Anastasia stared at the posters for a bit longer before ducking into a coffee shop, hoping to avoid the meeting for as long as possible.
As she sipped on her coffee she rehearsed the conversation in her head, trying to think of the best way to approach the situation. Once the coffee was gone Anastasia stood up and took a deep breath, it was time to go confront the arcade manager. That or quit her job, but the latter option, while appealing, wouldn’t be good for her long-term finances.
As Anastasia walked into the arcade she looked around for a few moments. “Theatrical isn’t the half of it,” she mumbled to herself, recalling her conversation with Kim.
“Passes for Blissoplis are twenty dollars per head,” said a voice, shaking Anastasia from her thoughts.
“Oh, I’m not here to visit, unfortunately,” replied Anastasia, turning until she saw a masked figure looking out through a hole in the wall. She produced a card and held it up to the glass. “I’m Anastasia Phillips, I’m from city hall, I don’t suppose I could have a chat with the manager, could I? Gralla, I believe her name is?”
“I shall contact her.” Nodded the figure, the wall closing back up as they spoke. Anastasia adjusted her suit jacket and took a deep breath.
“Well that didn’t go so badly,” she mumbled to herself, looking around a little more. After a few minutes, the main door opened and Gralla stepped out.
“Ms. Phillips?” Asked Gralla, her voice slightly lower than usual.
“Yes,” nodded Anastasia, handing her card to Gralla as she did. “I was wondering if I could have a small talk with you if possible?”
“Of course, please come to my office,” nodded Gralla, waving Anastasia into the arcade. Anastasia was slightly taken aback by the size of the room and the number of machines this place had, it was quite unlike anything she had ever seen before.
However, at this time of the morning, the arcade was empty aside from the guards that stood on every corner. Anastasia idly wondered why such a place would need so many guards during such a dead time.
“Very interesting place you have,” smiled Anastasia, doing her best to break the silence and endear herself a little to Gralla, hoping it would make the following conversation easier.
“Thank you,” nodded Gralla, wandering up some stairs and into her office. “Can I get you anything, tea? Coffee?”
“No, I had some on the way. Thank you,” smiled Anastasia, watching as Gralla sat at her desk.
“So, what was it you wanted to talk about?” Asked Gralla, leaning forward and resting her chin on her hand.
“Well,” coughed Anastasia, taking a breath and preparing herself. “Have you had any posters put up recently?”
“No?” Replied Gralla, seeming slightly confused by the question. “We do all our marketing online, why do you ask?”
“Well, the whole street is covered in posters that advertise your establishment. You can’t see most of the street furniture due to the sheer amount of them,” explained Anastasia.
“Really now?” Gasped Gralla, sitting up in her chair. “I don’t recall signing off on anything like that, though let me check our receipts, just in case someone went rogue.” She said as she spun on her chair and started to tap at her keyboard.
“Something about fighting an alien menace?” Added Anastasia. “People are finding them stuck to their stores and residencies and they are not happy about it.”
“Alien menace?” Replied Gralla shaking her head. “No, we don’t run with that as a slogan, thematically we are the alien menace.” She said before looking up at Anastasia. “I have no record of anything like that getting created. I’m not exactly sure what to say?”
“I’m sorry,” nodded Anastasia. “But obviously, they have your name on them so I presumed it would be best to come talk to you about it.”
“I don’t question your logic, but I wonder who would be putting up posters for me without my permission,” replied Gralla, tapping her chin. “I mean, it seems like an awfully passive-aggressive way of getting my attention. How much will they cost to remove?”
“Oh,” blinked Anastasia. “Well if found guilty we would be fining you at least five hundred dollars per site. And well, that would be a few thousand dollars, just due to the sheer amount of posters.”
“So, ten thousand dollars?” Nodded Gralla. “Who should I make it out to?”
“Well you would make it out to city hall,” started Anastasia, only to suddenly stop mid-sentence. “But you said you didn’t do it?”
“I know I didn’t do it. But I have an image to maintain and thus I would like to pay and aid in the removal of the posters.” Said Gralla firmly. “I can’t have people seeing me as a common criminal.”
“Well,” stuttered Anastasia, not sure what to say. “I would have to ask back at City Hall, I can’t just take money off you, bylaws and stuff,” she said, tripping over her words.
