Chapter 1: Beware
It had been a long day and Lucienne Christophe was tired from all paperwork she had been reviewing, signing, then crossing dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s of. Hell, even her vision was playing tricks on her as every time she closed her eyes, she saw nothing but lines of text after text. She promised to herself that she’ll spend her next few days resting.
The thirty-two year old Commander of the ITEA ran her hands through her dark red hair, brushing it to one side. She lets out a sigh as the rain came pouring down hard against her window. It had been dark and gloomy outside all day. Still she had something to be happy about. Some Type -7 criminals’ users had been caught and arrested. With their arrest, it ended the rather large and out of control use of Type -7. Normally all of the samples were destroyed but as Commander she was allowed to keep some of the takings for 'research,' at least that how she justified it.
She did not want to get up but she felt dirty and probably needed a bath. Getting up with a grunt to go with take said bath, she mindlessly dragged herself to her bedroom. Pulling out a silky teddy and a pair of panties she walked into her bathroom. The rain outside started to thunder as she readied her warm bath. A couple more lightning strikes occurred nearby; she was about to pull her top off when the lights when out.
Cursing to herself, she knew something was wrong. She made sure that the lights in her penthouse switch were hooked up to a back-up generator. After so many things had happened to her, the lights going out pretty much spelled out danger for Lucienne. That feeling pretty much never leaves her alone for too long, in fact it has made itself quite at home, much to her chagrin. Then again, at least my life is never boring she thought as she pulled her trusty USP out from under her bathroom sink.
Opening the door to her bathroom, she turned slightly to her right, reaching for a small LED flashlight she kept by her bathroom door. Placing it under her pistol hand, she switched it on and began a sweep of her room. When she felt it was clear, she ventured into the next room. Again after taking her time to survey the room, it too was empty. She headed to the kitchen and did a once over, nothing to except for the sound of a falling pot, which she had just made the mistake of dropping.
Still not convinced that she was entirely safe she headed to her front door, scanning the hallway. As she came to her front door, she opened a side panel, revealing a small video monitor connected to an optic cable that gives her a good view outside her door. Once again, nothing had happened, there was no of sign of anyone not even the slightest movement.
Lowering her gun, she turned around and started back to her room. She gasped as she walked into a small needle being stuck into her breast, a faint muffled noise later. Lucienne Christophe had grown quiet and still as her attacker had defeated her without making a sound. Pulling the needle out of her victim's stiffening breast, it was clear that the attacker was female ninja of sorts; she tilted her head to the side pulling out a piece of paper and taping it to Lucienne’s forehead. The message contained only a single word: Beware.
* * *
Tasia Spiro's Home, London England
Tasia Spiro woke up to the sound to of her alarm clock. She lazily crawled out of her bed and walked to her bathroom. Looking into the mirror, staring at her sleepy face, “Uhm, I hate mornings,” she thought as she rubbed her naked breast. Reaching for the shower knob, she started a warm shower to help freshen herself for the day ahead of her. Since she liked to sleep in the buff, there was no need to take anything off, likewise since she lived alone she didn’t wear clothes unless she needed to; more or less Tasia was a closet nudist.
After the quick shower, she wrapped a towel over her wet hair and walked into her kitchen for some breakfast. She started a pot for coffee, and pulled out frozen meal from her fridge, as she sat it down her phone started ring. Turning off the pot she looked at the caller ID and saw it was HQ. She picked up the phone. “Tasia Spiro,” she said as she went back to making her meal. She pauses as she heard what came next. “What?!” she gasped dropping the frozen meal. “Take her to Agent Heino, now! And I want a full brief on what asshole did that to her when I get there,” growled Tasia as she hung up the phone slamming it hard on the counter.
An Hour Later…
Tasia had been driving rather dangerously as she rushed to see what had happened to her lover. So far all she knew was it appeared someone had attacked and frozen Lucienne. But there was no physical evidence yet or any hard clues as to how it had happened. How the attacker got in and without a fight is was a mystery. For now she was focused on seeing if Lucy was okay. She was considering possibilities, for now her lover’s safety is her chief concern. She sped her car through another light as her car’s police sirens blazed for all to see and hear.
Upon entering HQ, she immediately went to the science wing. As the elevator went down, she was feeling more anxious as if she knew she something bad was about to happen. When the elevator came to a halt, she stepped out and walked straight to the exam room.
Opening the door she demanded, “How is…she?” Heino looked up at Tasia, as she peeled the last bit of clothes off. “Tasia, I’m sorry, I…we don’t know what is keeping her frozen like this,” she said placing Lucienne’s panties in an evidence bag, “It is very clear it is not Type-7, she said as she held up a bent syringe. The motionless head of ITEA was now laid out on the exam table, stark naked. Her bare legs were straight and slightly parted at her thighs with her naked toes pointing straight downward as if she were a diver. Her arms were at her sides as were her fingers, stiffened in odd angles as if she was holding something. Lucienne’s face bore a blank expression with her mouth opened in surprise and her brown eyes slightly closed.
“What? You mean she can’t be brought back?” she questioned trying to hold her tears back. She had to be tough; with Lucienne down she was in charge. “And what do you mean it’s not Type -7?”
“Normally with Type-7 suspension, you are able to do things with an immobilized person such as pose them, transport them, even keep them from going into deep shock,” she explained as she came back to Lucienne and started going over every centimeter of her body with a UV light, looking for a clue, “The downside of that was that the victim could be cut, injected, or otherwise injured while frozen from Type-7’s effects.” She spoke, placing the light down and motioning Tasia to help turn Lucienne over. Picking up the light again, she continued, “Lucienne’s body appears to be hardened and resistant to personal injury as noted by the bent needle of the syringe I used to try and revive her.” She brushed aside Lucienne’s hair as she passed the light over her head, “But there is one thing of interest,” she said, placing the light down, then taking up a pair of scissors she cut a tip of Lucienne’s hair.
“What in the world, so you telling me we can’t do real harm to her physically, but you can cut off her hair so long as it’s not hurting her?” inquired Tasia as she was handed the lock of hair.
“It seems that way Tasia; whatever did this is clearly not following the laws of physics.” Marika noted as she finished her first exam of Lucienne. “I’m sorry Tasia, but we’re going to have to store her in the evidence room as per protocol,” she explained as she fished out a newly designed frozen victims bag, fashioned as a clear wrapper with ventilated holes, a side zipper and black strips to conceal one’s private parts.
