Chapter 1: Setting the Stakes
Situated in the heart of Seattle, Accelerant Technologies was one of the most powerful companies in the country, and the greater world beyond. While hardly the only important tech firm on the west coast, Accelerant was known for quality, and pushing ahead of the competition on a regular basis.
They were also well known for tearing down anyone in their way and using those assets to expand even further and faster.
Even in a city with towering steel-and-glass skyscrapers, their headquarters stood out oppressively over everything else. To have an office anywhere near the top meant being one of the most influential people in the world. Therefore it was hardly surprising that the Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer’s office was only a handful of floors from the very top.
Her office was large, placed to surround much of her space with easily tinted windows. Her large wooden desk was old fashioned and ornate, looking to be made of real wood. Even the chairs meant to be used by anyone with an appointment were more lavish than some entire office buildings.
“I appreciate you both for taking time from your very busy schedules to meet with me on such short notice.” Ana Wallin spoke softly but confidently, her blue eyes smiling as she gestured across from her desk. “Please, take a seat. We have important matters to discuss, and disappointingly little time to do our business justice. You’ll just have to forgive me if I gloss over anything—but feel free to ask any questions you might have!”
Ana stood tall, her Scandinavian features manifesting in an imposing stature, striking blue eyes, and her naturally blonde hair kept stylishly short. While she looked appropriate in her white-and-blue business attire, it was just as easy to imagine her as a centerfold with her curves that were every bit as attention grabbing as her height.
She was older than either of the women standing on the other side of her desk but without being old enough to quite look like VP CHRO of one the most important corporations in the world.
“Thank you, Ana. I appreciate you making the time to meet with us. If I have any clarifying questions, I’ll be certain to ask. I’m certain this will be a productive meeting.” Kang Yeji was the taller of the two women standing across from Ana. While she was tall, with a figure that was both willowy and athletic with legs that looked strong even in stockings as they emerged from under her business appropriate short skirt, the Korean-American otherwise had little visually in common with Ana.
Her own suit was black and grays, all very neatly tailored to look starchy and official. Her shoulder-length black hair was swept neatly behind her. High cheekbones and wideset eyes helped make her look more stern and serious even amidst a soft smile, aiding in her professional image.
Standing beside her, Xinyi Zhang quietly coughed into the inside of her elbow before doing her best to stand stiff and professional. Her own black-and-white professional wear was worn under a lab coat, making her almost look out of place amongst Ana and Yeji.
Though much shorter and overall compact, Xinyi had no difficulty standing out. The Chinese immigrant wore her own black hair much longer than Yeji, and though she possessed large breasts and a pair of wide, eye-catching hips and a matching, round bubble butt, her body was tight from relentless dieting and exercise. Her heart shaped face, complete with large eyes, couldn’t help but make her look youthful even when she wasn’t the youngest woman in the room.
Xinyi glanced between Yeji and Ana before shifting to sit. “Yes, thank you. There’s always important research to be done, but… I’m always happy to meet with you. It does seem to be… unusual, though, if you don’t mind me saying.”
Ana laughed as Yeji joined her associate in lowering down into her chair. “Oh, it is unusual…! After all, it isn’t every day that a VP slot opens up. You might be in two very different fields, but I think you’ll agree that you’re both among the most skilled women in your respective fields.”
Though Yeji parted her lips to respond, Xinyi spoke quicker. “Most definitely. Yeji is at the top of her game, and I’m not afraid to say that my work in R&D on the new firmware and override tech has helped keep Accelerant at the front of the pack.”
Yeji’s lips fell shit, and she gestured thoughtfully towards Xinyi in silent agreement.
“Quite right, Xinyi. I’ve never met a better… trouble consultant.” Ana smiled thoughtfully to Xinyi, who simply smiled and nodded. Much of her work was decidedly outside of the law, or existed in darkly gray areas. Acknowledging her espionage, or sabotage, even in such a private setting, simply wasn’t done. “And Accelerant didn’t get to where it was by encouraging passivity… and I invited two of you, but there is only one open position.”
The two Asian women glanced at each other, and then back to Ana. She was the sort of woman who always found a way to enjoy every excuse for social interaction, and always seemed unnaturally delighted.