“Right right,” nodded Gralla. “Well, I would like you to inquire about me making a payment to someone to make up for this horrible slight on my image. You can do that for me, can’t you?”
“Of course, yes, of course.” Nodded Anastasia.
“Would the bylaws allow some of my staff to help out with the removal?” Added Gralla. “Then we can let your people get on with more pressing business, I know the city is busy at this time of year, seems silly to waste all of your people on something so trivial.”
“I’m sure that wouldn’t be frowned upon,” smiled Anastasia.
“Wonderful, I’ll go grab some of them,” nodded Gralla, standing up from her desk. “Feel free to come with me, I can give you a tour.”
“Oh, you don’t need to,” replied Anastasia, slightly taken aback by how warm this woman was.
“I insist!” Exclaimed Gralla. “You came in with a bad image of my venue, I wish to try and show you what we do here.” She said, her smile not wavering for a second.
“Sure, okay.” Responded Anastasia, doing her best to hide her awkwardness behind a faked smile.
Gralla walked out of the office with Anastasia not far behind. As they wandered around Anastasia had time to admire the building. While Gralla’s offer of money had seemed amazing earlier, Anastasia was starting to realize that she must be pretty well off, it couldn’t be cheap to power a place like this, let alone buy all of the machines.
A loud bang echoed through the room, causing Anastasia to jump. “There they are!” Grinned Gralla as she made a quick turn and started to head down to a lower layer of the arcade.
Anastasia quickly moved to follow her, instantly spotting the source of the noise. A group of people was moving a very large machine around on an equally large trolly. As Anastasia moved closer she realized that all of the people were in masks, just like the person who had tried to charge her as she entered. Did all the staff really do everything in this strange uniform?
“Wonderful isn’t it?” Chuckled Gralla, gently slapping the large machine.
“It is very big,” nodded Anastasia. “I’m sorry, I’m not really one for video games, so I can’t really think of much to say.”
“Don’t worry about it,” replied Gralla, waving her hand. “This game is only really popular in Japan, anyway.” Anastasia nodded her head, trying to look interested.
“That is fascinating,” she replied, doing her best to avoid sounding sarcastic.
“Alright, so someone has put up posters with our name on it, I need them taken down, don’t worry about the Frantic Panic machine, I’ll get it set up.” Started Gralla, turning to face the guards. Her tone was a strange cross between manager and dominatrix.
“Yes Gralla,” said the guards in unison. Anastasia shuddered a little bit. Acting or not, something about them responding like that made her feel uneasy. As the guards walked off Gralla grabbed the handles of the trolly.
“Do you mind making sure I have a clear path to the far wall?” Asked Gralla, her eyes and smile becoming more obviously artificial.
“Of course,” nodded Anastasia in response, unable to think of a polite way to get out of this situation. She slowly backed up through the machines, her eyes darting left and right as she made sure there was nothing to obstruct the movement of the trolly.
Once Gralla reached the wall she started to undo the straps that held the machine down. Anastasia watched as Gralla moved the machine off the trolly and pushed it up against the wall. After a few minutes of work, Anastasia decided to break the silence.
“I should be heading back to the office now,” she said, forcing a smile onto her lips.
“Stay for a game!” Grinned Gralla as she plugged the machine in, the screen lighting up as she did.
“I really shouldn’t, I do have a lot to do today,” stumbled Anastasia, shaking her head gently.
“I insist!” Replied Gralla, her voice growing more forceful, almost as if she was demanding Anastasia remain in her arcade.
“I really. I mean I have paperwork to do,” appended Anastasia, shaking her head more intensely.
“You should wait until my people get back,” said Gralla, moving closer to Anastasia. “Once I see one of the posters I might be able to help you work out who posted them. And it would be so silly to drag you back out here, they will only be twenty minutes.”
“I guess,” sighed Anastasia, rubbing her arm. Gralla did have a point, it would be a waste of time going back to her office with nothing, especially if seeing one of the posters would shake Gralla’s memory.
“Great,” grinned Gralla, going back to the machine to fiddle with it. “You should help me test this, I need to calibrate it.”
“Calibrate? Since when did a game require calibration?” Asked Anastasia, her annoyance at being talked into staying leaking into her voice.