Sighing Tasia ordered, “I know, just make sure she’s covered before she’s placed in there. And I want Makeda in my office in twenty…”She added as she headed to the door, she turned around and took one last look as Marika called in an assistant to help her out, Tasia quickly left the room, walking out into the hallway going towards the elevator and stepping in.
* * *
Half a Day later…
Tasia had some time to pull herself together. She had to for the sake of not only Lucienne, but ITEA as well. Now was the time to act, someone had done this to her lover and they were going to pay for it. After adjusting herself she turned on her computer, looking over all the likely suspects. She had already sent Makeda and Kioni Abasi to Erika Stone's place in the United States. Nearly six hours later, Makeda requested Tasia to sent Marika over to look into what apparently was also the similarly mysterious freezing of Erika as well.
There was a knock at her door, “Come in,” she said as she busied herself to make arrangements to pick up a suspect personally. Entering were Agents Marika and Dieter Bran. The agencies were the only married couple. She was about to send Marika out in the field and she was sure Dieter would want to follow, hence why she had requested both of them to come. This was just to save the time of Dieter bothering her later.
"How are you doing Tasia?" asked Marika, as she and her husband took their seats in front of the ITEA acting commander’s desk.
“I want you two to head to Malibu and assist Makeda and Kioni, apparently whatever has happened to Lucienne also happened to Erika; I need you to get to the bottom of this,” she ordered. “I‘m also heading to California as well to check another lead, I‘ll get in touch with you two when I have my contact,” she added still looking at something on her monitor. “Dismissed,” she concluded cold-heartedly.
* * *
Marika and Dieter had arrived at the airport carrying very little luggage this time as they were sent to assist Makeda and rookie agent Kioni Abasi in examining Erika Stone. They had wished it was on better terms since they did leave on a good note with them back on a previous mission. Since they were Interpol agents, they had a clearance to carry weapons, still it didn’t stop security from hassling them. Still, protocol is protocol, not very many ways to get around it one way or another.
Calling a taxi, they gave the drivers the directions to the location. They chatted along the way, and also making some small talk with the driver as well. As they reach the predetermined location, they stepped out and took in the view of Erika Stone’s rather large penthouse that sat atop a hi-rise near a beach; the building had a wonderful view of the ocean.
They walked into the building the penthouse was in, looking around they really didn’t find anything especially worth noting. They called for an elevator and waited silently and professionally for it. Once it hit the ground level they entered and use a special key, which they showed their badges for, to signal the elevator to go up to Erika’s penthouse. Stepping out at the penthouse lobby that lead into the actually suite, they walked the few paces to the front door.
As they drew to the close the penthouse door, they could tell that something was wrong, for a crime scene it was left unguarded and too quiet. They had been told Makeda would be waiting for them, there should be the rookie Kioni Abasi here keeping things locked down. Which was clearly not the case. They hoped that what had happened to Erika didn't befall their fellow agents.
“Not good, too quiet to be a good thing,” whispered Dieter to Marika as they drew their Sigs, and slowly opened the front door, which oddly was left unlocked, another sign that things weren’t all right. Treading softly into the penthouse they took out mini LED flashlights to help them inspect the area. So far the den and living area were clear, likewise the kitchen was cleared.
They agreed to split and cover more ground, hoping to find any traces that someone was here. Dieter headed in the direction of the socialite’s bedroom while Marika headed to look at pool area location off to the side, peering over into the beach. Pistols still drawn, they both stepped quietly away from the kitchen. They had both hoped that it was just a false alarm and they had just overreacted.
Marika walked into the laundry room; from the looks of it, they had just washed and dried clothes a few days ago. The clothes appeared as if they had been in there for a while. Most of them were neatly folded, while more linens were piled on the ground next to the worktable, the smell of sex somewhat lingered on them.
She made it to the pool area without any real signs of foul play. The pool area was spacious, certainly large enough to host large parties. Once more there was not really nothing to point out something was amiss. She moved on to Erika’s private hot tub room, which only a few people have seen the inside of. Upon walking up to the door, she could see that someone was in there, “Hello! Ms. Stone, are you okay?” she called out, not getting a response she checked her gun and entered. Sweeping the room she walked closer to the still figure, “Ms. Stone?” she said as she walked up. “Shit.” she whispered as she realized that it wasn’t Ms. Stone but Monica Stein, alive and well, but also currently frozen. Monica stood with her hands running through her hair while her body was slightly rotated to the left. The frozen woman was dressed in a blue and white stringy bikini. Still weapon drawn, Marika waved a hand in front of the dark haired beauty who smiled off into the distance at the direction her body was turned in as if she was happy to see someone. The agent took her fingers and “traced” where Monica was looking. Which was towards the door on the opposite end of the room, but no one was there but air.
Walking around the tub she looked around some more; there weren’t any signs of a struggle, or that Monica had even been aware of someone else in the room. She was about to open the other door, when she noticed a strand of red hair poking out from the only closet in the room. Opening the door she found the rigid figure of Caitlin Trafford, also frozen with a smile of contentment on her face. She was dressed similarly to Monica, though her bikini was white and red and did little to hide her womanly features. It could have been a little bigger, the Finnish agent thought. Caitlin seemed to have been frozen in mid walk as she then fell out of the closet and into Marika’s arms. “Whoa!” thought Marika as she almost dropped the tall redhead on the floor. She wasn’t expecting a woman to fall out of there. Still she should have known better considering where she was. Although this didn’t feel like Erika’s doing at all. She would have put them elsewhere judging from her preferences. Lying Caitlin on her side, Marika looked around to see if she spotted anyone else.
Getting up, she was surprised and greeted with a small needle to her left breast followed by a brief noise. And then the world stopped for Marika Heino. Taking the needle out, the female dressed in a form-fitting black jumpsuit pulled out a small object and reached behind Marika's neck.
* * *
Dieter had gone in search of Erika via the bedrooms. At least he hoped she was there. Going from room to room, He wondered why some of those rooms were done nicely yet no one lived in them. Perhaps for guests that stay over, he thought to himself as he ventured more into another the dark room, being careful not to make noise should anyone else besides him and Marika were hiding somewhere.
