Anything for Love - Part 2

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Kidnapped

 

"Todd, can you take a couple of weeks off next month?"

"Yeah, I think I can. I don't have anything pressing at work that I can't get out of, and the HR people are nagging me to use some of my accumulated vacation time."

"Good. I'll send you the details of where to meet me. Have I got something to show you."

"Can you give me any hints, besides the obvious?"

"No. As a matter of a fact could you not tell anyone where you're going or that you will be with me. People are beginning to take too much interest in my private research. So make up something, but don't let anyone catch on that we will be together. This is going to be strictly just between the two of us."

"Hm, now I'm really curious."

"Sorry, but you'll have to suffer until we get together."

"I await with bated breath."

Of course I knew it had to be something with her private research. She trusted me with knowing a bit about it, but I was missing most of the pieces to really understand it or figure it out. I was dying to see her again and missing two weeks of work was not a problem. What I had a problem doing was keeping my enthusiasm down to what would be expected and not my normal enthusiasm for when I got together with her.

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Eventually the big day came and I drove away from my small apartment. I was very excited about spending two whole weeks with Stephanie. I didn't care what we did together, just so long as I was with her again. Yeah, I know I'm crazy to still feel the way I do about her.

I pulled into the motel in the middle of nowhere and took the room I had booked there and waited for Stephanie to arrive. I had an adequate meal. Okay I'm being charitable. I mean one can't expect five star service in the middle of nowhere can one? Stephanie's influence had raised my standards in what was adequate dining. Fast food restaurants were off my acceptable list now that I was earning good money. Actually I usually cooked my own meals and only went out a couple of times a month for a fancy meal as a treat to myself.

It was getting late and there was nothing on the television, so I decided I would turn in for the night. Hopefully she hadn't been delayed, but then she never did say quite when she would be here. I hoped it would be soon since I didn't want to waste a possible moment with her.

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God, my head hurt! Come to think of it I didn't feel so good in my stomach either. What the hell happened to me?

An undeniable urge started moving its way up from my stomach toward my mouth. Better yet, where is the bathroom?

I struggled to get up and barely noticed I wasn't in my hotel room anymore. Through one of the doors I could see a toilet and I ran, well actually staggered and wobbled like a drunk, for it. While I was there I heard the other door open, although I couldn't give it too much attention at that moment.

"Todd, are you okay?"

It was Stephanie. I would have liked to answer her but my dessert from last night was making a second appearance in my mouth. Yuck! It's first appearance wasn't all that good either. I guess in a way I did answer her.

"Don't go anywhere, I'll be right back."

Where was I going to go? I wouldn't get more than two steps away before I would have had to have my head back at the bowl again.

A few minutes later she returned. I felt a sting on my arm as she took a blood sample and I heard something beep a few times and Stephanie making noises like she does when she's concentrating. Of course in my distracted condition I might have missed some of the finer details.

"Okay. The not so good news is that the idiots I hired gave you too much of the sedative, three times the required dose. One dose and you'd hardly have noticed anything when you woke up. More of the drug makes you feel like you have a mild hangover. What you are experiencing probably feels like a very bad hangover. Five doses could have required your hospitalization. The good news is you will feel mostly fine in an hour or so."

"You drugged me!" I verbally spat at her, then turned most of my attention back to the toilet bowl again. I was too busy at the moment to get properly angry. I'd rip her a new one when I was feeling better and not so distracted.

"Not directly. However I had to get you here without you or anyone else knowing where this place is. I also had to thoroughly scan you to make sure you were not being bugged, followed, or worse."

She said the last bit somewhat ominously and I wondered what she meant by that.

"If the people I hired had done their job right you would have gone to bed in your hotel room and woken up here feeling almost perfectly normal. When you left here the process would have been the same, except this time you would wake up in your hotel room."

"I'm sorry, Todd, I really am. They've been trying to find this location. Who they are I don't know for sure. Most probably the government, maybe my employer, maybe someone else who knows about my private research interests and who wants it for themselves. What I do know is that I can't let anyone find this location. All of my notes and the equipment I've built so far are here. There's probably already enough stored here for someone to misuse what I've already done; even if it is very incomplete. I can't let that happen, not again."

I'd reached the stage where I was dry heaving. Not fun. I prefer to actually throw something up instead of this. Not that I liked doing either. Stephanie stayed there with me the whole time. I don't know how she did it because the smell of sick always makes me sick. It probably has something to do with her medical training.

Eventually I finished at the toilet bowl. I was quickly recovering my balance and my stomach was feeling better by the second. Stephanie left me to freshen up as she put it. When I came out of the bathroom I couldn't find anything of mine. Oh there was clothing that would fit me, but there wasn't a single thing that I brought with me to be found anywhere in the room, not even my watch or cellphone.

I dressed in what was available and went downstairs. I found Stephanie in the kitchen.

"What the hell is going on, Stephanie?"

"I'm sorry, Todd, I didn't want to do this to you. Don't you understand, I don't have any choice. What is here in this house, what I've designed and built, my notes, my theories are all stored here. Yes, I've put as much protection on them all as I possibly can, extreme encryption on all of my files. Explosives on things I don't want anyone getting their hands on. This whole house is rigged with explosive and incendiary devices that will go off should someone try and steal my work. In every room there's an emergency switch underneath the light switch, slide the whole switch plate up and there's a button underneath. Hit the button and this place goes sky high in sixty seconds."

"Why? What's so important that you have a house booby trapped like this?"

"All of my testing and results so far make me think that my theories are right. If I am, then they're too dangerous to let them get into the wrong hands."

"Like you previous invention?"

"Yes. Exactly."

"You never did tell me about it."

"I still won't tell you about it."

"Well as much as I hate to say it, you'd better give me another dose of that stuff and put me back in the motel."

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"Todd, you were already moderately overdosed on the drug. Giving you more before your body has purged it out of your system completely would hurt you; it would most likely damage your liver and possibly your kidneys too. Unfortunately it's a powerful long lasting sedative and it metabolizes slowly."

"Well how long is that going to take?"

"At a guess at least a week. I'll have to check your blood and urine samples regularly in order to be certain."

I didn't like this at all; I'd been drugged and kidnapped by the woman I love, and now I find out I'm trapped, wherever I am, in a house that's rigged to explode at the push of a button. This stuff is only supposed to happen to action heroes in the bloody movies. Not real life. Especially not boring, shy, nerdy Todd Bronson's life.

"So I can't leave at all? I'm stuck here? Can't you just blindfold me and drop me off somewhere?"

"I'm sorry, Todd, I can't let you leave, not yet, not until you can safely be drugged again. As for blindfolding you and dropping you off somewhere? Well you'd get too many clues, approximate distance, direction and times involved. Besides you may be thousands of miles away from where you started off, that would offer clues too."

"Well that would mean I'm out of the country. I didn't have a passport with me so, you couldn't have gotten me out of the country."

"Not legally; there are plenty of ways of getting things and people into and out of a country that bypass the official channels of egress and ingress. It's especially true when you can pay the right price."

I could see from the look on her face she was as unhappy as I was about the situation. It didn't matter to me though, she had betrayed our friendship and my trust in her.

"Stephanie, I'm mad as hell at you at the moment. I feel like you've betrayed me. You've most certainly hurt our friendship. What were you thinking? Did you think I'd be happy about being drugged and kidnapped?"

She was at a loss for words. I could also see that her composure was slipping even further. I don't know what made me do it, probably some stupid need to hurt her for hurting me.

"When you get back to the real world you should find a good psychiatrist, you really need a lot of help."

She was starting to cry. In my anger I decided to give the knife one more thrust and twist.

"God, I wish I'd never met you! Maybe I'd be married and have a normal life by now."

With that she burst into full tears and ran from the room. I heard her run up the stairs and slam a door.

I can be stupid. Really stupid. This was certainly one of those times.

'Good move Todd, piss off a mentally unstable woman who has her finger on a button that could put you in the centre of a fireball.'

As you can tell even at this point I was still mad and not thinking clearly.

I sat in the kitchen fuming to myself for long a while. Eventually I started to calm down and become more rational instead of emotional. I knew she had her previous work exploited and abused in some way; a way that was being used to hurt innocent people. I guess it's only normal to get paranoid about it happening again. Of course with her wealth she would do what she could to prevent it from happening again. It just hurt, that she didn't trust me enough to tell me what she was going to do to me in advance.

I'm not sure how long I sat there fuming and arguing with myself first from my point of view and then hers. I don't know how many times I went backward and forward before I finally decided I needed to talk to her.

With the decision made I got up and made my way up the stairs. As I went up the stairs I noticed a chain on one of the stairs with something attached to it. I bent down and picked it up. It was the engagement ring I'd given her; she wore it on a necklace. I'd never noticed it on her before. Come to think of it she always did seem to have a chain on, but it always went inside whatever top she wore so I never knew it had my ring on it. God, I felt like a first class heel.

With my tail between my legs and the necklace and ring firmly in hand I continued up the stairs. Within moments I'd found the door to her room and knocked. I heard a noise from within the room.

"Stephanie?" Again I heard a small noise, like a moan or groan, then I heard something hit the floor.

"Stephanie, I'm coming in."

When I opened the door I was immediately hit with the smell of alcohol. On the floor was a fast growing puddle of whatever had flowed from the bottle of booze that had just fallen onto the floor. Stephanie was incoherent on her bed. I went to her immediately concerned. When I sat beside her I noticed a pill bottle on the bed beside her, with a couple of pills sitting beside it, the rest of the pills were nowhere to be found.

"Shit!"

I realized she'd gotten drunk while I was fuming downstairs and taken whatever was in that bottle. How many I didn't know. I also didn't even know what the pills were for or how potentially dangerous they might be.

I ran out of the room and searched the house for the emergency medical stabilization unit. Federal law had mandated the units as a required home safety device a few years ago, much like a smoke orcarbon dioxide detector had been mandated years before that. It took me a while to locate it and then get it attached to her arm. After that it didn't take it long to analyze her blood and tell me what I already knew; she'd taken an overdose of the drug. Of course the device told me to immediately summon medical assistance since it couldn't get a connection to the cellular network or Internet and do that itself. The device would do what it could to stabilize her but it had limited capabilities.

I ran through every room that was open to me and couldn't find any kind of phone or communication device. There were several very secure doors that I could find no way of opening. Neither could I open any windows or outside doors. The windows were of some kind of security glass and could not be broken by anything at hand. She really had made this place a fortress.

It was all up to Stephanie and that little machine now. I could do nothing more than sit beside her willing her to live and keeping her comfortable.

When she was hot I got cold cloths and cooled her down. When she got cold I covered her up. I held her free hand and talked to her. Mostly I told her how much I was sorry for what I'd said and how much I loved her. I also cried more than I think I had ever cried in my life. I just couldn't lose her. It never even occurred to me at the time that if she died I might be trapped there.

At one point I heard the little medical machine beep yet again. It had been beeping plaintively for hours for me to summon medical assistance. I had virtually tuned it out by that point. Eventually I realized that beep I had heard wasn't like the previous beeps to call for assistance, this one was different. I got up and went around to the other side of the bed to where I could see the device's display. It showed she was no longer in critical condition. She wasn't better yet, but it gave me some hope that she might recover.

When her condition improved from guarded the medical unit stopped beeping for me to call for medical assistance. It must have been sometime after that I fell asleep beside her.

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I stirred out of my slumber when I felt movement on the bed beside me. I opened my eyes and rolled so I could see her. I saw Stephanie looking wearily at me.

"Why?" I asked.

"I thought you wished you had never met me? I couldn't go on without you in my life. I just made sense to end everything. My life, my work, no new ideas for anyone to misuse. It just made sense."

"I'm sorry, Stephanie, I was mad and not thinking clearly. It took me a while to see things from your side. When I came up here to apologize and talk to you I discovered this." I handed her the necklace with the ring still attached. "I never knew you kept it with you. Then I found you unconscious. I realized I couldn't live without you in my life."

"It's the first time I've taken it off since you gave it to me." She looked like she was about to put it on again and hesitated, the bulky medical unit attached to her arm kept it virtually immobile and definitely useless.

"Here let me help you." I took it from her hand and placed it over her neck. I smiled at her and gently kissed her forehead.

"I can't tell you how much it means to me that you wear it."

"Todd, this doesn't mean that I can be with you." she said this with a great deal of sadness in her expression and voice.

"I know. I wish we could be together, but I understand how you feel."

"God, how did a lesbian like me end up falling in love with a guy?"

"How did I end up falling for the most beautiful lesbian in the world?" This certainly got her blushing despite her fatigue.

"I wish I'd been born a girl, then we could be together."

"If you had been, I'd never let you go." Now it was my turn to blush and wish.

I don't think either of us knew what to say at that point. We each lay there lost in our own thoughts, contemplating the relationship we both wanted from each other but could never have.

I noticed how her eyes were closing for longer and longer periods until she eventually fell asleep again. I looked at her peacefully sleeping form beside me and wished that this was the view I could see every time I was in bed. Eventually I joined her in sleep, dreaming of things that could never be.

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It was early when I awoke. Stephanie was still sleeping off the after effects of her overdose. I got up from the bed and went around and checked the medical unit. All the health indicators were now in the green, meaning that she no longer was in need of the device. I detached the device from her arm without waking her and took it down to the kitchen and left it near the door. The unit would need to be re fitted and re certified before it could be used again. These devices had saved tens of thousands of lives simply by stabilizing a patient until proper medical assistance could arrive.

In Stephanie's case it shouldn't have been able to keep her alive. A drug overdose often required the stomach to be pumped and appropriate counter agents administered to the patient. All the device could do for her was to filter her blood and inject stabilizing drugs. Somehow she had beaten the odds and survived. She would still need to be thoroughly checked out to make sure there was no lasting damage to her body.

The bigger problem now came from our mutual admission that we could not contemplate life without the other. In Stephanie's case it meant she had tried to take her own life when she thought I hated her. I suspect if she had died, I might not have been too far behind her. Oh not right away, maybe days, or weeks, but certainly I would have lost my biggest reason for living. I don't know how I ended up here. How does a straight guy like me fall for a lesbian and her for me, yet we cannot be together because she's repulsed by my body when it comes to the thought of physical intimacy?

