Tales from the Tuckerverse:  Wind and Sand

by Zero

These are all tales of hijinks that Tucker has with his magical gizmo, which take place in what will be known from now on as the 'Tuckerverse'. You may want to read more of Tucker's tales from the beginning, or catch up on the latest chapter before continuing; the lead characters are introduced in the first story. There is also a chronological index to the series as well as a comprehensive Tuckerverse Wiki! [Ed.]

Authors' Note: We hope you've enjoyed the Clockwork and Tucker series' so far and hope you will continue to do so in the Tuckerverse!

 

The Balfour Boutique, Beverly Hills, California

                  Chetana Shenkar smiled as she circled the helpless woman who was currently strapped to a chair in the back area of the boutique, even taking an opportunity to move a few loose strands of hair out of the captive's face. Chetana, currently operating under the alias of Mrs. Wind for a man calling himself Mr. Void, had been given the task of finding a way to capture Erika Stone for his organization Ouroboros. On the advice of fellow organization member Mr. Fire, Chetana had elected to use the upscale boutique as her special hideout; first using a Type-7 chip to turn the shop's owner, Lexa Balfour, into a mind-controlled puppet, and also learning to her delight that Lexa was currently running the entire store by herself alone. As Ouroboros had used Type-7 frequently and the drug essentially turned people into living mannequins it had been suggested that by using the boutique as a hideout, Chetana could hide anyone she kidnapped in plain sight.

                  Currently Chetana, dressed in a military green tank top and jeans with her dark brown hair up in a bun, held Kimberly Ewart as a captive. Kim was a thirty-something Canadian who was a major executive for Stone Travel, a part of Stone Enterprises. Kim, who was a bit short, standing only five foot five, currently sat rigid in the chair she was duct-taped to, her normally perfectly styled curly brown hair a rumpled mess; she was dressed in a designer white sleeveless blouse and a dark green skirt, black leather stiletto heels on her petite feet. Kimberly's wide brown eyes gazed out straight ahead of her, her lips were parted but there was no hint of motion from any part of her body. Still smiling, Chetana raised the black remote control she had in her right hand and pressed a button.

                  "What the..." muttered Kimberly, suddenly coming to life and looking around in confusion. "What's going on?!"

                  "A simple kidnapping," explained Chetana, walking up to Kim and getting right in her face. "I need some information you know. Once I have what I need, I'll let you go."

                  "But I've seen your face!" exclaimed Kim, suddenly terrified. "Won't that give you a good reason to not let me live?!"

                  "Some people, maybe, but first of all, I don't kill," explained Chetana, then producing a long sewing needle with her free hand. "I do, however, torture, so it would be a lot easier if you just cooperated."

                  "Well, tell me what you need," gasped Kim, struggling a bit but then calming down. "My abduction might have been for nothing."

                  "Possibly, but I can't afford to take chances," confessed Chetana. "I need to know who are the people closest to Erika Stone."

                  "This is about my boss?" asked Kim, surprised, then relenting when Chetana brandished the needle again. "Okay, okay, those closest to her? Well there's her mother, for one, even though they don't see each other that often. There's also her girlfriend, Mary Hamilton, my boss Monica Stein, that woman Caitlin Trafford..."

                  "Keep going," insisted Chetana, circling around behind Kim and placing her hands on the captive's shoulders.

                  "I know Erika’s been hanging around with the daughter of that senator that went to jail recently," recalled Kim, nodding. "Senator Cyrus Vanholt; his daughter. I can't remember his name, but I know his wife works for West America banks. I think the daughter goes to Decker State College..."

                  "Perfect," nodded Chetana, raising the remote from behind Kim, at the edge of her vision. "Thank you very much." With that Chetana hit another button and Kim froze stiffly again; the Indian woman walked around to see the Canadian sitting with her mouth open and glancing to her right, her fingers gesturing forward. With precision, Chetana used the needle to remove the duct tape binding Kim to the chair and then put it and the remote aside, proceeding to stand the frozen woman upright and wrap her arms under the rigidly posed younger woman's shoulders.

                  Chetana dragged Kim from the back of the boutique to the front, where several elegant mannequins were on display; including two that were human. One of the still figures was Lexa Balfour herself, posed as if doing The Robot, her face held a vacant, neutral, expression with her hair wrapped in a French braid; she modeled a leopard tank top and designer jean shorts on her body, with white leather heels on her feet. Next to Lexa stood Kissy Stevens, a twenty-something brunette showing off a white dress with a triangular skirt that had a much larger dip in the back than the front. Kissy's hair was combed straight and tucked behind her ears, her face equally neutral, like Lexa's, and her arms were posed as if to make a point with her left hand while her right was ready to gesture with her words. Chetana placed Kim next to Kissy, not bothering to repose her arms but shifting her legs to be more centered and adjusting her quizzical expression to be blank-faced like the other human mannequins, the challenge being her eyes. All three women had been frozen using chips; but Chetana wasn't good at giving orders for them to follow, telling Kim to shift her eyes would most likely result in her in breaking the rest of her pose.

