“Apple Sauce! Good for your tummy! Good for your mood! Apple Sauce, better than any other food!” Sung the woman as she danced in front of a group of animated apples.
“Ugh,” groaned Vix as she put her Chinese food container down on the table. “Look at her! That isn’t a life.”
“Right?” Nodded Ava as she continued to eat. “Look at that dress, she looks like a character for children, dancing like a fool, why would anyone do that?”
“Because AlphaCorp owns her. If she doesn’t dance they’ll use her implants to fry her brain. It is sick.” Growled Vix, her tone going from sad to aggressive.
“No adult woman should be like that,” added Tetra as she walked over to the couch and looked at the screen. “It is insulting to the human spirit.”
“We should free her!” Shouted Ava as she threw her container onto the table, sending rice flying everywhere.
“I like it,” nodded Vix. “I bet we can get in, and imagine the coo if we get Miss Applesauce to talk about AlphaCorp’s evil in a broadcast interruption!”
“Hey,” interrupted Tetra. “Less with the Miss Applesauce thing, that is the name AlphaCorp gave her, we need to remember she is not the character they’ve forced on her to shill nutritional supplements.”
“I’m sorry,” nodded Vix. “You’re right. We need to protect her human dignity.” She continued as she turned the broadcast off and projected a load of maps onto the screen.
The girls spent ages picking over the information. They had tormented AlphaCorp for years in so many different ways, but they had never freed someone from captivity before.
“If we can blend in with the delivery crews we can slide in unnoticed and then start from there,” explained Vix. “If we can get Tetra into the control room we can scramble their security long enough for the rest of us to grab our target.”
“What? You plan to just walk her out?” Blinked Tetra.
“Crate,” replied Vix. “We can load her into the van and brush it off as a returned delivery.”
“You really think they’re going to fall for that? They likely track her implants.” Said Ava firmly.
“So? I can scramble them or send dupe signals,” grinned Tetra. “I can also neutralize them for a little bit to make them harder to track. Seriously, get me into their core and I can do anything.”
“If you’re sure,” started Ava, only to get cut off by Tetra.
“I’m totally sure. I know what I’m doing.”
Ava went quiet and nodded, accepting that Tetra knew her own skills and that she was able to pull off what she had said. Over the next several days the girls continued to plan their kidnapping.
It wasn’t a hard task, while AlphaCorp was big and well guarded it wasn’t like they were totally free of cracks and many of their workers were more than willing to look the other way provided their palm was well greased.
Within days the group had gathered outfits and passes as well as several spoofed keycards that would allow them to get anywhere they needed to be.
However, despite their searching, none of the girls could find any information on Miss Applesauce. She had just appeared on TV one day and had never been seen outside of the broadcasts.
No one had scanned her implants, she didn’t seem to be in any criminal or prisoner database, she wasn’t even on the AlphaCorp employee database. She had never done a live appearance or an interview. It seemed all she did was the live commercial broadcasts.
At first, this worried the girls. But the longer they looked, the happier they became. They could only presume that this meant that Miss Applesauce was a strong and rebellious spirit, one who would break out if AlphaCorp took their eyes off her for a moment.
This only served to make the girls more dedicated to their plan. Miss Applesauce was going to be a strong ally and with her established named they would be able to further destabilize AlphaCorp and spread the word of their evil.
And thus, a few weeks later, the girls rolled up outside AlphaCorp studios in a hastily altered delivery van. “Okay, we’re ready?” Smiled Ava as she looked over the other girls.
“Yes,” nodded Tetra. “Remeber to spoof your implants, I’ve got fake employee files and I’ll inject them into the system so you’ll have all the clearances you need.”
“Good,” nodded Vix. “Any progress on finding her?”
“None,” sighed Tetra. “She is totally off the network and they don’t have her imprints on any file I can find. So you’re going to be on your own until I can dig up secure storage.”
“Right,” replied Vix as she slapped Ava on the back. “Ready to deliver?”
“Let’s go,” nodded Tetra as she undid her seatbelt and got out of the van.
As Ava and Vix got their fake delivery together Tetra quickly snuck towards the employee’s entrance. She tapped her keycard on the door and made her way inside, doing her best to not arouse suspicion as she followed the directions to the security control room.
Her heart was pounding her chest, she knew that at any moment she could be detected. Her spoofed implants made her undetectable to the AI security system, but she couldn’t easily fool the human guards.
However, no one seemed to stop her as she wandered into the room and started to fiddle with the terminals. First, she injected a virus of her own creation into the system, one that would give her friends all of the cover and clearance they would need.
