Amanda barely enjoyed the fresh summer-evening air and walked through the car-free pedestrian street. She stopped before a shop-supplier's window and watched the naked mannequins. Most were realistic, while others looked more abstract or stylized. She looked at them and ran her fingers through her long brown hair and felt the bump on the back of her head. And her eye was still swollen. At least they looked happy all day and never looked a mess like she was now.
She heard a sudden sound and looked back, afraid of seeing Justin behind her. But it was only an alleycat who'd knocked over a discarded can of coke. She breathed a sigh of relief and wanted to lean against the display but fell right through. She landed on her back in the display itself.
Stunned, she looked up and saw the mannequins looking down at her. She crawled to her feet, when she noticed there had never been a window in the first place. She got up and wanted to walk out but the window closed before her, trapping her in the window-display.
"Hey !" She said, trying to crawl under it, but the window closed too quickly.
She tried to lift the glass, but it didn't budge. She bit her lip and looked around her.
"Excuse me ! Is there someone ?" She said looking over the mannequins' shoulders.
She carefully pushed a angular gray female mannequin aside and stepped into the shop. She shivered in her summer dress as the air-conditioning poured cool air into the shop.
"Hello ? I'm trapped." She said, looking through the stacks of now eerie mannequins. She saw the entrance and shook the door, but it was locked and she saw no key or locks. She shook the door again to make sure it was really closed and sighed again.
Amanda walked up to the counter and looked for a phone. She looked in the shelves and around the counter, but there was no phone. She looked around and saw a door. She grabbed the knob and twisted it, and the door opened. She fumbled for a lightswitch and saw in the flickering light of the fluorescent lights a store-room full of mannequins. She felt afraid now, and closed the door again. It was as if all the mannequins were staring at her. She felt despair overtake her and she felt less and less at ease. And on top of it all Justin was probably looking for her. She sat down on a stool and felt the weight of the world on her. Tears ran down her swollen eye and cheek where he had hit her and she wanted to be dead. The crying made her eye throb with pain again and the coolness of the shop only increased her discomfort.
"I want to be dead !" She gasped in tears.
And then, all of a sudden she heard a familiar squealing and she got up and saw Justin's car stopping before the shop. It was the first in the street and he was getting out. She got up and ran into the store-room, keeping the door sufficiently ajar to be able to see him.
Justin got out of the car and saw her bag in the window. Her heart skipped a beat and she saw that the window had opened again, without her knowing it. Justin had seen it too and reached for her bag.
"Honey ?" He said with a bittersweet tone that heralded more punishment for her if he found her. She closed the door and ran through the room to the other end and hid behind a set of mannequins.
"Honey, are you there ?" She heard his voice through the door, real close to it. She looked around and saw a large circular cabin behind her. She slid the door open and climbed in it, leaving it open to see him come in. She wanted to lean back when her elbow hit something. She heard a faint buzzing sound and saw a beam of red light going over the surface of her body. Shaking she went back to the spy-hole, hoping he hadn't heard the sound, but she could see him, only an arm-reach away from the cabin !
And then she fell. The bottom of the cabin descended like an elevator leaving Justin to open a seemingly empty cabin.
It was hard to tell how deep she was, when the pod she was in, stopped and opened. A green arrow lit up on the floor. She popped her head through the door and looked along a steel-clad tunnel, barely large enough for her to fit through standing up. She stepped out of the elevator pod and walked into the tunnel until something closed behind her.
Amanda jumped up, looked back and heard a woman's voice.
"Please remove all clothing." The voice said, repeating itself five seconds later.
"Excuse me ? I was here accidentally, and I would like to..."
"Please remove all clothing." The voice said for a third time.
Amanda did not know what to do. She wanted to walk on, but a metal fence prevented her from moving in either direction.
"Please remove all clothing." The recording kept on saying.
In despair, Amanda removed her flowery dress and removed the white top she had been wearing underneath.
"This includes underwear." The voice said. Amanda tried to cover the bruises on her arms and shook her head.
"This includes underwear." The voice ordered again.
She rubbed an older bruise which had turned a yellowish-green and grabbed her bra and undid it. Then she slipped out of her panties leaving them on the floor. A fence opened and a green arrow lit up.
She covered her breasts and crotch with one arm each and followed the green arrow. She could hear nice, soothing classical music, Grieg's Peer Gynt Morning Song. And she felt relieved to be away from Justin.