He finally entered Erika’s master bedroom, which was in the corner of the penthouse where the best view of the ocean could be seen. Dieter found Erika motionless, dressed in a sharp looking navy business suit, along with a frozen Kioni, who looked like she had been struggling with someone, given her position on the ground. What he found odd was how Erika was positioned; laid out on the ground with a note stuck on her face wasn’t Erika’s idea of fun. The business tycoon was laid out straight on the ground with her legs straight and arms tight to her sides. She could easily be stood up to stand at attention in this pose, he thought. He walked over pulling off the taped note from Erika’s face.
“Beware?” he read out loud, “What the hell happened here?” He asked no one in particular, looking at the frightened look on Kioni’s frozen face and the serious look on Erika’s. Kioni’s pose was more dramatic. She was on her back with one arm held up in front of her with her fingers in a death grip as if clutching someone’s neck. Her other arm was raised up over her head in an awkward position as if it were pinned to the ground by an invisible force. Both legs were bent at the knees and spread wide with one of her feet missing a shoe. Judging by the condition of the Kenyan’s grey business pants suit he could tell the girl was frozen during a fight with someone.
“How come you didn’t stop time?” he wondered, looking back at Erika laying on the floor as he placed the note aside; he stood up to think of what to do next. Resolving to meet with Marika, he turned around only see the three figures walking toward him.
"Shit," mumbled Dieter, as he realized it was his Marika, Makeda and a masked ninja girl. Judging from the look in Marika's eyes, they were chipped. Whether the masked ninja was or not was undetermined given she was wearing a mask with goggles. He lifted up his Sig and took aim at the ninja, as he squeezed the trigger; the gun suddenly began to fall apart, as it seemed to age rather quickly.
"What the hell!" exclaimed Dieter as he dropped the useless weapon, looking back at the ninja; he raised his fist. All the sudden Marika and Makeda suddenly sprang to life, grabbing him by the arms. Wasting little time on his reaction, the ninja launched an uppercut into Dieter's chin, lifting him off the ground before he went limp into the other two chipped agent's arms.
Chapter 2: And the Horse He came on is?
Tucker and Maggie’s Place
“Come on Maddy, it’ll be fun…it could be a new tradition we could have.” Maggie pleaded on her cell phone as she paced around the kitchen. Thanksgiving was just a few days way and she and Tucker was planning to have a little dinner. In recent months the relationship between Maggie and her sister had greatly improved and Maggie wanted her sister to be part of the little dinner. Madison however had made plans with their parents, who had a big dinner every year at their restaurant. Maggie seldom went to these events due to the sour relationship she had with her mother. “I don’t want to be with mom on holiday…” Maggie whined, sitting down at the table. “Tucker and I are getting takeout so you don’t have to worry about the food…” She then insisted. She perked up as Madison thought about but then slumped in sadness, “I guess next year then…yeah say hi to them. See you later, Maddy,” she sighed as she flipped closed her cell phone.
Getting up, she walked out in to the living room and plopped down on one of the two sofas between live-in mannequins Candice and Tatiana. Unusually both frozen women were dressed. Candice was clothed in a purple see through teddy with matching lace undergarment underneath. Her European counterpart was dressed in a pair of lacy hot pants and a black lace-trimmed spaghetti top. Both immobilized girls sat with their backs straight, knees together with and hands resting on their thighs. They both looked ahead vacantly with unnatural fixed smiles. Maggie looked at both girls after sitting down, “Well Haley is coming…that’s about it, so you girls should be happy since she talks to you and all.”
Maggie had gotten the blond model to come, as she was first person she called earlier. Haley was due home from her modeling tour right on time and was delighted to come. At first Tucker felt uneasy about his ex-girlfriend coming over, but he sure as heck was excited that she was coming. Julie – his current girlfriend – had not called him or returned his calls in a couple of days. At first he was worried but now he was just annoyed, figuring she was doing things with her sister or just other things in general. The girl didn’t know how to be a girlfriend; she often tried too hard or was just plain off target. Tucker had so far let it slide, being that Julie was fun to be around and she was super hot as well. His patience was growing thin though so when he found out Haley, who he had meshed with really well and who knew all about him was coming, he thought it would be better for him not to call Julie. He reasoned that he wasn’t cheating on her and he did try to tell her but she never called him back. A good boyfriend would actually go and seek his girlfriend out; Tucker just didn’t want to see Julie at the moment though.
* * *
Tucker had gone to work at his new shop, Asian Invasion. His two business partners, Lance and Bianca, had hit it off and were actually out of town for Thanksgiving leaving him to run the store on his own. He didn’t feel bad; he was growing close to the store and didn’t mind being there, and since it was so close to Thanksgiving there were few patrons so he just sat around and reading comic books. Looking up from the counter he noticed a group of three cute Japanese girls browsing the merchandise. Putting the comic book aside he looked around for his wand. His cell phone’s ring interrupted his train of thought, he grumbled silently picking it up. “What?” he answered. “Oh sorry, Maggie, can’t find an item for a customer,” he lied. “Oh that sucks that Maddy can’t come. I know how much you wanted her to come…” Maggie had gotten close to her sister and Tucker was glad for as that was how sisters were supposed to be. She and Jamie had gotten into another argument earlier about Thanksgiving plans. She wanted Maggie to herself. She had even planned a little get away. Maggie however didn’t want to leave Tucker alone so she declined and naturally Jamie flipped out. Maggie was feeling lonely and she started calling people so far, to Tucker’s discomfort only Haley had agreed to come as everyone had plans or weren’t calling back, like Julie and her sister Kat. “It’ll be fine with just you and Haley,” Tucker assured. “Like old times.” He smiled. “Yeah I’ll be home in a few, going to help some customers so I’ll talk to you later.” He laughed, “My tone is normal, you’re crazy.” Tucker smiled to himself after hang up. “Oh there you are…” He said reaching for his trusty wand.
* * *
Rebecca Mosley, Jamie’s twin sister and the last of the three live-in mannequins Maggie and Tucker shared was dressed like her twin more or less. Jamie and her sister were night and day when one would compare them, the only thing the two had in common was that they were family and that they were twins; other than that they acted completely differently. Unlike Maggie and Madison, Jamie and Rebecca really hated each other, according to Jamie it was a shattered relationship that would really never be repaired. Maggie was missing her girlfriend at the moment so she had gathered some clothes she had of Jamie’s and dressed the stiff look-alike redhead in them. Rebecca had shorter hair than her twin so Maggie wouldn’t confuse the two but for tonight to Maggie, Rebecca was ‘Jamie’. The unmoving redhead was dressed in a navy t-shirt that read ‘Seniors Class of 2000 Kingston High School’ across her bust. A tight fitting pair of khakis covered her legs. Jamie never left her shoes around so Maggie used some heels that the stiff girl was often dressed in. Rebecca sat at the kitchen table, legs crossed with her hands clasped together on the table surface. A cute smirk that Jamie often wore was placed on the mannequin’s lips; unlike Jamie’s smirk however, Rebecca’s smirk was accompanied with empty green eyes.
