Teryl Rothery as Dr. Cynthia Webbel Rage at the Machine

by Van ©2004

Chapter 1

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Lillian Steele could take anyone in a fight.  Assault rifle, pistol, sword, knife, staff, unarmed... it didn't matter.  Okay, granted, a seven-foot Kung-fu Master could clean her clock, but he'd know he'd been in a fight.  And if she couldn't win playing by the rules, she'd cheat.  And if her opponent was on his guard, she'd use stealth, or seduction.

Lillian was a looker, five feet and eight inches of toned, tanned, female animal.  With high cheek bones, full lips, eyes of midnight amber—long, silky, dark brown hair—firm, perfect breasts—hard, trim, dimpled buttocks—washboard stomach and long, lithe, defined muscles—she moved with the grace of a dancer.

This wasn't just her opinion, mind you.  Everyone she met... men, boys, and even half the women... undressed her with their eyes.  Those that tried with their hands, however, got broken fingers, or worse.  They were staring at her now, like they always did when she lounged by the pool.  The overweight executive on the far side, the hunky restaurant manager five chairs over, the skinny blonde housewife near the diving board...  They all wanted her.  But no one got close to Lillian Steele... no one.

Lillian flowed to her feet, leaned back down to gather her towel, lotion, and shades (giving all present a perfect view of her perfect, thong-divided derrière), then sauntered to the elevator.  Seven months ago, when she started working for Salamandras International, she'd been given the keys to a luxury condo her contact had called, to Lillian's vast amusement, a "safe house".

All in all, this was the strangest gig Lillian had ever landed.

Salamandras was a bizarre mix of stunning competence and rank amateur mistakes.  Using a luxury condo as a base of operations for industrial spying was bad.  On the other hand, their cyber work was the cleanest Lillian had ever seen.  Her employers' "control", a female voice that called herself "Vox", communicated solely via telephone or e-mail.

The pay was spectacular, though, and was the only thing that made her put up with all the nonsense.  That and the seemingly unlimited expense account and technological doodads Salamandras custom made to her specifications.  She had alarm spoofers that had to be better than anything The Company was using, surveillance cams as small as vitamin capsules, climbing ropes as thin as parachute cord, with no measurable stretch under weight.

Yes, the fringe benefits were sweet, but Lillian took full precautions.  She kept nothing incriminating in the condo, nothing save a few hyper-encrypted files on a booby-trapped laptop.  Nothing linked her to Salamandras.  She'd done a dozen jobs for Vox, stealing plans and prototypes from research labs and testing facilities.  All her "acquisitions" had been bleeding edge technology in robotics, nano-miniaturization and network engineering.

Ever the consummate professional, she'd left nothing behind for the police—not fingerprints, DNA, or even security cam images.  Okay, there had been a cute little secretary unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She'd been left hog-tied and tape-gagged, chewing on her own panties and stuffed in a locked closet... in the basement... behind a stack of shipping crates.  She'd been found, of course.  (Lillian was not a murderer.)  But all she could tell police was she was attacked by a figure in black... who may have been female.  

Lillian would never be caught, would never be betrayed, and would always do things her way.

That didn't mean she couldn't follow orders.  In fact, she had a job pending right now.  She entered her apartment, locked the door, peeled off her bikini, and pattered to the desk.  She powered up her laptop (a 17-inch PowerBook G4), then began a series of stretching exercises.  Pausing to open her e-mail and trigger her decryption software, she found she had one message.

It was from Vox, and was one line: "Imperative you execute current assignment as soon as possible."  Lillian frowned.  For Vox, that was practically hysteria.

She typed a one-word reply: "Tonight", then finished her stretches and sauntered to the closet.  She returned to the bedroom and laid out silk panties and bra, a pair of spandex stretch pants, a long-sleeved top with a zip front, leather kid gloves, and a silk stocking cap that pulled down to a hood with eye holes.  All were midnight black.  Together with a body-hugging, custom made equipment harness, a light jacket, and a pair of nylon boots, this would be her costume for the evening.

Lillian still had two hours before she could even think about leaving for her assignment.  All preparations were complete, but even Salamandras couldn't hurry the sun.  She still had time for a leisurely shower (to eliminate all perfumes, lotions, and other odors), and a light meal.

This was going to be a fun job, her first "personnel transfer".  Oh, she'd restrained her share of "collaterals" in the course of other operations, like the secretary who had gotten in her way earlier, but this would be her first retrieval mission in which the primary target was a human being.  This would be her first kidnapping.
 Chapter 1
Dr. Cynthia Webbel was worried.  In fact, she was seriously considering becoming terrified.  If her suspicions were correct, as fantastic as they might be, as irrefutable as the evidence seemed to be... if her suspicions were correct... she could be in danger.  There were a few, a very few individuals in the academic world with whom she could share her fears with any hope of their understanding.  Those who would appreciate the full implications were fewer still.

