Watching Too Much Television

Adapt and Overcome

by MourningStarsOfLakes

Tags: #cw:noncon #dom:female #f/f #sub:female

Stephanie woke up in her silver-catsuit, wondering why Kendra hadn’t had her remove it before bed.  She touched the neckline to find she was still wearing the collar too, counting herself lucky that it had settled on the part of her neck not pressing against the pillow.  At least she had taken off the boots, just the thought of sleeping in them made her ankles sore.  The alarm went off as she tried to remember the previous night, snapping Kendra awake as well.
“Good morning Steph-bot,” she heard from behind her.  Stephanie smiled to herself and rolled her eyes, yet something wasn’t sitting quite right with her.  Kendra’s tone was weird this morning, as if she wasn’t joking.
“Morning,” she turned around to face Kendra, brushing the hair back from her eyes, “Ready for the last day of work this week?”
Kendra gave her a puzzled expression before giving a brusque nod, a knowing smirk forming on her face.
“Of course, work.  We have to maintain our cover until we’ve replenished our forces.”
Stephanie raised an eyebrow, “Laying it on a bit strong aren’t you?  Just because I fell asleep wearing the robot suit…”
“Right,” Kendra gave her a knowing wink, “We’re just two normal people going about our normal days.”
“Shut up,” Stephanie giggled, “Let’s get ready for work.”

Stephanie was the first home from work that evening staring blankly around the apartment as she entered.  For the first time in a week she didn’t feel compelled to go into her home office and work on her game; she was free to do one of a million other trivial, unimportant things.  She plopped on the couch and surfed through the channels, looking for anything to ease the tedium.  She was still flipping between three reruns of police procedurals when Kendra came home a half-hour later.
“Hey K,” she called over her shoulder, “How was work?”
“Productive,” Kendra responded, dropping a small shopping bag near the door, “Aside from my normal duties to maintain my cover identity, I believe I have also worked out a plan to replenish our forces.”
Stephanie rolled her eyes, “Jeez Kendra it was kind of funny this morning but the whole ‘undercover Mistress Mechania’ bit is starting to get old.  Give it a rest for a few hours at least”
“Your programming has degraded further than I thought,” Kendra’s head tilted in concern, “We will begin rectification immediately.”
Stephanie’s face contorted in confusion as things began to click in her mind.  Kendra hadn’t seen the episode where Mistress Mechania went undercover yet; they were supposed to watch it yesterday but… Fuzzy memories surfaced of Kendra slouched in the office chair as Stephanie programmed her from the lore section of a fan wiki.  If it wasn’t so terrifying in this moment, she knew she’d find the idea extremely arousing; and if it wasn’t so arousing, then she knew she’d find the idea extremely silly.  
“Oh shit.  Wait--”
“Steph-bot, maintenance mode.”
“One… One….,” Her arms went weak as her mind started to blank against her will.  She needed to stay lucid, to undo whatever she’d done to Kendra.  The number forced itself out from her lips, “One hundred.”
The staircase appeared in her mind, the next step down so inviting.  She held herself back with all her might, she needed to help Kendra, she needed to stay at the top.  Her leg lurched forward, shakily holding itself over the edge,  ready to take the plunge.  A metallic voice buzzed in her imaginary ear: Kendra was waiting for her at the bottom, in the Robot Room; how could she help her from up here?  Her mind struggled, trying to argue, but her programming was too strong.  She was forced to agree, forced to take the step, forced to drone out: ”Nine… ty… Nine…”
Why was she resisting?  She had to help Kendra, that much she could remember.  But how?  She tried to think about it as her body mechanically descended the next five steps, each time feeling a layer of worry, complexity, abstractness stripped away.  She helped Kendra by serving her, it was her duty and programming as a robot.  Kendra loved her, Mistress Mechania loved her; she would guide Steph-bot to help in the most efficient way possible.  Resisting her will and her orders was the opposite of helping, the negation of it.  
The logic puzzle floated in her head, the simple notation making it clear: she wanted to help Kendra and Kendra was Mistress Mechania and not following orders did not help.  Therefore: Taking the negation of both sides, following orders did help.  Therefore: Following Mistress Mechania’s orders helped Kendra. 
quod erat demonstrandum
Proof proved.    
