Violet's body throbbed as she blinked her eyes. Everything was spinning and the world was just a blur. She tried to center herself and wake up but she couldn't even remember what she was doing, everything was a blank.
As the room came into focus, Violet realized she was in a large office. She was sitting in front of a large oak desk. The window on the far wall let Violet see that she was at least twenty floors up and it was decently early in the day.
Violet tried to move, but she felt something holding her in the chair. She looked down and realized that she was tied to the chair. A wave of panic washed over Violet as her heart started to pound in her chest. Her brain kicked into high gear as memories rushed back into her mind, kicking their way through the fog.
She had been infiltrating the offices of infamous Luna Micheals. To everyone else, she was the head of a prominent investment and technology firm, but Violet and her organization knew differently. Luna was a criminal with her finger in every evil thing in the city. Violet had spent years attempting to bring her to justice, but she’d never been successful.
Violet started to struggle, trying to break out of the rope. As she did, she realized that she wasn't in her old outfit. She had arrived in a tight black stealth suit and an armored vest, but now she was in a glittery red cocktail dress, complete with dark black stockings and shiny black high-heels.
"What happened?" groaned Violet as she continued to struggle against the ropes. She remembered sneaking into the building but after that, everything was a blank.
"You're awake!" chuckled a familiar voice from behind Violet. Violet bit down on her lip and tried to calm herself. She couldn't show fear. She had been trained to resist torture and interrogation and, most of all, she didn't want to give Luna the pleasure.
"I'm so glad you could come," cooed Luna as she walked in front of Violet. Luna was clad in a fancy tuxedo and was carrying two martini glasses in her hand. "It wouldn't be the same without you.”
Violet didn't respond and continued to struggle, trying to find a way to slip free of the ropes. Luna just giggled softly as she watched.
"Don't try and escape," sighed Luna. "You've been asleep for quite a while. I made sure that those bonds are impossible to escape from, and I've confiscated all of your toys."
"Just kill me and get this over with," grunted Violet as she glared a hole into Luna. But Luna just started to laugh, her eyes filling with joy as her voice echoed around the room.
"Kill you?" remarked Luna. "If I want someone dead, I find someone who is down on their luck and pay them $500. Then have that person wait by the target's car and beat them with a crowbar."
"You're scum," growled Violet, only for Luna to talk over her.
"But we're not that," Luna said with a smile. "Me and you, what we do is play. I make situations for you to escape from, for you to show your creativity. I love seeing how your mind works," she explained as she rubbed Violet's cheek possessively. "Me and you, we're like a dog chasing its tail. The dog has no idea what it is going to do when it catches it. But, that isn't the point. The chase is fun."
"What is this about?" Violet demanded as she tried to pull away from Luna's hand. Part of her wanted to try and bite the other woman's fingers, but she realized that wouldn't help her in the long run.
Luna smiled and walked behind Violet. "I'm having a," she started as the sound of ice being dropped into a glass echoed around the room, "A coming-out party, you could say. And well, how could I not invite you. We've been at each other's greatest moments."
"I don't want to party with you," snipped Violet as she continued to try and twist her way out of the ropes that were pinning her to the chair. Luna made her way back to the desk, the two glasses now loaded up with drinks.
"Now now," chided Luna as she held a glass towards Violet's lips. "There is no need to lie. We don't have to hide from each other anymore."
"If you think I'm drinking that," Violet started, only for Luna to once again interrupt her.
"If I wanted to poison you I would have done it while you were out cold. Or, I would have hired someone to put something in your coffee order a year ago." Luna looked down at her, one eyebrow raised. "It is a martini."
"Why would I trust you?" Violet protested, "You're evil. I know everything about you!"
"I know you do," replied Luna. "I, too, know everything about you," she added as she took a sip out of both of the martini glasses before opening her mouth to show that she had swallowed it. "See?"
"What is this about?" asked Violet. She wanted to stay angry, to look like a threat, but her confusion was making that hard. She was utterly lost. She hadn't been trained for this.
"I told you." answered Luna, "A party. Mostly for me, but also for us."
"There is no us," Violet responded without thinking.
"Really?" giggled Luna, "You don't feel it?"
"I only feel contempt for you."