My thoughts were broken sometime later when I heard a floorboard squeak in Stephanie's room and decided I'd better go up and check on her and see if she wanted anything to eat. She was okay and hungry, so I made us both something to eat.

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The meal was eaten in an uncomfortable silence. I'm sure it wasn't my cooking since I'm an okay cook.

Stephanie still looked like hell, but she was improving rapidly and the food seemed to help. I insisted that she rest while I cleaned up. I actually had to chase her out of the kitchen to accomplish this.

Once I was done I found her asleep in a chair in the living room. I got a blanket, covered her and let her sleep.

I decided that I would take the time to do a more leisurely inspection of the house. Even taking my time I could find no way to open any of the locked doors or the windows. Neither could I gain access through several of the interior doors to what lay behind them. When I had tired of my search I sat down in a chair opposite Stephanie and began to read one of the books I'd found in the library during my exploration of the house.

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Some time later I was awoken by Stephanie's gentle touch on my arm. "I made you some tea."

"Thank you. I must have drifted off while I was reading."

I sipped my tea for a few moments. Perfect. She really knew how to make a cup just the way I like it. Strong, a touch on the sweet side, with just a splash of low fat milk. Actually it was the same way she preferred it when she had tea, although she usually drank coffee.

Again there was an uncomfortable silence. Neither of us knowing what to say to the other.

"So how are you feeling now?" I asked her trying my best to make smalltalk and get things back to normal.

"Better, but I'm still pretty wiped."

She did look very tired so I figured now was not the time to talk about what she'd done to me or herself. I did however want to express my joy at her survival.

"I can't tell you how happy I am that you are still alive."

"Why?" She said this with a bit of bitterness in her voice.

That wasn't the reaction I was expecting. "What do you mean?"

"Well are you happy I'm alive because you love me, or are you just wanting me to open a door or window so you can run for it?" The way she said each part of that sentence, the first with hope the second with fear.

"Because I can't live without you. No matter what, I love you. Besides what makes you think I'd run away?"

"You told me you wished you'd never met me. Then you tried to find a way out of here; twice."

"What?"

"While you were sleeping I watched some of the security footage. I saw you trying to open the doors and windows to leave." There was still a touch of uncertain anger in her voice.

"Stephanie, the first time I was trying to get help. That EMSU was telling me to get you help. I couldn't find anything to call for help with, so I was going to try and find someone to call for help. The second time I looked for a way out was to see if I'd missed something in my mad panic to save your life.

"I know what I said you hurt you. I also realized, once I wasn't so mad at you, that I'd deliberately tried to hurt you with those words because I felt like you had hurt me, that you didn't trust me. I was upset and I made a big mistake. I am so incredibly sorry for what I said. If I had thought for a single moment that you might try and hurt yourself....I'd rather die myself than have you hurt." Damn I was fighting back the tears.

"You don't hate me?" there was hope in her voice and her expression, along with fear.

"Of course not. I just told you I love you and that I can't live without you. Have I ever lied to you other than what I said to cause all of this?"

"No you haven't."

At this point she lost her battle with her emotions and her tears flowed fast and furious. I sat down beside her and held her. I said what I could to reassure her of my feelings for her. Eventually the tears slowed and she fell asleep with her head in my lap as I held her.

For a strong woman she had her soft spots. Her strength drew me to her, like a moth to a light. Her softness made me love her all the more. She was a contradiction that seemed to fit me perfectly. Well, in every way but one. I guess for her I was much the same. I preferred her to be in charge, but when she needed me I would be there for her, her strength when she needed it. Perfect again, except for that one complication. God, life was so unfair. I felt a tear slide down my cheek and land on her face, disturbing her sleep but thankfully not waking her.

Over the next two days we talked and cried a lot, more than we had ever done previously. I think we understood each other better because of it. We certainly ended up loving each other more because of it. The end result? Again, we knew that no one else could take the place of the other in our heart, but we agreed we'd each try and find someone to fill that empty spot in our lives.

I think she felt as much as I did that this would be a hopeless task. I hate using the term even now, almost implying something metaphysical, but she was my soul mate and I believe she felt the same about me although I don't recall her ever using the term. We were star crossed lovers who could never be lovers. God! I'm so fully of bloody clichés.

After all of the soul searching and talking was over it was time for us to make a decision about the here and now. Do I go home or stay with her for the remainder of our time together?

 

 

Mapping Me

 

"Well, Todd, your blood work has come up clean for a couple of days, so the drug residue is completely out of your system now. Which means you're free to go if you want."

"What about you, are you one hundred percent recovered?"

"I'll be fine."

"Meaning?"

....

I just stared at her until she told broke. "There could be some long term damage from the overdose. But I'll be fine. Please don't worry about it."

"I know you're a doctor and all, but you still need to be checked out by someone qualified, other than yourself; to get an unbiased opinion and proper treatment should you need it."

"Todd, I'm never going into a hospital as a patient again. I can't trust them. They might do something to me."

"What are you talking about?"

"It's what I won't talk to you about." She was nervous.

"It's to do with how your work is being misused?"

"Yes."

"And you are afraid it will be used against you?"

"Yes, I am. I'm scared to death of it."

I swear she almost looked around furtively to make sure she wasn't being overheard, even though this place was her own secure fortress.

"So you still won't tell me about it?"

"Uh-uh. You potentially already know too much with the little I've said."

"Stephanie, I know nothing. I'm more in the dark than you think. It's not like they can control peoples minds or anything like that."

She turned white as a sheet when I said this. At first I thought it was something to do with her overdose but I quickly realized it was what I'd just said.

"They can, can't they?" I whispered.

She remained frozen, terrified that I had figured it out through sheer blind luck. This was not the strong, confident Stephanie that I knew.

"Don't answer that, I can see the answer in your fear. How? Wait, don't answer that either."

She still hadn't said a thing to me even a few minutes later. I decided I'd do my best to ease her fears.

"Look I'm not going to pry or ask any more questions, so please don't worry."

Yet even as I said this I had this nagging tickle in the back of my mind. Like I was forgetting something important.

We continued to sit there in silence. I guess she was afraid to talk in case she accidentally gave me any more clues. I decided to redirect her attention to something I knew would completely absorb her.

"So we still have a week left of our vacation together, do you still want to show me whatever it is you had planned on showing me?" I asked.

"I don't think we have enough time anymore. What I was hoping to do would have taken most of the two weeks."

I guess the look of disappointment on my face must have made her change her mind. She stopped for a moment and though.

"I suppose I can still do just one of us, that is if you don't mind being my guinea pig."

"Guinea pig?"

"Nothing that will harm you. I just want to run some scans on you."

"Okay. I guess."

She stood up, suddenly like her old self and took my hand and practically dragged me with her in her enthusiasm. She stopped before one of the doors that I couldn't open.

"Todd, from now on anything we do together, anything I show you has to be strictly just between us. No hints to anyone, nothing. No telling your parents, not even your best friend. Even we can't talk about it outside this house. Your life and mine may depend on it."

I thought about this for a few moments. "Before we go any further I need to ask you something. Why do it if it represents this much risk not only to us, but potentially to everyone if the wrong people got their hands on it?"

She stood there for a while thinking about my question. I think I stole her enthusiasm. Yet it was a question that I needed to know the answer to if we were to proceed.

"I guess because it has the potential to help so many, maybe everyone if it is used the way I intend. I keep hoping I can figure out a way to make it so that it can't be misused. The potential benefits to everyone, and my own scientific curiosity, keep pulling me back to it; even when I make up my mind it's too dangerous. No matter how many times I walk away I have to come back to it.

"I guess it's like us. I can't get over what I feel for you in my heart, no matter how hard I try to move on. I know that it's something special that shouldn't be denied its chance."

"I can understand that. Can I reserve the right to back out at any time, just so long as I don't tell anyone?"

"Of course. I'd never force you to continue if you didn't want to. I respect your thoughts and opinions too much, and I may ultimately make some decisions based on your input."

"Then I'm in."

"Good." She walked over to a picture and pulled a corner back away from the wall. It opened like it was on a hinge. Something moved out of the hole in the wall; it looked like some kind of camera with a monitor attached. On the screen I could see the word Identify, blinking, nothing else. Stephanie stepped forward and the unit immediately adjusted itself to the position of her right eye. The unit scanned her eye for a few moments before a new message appeared: Identity confirmed. A moment later a list of options came up. Stephanie touched a couple of options and a new message appeared: Ready to scan new subject.

"Todd, stand in front of it like I just did. It's going to scan your iris and retina and take some baseline readings of the blood flow in your eyes. That way it'll be able to tell if you're under duress or being forced to access the system against your will."

This was all a bit freaky, but I did it anyway. The device automatically found my eyes and started doing its thing, then switched to my other eye to scan it too. I didn't notice it when Stephanie was scanned but there was a barely visible laser also involved in the scan. She later told me it was so the inner eye could be sufficiently examined by the camera. Eventually the system beeped and told me everything was finished. It again asked Stephanie to identify herself and then stored my bio data. I saw her add me to an existing security group simply entitled, Todd.

"There, all done. You now have access to the lab, but only when I'm in there or I'm accompanying you. The outside doors will now open for you, so you can walk around the yard. Just so you know we are miles away from anyone or anything. Some of the wildlife around here can potentially hurt you so don't wander too far from the house if you do go outside; at least not until you're familiar with the area. In case of emergency, the windows will now open if you need to get out that way, but they will instantly close and lock again, so don't dawdle if you ever use them, ten seconds and they close again whether you're through or not. The same goes for the outside doors. The doors will automatically close and lock, so make sure you're out of their way. Ten second rule there too. They will close with enough force to remove whatever bit of your body is still in the way."

"Ouch! Why?"

"If you were followed it would limit the number of people who could get in behind you. They most likely couldn't make it from the edge of the woods to the door before it was closed again. Also if you are with anyone other than me, your access won't work to get into the house. Getting out would require you to be by yourself too. If you are accompanied by an unauthorized person you'll be trapped in here with them."

"You don't trust me?"

"Todd, it works the same way for me. If you or I are under duress or with someone else, neither of us can do anything to compromise the house and what I'm protecting here. If somehow someone did make it in here that I haven't approved, the house will sound a warning and within a minute you have to be in the safety of the woods, then boom, no more house or secrets. If you or I don't make it clear of the house by then, there won't be an us either."

"That's not a lot of time Stephanie."

"No it isn't. It's so no one can have time to disable the house's defences before they can do their intended job. If I could have made the explosion and fireball smaller and still ensure the destruction of everything here I would have made the time even shorter. The time is sufficient to make it to safety, but only just."

"I'm surprised you haven't got a small EMP1 bomb too."

"Um, well, I do. It cost a lot on the black market, but it'll make sure most of the electronics are fried and whatever data is in them is irretrievable. It'll charge during the minute warning and then go off a microsecond or two after all of the explosive and incendiary charges go off. I wouldn't want it to disable the bombs or incendiaries, or be disabled by them either."

"Holy shit! Don't you think this is all overkill?"

"No." she said softly and very seriously.

"I just don't get how anything you could come up with could be so terrible to require this kind of security."

She sighed and thought for a minute. "Todd, you figured out that my previous work could be used to control people's minds. It's crude, but it works, anyone put under my invention's influence eventually succumbs. If my theories are correct I should eventually be able to edit people's memories, without leaving a trace. Think of it, a witness to a crime that wasn't a real witness. Or a witness who suddenly has other memories during the crime, so they're no longer a witness. A right to choice person who suddenly thinks they've been a right to lifer all of their life, or the opposite. Can you imagine what could be done with that kind of technology in the wrong hands. The possibilities are endless."

"Then why do it?"

"Okay, here are some examples. Think of a situation where someone needed certain memories, skills or knowledge to perform a task. Imagine if you could upload them into that person's brain."

"Kinda like that old move, The Matrox or something like that."

"The Matrix. Yes, exactly like that. You could in a matter of hours give someone the knowledge of a surgeon. They couldn't do surgery but they would have the knowledge of how to do it. Or a surgeon who needs to know how to do an intricate operation that he's never done before. Suddenly remembering in minute detail how to do it, as if he had done it a hundred times before. Think of an astronaut in space suddenly needing a skill to save his life and getting those skills sent to him. The potential for good is unlimited."

"As unlimited as the possibilities for misuse."

She just nodded. She knew, as I did, that it would ultimately be misused, no matter what kind of protection she built into it.

"You realize there's no way to ensure that it can't be misused?"

"I have to believe that I can find some way to protect it, to make it only work the way I intend. I want to make reparations for how my previous work was turned into something so horrible."

Thinking about what she was telling me gave me that tickling sensation in my memory again. I was close to something but I couldn't quite remember what it was.

"Todd, part of the reason why I want you involved is so you can be my second conscience, just in case my enthusiasm overrides my better judgement."

"Thank you for placing that kind of trust in me. I'll certainly let you know if I think you're getting carried away."

"Are you ready to see my latest?"

"You bet."

The previously secure door just slid out of the way as she moved toward it. No wonder pushing or pulling on it didn't do a thing. It was camouflaged to look like a standard hinged door. Once we were inside the door slid closed behind us. There was a staircase that led to the basement of the house. So far it looked just like any other basement I'd seen in just about any house I'd ever been in, except there weren't the usual accumulated piles of boxes and whatnots everywhere. Stephanie walked straight toward one of the walls and it slid open right in front of us before closing behind me. I turned and could see the door was a solid, very thick metal. When I turned back I noticed Stephanie had stopped and was being scanned by a similar scanner to the one hidden behind the picture. I also realize that we were now in a mantrap. Fail the identity test and you'd be trapped in here until someone authorized let you out. Hopefully someone who failed the test wouldn't be run through with spikes or crushed, like some of those hapless victims in some of the old movies.

"Your turn." she said when it was done with her.

I walked up to it and it scanned me and without any further indication the inner door opened. As I passed the door I noticed it was even stronger than the outer one. When I walked in the room looked like any lab I'd seen in a university. There was a ton of equipment that I could easily identify and a few custom pieces that looked rather rough, then there was the experimental equipment, pretty much in the breadboard stage of development.

"Well, here is my latest." She proudly waved her hand in front of a bunch of circuit boards, cloth with wires and electronics attached and other things all over it and something that looked remotely like an over sized old fashioned hair dryer from a beauty salon.