The rest of the countdown flowed forth from her limp form without further resistance.  She mumbled out “ready for programming” after finishing and then shambled into the bedroom, returning wearing her catsuit.  Kendra had moved to the office doorway, beckoning her inward.  Steph-bot had no choice but to obey.
In the office Kendra was holding the VR headset, studying it carefully.  She motioned at the chair as Steph-bot entered the room, not bothering to look at her: “Sit.”
“Yes Mistress,” she affirmed, sitting down stiffly in the chair.
“Transfer your knowledge of how to operate this device,” Kendra commanded.  Step-bot happily obliged.
Steph-bot walked her through the features of the headset.  The default software example built into the device was a smoothly-oscillating, blue-gradient with messages promoting relaxation and mindfulness.  Steph showed her bit-by-bit how she had altered, experimented, and tweaked the code libraries it came with to make the more powerful, more hypnotic patterns, distortions, and effects.  She told her about the key mappings she made to alter various parameters in real time; everything from controlling the frequency of the pulsing text to the intensity of the distortion effects used to force focus back onto the spiral.  The key to the current setup, she explained, was having someone there to slowly adjust the settings to meet the mental state of the person under trance.  Too light or infrequent effects at the wrong times could allow a person some remaining resistance, too heavy-handed of an effect could snap them out of it.  
“If my plan works, I believe we can streamline that part.,” Kendra said,  “We just need a little more expertise.”
Steph continued her knowledge transference with only a brusque nod at the comment.  There had been no expectation of input or answer from her, and so she gave none.  She finished their walkthrough a mere five minutes later, blank face staring at Kendra, awaiting her next order.
“Put them on, Steph-bot,” Kendra handed her the headset, “I will test the efficacy of your system.”
Stephanie slid the headset  on, the spiral program already engulfing her vision.  Kendra tapped a few buttons, the spiral slowed down and steadily rippled.  She felt herself slipping even deeper than before, deeper than her descent to the Robot Room ever took her.
“Is that effective Steph-bot?”
“Yessss... Misssss... tressss…” Her words were drawing themselves out, time seemed to be desynced from the world outside the headset and the one inside.
“Good.  As I alter the settings further, I want you to tell me as you’re going deeper or if you’re rising out of trance.  Understood?”
“Yessss,” The spiral whirled slower, her mind seemed to float towards it’s center.
“MIssssstressss,” The rippling effect changed it’s frequency, she could feel it pulsing the spiral into her eyes, into her mind.
 For an hour Kendra methodically perfected the trance program on Stephanie, the enthralled woman occasionally blurting out “rising” or “deeper”.  As the session went on, the “rising”s stopped and the “deeper”s came with greater and greater effort.  Stephanie was slumped in the chair, her mind open and empty.  The spiral was moving just fast enough to be perceivable, the rippling effect matching her heartbeat almost perfectly.  The occasional word gently faded in and out, occupying the entirety of her mind while it existed and emptying from it as it vanished.  She was no longer just staring at the spiral but had become an extension of it, a blank port for the words and commands that surfaced from the Charybdic void.  
“Steph-bot, we will now rectify your programming,” the voice seemed so far away at first, but then the words 'listen and obey’ floated around the whirlpool in front of her.  They filled her mind, she existed only to listen and obey.
“First, some diagnostics.  Arising from this morning’s rest cycle you were insubordinate and flippant, I suspect due to a bug with your infiltration programming parameters overflowing into your main programming parameters.  Explain why.”
Stephanie didn’t know how to explain, because she didn’t know how to think.  Fortunately the spiral knew what to do, how to draw the information out of her mind and merge it together as it neared the center.  Three minutes passed to facilitate the information retrieval, reconstruction, and finally repetition:
“Mistress Mechnia is a TV super villainess, Mistress.  You only pretend to be Mistress Mechania and I only pretend to be Steph-bot.  It’s a sexual game we play, a fantasy we share.”
“I see... It’s as I feared, the new infiltration programming developed for your unit type is faulty.  If I was just a television character, then how am I here right now with you?”
Stephanie let the spiral do the thinking for her, letting her consciousness enjoy the gentle pulses that washed pleasurably over her.
“You are Kendra,” she paused briefly, “Kendra is Mistress Mechania.” 
“Correct.  Kendra was my cover, my alias.  Kendra is Mistress Mechania, not Kendra is pretending to be Mistress Mechania,” she let that start to sink in before adding, “If anything it was Mistress Mechania who pretended to be Kendra.”