                  "Aren't you three pretty, like life-sized dolls," chuckled Chetana to herself, taking a few moments to spread out Kim's hair so it spilled more naturally around her head.  Kim wobbled slightly but stayed balanced.  Solidly frozen and suspended by the chip and Type-7 drug, she could remain there in the window indefinitely. After taking over the boutique during a lull when no one else had been in the store and surprising Lexa, Chetana had started by collecting Kissy, hearing that she'd been among those rescued from Erika’s penthouse back in 2007. Kissy had proved useless but Chetana didn't want to release her until Erika was captured, so she'd decided to store her in the boutique; then she moved on to Kim, having found her contact information using a phone book after reading in the New York Times about her becoming one of the newest Stone Travel executives. As the short interrogation had just proven, Kim was indeed useful; her present motionless suspension would keep her quiet and in case more information might be needed. Chetana knew where she'd be heading next.

 

Decker State College, Malibu, California

                  Sitting on a bench, Chetana silently worked on licking a cherry candy sucker just inside the student directory office in Decker Hall. It had taken ‘Mrs. Wind’ roughly two hours to get to the college and find out where the directory was; both were not easy feats as Chetana had never been to Malibu; it was also her first time in southern California as part of this crime spree. Before joining Ouroboros, Chetana had traveled the world as a professional thief, ultimately getting caught and imprisoned the previous year while trying to steal from Kayley Wu. ‘Mr. Void’ had gotten her out of jail in exchange for her loyalty under the alias name ‘Mrs. Wind’; she'd accepted, valuing her freedom above all else. Even better, however, was that Chetana had been able to retrieve the single most valuable item she'd ever owned.

                  A shorthaired, vibrantly fit, blond clad in a soccer uniform and visible tattoos stepped away from the administration desk, heading for the exit. "Have a good day, Miss Donavan!" called the woman behind the desk; a brunette named Dana Callahan, or so said her nameplate. As Chetana watched the young woman head for the door she smiled and reached into her purse, producing a small wooden hourglass. With a practiced gesture, Chetana inverted the hourglass and placed it down on the bench, an act that suddenly made the fairly quiet office go even quieter as everthing became as still as a diorama in a wax museum.

                  By the door the soccer player, Mel Donavan, as Chetana had heard her name, was looking back at Dana with her right hand raised in a wave with a small smile on her face while her left hand touched the glass door; a brown backpack rested on her toned shoulders. Dana, sporting a vibrant red business dress with a white blouse underneath and her hair in a bob cut, sat with a pen touching her desk in her right hand, while her left hand was raised in a waving gesture; she had a toothy smile on her face. Since this office was a subset of several related to the student body, there was only one other person around besides Dana and Mel, an African-American woman who looked around thirty and had what seemed like an Afro in a ponytail, frozen standing in a tan business dress and teal blouse.

                  When she'd been in high school back in Coimbatore Chetana had broken into a fellow student's house and discovered the hourglass, which according to legend was the Durga Hourglass. Durga came from the Hindu name for the Devi form known as "the inaccessible" or "one who can redeem in situations of utmost distress." The ordinary-looking hourglass, as it turned out, could stop time for as long as its sands flowed; that could be for up to two hours at a time. After which, it would need up to two hours to “recover” before it could be fully used again. With the Durga Hourglass at her side, Chetana had managed to rob hundreds of people for over ten years before finally getting caught thanks to a careless fingerprint and a false passport. But now with Ouroboros supporting her, Chetana was certain she'd never be stopped again.  Now, she was the one doing the stopping, she reflected as she stepped around the motionless figures.

                  "Quite the tomboy aren't you?" remarked Chetana, looking at Mel and then getting an idea. Currently Chetana had six more chips in her purse; she had been waiting until only a few people were in the office, but with only three here she figured it would be worth the risk to detain Mel. Producing one device from her purse, Chetana placed it carefully on the back of Mel's neck before lowering the blond's hands to her sides and dragging her away from the door, sitting her down on the bench.

                  "Next is you of course," declared Chetana, sliding up onto and across Dana's desk, then rolling around behind her, promptly placing another chip where it belonged on the young woman's neck. Typical chips, so Wind had learned, would control a person so they could go on acting normally until a command signal was sent, but the ones Chetana had would freeze the person instantly, requiring prompting from a remote to be reanimated.

                  "And don't think you'll escape me," laughed Chetana, reaching the third woman, who was standing with an empty water cooler jug in her right hand, her left holding keys out in front of her while her red lips and furrowed brow betrayed signs of annoyance. "Aw, you have to change the water. Want a kiss to make it all better?" Chetana happily gave the immobilized woman a peck on the lips before placing a chip on her neck and riffling through her jacket pockets, learning that her name was Jillian Perry and she was apparently just a secretary for the records department while Dana was an actual clerk.