She'd been led to her current state by her latest research project, a collaboration with a commercial entity named Salamandras International.  Not that there was anything unusual about corporate/academic partnerships.  Since coming to Lewis and Clark University, Cynthia had used such means to develop several important patents, making herself financially very secure and generating a generous money stream for her partners and the school.  This had also resulted in scores of scholarly papers and five books, not to mention early tenure.

But her current partnership was making her nervous, nervous enough to start doing what could only be called a private investigation.  The results had been disturbing, and made her wish she'd done a better job of covering her tracks.

It was too late for that now, but she could take other measures.  She'd prepared CD-ROM's with summaries of her current work and the results of her sleuthing to mail to a select list of colleagues.  They'd been prepared on a laptop not linked to the internet, and the short cover letters that would accompany them were handwritten.  Salamandras could not be allowed to know that she knew what she knew, not until she got the word out to the others.  If she could do that before Salamandras stopped her, the secret would be out, she'd no longer be a threat, and Salamandras would have no reason to come after her... or so she hoped.

Cynthia was seated at her desk.  As usual while on campus, she was dressed in sensible heels, hose, a stylish skirt, and a silk blouse, all of it tasteful and modestly expensive.  Her chestnut brown locks were cropped in a feathered, collar-length bob.  While not obsessed with her looks, Cynthia still liked to look good.   Also as usual, a white lab coat protected her clothes from the ink and grime of the daily grind.

Six packets with CD's and letters were ready to be mailed, and she was preparing the seventh and last.  The Department office had been closed for hours, but she didn't plan on using their mail drop anyway.  She'd drop the packets into a blue box herself, on the way home.

She glanced at the wall clock above the door.  It was late, much later than she'd realized.  Night had fallen, and Cynthia's office was dark, save the glow of a half dozen computer displays and a single desk lamp.  (Another of her habits, working in the dark.)  At this hour, most of the Computer Sciences Building was dark, part of the University's eternal quest to pinch pennies from the operating budget.  There would be students puttering around in the basement labs all night, but the classrooms and teaching labs were being cleaned and locked up tight.  The administrative and faculty offices on the upper floors would be cleaned last, in the predawn.

Cynthia prepared to insert the last CD and letter in its cardboard mailer—then froze, the hair on the back of her neck standing erect.

A shadow had crossed the frosted glass of the outer door.  While that alone wouldn't be a problem, there was something about the way the shadow had moved.  It had been... creeping.

Her heart pounding, Cynthia reached for a blank CD and replaced the seventh data disc, sliding the blank into the mailer with the cover letter.  A stack of graded project papers from her Honors CS-202 class was to her right.  Eyes on the door, Cynthia chose a paper at random, and slid the data CD between the pages until she felt it wedge against the edge of the binder.

The door opened just as Cynthia's hands returned to the stack of mailers, and a female silhouette was framed against the dimly lit hall.  Cynthia gasped, a thrill of fear coursing up her spine— (I locked it!  I know I did!) —then she swallowed, clenched her fists, and asserted her authority.  "Who's there?" she demanded.  "Office hours are over."

The figure stepped into the office, and Cynthia gasped again.  She (it was unmistakably a she) was clad completely in black, from head to toe.  The intruder peeled off a stocking cap, and shook out a long, straight, luxurious head of dark brown hair.  She was very beautiful, with a friendly (but superior) smile on her lips.  "Doctor Cynthia Webbel," she said.  Her voice was a melodic alto, her statement not a question, but an identification.

"What do you want?"

The visitor closed and locked the door behind her, then sauntered forward, gracefully swinging her hips.  "Why, I want you, Doctor," she purred.  She raised her right hand, and Cynthia's eyes popped wide.  The intruder was holding a handgun, and it was pointing directly at her!
 Chapter 1
Cynthia's eyes darted to the telephone on her desk, then back to the intruder... who slowly shook her head.  "I wouldn't, if I were you, Doctor," she said, and continued forward.  "Remain in your chair, and put your hands on the desk, where I can see them."  Her eyes still on the weapon, Cynthia complied.  "Spread your fingers."  Cynthia followed this order as well.

"What do you—?"

"Pay attention," the intruder interrupted, and stepped around the desk.  "I want you."  She slowly raised, then lowered the weapon, and Cynthia's head bobbed in perfect rhythm.  "Oh... you like my new toy?" the intruder whispered.  "It's the very latest in gas-powered automatics.  It fires a tiny fléchette loaded with a powerful narcotic, and is quiet as a mild cough.  One touch of the needle... and you're out like the proverbial light in less than two seconds."  She waved the barrel from side to side, and again, Cynthia's head followed.  "The only downside... it leaves a nasty bruise."  She centered the weapon's aim between Cynthia's breasts.  "You don't want me to have to use this thing, do you?"  Cynthia shook her head.  "You're going to do exactly what I tell you to do, aren't you?"  Cynthia nodded.  "Hands behind the chair," she ordered.