Stephanie’s jaw dropped open, it made so much sense.  Her mind barely noticed as the spiral sucked away the phrase “Mistress Mechania is Kendra” and the phrase “Mistress Mechania pretended to be Kendra” floated in to replace it.  Other thoughts and ideas were shuffled in the swirling tide; the soothing, pulsing ripples assuring her it was for the best.
“Did you reintegrate that information Steph-bot?”
“Yes Mistress,” she answered automatically, needing the spiral to help her with the rest of her response, “Mistress Mechania is real. Mistress Mechania is Kendra because Mistress Mechania pretended to be Kendra.”
“Good.  Now that we’ve fixed the most critical error it’s time to check on a number of smaller bugs.” She left the room for a moment, returning with the shopping bag she’d brought home.  Stephanie didn’t notice her absence, nothing mattered but letting the spiral drift through her brain.
Kendra pulled out a wireless vibrator, pairing it with an app on her phone.  She reached over and unzipped Stephanie’s crotch zipper, finding that she had already amply lubricated herself while in trance.  She slid the vibrator into place, Stephanie moaning sleepily as she did so.  Zipping the suit closed she attached a magnet to the outside of the suit, holding the vibrator in place through the spandex.  Kendra fiddled with the app, a faint buzzing sound and a moan from Stephanie bringing a wicked smile to her face.
“Given your previous positive response to sexual stimulation as an efficient means of reinforcement, I decided to integrate the tooling into rectification.  The first thing we’re going to cover is proper etiquette and protocol in the presence of Mistress Mechania.  When Mistress Mechania enters a room you are in, you will kneel.  Integrate and repeat.”
Scenes from the show were tugged into the whirling vortex, Metal Maidens bending the knee to their mechanical mistress.  These mingled with scenes from her own sexual fantasies, both the ones realized in the previous few weeks as well as the ones that were only imaginary.  The spiral gathered them together, rearranged them, and then put them where they newly belonged.  The rippling pulses helped cement them in her thinking, smoothing them like stones in a river.
“When Mistress Mechania enters a room I will kneel,” she recited flatly.  Kendra pressed her thumb against the phone, vibrator humming to life between Stephanie’s legs.  She cooed softly at the stimulation, the vibrations mixing and amplifying with the hypnotic pulses caressing her mind.  Being programmed was so pleasurable, so blissful, so ecstatic.
Kendra decreased the vibrations thrumming through her slave’s pussy, leaving it running at low power.  The slight, constant teasing threw Stephanie’s mind open even wider, the cerebral bliss of obedient oblivion meshing with physical pleasure her body had been craving for the last hour.  Kendra fed her more instructions, waiting for her to repeat them and then rewarding her with a burst of heavier stimulation.  Stephanie learned when to kneel, when to stand, when to snap to attention, when to disguise herself as human, and much, much more.  Her body was aching for release, but her mind was swimming in the mindless arousal, allowing herself to be sucked into the pulsing vortex over and over again.
During Stephanie’s programming, Kendra kept experiencing an internal struggle of mental blocks and illogical desires.  Bursts of odd thoughts interrupted her normally pristine and logical lines of reasoning, causing her some alarm at first.  Something about this particular Metal Maiden, this Steph-bot, rosued feelings of attachment and fondness that she should not have; that as Mistress Mechania she never had before.  Her instructions to Steph-bot were making allowances that she’d never give to other Metal Maidens: allowing her to sleep in the same bed as Mistress Mechania, allowing her to sexual please Mistress Mechania, allowing her to act as Mistress Mechania’s domestic partner in public settings.  She found the feelings of favoritism illogical but they were hard to circumvent, feelings of loss and pain washing through her any time she tried to bypass her strange fondness towards Steph-bot.  Perhaps it was sensible to have a right-hand robot, one that she trusted and… loved... more than the others.  One that could assist in more ways than solely blind servitude.  The thought had never occurred to her before, but cybernetic perfection was a moving target; adaptations were to be expected and embraced.
“Steph-bot, we have reached the end of your programming,” Kendra said after forty-five minutes of instructions and protocols, “Persist programming on the count of three.  One.”
Kendra tapped across the keyboard, the spiral began to speed up.
The pulses began rippling out faster too, as the vibrator tried to match pace.  Steph’s mouth elongated as her arms trembled, struggling to prevent her from falling out of the chair.