                  Finished with placing her chips, Chetana returned to her seat, now next to Mel, and flipped her hourglass over, causing time to unfreeze. The trio in the office didn't move however, since the chips took effect instantly. "Mel, give me your cell phone to let me check your stored numbers, then freeze and await further instructions," ordered Chetana. "Jillian, put down the empty bottle and go sit in the chair next to Dana, letting your mind go blank. Dana, access student records for information on Miss Sandy Vanholt, specifically her address." Wind's orders were immediately obeyed as the chipped women all resumed moving; Mel riffled through her backpack to produce the phone while Jill dropped the water jug and plopped down next to Dana, who was in turn now typing on the computer.

                  "Darn it," uttered Chetana a few moments later as she scrolled through the list of names on Mel's phone, not seeing Sandy's name. With a quick sigh, Chetana slid the phone back into Mel's outstretched hand and then lowered it to her lap, then leaving the unmoving blond and taking the hourglass with her as she moved to stand behind Dana and Jill. While Mel didn't seem to know Sandy, Chetana was able to learn that she lived in Building 2 of the Student Apartments, room 406. Nodding in approval, Chetana closed the search window for Dana before inverting her hourglass again, once again freezing time.

                  With quick hands, Chetana managed to remove the three chips, at which point she decided to have a little fun. Besides the chips, Chetana had some Type-7 with her and decided she should make sure no one looked into the record check before she'd had a chance to deal with Sandy. Producing a sealed bottle of the drug from her purse, Chetana poured some down the throats of both Dana and Jillian, then posed the brunette clerk to have her hands resting on the keys of the computer, focused on the display screen. Jillian, meanwhile, was stood up and positioned behind Dana, leaning forward with her left finger pointing at the screen. "Gotta keep up appearances," chuckled Chetana before putting the bottle back into her purse and moving over to Mel.

                  For a moment Chetana considered drugging Mel too, but instead simply dragged her outside and faced her away from the office door, putting her phone back into her backpack and putting her in a walking pose, her right arm and left foot forward. Finished, Chetana returned to the office and retrieved her hourglass before departing, not bothering inverting her prized object until she reached the first floor of the building.

* * *

                  Meanwhile, Sandy Vanholt used a napkin to carefully wipe the lips of the frozen woman she'd spent nearly forty minutes kissing, making sure there was no trace of saliva or anything to suggest the one-sided make-out session had ever occurred. Sandy, wearing Daisy Duke shorts and a short-sleeved orange blouse, because it was a bit warm in her apartment, was sitting on her couch across from Dr. Sandra Packlin, the newest addition to the Scooby Gang she'd formed with Michelle Gim and Pamela Flipspatrick. After an unusual incident in her class Sandra had run into some of the gang while reporting it, resulting in them deciding to join forces.

                  The meeting that was due to start fairly soon would be Sandra's first as a part of the gang, but Sandy had invited her over early in order to make her familiar with the effects of Type-7, since she had a supply of the tranquilizing drug courtesy of Erika Stone. Sandra, who today had her hair done up in a tight bun that almost resembled a beehive, wearing horn-rimmed glasses rather than her librarian-like ones and sporting a brown leather jacket over yellow blouse and tan pants, currently sat in a talking pose. Sandra was frozen looking straight ahead, specifically at the clock on Sandy's wall, her hands raised with her fingers nearly fully extended and her lips parted, having been speaking in mid-sentence when the drug had taken affect.

                  "I guess I am getting good at measuring how long it lasts," remarked Sandy, referring to how she'd measured out the Type-7 she'd given Sandra. Satisfied that the doctor wouldn't notice the secret session she'd just had with the gang's resident lesbian, Sandy headed from the couch to her small kitchen, which was where the hot water for tea was about to boil. With Pam and Michelle due to arrive in less than five minutes Sandy had wanted to make sure she had their drinks ready, especially since the water she would be using was also spiked with Type-7.

                  Upon returning to the living room/dining area Sandy smiled when she saw Sandra blink and her arms lower as the older woman looking around in surprise. "Wow, I didn't even feel it taking effect..." remarked Packlin, turning to face Sandy as she walked up to place the tray down on the four-seat table across from the couch, the dining area being part of the central room. "I'd venture a guess the others will be here shortly since you just put the tea out. Good job measuring my dosage."

                  "I've gotten the hang of it," admitted Sandy, pleased as she placed the cups around the table. The Type-7 she was using was time-released, something that apparently people had done before but Sandy had never heard about until last week. It had cost her a day of being a statue for Erika Stone and her girlfriend Mary Hamilton, but Sandy had been able to get some of the drug for her own use. The best part about the time-release effect was it meant her companions would all freeze at the same time, assuming they all drank tea before it was due to trigger. Sandy planned to watch everyone and if they didn't all drink in time, she'd do so as well and claim later the freeze must have been a prank on Erika's part.

                  As Sandra sat down there was a knock at the apartment door, causing Sandy to move to answer while smiling again as she caught Sandra taking her sip of tea already, meaning only two more of the gang had to. Opening the door, Sandy looked upon the glorious sight of Michelle Gim and Pamela Flipspatrick, both cheerleaders and the other members of her gang. Michelle was dressed surprisingly casually, unlike her usual style, wearing fairly tight dark green jogging pants and a white halter-top, with her hair tied back in a ponytail; she carried a book bag over her shoulder. Pamela, meanwhile, had her hair done up in soft waves and parted to the right; she had on jeans and a canary yellow blouse, with what looked like a piece of an animal horn around her neck and a school-colors backpack in her hands. "Hello, gang!" greeted Sandy as she let the two friends in.