Then, she set about trying to locate their target. However, nothing seemed to give her any hints. There were no records of Miss Applesauce nor any codenames that could fit her.
Tetra searched through everything she could but nothing seemed to give her a lead. After several minutes of futile searching, she sent an encrypted message to Ava.
“Tetra says we need to try the studio, but she has nothing,” nodded Ava as her implant decoded the message.
“My scrambler is ready,” nodded Vix, “this could go downhill fast if she is this hidden.”
“Yeah,” nodded Ava as she continued to drag the crate around, keen to remain incognito for as long as physically possible.
The studio area was pretty easy to spot due to the sheer amount of cameras and broadcast tech that was scattered around. This wasn’t surprising, AlphaCorp ran many networks and produced everything from comedy to rolling news.
As they walked through a broadcast area Vix looked at one of the machines with a glint in her eye.
“Stay on target,” mumbled Ava.
“Stay on target,” replied Ava firmly, keen to not get discovered due to Vix making a rash decision.
“I know, I know,” sighed Vix as she started to look around the area. “Where would they store her?”
“Dammned if I know,” grumbled Ava. “Let’s try the dressing rooms.”
“Dumb idea but all we got,” nodded Vix as she started to move towards the service corridors. To both girl’s surprise, this area of the building was quite nice and also had very little security present.
They could only presume the nice bits were to keep talent in line and that AlphaCorp presumed no intruder would try and run into their TV studio and would instead go for the CEO or another high-value target.
As they went down the corridor Vix looked in every room that wasn’t locked. It felt futile but she was out of ideas and at this point was more than willing to try anything.
Most of the rooms were empty dressing rooms or prop closets none of which were suitable for holding a prisoner. However, after trying at least twenty doors, Vix pushed one open and spotted Miss Applesauce.
Vix gasped in shock as she quickly waved Ava over. Miss Applesauce was sitting at a makeup table, staring blankly into the mirror.
“Miss Applesauce,” whispered Vix as she stepped into the room.
“Yes?” Grinned the woman as she turned to face the door. She looked exactly like she did in the adverts, complete with the over-top dress and the big smile.
“We’re here to rescue you!” Blurted Vix as Ava rolled her eyes.
“Rescue me?” Giggled Miss Applesauce.
“From AlphaCorp, we’re here to free you from your enslavement.” Grinned Vix as she motioned to the crate. “We’re going to smuggle you out.”
“Interesting,” chuckled Miss Applesauce. “It is a good proposition.”
“We can get you out the door before AlphaCorp even realize you’re gone,” nodded Ava, keen to get the woman out of the building as quickly as possible.
“We’re going to protect you, you won’t need to dance for them ever again!” Grinned Vix.
“Well, okay.” Nodded Miss Applesauce as she rose from her chair and smoothed out her apple-patterned dress. “Where do we go?”
“Into the crate,” explained Ava as she pointed towards the box. “We’re going to sneak you out as a returned delivery.”
“Sounds fun!” Giggled Miss Applesauce as she skipped over to the crate. Vix cringed a little bit, she couldn’t believe what AlphaCorp had done to this poor woman. They had obviously destroyed her spirit.
Just as Miss Applesauce started to clamber into the box, Vix pulled a scanner out of her pocket. “One second,” she said as she quickly waved the scanner across Miss Applesauce’s temple, only for it to let out a very negative sounding tone.
“What’s that?” Giggled Miss Applesauce.
“It was going to try and hide your implant signature to make you harder to track, but it can’t seem to find your implants,” muttered Vix as she fiddled with the scanner.
“Try again!” Grinned Miss Applesauce, seemingly overjoyed by the situation.
“Sure,” nodded Vix as she quickly ran the scanner over Miss Applesauce’s head again. However, this time the scanner let out a happier sounding beep. “Huh, must be faulty,” shrugged Vix as she pointed into the crate.
Miss Applesauce climbed into the crate as Ava broadcast a message to Tetra. “We’ve got her, heading out.”
“Understood, I’m going to cause a distraction, it might get loud,” replied Tetra as Ava quickly closed the box and started to walk back towards the entrance.
As the pair exited the main filming area they saw a horde of guards running towards the opposite side of the building, their weapons drawn and ready for combat.
“Synthetics?” Asked Vix quietly.
“No idea,” replied Ava. “Keep your head down, Tetra is running interference for us.”
“Right, right,” nodded Vix as she moved in front of Ava and pulled out her keycards, hoping to get out of the building as quickly as possible.
As they walked back to the main entrance, the girls witnessed hundreds of guards and other security equipment going to wherever the first group was going. Whatever Tetra has set off, it was obviously big.