"Um, well, what is it?"

She gave me a somewhat hurt pout....god she looks so cute doing that. She also knew I wouldn't have a clue as to what I was looking at, so the pout was all for show.

"This my dear friend, will allow me to map you."

"Map me?"

"Well, more specifically the nerve pathways from their source on or in your body, you sense of touch, to their destination in your brain and the response signals from your brain. Basically it can stimulate every single surface nerve ending and those just below the surface in multiple ways. The giant hair drier like device watches for the specific points in the brain that react to the stimulus. In the last test I got a resolution of about five or six neurons. I've tweaked it a bit so I'm hoping I can get better than that with you. I want to get the resolution down to one or two neurons."

"Wow, is this thing safe?"

"It's twice as safe as anything you'll find in a hospital."

"I don't know, it looks...."

"Primitive." she finished for me.

"Well, yeah."

"Believe me, it's using newer tech than most hospitals have, and I've made changes to the software and sensors that make it more efficient. The amount of energy it exposes you to is far less than the equivalent hospital scanners."

"Okay, I'm game, so what do I have to do?"

"Strip to your skin."

This news made me turn beet red. I mean I had the hots for her, but the thought of exposing myself when we couldn't be intimate, well I found the thought extremely embarrassing.

"Todd, I'm a doctor. Believe me, I've done my share of physical examinations. About the only men that don't get hard in my presence are strictly gay men. Actually being hard will make attaching the sensors in that region much easier. We can start there, to get the embarrassment out-of-the-way that much faster."

I looked around for someplace to strip, but there wasn't any place in the lab for that. "Um, where do I get undressed?"

"Right there will do."

I just looked at her. I really didn't want to get naked right in front of her.

"When I brought you here you were naked as the day you were born. I know what you have down there. Believe me you don't have anything to be embarrassed about."

That last comment didn't do a thing to ease my embarrassment and she seemed to be taking some small pleasure in my discomfort. Of course my underwear was the last thing to be removed and after that my nether regions were covered by my hands. Despite the fact that she said a hard on would make things easier I kept wishing the damn thing would shrink and disappear.

"Here take this pill."

"What is it?"

"Viagra, just so you stay hard for a while."

'Oh great.' I thought. 'Could this get any more embarrassing?'

She handed me a piece of the fabric to put over my embarrassment. I looked like she had similar pieces of the cloth in different sizes. It was the correct length first try. She really had seen me naked. Then she handed me another piece that covered my groin and cupped my scrotum and testicles. Each piece was added and carefully aligned so marks on each piece matched the next and the two pieced joined almost seamlessly. As a matter of a fact after each piece was correctly positioned it did seem to join together and no movement pulled it apart again. One of the last pieces and the one that almost freaked me out was a hood that would cover my head, face, ears, etcetera. There was only holes for my ear holes, nostrils, eyes and mouth.

"Just so you know I've been through this myself and had to have something in my vagina and rectum. For now I'm sparing you the rectal mapping procedure. However since the greatest density of sensing nerves are in the mouth, mostly the tongue, you will have this in your mouth. It's far too important not to map."

I didn't like the look of that thing one little bit. I almost told her to forget it.

"I can promise you the end result will be worth it. It may take a few months to get to the payoff, but you will definitely find the results very interesting when it's all ready."

Reluctantly I let her put the device in my mouth. I felt like I was close to gagging because it went pretty deep into my mouth and sat over my teeth and touched my cheeks. I don't think my mouth had ever felt so full. It even wrapped around my tongue so that it was enveloped from all sides.

"Okay two more things and we are ready to go. I need to put these contact lenses in your eyes."

I went to remove the thing in my mouth and found that it was attached to the mask, just the same as every other piece of the cloth apparently joined to its adjoining piece. As a matter of fact, I think the cloth now felt like it was a part of my skin, like it was glued in place.

"Todd, the fabric is temporarily bonded to your skin. I can remove it with a special solution. If I use the solution on the cloth it is essentially destroyed and can't be used again."

I was stuck in this thing!

My, until now, non existent claustrophobia started to kick into high gear. I started to pull at it to remove it but I actually felt like I was trying to pull my own skin off. I felt a sting in my arm and saw Stephanie injecting something into me.

"I'm sorry, Todd, I should have explained this much better than I did. The shot will help you relax, but you will still be conscious throughout the whole scan. You will remember everything too."

My panic quickly faded and my muscles felt like they were turning into jelly. She guided me to the chair and lay me down the she inserted the contacts into my eyes.

"These will come out too with some special drops. Almost all of your sensorium is now covered and can be stimulated for the mapping."

She attached some tubes to my nose. "Those will subject your sense of smell to various volatile aromatics so that I can map that as well."

I tried to stand up and get out of the chair, but found none of my muscles would move.

As if reading my mind she spoke, "Another thing the shot does is block your motor responses. Some of the stimulus you receive might make you want or need to move your body. You need to be as still as possible for this to work properly.

"You will see, hear, smell, taste and feel many different things. Each stimulus and its associated reaction within your brain will be mapped. Some of the stimulation will be unpleasant, but it will be as short as possible, most will last only a fraction of a second. Just long enough to map the associated point in the brain.

"Oh, I left out some of the stimulus routines, since I don't think you want to experience any sexual activities with men. I went through the whole gamut, so I experienced heterosexual sex as well as lesbian. I'm even more convinced I'm a lesbian than I ever was before."

She had shivered slightly when she mentioned the heterosexual sex. It didn't look it was a good shiver, more like someone remembering something very unpleasant. Obviously it bothered her a great deal if she was having a reaction just mentioning it. I now knew beyond any doubt that we would never be lovers. My last faint hope died at that moment.

"Now the sooner we start this the sooner I can get you out of that stimulus suit. Just relax and let it happen, don't fight it. If you do it will just take longer to get the right results."

She lowered the hair drier like hood thing down over my head. A few minutes later sensations stared happening all over my body. Hot, cold, light touch, heavy touch, pinching, pain, etcetera. Then sounds, images, smell and tastes were added to the sensory onslaught. This suit would make a fortune in the sex industry as I swear I was having sex in sync with the images were being shown to me. I could feel every touch with the woman I was, um, having sex with. Of course nothing lasted long. As soon as the mapping process completed one task it moved on to the next one. It was definitely the weirdest experience of my life; all two hours and thirty seven minutes of it. I won't say I hated it, but I certainly didn't enjoy most of it.

Stephanie quickly released me from the chair and the suit and allowed me to get dressed. I think I was almost as upset with her as I was before, when she kidnapped and drugged me. However I did agree to this and I hadn't been hurt by any of it. I was probably overreacting, so I figured I should let my temper subside for a while.

"Almost perfect, better than when I last ran it on myself. The resolution is now down to two or three neurons."

I just stayed mostly silent. I needed to let my anger at her go before I did much talking.

"Look here, Todd, see this section of your brain, I'm betting it maps to your anal sensory region. I could almost guess at the neural connection points now." She brought up another image and put it beside mine. "See right here, it closely maps to my anal region. I'd like at some point, when you're up to it, to get that area mapped, just for a complete comparison."

I almost lost it at that point. "Stephanie, I need to go for a walk and get some fresh air."

"Okay, I'll see you in a bit. I want to finish processing these raw results and get the computer started on the secondary processing."

I wasn't sure she was truly aware I was gone because she was still talking excitedly to herself as I exited the lab and made my way back to main floor.

I knew I shouldn't be mad at her. I got the same way she did when I was excited about something that I was working on. I'd forget the other person didn't understand things like I did and I'd end up frustrating them because I left out too much detail. Having worked with Stephanie on some of her computer code I knew she was the same way. She was lousy at documenting her code, since she just wanted to get to the end result as soon as possible. Because of this it took five times as long to figure things out as it should, even for her. She also had the strangest way of writing code that defied conventional wisdom, but somehow worked none the less. It also lead to situations like I just experienced. She rushed her explanations to get to what she considered to be important; the experiment itself and the results.

As I approached the back door it unlocked and let me open it. I almost forgot to get clear of the door before it closed at the ten second mark. I had just stood there looking at the dark area outside the house, the door pushing me from behind reminded me to step clear. Well I knew one thing for sure we really were miles from civilization because there was no light pollution that I could detect. It was so dark I couldn't see a thing. I looked back at the windows and saw that although the lights were on inside none of the light was making it outside, yet I knew I had been able to see out the windows during the day.

I knew I wasn't going to get too far in the pitch black, but the cool evening air felt good on my skin and refreshing as I breathed it in. It also seemed to let my anger dissipate somewhat.

"Lights." I said and dim lighting illuminated the area I was in. I could see a chair so I made my way to it. I sat there thinking and staring into the blackness and the stars of the Milky Way.

Eventually my anger subsided. Stephanie and I would have to have another talk about things. If she wanted my continued involvement she would have to dampen her enthusiasm and make sure she took the time to tell me everything I'd need to know before involving me in anything like she had just done.

I got up from the chair and walk down the stairs into the yard. Wow! I don't think I'd ever seen so many stars or the Milky Way look so bright. I noticed several stars that I could easily identify, along with many constellations. I realized that Stephanie hadn't thought of everything. I could use the stars to figure out where I am. Maybe not the exact position, but an approximate idea. I carefully made note of the positions of several stars in relationship to the horizon and made my way back toward the house.

"Time."

"Information restricted." Came a disembodied computer voice. 'Damn, she had thought of everything!' Without knowing the time it would be very difficult to figure out even roughly where I was.

Eventually I decided to head back in and the door let me in without the slightest hesitation. When I came in I found Stephanie sitting on the couch. When she saw me a sly smirk appeared on her face. She knew I'd tried to get enough information together to figure out where we were.

I just sat down and glared at her. "Todd, if you don't know where we are they can't get it out of you."

"It's like you don't trust me."

"I trust you with my life. It's them I don't trust a millimetre. They'd force the location from you any way they had to."

"So did the scan give you the information you were looking for?"

"Yes, it looks like I've gotten what I need. I'll know when the computer finishes analyzing all of the data collected and completes the secondary processing."

I thought about bringing up the situation from earlier and decided to wait until after we'd eaten. No sense starving to death if things get a little tense and I lost my appetite. Eat first, get angry later.

"Do you feel like eating? I'm starved myself."

"Yes, I'd love something to eat."

We both went to the kitchen and started preparing a meal together. Despite our differences we almost danced around each other in the kitchen. We never seemed to get in each other's way. My parents had a rule, only one of them could be in the kitchen at a time. No matter what activity they were doing, if both of them were in the kitchen at the same time it almost always came close to ending in divorce.

The whole time we were preparing and eating the meal it was wonderful, very domestic. It was another thing I could spend the rest of my life doing with Stephanie. Of course our conversation was great too. Have I mentioned she's every nerd's dream girl? Oh yeah, I keep forgetting I promised not to mention it again.

After we finished eating and cleaning up we sat down in the living room each with a cup of tea. We just sat there quietly, not saying a word and yet thoroughly enjoying each other's company. Eventually the tea was finished.

"Todd, I'm going back down to the lab to see how the processing of your mapping data is going."

"Can we talk about that for a few minutes before you go down."

"I'm very sorry about before. I'll explain things better next time."

"Stephanie, I know you well enough, because in this respect you're a lot like me. You get caught up in what you're doing and forget that other people don't understand things as well as you do. Today you really scared me, not to mention gave me a bad case of claustrophobia. If I'd been mentally prepared maybe it wouldn't have happened. Also you did things to me without informing me beforehand exactly what would be done to me. You never even mentioned giving me any shots. Given how I was brought here how do you think I'd react to getting injected with something?"

I was beginning to feel some of the anger returning, I just hoped it hadn't come out in my voice as I had no desire to trigger another suicide attempt.

"I'm sorry, I should have thought. I should have been able to look at things from your point of view. I just got caught up in the moment and didn't think about you in all of this. I want you to know though that if the results from this test work out with the next phase of my research I may be able to prevent the government from being able to mind control you or anyone else. Well, at least for a while."

"I can see how mapping my mind and nervous system could be extremely beneficial or dangerous, but I don't understand how it can protect me, especially since I don't know how they do it or what the next phase of your work will be."

"Todd, please trust me to reveal this all to you one step at a time. If I give you too much information and they get it out of you...."

I could see where her line of reasoning was taking her. "If I don't know anything before you can protect me they can't get it out of me."

"Right. If I'm wrong it makes no difference. You still can't tell what you don't know."

"So how much do your parents or Marcus know?"

"Nothing. My parents and I agreed I wouldn't involve anyone else in this, including you. But like our relationship I just can't seem to do this without your help and I trust you more than anyone else."

"Even your own parents or Marcus?"

"I....I don't know. Maybe."

"Isn't it more a case of you won't put them at risk, but you will me?"

"It's not like that at all." She was getting emotional. "It's like I'm incomplete without you, so is my work. I get more work done in the short time we get together than I can do on my own in months. It's like you energize me or....I don't know. All I know is I can't do this without you. If something happened to you I couldn't go on with my work or....or my life." There were now tears streaming down her face.

"When I stopped involving you in my work, I couldn't get anything done....Well at least not as quickly as when you were helping me."

I didn't doubt her sincerity for a moment, but I had to try and understand why she was so driven to do something that would in all likelihood be abused and turned against people. I think for her somehow her love for her work and her love for me had somehow become entwined. One couldn't exist without the other. I just wondered if she could still love me if she had to abandon her work?

I sat beside her and held her. The more I understood her the more evident it became to me that she was completely vulnerable when it came to me. Nothing else seemed to strip her strength and defences faster than me. Maybe every strong person has their Achilles heel. I seemed to have them everywhere, but my biggest was her.

"Stephanie, maybe we should get married. I know nothing is really different from when I proposed to you, but it just seems to me that there won't be anyone else for either of us. Doesn't it make some kind of sense to make our love for each other real, official?"

"It would except I couldn't be physically faithful to you. I've never told you this, I didn't want to hurt you, but I have a high sex drive. I have a girlfriend who understands that I can't love her or make love to her, but we do have sex on a very regular basis. I can't marry you if I can't be one hundred percent faithful to you. It's just the way I feel about relationships and marriage."

She looked so sad as she told me this. She could see my heart was being torn in two again.

"Todd, you're not still a virgin are you?"