"Liar," Luna laughed. "I know you're not being truthful with me."
"Don't presume you know anything about me," spat Violet as she looked around in confusion. This situation had shifted from terrifying to awkward. Violet no longer feared for her life, but she feared for her sanity. She wondered if this was some drug-induced delusion, if she was currently laid on some floor somewhere foaming at the mouth.
"I know what happens to those who stand in your government's way for too long. Sure, they send agents after you for a bit. But if you keep being a problem, well, your brakes fail. Your house has a strange electrical fire. You fall off a cliff. They don't..." Luna purred as she once again rubbed Violet's cheek. "...Keep sending the same agent."
"What are you implying?" Violet growled.
"I think someone has been requesting missions involving me," chuckled Luna. "I think someone has a crush."
"You're sick. You're not going to get away with this! You can't hold me forever!" shouted Violet as she looked at the room, trying to formulate an escape plan.
"I don't need to," smirked Luna. "But I'm getting ahead of myself."
Violet grunted. "What do you mean?"
"What is a party without entertainment?" Luna as she grabbed the chair and rotated it, forcing Violet to face a wall. Luna pressed a button on her desk and the wall split open, revealing a massive wall of screens. Each showed different calculations and stock tickers.
"What are you planning?!" demanded Violet as she started to thrash, desperate to break out of her bonds.
"Well," smiled Luna as she pulled out her phone and started to tap on it. "It starts with a little earthquake, and Bird and Snake. My airplanes! Remember when you tried to blow those up?" Violet asked as three of the screens changed. One showed a strange machine and a series of calculations, and the other two showed small airstrips with planes slowly taking off.
Violet recognized the planes. They were the two planes owned by Luna, and Violet had blown them up, or at least presumed she had. They had been parked at a desert mansion that Violet had broken into in the hope of stealing some hard drives. The explosion wasn't part of her mission, but the fireworks had made for a good distraction.
"Don't be afraid, we're safe," cooed Luna as she continued to fiddle on her phone. "Then, I pick the eye of a hurricane and make the world churn," she giggled to herself as the camera feed from the planes showed them heading towards a city as the machine started to shake.
"What is going on?" demanded Violet.
"Then, my government-for-hire hit their combat site," continued a giggling Luna as more of the screens changed. Each one seemed to show some odd technology or a location. From planes to fleets of drones, it seemed like Luna had a small army at her disposal.
"Tell me, now!" Violet screamed, but Luna continued to sing to herself as she pressed buttons, revealing more screens of things. Based on the coordinates, it seemed like these feeds were from all over the world.
Suddenly, a pink gas started to pour out of the planes and drones. It was heavy and thick and quickly started to fall towards the floor. A wave of horror washed over her as she watched the screens.
"What is this? Don't try and trick me!" shouted Violet as Luna looked up from her phone. "Trick you?"
"Showing me old CGI footage or something!" Violet thrashed as she continued to struggle.
"Look at that low plane!" giggled Luna as she grabbed Violet's head and turned it towards the window. Just as she did, a plane swooped down from the sky, pink gas pouring out of it.
"What is that stuff?" gasped Violet as she squirmed against Luna's grip. "What are you doing!?" She wrestled free of Luna's grip and tried to chomp on the woman's fingers.
"Naughty," Luna playfully chided as she pulled away. "There will be time for that later," she said with a smirk as she pressed on her phone. One of the screens suddenly duplicated across all of them, turning the wall into a gigantic TV.
"Tell me what that stuff is!" screamed Violet.
"Well," started Luna, "You certainly are vitriolic today. But, if you ask nicely, I'll tell you."
"I'm not playing your game! Tell me! Tell me now!" screeched Violet, her voice breaking due to the sheer volume of her screaming. She thrashed wildly, her desire to break free had become a primal urge fueled more by rage than by need. "Tell me!"
"Maybe," chuckled Luna as she sat on Violet's lap and nuzzled up to her. Violet wanted to shove her off, but she couldn't. Her tied arms, and Luna's weight, meant that Violet was helpless. Luna gently nibbled on Violet's ear as the screens continued to shift and move.
"Tell me, please," whimpered Violet as her body trembled.
"It's the end of the world as we know it," whispered Luna.