                  "I really think we should consider another name, like league or society," remarked Pamela as she entered first.

                  "I don't even get why we need the name," sighed Michelle, entering next. Both girls had met Sandra already in school but it was her first meeting with them personally so they then offered her an official greeting of sorts, which ended up consisting of a formal handshake.

                  “Hey, call it what you want; we’re about to do this together I thought ‘gang’ was as good as any!  Come on in and have a seat and let’s get started; I’ve made some tea,” Sandy said breezily, not wanting to seem too obvious.

                  "I just took a crash-course in Type-7 and Sandy's told me a bit of your history, but I don't suppose we could start with who has already been investigated?" asked Sandra, as everyone sat down around the table.

                  "Sure, I've got my notes," agreed Pam, opening up her bag and pulling out her white laptop. "Sorry if I'm a bit undone, we just came from practice."

                  "A bit undone?" repeated Michelle with a smirk at the attractively made-up and coiffed Pam, though she stopped there. Sandy had noticed that Michelle always seemed a bit angrier after their practices, and based on what she'd seen of the girl she suspected it might be from insecurities about her body compared to the other cheerleaders. Those insecurities, Sandy did however have to admit, were a bit unfounded, as Michelle was still probably on Sandy's list of top ten hottest women on campus, most likely number eight.

                  "Anyhow, let me recap," declared Pam, typing away while taking a sip of her tea, clearly ignoring Michelle's catty remark. "While we know that Erika Stone produces Type-7 through her company, as well as being a frequent user, we're fairly certain she's not behind all of this, if any of it." Sandy nodded, having not told the girls about Erika's unique mental power lest they get paranoid.

                  "I don't blame them for even making that stuff; it could be a goldmine in the medical field alone," commented Sandra.

                  "We did suspect Cho Li Noi, but since she's gone now, I think she went to Arizona, there's not much we can do," continued Pam, scrolling and continuing to sip tea, much to Sandy's pleasure. "There was of course that woman who was working with Samantha Ross..."

                  "Ashley Tisdale; I met her," noted Sandra, having also been among the victims of one of Type-7's inventors. "Did you find out what happened to her? And if Samantha is still working with her? I sometimes eat lunch with Sam and she seems fine."

                  "We checked her out, nothing," answered Pamela. "No trace of Ashley. Police aren't looking for her though, so she might have gone to a secret prison, or was killed. Either way, she’s out of commission; I don't think she'll pop up again."

                  "How did you even get information from the police?" asked Sandra, confused.

                  "I know a guy with the LAPD who I can... convince to do things for me," explained Michelle, her pause due to the fact, Sandy knew, that she usually had to agree to be prominently seen with the guy at public functions, he being a closeted homosexual, supposedly.

                  "After that, we investigated the rest of the cheerleaders, and while sometimes things got a little odd we found nothing," continued Pamela. "After that we tried the soccer players, especially since quite a few of them were with us when we went to that weird town in Utah, but so far nothing. That's where we're at now."

                  "I actually investigated Chet Powers the other day, and he's clean too," revealed Sandy, having actually drugged the captain of the swim team and searched his apartment. Sandy knew many girls would envy her for getting that close to Chet, but of course most girls didn't even know she had.

                  "That's progress, but who is next?" asked Sandra, nodding and taking a sip of tea. Sandy was now getting slightly worried as, in her estimation, within three minutes the Type-7 in the tea would react; she decided to wait a minute and then drink if Michelle didn't by then.

                  "Ayane Nakamura is next on our list," explained Pam, tapping a few keys. "Back in August she made wax statues of fellow players Chrissy Pak and Britney Summers, but they looked almost too good to be really wax. Chrissy, we've confirmed, was actually unaccounted for a few hours that day, leading us to suspect Ayane used Type-7 and then just disguised Chrissy as the artwork. Brit was her roommate then, but we can't confirm anything on her."

                  "Possible, I'd try to find out if she still has that mannequin," agreed Sandra. Sandy wanted to chime in but was nervous, and decided instead to reach for her cup.

* * *

                  Sandy Vanholt's apartment opened easily, Chetana being a master at picking simple locks. The Ouroboros agent had waited until the street door to Building 2 was opened by someone and then stopped time with the Durga Hourglass; she entered easily and took the stairs to the fourth floor. After that, it had taken Chetana only a minute and a half to successfully open the door.