I was struggling to hold back my tears. "No, I've been with a few women. I can't fake a relationship or love with them. The relationships always die quickly. It's gotten to the point where I can't even get erect with another woman, not unless I'm thinking about you. But when I do that I feel like I'm betraying you."

"You never told me any of this."

"We agreed we would try and be with other people. I didn't want to hold you back or make you feel guilty because of me. I'm just not interested in anyone else but you."

"I guess it's similar for me, but different too. I can perform, however it's only physical. I like my girlfriend as a friend, but love just doesn't enter into things for me. She's actually okay with that since she doesn't want a committed relationship. You are the person I think about when I dream of my ideal partner....Except you can't be my ideal partner. Oh it's so confusing. I can understand most other people's relationships but I'm damned if I can figure us out."

"God, this is driving me insane. I need you so bad, Stephanie, it hurts."

"Todd, no matter how much I love you, if you forced yourself on me I'd hurt you if I have to, to protect myself."

I looked at her shocked, not that she would hurt me if I tried force myself on her. I'd expect any woman to do her best to do that. What shocked me was that she could even possibly think that I would potentially do something like that to her, or any woman for that matter.

I tried to put aside my hurt feelings for a moment and see things from her perspective. She was a goddess, straight and bi men were attracted to her like sharks to blood in the water. Many would behave worse than sharks. She'd also told me that her martial arts skills had gotten her out of at least a few unpleasant situations. Okay, so I can see how she might have misinterpreted my remark.

"There are two times you have kissed me on the lips. The first was the night I proposed to you and asked you for it; that was one hot kiss. The second time was when we were saying goodbye to each other at the airport when you headed off to university. The kiss I cherish the most, the one that means everything to me, is the one at the airport. You gave that to me without me asking for it or expecting it from you. It was the most precious gift you've given to me other than your friendship."

I could feel the tears running down my cheeks. God, why am I so emotional with her?

"I would never touch you in any way you didn't want. If you can't give me something of your own desire, your own will, free of guilt, then I don't want it. I love you, Stephanie, and I will never do anything to deliberately cause you any kind of harm."

I know I was ignoring the fact that I'd said some really nasty things to her which precipitated her suicide attempt. Regardless, it was still true. Now that I understood just how vulnerable she was when it came to me, I'd do my best to make sure my temper was mostly under control before I opened my mouth and said anything that hurt her again.

"I'm sorry if I interpreted what you said the wrong way. How do you mean it when you say 'you need me so bad it hurts.'."

I sat thinking for a moment. How do I say this? I know how I feel, but how do I say it? I realized it was a case where words would always be inadequate and I'd not get what I meant across no matter what words I came up with.

"This will sound quite stupid, but every part of my being needs you. Everything about you complements some part of me. It's more than just emotional, mental or physical. I wish I could find the words that could convey what I truly feel to you."

"Todd, it sounds like you may be obsessing over me."

"Maybe. Although when we are apart I function normally, because I know we will be together again at some point. I don't have pictures of you plastered all over my apartment. I don't stare at that photo of you on the bear rug all day either. I think I always glance at it when I walk past it, but it's not like I relieve my, um, tensions in front of it all the time." I was very embarrassed admitting that I occasion did this. "The only place I guess where I am obsessed is that there can only ever be you for me. No other woman comes close. So I don't even look at any woman in that way anymore. I am whole only when I'm with you."

I decided not to say the rest to her: 'and I'm empty without you.' I guess I feared that maybe she was right, maybe I was obsessed with her. Maybe I should get some help?

"I think it's the same for me, but without the physical side, which is why I have a girlfriend."

"You're not upset that I, um, well you know, occasionally um, ...."

"I should be, but I'm not when it comes to you. If any other guy told me that I think I'd rip his dick off and shove it down his throat. I know with you it's about your love for me, not mere lust. You have always respected me, my body was secondary to you."

"Well don't paint me as a total saint either. You're so attractive, so damn sexy, it's impossible not to notice that part of you too. But you are right, it's you the person that now draws me more than your body or beauty."

"Well I'm no saint either, Todd. I have a reputation for being a stuck-up, self centred, self righteous, superior bitch. I hold grudges if someone does me wrong or doesn't live up to my expectations of them."

"I guess I'm in trouble; I'll never be as smart as you and I screwed up and almost cost you your life."

I felt like she was about to tell me to get lost. I could feel tears in my eyes.

She came over to me and knelt on the floor in front of me and took both my hands in hers. "You have not only lived up to my expectations you have exceeded them. I was looking for a friend and I found someone to love and someone who loves me. What happened before was because I failed to communicate with you from the very beginning of our vacation together. So while there's blame to be shared by both of us I think I'm the one who bears the lion's share of the blame."

"But you were only trying to do your best to ensure your work didn't end up in the wrong hands. I understand that. I should have thought before I opened my mouth and hurt you."

"Yes, you probably should have thought first, instead of letting your anger rule your mouth. I've made that mistake too many times myself to criticize you for it. Todd, you have this ability to put aside your own feelings and see it from the other person's perspective. Your ego doesn't get in the way of admitting when you make a mistake. When you realized you were wrong you came to me. I, in my stupid haste, didn't stop and think that you didn't mean a word of what you said in your anger. I should have known that you didn't mean any of it; that you just were lashing out because of what I'd done to you. Instead I chose to succumb to my own depression and emotional demons."

"You suffer from depression?"

"Yes I do, big time."

"But you are so strong, so confident."

"And I'm ravaged by the guilt of how my previous work has been misused. I almost obsess in trying to figure out how I can set things right again. I also fear that one day the government or someone else is going to come and take my life away from me; forcing me to use my abilities to hurt others. Then there's the fact that I wish every day, with all my heart that you and I could be a couple, sharing all aspects of intimacy. Is it any wonder that I'm afflicted with depression?"

"I didn't know."

"Because I hide it from everyone. My depression could be used by those trying to gain control of my work, to their advantage. Only my parents and you know about it. Not even Marcus knows."

"Now do we understand where we both stand on things?"

"I think so, Stephanie." She went to stand up, but before she could I leaned forward and hugged her tight. "I love you." I kissed her cheek gently and let her go.

"I love you too."

"You'd better check on your work." I said this so I could go and cry my eyes out without her knowing.

"I'll be back in an hour or so."

"I'll see you when you're done." I knew she would probably be at it all night.

As soon as she was through the first door I made my way outside where I was sure the security cameras wouldn't be able to record my tears.

The rest of the vacation was spent pretty much the same, we talked a lot and yes we cried a lot. I hope it was as cathartic for her as it was for me.

I guess there was one thing that came out of it. That little tickle in the back of my mind finally resolved itself. I was laying on the couch naked except for a blanket. She had just given me the drug to put me asleep so I could be put back into my motel room. Just before I lost consciousness, I said goodbye to her.

"I love you, Doctor Stephanie Carson." I saw the shocked look on her face just as I lost consciousness. You see I had figured out who she really was. Which meant that I'd also figured out her deep dark secret far more than she wanted me to.

 

 

The Next Phase

 

No mention of my discovery was made when we talked to each other on the phone or in e-mails, although when we talked I thought I could hear a trace of apprehension in her voice. For all intent and purpose, at least for anyone listening in on our conversations we had each had separate vacations and nothing of what we did or talked about while together was ever brought up.

To keep up appearances we got together a couple of times away from her secret lab, when my schedule and hers allowed. Of course by this time I was nearly as paranoid as she was, because I now understood just how insidious the misuse of Doctor Stephanie Carson's invention was, or at least I thought I did. The truth turned out to be far worse than I had imagined or believed possible.

Horizonal Ruler.png

It was six months after my first visit to her secret lab that I was once again there. This time when I woke up I felt like I'd had a heavy sleep and nothing more. I got up and had a shower before getting dressed. Stephanie knocked on my door just after I got dressed. Which made me wonder if she was watching me on the security cameras. I never could find a single one of them, but I understood that the entire house, including her bedroom was covered. The only one that wasn't covered was the lab, which had it's own isolated cameras.

"I'm decent." I called to her as I finished buttoning up my shirt.

The door open and she rushed in and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I've missed you so much." she said as she finally released me.

"Wow, can I leave and come back again. I could really get used to a greeting like that."

As she pulled back I could tell that despite her apparent happiness something was wrong. "What's up, Stephanie?"

It looked like she was battling tears all of a sudden, "They got to my girlfriend. They've implanted her with their version of my invention. They are using her to get to me. Maybe they want it to be seen as a threat, or maybe they were hoping she would influence me, or both."

"I'm so sorry. Why don't I make us something to drink and you can tell me everything from the beginning?"

"Okay." She was barely holding back her tears.

We made our way down to the kitchen and she sat while I made some herbal tea for both of us. I thought the caffeine from her normal coffee might get her more agitated which is why I opted for the tea.

"So tell me everything from the beginning."

"First, Todd, I want to know how did you figure it out? Who I am I mean."

"Well it was little things really. While I was here I just had a tickle in the back of my mind that wouldn't quit. Some of what you said, your first name, facts about Dr. Stephanie Carson, few though they were, young, beautiful, genius, secretive, there isn't even a photo of you as Dr. Carson that I've ever run across. Some of what you said about your invention. The concern by some groups that the device could be misused. All the little bits and pieces eventually came together one moment when I wasn't even thinking about it."

"You didn't try and look me up while we were apart?" she said with a bit of concern in her voice.

"No. I had to figure that given what is publicly known about our relationship I must be being watched, certainly my communications and Internet activity. I think if they knew how close we are that I would be under very tight surveillance. Especially if they're trying to find out where this place is."

"It's getting more and more difficult for me to slip away from whomever is following me. I still manage to make it look like they slipped up and I just walked away, but very soon they're going to figure out I'm deliberately losing them. I've removed five tracking bugs from you so far. Each more difficult than the last to locate. Everything in here is shielded, basically we are in a big Faraday cage. The system will report any unknown transmissions it detects from inside or in the vicinity of the house."

"Okay now tell me what happened to your girlfriend?"

"Well as you know I'm the listed inventor of the Behavioural Modification Implants. They basically are expensive to operate because they require a team to trigger the appropriate electro/chemical stimulation based on specific circumstances. It's been very successful in treating a wide range of negative behaviours and allowing people to live normal lives again. It has also been a big boon in prison population control. They use a simplified version with only one function; make people go to sleep. In a riot situation the entire prison population just goes to sleep and the guards walk in and restore order. Usually no one is hurt in those situations."

"Very early on in the development phase of the implant I saw the potential dangers and noted it as part of my research. I mostly wrote off my concerns because I was young, naive, and didn't understand what the real world was like. I especially didn't understand certain branches of the government and the military. Long story short, they developed their own version of my device. With the ability to be triggered automatically or by someone with the appropriate control device nearby."

"Are you sure? I mean if this ever got out it would destroy the government."

"Wait right here, I'll be back in a moment with some news hard copies."

When she came back I looked through them. They were all about people going berserk and killing others or committing crimes. Most of the comments of people who knew the individual involved were shocked at their changes of views and behaviours.

"I don't get it, Stephanie. What do these clippings have to do with your invention? It sounds like these people actually could have used your invention."

"What these people all have in common, according to A.o.T., is that they were all implanted with a special government version of my invention. Their behaviour was modified so they would carry out whatever they did for some government or military reason. Some of the tests were done just to see if it could be done in the real world. Innocent people died just so the government could field test their version and their ability to control people."

"The government would never do something like that to its own citizens." I protested.

She searched through the news stories and pulled one out. "This grandmother was a lifelong peace activist. She hated guns, because of how often they're abused. Slowly she became interested in guns, acquiring many of them and becoming proficient in their use. At the same time she became alienated from her grandson who followed in her footsteps and was an outspoken peace activist and gun critic. The grandmother and grandson had previously been like mother and son, that's how close they were. He was also an outspoken critic of certain government policies. She started attacking his views publicly. Eventually she walked into his office and shot him dead and started shooting everyone in sight. She was eventually killed by a sniper's bullet because she refused to give up. The interesting thing is one of the snipers had several clear shots to take her out, but instead waited for an opportunity to shoot when her head was at the optimum angle to target where the implant was located in the brain. The sniper was reprimanded because he could have saved two lives if he taken an earlier shot. He was also an active military reservist."

"I don't believe it. They wouldn't do something like that."

Again she fished through the clippings and pulled out another one. "This one is of a university professor who held strong anti government views. His students all took his classes because their views usually matched his. His voice and those of his students made things difficult for a certain branch of the military. One of his graduate students killed the professor and then himself one day during a private interview. The friends of the student said he'd been acting differently over the previous months. Keeping to himself, acting suspicious and depressed."

"Here's a less serious one about a politician who spent his life trying to get certain laws enacted. Over the course of a year he completely changed his views and actually worked to get laws enacted that he previously opposed. He even worked to rescind several laws he helped create."

"It could all be coincidence." I knew my protest sounded as feeble as I felt it was.

"Todd, everyone of these news stories is about a person doing something almost completely opposite to who they are and what they believe in."

"How could the government make it work if the people themselves were not cooperating with it? Besides it needs constant monitoring to make it work properly." I said feeling like I'd come up with some logical points in my favour.

"It's actually more effective if the victim doesn't know they have the implant in them. It works because the modified version of the implant can be triggered by an external stimulus, or someone nearby with a controller. For example if the subject is watching the TV or listening to the radio, an embedded signal in the broadcast, that only their implant can pick up, causes it to activate when certain ideas or information are being broadcast. They can get the good feeling chemicals released at precisely the right moment. When other information is broadcast they get the opposite. Likewise when they're around certain people the positive or negative feelings can be triggered by someone nearby with a controller. So for the grandmother she slowly gets to feel good about guns and slowly comes to hate her grandson. It's the subtlety of the process that makes it work, but it's quite slow. If the person knew what was being done to them they would fight it. If they don't know what is happening it's so subtle, so slow, they can't defend themselves since they don't notice it's happening. They succumb to the feelings that slowly worm their way into their consciousness and can become a permanent part of them given enough time."

"That is just so wrong. I can't believe anyone in government would do such a thing."