Neither of her subordinates seemed to have any idea what might be occurring, as evidenced by their continued shifting glances.
“Let me be brief.” Ana stood, towering over the sitting women with a gleeful grin. “We have one open position. Becoming senior management is not an easy task, and it’s one we can’t allow to lose any prestige. One of you can achieve this position by bending the other to her will… and having her concede.”
Xinyi shifted in her chair, her expression shifting through unreadable variations of discomfort. Yeji remained calm and composed.
“The loser, naturally, will no longer hold such a lofty position in our corporation. You may both decline without penalty, but neither of you will be given this offer a second time.” Ana shrugged, amusement in her eyes utterly ruining the sincerity at her attempts to seem apologetic. “Corporate policy.”
Yeji nodded, her mind visibly racing. Her specialty was, after all, mental security—and compromising it. Sabotaging the minds of others was in her job description.
Xinyi was responsible for much of the latest, and greatest, mind controlling technology Accelerant had at their disposal. She’d worked on the latest implants, and her skill for hacking them was well known. She was not one to seek out subjects, typically testing her methodologies on those already compromised, but she was still a very dangerous woman to anyone getting in her way.
Making things more complicated, the two were roommates—and very long time friends.
Xinyi could distinctly remember being a young prodigy that, while not lacking for ambition, drive, or skill, had needed someone to support her. Yeji could remember taking the younger woman under her wing, and even if they disagreed on so many fundamentals, their friendship had been an important part of her life.
Both women were deeply in debt to Accelerant thanks to the company paying for their advanced degrees. There had been no path for either of them to get ahead otherwise. Yeji earned her place from her family’s low income. Xinyi had earned hers from her high test scores and scholastic performance. In many ways their disagreements as much as their loving friendship had been a driving force that gave them both motivation, and support.
Ana’s unrestrained amusement reminded them both this would be their only chance to ascend higher up the corporate ladder and finally achieve positions of true power.
Both women had so much to gain. Yeji would no longer be given dangerous assignments that demanded perfection in technique. Xinyi would no longer be required to innovate at a rate that was unsustainable.
“You’ll forgive me, but I simply must have this answer now.” Ana sighed, but it read as plastic and political. Both Xinyi and Yeji had seen her acting perfectly cordial—even to people that everyone knew she couldn’t stand. Either her rumored love of conflict, or her even more quietly whispered voyeurism, were simply taking a higher stature. “Senior management has a lot of perks, but it also has very demanding time tables, so—”
“Of course, we accept your offer.” Again, Xinyi spoke quickly before Yeji’s parted lips could speak their prepared words. “Are there any other terms that we should know?”
Ana’s grin had already been nasty—downright sadistic. Xinyi’s confirmation hooded Ana’s eyes, and twisted her lips in a way that seemed almost sinister. “Both of you are very skilled, accomplished women. We would prefer it sooner—before the quarterly review meeting—but that gives you over a month. I trust that won’t be an issue. If your conflict interferes with your departments you both fail. If your conflict creates public controversy, you both fail.”
“Accelerant business stays in Accelerant.” Yeji spoke an oft-quoted motto. Ana nodded in simple acknowledgement. “That shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Well then, ladies!” Ana leaned over her desk, offering her hand first to Xinyi to shake, and then Yeji. Her grasp was firm, and her shake quick. “Good luck. May the best woman win… You’ll even get a nice, lovely office right beside mine!”
After the meeting, Xinyi and Yeji went their separate ways. There was very little to say. Xinyi had spoken up, but Yeji’s expression made it abundantly clear that she’d been preparing to say the same thing. With their once warm, welcoming friendship now a source of danger, there was little reason to indulge in each other’s company.
Yeji made her way to her own office, and spent a short time working on projects she’d recently been assigned. A supplier was attempting to claim they were short on stock while giving better deals to the competition. A competitor was preparing to launch a new product that would shake up the industry and make Accelerant look behind the times.
Both problems would need to be sorted out at the same time as Xinyi’s free will.
Once she’d prepared a few plans of attack, requisitioning the proper chemicals and software to pair with her preferred hypnotic conditioning, she left her office and headed to the elevator.
After a short walk, she knocked on another office door and waited with a calm smile.