Maggie sat across from Rebecca’s vacant stare, smiling, “So Jamie! Glad you came.” She said, already feeling weird. “Damn…how does Haley do this…” she sighed, sitting back in her chair. “Jamie, I think we should get naked!” She then suggested to the stiff girl. Standing up she started to unbuckle her own jeans and tugged at her t-shirt. A knock at the door stopped her little strip show though. Maggie smiled at Rebecca and kissed the still girl on the cheek, “Be right back.”
Looking through the peephole, Maggie’s heart stopped and a bit of panic started to creep up on her. Standing on the other side of the door was Tasia Spiro, Interpol Agent Tasia Spiro. Maggie had met her only once a couple of months back. Personally she was attracted to the very hot Greek agent but then again she was a cop and cops always made her nervous. She pulled herself away from the peephole and took a deep breath, calming her nerves before looking again just as Tasia knocked once more. The Interpol agent was dressed in a light blue silk blouse under a sharp looking navy pants suit. A travel bag hung from her shoulders. Her face was as pretty as the last time Maggie had remembered but this time her expression was serious and had a hint of tiredness to it. Her dark red hair was tied back in a conservative but professional pony tail.
Maggie silently crept away from the door back into the living room, all the while staring at the door expecting the agent so suddenly appear; after all, the woman did have special gift to stop time that Maggie found sort of cool. Looking at Candice and Tatiana posed on the sofa and remembering Rebecca in the kitchen, Maggie almost cursed out loud but calmed herself with another deep breath. “Coming!” she shouted out trying to sound calm before going back to her room.
A second later everything went dead silent as the air held still. Once moving traffic outside the apartment now halted as if parked in a parking lot. A jet liner flying high over the building held motionless in mid-air like an exhibit at the local Air and Space Museum. Maggie reemerged from her room with her trusty clock in her small hand. She peeked outside real quick and smiled, feeling more relaxed. Putting the clock on the coffee table she got down to business. She first moved Rebecca and sat her in the office behind the desk in the pose she was in while seated at the kitchen. Next she dragged Candice to the office as well, sitting her down in one of the office’s two simple leather arm chairs. She did the same with Tatiana, sitting her in the remaining chair. Maggie locked the office up and stuffed the key into her pocket before returning to the living room.
Feeling more relaxed and comfortable Maggie picked up her clock and was about to start time before an idea struck her. “I have all the time in the world anyways…” She giggled, placing the clock back on the coffee table. Walking up to do she opened it and grinned broadly coming face to face with Tasia Spiro. The Greek stood just as frozen as the girls locked up in the office, gazing endlessly down at her thin gold watch with her other hand holding the strap of her travel bag suspended from her shoulder. “Awesome…” Maggie whispered, reaching out and clutching one of Tasia’s breasts through the cool silk material of her blouse. Leaning the Interpol agent forward, Maggie awkwardly dragged the stiff woman into the apartment. She didn’t bother to close the door since time was stopped.
She stood Tasia in the middle of the living room and walked around the Greek agent, admiring her beauty and body. “Let’s get this bag off of you, you’re already here.” Maggie grinned, pulling the bag off Tasia’s shoulder after prying her stiff fingers from it. She then arranged Tasia’s arms, putting them at her sides and tilting her head to look straight ahead even though her brown eyes remained cast downwards. She opened Tasia’s business coat and noticed Tasia’s ID clipped to her belt. “Senior Agent Tasia Spiro ITEA,” she read. What the hell is ITEA, Maggie thought aloud, looking up at the agent’s silent and unresponsive face, “Oh well,” she concluded shrugging. She untucked Tasia’s blouse and unbuttoned it, revealing the woman’s round breasts covered by a light blue silk bra. Maggie groped the Greek orbs a bit before kneeling and unbuckling Tasia’s belt; her pants were then opened up and tugged down her nude pantyhose covered legs. A black and blue G-string covered Tasia’s sex under the pantyhose. Maggie traced her finger around the lingerie before working the pantyhose from Tasia’s hips.
Soon Tasia stood with her business coat and blouse opened, bra cups tucked under her naked breasts, pants, pantyhose, and G-string sitting around her ankles. Maggie made out with agent passionately, moving south with her lips, sucking and tasting the Greek’s exposed breasts and shaven womanhood. It was nearly an hour Maggie’s time before she felt it was time see what this visit had been all about.
* * *
The door opened suddenly seconds after Tasia heard a woman’s voice said she was coming. The Greek agent quick took note that her travel bag had changed sides and her clothing felt off. Something was going on. “Hi, ITEA Agent Spiro!” the girl she remembered as Maggie Yen, Tucker Holmes’s best friend and roommate greeted Tasia with a bright welcoming smile. “Please come in!” Maggie said, stepping aside.
“Ms. Yen. Is Tucker home?” Tasia greeted and the asked stepping in. Maggie closed the door behind them. Tasia looked around the apartment. Cozy, a bit of mess, typical college student dwelling she observed. “I need to have a word with Tucker.”
“Please have a seat,” Maggie offered, gesturing to the closest sofa. Tasia put her bag down on the floor before sitting herself with Maggie following suit. “What do you need to talk to him about?”
“I would rather talk to him first before discussing it with you. Is he home?” Tasia asked again, looking around the room.
“Nope, he’s at work but he should be home any time.” Maggie replied and then asked, “You want something to drink?”
Tasia shifted in her seat. Her clothes definitely felt out of place and it tasted as if she had been kissing someone. To a normal person these signs weren’t easy to pick up if you didn’t know what you were looking for, Tasia however have been frozen several times and was now accustomed to the after effects if she had been messed with or violated. “Are you sure he’s not home?” She asked suspiciously.
Maggie nodded cutely, “I just talked to him a few hours ago, and he’s at work.”