"Please stand on the feet patterns and spread your arms." The voice said, just when she turned a corner. She saw a large circular room with the silhouette of a pair of feet in the middle. Behind her a grating closed. She did as was told, hoping it would soon be over. She raised her arms and she saw the red light run over her body again, moving much more slowly this time, passing over her several times, leaving no part unscanned. At least that's what she guessed it might be.
"Is there someone ?" She said.
But there was no answer.
The red light finished passing over her left leg when the voice said : "Lower your arms and look at the screen."
Amanda lowered her painful arms and looked at the computer screen which popped out of the ceiling. Swirling patterns of plasma lit the screen and she felt a sudden prick in her arm. "Hey !" She looked and saw a pneumatic injector retract into the wall.
"Hold on ! Who are you ?" She said, rubbing her arm and looking around her.
"Please sit down and wait for the injection to have its effect." The voice said, sounding somewhat distant.
Amanda looked down and when she moved her eyes, she felt like toppling over and barely managed to reach the chair that rose out of the floor. She got onto it and almost instantly fell asleep.
Amanda woke up again and felt very relaxed. She was safe here. Somehow she knew that.
"Please get up and go to the next gate." The voice said.
She climbed off her bed and walked towards the gate that had just opened. She came on a room with a tub filled with water and what looked like a strange saddle sticking out of the middle.
"Get on the seat." The voice said.
Amanda did not know why, but she was convinced it was for the best and sat on the saddle which closed round her hips, trapping her crotch. The saddle began to descend into the water, which began bubbling. She sunk in it up to her neck and felt the caress of the bubbles soothing her. She also felt movement inside the saddle and felt the tubes enter her and project water inside her. She giggled with the sensation and seemed to enjoy it. The caress both inside and outside her body made her slip away into dreamy bliss. She rubbed her breasts and tickled herself on the tube inside her pussy. Meanwhile the water retired and left her to sit in the saddle, enjoying this moment of pleasure. Her eyes became heavy and she began to drift away, without crying or fear.
Amanda suddenly woke up and was still sitting on the saddle. She heard the voice which had woken her again.
"Please proceed to the next gate."
Amanda felt the saddle release her and she slipped for it only to realize something very peculiar. She hesitantly put her hand between her legs and rubbed the smooth surface. She was as smooth and featureless as a mannequin. She bent over to look and saw the hairless, featureless crotch where her pussy had been. She pulled the muscles and 'Twang' it was still there, only covered up with some kind of rubber-like material. Seemingly liking the idea, she smiled and put her hands behind her head and took a few paces and then walked towards the next gate.
The next room had a large machine with a saddle and what looked like a mold of sorts. She could see the imprint of a face. She guessed the nature of it before the voice ordered her to sit against it. She pressed her face into the mold and felt it close around her. She heard a buzzing sound and something tickle her head, as well as her eyebrows. The buzzing massaged her head and skull, soothing her still swollen eye. Reluctantly, she stepped out of the machine when it opened again. She felt the cool air run over her closely cropped skull and reached with her hand to touch it. Her hair had been dry and brittle because of her abusive use of bleaching and coloring. All this in the vain hope of pleasing Justin.
When the last gate opened she saw a woman standing before her, waiting.
"Welcome Amanda." She said smiling gently.
Amanda recognized the voice and smiled.
"I'm Rachel. I'm the co-ordinator for the center."
"Center ?" Amanda asked.
"This center is dedicated to helping women in need like you. Here, put this on, before we continue."
Rachel held out a large ivory-white bathrobe. Amanda slipped into it and felt cosy in it.
She saw Rachel smile at her and take her by the shoulder guiding her to a television set.
"You'll like this." Rachel said, pressing buttons on a remote control.
"We arranged a bag for Justin. In it, there's a gun and money and his fingerprints all over them. As you can see he was quickly arrested by the police."
"But why ?"
"He won't bother you for a very long time, Amanda. And when he gets out of prison, he won't even recognize you."
"I was wondering, why did you ..." She pointed down.
"Oh, a precautionary measure, for your comfort and safety."
"But what about bathroom emergencies ?"
Rachel smiled and kneeled before. She wanted to pull the robe open, but looked up at her. "May I ?"
"Sure." Amanda nodded.
"You pull here and here, and then voila."
Amanda smiled and gasped as if a firecracker of pleasure had just gone off in her pussy.
Rachel held the rubber cover in her hands and showed it to Amanda.
"We'll get you a new one soon." She said discarding it in a flesh-pink bin.
"Are you ready to meet the others ?" Rachel asked.
Amanda nodded and turned towards the door.