"Here is something else you don't know. The incidents of the so called normal implants being implanted in people have a greater occurrence in areas where the votes of that electoral district can swing an election. Now imagine a group of voters who get a good feeling every time a particular politician is on the air, or when his vote for me message appears on the radio or TV. Imagine what could be done if key political figures were implanted knowingly or unknowingly, but without knowing what was really happening.

"The stealth version of the government implant can be done in a matter of minutes. A few knockout drops in a coffee or other drink. A specialized needle designed to penetrate the skull and deliver the implant near the desired location. An hour later the subject wakes up with a bad headache. The latest government version is a nano/bio combination. It goes into the subject in a liquid form and automatically locates itself in the brain and wires itself in. The puncture wound is so small the subject rarely notices it. If they do they usually write it off and forget about it within moments. Eventually they are thinking whatever thoughts those who implanted them desire. It becomes second nature. Eventually they don't even need to be stimulated to think the desired thoughts, just like people being treated legitimately for other issues."

"Part of my reasoning for drugging you the first time was because I had to be sure you hadn't been gotten to. I had to make sure that they were not using you in some way to get to me. God, I'm so paranoid I actually scan myself for the implants several times a day. They want my work, they want to control me. They will eventually come for me.

"Until then I think they will try and influence me with those around me. They got to my girlfriend. She started to suggest that I should get out of commercial research and hook up with a government lab. She had always been mistrustful of the government before that point. I scanned her and found an implant. She's never been implanted, at least not that she was aware of.

"She tried fighting it for a while but eventually she gave in. She became addicted to the chemicals the implant was pumping into her brain. You see the more she fought it, the higher the dose they gave her. Once they get one of those things into you they will eventually own you, even if you know what's happening."

"How did you find all of this out?"

"Angel of Truth let me know. She dug up the information before they tried to silence her. There's actually more information that she gave me, but I destroyed it after reading it. If I was ever found with it they would lock me up forever, or worse."

"How do you know she's not giving you false information?"

"She's always given me the straight goods. I've never found anything she's passed on to me to be the least bit wrong. Besides I did some cautious snooping of my own. I discovered that doctors have a gag order when they find certain anomalies in patients' brain X-Rays or other scans. Scans are to be altered if anything shows. The same is true for coroners. The medical community has been sufficiently scared and no one has broken the silence so far. It'll only be a matter of time before someone's conscience gets the better of them. Then again, maybe the ones who are likely to talk have already been implanted."

"Shit, Stephanie, how the hell to you fight something like that?"

"I don't know. I often wonder about my compulsion to continue my work. Is it mine or have I been influenced in some way that I can't determine. My scans and blood work all come up clean. I can even detect the stealth implants with my modified scanner. I know you're clean too."

"Well if we can't fight them, how can we defend ourselves against the implants?"

"This is going to sound weird, but we defend ourselves by implanting ourselves first."

"WHAT?"

"Now that I have your nervous system mapped, I've already got an implant that can bypass the body's nerve impulses and feed computer generated nerve impulses directly into the brain. In essence I've developed the ultimate VR rig. Total sensory replacement."

"I don't see how either of those two things will protect us."

"On their own they can't. I've modified my sensory implant to block unauthorized implants. If it doesn't recognize it as being approved by me then it will block it. Basically it will act like an antibody and prevent the government's implant from being able to establish itself in our brains. Actually it releases a harmless chemical which breaks down the bonding and control pathways of the government implant. In essence making it fall apart and the bodies systems just purge the waste."

"Kind of like fighting fire with fire?"

"A bit. The problem is it has to be done before their implant can establish itself in the brain. If I tried to use the same technique on my girlfriend it would kill her. But if we are implanted by my new implant first we will be the ones in control of our implants and not them and we stop theirs from getting a foothold in our brains. They won't even be able to use our implants against us either. I don't know how long once they discover we have ours in us before they figure out a way around it, but so long as they don't know about it they can't figure out how to get around it."

"I don't know, Stephanie, it doesn't sound very hopeful to me. Eventually they will find out and then they will probably take us into custody to unlock the secrets of your implants."

"That's true, but it gives us some more time to try and find something better to protect ourselves and those we care about."

"I guess."

I didn't sound too hopeful, but she was right, it was better than nothing. Maybe even more so for me than her. If they got to her girlfriend would they come for me next? Stephanie was too valuable to them, so they wouldn't want to implant her unless they had no other way of controlling her. I know she would resist the implant with all of her will, and eventually she would be addicted to the government's implant. The addiction to the chemicals released would decrease her abilities, making her less valuable. Me, I was completely expendable in their eyes, my only use was as a way to allow them to manipulate her. Stephanie's implant just may buy me some valuable time if they decide to implant me.

"Okay, how do we do this."

"Okay, let's go to the lab and I'll show you."

"No! We will sit right here and you will go over everything step by step. You will tell me exactly what you will be doing to me and how you will do it. When you have told me everything I need to know and answered all of my questions we will go to the lab and not a moment sooner."

"You don't trust me!"

"I trust you with my life. I also trust you to get too exited about your work and accidentally omit little, but important things I need to know before they happen. I think if we are sitting here you won't be quite as lost in your enthusiasm."

She gave me a hurt pout, that I knew was all show. She knew I was right.

"Well the first thing is no food for you for twelve hours and you'll have to take a laxative, not unless you want to wake up wearing a smelly diaper? It'll be a long procedure; unlike the government's version my implant requires very precise insertion of all of the electrodes."

"What? Are you going to be cutting my head open?" I said quite shocked.

"No, what I will be doing is injecting my implant, but under computer control it will be directed to precisely where it needs to wire each electrode into your brain. It will take about twelve to fourteen hours. You will be unconscious during that entire time so you will be as immobile as possible. I'll also have to catheterize you, not unless you want a diaper full of urine when you wake up. Your choice on both of those."

'Shit maybe I'll be better off taking my chances with the government?' I thought.

"There's no other way?"

"Just those options I'm afraid."

"Okay I'll go with the laxative and catheter."

"You'll be out when I do the catheter so you won't feel anything or have to worry about the pain."

Of all the ways I had imagined Stephanie touching my penis this never entered into my wildest dreams. Not to mention it was still embarrassing to me to think of that part of me being exposed to her, even if I wouldn't be conscious to experience it.

"Okay, back to the procedure. I'll be unconscious, naked, catheterized and you will be injecting the implant into my brain, the computer will then instruct the implant on where to hook itself up in my brain, and then what?"

"First you will be catheterized, but I'll put a blanket over you so you won't be naked." That bit of news relieved me no end.

"Once the wiring in is done, I'll bring you out of the sedative. Unfortunately you will have a killer headache for about four or five hours. I'll have to monitor you closely in case there are any problems. After that I remove the catheter and you can have some aspirin for any residual headache."

I was really beginning to think letting the government get hold of me may have been the better choice. No, I'm not really being serious here, but the cure almost sounds worse than the disease. I gave her a look that let her know exactly how I felt.

"Yeah, I know, but the pain will help us to know if something is not right. Once we are sure everything is okay you get the aspirin."

"You've tested this right? It's safe?"

"Yes I have. The first test subject matched the models one hundred percent."

"Who did you test it on, your girlfriend?"

"No, I can't help her now. She's implanted with theirs and if I did anything to try and help her it would likely kill her."

"Then who did you test it on? One of your parents?"

She remained silent, but the look on her face made it clear to me who her first test subject had been.

"Who, Stephanie?"

"My first test subject was me." she said in a quiet voice.

"What! Stephanie, that's crazy. What if something happened to you? You should have done it to me first."

"I couldn't do it to you until I knew it was absolutely safe. I couldn't live with myself if it had hurt you....or worse."

"How do you think I'd feel if something happened to you? It'd kill me if you were hurt or died."

"Todd, I have to do these things on my own. I can't do it in a hospital or a lab. My work is not only illegal but it is too dangerous in anyone's hands but my own. If I did this anywhere else but here, I'd essentially have to give my work up for examination by others. It's too early and I don't have enough safe guards in it to protect my work from abuse. The only protection I have been able to give my work is the ability to protect us from the government's implants. Also if it's potentially dangerous I don't want you involved until I know it's safe."

"Now listen here, Doctor Stephanie Elizabeth Carson"

"Don't you ever call me by the name of Carson again. I hate that name because of what the government did with my work, work that bears that name. If you want to rant at me call me Stephanie Elizabeth Ingram, just please never use the name Carson ever again."

Well that took all of the wind out of my sails.

"Won't your parents be upset if you don't want to use their name?"

"Ingram is their last name. My mother is really my maternal aunt. My birth parents died about a year after I was born. My aunt and uncle are the only parents I have ever really known. I know they would be very proud if I took their name."

"How did it happen, your parents dying?"

"My father had been working overseas for six months and my parents wanted some couple time; if you know what I mean. My aunt was babysitting me while they had some quality time together. They were spending a weekend in a small cabin when an intense storm hit and in the middle of the night there was a landslide....and that as they say is that."

She wasn't crying but I could tell that never knowing her parents was hard on her.

"I'm sorry, Stephanie."

"You don't need to be. My aunt and uncle have been the best parents I could have hoped for. They have always put me first in their lives. I don't think my real parents could have loved me any more than they have."

"I'm sorry that you never got to know them."

"Thank you."

She came over and gave me a hug. I felt something wet hit my cheek from above. Another soft spot in my Amazon Goddess' armour. I let her stay in my arms as long as she needed. Eventually she pulled back and smiled at me. I could still see a tear track or two on her cheeks.

I hated to get back to my earlier anger, but there was still the issue of Stephanie using herself as a guinea pig that had to be resolved.

"Stephanie."

"Yes?"

"We still have something to settle."

"What?"

"Don't play dumb, you know exactly what I mean. You, using yourself as a guinea pig. Worse yet, doing it all by yourself, with no one to look out for you if something goes wrong. As of this moment that has to stop."

"There's no other way of doing it. We are miles from help. I can't do any of this in a hospital or a lab. I don't do anything to myself unless I'm ninety-eight percent sure that there won't be any problems. "

"It's not good enough. I understand your reasoning, but you can't continue to do things the way you have been."

"Then how do you suggest I do it?"

"Well, the only thing I can think of is that I have to be present. At least that way if something goes wrong I can try and help you, or get medical assistance."

She smiled at me. "Thank you for your concern, but there's little you could do to help me if something went wrong. There is also no way to contact anyone from here. This house is completely isolated by design. We are also a very long way from the nearest medical facility equipped to deal with anything that might crop up from my work."

"Well at the very least I insist on being here with you when you do anything to yourself."

"As I said, there's nothing you can do to help me if something goes wrong."

"Dammit, Stephanie! At least I'd be with you. You wouldn't be dying alone. I'd be with you to give you what comfort I could."

She looked down and said softly, "I couldn't put you through that. I love you too much to let you see my death, or worse."

"No matter what, your death would destroy me. So it makes no difference except I'd feel better being there for you."

"Todd, I can't."

I took her hand. "Come with me."

I lead her to the control panel where she registered me into her security system. "You told me that I couldn't access the lab unless you were already in there or you were with me."

"Yes, that right."

"I want you to change the security settings so that you can't get into the lab without me being there when you enter. I'm not going to allow you to hurt yourself. Besides this is one of those situations where you are not being enough of a scientist. Your concern for me, which I appreciate no end, is blinding you to the fact that you cannot do this alone. You need someone. I may not be qualified to help in a medical emergency but I'm all that you've got."

"I won't. If something goes wrong....I won't do that to you."

"Well you'd better grab any possessions, you want to keep. I'll give you five minutes and then I'm going to press one of those emergency switches. No more house, no more research notes, no more secret dangerous technology. It's the two of us working together on this or it's nothing. Your choice."

"You wouldn't destroy my work!"

I walked over to a light switch and slid the plate up. "Stephanie, I'm deadly serious about this, we do this together or not at all."

"You know I could change the settings back without you knowing it?"

"Yes, but I'm going to put my faith in our friendship and our love that you won't. Besides if you ever did it again there's always this."

I carefully tapped my finger lightly beside the switch under the plate to reinforce the way things would go should she not agree to my plan. She looked defeated. I wish it hadn't come to that, but it was the only way to get her to see at least some reason. Maybe she was a mad scientist after all.

Reluctantly she opened the control panel and made the changes to the system. "It's done."

I stayed well back and when she got to the basement door it opened. I wasn't expecting it to open for her without me being near.

"Why did this door open?"

"I need this door to get us in and out of the house. There's another door in the basement which opens into a tunnel that leads to where my truck is. Since I need to get through these doors with you unconscious I left them out of the changes.

"Is that alright with you?"

"Yes it is.

"Let's go, we've still got two doors to check out."

The outer door to the lab didn't open until I got within range. Likewise the inner door wouldn't open for her until I was recognized too.

"Convinced?"

"Perfectly. I'm not going to lose you to your enthusiasm or wanting to protect me." I turned around to leave the lab.

"Where are you going?"

"Well I figure you probably need to get some work done and I'd only be in your way or worse distract you. I'll trust you not to do anything that would put your life in jeopardy."

"Well until I get you implanted I don't want to go much further."

"When did you want to do it?"

"The sooner we get started the sooner you're going to be safe from the government's implants."

"It's not like we have to rush. We still have most of the rest of our 'vacation' together." I pointed out to her.

"If you get it done now and everything checks out I want to show you something fun that's a side benefit to all of this. It's not the least bit dangerous, so I'm not going to tell you about it. I want it to be a surprise. Besides the people who are looking for this place could find it at any time. I want to make sure they can't control you like they've done to so many others."

"Okay, you win." I didn't say this with much enthusiasm. Since it would be a rather unpleasant experience.

I won't bore you with any of the preparation or the procedure itself. I was a rather grumpy character when it was all said and done. The headache was one of the worst I've ever felt in my life, with the exception of when I woke up in hospital after I accidentally fell down the stairs at school. Actually I got over the headache quite quickly which surprised Stephanie. So much so that she put me back in her big scanner and double checked that everything was in place, working properly and no medical complications had suddenly cropped up.

For the most part, while we waited for my body to adjust to the implant, we talked, read and went for walks in the woods. It was moments like this that I think we knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that we were meant for each other. It was weird in a way. We both were silent when we wanted silence. No word was spoken between us, it was like it was what we both wanted. When it was time for a walk we walked and talked or just walked and enjoyed each other's presence in silence. When we wanted to talk we both enjoyed whatever we talked about immensely.