“I see…” Tasia said in thought looking around once more. Then it hit her and she stood up abruptly startling Maggie. “Why are you lying to me; where is he?!” Tasia demanded.
At first Maggie was speechless – she shook her head ‘no’ quickly, “I’m not hiding him; he’s at work, I’m not lying to you!” Maggie stammer leaning away from Tasia.
Tasia studied the frightened college student, it was clear she wasn’t lying but the agent was still suspicious none-the-less. “How do you know I’m with ITEA?! I never told you, last time we met I was with Interpol, there is no way you would know…unless…”
“Unless what?” Maggie asked quietly, while stealthily eyeing her clock on the coffee table thinking if she could be fast enough to grab it and use it.
“Where have you been the last couple of weeks, and do you have witnesses to your whereabouts?” Tasia asked sternly, hands on her hips, peering down at Maggie who felt small.
“I’ve been here.” Maggie mumbled first before speaking up.
“Get up!” Tasia demanded, cutting her off. “You’re coming with me now!” She was acting irrationally; Lucienne needed her help and this mumbling Maggie Yen knew something. She had to.
“What? Where? Why?” Maggie asked, almost in tears and eying her clock more desperately now.
“To London and because I said so,” Tasia answered bitterly. “Now get up.” Maggie shook her head no. “Get up now, I’m getting you to come with me weather you like it or not.” With her lover mysteriously frozen, Tasia wanted answers and she wanted them now.
Maggie quickly sprung up and made a grab for her clock but was frozen mid-way with her arm outstretched while her body fell roughly forward. Her head smacked against the coffee table hard knock her trusty clock onto its back. Her body fell to the floor, stiff as a board. Tasia looked down at Maggie’s reaching pose; her lower body was still in a seated position while her upper was reaching outward toward the door. Tasia figured Maggie was trying to escape, ignoring the old fashion alarm clock now lying harmlessly on the table. “Stupid,” Tasia snickered, reaching down and then standing Maggie up, adjusting the petite Chinese girl so she would stand at attention. Maggie’s face was masked in fear with her eyes wide and lips opened. Tasia grinned at the girl’s reaction. Her time-stopping power was so helpful in situations like this.
Leaving Maggie standing at attention, face locked in silent fear in the living room. Tasia kept time stopped and searched the apartment. It was clear Tucker wasn’t there from what she could see. There was a locked door though. Examining it, Tasia noted a key hole. She returned to Maggie eying the girl. “Where would I hide a key if I was a stupid student?” Tasia asked almost playfully touching the girl and then her crotch. “Pay back,” she then said grinning, raising Maggie’s arms in the air.
Soon Maggie stood with her arms raised over head, wearing only a pink cotton bra and white plain Jane cotton panties. Tasia had found the key in one of the pockets on Maggie’s jeans, rendering the full strip search pointless, but she just wanted to strip the girl for the hell of it. Leaving the scantly clad Maggie alone again, Tasia gained access to the locked room.
“Looks like a meeting of sorts.” Tasia observed looking in the room. She was glad time was stopped so the three ladies wouldn’t say anything especially with Tasia searching them. They had nothing of interest. Returning back to the living room Tasia opened her travel bag and pulled out a Type-7 injection gun. She first injected Maggie and then returned to the office and injected all three ladies and then closed and locked the door behind her leaving the key in the key hole. Back in the living room, she looked at Maggie once more as she stood there in her panties and bra, her face still in molded in fear.
“Time to go; I’m going to leave you like this though. When you give me answers, I’ll give you your clothes back.” Tasia whispered into Maggie’s ear, even though she knew the girl heard nothing. Like the other three girls, the Type-7 injection was only a small dosage so Maggie should be conscious again on the flight.
Just as Tasia restarted time the door to the apartment swung open. Maggie only had a moment to gasp and begin lowering her arms before her body stiffened into position and she became a motionless mannequin herself before Tucker Holmes rushed in. He had heard voices and was about to open the door when Tasia had stopped time.
“Hey, what the hell!” Tucker exclaimed, seeing Maggie in her underwear and then Tasia.
“What did you do?!” He then blurted, grabbing for his wand. Before he could do anything he was pinned against his wall with Tasia holding his wand.
“Well, Tucker Holmes. We meet again.” Tasia said smiling. Tucker gulped.
They had made it to LAX when Tasia received a call from Marika who sounded odd, saying Tasia was needed in Malibu. There was something wrong with Erika and Makeda. Marika did not really explain too much what the issue was as she hung up shortly afterwards. Tasia sighed at her luck and frowned at Tucker who only looked confused. Making a few calls she arranged for JB and Cassandra to take care of Tucker and the wand. Both agents were in neighboring Arizona looking for a low key Type-7 lab, their search was getting no where so Tasia figured they would be better fit to escort Mr. Holmes. Tasia placed Tucker and his wand, which was covered in a black evidence bag, with Airport security with strict instructions before heading out Malibu.
Chapter 3: How does that work?
12 hours later…
It just seemed to be one of those weeks were Murphy’s Law wanted to play one big joke on you, thought Tucker Holmes. He leaned back in his chair, waving at the guard posted on the inside door of the holding room he’d been in for the better part of the day. It took all of his charm to convince Tasia that Maggie had nothing to do with anything. She was just naturally nervous around cops.
Tucker was glad Tasia had no idea about Maggie’s clock either as it was carelessly left behind. With that he was assured if he was going to get locked up Maggie could bail him out at least. That was really only good thing Maggie was home safe, and of course the truth about the three live-in dolls were not known about either as Tasia didn’t mention them either. Tucker had left Maggie a note not to worry and to not do anything stupid. To the best of his knowledge he had no clue why he was there, but better him than Maggie.
JB had also confiscated his wand for the time being, something about his own safely. Which seem pointless as even trying to scratch his nose an hour ago had resulted in getting shown why it was a bad idea by the guard, via Taser. Luckily enough it was a small charge he got zapped with, probably a warning shot not to do something dumb. Still, didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like hell, then again his fault for not asking first.
* * *
Cassandra still had some questions she wanted to ask Tasia, like why this boy they picked was so important to this case. And what the hell was stick in the evidence bag, she thought thinking about the bag JB had with him. Calling Tasia's cell phone, it rang a few times before hitting her voice message box. Something wasn't right, she thought, Tasia usually answers straight away or even calls when she's going to be delayed.