                  "Hello ladies?" greeted Chetana with a slight surprise in her voice, not expecting Sandy to have so much company, figuring it was too early for that since it was only now just after four. Sandy sat motionless on one side of a square wooden table, most likely varnished and well-painted plywood, with her right hand around a white tea cup, her face looking a bit serious as she glanced across the table, her left arm in her lap. A redhead sat across from Sandy, her fingers hovering over a laptop's keyboard, her gaze focused on her screen with her lips slightly pursed. To Sandy's left was an older woman that, in Chetana's mind, was still decently attractive if not hot, who was stopped while almost pointing towards the redhead with her left hand while her right arm rested on the table across her chest; her mouth was open and her eyes showed deep thought. The last woman, seated on Sandy's right, was an Asian girl, Chetana figured Chinese or Korean, who was leaning back in her chair and seemed almost bored; she had her arms behind her head holding her neck.

                  "What a cute tea party," laughed Chetana as she casually opened her purse and put the active hourglass on the table, always doing so when not traveling too far in case it got accidentally inverted, and then following it up with her remote and a few chips. Tossing her purse onto the nearby couch, Chetana got to work, humming as she went. Sandy was chipped first, at which point Chetana went around the table to the other girls, moving the Asian girl's hands and doing her last. Once finished, Chetana inverted her hourglass and time unfroze but no one moved, since all were now frozen by the chips.

                  "Sandy, bring me to your computer," ordered Chetana, smiling when the blond stood and, moving like a robot, led her into the next room. Sandy's bedroom, as it turned out, had a king-sized bed and the walls were covered with posters of expensive cars, popular beaches and major tourist traps. Chetana knew Sandy's father was a former senator who'd gone to jail on corruption charges but figured her family must still have money, or at least these items were from before his arrest. Sandy's laptop, which featured red casing, sat on her bed. Sandy picked up the item and held it out towards Chetana.

                  "My my, you're quite the idiot," remarked Chetana as she easily opened the computer's files, not even needing a password. Using Sandy's outstretched hands as a surface, Chetana quickly confirmed through the blond's emails that she was indeed very close with Erika Stone, meaning she'd be a great barter chip.

                  "This might be the easiest job since I stole Megan Wolff's underwear," laughed Chetana, closing the laptop and dumping it on the bed. "You... you're really beautiful!" declared Chetana, proceeding to hug Sandy before ordering the blond to lower her arms and follow her back into the living room.

                  "Sorry to cut and run, but I didn't think this would be so easy," remarked Chetana upon returning to the table, pleased with herself. Putting her arm on Sandy's shoulder, Chetana turned the hourglass over once more to stop time, though at this point Sandy wouldn't be frozen as she retained contact with the hourglass through Chetana, who had learned long ago how to keep others from being frozen when she stopped time; but as she'd later learned, only things the surface of the hourglass directly touched and anything organic connected to the hourglass would be protected.  Thus her car wouldn't freeze, but to keep anyone else in the car from freezing they'd need to be touching whoever turned the hourglass over.

                  "Since you're cute, and the only other Asian in this room, I'll start with you," announced Chetana, producing the Type-7 bottle from her bag and removing the chip from behind the Korean's neck. "Your friend is going to disappear, but you won't even notice for a long time." Chetana was going to pour the Type-7 directly into the girl's throat, but then elected to just water it down with the tea as that dilution would ensure they'd unfreeze before morning.

                  "Let me just even this out for you; why let this fine tea go to waste?" remarked Chetana with a grin, picking up the teacup and taking a big sip.

* * *

                  "Ah!" exclaimed Michelle in alarm as she suddenly toppled backwards, balancing herself quickly as she noticed a previously unseen woman standing right beside her. "Who the hell..." began Michelle, ready to scream, but her voice trailed off as she realized that the woman, who was visibly of Indian descent, wasn't moving, nor were Michelle's any of fellow group members.  She was in a room full of statues.

                  "What the hell?" muttered Michelle, slowly rising to get a good look at the scene. The mystery woman held the saucer to Michelle's teacup in her left hand at chest level, her right hand was holding the cup to her lips; the visitor’s eyes remained glassy and vacant as they looked off towards the window. Besides the previous objects on the table Michelle noticed a few new ones: black items that looked like computer chips; a small device that seemed to be a remote; a bottle of clear liquid with a strange label on it; a brown leather purse and a small hourglass.  The latter had run out and currently sat with all of the sand on the bottom.

                  "Type-7!" realized Michelle, still confused but now having realized the culprit that created the strange scene. Looking at the frozen mystery woman, Michelle carefully pulled the cup from her rigid right hand, causing a bit of now-cold tea to drip down the woman's unwavering lips. "You spiked the tea...?" muttered Michelle, looking at the unknown woman in confusion. "Then why did you..." The truth dawned on Michelle as she turned and looked at the person who currently rented the apartment.   Sandy was frozen like the rest, reaching for her own teacup.

                  "You bitch," hissed Michelle, putting down the tea and moving over to Sandy, slapping her once across the face. Sandy's head turned awkwardly to the right from the impact and as Michelle built up for another blow she realized she'd seen something on Sandy's neck before her blond hair had settled from the impact, causing the Korean-American to stay her hand. Curious, Michelle examined the back of Sandy's neck and saw a small chip like the ones that were sitting on the table. While looking closely to confirm the similarities, Michelle noticed another chip on the back of Sandra's neck and assumed there was one on Pam too; after a quick nervous inspection using her hands, Michelle confirmed she wasn't wearing one.