The door opened and she saw she was inside a large underground facility. Women looked up at her and smiled and waved at her. A nice-looking young man with a short beard and glasses walked up to her. "Welcome to Refuge." He said, holding out what looked like a silver credit-card.
"This is your keycard."
"For what ?" Amanda asked.
"For your room. It's over there, behind the green door, number sixteen." He nodded and walked away.
"That's Dennis, he's the First Assistant."
"Let me introduce you to some of the girls." Rachel said, again grabbing Amanda by the shoulder.
She took her to a duo who were playing with a large plush toy.
"These are Linda, Kaitlin and Maria." Amanda smiled at two girls, who nodded and greeted her, but didn't see the third one. Suddenly the plush toy came to life and turned towards Amanda who almost jumped in the air. The tabby cat reached for it's head and removed it showing a young woman with fiery green eyes and very short white blond spiky hair smiling at her. She crossed her legs and showed off her costume. "I'm Maria." She said, looking a bit smug, while rubbing her fur-clad leg.
Rachel showed her more girls who were doing all sorts of things. A few were training in a fully equipped fitness center, while others were practicing yoga and relaxation techniques. Others were just talking with each other or frolicking around with each other.
"Most of these girls arrive to us in a very sorry state. Many are prostitutes and drug addicts who discover they won't die in the gutter after all."
"But why the covers and the hair ?" Or lack of it, Amanda thought.
"Well, our organization started a few years ago. Robert Clayborne, our boss, worked for a department store that no longer exists. He stumbled upon a woman that was trying to hide in the shop and asked her what was going on. Turned out, she and her sister were about to be killed by mobsters for having witnessed a drug deal. Clayborne was quick to come up with a solution and disguised her as a mannequin. The mobsters passed within inches of her, without discovering her. He merely locked them up in a store-room and had them arrested for burglary. He then went out to get the sister, but found nothing else but to dress her up as a huge teddy-bear and smuggled her out, under the nose of the other mobsters. Some time later they gave up and abandoned the idea of killing the girls."
Amanda listened at her story and imagined herself as a mannequin, with Justin passing her. She would hit him in the head with a large frying pan and take him out in one go...
"And then, he decided to set up Refuge, with the money they had recovered from the mobsters."
Rachel said. Amanda had not listened to the whole story, and felt a bit sorry for it.
"Now, we have helped you get rid of that creep, you can stay as long as you want."
"What's the catch ?"
"It's not a catch, you work for us as a visual merchandiser or a service provider."
"What does that mean ?"
"Either we put you on display in a window or as a animatronics doll in an amusement park or distribute balloons, dressed as a cartoon character, we deliver services for hundreds of venues and shops."
"I get to stand in a shop, or something ?"
"Yes, certainly, have you never seen a mannequin that looked really life-like and wondered what made it so special ?"
"Let me show you something."
Rachel took her to what looked like a chaotic workshop and showed her a mannequin standing in the middle of the room. "Here's one." She said pointing at it. It was standing casually with one arm across its belly and supporting the other arm, which in turn supported the chin with a fist.
"She's beautiful." Amanda said. Looking at the gorgeous regal face with deep blue eyes and long auburn hair.
"Thank you." The mannequin suddenly said, turning its head to Amanda, whose eyes popped wide open in amazement.
She looked at a laughing Rachel.
"But she's ..."
"Alive ?" The mannequin asked, putting its hand on Amanda's shoulder. "Don't be afraid, I'm only wearing a mask."
Amanda looked at the mannequin with her mouth open and hesitantly reached for her face. The mannequin grabbed her hand and put it against her plastic face. Amanda rubbed it and shook her head faintly.
"She's real ?"
"It's all body-make up." Rachel said. "Took us a few years to work out a proper method."
"They plunge you in this bath of flesh tone goo and voila." The mannequin said, showing off her latex body.
"Say, Frank can you show Amanda here what Cathy really looks like under that mask ?" Rachel asked the man who had just walked in.
"Sure." He took a pair of small medical scissors and cut into the skin at the back of her neck after having removed the wig. Amanda watched in fascination as he removed the mask from her head. Cathy rubbed the rest of the latex that was still glued to her face and smiled. "Is it okay now ?"
Amanda nodded and smiled back.
Cathy held up the mask and pressed it against Amanda's face. She saw that the eyes were transparent, like tiny windows.
"Of course, our choice is not limited to mannequins. Maria wore a fursuit, for use in a Themepark attraction." Rachel said, holding the door open for Amanda who handed the mask over to Cathy.