Having a bad feeling, she called Caesar, "Hey Cesar, I need you and Taka to go to Malibu, I'll get Miranda and Hui to follow you there." Hui and Miranda were both in Vancouver staking out a suspected Type-7 dealer. They could be diverted for this.
"Will do Cassie,” Cesar replied.
“I need you to check on Marika, Dieter and Tasia if she's there." she ordered, " Something's not right."
"We’re leaving now Cassie." Cesar replied before they both hung up the line.
Cassandra quickly called her other agents and gave them their orders as well. She wanted them to all return to HQ to combine teams and be reassigned new missions. As of the moment a team of two was not an option as there seemed to be something big going on. The something big had to take precedence over all other operations as well.
* * *
A few hours later...
Colette Landry had met him shortly before he left CSIS. They had a brief affair before he had gotten serious with the Foundation. She had also hid her sexually flexible orientation from her co-workers in order to keep their affair secret. The two kept in contact and she became devoted to him, supplying him inside information from the CSIS and later Interpol. She also knew more about the inner workings of the Foundation and acted as a safety net to him if he was unable to destroy it. After the destruction of the Foundation, Colette was the only person that knew the whereabouts of where he had gone and continued to feed him inside information now from the ITEA. She did this mostly from loyalty but also because he had made her a very rich woman.
Colette Landry entered the evidence room quietly, making sure she closed the door behind. Once in she pulled a portable scanner she had in her pocket. Walking to the frozen victim’s storage shelves she smiled seeing the lone standing plastic-covered body bag of her stiff boss Lucienne Christophe. The bag Lucienne was in had been designed so that it zipped from the side and not at the front with a handle on the either side of the bag should the victim revive while still in the bag. There was also a ventilated hole for air as well. The bag was see-through except for black strips that blocked any view of the private areas.
Walking over to Lucienne’s bag she carefully and quietly unzipped it down to its full length revealing the naked French woman within the bag. Colette waved a hand in front of Lucienne to make she was unresponsive. She couldn’t help but to smile at her naked boss standing before her cupping her womanhood. This woman was commander of ITEA she thought with chuckle, bringing up her portable scanner and placed one part near Lucienne's eye. Opening her eye wide enough, she scans the agency’s top leader’s iris then took one of her cupped hands off her womanhood and did a full finger print scan with other side of the device.
“Thanks for the help Lucy, you’ve been a great help to my real boss,” she said as she placed the French woman’s hand back in place. Giving her a once over, she then began to zip the bag back up. She patted Lucienne's cheek before closing the bag the rest of the way, “I know what you’re thinking Lucy,” she whispered, “How does that work?”
Colette had very little problems doing her job both for IT and her real boss. Little wasn't known to her likewise to her boss. At the moment her concern was getting a virus into the system that would temporary disable IT’s computers long enough for her boss to pick up an important package. Making it back to her desk, she took the small data scanner out and connected to her laptop. Using an encrypted signal, she began her hacking, using Lucienne's data as her masked entry point.
* * *
Cassandra sat in her office going over the Tucker Holmes file, looking for anything that might have visibly connected him to the case. Unfortunately there were parts of his file that needed Lucienne's approval for, something her best friend and boss couldn’t do at the moment while she remained in the evidence room, stiff as a board. It does mean he's of interest, as just to what extent is uncertain. But from what it looked like the best he could be was only a witness as he had no obvious connections to Erika Stone. Closing the file, she got a call on her cell.
"What's the status over there Cesar?" asked Cassandra.
"Not good boss, Erika along with two of her roommates, and Agent Abasi, are frozen. It’s that same hard freeze too, like with Agent Cristophe."
"What, what about others!?" asked a shocked Cassandra as she started getting her Sig ready, feeling Tucker Holmes wasn't safe there anymore.
* * *
"Nothing Cassie, there does seem to have been a fight, there's a small blood stain on Erika's floor, probably from a scrape or cut, a single good blow if I'm not mistaken," Cesar reported as he kneeled down to look at the stain.
* * *
"Alright I want them bagged and transported here. I'll send Palmira and some agents there to collect evidence from the area. I want you four back here, ASAP!" Hanging up her cell she called JB and ordered him to get a vehicle ready as they'll be moving Tucker to a safer place, one of the safe houses outside of London.
Hanging up with JB she calls Palmira telling her to get a team together and head down to Malibu to investigate the crime scene at Erika's place. She cautioned them to be on their guard as someone seemed to be targeting active IT field agents. Hanging up the phone, she takes a magazine of type-7 out of her desk and places in one of the pouches on her belt, storms out of her office, grabbing her coat along the way.
* * *
Collette had been tinkering a quite a while now, taking time to ensure her virus would do the job she intended it to do. While doing that, she also intercepted an order from JB to get a vehicle ready to transport Tucker Holmes to the safe house just outside of London. She forwarded the information, knowing how important this was to her bosses. Her virus was set up to take down the network indefinitely but she figured it’d take Travis Paddington – affectionately known as ‘Paddy’ – ITEA’s resident computer whiz, only 72 hours to get everything back up. That alone was more than enough time for her boss to do what he wanted to do.
Something caught her eye as she moved back into Lucienne's file prompts, mainly a file marked 'Tucker', Looking into it, she discovered this had more info on Holmes then what even a senior agent could actually touch, something about a wand was in there too. Not one to ask, she immediately downloaded the file and then proceeded to delete the original file from IT database. She smiled as she arched back in her chair, watching the progress bar slowly reach 100%
Palmira burst, in prompting Colette to quickly shut her lap top. "Something up, Palmira?" asked Colette calmly.
"Yeah, I need you to join me. Something went down at Erika Stone’s place. We have more victims in the same rigid state as Lucienne coming back for examination. I’m taking some rookies down with me and need a second in command and you’re it," Palmira explained as she waited for Colette to gather her things.
"Alright, I'll be ready in five, anything else I need to know?" Colette asked.
"That’s it for now," Palmira replied and then left.
Colette opened her laptop once the Brazilian was gone. To her dismay the connection had been interrupted, and she didn’t have the time to reconnect and make sure the file was deleted. The virus is on the other hand was ready to go and would go off with the press of a detonation trigger her boss had, the second he pressed the trigger ITEA’s network would go dead.