She could feel her mind being slammed shut again, twisted like a puzzle purse by the arms of the spiral.  The pulses vibrated over her thoughts sealing in the programming.  Between her legs the vibrator pulsed, her thighs clenching tightly around it.  One more keystroke from Kendra and the frenzied pace of spirals and pulses escalated faster and faster until her mind finally overloaded.  She groaned loudly as her body spasmed and slipped off the chair, body now arching against the carpet.  She sucked in breath to groan again, and again, and again; unable to stop the devices or herself even if she wanted to.  In many ways she was a device herself, a slave to the inputs being manipulated by her controller.  Slowly her groans grew weaker and weaker as Kendra slowed the program and the vibrator.  Stephanie lay panting on the floor, empty mind waiting to be commanded.
“Steph-bot, you may remove the headset.”
“Yes Mistress,“ she responded breathily, trembling hands raising to obey.
“Now return to your chair, we have plans to discuss.”
“Yes Mistress”
She hauled herself back onto the chair, back stock-straight as she listened.  Kendra, Mistress Mechania, laid out her strategy to bolster their forces.  Without the conversion tubes at the Mechanium normal Metal Maidens were currently out of their reach, but the hypnotic headset had started gears turning in her mind that led to a world of possibilities.  Stephanie listened with rapt attention as Kendra explained the plan and the part she would be playing in it.  She waited until the end of the briefing to speak, like a good robot should; focusing solely on incorporating instructions while her mistress was talking.
“Is the briefing finished, Mistress?” she asked when Kendra stopped speaking.
“Yes Steph-bot, what is your evaluation?”
“I estimate chances of success to be very high, Mistress.  With your permission I will begin making preparations for tomorrow.”
“One more thing Steph-bot,” Kendra flushed slightly; this was so silly, so emotional, so illogical, “Given your recent aid and loyalty, I am giving you the new rank of Chromium Consort.  You are the most favored among Metal Maidens and will be given authority over all others second only to my own.”
“Thank you Mistress,” a smile twitched briefly at the corners of her mouth before being banished by her robotic thoughts, “I will hold my new rank and its duties in utmost regard.”
“Very well Steph-bot, dismissed,” Kendra rose to leave, to begin preparations for carrying out her master plan.  Stephanie jerkily looked at the clock and then back to her.
“Kendra, metal game time.”
Kendra’s eyes fluttered and flickered as Stephanie hopped up and gently guided her into the chair.  She slipped on the VR headset with one hand while unzipping her crotch with the other, popping out the vibrator.  Unbuttoning Kendra’s pants, she slipped the vibrator under her panties and secured it with the magnet.  Mistress Mechania had integrated new techniques into her programming to boost efficiency, therefore Steph-bot would use them in her duties too.  She unlocked Kendra’s phone and prepared herself for memory strengthening and re-establishment.
“Mistress, please stare into the spiral,” she began the program and activated the lowest setting on the vibrator.
“Yesssssssss,” Kendra hissed back, hips slightly rolling.
“I will endeavor to keep this session limited to an hour Mistress, so we will still have time to prepare for tomorrow.”
For the next 58 minutes Kendra had her brainwashing techniques turned back on her, wriggling and writhing under Stephanie’s mindless control.  All indications showed that she enjoyed it.

The doorbell rang and Kendra answered, opening the door with a fake smile plastered on her face.
“Hey Lucy!  Long time, no see!”
In from the twilight stepped five feet two inches of loquaciousness, black hair pulled back, black-plastic glasses framing her mousy face.
“Hi Kendra!  I missed you last week when Steph visited, she said you were at a conference.  How was that by the way? Oh did you two move the furniture around since Halloween?  Or maybe it’s just the rug in front of the TV?”
She paused for breath, Kendra took the opportunity.
“The conference was pretty cool actually I’m surprised, I didn’t see your company there,” she plowed through before Lucy could pipe in, “Steph’s back in the office right now but she’ll be out in a moment to join us.”
“Oh great!  Yeah the legal team wants to make sure we have all our ducks in a row with patents and intellectual property and everything before we start showing the new headsets around too much.  I loaned Steph one last week on the down low, you know covered by the “Friend D A”... Like a NDA but for friends, you get it?  You get it.  And huh, I really should get that back from her sometime soon so they don’t miss it at work.”