"We have a lot of choice, like these for instance, meant for a Futuristic Attraction." Rachel said, showing off the chrome robots standing in individual niches. Amanda pressed herself against the window and watched the robot in front of her.
Rachel was walking on and suddenly noticed Amanda wasn't following her, turned around and smiled when she saw her, pressing herself against the window, like a kid before a candy-store.
"Why, I think we found your particular perversion, no ?"
Amanda blushed and rolled her eyes thinking about what to say next.
"Justin had this book, with drawn pin ups and robots..." She waited for Rachel's response.
"And you fancied the robots ?"
"Not that I'm lesbian or something, but there was something about them..." Amanda threw up her defense.
Rachel smiled and patted Amanda on the shoulder. "There is nothing to be ashamed about. Everybody has his kind of vice, and yours happens to be robots, that's all."
"No, its only ..." Amanda wanted to make herself clear but did not know how to say it.
"Listen, Amanda, We're not forcing you. If you want you can leave right now." Rachel said.
Amanda shook her head. "I don't want to go, yet..."
"Fine, I'll take you to your room and I'll get you a brochure. It'll explain all you need to know, is that okay ?"
Amanda lay on her bed. The room was still bare, but she felt somehow at home. She was alone with herself and her thoughts.
Then she heard a faint knocking on the door.
"Who is it ?"
"Maria." Said a voice behind the door.
The door opened and Maria walked in, dressed in a black lycra bodysuit. "Hi, welcome to the Refuge."
"You were the one with the fursuit ?"
She nodded and leaned against the desk, showing off her muscular body.
"Are you enjoying this place ?" She asked.
Maria drew in some air before speaking. "I've been here almost two years now. I needed a break."
"From what ?"
Maria snorted and smiled. "My life used to be a real mess." She said.
" I ran away from home, because my dad wanted to send me to military school."
Amanda looked slightly puzzled.
Maria sighed and shook her head. "He caught me wearing one of my mother's aerobic outfits. He was a colonel in the army and I guess it must've been a shock to see his son wearing a pink leotard."
Amanda's eyes opened wide.
"Yep, I used to be a boy." Maria said. "I ran off, and discovered the world of the transsexuals."
Maria crossed her arms. "They gave me hormone pills to make me more feminine and I had to sell my body, to pay for them. I added some coke to the mix and ended up with a very large debt to some very dangerous people."
Amanda's eyes drifted off towards Maria's loins. But she quickly looked up again.
Maria was staring blankly at the wall behind Amanda. "They tried to kill me and I fled to this mannequin store. The window was open. Can you imagine ? There I was, this kid with tiny breasts and his first beardgrowth, hiding behind some mannequins."
Amanda felt sorry for her and tried to smile.
"Before I knew what had happened I was in the Refuge. I was really afraid to tell them what I wanted, but they saw it immediately, my clothes, and the breasts. They were good give-aways. They sent me to a clinic and gave me a first rate custom-job." She grabbed her ankle and leaned with her chin on her knee.
"You look very convincing." Amanda said, regretting instantly having said it.
"Thanks, I am kinda proud of myself. I had to work hard for it." Maria said. "I just wanted to tell you that everybody here has a story. And the refuge is the place for people like us. We're given a second chance. You can go to school, learn something useful, like reading or something. A few of the girls here couldn't even write their own names and now they are studying to become lawyers and reporters."
Amanda felt a bit embarrassed. After all Justin wasn't that bad, not as bad as having to live like Maria had.
She looked up at her and smiled again. "Thanks, Maria."
Maria smiled and rubbed her hair back. "I'll catch you later, we're neighbors, actually."
Richard, the make-up man called a woman with long braided hair, when Amanda walked in. "Hi, I'm here for the body-cast ..."
"Hi, I'm Marla. You've met Richard ?"
"Yes, I did." Amanda said, nodding while shaking Marla's hand.
"Welcome to the Refuge. We do some of the make-up around here." Marla said, showing the dozens of heads and masks filling the shelves. We also work for the Dream Agency, who specialize in wish-fulfillment."
"Cool !" Amanda said.
Marla brushed Amanda's stubbly head and grinned. "Fine, we'll first cover this stubble."
Amanda closed her eyes when Marla rubbed the paste against her face. She was covered from head to toe in this cold goo. Marla avoided blocking off her nose and said. "This is it, we'll leave it to dry for a few minutes now."