“Oh, hi Yeji!” A tall woman with shoulder-length brown hair dressed in the same crisp blouse-and-skirt combo as most of the office opened the door with a bright smile. “It’s always nice to see you! Come in… How can I help you??”
Yeji’s eyes glanced down as the woman lead the way deeper into her office. She savored the way the woman’s legs brushed each other, and the way that her stockings clung tight to her legs like a second, darker skin. She rubbed her lips together, quieting the urge to audibly purr as she imagined her fingers sinking into the woman’s round ass.
“Scrambled eggs on shining chrome, Janet.”
Janet paused mid stride, moaning as tremors shook their way up and down along her spine. She stiffened, her ass clenching tight as lower, quieter groans struggled out of her throat.
Yeji waited patiently, her smile growing as she allowed her eyes to wander across the helpless woman’s shuddering body. When she finally stood still, if limp, Yeji approached and reached out to finally grasp and squeeze her lower curves while whispering into her ear. “You’re going to give me access to the complete company database, and it’s going to make you feel better than sex, better than a promotion, better than anything.
“Doing what I want you to do, and making it so no one is even aware it happened, is the most fulfilling thing in the world.” Yeji’s voice was low, and quiet while still being audible over Janet’s shuddery moans made louder with every firmer squeeze of Yeji’s hands. “It’s better than an orgasm. It’s always the right thing to do, isn’t it, Janet?”
“R-right… thing to do…” Janet nodded her head, not quite able to move it smoothly enough to keep from shaking with each moment. “Complete database… yesss… let me… obey… please… I’m always waiting to obey... even when I… forget…”
“And what do you forget?” Yeji’s voice was controlled. Each syllable was slow, but purposeful and precise.
Janet stumbled over to her computer, typing away with a speed that didn’t seem possible with how difficult it was for her to move her legs.
“I forget… that I even know you… forget that we’re so close… forget… how much I need to obey you, but never, ever forget that when you want it…” Her breath hitched in her throat, and her nipples stiffened into hard points against her blouse. “You’re in control…”
Yeji smiled, nodding as Janet scooted to the side to offer her computer. “Very good girl. You may fall to your knees and touch yourself. Each touch will help you begin to forget while still craving my return that much more. You are my obedient little IT slut, and that’s the best thing you could hope to be.”
“O-ohh… y-y-yesss…! IT… Slut… obedient… yess…!” Janet slid out of her chair only to reach under her skirt, her mouth twisting as her eyes went vacant and blank.
Yeji took her chair, and made a beeline for the company’s employee records complete with all of the yearly and quarterly evaluations. Any company like Accelerant kept close tabs on their employees from their lowliest of interns to their senior executives. Few people knew Xinyi as well as Yeji when it came to being a friend or a trusted associate.
But Yeji had never needed to size up Xinyi like she had the executives of another company that needed to be blackmailed or controlled into serving Accelerant’s whims.
Much of what she found was exactly what Yeji expected. It was still better than nothing to be aware of all of the technology that Xinyi had personally utilized in the past even if there was no way she would stop at methods with known countermeasures. Like Yeji, Xinyi had advanced by being sharp and talented—but Xinyi had never bothered to play the game of corporate ass kissing or pretending to like her coworkers. Yeji could remember encouraging a bit of politicking countless times, but had long since given up.
It was now just one less skill Yeji needed to be prepared to counter. If Xinyi enlisted anyone’s help it would be from someone just as helpless to her as Janet was to Yeji.
Just as she was about to close out of the database, something caught her eyes and demanded a closer look. Ana Wallin’s file wasn’t under any greater security than Xinyi’s. If Ana was the one overseeing the competition, then knowing her was just as important.
“You have mental scores this low and they let you be in Senior Management…?” Yeji wrinkled her nose. “No wonder you’re always in the front of the line for mental security updates and training… somehow we’ve never met in that field, but you might just be due for a refresher soon…”
Yeji hooded her eyes as she logged out of the computer, and stood up to tower over Janet who was lost bucking her hips and grinding her hand.
“Cum. Forget. Erase any evidence your office was used to look at employee files. Fabricate a reason if you can’t. We don’t know each other, but you’re still my on-call IT slut.” Yeji waited for Janet’s screams to quiet before stepping out the door and pulling it closed behind her.