* * *
Some time later…
The SUV drove down the lonely road, carrying its human cargo which consisted of Cassandra, JB, agents Jelena Hendraille and rookie Marcus Corrado. In the middle of Jelena and Marcus sat Tucker, who for the most part was clueless to what was going on. Looking around, he was trying to figure out where he was going. Peering out the window as best he could, he got a good look of the area as the passed it by. He was in the country, farms, trees and green hills surrounded the road. He had tried to ask questions earlier but was told to be quiet. The two agents sitting next to him weren’t American and he wasn’t sure if they could speak English but they were good at looking him in away where he didn’t even want to talk them. He wished he was home with Maggie and Julie.
“I have a black Alfa Romero 159 coming up fast behind us,” JB reported looking through the rear view mirror.
Cassandra turned around and looked at the speeding black sedan behind them. It had black windows and no license tags. She couldn’t see anyone inside. This was bad, she thought, withdrawing her cell phone. She dialed up HQ. As she waited for the connection she ordered JB to speed up. Instinctively Jelena pushed Tucker low and Marcus turned around and withdrew his Sig.
HQ had just picked up when the speeding 159 darted past them; it was clearly a much faster vehicle with a finely skilled driver behind the wheel. In an instant before any of the four ITEA agents could react, the 159 cut in front of the SUV and power-slid dramatically as if in an action movie. JB had to slam on the brakes to avoid the black sedan. The SUV swerved heavily, nearly flipping over before it ran off the side of the road, taking out a fence before coming to a stop inside a large bush.
The front and rear passenger doors to the 159 flew open as a masked man with an AK-47 stepped out and shouldered the Russian assault rifle at eye level and expertly took out the SUV’s tires with well-placed three round bursts from the weapon. He stood in the road, still holding the weapon at eye level as a tall blond dressed in black leather jacket over a black turtle neck and black leather pants moved in, holding a Glock at eye level.
* * *
JB staggered out of the driver seat, pulling out his Sig and checked on Cassandra, who was slumped over in her seat and was out cold from the crash but was otherwise fine. Likewise so was everyone else, with Tucker and Jelena groggy and barely conscious. Noticing the car, he turned to fire only to have a dart hit him it the chest. Jelena only manage to sit up and attempt to open the door when she was hit by a dart on the shoulder. The drug within worked quickly on both agents.
Reaching the SUV, the blond moved past a stiff JB and opened the rear passenger door. She pulls out Jelena’s statue-like form letting the Croatian’s body fall to the ground in an odd seated pose. She then shoots the unconscious Cassandra and Marcus with darts, making sure they won’t awaken soon. She then quickly searches the SUV, finding the bag containing the wand and then yanks the barely awake Tucker and rushes him to the Alfa Romero, tossing him into the back seat of the sedan before entering it herself. The masked man looks around expertly, moving the AK along with his eyes before getting back into the passenger front seat of the 159. It takes off before his door is even shut.
"Excellent job you two," Smiled Scott Dawson as he peeled his mask off and looked back to see that Tucker was fine; dazed and confused, but otherwise fine. Another blond, also dressed in black, drove with a blank expression as they headed towards their next destination.
* * *
It obvious that this whole thing had everyone on edge, even the pencil pushers and the analysts were feeling nervous. Whoever was taking the agents out seemed to know how they worked and even worse, they had taken out Erika Stone, who had the special ability to control time as well.
Suzanna sat at her desk, looking over Marika's notes, which proved even odder, as most of those hard-frozen could have their hair cut off or even makeup removed. But they seemed to be immune to most other physical damage, since they hadn’t been able to draw a drop of blood to do sample work from. Suzanna wasn’t sure what to do; she wouldn’t admit it but she was somewhat clueless on the situation even after a briefing from the lab staff. She was however third in line to command the science wing though and with Marika and Makeda both missing the wing was hers. The problem was she wasn’t half the scientist that her two predecessors were, or even half the scientist of those she was in charge of now. The forensic expert from Texas just had to make do with what she did know and keep the seat warm for those who knew more than her.
Cesar’s team had returned from their quick trip the States, thanks to the private Lear jets that ITEA had access to. They had brought along with them the mysteriously frozen bodies of Erika Stone, Monica Stein, Caitlin Trafford, and Kioni Abasi. So far with the help of her competent staff Suzanna had already examined all the women but Kioni Abasi, who was one of their own. Upon returning, Cesar and his team had to head out once again this time taking some other agents with them. They were heading out to the country where they had picked up a distress call from Cassandra Flick. No one had heard anything else from her team. Fighting jet lag, Cesar and his team along with a slew of other available ITEA agents headed out, expecting the worst. The blond-haired Greek Sophie Katsopolis was in charge of IT at the moment.
The sounds of the lab door opening bought Suzanna back from her thoughts. A fully dressed but stiffed Kioni Abasi was rolled through the secure doors of the examining room atop a gurney. The naked body of Lucienne Christophe stood at attention nearby as Suzanna had been using her as a comparison to the other victims. So far she found nothing, only the fact that they were all frozen in the same fashion and remained in an identical hardened state at the moment. “Any results on Commander’s Lucienne’s clothing yet?” Suzanna asked the lab technician who was in charge of re-analyzing the clothing taken from the victims. The technician, whose face was covered by a surgical mask, shook her head no. “Well keep at it; there has to be something,” Suzanna sighed as she watched the two assistants move Kioni’s stiffened form from the gurney to the examining table.
Suzanna looked over the frozen agent sadly, trying not to feel sorry for the young rookie, knowing that thinking about it would only distract her from what needed to be done. She slipped on a fresh pair of latex gloves and keyed her voice recorder. “Subject name Kioni Abasi …” she began, flanked by a waiting assistant who stood by to collect Kioni’s clothing for the other technician. “Subject is an African female, age 24 years old. Appears to have some bruising around the right eye, hands show signs that subject was in a struggle. Clothing shows evidence of distress to support notion of struggle before incident.” Putting the recorder aside, Suzanna began to unbutton Kioni’s blouse and with the help of the assistant sat the beautiful rookie up in seated position. It was like moving a large life-sized doll. The blouse and her bra were removed carefully and handed over to the technician in charge of examining the clothing. Kioni sat with topless with her dark-nippled breasts hanging free. Suzanna noted the nipples were erect, indicating that Kioni had been in an excited state when she was frozen. But by the look on her face, eyes wide in terror and mouth opened in shock, the experience wasn’t good or enjoyable by any means. With the help of the assistant, they laid the Kenyan agent back down. Suzanna decided to mold the young woman’s face into a more serene look.