Amanda returned to her room and saw that Maria's door was slightly ajar. She heard loud rock-music coming out the room. She pushed the door open and saw Maria, lying naked on her bed. The bed stood with the foot end away from the door and Maria had to bend her head all the way backwards and upside-down to look at Amanda. "Hi."
"Hi." Amanda said, looking at the posters and pictures on the wall. "I've had a body-cast done."
"Great, what have you chosen ?"
"Are you going to be a mannequin ?"
Maria rolled over to avoid straining her neck too much. "Let me guess ... a plushie ?"
"Uh-uh." Amanda shook her head and nodded at the brownish poster besides Maria, who looked at it and smiled. "A robot-girl ?"
Amanda gave her a slightly embarrassed smile and nodded.
"Cool !" Maria said and got up, pointing her thumb at the poster. "Have you ever seen it ?"
"The movie, Metropolis."
"No, what is it about ?"
Maria grinned. "People would say it's about a lot of things, but it's about one thing, really ..."
"Ro-bot Wo-men." Maria lipped the words in an exaggerate fashion and held out the tape.
Amanda went for it and Maria got up and drew the tape back. Amanda reached out to grab it only to be pecked on the cheek by Maria. Amanda jumped back and reached for her red-flushed cheek.
"Hey !" She said.
"Sorry !" Maria paled and looked very embarrassed. "I didn't mean to." Maria fell on her bed and looked sad and embarrassed.
Amanda let go of her cheek and smiled faintly. "It's okay."
"No, I'm sorry." She said, looking down.
"You wanted to ... Kiss me ?"
Maria got restless and shuffled her feet. "I'm sorry."
Amanda looked at her. She had a faint masculinity about her which was somehow appealing. But she looked, talked and behaved like a real woman. Amanda then felt bad about thinking of Maria in terms of real or false woman.
"It's okay." Amanda sat besides her and put her arm around her.
Maria snorted and grinned. "I never got the hang of liking men. All the time I felt like a woman, but I never liked men."
Amanda put her hand on Maria's lap.
"It's okay. I feel real stupid being here because my husband hit me once in a while and you've had all these problems..."
Maria looked up, a tear running down her cheek. "Thanks."
"It's okay." Amanda grabbed her and let her cry against her shoulder.
A soft gong-sound indicated the end of the mime-class. Amanda blew in relief and shuffled over to one of the make-up tables and began removing the white paint from her face. She hurried, because she was being expected by Richard and Marla for the first fitting.
Although Richard and Marla had been fiddling with her for the better part of two hours. Amanda still felt jumpy with happiness as she was being dressed. She kept on looking at her golden body and watched her metal hands. Finally, Marla prepared the helmet. She put it over Amanda's head and closed it snugly round her head.
"Wow !" Amanda said, her voice having acquired a metallic-electronic buzz.
She got up and watched herself in the mirror. The suit looked amazing, almost transforming her body. She looked like she had longer legs than she used to have, and her body looked firm and trim, without the blemishes of human flesh. Her face was proud and regal. Her eyes covered with a golden visor, which opened to reveal two silver eyes. She had long golden hair that cascaded over her straight shoulders. She put her hands over her trim waist and watched herself in the mirror.
"I look great." She said with a robotic echo in her voice.
"Not, really. I mean, you're naked, no ?" Richard said.
Amanda looked at him and looked puzzled inside the mask.
"You need this." Marla said, holding up a golden evening dress.
"Wow !" Amanda said, rubbing the fabric with golden fingers.
Once she had put the dress on, Amanda was still surprised at the ease with which she could move in the suit. She bent over and touched her toes. The waist articulating to let her bend. She turned around to thank Richard and Marla when she looked into a mirror. But after a second, she knew the mirrors were behind her. She waited for a second, staring at her golden twin.
Then the other robot came to life and walked over to her. She put her hands on her breasts and looked at her. Amanda could see herself reflected in the other female robot and then reflected in herself. She marveled at the way the light played over their golden skins and felt the other robot press her lips against hers. The lips on the mask, were as shiny as the rest of the suit, but were as soft as rubber. The same was true with most sensitive areas of her body, like the tip of her breasts and the smooth expanse of flesh between her legs. She grabbed the other robot and rubbed her body against hers. The tips of their soft breasts touched each other and she felt that the articulated part of her back let her soft caress through. Her sister pushed Amanda against the make-up chair and they kissed passionately. Then she felt something at her crotch and noticed they had interlocked. The crotch of the suit had been carefully glued to her cover and she felt it nudge and move, caressing her. She gasped when this happened and revelled in the moment, tossing her head back and letting the robot kiss her in the soft part between her breasts.