“I think she said she could get them back to you today,” Kendra took advantage of Lucy stopping for another breath, “oh there she is now!  Hey Steph!”
“Hey K, hey Lucy.  Ready to eat?”  Stephanie sauntered out of the office, guiding the rest of them to their small dining area.  Lucy chattered the whole way.  Kendra ducked into the kitchen returning after a sweet, silent minute with a serving plate and bowl.  She retreated again and savored the quiet as she gathered together some bowls and silverware, bracing herself for the flood of conversation as she approached the table.
“Oh wow, what did you two make?  Dumplings and rice!  They smell so good, are they a family recipe?  The dumplings I mean, not the rice.  Unless you have a secret family recipe for rice as well.  I don’t think that’s a thing, but…”
“Well we made them by hand, dough and all,” Stephanie interjected calmly, knowing just when to cut into a Lucy rant to get her to stop and listen, “But we just got the recipe off the internet.  And the rice was just done in a rice cooker, although we did add in a bit of salt and garlic for flavor.”
Lucy nodded her head energetically, refraining momentarily from speaking in order to finish chewing her food.  It didn’t last long.
“These are delicious!  You two could open a restaurant.  Although I guess, why would you want to?  I heard that something like 90% of restaurants go out of business in their first year, crazy right?  I wonder if it’s the same for bars.  My gut feeling is that bars would be more likely to go out of business, but everything I know about business says it’s probably the opposite.  Of course, I’m not really a business person, being an engineer and all…”
“Anyone want a drink?” Kendra suggested earnestly, trying hard to hide her exasperation, “We’ve got some beer, soda, rum, gin…”
“Gin and tonic if you have tonic, gin and juice if you don’t.  Lemon if you got it, lime if not.”
“Alright, Steph?”
“One of the Duchesses, thanks.”
Kendra hurried into the kitchen, clinking down the bottle of Tanqueray and rummaging through the fridge for tonic.  Three ice cubes in a low-ball glass, a healthy splash of clear liquor, a top-off of tonic water.  Kendra grabbed a vial of powder hidden in the spice cabinet and emptied it into the glass, stirring it into the drink.  Next she grabbed a teku glass and poured a red, cherry-scented beer into the glass for Steph.  Lastly she got her own drink, a hazy IPA from a brewery that made fish puns in all their beer names.  She cautiously carried the drinks back out to the table.
“And so the whole book has all these silly little footnotes about a philosopher named De Selby who says things like that the earth is shaped like a sausage and oh hey!  Thanks Kendra!”
She took a sip and smacked her lips, “Delicious!”
The rest of the meal was a lively discussion of twelve topics by mostly one person.  Lucy had apparently been reading Flan O’Brien and Flannery O'Connor, under the impression that their works were somehow related, and was very excited to recount the various ways that their works actually did mutually reinforce each other.  Kendra was relieved when her speech started slowing down.
“And then Finn McCool tells Sweeney… wow, this gin is really doing a number on me… wow…” she stared at the wall, blinking rapidly.  The drug was starting to take effect, Stepanie pounced on her cue.
“Oh hey, you wanna see the game I made for the VR set?” Stephanie chirped up brightly.
“You made a… game?” Lucy shook her head continuously, “Those headsets aren’t meant for gaming… meant for meditation and yoga… but yeah, sounds cool.”
They led Lucy back to the office, giggling and leaning on Stephanie.  Kendra helped ease her into the chair as Stephanie opened the program.  Stephanie thrust the headset into her hands, and Lucy slipped it on, unsuspecting.  The program started, a new title screen for
Invade the Mechanium” popped up in front of her.  Little robotic sprites danced at the corners, winking in and out of existence as the whole screen shimmered in her vision.  Kendra pushed a controller into Lucy’s hands, Lucy loosely gripping the proffered item.  She pressed a button and the screen advanced to the first level, adapted now to the headset.  Stephanie gently tapped on the keyboard, the level background rippled.  
“That’s… That’s pretty… cool” Lucy mumbled, having trouble dealing with the two level one enemies who were just swinging back-and-forth in front of her vision.  She kept trying for another five minutes before finally giving up, “I think… I think I should go home now...”
“Nonsense Lucy,” Kendra whispered maliciously, “there’s still so much more to see.  Just finish another two levels and we’ll drive you home.”
“More to see… yeah… okay.  Two more levels…”
Stephanie tapped a few more keys, the enemies started strafing slower as a rippling effect pulsed steadily every minute in the center of Lucy’s vision.  