Ava pushed the box out to the waiting van, only to find Tetra in the driver’s seat, the engine already on. “Let’s go!” Shouted Tetra.
“Why?” Asked Ava as she quickly lifted the crate into the back. Something about Tetra’s tone worried her.
“They’re about to have a generator failure,” giggled Tetra.
“How do you,’ started Ava, only to realize what Tetra meant. She shoved the box into the back and quickly jumped into the passenger seat. “Vix! Let her out in the back,” she shouted.
“On it!” Shouted Vix as she jumped into the back and slammed the door shut behind her. The second the door locked, the car’s tires screeched as the van sped off towards the highway, only for a massive boom to shake the van moments later.
Vix took a deep breath and waited for a moment, unsure what had just happened. Once she was sure that the van was still moving she let out a sigh of relief, whatever the bang was, it obviously wasn’t stopping them.
She quickly undid the side of the crate and smiled in at Miss Applesauce. “You can come out,” she said gently. “We’re on the road now.”
“Scrumptious!” Giggled Miss Applesauce as she clambered out of the crate and sat on top of it, smoothing out her dress as she did. “Where are we going?”
“Our safe house,” replied Vix. “Ain’t the fanciest place in the universe, but Alpha has never been able to find us or storm us”.
“Wonderful!” Nodded Miss Applesauce as she wiggled her feet and looked around the van. Vix tried to avoid staring at the woman, it was rude at the best of times, but doubly so when you had just liberated someone.
The pair sat in silence for several minutes until Miss Applesauce looked up and stared at Vix with a smirk on her face. “Your implants are off-grid.”
“Yeah,” smiled Vix before suddenly stopping. “Wait, how do you know that?”
“I’m very good. I’m just brimming with fruit!” Giggled Miss Applesauce as Vix felt something in her mind. It was like some frequency was messing with her implants.
“Wait,” gasped Vix. “No, this shouldn’t be possible,” she started only for noise to fill her brain.
“Applesauce Applesauce, more delicious than dental floss! Applesauce Applesauce! Won’t ever be a double-cross!” Sung the jingle as it grew louder and louder inside Vix’s head.
Vix grabbed her head, pulling on her hair as she tried in vain to block out the sound. “What is this,” she grunted. She moved to hammer on the wall, hoping to get the attention of the other two.
However, when she tried to move, her muscles started to spasm and convulse. It was like electricity was flowing through her body. Like something was scrambling the impulses to her muscles.
Vix wanted to shout, to ask what was going on, but all that came out was slurs and grunts, her mouth falling open as her muscles continued to twitch and kick at random.
“Apple sauce! Apple sauce! Fresh as forest moss! Apple Sauce! Apple Sauce! Better than Lacrosse!” Continued the jingle. It was so loud, it totally drowned out all of Vix’s thoughts, she couldn’t even hear the world around her due to the noise.
She continued to yank on her hair, willing to do anything to stop the pain. Part of her wanted to slam her head into the wall of the van in an attempt to beat the jingle out of her. However, none of Vix’s muscles were responding to her, they just kept spasming and twitching.
“Alright,” sighed Tetra as she pulled into the parking space. “Home free.”
“This was very smooth,” smiled Ava. “We should put her in the crate anyway, just to make her harder to track.”
“May as well,” nodded Tetra as she banged on the divider. “We’re here and coming round!” She shouted before jumping out of the van.
Ava pulled the van’s back door open only to see Vix sitting opposite Miss Applesauce. Vix had a massive smile on her face and seemed to be rocking slightly.
“We’re going to put you back into the crate just to make sure you are not spotted,” said Ava.
“Okey dokey!” Grinned Miss Applesauce as she quickly clambered back into the crate. Vix slowly and stiffy stood up and grabbed the trolly’s handles and started to guide the crate to the edge of the truck.
“You okay Vix?” Asked Tetra. She had never seen Vix smile like this before, something about it put her on edge.
“I’m good. Busy day,” replied Vix firmly.
“Sure,” replied Tetra. She was already too distracted by the crate to really consider Vix’s words or tone.
The girls slowly moved the box up to their safehouse, keen to make sure they were not spotted by any wandering civilians. Thankfully, no one seemed to be near the building.
As they wheeled the box into the apartment, Tetra slapped on the side. “We’re in, feel free to come on out.”
Miss Applesauce started to move in the crate as Vix walked into the kitchen. Vix quickly set about grabbing a bowl and a blender before starting to search through the fridge.
Miss Applesauce adjusted her dress as she looked around the room. “Cute orchard!” She said with a giggle.
“Well this isn’t a,” started Tetra, only for Ava to quickly cover her mouth.