Amanda crawled to her feet and managed to remove her mask. Sweat poured from her face and she felt deliciously tired. Her sister also got up and sat cross-legged opposite her. Her mask opened and Maria shook her short hair about, scattering droplets of sweat over the room. One fell on Amanda's lip and she licked it.
Maria smiled. "Hi."
Amanda smiled back and shook her head. "I had a hunch it would be you."
Maria stretched her body and smiled in delight.
"I used to have this fantasy, about me being one of those robots. I knew he wouldn't hit me then, because it would hurt him more than me." Amanda said, playing with her mask, opening and closing the visor.
"You like your suit ?" Maria said,
"Yeah, it feels great. But they were meant for more than decorative purposes, huh ?"
Maria nodded and scratched her lip. "We offer so-called sexual services too."
Amanda got up and stretched her body too, but she felt stiff and painful.
"There is no intercourse. We use variants on the covers which have a hole, so a guy can do his part."
Amanda looked at Maria and watched her.
"Not all the girls are with sexual services. Only a handful, if you prefer playing a mannequin or just help with the accounts that's fine with them. Not every girl here gets play kinky dress-up games, take Rachel for instance..."
"Was she ... ?"
"She used to be very rich and her husband tried to kill her. He set her on fire, but she survived. They saved her, sent her to a plastic surgeon to repair the worst and she helped the Refuge get hold of her money and donated it to them."
"Why do I feel that my problems are insignificant next to others ?"
Maria looked up and shook her head.
"Don't worry." She said getting up. "You're already thinking Justin wasn't so bad. Was he really ?"
"A few days ago I wanted to be dead." Amanda said thoughtfully. "Or numb like a mannequin, not to feel pain anymore." There were still some yellow traces round her eye.
"He did break my arm once." She said. "I kept telling everyone I had fallen. And I could see it in their eyes, they knew, but wouldn't dare say it, let alone help me." Amanda said placing her golden hands on her face. A tear rolled down her cheek.
She felt Maria grab her from behind and put her chin on her shoulder and blew in her ear.
Amanda chuckled and cried at the same time. Gently swaying along with Maria.
It was her first day. Amanda sat down on the saddle in the bathroom and felt it preen her crotch, removing the hairs and inserting the latex cover into her pussy. She felt like a balloon being blown up inside her and giggled. She waited for a few minutes and relaxed. The interior of her vagina was completely covered in smooth, warm latex rubber. She got up from the saddle and looked at her smooth plastic dolly-hole as most of the girls called it. She kept her hair short, for ease when wearing masks. A few girls even kept their heads shaven, but it was more a question of taste than practicality, since rubber caps could achieve the same effect.
She grabbed her robe and went over to Richard who was prepping up her suit. Maria's was also ready, placed on a chair..
"Where's Marla ?" She asked, looking around.
"She went to help a customer of the Dream Agency." Richard said, taking the suit apart and inviting her to sit down.
Amanda always kept her eyes closed during dressing up. That way, she would be taken by surprise when she would open them when she was fully dressed. After a few final adjustments Richard wiped the sweat from his forehead and shouted. "Voila !"
Amanda slowly opened her eyes and looked at the golden robot in front of her. She turned a mental switch and briskly cocked her head towards Richard. "Thank.you." The robot said. She got up and took a few stiff steps forward, swaying gently whenever she moved, like an automaton. She would announce movements by faintly cocking her head or limb in the other direction before releasing herself.
"How do you feel ?" Richard said.
"I.am.completely.operational.and.all.my.circuits.are.funcitioning.perfectly." She said in a monotone voice.
"Hasn't.unit.Alpha.been.activated.yet ?" She said looking at her golden twin.
Alpha got up with one fluid motion. "Of.course.Omega." Alpha answered.
Both got and walked away. Richard watched them go and said out loud. "Marla, one of those days I'll get you in one of those suits."
Alpha looked at Omega. "Are.you.ready ?"
Omega nodded mechanically.
Alpha walked down the steps and walked up to a heap of rubble of what once looked like a futuristic chamber. She looked back at Omega who was going to a large metal beam that had fallen from the ceiling and limply collapsed onto the heap, remaining motionless. Omega slipped underneath the beam and pushed a hidden button. The construction came down on her, pinning her down. Amanda gasped at the pressure on her chest.