Cynthia swallowed nervously, and placed her hands behind her chair, then flinched as hard, smooth bands closed around her wrists and cinched tight with a series of metallic clicks.   Handcuffs! she realized.  "Who are you?" she demanded.

The intruder produced a coil of thin, black cord from under her jacket, crossed Cynthia's ankles, and bound them together.  "Think of me as a corporate headhunter," she purred, and looped the cord through the cuffs, pulling out the slack until the captive's heels were off the carpet and she was in a sitting hog-tie.  "You can call me Lillian," the intruder added, cinching a knot.

"Please..." Cynthia whispered.  "Don't hurt me."

Lillian added loops of cord, pinning Cynthia's waist and torso against the chair back.  "Relax, Doctor," she purred.  "My employers, soon to be your employers, expect you to be delivered alive and unharmed.  You're in no danger, as long as you cooperate.  Like I told you, I'm a headhunter... as in recruiter of specialized talent... not as in decapitating primitive native of Borneo; although your pretty little head would make a very attractive trophy."

More cord tightened across Cynthia's lap and the chair's seat, then around her knees.  She gazed in wonder as her legs were pressed together and the skin above her knees was dimpled by the thin black band.  All of the cords binding her to the chair were tight.  The handcuffs held her wrists like a pair of stocks, as if they were one piece and didn't have a connecting chain.  She struggled and twisted her body, but there was very little slack.  "Ow!  It's too tight!" she complained as her captor added a last band just above her breasts, cinched it tight as well, and tied a final knot.

Lillian spun her prisoner's chair around until they were face to face.  "If you don't struggle, it won't hurt," she stated, a gloating smile on her angelic face.  She reached under her jacket and produced a ball of pink foam.  "Open wide," she suggested with a coy smile.

"No!" Cynthia whined, and pursed her lips, then gasped as Lillian pinched her earlobe.  As soon as her lips parted, the ball was crammed in her mouth.  It expanded to fill her entire oral cavity.

Lillian made sure it stayed in place with a tight hand gag.  "We can do this hard," she cooed, "or easy."  An infuriating, gloating smirk curled her full lips.  "I know a dozen ways to cause you intense pain without leaving any noticeable marks.  How 'bout it?  Easy?"  Cynthia locked eyes with her captor, and slowly nodded.  "Good girl," Lillian whispered, and lowered her gloved hand.  The pressure of the ball gave her captive's cheeks a somewhat more rounded appearance.  Her lips were slightly parted, the tips of her front teeth visible, and a sliver of pink foam protruded.

"What a cute little chipmunk you make, Doctor," Lillian purred, and produced a wide rectangle of flesh-tone, paper-backed plastic film from an inside pocket of her jacket.  "Lips together and jaws closed," she ordered.

Cynthia felt her cheeks flush with anger.  She'd had just about enough of Lillian's smug, superior attitude.

"Bite down, Doctor," Lillian growled.  Cynthia continued glaring at her captor, but finally complied.   "Better," Lillian said as she peeled the backing from the film, carefully positioned it over her prisoner's lips, and pressed it firmly home.  She released her palm and began pressing the margins with her fingers.  "Very nice," she whispered as she worked.  The milky plastic adhered to Cynthia's lips and face like a second skin.  Every detail of texture and contour was visible.  "Very nice indeed," Lillian repeated, then reached up and straightened her captive's slightly tousled bangs.

Cynthia mewed an angry complaint through her gag and tossed her head.  The tape and foam ball were surprisingly effective.

Lillian's smile broadened.  "You don't do your photographs justice, Doctor," she whispered.  "Those pretty brown eyes, that cute button nose, those pouting lips with that sweet little bow..."  Cynthia shook her head angrily, then froze, her eyes wide with fear when Lillian's hand shot out and captured her earlobe in another tight pinch.  "Stay still," Lillian whispered, maintained her grip (without causing pain), and resumed combing Cynthia's bangs with her other hand.  "You're such a petite little thing," she cooed.  "What... five-two in your stocking feet?"  Cynthia continued staring at her captor, making no effort to answer.  "Such a winsome, tiny little elf," Lillian continued.

Cynthia's anger overcame her fear.  She jerked her ear from Lillian's hand and glared at her captor.