                  "What the hell..." muttered Michelle, moving back to the table, having temporarily forgotten her anger at Sandy. Next to the black chip devices was a remote, one that resembled the kind used for televisions; it even had a button with the symbol for pause on it. "Is this some kind of... inhibitor?" mused Michelle, recalling the concept of designs for implants that could regulate drugs, something Samantha Ross had covered last semester briefly. Intrigued, Michelle pointed the remote at Pam and pressed the pause button.

                  "Wow, what's up with my battery life?" asked Pam, suddenly moving and typing on her computer. "I went from eighty-five percent to seventy pretty quick, even for this piece of junk..." Smirking, Michelle quickly hit the pause button again and, to her delight, Pam instantly froze, her right hand hovering over her touch pad while her left touched the side of her head, her face a mask of confusion.

                  "It's like a remote control for people!" laughed Michelle, nearly jumping up and down but stopping herself, returning her focus to the mystery woman. Vowing to find out who the woman was, Michelle did however have another goal first.  She did however make sure to place an inhibitor chip on the back of the unknown's neck, doing as she'd noticed with the others. It stuck there, held by contact with the Indian woman’s skin.  After the visitor was chipped, Michelle dragged Sandy into the kitchen, out of sight from the others. The kitchen had a central island of sorts where the dishwasher was located, so Michelle stood on one side, hiding the remote below the divider, while Sandy was stood upright on the other side, her head turned to face straight ahead. Pointing the remote in Sandy's direction, Michelle hit the pause button.

                  "What the..." muttered Sandy, realizing she was in the kitchen. "Did we..."

                  "You spiked the tea, didn't you?" asked Michelle, scowling slightly.

                  "I...," began Sandy, then looking defeated, "Yes.  But…"

                  "Thank you," nodded Michelle in satisfaction, pressing pause once more, freezing Sandy with her head bowed, her hands on the counter. Placing the remote on the counter, Michelle then walked around and proceeded to grope Sandy from behind, squeezing the blond's breasts. "You think you can get away with planning to turn me into your own personal play-thing?" asked Michelle, her voice low and as cold as ice. "Now that the tables are turned, you're going to get it instead." Michelle grinned as she leaned back, standing Sandy back upright with her arms still in front of her, at which point Michelle let go of the blond's chest and moved around in front of her. "Come on, give us a kiss," mocked Michelle, sitting up on the counter and pulling Sandy's head towards hers. The two women locked lips, Michelle kissing the immobilized blond aggressively to take out her frustrations. Sandy, being frozen, was rocked back and forth on her feet as Michelle moved vigorously, the act ending with Sandy falling onto her back with Michelle landing on top.

                  "Don't think this is over," panted Michelle, grinning as she slowly got up and headed out of the room.   Sandy remained on the floor, staring at her kitchen ceiling.

                  Back at the table Michelle, remote in hand, decided to drag the mystery woman over towards the couch before backing up out of reach near the table and finally using the device. With a press of the pause button the Indian woman looked around in surprise before focusing on the grinning Michelle. "What? How did you...?!" stuttered the woman.

                  "Give me your name or I'll turn you into my foot stool," threatened Michelle, raising the remote, amused at how the other woman glared at her.

                  "Go to hell," spat the woman, moving, oddly, towards the table rather than Michelle, but she didn't even make it halfway before she ended up frozen once more. The Indian woman stood in mid-step her arms outstretched towards something on the table while her legs were spread apart.

                  "Timber," retorted Michelle as she walked over and casually pushed the helpless woman over, causing her to clatter onto the ground like a doll. Glancing at the table, Michelle noted that the woman didn't seem to have been reaching for the Type-7 bottle or the chip devices, but rather the strange hourglass, which sat by itself. Curious Michelle picked the object up and even turned it over, causing sand to start filling up what had once been the top. As near as Michelle could tell the hourglass was just that, an hourglass, but given how much the strange woman seemed to want it Michelle assumed it might be valuable.

                  "Wake-up, sleeping beauty," mocked Michelle as she unfroze the fallen woman, causing her to quickly shift around on the ground. Michelle pointed the remote right in the Indian woman's face as she looked up at the device nervously.

                  "You chipped me, huh?" asked the woman, her eyes darting between the remote and the hourglass.

                  "Chipped?" asked Michelle, nodding. "Makes sense as a term, I guess. So, are you going to tell me your name now?"

                  "Ah... fine," sighed the woman, sliding backwards and sitting up. "Chetana Shenkar. Anything else? Who sent me? Why am I here? Something like that?"

                  "I actually don't care about that so much as something else," declared Michelle, shrugging. "Why is it when I threatened you, instead of charging me you went for this little hourglass?"

                  "Give that back!" hissed Chetana, leaping to her feet, but once again Michelle pressed pause to freeze the woman. Chetana stood with her knees bent, her arms out at her sides and her face masked with what seemed to be genuine panic as near as Michelle could tell, though she still didn't know why.

