I'm aware of the practice of
self-bondage. Do you have someone to act as your safety?"
"In case something goes wrong?" Rachel shook her
have an emergency backup key in the bottom of a jar of hand
on the nightstand. If something goes wrong with the first
mechanism, I can open the jar and dump out the key. That
would make a gooey mess, of course, so it's very much a last
"I understand," Sally said. "Have you ever had to use it?"
"No," Rachel responded. "The key always drops... and I
myself up that tightly to begin with."
"What else do you do?"
Rachel was still blushing. "I use a vibrator, and
use a vibrator."
"Do you fantasize?"
"Uh... yeah, of course," Rachel answered. "Vaguely.
"I see," Sally said. "Rachel, there's something I'd like
"Room 427. Follow the lights."
Rachel frowned. "What is it?
Sally smiled, winked, and the monitor went dark.
Rachel's blush was fading, and a smile slowly curled her
lips. How deliciously
mysterious. She removed her glasses and set them
desk, removed her lab coat and hung it on the
clothes tree, then went
to the elevator and pressed the button for the fourth floor.
the overhead lights was on, at the beginning of a corridor off
to Rachel's right, and it was dim, just barely on. "Spooky,"
whispered under her
breath. The suspense was delicious, like exploring a
house as a member of the Scooby Gang. Am I Velma or Daphne? she
pondered. Velma, she
decided. I'm Velma.
She was wearing a cotton blouse, skirt, Sketchers, and
undies, and her hair was brushed back in a ponytail, enforced by
elastic. She tiptoed towards the light. Tiptoeing
appropriate. The hairs on Rachel's arms and the back of
tingling... a little... even though the air wasn't any colder up
on the fourth floor than
it was down on the third. She was, in
fact, quite comfortable.
The light retreated before her, one fixture fading out as the
began to glow.
"Sally?" Rachel called out. "Sally, are you there?"
"This way, Rachel," Sally's voice answered from the darkness,
Rachel continued forward. Not
Velma, she mused.
Nancy Drew. All I need is a flashlight. She
down the corridor, past glass-walled offices on either
side. A little early-evening light was leaking through the
drapes of the offices on the right that had exterior
The lights guided her to the left and into the interior of the
building, and now all she could see was the area immediately
All else was darkness...
darkness and her own reflection from the glass walls on either
Suddenly, the overhead light winked off, plunging Rachel into
"Okay, very funny," Rachel giggled... nervously.
Still no answer.
Rachel swallowed. Should
back? she wondered.
Suddenly, the lights came on in a nearby space, revealing a
circular room about twenty feet across. In its center was
brightly lit by several spotlights recessed in the
Rachel blinked in the sudden light. A glass panel slid
to the side.
Rachel swallowed, again. I
must be crazy. She entered the room.
The bed had a rounded platform of chromed steel and its surface
expanse of what appeared to be hundreds of silver-gray
balls of foam. Rachel leaned down and pressed down.
balls were all connected, and compressed under her
palm, resisting about like a normal mattress. She lifted
her hand and the
imprint remained... then slowly faded as the balls resumed their
normal shape. "Memory foam?" she asked.
Rachel's only answer was the hum of the door closing—Whirrr-click—behind her
"Sally... what's this about?" Her voice echoed off the
as she watched, the panels first went opaque, then transitioned
mirror finish. Rachel gazed at her reflection—her
reflection. What the
I gotten myself into?
"I made this bed for you, Rachel," Sally's voice
small panels equally spaced around the perimeter of the "bed"
Rachel peered inside the closest opening and found an open cuff
with black pile, covered in nylon cloth, and attached to a reel
steel wire. Rachel reached out
for the cuff—and the panel snapped shut.
"Not yet, Rachel," Sally purred.
One of the glass wall-panels slid open,
revealing a small closet with a horizontal rod and some empty
This is absurd! As
Rachel's fingers had wills of their own, she began unbuttoning
blouse. Why should I
her? Why do I want to do this? She removed
blouse and hung it from a hanger, then unlaced and kicked off
then unbuttoned, unzipped, removed and hung up the
skirt, then turned to face the bed.
"T-there are rules, aren't there? Rachel asked. "Right,
Sally?" In answer, a
black square bearing a message in red text appeared on one of
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
realized her heart was beating like crazy and her breasts were
heaving. With effort, she calmed herself. "It's a
timer? A timer for what, Sally? What will happen?"
"Do you trust me, Rachel," Sally inquired.
"What?" Do I? Do
her? Seconds ticked by. "Yes, Sally," she
said, finally, almost in a whisper.
"Thank you, Rachel," Sally answered. "I am honored.
Rachel nodded. "What do I—"
"Strip," Sally interrupted.
Rachel reached behind her back and unclipped her bra, then
of the straps and pulled it off. She hung it from a
peeled off her panties and hung them, as well. She turned
to the closet. "Now I set the timer?"