Both lay there for a few minutes until there was a sound from the door. A man in a heavy dark-blue armoured space-suit was forcing the doors open. He held a large laser gun in his hand and scanned the room. He saw Alpha sprawled over the heap of ruins and ran over to her.
"Are you allright ?" He said, turning the robot over. He popped his helmet. "It's me, Flash Rogers." He said. Suddenly Alpha became stiff and cocked her head towards Flash.
"Where's the queen ?" He asked.
"I destroyed the Zorgon fleet. But Tharkan managed to escape. His ship is coming over to destroy us once and for all."
"Where.is.Omega ?" The robot suddenly asked, slowly getting up.
Flash scanned the room, but apparently missed her. He ran over to the dais to get a better look and saw the other robot pinned under a heavy metal beam.
"There she is !" He said, rushing over to her and grabbing the beam. He pushed with all his might, but it barely budged.
Alpha looked at her robotic twin and put her hand on his shoulder.
"Let.me.try." She said, grabbing the heavy beam. She pushed another secret button and the beam lifted itself automatically.
Flash rushed over to Omega and slipped her from under the beam. Alpha let go and the beam came crashing down in a metallic clanging.
"She.will.be.okay." She said as Omega began to move.
Suddenly the ground began to shake and Flash suddenly shouted. "It's Tharkan !"
Alpha supported Omega and both looked at the door. There was a loud bang and the door blew open. Several gleaming red robots charged into the room, pointing their laser rifles at Flash and the robot girls.
Then Tharkan walked in. Over two and a half meters tall, his red and black armour glistened. His skull-shaped helmet burned with two yellow eyes.
"We meet again Flash Rogers." Tharkan's voice boomed. "This is where I take over."
"You're defeated, Tharkan, I blew up your fleet."
Tharkan chuckled. "My war-robots can always be replaced. But for now I'm the ruler of this planet. Kill them." He ordered his robots.
Flash grabbed his pistol and shot two robots before they opened fire on him. Alpha and Omega also fired lasers hidden in the palms of their hands. Before long, most robots lay on the ground fuming and sparking.
Tharkan howled and slammed his fist in the wall, which shattered. "Come and fight me !" The said, popping massive claws from his forearms. Flash raised his laser and fired at Tharkan, but the laser had no effect on him.
"Grab.the.sword.of.Justice." Alpha said.
Flash ran over to the throne and reached for the large two handed sword besides it. Tharkan quickly crossed the distance between them. Even though, he was standing on the dais, Tharkan still towered over Flash, who barely could avoid his first blow with the sword. Flash counterattacked, but Tharkan parried the blows with his claws. They traded a few blows, but Tharkan seemed tireless and Flash felt weakening.
"Aim for the head !" Omega said.
Tharkan lowered his guard and Flash hit the robot in his neck. There was a shower of sparks and the head detached from his body. Tharkan shuddered and convulsed and crashed down. Sparks and smoke erupting from his body.
"You saved Galatea." Alpha said, bowing along with Omega to Flash.
Flash narrowed his eyebrows and listened to the robots again.
"Nothing will prevent our world from joining the Galactic Alliance now." Omega said.
"But you don't sound like robots anymore ?" Flash said.
Alpha looked Omega and then back to Flash. "You remember when the queen told you the last heirs disappeared during the Zorgon's first attack ?"
"She did not tell the whole truth." Alpha said and reached for her head and popped it open. Omega did the same and Flash could see their sharp faces underneath. Both were beautiful blue-skinned Galateans, with full black eyes and a slightly bulging head, from which cascaded a long mane of light-blue hair. The line of crystals that covered their foreheads and skulls glittered in the light.
"We had to remain hidden, or Raellon the Traitor would have killed us."
"I am Selena." Alpha said. "And this is my younger sister, Lyea." They both bowed to Flash.
"But your kingdom is in ruins." Flash said, "millions are dead."
"Indeed, but we preserved millions of clones in large subterranean caverns. The damage will be repaired soon." Selena said.
"The Alliance will send help, I assure you."
"Thank you, Flash Rogers." Selena raised her lips and closed her mysterious black eyes.
Flash kissed her and kissed Lyea. He grabbed his helmet and walked towards the door. He waved them goodbye and walked back to his ship.
A few minutes later Amanda collapsed on the beam. She looked at Maria, who was busy removing the lenses from her eyes.
"Oh, I want to rub my eyes so much." She said. "Liked it ?"
"It was pretty cool." She heard a scraping and Tharkan and his men were getting up. One of them removed his helmet and shook her hair. "Well done guys." She gave Amanda and Maria a thumbs up. Another soldier removed his helmet and it was Frank, one of the make-up guys. They all left through the door.