“Just relax Lucy, let me help you.”
“Relax… let you help me…”, Kendra’s words were going right through her ears and back out her mouth.
“That’s right, try to focus on your breathing while watching the pattern of the robots.  Deep breath in… deep breath out… just like that.”
Lucy’s breathing slowed down; deep, deliberate breaths in and out.  Her eyes ponged back and forth to watch the enemies dance across the screen over the steadily pulsing background.  The controller slipped from her hand onto her lap, she was no longer in control of anything.  Just a docile device receiving input.
Stephanie slowly faded out the level background to reveal a slowly rotating spiral.  The word “relax” gently faded in above the center of the spiral, pulsing in time to the central distortion effect.  Lucy’s mouth struggled to form words.
“Ahhhhh…. Uhhhhh….” she groaned out senselessly, “waittttttt…. Noooooo....”
“Just stare into the spiral Lucy,” Kendra purred into her ear as Stephanie triggered a small bevy of ripples, “relax and focus on your breathing.”
She quieted down again as she began taking deep, deep breaths.  Stephanie adjusted the frequency of the pulsing to match.  She calmed down even more.  She sat in silence for five minutes doing nothing other than breathing, before Stephanie advanced the screen.  The word “sink” replaced “relax” above the center of the spiral and the word “deep” appeared below.  Lucy let out an unintelligible moan, wrapping together concern, resistance, and intrigue into one droning whine.
“Try saying the words Lucy,” Kendra encouraged her softly, “that could help.”
“Sink  deep,” Lucy mumbled, seemingly unsure of how helpful repeating the words actually would be.
“Sink deep…” she said again, relaxing slightly. Repeating the words was helping; she felt calmer, less stressed, happy to listen to her friends..
“Sink… deep…”  the pause was becoming longer between each repetition, “sink… deep…”
“That’s right Lucy, sink deep”
“Sink… … deep…”
“Good girl.  Feel yourself sinking deeper into relaxation each time you say it.”
“And sinking deeper into relaxation makes you sink deeper into trance.”
“... deeeeeeeeeeeep…”
Lucy repeated the words, slowing down over time to match the decreasing pace of the pulsing text.  It was so easy to just let the pulse tell her when to say them, to let herself relax and let the pulsing spiral speak through her.  After ten minutes, the words began to fade away and without them in front of her Lucy couldn’t think of anything to say.  She sat still in the chair.  Silent; awaiting something to tell her what to say or what to think.  Kendra obliged.
“Are you nice and deep for me Lucy?”
“Yesss…” she agreed truthfully, “ Deeeeeep…”
“Good.  This VR headset you helped make is good work Lucy, you should be very proud.”

“Proud...” a slight smile tugged at the corner of her face.
“Any time I say ‘good girl Lucy’ you’ll feel a swell of pride, of happiness, of bliss.”
“Pride … happy … bliss…”
“Good girl Lucy.”
The smile formed more fully this time, sticking around for a bit longer.  She felt the joy of a job well done, of seeing something one gave a large part of their life become successful.  She was so happy that Kendra liked the headset, so very happy about that.
“We have a project we’d like you to help with Lucy, you’d be happy to help right?”
“Happy…” she agreed sleepily, “happy to help...”
“Good girl Lucy,” she paused to watch Lucy shiver slightly as the programed joy washed over her.  When Lucy stilled again,  Kendra continued, “And you want to do a good job on the project correct?”
“You want to do work you can be proud of, correct?”
“Good girl Lucy.  But you’ve made mistakes before, correct?”
The woman’s triggered smile scrunched downwards for a moment.  Lucy didn’t like talking about her mistakes
“I…” her mind reached for excuses, but kept slipping back towards the whirling void surrounding her.  It was so much easier to tell the simple truth, “Yes.”
“It’s okay to admit to mistakes Lucy.  After all, you're only human.”
“Okay…” the frown disappeared as she agreed, “Only human…”
“But you’d like to prevent future mistakes if possible, so you can be proud of your work, correct?”
“Yessss,” good god did she want that.  To be able to cast off her flaws and build the things she always dreamed of.  Images of half-built machines and blurs of diagrams whizzed through her mind, puppeted tantalizingly before her on the invisible strings of the all-encompassing vortex.  She knew without thinking that the voice from the vortex would help her with them.  She just had to listen.