If Anastasia was honest, she didn’t really get what this machine was about. In front of the large screen was a raised platform with a chrome pole coming out of the middle and the whole thing was decorated with pictures of anime school girls laughing and dancing.
“Motion control,” said Gralla gently, walking up and wiggling the pole a little bit. “The Panic series is based around microgames, so little games that last a few seconds. They made a series called Handle Panic, based around having and moving this handle in time with the games, this new one adds motion controls, so it actually scans your body so you have to move in the right way as well, but you need to make sure the cameras are calibrated for the light levels.”
“Oh,” mumbled Anastasia, feeling slightly humiliated by being proven wrong. “So I just move my body?” She added, realizing she wouldn’t be able to leave without playing it.
“Exactly, the game will tell you what to do, and you just copy it!” Grinned Gralla, pointing to the platform. “Climb on and I’ll start it!”
Anastasia climbed up onto the platform and gripped the pole, hoping that she wasn’t about to ruin her credibility.
“Frantic Panic!!” Screamed the machine. “Are you ready to go? Put your hands in the air!” It continued as a cartoon girl threw her hands into the air on screen.
“Do what it says,” nodded Gralla. Anastasia sighed and lifted her hands up, only for the screen to stay the same.
“Did I do it right?” Asked Anastasia, looking over to Gralla, holding her silly pose as she did.
“I need to adjust the camera contrast,” smiled Gralla, fiddling with a few buttons on the back of the machine, causing it emit various beeps and boops. “Try now”.
Anastasia threw her hands up once more. The animated girl on the screen started to cheer and jump up and down. “Let’s get frantic!” Shouted the game as the screen flashed a myriad of different colors.
“Attention!” Shouted the machine in a different voice. “Copy Crisis!” It screamed as text and pictures appeared on the screen to explain the game. Anastasia quickly skimmed it and realized she just had to copy the animated girl on the screen, something that didn’t sound that hard.
The girl threw her hands in the air, as fast techno music started to play. Anastasia did the same, causing a massive green tickmark to appear on the screen.
Anastasia smiled as she watched the animated girl repeat the action again before doing it herself and getting another big green tick mark. The girl them started to do more movements, waving her hands left and right, before putting them to her sides.
Anastasia copied the movements, the pounding beat helping her stay in time with the girl. Each successful move flashed another green tickmark onto the screen. Anastasia hated to admit it, but this she was having quite a bit of fun.
“Attention!” Shouted the machine again. “Zombie Funk!” It added, with more words appearing on the screen to explain the game.
However, the screen changed before Anastasia could finish reading. The animated girl turned into a zombie and put her arms out in front of herself.
Anastasia quickly copied the pose, getting another tickmark from the game. Suddenly the screen shifted to a cartoon city with animated people running towards the screen. Anastasia quickly picked up on what she had to do and quickly started to lean left and right, doing her best to prevent the people getting past her.
Each time Anastasia successfully prevented a person from getting past her the screen flashed with a green tick mark and she was treated to the sight of the poor civilian becoming a zombie.
“That’s what you get for arguing in town halls,” she giggled to herself as she turned a blonde woman into a zombie, only to gasp and blush slightly. She had gotten so into the game she had totally forgotten that Gralla was still there and that she had to try and keep a veneer of professionalism when around her.
Anastasia moved her head to look at Gralla, only to realize she was too focused on her phone to have heard the little outburst. Anastasia relaxed for a moment, only for a loud record scratch to draw her back to the game. A massive red cross was on the screen with the word “Miss,” stamped on it.
Anastasia gaped but quickly got back into the rhythm, moving left and right, creating zombies as she did. After a few more minutes of play, the machine shouted again. “Attention! Pong Pong Overdrive!”
The animated girl appeared back on the screen, waving a chrome pole around as text quickly flashed up to explain the game. Anastasia got the point the game was making and quickly grabbed onto the chrome pole and prepared herself.
The scene switched to a view of a building as a trampoline blinked in from the bottom of the screen. Suddenly pianos started to fall from the top of the building. Anastasia started to jerk the pole left and right, moving her trampoline to bounce the pianos back up to the roof of the building.