Horizonal Ruler.png

It was on one of our walks during that time that something happened which took me totally by surprise. We had started our walk as usual chatting about various things of mutual interest. I noticed that Stephanie was becoming more and more distracted as we walked along. I figured she must be off on one her inventive moments which happen from time to time and can completely absorb her attention. I just left her to her thoughts, but made sure she didn't walk into a tree or trip over a rock.

All of a sudden I was knocked forward onto the ground. Since I was in front of her at that moment I figured she must have tripped and knocked me over, but managed to stay upright herself. I rolled over and before I knew it she was on top of me pinning both of my arms just above my head with one hand. She had a strange look in her eyes, desperation. Then she attacked my mouth with hers. Her tongue jousting with my tongue. Then as quickly as it had started she got off me and was running away at full speed.

It took me a few moments to recover my senses and start running after her. She had a good head start and despite her long hours of lab work she still was in much better shape than me and I lost sight of her quickly. I kept up my pace for as long as I could but had to stop when my out of shape body wouldn't go any further. After a minute or so of recuperation I continued to walk on despite still being out of breath.

It was about the time I'd managed to breathe normally again that I found her sitting on a rock crying her eyes out. I had a good idea what had happened, but I wasn't going to say anything about it until she was ready to talk. I just sat down beside her and put my arm around her.

"Todd, I want you so bad." she said between sniffs. "It's tearing me up, this need for you. I want to be with you, but I can't get over your male body. As much as I try, as much as I will myself to get over your body, I can't."

"Dammit!" she screamed this out so loud it momentarily scared me. "Why the hell was I born a lesbian? All I want is to be with the person I love."

Again she broke down crying. This time her tears were not alone.

There wasn't anything more to say. We both felt the same way, but no amount of wishing would fix things so that we could be together.

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Once I was healed to Stephanie's satisfaction it was back to the lab. She put me through a battery of tests designed to ensure the implant was functioning according to her designs. None of what happened during the first phase of testing was in active or bypass mode as she referred to it. The implant merely watched the nerve signals from my body as it passed by the implant. The secondary testing phase switched to the insertion mode, basically my body's nerve signals still went to the brain, but the system could introduce a new signal into the nerve signals and Stephanie's scanner would make sure it matched the supposed body source and the brain destination it was meant to connect with. Active or bypass mode was the last stage. This stage involved shutting off the body's nerve signals to the brain and running signals strictly from a computer through the implant into the brain. In other words the five senses would all come from the computer and implant, not the body.

"Well it's working perfectly. There were no glitches that had to be corrected. Now it will be impossible for anyone to implant you for the foreseeable future."

"Well I hope all of this is worth it. I'd hate to think I'd put something like this in my head for no reason."

"Truthfully, Todd, I hope I'm wrong and this was all a waste of time, but they did get to my girlfriend."

She didn't need to say the rest about her concerns for my safety. I wondered if she would implant her parents and Marcus to protect them too, but I never asked her about it and she never volunteered the information.

Actually Marcus' new job kept him so busy neither of us had heard from him for a long while. He'd also found himself a partner and that was taking up his remaining time. From the sound of his last few messages they were very happy together.

"We know it's working right, so do you want to go for the last phase of testing?"

"What will that be?" I wanted to get the full details before going further.

"Well basically I connect the computer interface up to your implant and override your body's sensorium and provide you with a virtual one. You will see, hear, feel, smell and taste in the virtual world."

"What happens to my body during this time? I'm not going to stop breathing or lose my bladder or bowels, am I?"

"Of course not. The system will monitor the signals from your body and provide the appropriate feedback signals to your body. If there's any kind of situation that the computer can't handle the virtual world will fade and in five seconds you will be back in your real body."

"Okay, so how do we do this?"

"The same as we have been. You lay here in the chair and the system will monitor your body. All you have to do is get comfortable."

Stephanie walked away and pulled a cover off a similar chair. "What're you doing?"

"I'm joining you in the virtual world."

"But how will you control things?"

"The same way I would from out here. I'll press buttons on a control pad or a computer console. It can be anything I want. Well just so long as the computer has a model of it to build it from. Also the computer will prompt me periodically. If I don't respond to it in the virtual world it assumes something is wrong and will bring us both out. Right at the moment I've got the safety set to ten minutes."

She got into the chair and typed in a bunch of commands on the console attached to here chair. "Are you ready?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Good. Three, two, one."

The lab faded from view and came back again. "What happened, Stephanie?"

"We are now inside a simulation of this house."

"What? It looks exactly like the lab. You'd better check your computer again."

I got up out of the chair and realized immediately that I was wearing different clothing. As a matter of fact so was Stephanie. Also the lab stools were in different positions from a moment ago and some of the papers she had been working on were missing.

"Holy shit! We're in a simulation."

"Told ya."

"But it looks so real. I mean I can smell the air, I feel a slight breeze on my skin from the ventilation, I can feel the chair and my clothing."

"Everything you're experiencing is being sent directly to your brain from the virtual world stored in the sim server. Come on I'll show you."

With that she took my hand and led me up into the house itself. "See we didn't do the dishes from lunch, we had them stacked to the side to wash with the dinner dishes. They're nowhere in sight. Now look out the window."

When I looked out the window I saw something unreal. "The trees all look fake, like something out of an ancient video game."

"That's because it takes a lot of computing power just to model the interior of the house. Anything beyond that is just a rough simulation. As a matter of fact, when we are not in a room the computer unloads that portion from active memory. I don't know how it all works, the software is from a university VR lab. The sensory simulation software I, uh, well I had A.o.T. appropriate it for me. She wouldn't tell me the source, but she said it was safe. Apparently the government lab where it was written had given up because they couldn't perfect the interface for the human nervous system."

"Since we are here in this simulation it's obvious that you have." As if to emphasize that we were in a simulation a window popped up in front of Stephanie.

"Damn! We'll have to go back to the real world. The server running the simulation is overheating. Looks like I'll have to spend a lot of money upgrading to a more powerful system to run the simulation. Are you ready?"

"Um, yeah."

"Remember you'll find yourself laying down in the chair when the simulation ends."

With that the simulation began to fade and I found myself laying down back in the lab wearing the same clothes I'd put on that morning.

"Wow, that was totally fantastic. If I hadn't experienced it myself I'd have thought that level of simulation was impossible."

"I know I was impressed on my first time in. What worries me is that the simulation server didn't overheat before."

"Were you simulating two full simulations before?"

"What do you mean two full sets? We were both in the same rooms together."

"We both see and experience the room from our own perspective. What that means is that almost everything has to be simulated for each of us separately, not once for the both of us. That's probably why it didn't last long?"

"Oh, I hadn't thought of that."

"How much CPU power do you have?"

"Duel, sixty-four core processors, four tera bytes of RAM, sixteen GPU's, and a ten peta byte storage unit. It's all cooled by liquid nitrogen."

"Where is your server room?"

With that she led me to the server. It was behind one of those doors I couldn't get through before. The heat in the room suggested something was not working quite right with the cooling.

"Ah here's part of your problem, you didn't check the level of the liquid nitrogen. It's almost out."

"It should have lasted longer than this. Shit! There must be a leak somewhere."

"Do you have a spare?"

"No, I haven't had this problem before. I normally only bring one storage tank with me."

"It'll probably be a good idea to have two from now on. Well, at least when you're planning on having both of us the simulation that is."

"Well we'll probably need a fresh one to locate the leak and we'll use a fair bit of it before we get it fixed. Do you have spare hoses and control valves?"

"Um, yeah I do, in there." she said pointing to a cabinet.

To me it looked like she had enough spare parts that we would be able to manage a repair ourselves.

"We'd better shut this server down before it completely runs out of coolant."

Minutes later the server was powered down and removed from its rack. It was fairly easy to spot the leak in one of the coolant connectors inside the case.

"It looks like you will have to buy this bit right here because I didn't see it in any of the spare parts you have on hand."

"Well that's it for this trip then."

"I guess so. We'll just have to be bored with each other's company." I said this with a big smile, which she returned.

 

 

Tamara

 

Once again it was time for my next trip to Stephanie's secret lab. I couldn't believe that I was now looking forward to being drugged and kidnapped so I could be with her; just the two of us.

I had just woken up and unlike the previous times Stephanie was there with me as I came out of the drug induced sleep. I could see immediately that she had something up her sleeve and wanted desperately to share it with me. She usually has a good poker face so this must be something big.

"Hey, what's up? You've got a big shit eating grin on your face that won't quit."

"What are you talking about?"

Oh, so that was how it was going to be. Well I'd play too.

"I'm sorry, I guess I misread your expression. I must still be under the influence of the knockout drug you give to me."

That took her by surprise. She was expecting me to try and pry it out of her.

"How are you doing?"

"I'm doing okay. You?" The sound of disappointment was clearly evident in her voice.

"I'm doing great; now that I'm with you."

This made her blush. God, she was so cute when she did that. Actually she was cute all the time. She had terminal cuteness in my opinion. Okay. I know, I'm biased.

"So what do I owe the honour of your presence as I awake."

"Well I had to kiss my prince to wake him from the evil spell the sorceress put him under."

"Well thank you my beautiful rescuer. I am forever in your debt. However before I begin fulfilling my debt to you I desperately need to use the bathroom. I'll meet you in the kitchen in ten."

"Um, yeah sure, ten minutes?"

I'm sure she was a bit flustered because I wasn't really helping her to reveal whatever it was that she was wanting to reveal. I ignored the obvious question in her voice. I'm sure by the time I get downstairs she will have figured out I was playing with her. Of course she couldn't reveal to me that she had figured out what I was doing, it would mean that she would have to acknowledge that she was trying to get me to pry whatever it is from her.

Fifteen minutes later I leisurely made my way down to the kitchen. I could see the flash of anger in her eyes, which meant she had indeed figured it out, but couldn't or wouldn't do anything to give it away. It's funny when you think about it. We both know she's up to something, we each know the other knows, but we both are pretending that she's not up to anything. I almost started laughing a couple of times when I thought about how silly it was.

Breakfast was leisurely and we took our time as we brought each other up to date on what was happening in our lives. I got the impression Stephanie was definitely getting more and more paranoid about being under surveillance when she was away from here. I didn't want to add fuel to the fire by telling her about the two guys who had moved in next door to me pretending to be a gay couple. It was funny watching the two of them walking down the corridor holding hands. From the looks on their faces you knew they couldn't stand touching each other. Then there was the fact that there was almost always one of them nearby wherever I went.

Also I'm almost positive my apartment was being searched on a regular basis. Thankfully there was nothing in my apartment or on my computer systems to give away anything about Stephanie, her research or A.o.T. The only information in my apartment or on my computers was what we talk about when we call or email each other. I guess I'll have to tell her about all of this before I leave, but I'll wait a bit before I do.

It turned out part of her surprise was that there was now a second simulation server, one for each of us or two to share the job. The liquid nitrogen cooling system now had a redundancy configuration, so the servers shouldn't overheat in case of a minor cooling failure. It took us about four days to tweak the two servers until they worked together without any glitches. The biggest issue that took the longest being a timing problem that threw the two simulation servers quickly out of sync, causing the virtual reality to stutter as one machine then the other tried to re sync with the other.

Eventually all was ready for us to enter the virtual environment again. I noticed that Stephanie had that same look as when I first awoke this trip. She was up to something. I knew she wouldn't do anything stupid that might put either of us in jeopardy, but I couldn't help but wonder what she was planning.

"So are you going to reveal whatever it is you have planned, or are you going to make me suffer?"

"You can suffer for a while, Todd. You didn't want to play my little game, so who knows when I'll reveal my little something to you. Maybe I won't at all?"

"Suit yourself, I'm easy." She gave me another nasty look. "Come on, Stephanie, you know I'm dying to find out whatever it is."

"Humph. You'll see it when I'm good and ready. Not a moment sooner."

We each got into our own simulation chairs. My chair still lacked a controller like hers did, but now in the simulated environment there was enough computing power available to allow me some control over the environment. Stephanie had the master control and could override anything I changed if necessary.

"Are you ready?"

"Yes."

"Three, two, one...."

Once again the lab faded out and I was again back in the lab. I quickly noticed that I was wearing the same clothes I'd put on that morning, and that the lab looked exactly as we had left it.

"Well something has gone wrong. What error messages are you getting?"

"None, we are in the simulation. With the extra computing power I've programmed it to add missing data from the security cameras in here and in the house and modify the simulation to include what it sees."

"You're kidding right?"

"Try bringing up your command console."

"Activate command console."

I said this expecting nothing to happen. I was surprised when a computer window opened up out of thin air just inside arm length in front of me listing the various things I could do or change in the simulation.

"Bloody hell! I couldn't tell the difference between the real world and this."

Not wanting to interfere with Stephanie's surprise I closed the command window down and left her to basically do as she wanted. For the next several hours we went through the entire house touching things and moving them and leaving the room and coming back in again. Much to our mutual relief it looked like the simulation was working flawlessly.

"We've been at this for hours and I don't feel hungry?" I remarked since I had just realized my stomach should have said something sooner. Stephanie called up her control window and tapped in some commands.

"You're right. I just checked our bio stats and our both our bodies need to use the facilities and get some food and water. Ready for the real world?"

"Anytime."

A tap or two later and the virtual reality faded and we were again in our chairs. The first thing that struck me was that I really needed to use the bathroom; now! I think she was in the same boat as I was. The look on her face said putting things away and doing a full shutdown of the servers would have to wait. We both made our way out of there as quickly and as carefully as we could so as not to cause any unpleasant accidents.

'Note to self: Make sure that your bladder and bowels are completely empty before entering a sim.'

After that the simulations were set to allow real world bodily needs to make themselves known in the virtual world. Unfortunately this little tweak alone required a lot more tweaking just to get the servers to keep in sync again. Before we finished this trip we learnt how to make changes without running into the sync problem.

Once we got things working properly again the new settings resulted in some funny sensations at times. Like eating a full meal in the simulation and getting hungrier with each mouthful of food. Where real world and simulation seemed to conflict it seemed to amplify the real world need inside the simulation.

It wasn't all playtime in simulations, Stephanie still had tons of work to do which I assisted with wherever possible. Eventually though, it came to be our last day together. Something was again bothering Stephanie. As usual she was keeping it to herself.