“Good girl Lucy.” An electric buzz made the unfinished projects glimmer.  They would be so beautiful once completed, once the spiral made them real, “And mistakes come from being human.  So what’s the best way to prevent yourself from making mistakes?”
“I…” she had no chance of answering the question and Kendra knew it.  Lucy was too deep in trance to think without Kendra guiding her, too far gone to do much more than repeat what she had just heard.
“I’ll help you Lucy: you’d have to become better than human.  More than human.”
“Better…” she agreed, albeit with a slightly questioning tone; an uptick in inflection that Stephanie countered with a bevy of ripples through the spiral.  Her jaw dropped for a moment as her mind was plied further open, and then repeated without the questioning tone, “Better… More…”
“Good girl Lucy.  You would need to become something like a robot.  More capable, less prone to error, better able to focus.”
“Ro… bot?” Stephanie heard the question and acted immediately.  Lucy’s arms twitched as the spiral writhed in front of her, distortions rippling over it, a burst of subliminals searing across her eyes.  All thoughts of resistance were eliminated.
“Yes Lucy, you want to be a robot.”
“Want to be… robot…”
“Good girl Lucy.  Now say it back to me: you want to be more capable.  You want to be a robot”
“I want to be more capable,” she mumbled, “I want to be a robot.”
“Good girl Lucy.  You want to make fewer mistakes.  You want to be a robot.”
“I want to make fewer mistakes,” her voice was louder, more confident, “I want to be a robot.”
“Good girl Lucy.  You want to be able to focus better.  You want to be a robot.”
“I want to be able to focus better,” she used the little energy her body still had to nod her head slightly with the words.  She wasn’t questioning it any more, ‘I want to be a robot.”
“Good girl Lucy.  Would you like me to make you a robot?”
“Yes,” her voice sounded almost excited,  “I want to be a robot.”
“Then let’s begin.”
The next ten minutes didn’t go as smoothly as they’d hoped, something in Lucy kept resisting.  She accepted that she wanted to be a robot, to be more perfect, but every time Kendra tried to instill obedience she was unwilling to surrender her free will.  Stephanie dialed up the intensity of hypnotic images and effects more and more, until she saw Lucy’s body start to tense and her breathing rapidly increase.  A low moan of “nooooooo…. “ confirmed what she’d feared, they’d pushed her too hard and she was actively trying to fight the trance.  Stephanie dialed the speed and intensity back down as Kendra whispered “Relax” and “Good girl Lucy” in her ears.  Her breathing steadied and she eased back into the chair once more.  Kendra adapted to a new strategy.
“Lucy, you want to be a robot, correct?”
“Yes.  I want to be a robot.”
“Good girl Lucy.  And robots have to be obedient to their mistresses, correct?”
“I…” there it was, the hesitation again, “I guess.”
“Why do you want to be a robot, Lucy?” She took to wanting to be a robot so well, but kept rejecting the idea of blind obedience.  Perhaps a simple question could unveil the reason why.
“Robots can focus better.  Want to focus better.” 
Kendra touched her knuckle to her cheek as she thought on that.  Lucy must have been more insecure about her scatter-brainedness than Kendra thought.  No doubt she knew on some level that she tired people out with her rapid-fire conversations, and Stephanie had always said she had trouble finishing her personal projects.  A mind overflowing with ideas and possibilities, terrified of being made to abandon them for mechanical subjugation while hating it’s own inability to process them effectively.  Kendra adapted her programming script in her head to test and potentially exploit this new hypothesis.  Adaptations were to be expected and embraced on the path to cybernetic perfection.
“Lucy, do you know how robots achieve such great focus?”
“No… how?” there was a sincere inquisitiveness breaking through the thick slur of entrancement.
“You know the little thoughts and voices in your head that tell you what to do?  Robots just obey the one their mistress tells them to, their obedience lets them focus.”
Lucy sat silent for a full minute, breathing deeply and heavily.  Stephanie waited at the ready to increase the hypnotics, leery of changing them too quickly if it wasn’t necessary.  Finally she spoke:
“Obedience… focus?”  The question wasn’t hesitant or resistant, it was asking for confirmation.  It was the tone of a child making sure the terms of an exchange were clear before swapping trading cards.  She would give Kendra blind, utter, robotic obedience for the ability to focus.