Anastasia laughed as she bounced the pianos, this game was a lot more fun that she had been expecting. In fact, she was so focused on the game, that she had totally forgotten that she had come here to find information about Gralla.
“Attention! Laundry Chaos!” Shouted the game once more as the text popped up on the screen. After a few seconds, a washing machine appeared on the screen, covering the text in soap suds.
Anastasia started to rotate the pole, causing the laundry machine to spin. “Don’t dye my dresses!” Shouted another voice as a load of white virtual laundry was thrown into the machine. Suddenly two pink socks were thrown in and a hatch at the side of the drum dropped open. Anastasia realized exactly what she had to do, and started to spin the pole faster before stopping it.
The sudden stop caused the two pink socks to fly out of the machine and into a nearby trash can, the game putting a massive green tick mark on the screen to further confirm the success. Anastasia smiled before starting to spin the pole again, waiting for the next thing to be thrown in.
After a few seconds of spinning the audio cue played again as three pink socks were thrown into the machine. Anastasia continued to focus on her spinning as she tried to work out the correct time to stop the machine so that the socks would fly out.
The machine spun faster and faster, the laundry almost becoming a spiral, Anastasia felt the sweat forming on her brow as she narrowed her eyes to help her focus on the movement of the objects.
Just as the pink socks bounced around the top of the drum Anastasia stopped the pole and watched as the offending socks flew out of the laundry and into the trash.
Almost instantly five pink socks were thrown back into the machine and Anastasia quickly moved to get the virtual machine back up to speed by spinning the pole as fast as she could. She watched as the socks spun around the machine at greater and greater speeds, waiting for the perfect moment to make them go flying.
Suddenly she got jerked from behind, starting to fall backward. Anastasia’s mind was shaken from its intense focus and started to fall in on itself. Her thoughts and anxiety and excitement all mixed together and formed a swirling vortex within her mind.
“Sleep, just sleep now,” came a soft voice right next to Anastasia’s ear. Her mind latched onto it, desperate for anything to quell the storm of confusion that washed over her brain. Her whole body felt like it was made of solid metal, its immense weight dragging her down through the floor.
Anastasia tried to move her limbs, but she felt disconnected from her body, like it was slowly falling away under her, dropping into a chasm of darkness that seemed to have no bottom.
“Yes, listen to me,” came the voice again. “Relax, you’ve been too stressed, relax,” it continued to coo. It sounded sweet and soft, and so very trustworthy. “Time to relax, time to catch up on all that sleep you’ve missed due to your stress,” the voice purred as Anastasia’s vision blurred and went slowly black.
Anastasia jerked awake, the light stinging her eyes. “Throw your hands in the air!” Shouted a familiar voice. Anastasia’s vision wobbled into focus, allowing her to realize she was still stood in front of the Frantic Panic machine.
“Don’t waste your credit,” came a voice from behind Anastasia. Despite still being dazed Anastasia complied with the voice and the machine, putting her hands into the air, just like the girl on the screen was doing.
“Let’s get frantic!” Shouted the machine, before the familiar animation played out. “Attention! Homerun Hell!” Shouted the machine again as blurry text popped up onto the screen.
The scene shifted to a baseball field as the on-screen girl took on a batting pose, Anastasia copied the pose instantly. A pitcher walked up to the plate, only to suddenly go black as tentacles burst forth from within them, each one wearing a catchers mitt.
Anastasia worked out what she needed to do just before the pitcher started to throw balls towards her. As each one came closer she swung her arms forward, knocking the ball away as the virtual crowd cheered.
“See, I knew you could do it,” came the sweet voice from behind Anastasia. She would have turned to check who it was, but she was too focused on deflecting the massive influx of balls that were speeding towards her. “Sometimes everything is just easier when we have a firm direction, a firm directive to follow, it is why you were so confused when you came in, you were not sure what was going to happen. But now everything is simple.”
Anastasia nodded as she continued to smash balls into the crowd, the game praising her for every hit. This was easier than her job normally was. No one arguing, no changing rules. Each game was very simple and had fixed goals.
“Attention!” Shouted the machine. “Clone Slapper!” The scene quickly changed to a line up consisting of one girl and several strange demon creatures. Suddenly everyone pulled on masks and started to run around before reforming the line and posing.
