As she cautiously approached the seemingly abandoned factory, Ampere easily spotted the network of sensors that surrounded the villain’s lair. Although they were almost invisible to the human eye, each device radiated energy, which shone brightly in the heroine’s goggles. By carefully exercising her powers of cybermancy, she was able to subvert each device, effectively blinding them. But, she worked delicately enough that their controller wouldn’t be aware that anything was out of the ordinary.
In the past, Ampere would simply have destroyed the sensors, but of course this would have merely alerted the villains to her presence. She had been caught and held captive by The Confectioner, on two separate occasions. Both times her capture had been a direct result of her lack of foresight. Barely escaping a ‘fate worse than death’ had been a powerful motivation for the young woman to learn subtlety.
After that, it did not take long for her to find Geist’s car. Silently she chided the inexperienced heroine for leaving it in plain sight. She was desperately worried for her young friend, and that worry spilled into anger. Where had she gone? Could she have been so foolish as to follow the unknown villainess inside, without waiting for backup?
Ampere paused, something about the car wasn’t right. Firstly, she could see that it had been left unlocked, and that was not like Geist at all. Secondly, when she looked inside the car, her goggle showed some kind of haze filling the small vehicle. Ampere had never seen anything like it before, there was definitely some form of electrical activity, but it was unfamiliar to her.
Having researched diligently, she knew that the structure of Geist’s car formed a Faraday Cage. She had been trapped inside such a cage in the past, and was well aware that her electrical powers would not be able to reach through it. Silently, the heroine hoped that the same rules held true for the thing which lurked inside.
What on earth had happened to Geist? The heroine briefly weighed up her options. She could leave the car, hoping that it didn’t contain any clues as to where Geist had gone. Or she could look inside; braving whatever was in there. Steeling herself, Ampere reached out, pulling gently on the door handle.
At that moment, The Gadgeteer was checking the internal security systems. She was happy to see her two ‘colleagues’ occupied. The Adherer lay bound and drugged, while The Anaesthetist ‘welcomed’ their uninvited guest into her new accommodation. Once she was sure that neither would be bothering her in the near future, she began to unpack her new ‘pet’ security guard.
The villainess had not been supposed to bring two captives back from her kidnapping. But the tall blonde woman had been too exciting a catch to pass up on. She knew that her boss would be upset that she had deviated from the plan and, a quick glance at The Adherer, glassy eyed and now drooling, was a clear reminder of what happened to people who upset the villain.
Moving quickly, she removed Stephanie’s sleep mask. Then, gently prising the sleeping girl’s jaw open, she forced a small red rubber ball behind her teeth. Moments later she had buckled the leather strap behind her neck, securing the gag in place. Next she used a small blade first to sever the plastic strip, which held Stephanie hogtied, and then to cut apart her drab white bra and knickers. This left the security guard naked, gagged and bound.
Stephanie began to stir, and The Gadgeteer marvelled at the girl’s resilience. Still, it was far too early for her captive to regain her senses, but, just to be on the safe side, the villainess rapidly entered a command into her own remote control. Stephanie’s struggles instantly ceased, her collar having instilled a potent cocktail of muscle relaxants, aphrodisiacs and sedatives into her bloodstream.
With some difficulty, The Gadgeteer managed to carry and drag her captive over to a small chest in the corner of the lab. It opened silently, revealing a cushioned interior. The villainess heaved Stephanie’s unresisting body into the small prison, knowing that the collar would keep her helpless until she had more time to play with her properly.
As the chest automatically closed, sealing Stephanie inside, The Gadgeteer swept the laboratory clear of the discarded underwear, removing all evidence that the security guard had ever been there. The villainess breathed a sigh of relief, but she couldn’t get rid of the feeling that if she was not very careful, The Anaesthetist would deal with her much as he had dealt with The Adherer.
The Anaesthetist was at that moment casting his expert gaze over Geist’s unconscious form. With practiced movements he quickly stripped the fallen heroine of what little remained of her clothing. He did not recognise the young woman, but that hardly concerned him. She was obviously some sort of superheroine, and quite attractive too despite her frumpy attire.
It would have been all too easy for the villain to lock yet another of The Gadgeteer’s ‘captive collars’ around Geist’s pretty throat. But, his twisted sense of ‘honour’ meant that he would give the slumbering woman one final chance to regain her freedom. After all, he mused to himself, it wasn’t as if she would be able to stay away from his schemes for long. Of course, despite this so-called ‘honour’ there was no reason why the supervillain should play fair with his pretty prisoner.
Smiling to himself, imagining another heroine’s fall, The Anaesthetist gently placed a small sleepmask over Geist’s face. He carefully adjusted the straps behind her head, and smoothed the mask into place. Then, once he was satisfied it was secure, he activated the small cylinder and let a small trickle of the powerful sedative fill his captive’s lungs.
Sure now that she would be unable to wake from her slumber, the villain bent to Geist’s ankles. He carefully scooped up the long strands of sticky webbing, being careful not to get stuck himself. In moments he had secured the young woman in a stringent hogtie. The webbing coiled up her legs, binding them together, and then securing her wrists together just above her shapely buttocks.
He patted the helpless heroine on the backside and silently promised to return later and show her some of the other ‘toys’ in his arsenal. Then, laughing quietly to himself, the villain left her, oblivious to what was occurring, and with no idea of the peril that she faced.
Elsewhere, Ampere jerked the car door open. For an instant nothing happened. The young heroine scanned the interior of Geist’s car, looking for something that might explain the strange patterns she had seen before. Then, without warning, something lashed out towards her with inhuman speed.
The heroine panicked, back-pedalling, as she fired an unaimed bolt of electricity. Her attack struck one of two thin tendrils, instantly vaporising it. But, the second continued unimpeded, and wrapped itself firmly around Ampere’s right wrist. Gasping, the superheroine struggled to break loose, shocked by the strength of slender tentacle.
She almost didn’t notice the second attack, but luck was with the plucky heroine. Tugging hard, in an attempt to free herself from the tightening snare, Ampere’s head snapped back, just as another four tendrils launched themselves towards her. In that split second, she made her decision.
It was obvious that even with both arms free, she wasn’t enough of a markswoman to hit all four tentacles. But, perhaps she could destroy the source of the attack with a single well-placed shot. In an instant, thought became action, and focussing her energy, she hurled a brilliant bolt through the open car door.
The lightning struck, just as the tendrils were about to loop around the young woman. Two aimed for her ankles, one for her waist and the final tentacle headed unerringly towards her slender neck. Each snare disintegrated as blue-white fire filled the interior of the car.
In that moment of clarity, Ampere had used her goggles to locate the area of maximum activity within the car. Assuming that this would be some form of control point, she reasoned that destroying it would deal with the tentacles. It had been a gamble, but one which she seemed to have pulled off.
Putting more distance between herself and Geist’s vehicle, Ampere brushed the remnants of the tendril from her wrist. She was startled to see that the material of her glove had been eaten away. The heroine wasn’t sure exactly what had happened, but such an evil trap, concealed within her friend’s car, could only be bad news.
She knew that she could not risk triggering any other traps that might still lie concealed inside the vehicle. There was nothing else for her to do now. Ampere steeled herself, and after another quick scan of the surrounding area, she began to walk towards the ramp, which not too long before Geist had also descended.