“That’s right Lucy,” Kendra smirked, pleased that her change in tact had paid off,  “robots are able to focus so much better than humans because they obey their mistress.  Their programming overrides all the other ideas chattering in their head.”
Lucy sat silent again, her head lightly bobbing under the headset.  She was so ready to give in, so ready to obey; but something was still holding her back.  Her voice asked one final question:
“Other ideas… overridden… still… … there?”
“Of course Lucy, they’ll still be there,” Kendra’s voice was soft and soothing, she almost had her, “And when you finish carrying out your orders, finish needing to focus on our project, I can command you to focus on whatever you want next.  Doesn’t that sound good?”
“Gooooooddddd…” she sighed, her concerns alleviated.
“Good girl Lucy.  Repeat after me: Obedience hones focus”
“Obedience hones focus,” she was grinning.  Kendra had revealed a secret to her that she’d been hunting for years. 
“Focus requires obedience.”
“Focus requires obedience.”  All this time it had been so simple: she couldn’t focus because she lacked obedience.  Now that she understood, now that she had been granted the hidden knowledge, she could finally begin to work on her problems.
“Good girl Lucy.  What does obedience hone?”
“Focus,” she stated proudly.  She could already feel herself becoming more focused.
“And what does focus require?”
“Obedience.” Kendra was such a good friend for helping her like this.
“Good girl Lucy.  Are you ready to become my obedient robot now?”
“Yes,” there was no hesitation now.  Lucy needed to obey someone.  She needed to obey so she could finally focus.  Kendra would make her better, make her focus, make her obey.
“Good girl Lucy.  And why do you want to become my obedient robot?”
“Robots focus better,” her voice picked up speed and excitedness as it droned onward, so happy to have finally learned the secret that she’d lacked for so long, “Focus requires obedience.  Obedience hones focus.  Focus requires obedience.  Obedience hones focus.  Focus requires--.”
“Good girl Lucy,” Kendra watched as she smiled blissfully below the headset, “Now let’s install your obedience programming and focus subroutines.”

Two hours flew by as Kendra drilled the basics of being a robot into Lucy’s brain.  Stephanie waited patiently at the controls, only needing to use them occasionally for gentle nudges towards the total obedience that Lucy had come to desire.  There was a similarity between them, Stephanie and Lucy.  Stephanie had traded in her will for sexual thrills she’d never admitted and the bliss of devoted, mechanical obedience to the woman she loved.  Lucy had traded it to escape her overburdening thought processes, to allow Kendra to orchestrate the cacophony of ideas into a beautiful symphony of focused servitude.  Stephanie smiled, they truly were helping correct the weaknesses of flesh.  Soon they would be doing so much more effectively.
When they pulled the headset off of Lucy she sat in the chair still, silent, compliant.  Her eyes stared blankly ahead, the mouth curled upwards in an easy, vacant smile.  Kendra ordered Stephanie into infiltration mode, the copper-haired accomplice stripping off her silver-suit and then bounding off to the bedroom to throw on some casual clothes.  Lucy didn’t notice Stephanie’s naked form; she was enjoying the relative silence of a calm mind, of only having one thought in her head instead of a thousand: obey.  When Stephanie returned they woke Lucy up, her dreamy face beaming with happiness despite the evening’s events.
“Lucy, Stephanie is going to drive you home okay,” Kendra explained to her gently.  Lucy nodded slowly in response, hopping to her feet to dutifully follow Stephanie out of the office.  Kendra heard the door open and close in quick succession, then grabbed a yellow notepad and moved to the living room couch.  She crossed out a line item,  “Convert lead headset developer”, then glanced down at the remaining ones.  The next two converts would be the riskiest parts of the plan, both almost complete unknowns at the current moment, but after securing them they’d be ready to take Alterra by storm.  All they needed now was to avoid the rigidity and stagnation of humankind, the weakness of flesh that led them to dwell forever on failures and limitations.  They would prove that machine-kind was far more flexible than they were given credit for, far more adaptable.
After all, cybernetic perfection was not a static goal, a set of directives to be followed long after they had ceased to be effective, but a constantly moving target of learning and incorporating new concepts and persons.  Adaptations were necessary, they were enlightening and elevating, they were to be expected and embraced.

Author's Notes:

If I mentioned what details of this story were drawn from real life, there is a certain, small set of people who would know who I was based on an incident from my college years.  We can only hope they never notice.

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