"What's up, Stephanie?" I could have sworn she had almost jumped at my question as she was so deep into whatever was bothering her.

"I'm sorry, Todd, what did you say?"

"I asked you what's up?"

"Oh, it's nothing really. Just something I've been thinking of trying in a simulation. I still haven't got all of it worked out in my head."

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

"I think not in this particular case."

"You aren't going to try something stupid are you?"

"What? No, of course not. Besides you helped me configure both sim servers this time so you know the safety settings are locked down pretty tight."

"But if you were planning on doing something on only one of them...."

"This was something I was wanting both of us to do together."

"If it involves me don't you think you should tell me?"

"I want to make this a surprise if I decide go ahead with it."

"Well now you've really got me intrigued."

"Well, don't worry about it. I'm going to see if the sim servers can do what I'm thinking about. Can you live without me for a couple of hours?"

"Well maybe an hour and fifty-eight minutes tops."

She just stuck her tongue out at me. I followed her to authorize her entry into the lab.

"I'll be as quick as I can. Promise." she said as the door to the lab slid shut.

She really had my curiosity running high. However if she wanted it to be a surprise I would respect her wishes. Since it was a nice day I decided to go outside and get some sun and fresh air until she came for me.

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"Come on sleepy head. I think I can do this simulation."

I must have dozed off on the porch chair. So I was still shaking the cobwebs from my brain, but I felt like there was a deeper meaning to what she had just said.

After the required restroom break and an energy bar, it was off to the lab and whatever she had up her sleeve. It took only a few moments for us to get comfortable and ready for the sim. Once we were both ready the real world faded only to be replaced by a bedroom. Actually to be precise I was in bed with only a sheet for my modesty. Moments later the door to the bathroom opened and Stephanie came out. With what she was wearing it was very clear to me what her intention was. She was going to attempt to do something with me that she couldn't do in the real world.

"Stephanie, we don't have to do this. I know being strictly lesbian makes being intimate with me impossible for you."

"Ssh. Let me at least try. I want to be with you so bad."

I knew, simulation or real world, it would make no difference to her. These simulations were so good that I doubted once we started that anything would remind us that we were really in a sim.

"We haven't danced together in ages, let's start off dancing."

I couldn't tell if this was to get me, her or both of us in the mood, or if she was attempting to delay the inevitable.

Within moments she had brought up a piece of music we could dance to. I hadn't really danced with anyone since the prom. It was a slow sensuous piece that would involve a lot of body contact. It was a style of couples dancing that was all the craze when I was younger, it was definitely banned at school functions.

"Um, can I get some clothes on first? Some underwear at least."

"Sure lover."

With that she got out of her almost there, completely see through g-string and tossed it to me.

"Um, this isn't what I had in mind."

"I'm sorry, but these are the only clothes I programmed into this sim."

Great! The sight of her nearly naked sim body was already causing embarrassing developments down below. With reluctance I drew the wisp of fabric up my legs and could find no way for it to contain my, um, excitement. I got the impression that Stephanie was enjoying my discomfort. Eventually I had to give up. It was just too small to be effective in any way. Of course with all of the fussing about down there to take my mind of her, something wasn't quite as prominent. Despite that it still left me with too little fabric for the job at, um, hand.

We danced for a couple of songs, which again left me very aroused and ready for action. She on the other hand was not the least bit aroused, despite the looks, touches and noises she was giving me to convince me, or herself, that she was. Any attempt at kissing was hollow and fleeting, no true passion in it at all.

She led me over to the bed and gently pushed me back down onto it. "Todd, I need to ask a big favour at this point."

"Anything you want."

"I need you to be bound. I don't think I can do this unless you are totally helpless. So that you can't touch me in any way that might....interfere with the moment I'm trying to create."

"Whatever you want to do."

I brought my arms up in front of me, kind of saying here handcuff me. She smiled at me and took my left arm up and reached for something between the mattress and the headboard. Seconds later something soft was around my wrist and clicked shut. A few moments later my right arm joined it. She then got up and secured my legs as well. For the first time since I'd met her I saw a slight sign of arousal in my presence. Her eyes, definitely began to take on a slightly aroused look, her nipples had stiffened up. Well if this is what it took to be with her I could live with it no problem.

A few moments later she was rubbing her body over mine and kissing me as she moved about. I noticed that she had her eyes closed, so I'm sure it wasn't my body she was imagining. Probably someone whose sex more appropriately matched the panties I was currently wearing.

After a while I noticed that Stephanie's scent was getting much stronger. Her attention to my body seemed different somehow. There was true passion in it.

"Stephanie, end the simulation. I can't do this if it isn't you in your body."

As if to punctuate that fact my previously hard penis had gone flaccid with the realization that she no longer in charge of the sim version of her body.

It took a moment more before the simulation of Stephanie became normal. "What are you talking about?"

"That wasn't you in there just now was it?"

"What do you mean?"

"Stop playing dumb. When you couldn't take it any more you let your sim server have full control of your sim body. I bet you got right out of the sim and were in the lab watching, no scratch that, you were probably only listing so you could prompt the sim on what to say. I'm sure watching your body make love to a man would have made you ill."

"You couldn't know I wasn't in there. That sim was me making love."

"But it wasn't you making love to me, you were making love to someone or something else."

From the blush on her simulated face I could tell that I was right. I also realized a couple of other things.

"It wouldn't have taken two hours to prepare this sim. You came down here and made love to a simulation of a woman and then tweaked your sim's responses for a male lover's body just in case you couldn't handle being with me. When you couldn't handle it anymore, you left the sim and the computer replayed elements of your previous love making session to me."

I could see the wheels spinning in her simulated body's head. After a while she stopped and said almost absentmindedly, "I don't see how you could tell. The responses were all my own, but stored in the sim server's systems. The model I've got in there is about eighty-three percent accurate for my sexual responses. Since we've never been together sexually you couldn't possibly tell the difference."

"The one thing that clued me in was the fact that the sex wasn't forced. Your body, your face showed excitement, not the show you put on when we were dancing or when you first bound me to the bed."

"Um, Stephanie, would you mind letting me go."

"Oh yeah, sorry about that." She was still lost in thought.

It's funny but for the first time I wasn't embarrassed about being naked in front of her. I don't think she had stopped to remember that she was in her nearly invisible teddy either, or that I still had her g-string on, leaving her sim's private area on display.

"Um, Stephanie, maybe you should clone a second g-string for yourself."

She looked down and blushed a deep red, then instructed the simulation to give her another g-string. The g-string just appeared on her body. It was at this point she got a funny look on her face. She tapped away on her command console for a few minutes.

"There that should do it. Option one, number three. Activate."

Suddenly there were three Stephanies standing in front of me.

In unison they asked me, "Which one of us is housing the real Stephanie. Two are simply clones and will exactly duplicate the real one's actions. Oh, and don't think our eyes will give it away either. The clones will look at exactly what the original is looking at, not look in the same direction as the original."

"Clever, no hints from the eyes."

I walked up to each and examined them thoroughly. I tapped one of them on the right shoulder when I was examining them from behind.

"This is you, Stephanie."

"How did you know?" all three of them chorused as they turned and faced me.

"I just did. I can't tell you how I know, I just know."

"Option two, number ten. Execute." they chorused again.

This time there were ten Stephanies all standing in a row. "Find me now smarty knickers." all ten of them said.

'Uh-oh, a slight dig at the fact I was wearing her panties.'

I knew then that my ability to find her was annoying her. Still a challenge had been issued and I would not shirk from it.

I walked down the row of Stephanies, looking at each one in turn. On the return trip I stopped in front of the third one from the beginning of the line.

"Hi, Stephanie." A look of mild annoyance passed across her face.

"Option four, number fifteen. Execute." the ten Stephanies chorused.

This time fifteen copies of her appeared, but none of them were moving, as a matter of fact none of them appeared to be breathing or blinking. My command window popped up in front of me. "Choose one of us and we will be free to move again."

I took my time this time, not that I needed to. I knew which one I was going to pick almost instantly. There was nothing about any of them that gave them away. I just knew when I was near the real Stephanie.

"Sorry, Hon, but this is the you with your consciousness in it."

All of the sims of her suddenly were moving. The expression on their faces told me I was right.

Since my command window was still up I exited myself from the sim. I was bored with the game now. A few moments later she joined me in the real world.

"How did you do that?"

"What?"

"Now don't you play dumb with me. There's no way, especially on that last test you should have known I was in that particular sim body."

"Every time we did your little test I knew which one was you faster than the time before. All I can say is that I can sense where the soul or spirit of the woman I love is. Other than that I have no explanation. The first time it was the physical clues that gave it away, but once those clues were gone I just knew which one you were in."

"That should be completely impossible, there must be a glitch in the software somewhere."

"Well I for one am not going to look for it. I like knowing if it's you I'm with or not."

"Well I can live with that especially since what I wanted to do with you I couldn't."

"Does it mean that much to you to be with me intimately?"

"Yes, Todd, it does."

"Let me see your female sim lover."

"Oh....Um, you've got to understand something, Kim's a kind of fantasy, not what I want in real life."

I don't think I've ever seen Stephanie blush so brightly before. She walked over to one of the computers and called up the image of her fantasy lover.

"My god, Stephanie, she's almost as beautiful as you."

Indeed the image was extremely beautiful, if somewhat exaggerated, but not like a male's fantasy woman would be overly exaggerated, but she would definitely still interest any straight man. She looked to be a fair bit shorter than Stephanie, she was Asian, Korean I think, she was beauty itself. Her hair was as long and as dark as Stephanie's hair. She was curvy, a bit more than would be natural, but not excessively so. Her features were so fine and delicate. The image almost gave the sense of submission and shyness in it.

"A bit of a stereotype don't you think?"

"I'm sorry, I'm don't get what you mean."

"Well you've created a very beautiful, submissive, petite, Asian woman as your sim lover. I mean surely even you know about the male fantasies involving such a stereotype woman."

She had a very puzzled look on her face like she wasn't making the connection.

"Come on, Stephanie, think about it for a moment."

"Honestly I never thought about it that way, and until now I never saw the connection you're trying to make. You see this sim is based on someone I knew in university."

"I'm sure the real Kim didn't have the exaggerated curves on such a petite body."

She really blushed at that. "Um, no, she didn't quite look like this, but she was very curvy."

"So what's the attraction with the sim Kim then?"

"Well the real Kim, Kimberly Jackson, both her parents were half Korean and half Caucasian, her brother looks completely Caucasian by the way. Kim was a royal bitch and a people user. She used her beauty and cunning to get everyone, from other students to professors, to do things for her. She used everyone, promising them almost anything they wanted, usually herself, and when they delivered on their side she tossed them aside. She's hurt a lot of people. This sim is kind of my payback at the real Kim, since I could never figure out a legitimate way of getting back at her without stooping to her level. She's the one getting used in my sim. This Kim is submissive and kind and does whatever she is told, totally opposite to the real Kim."

"Oh, so no stereotypes involved?"

"As I said, it never even crossed my mind until you pointed it out. This was purely my own form of fantasy revenge on someone that truly deserves to be taught a lesson and put in their place. It certainly has nothing to do with her ancestry or any male fantasy stereotypes."

I thought about that for a few minutes. It seemed very plausible, given Stephanie's personality, that things were exactly as she had said. From that perspective I was willing to give an idea that had occurred to me a try.

"Stephanie, can you give me her body in the sim?"

"What?" She was totally shocked by my suggestion.

"Look, I want to be with you as much as you want to be with me. If the only way we can achieve that is in a sim, with me having a woman's body I'll do it."

"I don't know, Todd. As I said she's just a kind of revenge fantasy. I don't know if I want you in that body. I mean, what if I act out a bit, forgetting it's you in there and not the imagined Kim?"

"Can you change the sim Kim slightly so you would always remember it's not that particular Kim."

"I suppose I could. I'm just not sure about this."

"Well do you have any other female sims we could use that won't cause you any problems or concerns?"

"No, she's the only complete one I have. I do have a couple of other's but they're a long way from being complete enough to use. As for you being in that particular sim, it's not so much that....it's....well the environment she was programmed to exist in is a little personal for me."

"Something to do with bondage?"

She flashed me a surprised look.

"Yes, I noticed you became slightly aroused when you bound me. It's the only time you've ever been aroused around my body."

"I'm sorry, Todd, I never meant for you to know. You must think I'm a freak or some kind of pervert."

"I don't think you're a pervert, and you are no more of a freak than I am for loving a lesbian, who I'm willing to let give me a female body in a sim. Besides I think I might like the idea of you dominating me too. Just no pain or humiliation. I've never been into that."

"I'd never hurt or humiliate you....Are you sure about this? You'd really take part in that part of my fantasy life?"

"Yes, I am, and yes I would."

"Okay as long as you're sure. Give me an hour to copy the Kim sim's body and map your nerve data into it."

"I'll be outside getting some air."

"Okay." She was already lost in the task at hand and barely noticed my exit.

You'd think I would have wanted to pay attention to what was about to be done to me in the sim. The truth is, I was scared of it. I needed to get outside and get that breath of fresh air and think for a bit.

Did I really want to do this? I'd do anything to be with Stephanie, but did I want to become someone else to do it? I guess it's not real, just a sim, but somehow it felt more real to me. Like it was a step toward something or away from something. Maybe it was both. I really didn't know what the answer was or why I felt as I did.

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Eventually Stephanie came and got me. I almost backed out a couple of times, but I also felt drawn to this chance to be with her, in the only way I could ever be with her. Yet there was something else too, that drew me to this, beyond finally being with Stephanie. Yet at the same time it frightened me to the core of my being, and still drew me like a moth to the flame. Whatever this something else was it eluded my ability to understand it or define it, leaving me very unsettled.

"Okay, Todd, I didn't have time to create a new environment for Tamara, so you'll be in Kim's environment too."

"Tamara?"

I got a funny shiver running through me when I heard that name, like someone was dancing on top of my grave.

"Um, yeah. That's what I called your female sim."

"I like that name."

I meant it too, despite the funny feeling the name gave me. Although the name didn't really go with Kim's body. I just felt to me that the name really belonged to another body.

"Whatever you do just don't call me, Tammy."