Sighing, Suzanna picked up her recording and continued, “Subject was in a high excitement state when she was rendered frozen,” she observed, touching Kioni’s nipples. Moving her gloved hands south Suzanna reported, “There are some clear signs of bruising on the abdomen area.” Putting the recorder aside, Suzanna moved to Kioni’s trousers and opens them and with the assistant’s help peeled them from her hips. Her nude pantyhose and cotton white panties followed. Her single heel was removed before Kioni was naked. The clothing headed for examination. Suzanna looked over the naked body before her thinking awhile before picking up her recorder. The examination was soon completed and like the other women before her Suzanna concluded that Kioni Abasi was frozen in the same manner as Lucienne and was more or less in the same state as the French woman. That conclusion really didn’t help much.
After cupping Kioni’s hands over her womanhood, she then ordered the assistants to seal the body into one of the frozen victims evidence room bags .The bag's black strips successfully covered most of Kioni's parts, still Suzanna had the courtesy of giving the victims some dignity even though they were being treated as objects. At least the Kenyan wasn't aware of the way she had to be stored.
Suzanna looked over at Lucienne as the assistants did as they were told. Walking around the naked French commander in thought, an idea came to her. She quickly looked over the notes. Her quick movements stopped the two assistants who looked at her in confusion sensing a new order. Suzanna moved behind her nude boss while glancing at the notes and examined the back of her neck. She then moved back over the table. “Turn her over,” she ordered the two assistants did as they were told. She moved Kioni’s hair aside, revealing the back of the woman’s neck. “Okay, seal her up and store her then bring me Erika Stone, Monica Stein and Caitlin Trafford,” she ordered. As the assistants worked went over to a nearby desk phone. “Gitana, please sent Agent Katsopolis to the science wing.”
* * *
“So, what does this all mean?” Sophie asked after looking at the back of Erika, Monica, Caitlin and Lucienne’s necks. The four women were naked and stood in a semi circle. It was an odd sight, to say the least. Sophie wasn’t comfortable being in a room with the naked women especially since one was her boss and friend. “Could you dress them please,” she added, looking over at an assistant who nodded and headed off.
“Those marks on their necks mean they were once chipped. Lucienne wasn’t, neither was Abasi. Erika and her roommates were all chipped back during the whole Paradise thing. Marika, Makeda and Tasia had been chipped as well. I think this has something do with the Foundation or something related to it,” Suzanna explained.
Sophie looked over at the four women as an assistant returned with hospital gowns and dressed them. She was impressed with Suzanna’s work. She walked over to the desk phone and picked it up and dialed some numbers. “Great work Suzanna,” she praised before a voice on the end picked up. “Hey Paddy, it’s Sophie; could you look into our database and tell me who were the people at the Foundation that were in charge of chipping and programming. Oh, I see, interesting. Could you look into on their whereabouts, yup I want a complete work up everything.” She ordered and smiled. “I know you can do it; yes I’ll buy you dinner if you do it. Thanks Paddy,” she concluded, hanging up the phone.
“What’s going on?” Suzanna asked.
Sophie, still holding the phone, put a finger up politely before putting the phone back to her ears she dialed another number. “Gitana, set up a phone conference with agents Francisco and Tiago and call me back when it’s ready; yes I’ll be down in the science wing. Thanks,” Sophie said, smiling and hanging up the phone, just as all the lights shut down and everything quickly went black.
Suzanna let out a blood-curling scream and quickly covered her mouth in the darkness, then said, “Sorry…”
Within a couple of minutes the back-up lights came on but everything was still dim. Sophie sighed and looked around, “That can’t be good…”
* * *
Some time later...
Cassandra woke up to the relived faces of her boyfriend JB and fellow agent Cesar Francisco, carefully sitting up. She couldn't help but falling back to the bed again. The pounding in her head wasn't worth sitting up for, at least not for a spell. She looked around and noticed she was in an ambulance.
"Someone took him, Cassie," answered JB hiding is anger over his failure to protect the boy and his fellow agents.
Whoever did this made sure not to put direct fire into the SUV Cassie, the tires were disabled with 7.62 rounds which are consistent to AK-47s, M60s or M240s," remarked Cesar, holding up a brass shell casing for Cassandra to see.
"Hell, that alone could have tore into the car clean through; if they were aiming to kill us that would have been best way," she figured, mustering strength to sit up more evenly with the others.
Type -7 was used in the attack..." JB said, finally realizing who had done it.
"Scott Dawson," the three said in unison.
While Cesar had no history with Scott personally, he was familiar with his MO; the man loved to use Type-7, along with Ryoshi Tenzo who both once worked together for the Paradise Foundation. The foundation had fronted a lot of illegal activities, ranging from drug smuggling to kidnapping and slave trafficking. The list goes on; still this seems out of the ordinary for that man, taking just a young man and whatever was in the bag that was being transported.
With a sigh, Cassandra rubbed her sore neck, knowing this might lead to her being naked at some point in this case. Scott was not without his unique style of torture, granted it was probably more humane than most evil men would care to do. When was the last time a madman had her naked in a sexually active role? Damn those chips, thought Cassandra, sighing again she hoped this time she wasn't kissing another woman if it happened.
"Well, enough standing around. Organize a search party; let’s hope the bastard didn't get too bloody far. I want HQ on the horn and..."
"The network is down Cassie, I had to use a civilian line to radio for a wagon to pick you up," Cesar reported, tossing his phone in his hand, then putting it back his pocket.
"What? How long?” asked Cassandra, going for her phone only to realize she dropped it in the car.
"Close to two hours ago, hasn't come back on, Hopefully Paddy is on it," Cesar replied. “I have Hui and Miranda working your crime scene. Jelena and Marcus are working with the local police looking for any clues of that dark 159 that JB described. They’re gonna check in later; we’re using normal civilian lines for now.”
“We’re heading back to HQ?” Cassandra then asked, laying back down as she was feeling a bit dizzy again.
Cesar nodded, “Sophie and Suzanna found something that they want us to look at. She’s also trying to get in touch with Palmira too.”
Cassandra suddenly sat up remembering the team she had sent out. “No word from them yet?” Cesar shook his head no. Cassandra laid back down sighing hoping she didn’t send a team to get captured.
Looking at his watch JB assured, “They should be just getting there now Cassie, and Palmira knows what to do.”
To Be Continued In... Part II