“We’re glad you like it!” Smiled Ava as she spotted Vix out of the corner of her eye. “What are you doing?”
“I really want some apple sauce,” replied Vix.
“Do you even like apples?”
“I really want some apple sauce,” repeated Vix as she started to throw all of the apples into a bowl.
“Okay,” mumbled Ava slightly weirded out by Vix’s actions. She decided it was best to let her do what she wanted and to focus on Miss Applesauce.
Ava quickly found Miss Applesauce in Tetra’s bedroom. She was bouncing on the bed, letting out a high pitched giggle whenever she hit the mattress. Ava couldn’t help but smile, it was nice to see she was happy with her freedom.
“Hey,” smiled Ava. “I’ve been meaning to ask you, what is your name?”
“Miss Applesauce! Silly!” Chuckled Miss Applesauce as she stopped bouncing and looked at Ava.
“Right, right, but you don’t need to use your AlphaCorp name anymore. You can be whoever you want to be!”
“I’m Miss Applesauce!” Smiled Miss Applesauce almost like she hadn’t heard the question.
“Right, right,” nodded Ava. “Well, just know you can be whoever you want to be with us,” she said softly. She was debating if she wanted to push the topic further, to try and help this poor woman overcome the trauma that AlphaCorp had put her through.
However, before she could finish her thought, Ava was distracted by a yell from the living room. “Calm down!” Shouted Tetra. “What is wrong with you!”
“Excuse me a moment,” mumbled Ava as she quickly ran out into the living room to see what was going on.
It didn’t take her long to see the issue. Vix was sat on the couch ramming handfuls of apple mush into her face. It seemed like she was aiming for her mouth, but only about a quarter of it was actually going inside, the rest was splashing everywhere.
“Chill out and get a spoon at least!” Shouted Tetra.
“Apple sauce, apple sauce,” mumbled Vix between mouthfuls, almost like she was trying to sing.
“Vix, come on,” added Ava, going to try and take the bowl from her. However, the second she extended her hand, Vix slapped it away and growled at her.
“The hell is wrong with you?” Shouted Tetra.
“Apple sauce, apple sauce, something something rhyme,” shouted Vix as she mashed another load of apple sauce into her face. Her eyes starting to water as she frantically gnashed her teeth.
“Something must have corrupted her implants,” shouted Tetra as she quickly ran to a desk and grabbed a small scanner.
“A mind virus?” Gasped Ava as she tried to grab the bowl from Vix’s hands. However, Vix tightly gripped onto the bowl and continued to gnash her teeth at Ava.
“Maybe! I don’t know, I didn’t see anything,” shouted Tetra as she ran back over with a scanner in her hand. “Hold her!”
“Right!” Shouted Ava as she yanked the bowl with all her might, causing it to fly out of Vix’s hand and crash to the floor. Ava then grabbed Vix’s arms and tried to hold her still.
However, Vix continued to struggle and fight, repeatedly attempting to bite Ava. Tetra ran the scanner over Vix’s head only for it to start beeping furiously before letting out a loud pop.
A shower of sparks flew from the scanner as Tetra yelped and jumped backward. “What was that?” Shouted Ava.
“Scanner overloaded!” Replied Tetra. “I, no. That can’t be a thing. How does that even happen?”
“I know!” Giggled Miss Applesauce as she skipped into the room.
“What is it?” Grunted Ava as she continued to try and pin Vix down.
“Vix was a bad girl!” Tittered Miss Applesauce.
“What?” shouted Tetra and Ava at once.
“Vix wouldn’t let me play in her head, so now she gets to go crazy until she lets me in!” Smiled Miss Applesauce.
“An AlphaCorp spy!” Shouted Tetra as she ran at Miss Applesauce. However, when she got within a few feet of the woman, her muscles seized up.
“Nope!” Giggled Miss Applesauce as smirked at Tetra.
“She’s. She’s in my head.” Groaned Tetra as she spasmed and twitched, her whole body trembling as a forced smile formed on her face.
Ava looked on in fear, unable to understand what she was seeing. Vix used this moment to throw Ava to the floor with a loud thud.
“Apple sauce,” groaned Vix as she dived to the floor and started to scoop up the various splatters of mushy apple.
“Dance!” Grinned Miss Applesauce as Tetra started to jump around like a ballerina. The look on Tetra’s face was one of pure horror, Ava had never seen Tetra look this scared.
“What is this,” groaned Ava as she rubbed her side.
“Fun!” Giggled Miss Applesauce as Tetra continued to clumsily jump around. “And your friends won’t play!”
“Won’t play?” Asked Ava.