                  "Why does she want you so bad?" muttered Michelle to the frozen tableau, staring at the hourglass intently before reversing it again, so the small amount of sand in the top soon emptied. "Let's ask," suggested Michelle to herself, stepping back and unfreezing Chetana. Chetana, however, didn't move, remaining still as she was.

                  "These batteries dead already?" wondered Michelle, then pointing the remote at Pam and then Sandra, but neither unfroze either. Just as Michelle was about to fiddle with the remote she noticed that the vague apartment sounds, such as the low hum of the refrigerator and the running water from a nearby room, had all gone quiet. Perplexed, Michelle reversed the hourglass again and suddenly those sounds returned.

                  "Wait a minute..." grinned Michelle, looking at the hourglass gleefully like it was a new car. Reversing the glass once again, Michelle noticed the random sounds faded instantly, confirming her suspicions. A glance at the unmoving hands of the clock on a shelf provided further evidence.  "No way!" squealed Michelle, carefully putting the hourglass down before jumping up and down. "This thing stops time! It stops time!" Running around excited, Michelle dipped Chetana and gave her a long kiss by way of a brief thanks, then dropped the woman onto the floor. Smirking, Michelle picked up the hourglass and stood over Chetana again, unfreezing her.

                  "Scratch my last question, I just want to know what this is called," declared Michelle, indicating the hourglass held in lightly in her fingers.

                  "Son of a..." breathed Chetana, then she relented. "The Durga Hourglass. Now can I-" Chetana was cut off as she lay on her back by the hourglass getting flipped, freezing her mid-sentence with her arms reaching up near her head.

                  "It's Christmas come early!" cheered Michelle, reversing the hourglass again but immediately pausing Chetana with the remote. Watching the sands in the hourglass flow while time appeared to be unfrozen, it took Michelle only a few more moments to figure out how it worked, more or less. Between the chips, the Type-7 and the hourglass, Michelle now realized she could easily qualify as a threat on their group's list, but knowing that made her all the happier.

                  "Okay, now I need to figure out what to do," mused Michelle, looking around. "Well, Chetana, you'll need to come with me, because I can't have you staying here. I'm not living too far away so I guess I could carry you, but I should probably stop time first. Still the hourglass will probably need to be closer to full, don’t want it to run out too soon, so I have time to kill..." A plan formulated, Michelle looked around and smiled.

                  "You perfectionist little bitch," spat Michelle, walking over to Pam and pulling her chair back from the table, nearly causing the redhead to fall out of it. "We come here right from practice and you think you can look better than me? You are not hotter than me!" Michelle yelled, pulling Pamela from her chair and laying her down on the ground, flattening her down until it looked like she was about to start a snow angel from her closed position. With gentle hands Michelle carefully unbuttoned Pam's blouse, revealing a tight black sports bra, which was then peeled up. Digging her right hand into her pants Michelle began to quickly and aggressively kiss parts of Pam's body, starting with the breasts before moving up to her face.

                  It took Michelle only a few minutes to orgasm, not being used to the unique way she was stimulating herself. "Oh, you're good Pam, even the girls go wild for you!" mocked Michelle, rubbing Pamela's full breasts and grinning. Satisfied, Michelle then rose and adjusted herself, promptly approaching Sandy back in the kitchen.

                  "I'm still mad at you for spiking the tea, so don't think we're done!" declared Michelle, hoisting the blond up over her right shoulder and carrying her, feet first, through the living room and into the bedroom.

                  "Get cozy," snapped Michelle, putting the daughter of the wealthy senator down on the edge of her bed, adjusting her position so she was sitting. Having climaxed once in her pants, Michelle decided to strip; tossing her clothes to the ground, she opening up Sandy's closet.

                  "My my, you have some sexy outfits," noted Michelle, shuffling through the various blouses and dresses, looking longingly at the many pairs of shoes and boots circling the floor. "You think you can just flash this stuff around because you're better than me? Why don't we see if anything fits?"

                  For nearly twenty minutes Michelle tried on various clothes, humming musical themes from eighties movies as she paraded around in front of Sandy’s empty gaze, trying on all kinds of dresses as well as skirts and tops, not bothering with pants as she already owned plenty. Finally Michelle sported a dark green dress with a black triangle pattern on it, with a great deal of her back revealed meaning a bra couldn't be worn, and looked at herself in the mirror. "I think I'll keep this one as payment for my silence about the whole 'drugged tea' affair," decided Michelle, promptly removing the outfit and about to put her clothes on when she realized that with everyone frozen she didn't need to be modest.

                  Skipping into the living room, Michelle dumped the dress down on the couch next to Chetana's purse and got to work gathering up the last of the Indian woman's belongings, also glancing at the refilling hourglass. It had been over half an hour since Michelle had started allowing it to fill up and it looked to be about a quarter full, maybe a bit more, she also noted how slowly the sand flowed within the glass. "That is freaky," shuddered Michelle for a moment, then put Chetana's bottle of Type-7 into her purse. The clean-up done, Michelle thought hard about what to do next as she wanted to wait a bit longer before using the hourglass to transport Chetana to her own apartment in Building 3. As Michelle stood by, deep in thought, she noticed Sandra's face and began to shake with annoyance.