Anastasia swung her hand forward and slapped one of the figures, only for the mask to fly off, revealing one of the demons who started to cry. “Miss!” Shouted the game as a cross appeared on the screen.
Anastasia shook her head, trying to focus on the people as they lined up once more. “See? When there is a lot going on, you get lost,” said the voice gently.
Anastasia focused on the people as they put on their masks and started to run around. The voice was right, it was so hard to keep track of which was the original girl. Anastasia went to slap one at random, only for the voice to interject before she could.
“Second from the right,” it said gently. Anastasia quickly moved and slapped the figure the voice had mentioned. The mask flew off revealing the girl who stamped her foot with obvious anger. “Correct!” Cheered the game as the green tick mark appeared on the screen before everyone put their masks back on and started to run around.
“You are good, you just need your skills to be directed properly,” continued the voice as Anastasia tried to keep focused on the girl as she dashed about. “You know you are not managed well, you know what is going on, just no one will give you an environment to thrive in. Far Right.” Anastasia didn’t hesitate and hit the girl on the far right, getting yet more praise from the game.
“Attention!” Shouted the machine. “Whirl, whirl, whirlpool!” It added as text flashed up on the screen as the cartoon girl turned into a squid.
The screen switched to a gentle sea before a little ship bobbed along it. Anastasia quickly started to spin her hands around, forming a whirlpool on the screen. The ship started to spin as it fell into the briny depths as the game cheered and threw up the green tick mark once more.
“Just focus,” said the voice, growing slightly quieter as it did, forcing Anastasia to increase her concentration to make out what it was saying. “Just focus on the swirling patterns,” continued the voice as Anastasia made another swirling whirlpool to catch another ship.
Anastasia watched as the ripples and the waves spiraled inwards, the ship shrinking as it fell further and further away from the surface. The voice was right, the pattern was very pretty, despite the cartoony art style, the water looked surprisingly realistic and detailed.
“Just let it wash over you,” continued the voice, obviously trying to suppress a giggle. “Let it drag you deeper and it deeper into its depths, you’ve focused so hard, just relax, let it happen.” It continued to coo.
Anastasia nodded gently, she was focused very intensely, she could feel the tension in her jaw from gritting her teeth. The whirlpool was so pretty, each one seemed to spin a little faster, each one seemed to pull her further and further down.
“The ships can’t resist, so what chance do you stand?” Added the voice, almost reading Anastasia’s thoughts. The ships continued to crash and fall into the spiraling waters. “Just fall into them, let them wash over you and drag you deeper,” purred the voice.
Anastasia nodded, leaning forward as her whole mind became fixated on the swirling pattern in front of her. Her mind felt like it was spinning around and around in the whirlpool, sinking deeper into the dark and cold sea.
“That’s it, deep into the sea, sinking so far under without a trace, your mind just getting sucked away into the sea,” continued the voice. Anastasia tumbled forward, her whole body crumpling like a puppet that had had its strings cut. But it didn’t matter, her mind was lost in the whirlpool.
As she gazed up at the ceiling, Anastasia’s mind continued to slip away from her, the lights blurring until they looked like a beautiful aurora in the sky, the whole world spinning around her until her eyes fluttered closed.
“Wonderful, you are so clever,” came the voice, pushing through the darkness. “You know so much, and you know that so few people can match your intellect, you keep the city running.”
Anastasia mumbled a response, a small smile dancing across her lips. It felt nice to be praised and the voice was totally right, she was clever and she did keep the city running.
“You can see things that other people miss,” continued the voice, the words pushing deep into Anastasia’s consciousness. “Like you know, that Gralla is suspicious, something is wrong with her.” Anastasia continued to nod softly, the voice was right, she knew something was wrong about Gralla, who would open an arcade in this day and age?
“But you can’t tell the police or city hall, of course, she has bribed them all,” purred the voice. “Maybe even brainwashed them, no way they will help you, no you have to bring her down yourself. You have to save everyone. You have to uncover her crimes and tell everyone.”
“Yes,” moaned Anastasia, her eyes rolling into her head as she listened to the voice.
“She gives you the creeps, but you can’t let her find out that you are onto her. You’ll have to be stealthy, who knows what she will do if she catches you trying to expose her.”