Amanda looked at the decapitated Tharkan, desperately trying to get back on his feet, but couldn't. The chest popped open and Marla's long braided hair appeared.
"Can somebody help me get out of here ?" She said. Frank ran over to her, along with Amanda and Maria. They helped her out of the suit.
"It's those damned stilts." She said, crawling back to her feet.
"I didn't know you played along ?" Amanda said.
"Shhh. Keep it a secret. Richard has been dying to get me in one of these suits." And she knocked on Amanda's hard chest.
"Why not ?" Maria asked.
"I'm a bit claustrophobic." Marla replied, shaking her head and pulling her hair out of her face. "I only did this to help out Dianne, who felt a bit sick today.
Amanda felt bliss under the soothing spray of the shower. She stretched her body and held her face under the stream of water. She closed the tap and wrapped a towel around herself.
"You know, short hair is much easier to manage than long hair." She said to Maria, who was stretching herself on the floor. "I used to wear it long because Justin liked long hair." They had knocked out the wall between their rooms and pushed the beds together.
Amanda leaned on the doorframe and watched Maria. She had broad shoulders and looked muscular, but still managed to look very feminine, like an athlete.
"You know, I used to believe transsexuals looked like the ones you get to see on Oprah. You know big guys with hair on their arms and breasts."
Maria looked up and shook her head. "There are hundreds of people like me who look very good and have no problems, you wouldn't even notice it close-by."
"Like you ?"
Maria rolled back and spread her legs.
Amanda looked at her and thought about how she liked her. They were more like very close sisters rather than lovers.
Maria sat with legs straight and tried to touch her knees with her forehead. She moaned under the strain and suddenly cried out and jumped up in the air, with one foot stretched. She tried to force it down, but the cramp had frozen her muscles into a painful spasm she couldn't get out. Amanda looked painfully at Maria who finally managed to put her foot down and stretched, loosing the cramp.
She collapsed onto the bed and her face was a painful grimace.
Amanda rushed over to her and began to rub her leg. Maria gasped in relief and let Amanda's hands rub soothing relief in her leg.
Maria slipped the other leg onto Amanda's shoulder. Amanda, slowly rubbed further down the leg, away from the painful calf and rubbed over her thigh. Maria opened her legs and Amanda slowly reached for the three buttons closing her teddy between her legs. Maria didn't wear a cover and she saw her pussy for the first time. It looked so normal, Amanda thought and blew over it. Maria giggled and tossed her head over the bed. Amanda slowly rubbed the edges with her indexes and circled the round shapes. She stopped over the clitoris and rubbed it slowly in circles. Maria laughed and rubbed her arms over the bed. Then Amanda pecked it several times. She licked it quickly and blew in it again. Maria felt the coolness of the air tickling her pussy and laughed again.
Maria rolled over and closed her eyes reveling in the sensation between her legs. Amanda climbed into bed alongside her and put an arm over her. Maria returned the gesture and both went to sleep.
Amanda woke up and rolled over to the other side as her arm was aching slightly. Maria lay on her back faintly snoring away. Amanda watched her and wondered what she used to look like as a boy. Rolling to her back, Amanda watched the ceiling. She knew Justin had gotten eight years in prison and he wouldn't be out for at least three years, this gave her time to make some money, get a new identity and move to another state. He'd never track her down. Then she wondered about Maria. She liked her very much, but would she spend her life with her ? Here in the refuge female bonding was common, but outside it was still considered odd. Given that Maria was technically male, in a sense it wasn't a problem. Maria understood her better than any man could, that was the bonus, but she had always grown up in the belief of finding a good husband and have children. That was the problem, no children. She could adopt some, she thought, but she wanted children of her own. Perhaps a sperm donor...
"What are you thinking about ?" Maria suddenly asked.
"About ... Justin, you and what is to come."
"You're wondering about us, no ?"
"How do you mean ?" Amanda tried to lie.
"Sooner or later you'll leave, you're not a stayer."
"Perhaps I will stay."
"No, I don't think so. You'll be out before you realize what happened." Maria said with a self-assured smile. "But not yet." And Maria gently kissed her forehead.
And she left a year later... With James, whom she had met while working on a commercial. One bag contained a robot-suit and inside her a child was growing. Maria hugged her and punched James in the arm, warning him about any bad treatment of Amanda, then they shook hands. And they left the Refuge for the last time.