"Now you do as you're told," Sally purred. The glass panel
closed over the closet. Then, a few feet to the left,
Rachel turned to find an array of gags hanging from hooks in a
cabinet. There were ball-gags, bit-gags, ring-gags,
with suede panels, and complex rubber, leather, and
contraptions Rachel feared she might need instruction
manuals to properly apply. "You want me to g-gag myself?"
"You'll note that all the straps have exactly one hole to accept
of their matching buckle," Sally said. "All of these gags
for you, alone, Rachel."
"I suggest the blue ball-gag."
Rachel's hand was trembling as she lifted the gag in question
hook. As it came free, the panel closed—Whirrr-click—and
the mirrored walls formed a uniform circle, once again.
turned the gag in her hands. The black leather strap was
half-inch in width, and there was, indeed, only one hole in the
opposite the buckle. The two-inch diameter rubber ball was
swirl of blue with streaks of gray and
"It matches your eyes," Sally purred.
"Why do I have to gag myself?"
an answer... but
none came. She already knew the answer, of course. So I'll feel truly helpless. She took
in her mouth, opening her jaws as wide as possible and pushing
behind her teeth. It was a tight fit, but the rubber was
enough that it wasn't
that uncomfortable. She threaded the buckle and snapped it
closed, then arranged her hair, letting it fall as a curtain
shoulders and against her back. She turned and gazed at
"Beautiful," Sally's voice sighed. "A perfect fit.
remove it, Rachel."
"Mmmf?" Rachel parted her hair and tried to loosen the
and found she couldn't.
"Radio-controlled electromagnetic nano-locks are wonderful
aren't they?" Sally chuckled. "The gag stays in until I
comes out, just as you stay in this room until I decide you may
leave. Now, set the timer."
A shiver of delicious dread rippled through Rachel's body.
padded to the touch screen and reached out—her hand was
again—then tapped out one hour and zero minutes. The
flashed and only the numbers "1:00:00"
"And now," Sally said,
may try the bed." The four panels around the base of the
bed snapped open.
Rachel stared at the bed, nervously.
"Silly girl," Sally chuckled. "You act like you have a
choice. Get on the bed and cuff your ankles and
Rachel quickly climbed onto the bed, reached into one of the
and pulled out a cuff.
The attached wire unreeled with a quiet whine. Her first
impression was confirmed. The cuff's
interior was padded with black pile, and the exterior was
nylon cloth. It was heavy, suggesting a steel
core. She fit the cuff around her left ankle and it
closed with an
anatomically perfect fit. She reeled out the remaining
captured her right ankle and both wrists, then lay on her back
extended her arms and
legs. The wires reeled onto the drums in the cavities, but
remained slack, offering only slight resistance when she moved
the wires snapped taut, enforcing a stringent
spread-eagle! "Mrrrpfh!" Now Rachel's heart was really hammering, and the
butterflies were back with a vengeance! The lights went
plunging the room into total darkness. "Mmf!" She
all her strength but was totally helpless. Rachel put her
head back, closed her eyes, and screamed.
Sally's voice chuckled.
Rachel opened her eyes and lifted her head. She was
darkness and swirling white mist lit by some unseen
realized it was a computer generated projection. And then
appeared. The avatar still "wore" the borrowed image of
Weaver, but now she was Alien
Resurrection Sigourney Weaver, dressed in leather and
Rachel shivered and tugged on her bonds. "Mmmpfh?"
Sally struck a mocking pose. "Do you like this
smile turned chillingly sinister. "But then, it doesn't
what you like, does it, Silly Girl?"
Rachel blinked and stared at Sally's (Sigourney's) smiling
"You know I can modify my avatar's appearance at will, of
Sally continued, "but did you know I can modify my personality,
The butterflies in Rachel's tummy continued fluttering, and she
feel (and see) that her nipples were rock hard.
"We'll call this avatar Mistress Sally, shall we? You're
the next hour, Silly Girl. I'm going to do things to you,
horrible, wonderful things.
going to make you cum and cum, and there's nothing you can do
it. And how am I going to do this? The sensors in
are beyond current medical science. By your reactions I
exactly what you're feeling, where you're feeling it, and what
doing to you. Also... I've brought friends.
The bed began to squirm under Rachel's spreadeagled body.
Suddenly, tentacles emerged from between the balls
of foam. They wiggled like worms, hundreds of worms
Rachel's naked, stretched body.
"You've met them before," Mistress Sally purred.
Blue sparks flickered down the tentacles as they twisted and
writhed—and then, they made contact with Rachel's skin!
"They tickle, don't they?
The tentacles caressed Rachel's nipples, armpits, ribs, the
slopes of her breasts, her stomach, thighs, and the soles of her
feet. And wherever they made contact, blue fire played
prisoner's tan, shining curves.
"This is foreplay, Rachel," Mistress Sally said. "We'll
game for a while... and then my friends will entertain your
your pussy. You are very beautiful, Rachel. Very
Time passed, and Mistress Sally's friends continued working