Anastasia continued to nod, letting the voice explain her thoughts to her. It made so much sense, the voice was seemingly able to put all of her jumbled ideas and feelings into a simple series of sentences. It was also able to motivate her to follow on her hunches, she was smart. The voice knew that. Anastasia knew that.
Anastasia coughed and blinked, the room was spinning and there was a strange breeze on her face. She opened her eyes only to see that one of the masked figures was hastily fanning her with a magazine while Gralla sat on her desk.
“Oh gosh you are awake,” gasped Gralla. “Are you feeling okay? We were setting up a machine and you collapsed! Do we need to call you a doctor? Is there any medication you need?” She said, her voice filled with worry.
Anastasia’s head throbbed as she tried to get her eyes into focus. Her thoughts were racing. Her brain tried to piece together what was happening, but all she could remember was offering to help Gralla set up a machine, after that her memory was blank.
“I’m fine, thank you,” she groaned as she pushed herself up straight. The masked figure stopped fanning and backed off as Gralla grabbed a bottle of water and held it out towards Anastasia
“Drink up, you might be dehydrated,” she said gently. Anastasia’s eyes instantly locked onto the cap of the bottle. It was unsealed and had obviously been opened before she woke up. She quickly realized that Gralla was trying to drug her, to silence her.
“I don’t need water,” she said, pushing the bottle away. As she pushed she realized that her arm was sore. Gralla had obviously injected her with something and dragged her up here. For what purpose Anastasia was unsure, but whatever it was couldn’t have been good. “I need to go,” groaned Anastasia as she stumbled from the couch.
“Are you sure you don’t want a ride? I can call you a cab?” Asked Gralla, her smile becoming obviously fake.
“No, I don’t.” Growled Anastasia, doing her best to keep herself from falling over. As she looked at Gralla, she noticed something odd. Gralla was not wearing her neon coat, and thus her arms and shoulders were showing. On her left side, just above her collarbone was a small cut. But it didn’t look like a normal cut, in fact, the skin around it looked more like latex, and through the cut, Anastasia could clearly see a green scaley surface.
Anastasia’s eyes went wide and she ran towards the door, stumbling through it and down the stairs. She knew she had to get out of here right this second. As she ran towards the exit Gralla walked out onto the balcony. “Come again any time Ms. Phillips, you are always welcome!” She shouted in a faux cheery tone.
Anastasia gritted her teeth and ran out onto the street and into a crowd of people before she slowed and tried to catch her breath. “I’m onto you,” she muttered to herself.
Anastasia quickly started to move down the street, looking over her shoulder every few minutes to make sure she wasn’t being followed by one of Gralla’s masked goons.
As she walked down the street she realized that all the posters apart from one had been removed. Anastasia smirked to herself, Gralla had tried to get rid of the evidence but had slipped up. She quickly moved over and yanked the poster off the lamppost and shoved it in her pocket. If she was going to take this woman down she needed all the evidence she could get.
Kim sat at the cafe, gently sipping on a cup of coffee, her eyes focused on the door, waiting for Alice to arrive. Alice was always late to their Monday coffee meetings so Kim was very used to waiting for her.
“Hey!” Smiled Alice as she wandered into the cafe and over to Kim’s table. “I’m sorry I’m late. I had to buy new paints,” she grinned as she tapped her backpack.
“Don’t worry about it,” smiled Kim, watching as Alice put her bag on a chair and fished out her wallet.
“I’ll be back in a second, I’m going to get a drink,” smiled Alice as she turned and went over to the counter.
As Kim watched Alice buy her drink she felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She pulled out her phone and opened the message without even checking who it was from.
“Do you want the high score?” Asked the message. Kim felt the world drop away from her. The noisy coffee shop vanishing until there was only the glowing phone screen. Kim felt a need growing inside her, a need she couldn’t resist.
“So, what’s up with you?” Asked Alice as she sat down. Kim looked up at Alice, her eyes totally blank and glassy.
“I’ve got to go,” Replied Kim as she stood up and walked out of the cafe.
Alice blinked and watched as Kim walked out of the door. “What did I do?” She muttered to herself, unable to avoid the feeling that she had upset Kim in some way.