                  "You think you can just sit there judging me, all because you're a teacher?!" spat Michelle, getting in Sandra's frozen face and promptly lifting her up and onto the table, working her way into the woman's panties. Earlier Michelle had just used Pamela's breasts and very kissable lips for stimulation, but after climaxing not long ago Michelle figured she'd need extra help and thus used one hand to touch Sandra's crotch while using the other on her own nether region. Before long Sandra was laying on the table with the rest of her clothing removed, with Michelle resting her head on the woman's large breasts while attempting mutual gratification.

                  After a few minutes, Michelle was moaning in delight and sad to learn that, as with the rest of Sandra's body, her sexual functions had been frozen. Shrugging off her disappointment, Michelle got up and put on her original clothes, minus her panties, and then dressed both Sandra and Pam again but didn't bother moving them back to their original positions, Pam was now laying on the floor while Sandra had been sat up on the table with her legs hanging over the edge; her arms were in her lap and her hair was a mess.

                  With the hourglass over half-full Michelle decided to get to work, flipping it over and stopping time. After removing the chips from the other Scooby Gang members, Michelle opened the apartment door and began to drag Chetana along, Sandy’s dress slung over her shoulder while the purse hung around the intruder's neck. As Michelle pulled however she stopped when she found some keys in the woman's back pocket. Curious, Michelle extracted them and noticed an unusual label on an attached tag.

* * *

                  Before the sands ran out, Chetana was safely back in Michelle's apartment, currently hidden under her bed with the purse and the stolen dress. After taking care of the intruder, Michelle had returned to Sandy's apartment with time still frozen, and then promptly unfroze it.  She learned that even with the chips gone, Sandra and Pam were still frozen under the influence of the spiked tea. Sandy had mixed emotions, however she agreed to explain that it was just a prank and allowed Michelle to keep the dress. The Korean-American got the impression Sandy still might not be happy with the deal.  For now, the planned meeting was over, at least until Pam and Sandra revived.

Free to her own devices, Michelle had headed to the address on the keys she'd found on Chetana’s person.

                  It was nearly sunset, so Michelle had to turn on the lights in the Balfour Boutique to notice that some of the mannequins decorating the store and placed in the front window were actual people. Two brunettes and a blond all stood still as statues and a quick inspection of their frozen figures revealed they were all wearing chips. "It’s the perfect hiding place..." realized Michelle, studying the blond in particular and playing on the classic clichés like waving a hand in front of her vacant face. "You three don't seem that unusual, you just look like realistic mannequins. If I left you here, people would just assume that you're very life-like dolls."

                  Nodding to herself, Michelle knew she couldn't leave this opportunity as it was. Moving to the back of the shop, Michelle was able to find a copy of the key she'd used to open the front door and pocketed it, then leaving the original set on the desk in the back. Returning to the front, Michelle stopped time with her new hourglass, removed the chips from the captured women and hid them in her purse before resuming time.

                  "Oh!" exclaimed the blond in surprise, looking around. "Oh my, not again..."

                  "Are you three alright?" asked Michelle, faking concern.

                  "Where's that woman?" demanded the short brunette with curly hair, glancing around. "The Indian?"

                  "What am I even doing here?" asked the brunette with straight hair.

                  "I just walked in and found you three standing here like a bunch of dummies," admitted Michelle, leaving out a lot of details. "What Indian?"

                  "Hopefully she's gone," groaned the curly-haired brunette, rolling her neck. "I need my phone. I know some people who can sweep this place, make sure she's gone."

                  "Good idea, having this happen once was bad enough for business," agreed the blond, shaking herself out. "Check the back, that's probably where anything you had on you before is."

                  "Okay, I have a bunch of questions, but I'll save them for after I've called work," mumbled the straight-haired brunette, heading into the back with the other one.

                  "I don't think we've met," declared the tall blond to Michelle after the others had left. "Lexa Balfour, this is my boutique. I... well I don't know how much you helped, but thank you for finding us. If you hadn't come along..."  She glanced at the window where she had been standing, frozen.

                  "I had heard you might be hiring so I was hoping to confirm this," justified Michelle, lying through her teeth but not having fully thought out how to handle the situation.

                  "Well, I did have to let my staff go after last time," admitted Lexa, Michelle having no idea what she was talking about. "I'll tell you what, if you want a job, you've got it; I don't care how part-time it is if it has to be. It's the least I can do for you helping us out."

                  "I... thank you!" exclaimed Michelle, shaking Lexa's hand as all the possibilities of what she could now accomplish danced in her head. Michelle had the Durga Hourglass, and with it the power to stop time, along with several chips that could freeze people indefinitely, and now legitimate access to a fashion boutique where it would be easy to hide frozen people among the mannequins, the possibilities seemed endless. It was a good day for Michelle Gim.

The End (or the beginning?)


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