“Just let me in and you don’t need to go crazy, more fun when you stop isolating your implants,” beamed Miss Applesauce.
“Why would you do this, why would you support AlphaCorp!” Shouted Ava, clenching her fists as she looked around for a weapon. However, before she could act she felt a wave of pain run through her body as all of her muscles started to spasm.
“Nuh-uh!” Snickered Miss Applesauce as Ava’s muscles started to act without her consent. They forced her to sit cross-legged on the floor like a child before putting her finger over her lips.
Ava could feel something in her head, it was like her implants were being overloaded. Almost like something was inside them and inside her head, operating her like a puppet.
“I’m not with AlphaCorp silly, they’re just fun!” Explained Miss Applesauce as she skipped up to Vix and watched as the girl continued to shove globs of mashed apple into her face.
“Apple sauce,” groaned Vix as she continued to gnash her teeth, totally out of control of her own body, her sanity growing more frayed by the moment.
“You were so close!” Shouted Miss Applesauce. “I’m not on any AlphaCorp databased as I don’t work for them!” She continued as she did a pirouette.
Vix didn’t react to the woman, she was totally obsessed and mesmerized by the mess of apples on the floor. Miss Applesauce danced across the floor and started to dance with Tetra.
“You were so wrong! I’m not a spy!” Laughed Miss Applesauce as she spun Tetra around. “AlphaCorp have such lovely implants! I can make everyone think I’m just where I need to be!”
“Help. Me” groaned Tetra.
“Nope! I want my fun! Double time!” Smirked Miss Applesauce as Tetra’s body started to dance and spin faster and faster until Tetra was moving faster than any of the girls had ever seen her move.
Miss Applesauce laughed as sweat formed on Tetra’s brow as she continued to dance. It was obvious that this strange woman was enjoying the sight of the girls torturing themselves.
“And your silly scanner was useless!” Added Miss Applesauce as returned to skipping around the room. “Because I’m a nano cloud! I’m a multitude of software and metal and data! So I can make technology see me as anything and make technology into my friend!” She explained as she pushed Ava over.
Ava could only look up meekly. None of her muscles would move an inch, no matter how uncomfortable the position was. She just had to do whatever Miss Applesauce wanted.
After a few seconds, Miss Applesauce put her foot onto Ava’s chest. Standing over her like a hunter posing with its prey. “AlphaCorp wants everyone to have implants! The more implants, the more playmates I have! If everyone has implants then the world is my orchard!” Smiled Miss Applesauce, her grin morphing from happy to sinister.
Suddenly Vix let out a scream only to be joined by Tetra a few moments later. Ava braced, knowing what was going to happen, but it was futile. Suddenly a wave of electricity ran through every muscle in her body.
“Apple Sauce! Apple Sauce! An irresistible force!” Echoed the jingle inside Ava’s head. It was so loud if it was a real sound it would have burst her eardrums due to its sheer volume.
Ava wanted to pull on her hair or move her head in some vain attempt at blocking out the noise, however, she couldn’t move her body at all. None of her muscles were responding to her.
“Time to play! Time to play! Give your soul away!” Echoed Miss Applesauce’s voice inside Ava’s brain. “Your implants are mine! There’s no escape! So why not play and avoid a horrid fate?”
Ava didn’t think. She gave in. She wasn’t sure if it was truly her own thought or if that even mattered anymore. If Miss Applesauce could control her implants then she had no way of stopping her. Without Tetra and Vix, she was helpless, no one could save her or force this woman out. And she didn’t want to see what would happen if Miss Applesauce became angry with her.
She felt the woman’s influence spreading through her body, her mind slowly growing weaker and weaker. Almost like it was drifting away on a river of warm sweet applesauce.
Miss Applesauce’s words seemed to fill her, they replaced her thoughts until Ava was unsure where she ended and Miss Applesauce began. Ava wasn’t even sure if she was real anymore. Or if she was merely another facet of Miss Applesauce’s consciousness.
She felt her body rising from the floor at the command of their leader. The creature formally known as Ava could see the creatures that used to be known as Vix and Tetra. But now, they were all just extensions of Miss Applesauce.
They had no identity of their own. They had no thoughts of their own. They were Miss Applesauce. Their implants were being re-coded. But they didn’t care as their implants were the property of Miss Applesauce.
“Smile!” Shouted Miss Applesauce. Instantly a smile appeared on all three faces. Almost as if the impulse went directly from Miss Applesauce’s brain to their muscles.
“Now, time for fun!” Grinned Miss Applesauce.
“Yes, Miss Applesauce. Time for fun.” Repeated the three units in unison.