Kim however, didn’t care about Alice’s opinion. In fact, Kim cared about nothing more than getting to Blissoplis and collecting as many points as she could.
The second Kim entered the building she went to the location of the secret door and knocked on it gently. The door instantly opened, only to reveal that Gralla was stood there, obviously waiting for Kim to arrive.
“Hello darling,” grinned Gralla, her eyes roaming over Kim. “Why don’t you come in?”
Kim didn’t question or hesitate and quickly stepped into the secret corridor, not caring that the wall quickly closed behind her. Gralla moved forward and forcefully kissed Kim before starting to walk.
“Kim, follow me,” commanded Gralla, not even bothering to turn and check if the girl was complying. “What were you doing when I called you?”
“I was with Alice. Getting coffee,” replied Kim. Her dull monotone coming out in time with her steps.
“Did you make an excuse?”
“No, I needed to get the high score,” replied Kim without hesitation.
“Did she seem okay with it?” Asked Gralla, her voice wavering a little.
“She seemed upset,” replied Kim matter of factly.
“Well, that won’t do,” sighed Gralla, rubbing her forehead gently. “I’ll need to make it up to her.” She said as she guided Kim through the building and into her office.
Gralla climbed onto her desk and sighed at Kim. “I’m giving you a score penalty,” she said firmly. Kim’s eyes went wide as a cold wave of pain washed over her body. “You will not upset Alice. If I call you when you are with Alice, you will be polite and make an excuse, am I understood?” lectured Gralla.
“Yes Gralla,” groaned Kim, her bottom lip wobbling slightly as she tried to block out the pain and shame.
“Wonderful news. Now, I have a job for you. One that might help get your score back to a decent level.” Grinned Gralla. “This weekend the community center is hosting a small convention. I have booked a booth for Blissoplis. I will need you and several girls in costumes to draw attention to our little establishment.”
“Yes Gralla,” nodded Kim, doing her best to sound excited in the hope it would get her extra points.
“As you will be running the table, I need to make sure your outfit is going to grab the attention of the masses, thus I need to do a fitting. Please remove your clothes.” Continued Gralla firmly, not even acknowledging that Kim had said anything.
Kim’s body complied instantly, starting to pull off her clothes and drop them to the floor. As she continued to expose herself Gralla wandered over to the pile and started to root through Kim’s pockets.
“I should find something Alice likes so I can make up for your rudeness,” she said as grabbed Kim’s phone and wallet. As she pulled the wallet out, a card fluttered to the floor. Gralla picked it up and looked at it, only for a wide smile to form on her face.
Once Kim was naked, Gralla held the card out in front of Kim. “You’ve met Anastasia Phillips?”
“Yes Gralla,” nodded Kim gently.
“And when was this?” Asked Gralla, walking behind Kim and wrapping her arms around the girl’s waist.
“This morning,” gasped Kim, warm waves of pleasure washing over her body. Gralla’s touch felt amazing, but Kim did her best to contain herself, wanting to keep her answers as clear as possible.
“How did you meet?” Asked Gralla, gently leaning in to kiss Kim’s neck.
“She was investigating your posters, she asked me if I knew anything because she caught me staring at her.” Replied Kim, her eyes slowly rolling up into her head.
“And did you know anything?”
“I know nothing about Blissoplis apart from my very fun visit,” said Kim with practiced ease, almost like she was reading from a script.
Gralla let out a small laugh as she kissed Kim’s neck once more. “Well, what delightful fortune. I have a feeling you two will become fast friends.” Grinned Gralla as she leaned in and dug her teeth deep into Kim’s neck.
Kim twitched and moaned as wave after wave of euphoria washed over her. Gralla tightened her grip on the girl’s waist and threw her to the ground before quickly mounting her face.
“This is so good!” Moaned Gralla her breathing growing increasingly ragged as she pulled down her pants and panties in one smooth movement. “Worship me!” She shouted as she pushed her pussy down onto Kim’s lips.
Kim didn’t need to be commanded directly, she quickly started to lick and nuzzle between Gralla’s legs. She did her best to bring Gralla as much pleasure as she could, in the hope that Gralla would give her more points for a job well done.