"What do you mean?" replied Violet, only to let out a scream as Luna bit down on her ear harder.
"It's the end of the world as we know it," replied Luna, her hot breath dancing in Violet's ear, "And I feel fine."
"What," stuttered Violet. "What do you mean?" She could only squirm in the chair.
Luna giggled. "That gas? Boosts suggestibility massively, opening people up to phase two."
"You'll be stopped! Someone will shoot your drones down!" cried Violet, trying to get Luna off of her.
"Doesn't matter," Luna shrugged a shoulder as she ran her hand down Violet's chest. One of the screens flicked back to the strange machine, showing it appearing out of the ground, pouring out the gas as it did. "I've planned for that."
"No! No! No!" screamed Violet. "This can't be happening!"
"The Rapture and the Reverent is what I call it," purred Luna. "Stage one takes thoughts and the second focuses them on a greater purpose," she continued as she grabbed Violet and pulled her in for a kiss.
"Greater purpose," groaned Violet, her voice muffled by Luna's lips.
"Yes," grinned Luna as she pulled back and climbed off of Violet. "You'll see. It is, just so very glorious."
"I don't want to see it!" shouted Violet, her heart pounding in her chest. Her head was spinning. She was truly panicking. She knew she shouldn't, but she couldn't make sense of it.
If this footage was real, it was mind-blowing. How had Luna been able to do all of this under the radar without anyone realizing it? But if it was fake, it was a very good fake. And why would Luna go to all this trouble to show her fake videos?
The video feeds changed again, showing footage from various security cameras around the world. Violet watched as people tried to run from the massive clouds of the pink gas that were quickly filling the air. But, no one was quick enough. Drones were filling the sky and strange machines were appearing on every street corner.
Eventually, everyone found themselves in a cloud of gas. For a few moments, they looked panicked and scared. However, they didn't collapse. They just froze in place, the expression draining from their face as they stood blankly in the fog, swaying gently.
"What is it doing to them?" demanded Violet, her struggling slowing to a stop as she looked on in terrified awe.
"I told you," smiled Luna. "It boosts suggestibility. It’s to the point that their minds are totally incapable of thought. They're in a pleasant, foggy haze. A trance state."
"You're sick," muttered Violet before something dawned on her. She gasped. "You used it on me!"
"No," giggled Luna. "Why would I do that?"
"Because you're scum!" screamed Violet, her eyes glued to the screen.
"People are no fun after stage one. And it would be a crime to damage a piece of art as fine as you."
"I'm not art! I'm not yours!" Violet trembled. Her body was confused, her heart was pounding, but her bottom lip was wobbling. She wasn't sure if she should laugh, cry, or just be horrified. She had been trained for so much, but she had not been trained to witness this.
"Is it upsetting for you?" whispered Luna as she pressed her phone and turned the screens off. "I don't want to upset you. It's okay. You don't need to know. You can just enjoy it. I will dirty my hands to allow you to keep yours clean," she cooed softly, sounding more like a mother praising her child than a megalomaniac.
"No," sighed Violet. It was horrifying, but she needed to see it. She needed to know everything so she could tell her department when she was rescued. They would come to get her. They wouldn't leave an agent in enemy hands. "I want to see."
"Say please," teased Luna.
"Please," groaned Violet. She did what she must. The screens flickered and came back. The top half of the wall was now filled with a map showing pink spreading out from major cities. It was already taking up so much space, at least half the map was deep pink. Violet's body shuddered. She hadn't realized how far this stretched.
"So pretty," sighed Luna as she gently rubbed Violet's shoulders. "It’s so wonderful." Several more feeds appeared on the screens. All showed the same thing. Crowds of people were reduced to a stupor by the clouds of gas. Some people were even inside buildings, suggesting that Luna had made sure nowhere was safe.
"You're a monster," gagged Violet as her attempt to hold back the tears failed. She could feel the moisture rolling down her cheeks as her trembling lip became more obvious.
"I'm a fixer," Luna corrected with the tone of a teacher as she leaned down and blew in Violet's ear. "I'm a monster as I make people face the truth. I listen to their heart bleed and then fix it. But fixing a heart isn't something that can be done with kisses and nice words. It requires action."
"This isn't right!" sobbed Violet.