Lillian chuckled quietly.  "If looks could kill," she whispered, then stood and began a search of the office.  Cynthia squirmed and struggled, searching for a weakness in her bonds, but finding none.  She watched in helpless frustration as her files were rifled and several CD's and data cartridges piled atop the seven mailers still sitting before her on the desk.  Lillian produced and unfolded a black nylon shoulder bag and stuffed her booty inside, including the mailers.

Suddenly, Lillian pulled a small PDA from her pocket.  It was vibrating, but stopped as she flipped up the tiny screen's protective cover.  Lillian gazed at the display.  "One of the motion sensors I planted on the stairs has been triggered," she explained to her captive audience, then snapped the cover closed and returned the PDA to her pocket.  She then turned off the desk lamp, plunging the office further into darkness.  Only the glowing computer screens remained.  She knelt beside Cynthia and whispered in her ear.  "You may be about to have visitors, Doctor.  Such a pity you've already left for the day."  The dart gun appeared in her hand, and her bound and gagged prisoner stared at its barrel with frightened eyes.  "Not a sound," Lillian continued, "not a whine, not a whimper, not even a creak of the chair... understand?"

Cynthia nodded, then shifted her attention to the frosted glass of her office door window.  Two new silhouettes had appeared.
 Chapter 1
They belonged to a pair of coeds, one of whom was Cynthia's student.

"Damn!" Kiera McFadden muttered, tapping the glass of the office door with the knuckles of her left hand and rattling the knob with her right.

"I told ya so," Patty Scanlon said, "now let's go."

Both girls were dressed in exercise togs and jackets.  Kiera's sneakers, tights, leotard, and spandex jacket were black.  Her long, red curls were pulled back in a tight ponytail and restrained by a black elastic.  While not a "Goth", the CS major tended to favor the dark side of the fashion spectrum.

Patty, on the other hand, was wearing pink sneakers, white tights, and a salmon pink sports top that left her flat tummy exposed.  Her jacket was white cotton with pink and black accent stripes.  The Biology major's short, blonde locks were bobbing free in a semi-tousled mass.

"She said they'd be in the basket outside her door," Kiera groused.  The wire basket in question, the place Professor Webbel always left her classes' graded assignments, was depressingly empty.  The frustrated redhead gave it a nudge with her right sneaker.  "This is your fault," she scolded her roommate.

Patty gasped in good-natured outrage.  "How is it my fault Webble-Wobble hasn't finished grading your precious project?" she demanded.

"If you hadn't dragged me to your damn 'Dancercise' class," Kiera explained, "I could have caught her before she left.  And don't call Cynthia 'Webble-Wobble'."

Patty favored her roommate with her most cloying, dimpled smile.  "Oh... isn't that cute.  Kiera's sweet on her faculty mentor."

"Shuddup!" Kiera muttered, blushing and giving her friend a good-natured tap on the arm.  "Let's get some coffee."

"Killer!" Patty agreed, and the girls headed for the stairs.
 Chapter 1
Inside the dark office, Cynthia sighed and forced a sad whimper past her gag.

Lillian holstered her weapon and leaned close to whisper in Cynthia's ear.  "Oh, don't be sad, Doctor.  They couldn't have rescued you anyway.  If by some remarkable circumstance they'd come to even suspect you might need rescuing, I'd have been forced to dart them, drag them inside, and tie them up too.  We'd have had some company... but you'd still be mine."

Cynthia snorted in disgust, then jerked in her bonds and mewed through her gag in outrage when Lillian leaned forward and gripped her breasts with her gloved hands.

"Is this why the students call you 'Webble-Wobble'?" Lillian teased, and gave Cynthia's breasts a gentle shake.  "Very nice, Doctor," she purred.  "What are they... 34C?  35?  It's difficult to judge through all that clothing.  We can take precise measurements later, after I get you away from here."  She released her mauling grip and took a step back.

Cynthia glared again at her tormentor above her gag, obviously still very angry.

"In any case, the actual numbers are unimportant," Lillian continued.  "You have a very nice, very athletic shape... buxom, yet petite.  Narrow waist, firm muscle tone, tight little bottom...  Incredibly sexy for such a small package.  It's a pleasure to be your kidnapper, Doctor Webble-Wobble."

Cynthia blushed, and turned her face away with a disdainful sniff.

Lillian laughed, and consulted her watch.  "It's too early to sneak you out of here just yet," she said.  "We'll let the campus settle down a bit more.  I suggest you take a nap, if you can.  We have about three hours to wait."  Lillian rearranged the pair of visitor chairs facing the desk, making sure she had an excellent view of her bound and gagged prisoner, but could still cover the door with her weapon.  She sat in one chair, and propped her booted feet on the other.

Still angry (and very frightened), Cynthia squirmed in her chair, groped for a weakness in her inescapable bonds, and tried to ignore her captor's leering, infuriating smile.
Chapter 1

Chapter 2