Gralla ground hard into Kim’s face, letting out high pitched moans of pleasure as her body trembled. “That’s it, Alice!” She groaned as she pushed her pussy into Kim’s dedicated tongue. “We are going to do great things together!” She groaned again, her whole body starting to tremble.
Gralla started to fiddle in her jacket pocket, her groaning growing louder and louder. After a few seconds, Gralla fished a small box out of her pocket and started to hammer the button on it. The chirping from the Hexiblous machine filled the room, causing Kim’s mind and body to fill with pure unbridled euphoria.
Soon the room was filled with the sounds of pleasure and chirping. Both Gralla and Kim were trembling and making louder and louder noises as the pleasure washed over both of them. Suddenly Gralla leaned forwards, clawing at the carpet around Kim’s head as she let out a loud, guttural scream, her orgasm washing over her.
Gralla fell to the side and lay on the floor panting gently and she pulled Kim close to her, using her like a body pillow as she pulled her thoughts together.
After a few minutes of silence, a slow tone started to echo from Gralla’s computer. Gralla sighed and pushed herself up before walking over to her desk. “It seems you’ve kept me distracted for longer than I planned. Wait for me, I shall be back soon,” she mumbled before wandering to the service elevator.
As the rusty elevator arrived Gralla stepped inside and fiddled in her pocket, pulling out a small key that she inserted into the maintenance slot. The second she turned it, the elevator started to descend down into the depths of the building, below both the arcade and the workshop. Once the elevator stopped Gralla stepped out into a bright yet sterile room.
The room was filled with row after row of glassy-eyed girls sat in front of computers. Every girl was wearing an identical headset and each one seemed totally focused on a task, totally oblivious to the world around them. “Hello, Technical support, how may I help you today?” Started one girl as Gralla walked past her.
Gralla smiled to herself as she saw how busy the girls were. She then stepped over to a computer on the far side of the room and quickly entered a password.
“Just need to update you all on the new client’s script and get rid of the old one,” she mumbled to herself as she fiddled with the files on the computer. As she clicked to confirm the change, every girl stiffened as a new window appeared on their computers.
Gralla watched for a few minutes, making sure that each girl finished their call and took in their new programming, she couldn’t have cracks form in her organization after all. Once each girl had finished reading Gralla rubbed her hands together and went back to the elevator, excited to get Kim into her costume.
Alice giggled as turned the page of her book, wiggling her toes against the pillow she was resting her feet on. Suddenly her phone started to vibrate.
With a heavy sigh, she slipped a folded up bit of notepaper into the book and put it on the table as she reached out and grabbed her phone. She smiled a little bit as she saw that the message was from Gralla.
“Hey Alice,” started the message. “Blissoplis is going to be at Megacon this weekend and I have one more ticket than I have staff members, want to come as my guest?”
Alice’s smile grew wider as she considered the offer. She had wanted to go to Megacon but a combination of a high ticket price and the fact that neither Kim or any of her other friends had wanted to go had put her off. Alice shrugged, she had no plans for the weekend, so why not go with Gralla?
“Sure! That is so sweet of you!” Replied Alice, attaching a small picture of a cheering cartoon monkey as she did.
Anastasia opened her apartment door gently and looked around, making sure that no one was nearby. She let out a sigh of relief before catching sight of a box next to her door.
Anastasia quickly grabbed it and pulled it inside, slamming the door behind her as she did. She ran to her kitchen table and put the box down before dashing to get her phone. She needed video evidence of what was inside the box, just in case it was something strange.
She balanced her phone against a mug and then slowly lifted the cardboard flaps. Inside was a ticket and one of her own business cards. Anastasia lifted the card out of the box and looked at it, spotting some writing on the reverse side.
“I know something else,” said the note. “Trashcan outside of the back entrance on opening day.” Anastasia looked at the ticket and smiled to herself, she had been dealing with Megacon’s permits and she knew every inch of the community center.
Anastasia pondered who could have sent this note to her. Whoever it was had somehow gotten hold of one of her cards. Then she realized she had only given out one business card recently. She had given it to that girl who had been looking at the posters on the lamppost. The girl who had told her that Gralla was kooky.
Anastasia grinned to herself as put the card on the table. The new lead filling her with confidence as she grabbed her phone and headed off to work.