"When have we ever cared about being right?" giggled Luna. "I know what they made you do. Our ledgers are full of blood. But that won't matter after today!"
"You are deluded. You're going to jail," protested Violet as she tried to stop her crying. "I'm nothing like you. Nothing about us is the same."
"Oh, sweetie. We're both monsters. I, at least, take credit for it. But I understand." Luna pulled back and sat on her desk, picking up her martini and taking another sip.
"I'm not a monster." grunted Violet as she struggled ineffectually. "I'm good."
"You are. You're very good. You've just been hurt. Led astray by those who won your trust," Luna went on. "But don't worry. I won't guide you. I'll free you."
"You're the one holding me hostage!" exclaimed Violet. "Why do you keep talking in riddles! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!" Her voice got louder as her brain fell into a fog of confusion.
"Oh, sweetie. Take a deep breath," cooed Luna. "You don't want to miss the next bit."
"I'm not involved in this!" screamed Violet as her voice cracked again. "Stop it!"
"But, sweetie," began Luna as the monitors let out a soft beep.
"What was that?" asked Violet.
"We've hit capacity!" Luna grinned as she clapped her hands together. "The entire surface has had a nice big dose of the Rapture, and that means it is time for the Reverent!"
"What is that?" mumbled Violet as Luna fiddled with her phone.
"Well, I think it is TV time, especially for those foreign broadcast towers. Don't you agree?"
"I'll never agree with you," spat Violet as she started to fall into panic again. The image of people surrounded by the gas haunted her mind as she tried to work out what this next step could be.
The screens changed once more, showing more live camera feeds. The streets were full of people standing motionless. They were all slumped forward, their mouths hanging open as they stared into nothingness. It was eerie. It was like the world had suddenly stopped. Like time had frozen.
"Now, are you ready to slash and burn the old world?" chuckled Luna as she held out her phone. On the screen was a large red button with the words "Reverent Activate" printed upon it in a blocky white font.
"What?" Violet blinked with confusion.
"Let's do it together," offered Luna as she used her free hand to rub Violet's hair. "Let's end the world together."
"I," started Violet before stopping herself and forcing a smile. If Luna wanted her to press a button, she would need to untie one of her hands, and with one hand free Violet could escape. "Yes. Let's do it."
Luna grinned as she leaned in and kissed Violet on the cheek. "I'm glad you can see the world from my perspective." Violet then gently started to untie one of Violet's arms. Violet tried to focus, keen to notice the first moment she could lash out with her arm.
The second the pressure on her wrist vanished, Violet lunged to scratch at Luna. However, Luna quickly grabbed onto her wrist and twisted it around.
Violet yelled out in pain as her wrist twisted. She tried to get free but without the rest of her body, she was at a massive disadvantage. "Listen to yourself churn," smiled Luna. "They've locked you in a uniform and now you're acting on its programming like a robot."
"I'm not," grunted Violet as she tried to wrestle herself free of Luna's grip.
"It’s okay. Together, we will embrace the new world. A new you. A new us." Luna, seemingly unphased by Violet's pain and aggression, altered her grip and slowly twisted Violet's arm towards the phone.
"No! No!" screeched Violet as she struggled. "I won't! I won't!"
"We will, together," grinned Luna as she gently lowered Violet's finger towards the phone. Violet struggled, but it was useless. She couldn't use half of her body due to the bonds and her struggling and crying had tired her out.
Tears poured down Violet's cheek as her finger made contact with the screen and the phone let out a soft beep. "I'm so sorry," she whined, praying that somehow the people could hear her. That they could hear her and know that she couldn't abide by this.
"Now comes the fun," Luna smirked as she pulled the phone away and pressed it herself. The screens changed again. Violet's arm fell limply to her side. She felt defeated. Broken. She could only watch on in silence, wondering what this second phase could be.
The camera feeds switched back to the security camera footage as sound started to come from speakers around the room. It was a strange tone that seemed to wobble and waiver. It sounded a bit like a synthesizer being dropped down a flight of stairs.
"Isn't it great?" sighed Luna as she sat back down onto Violet's lap and gently rubbed the girl's cheek. "Don't worry, I've taken out the active ingredient so we can just enjoy the show."