"Are you ready, Tamara?"

That kinda hit me. I got that weird feeling again when she said the name.

"As ready as I'll ever be."

"I'm going to leave you alone in there for a few minutes. If you don't like it, you can exit out of there. Otherwise I'll come in and we will see if this works for both of us."

I got comfortable and entered the sim. Again it was a bedroom setting. The bed was very similar to the one I was in before. That probably made it easier for the computer to control the fake sim Stephanie. As a matter of fact the bed had the exact same restraints on it.

Okay I guess you're curious about the Tamara's sim body. Like before, I was naked. I couldn't tell it from the screen image but she was short, maybe one hundred fifty centimetres. Her body was very sensitive....too sensitive actually. I know a woman's skin is supposed to be more sensitive than a man's skin but this was ridiculous, so this sim body probably had the sensitivity cranked a bit too much. It was like I could feel the faintest touch on my skin now.

Tamara was every bit as beautiful as Stephanie in the real, er, sim world, images and descriptions just didn't do her justice. I noticed though that Stephanie had made one physical change from the Kim model, she took away the original eyes and gave Tamara my eyes, that is to say Todd's eyes. Damn this was just a bit confusing to try and describe.

The room I was in had all kinds of toys suitable for the side of Stephanie's personality I'd just learnt about. I moved around the room and looked at the items I found there. Some I knew immediately what they were for, others I had to take a moment or two to figure it out. Others I was totally clueless as to what the object was for. I think Stephanie and I might need to have a long talk about this side of her if we continue to have a relationship here in the sim environment.

I hadn't noticed it at first but I was becoming very aroused. My sensitive skin seemed even more sensitive, my nipples had become very hard. Do you know what it's like to go from being a Caucasian male to a short, sexy, very horny, Asian woman in a matter of a couple of minutes? No, I guess you wouldn't since I think I'm the only one to ever do it.

I absentmindedly reached up to play with my breasts because they were demanding attention. I hadn't noticed it at first but my nipples were pierced. My first attempt at stimulating them actually hurt, but when I was gentler in my approach....Well, holy cow! I walked back to the mirror to see if there was anything else that I'd missed. My body had a naval piercing, and looking further down my clitoris had also been pierced. At that point I clued into something else. I stuck out my tongue and found that had been pierced too.

'Very kinky, Stephanie.' I thought.

I wasn't sure about this, but at the same time I was curious. Since none of this was real it couldn't harm me. As a matter of fact, I found it was turning me on. Everything in here was turning me on.

I looked and found that of course my ears had been pierced several times but I only had simple studs in them. I was mesmerized by my sim image for a few minutes as I continued to play with my breast and nipples. The problem was the more I played with them the more they and my body wanted more attention. I managed to tear myself away from the image of the highly aroused Asian girl called Tamara. There was a closet that I hadn't looked at yet.

When I opened the door I found a huge walk in closet with all kinds of clothes. Clothes that would fulfil any man's or woman's fantasies for a woman to wear. Most of them curiously enough in my size, although there was a section set aside that would fit Stephanie. As I moved through the clothing I eventually stopped at one outfit. I felt drawn to this item. My breathing became shallow, my legs weak, my arousal was going off the scales.

'Why was I feeling so damn horny?'

One thing I knew, I would look so damn sexy in that dress. There was no way Stephanie wouldn't want me if I were wearing that.

For some reason my hand trembled as I reached out and touched it. The feeling was almost electric as my skin made contact with it. I had to wear this. I reached to take the item down and it disappeared. It took me a moment to realize it was now on my body, fitting every sensuous curve. I found a mirror and looked at my reflection. It was a little black dress, but no one would wear this dress on the street, well certainly not the streets of my home town. It covered everything....barely, yet hugged everything to the point where it was almost indecent.

I realized from the cool feeling from my now soaking female genitals that panties were not part of the outfit and there were none in the closet. I wondered if maybe one of the drawers back in the bedroom had some in them. I'd have to look when I went back out there. I was very glad that the dress just hung low enough to not expose anything. The bumps of my nipples and their piercings were clearly evident through the thin skin tight fabric. I got goose bumps and I swear they were clearly visible through the fabric of the dress too.

Since my face was already made up all I needed was some shoes or boots to complete the outfit. I noticed that all the boots and shoes had very high heels, like Stephanie normally wore. Again I seemed to be drawn to a pair of high heeled platform sandals that had long strings to wrap and tie around one's calves. Again all I had to do was touch them with the intent of putting them on and they were suddenly on my feet.

Of course I wasn't ready for the angle of my foot to change so radically or so suddenly, and I toppled over and ended up with my legs going in two different directions and my new female genitals on display as the hem of my dress rode up to my waist. Apparently this sim's body was very flexible. Of course it was at that very moment that Stephanie chose to enter the sim and found me in a very unladylike position.

She couldn't help herself as she looked down at me still trying to come to my senses, with my nether region exposed in all its wet glory. Of course she started laughing. Now normally a situation like this would kill my arousal. No, I've never been a beautiful, sexy Asian woman before in my life. What I'm talking about is the embarrassment; it normally kills my arousal. Except in this case the sight of Stephanie pushed my arousal to a level I could never have imagined only moments before.

Eventually her laughter subsided. "I should have warned you that the shoes automatically get put on your body, just like the rest of the clothing in the closet, but I didn't think you would want to wear any of the things in here. You're supposed to grab onto the bar up here and touch the shoes with your feet. That way you don't fall over. Here let me help you up."

She reached down and pulled me up. I felt like I was a little rag doll, I weighed virtually nothing compared to her. When I was fully upright, standing on the fifteen centimetre heels with the two centimetre platforms, Stephanie still towered over me and she was naked and definitely not wearing any kind of footwear. This body was short, much shorter than I had originally thought.

She continued to pull my petite body to hers and she leaned down and gave me a kiss. The feel of her body, her tongue as it entered and conquered my mouth was too much for me, it felt like every nerve ending in contact with her was on fire. A wave of energy built up quickly and blasted from my new vagina, enveloping my entire body from the inside out. Somewhere in this synaptic firestorm I blacked out.

Horizonal Ruler.png

I was totally disoriented. Nothing felt right. My head was pounding, my was vision blurry. I groaned and tried to move but found I was unable to do much more than the groan and blink. Nothing seemed to be working.

"Todd, are you alright?"

"I feel....What's wrong with my voice? I sound like a girl!"

"Please calm down. Ignore your voice for a moment and tell me how you feel and what you remember. I'll fill in any missing details as we go."

"I feel very weird. My head hurts and I can't move."

"I've disabled your sim motor functions temporarily. You had a big shock. Now can you tell me what you remember?"

"Um, I....We were in a sim?"

"Can you tell me the details of that sim?"

I was struggling to clear the fog in my head and ignore the pounding headache that was accompanying it. "I think I was a girl....an Asian girl." That sounded right for some strange reason.

'Why would I be a girl?' I asked myself.

"Yes, that's right. What else do you remember?"

"I, I remember falling. You helped me up. Then it felt like my nerves were on fire wherever you touched me. I was so horny too. I think I orgasmed. It felt like I exploded from the inside out and that's the last I remember."

I also remember some of the images that flashed through my brain. Thoughts of what Stephanie might do to me. Thoughts I didn't want to tell her about. God I was getting excited again. I looked at her and all of a sudden I needed her in the worst possible way. I need her to use my body. I needed her to touch me, to make love to me. I needed her to control me.

"Oh, oh. We can't let that happen again. Hang on. There, that should do it." She tapped out some commands on her command window and my arousal suddenly faded to a manageable level.

"What's going on, Stephanie?"

"Unfortunately I rushed the configuration of the Tamara sim. I unwittingly imported Kim's nerve amplification settings over the Todd's sim settings. The result is you had about forty to fifty percent more nerve amplification than you should ever have. Also your arousal settings were so high I'm surprised you managed to get off the bed and explore the room and closet, instead of just laying there and masturbating."

"But the safety settings?"

"Were overwritten by a sim that needed no safety settings. Kim had no human body in the real world and certainly no real consciousness connected to her so she only needed safety settings to make sure she didn't hurt me in the sim. I had to juice up her body's reactions to everything to get her to even remotely function like a normal female. The computer AI just couldn't come close to simulating normal human responses without the settings being damn near lethal for a real human to experience."

"Is that why I can't move? Something happened to me and I'm paralysed?" The panic in my voice made it obvious just how scared I was at that moment.

"Todd, please calm down. I've temporarily blocked your ability to move. I've also damped down the physical and sexual responses of the Tamara sim. I don't want to change anything too much with the sim until the system has fully scanned your brain for any signs of trauma. From there we decide on a what needs to be done if anything. Personally I think you are going to be fine, but I'm not taking any further chances until the scan is finished. However, if you're going to become agitated and upset I'll have to sedate your real body, which means you go to sleep here too. Please just stay calm for a few more minutes until the scan is complete."

She tried to put as much love and assurance into her words to calm and reassure me. Did it work? Enough, but I was still very concerned. Do you know what it's like to be unable to move or do anything except lay there? It's a scary experience to not have any control over your body and be fully conscious. The closest thing to compare it to would being fully awake but still subject to sleep paralysis. I've experienced that a few times in my life and I didn't like it at all, especially the times when I had the feeling that someone was nearby and I couldn't move to defend myself if I needed to. The struggle to even get a simple movement while in this state can be very frightening.

"Um, why did I feel so aroused by you?" I left out just how aroused I got.

"Again it was the same problem, the computer isn't good at subtle human biological responses, they mostly come from our brains and to a certain degree our minds. The Kim sim needed her sexual response cranked up very high. I also had her programmed to get hot and bothered by looking at me. Again the simulation's settings had to be turned up too high for a human brain and mind.

"Just the smell of you was driving me crazy. The thoughts that ran through my head. What I wanted you to do to me...."

"Oh my! You got those too? Damn I forgot to cut out some of the programmed behaviours."

I wanted to nod my head but it wouldn't move. "Um, yes. I don't believe any of those were my fantasies, well at least not before now."

Stephanie seemed a bit ashamed here, the way her head hung lower and body language confirmed it.

"The problem again is that there wasn't a human intelligence to drive the Kim sim's responses. I had to program in certain behaviours and hope that the AI portion of the sim would work even remotely like a real person. The results are only marginally satisfying."

Her command window opened up before her. "Good there isn't anything more than superficial trauma to your brain, equivalent to getting a minor bump on the head. You'll be as good as ever in a day or two. When we get back out there I'll have to program the implants in both of us to not allow even an authorized data stream to override the safety settings in the implant."

That was a huge relief to me. I was still a bit concerned about what had happened to me though.

"Are you ready for the real world now?"

Since this was our last day together on this trip I thought I'd better tell her about my two gay shadows. "Stephanie, before we exit here I need to tell you something."

"Oh, what?" There was concern in her voice since she could tell that this was important.

"Two guys moved in next door to me. They're supposed to be a gay couple but it's obvious they're not even remotely gay. They can't stand physically touching each other. I've certainly never seen them kiss."

"Suspicious."

"It's more than just that. Wherever I go in town one of them appears. I think my place is being searched regularly. When I left to go on my vacation, I managed to lose a car that was trailing me. I also found a tracking device hidden under the bumper of my car. I kept it with me until I pulled into a rest area. From there it found its way onto another car.

"I guess what I'm saying in all of this is that I don't know if next time I'll be able to get away from them. Who knows they may even pull me in when I get back? This may be the only opportunity for us to be intimate. Ever! I don't want to pass it up."

Ideally I should have wanted out of there as soon as I was given the all clear. Yet I needed to be with her physically as well as the emotional bond we shared. If the only way I could do it was in this body, even with some risk to myself I had to take that chance.

"Please, Stephanie."

I felt a tear trickle down my face. In the back of my mind I thought, 'I didn't know the sim was programmed for that.'.

"Todd, you've been through a lot, maybe too much. I'm still not sure that I haven't overlooked anything else in the Tamara sim that might be harmful to you. We don't have time for me to check it out properly."

"Stephanie, release this body, let me be in control of it."

She hesitated. I knew as well as she did that we should consider ourselves lucky and get out of the sim before anything else went wrong. I could see the conflicting emotions, the desire, the need in her eyes. I don't think she was fully aware that she had released my sim body since she never really took her eyes from mine as she entered the instructions into the system.

I reached out to her and gently tickled her side with my long nails. A slight shiver went through her body, and her eyes closed ever so slightly. I reached out with my other hand gently grasping her waist and pulled her gently toward me. I could tell she wanted to resist, but the fire, the need within her was too strong.

I sat up and pulled her face down toward mine. I brushed my lips gently against hers. Again a shiver ran through her body, and a slight moan escaped her lips. I brought the hand up that had been tickling her side and lightly brushed her nipple. This time she drew in a quick short breath.

"I'm yours, Stephanie. Make me your woman."

"Todd, I....We shouldn't."

"Shh. I'm, Tamara, and I'm all yours."

I lay back down and put my arms up where I knew the restraints where hidden. Her eyes flicked knowingly toward where my arms now lay, my intent clear to her. Her eyes glazed over. Her resistance to what we both wanted and needed faltered and finally crumbled to dust.

She moved over top of me. God her body was huge in comparison to mine. Her body pressed into me as she attacked my mouth with her tongue. She paused to secure my arms in the restraints.

"You are all mine, aren't you?"

"I always was and I always will be. I love you, Stephanie, and I will do anything to be with you, for a single moment or forever."

She reached out and gently stroked my face. "I love you, To...Tamara."

I smiled to let her know she had chosen the right name.

I won't bore you with the details of what followed. Suffice to say we were both satisfied in a way we had never been satisfied with anyone else ever before. Unfortunately our lovemaking instead of sating our need for each other only increased it.

Marcus' words from so long ago seemed to come back and haunt us, 'I have a feeling that you two will never be rid of each other.' At the end of that trip together I was sure his words were truer now than ever before.

1Electro-magnetic Pulse

 

End of Part 2

 


 

In Part 3 Todd and Stephanie grow closer.  He also learns some things about himself and has to make some hard decisions, decisions that could potentially put an end to his relationship with Stephanie.

Thank you for taking the time to read the second part of my story.  Constructive feedback is always appreciated. All rights to this work are reserved by me.

Arwen



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