"What?" whimpered Violet as she watched the screen. The people started to stumble towards buildings. At first Violet was confused, but she soon worked out what was going on. They were moving towards TVs and speakers, almost like the sound was drawing them.
"Beautiful, so beautiful," Luna admired the scene as she groped Violet.
"What is it doing to them?" inquired Violet as she watched people crowd around the screens and speakers, their bodies gently swaying as they continued to blankly stare.
"Well, stage one removes all thought, so much thought that it will latch onto anything that resembles a thought. Stage two is this: a signal that mimics brainwaves. And well, the brain is so desperate that it will latch onto anything and follow it without questioning it!"
"You're horrible," growled Violet under her breath as she watched the screen with terrified awe. The people seemed to be chanting something, but Violet couldn't make it out. All she could see was their glazed and mindless expressions as puddles of drool formed on the floors and sidewalks.
"Their minds are being rewritten," giggled Luna as she gently massaged Violet's shoulder. "They're learning the truth."
"What truth?!" shouted Violet as she tried to make sense of it all.
"That I'm in charge," replied Luna firmly as she kissed Violet's cheek. "In the new world, I'm the one who leads. I'm the one who shapes."
"But," whimpered Violet as she watched the screens. People were forming massive crowds, pressing their blank faces against windows and walls as they tried to get closer to the sound. The noise was strange but it was constantly changing, almost like it was a constant stream of data. The various TVs and screens captured on the security cameras were showing images of Luna and her company logo. And, every few seconds, people were blankly nodding as if they were agreeing to something. Violet wanted to reach through the screen. She wanted to shake them! She wanted to tell them to run!
But she was helpless.
"But what?" asked Luna curiously as she rose from Violet's lap and made herself another martini. "You can speak freely around me."
"Why? Why are you doing this to everyone?"
"They can't be trusted," replied Luna as she dropped ice into her glass. "They have fallen into a pit and refuse to step outside it. So, I'm forcing the issue. Bloodletting is good for the soul."
"But." mumbled Violet, "No. You can't do this."
"I am doing it," insisted Luna frankly. "We've both seen the horrors people can unleash. We have both competed in the tournament of lies that is the world. Both of us have seen the shadows and rejoiced in their darkness. But I'm unleashing a new dawn."
"By controlling people?" argued Violet, her emotions swinging back and forth like a pendulum.
"By helping them learn a better way," corrected Luna.
"This isn't a better way! This isn't how you fix the world or exact vengeance on it! This isn't how you do anything! There are better ways to solve this problem!" begged Violet as she looked at Luna, the tears forming in her eyes again.
Luna walked out of the window and looked down on the street, no doubt seeing a crowd of people absorbing her frequency. "This is what everyone does," she said firmly. "They offer me solutions, they offer me alternatives, and I decline. Their solutions are merely the status quo repainted. I will not accept that."
"But," started Violet, only to be cut off as one of the screens changed. "My name is Luna and I am your new god," said Luna's voice from the screen. Violet realized that this is what the people on the street were watching and hearing. "You will obey me. You will do as I command. You are what I say you are. Your nature is what I tell you it is. There is nothing but what I tell you. You are slaves. But, you are loved. You find joy and bliss in your enslavement. You are feeling so good about being enslaved. You take joy in being the property of MoonCrest Corp. You know that MoonCrest is your master. Repeat."
"MoonCrest is my master," came an echo from the street below. Violet shuddered. She could see on the cameras that people all over the world were chanting the phrase. The voices from the street were so empty, they sounded more like robots than people. They were empty. Soulless.
As the chanting continued to echo, Luna started to giggle. "So beautiful." She smiled as she grabbed a small bowl and walked over to Violet. "Jelly bean?" she asked gently.
"I feel too sick to eat," grunted Violet as the chanting echoed through her mind.
"But they're birthday cake flavor, your favorite." Luna picked one up out of the bowl and forced it between Violet's lips. "You liked them so much that I bought the company."
"How do you," started Violet as the sugar hit her tongue.
"I know everything about you. Every detail. I know more about you than your own mother," giggled Violet, "Because we were meant to be together."
"No," cried Violet. She could feel everything crumbling. Her stability, her sanity. It was all falling like dominos, she felt so helpless. So unable to do anything. She could feel numbness enveloping her, wrapping around her like a blanket of heavy static.
"Soon my love. Everything will be over," reassured Luna as she kissed Violet firmly on the lips, her tongue probing the other girl's mouth. When she pulled back, Luna giggled.
"MoonCrest is my master," continued the people down below. Violet's eyes glazed over as she looked over the screens. Everywhere was the same. There wasn't a single dissenter. Everyone was under the spell of the screen. Everyone was chanting as the video of Luna ran on a loop. Every single screen in the world was taken over by it.
Luna ran her hands over Violet's body and gazed deeply into the girl's eyes. "You need to decide what you want, my love," she purred softly.
"What I want?" whispered Violet.
"Do you want to be a princess atop a tower? A society girl? In my new world, you can be anything you want. I will give you anything. Anything your heart desires,” explained Luna as she used her nail to draw a small spiral over Violet's heart.
"I," shuddered Violet. However, before she could get another word out, Luna leaned in and purred into the girl's ear again.
"If you want to continue being a spy, you can do that. I'll make governments for you to topple. Regimes for you to undermine. I'll construct beautiful bases for you to infiltrate and blow up. If you want it, just ask. Your wish is my command."
Violet felt a jolt in her brain as her morals kicked through the haze that had filled her. "No!" She screamed as she used her untied hand to push Luna away. "I won't! I won't! I'm not your toy!"
"Then, what are you going to do?" asked Luna. "Do you just plan to wander the wastes?"
"My department will save me!" growled Violet. "There are going to be agents all over this building! They'll get me free!"
"No," sighed Luna. "No, they won't." She pressed a button on her phone. The screens quickly changed to show security footage from a building Violet recognized. It was her department, specifically the command center.
It was full of agents, but they were all blankly staring forward, their voices chanting "MoonCrest is my master," in unison. Every screen in the room showed Luna's brainwashing message and the pink gas hung in the room.
"No. No. No. No! No!" shrieked Violet, bursting into tears as her shell shattered. All of the panic and emotions she had tried to hold back crashed over her in one giant wave. "No! No!" she screeched as she spotted several friends watching the video, their faces blank and empty.
"It's okay," cooed Luna as she rubbed Violet's hair. "It's over now. They can't hurt you anymore."
"I," cried Luna as the footage jumped from camera to camera, showing her that the whole base was gone. Every single agent was frozen and chanting that phrase. Their weapons and equipment dropped on the floor without care as their minds had shut down. In the corner of some shots, she could make out the drones that she had seen taking off. It was clear that Luna knew all about this from the start. She had planned everything. There had never been a chance of rescue.
"Shhh, it's okay," purred Violet as she pulled Luna into her chest. "All okay. You're safe now. We're together now."
"Together," mumbled Violet as tears ran down her cheek. She couldn't think. The shock had rendered her completely numb. She couldn't think of anything but of how alone she was. It was just her and Luna. They were the only two free people left.
"Think about what you want, and I'll make it come true." Luna kissed Violet's cheek. "I think you need some time alone to think," she added softly as she walked over to her desk and picked up her glass before walking to the door. "I'll be back soon darling." She walked out of the office and closed the door behind her.
"Need some time." mumbled Violet. The echo of the chant still bounced around the room as the monitors continued to show footage of her old workplace. All of them watching the video, all of them blank and sedated. Violet couldn't feel anything. She was just numb. She felt lost. She felt alone. It made no sense. She had lost. She couldn't lose, but she had. She had lost everything.
Violet sat in silence for a few moments, her eyes glazing over as she stared at the screens. A wave of faint loneliness washed over her, growing gradually more powerful as time passed. It grew and grew until it became a gnawing void in Violet's stomach. She couldn't be alone. She couldn't be the only thinking person. But there was only one person she could be with.
The thought swam through Violet's numb mind. It seemed so right and so wrong at the same time. But Violet couldn't be alone. She had failed to stop the end of the world and now was left with only one choice. "Luna?" she whispered softly as she started to tremble.
"Yes, sweetie?" giggled Luna as she reentered the room.
"I don't feel fine."
"Don't worry sweetie," purred Luna as she wrapped her arms around Violet. "I'm going to make it all better."