She was standing up somehow.
As her head began to clear, Meteor Maid could feel something under her arms and around her upper thighs. Opening her eyes, she saw that thick black bands were looped over each shoulder and leg, with support lines running up toward the ceiling. She tried to reach for them, and found that her arms were bound behind her back.
Well, that shouldn’t be a problem. Even ropes made from Molecula’s self-repairing materials would give way after twenty or thirty seconds of super-vibration. She took a deep breath—through her nose; there was something the size of a golf ball stuck in her mouth—as she shook off the mental fog and prepared to literally bring herself up to speed.
Idly, she wondered how a non-powered hero like Vindiatrix got out of these situations. Of course, she kept all sorts of gadgets on her, but how did she get at the hidden ones from her gloves and boots when she got tied up like this?
Meteor Maid did a double take as she realized that she wasn’t wearing her gloves, or boots, or anything else besides the leather bands and the gag. She hadn’t noticed that at first because her skin was painted in the colors and pattern of her costume. Dammit, she was on display like some kind of porn model! Never mind that now, she told herself, just get out of here and worry about getting dressed later. If worst comes to worst, I can run home at top speed and nobody will really see anything. And then when I get my hands on that Molecula... the bitch probably took pictures to sell to some scummy tabloid....
The heroine threw her fury into action, working her arms and legs and rocking her body back and forth at superspeed. Soon, she’d get free, find her enemy, and give her a richly deserved ass-kicking....
Suddenly, she jerked to a halt as she felt something spray into her mouth from the ball clenched between her teeth. It tasted sour— Dammit! She knew I’d try vibrating my way out of this, so she filled this thing with soda water so it’d squirt out when I shook it up!
She tried harder than ever to break loose, not knowing how long she’d be able to keep it up before whatever she’d been dosed with took effect. It was harder than she’d expected; there was a layer of padding under the leather that damped out her vibrations more effectively than anything she’d ever encountered before. Worse, she felt herself beginning to falter, her efforts becoming weak and uncoordinated.
Finally, Meteor Maid’s body slumped, though she was still held almost fully upright by the cords and straps. Her head hanging low, she desperately thought, What am I gonna do? Somebody... somebody tell me what to do!
It didn’t occur to her to wonder why she wished for that, instead of for somebody to simply cut her loose.
She finally looked up as she heard a door open. Molecula strode into the room, closing the door behind her.
After taking a look at the ball gag, and staring into the captive’s eyes for a moment, she said, “I see that you’ve had your drink. By now, you should be relaxed enough to give up on attempting to escape... and suggestible enough to listen to what I have to say.”
Meteor Maid yelled a muffled protest into her gag.
“It’s a simple matter of brain chemistry... and no one does chemistry better than me.”
The superheroine’s eyes glanced at the stylized benzene ring on her captor’s breast... and then she blinked as her gaze moved a bit further down. Nipples? She put nipples on her bodysuit?
No, it wasn’t her bodysuit. Molecula, like Meteor Maid herself, was nude and body-painted in the pattern of her usual outfit. It looked the same at a quick glance—even her belt pouches were shaded to seem three-dimensional—but the difference was obvious when she looked at the other woman’s breasts and pubes and feet. Uncomfortably, she kept her eyes down and focused on the last of those sights.
“I see that you’ve noticed the body art. And you’ve realized that you’re also wearing paint instead of your usual outfit?” Without meaning to, Meteor Maid nodded confirmation.
“It would be perfectly understandable if you’d overlooked it. Really, the differences are so subtle. Allow me to show you.”
Molecula stepped to the side and thumbed a little device in her hand. A curtain at the side of the doorway rose to the ceiling, revealing a floor-to-ceiling display screen.
“Pay close attention.” The viewscreen began to shimmer, in a pattern of colors that drew the heroine’s gaze. “Watch the pictures. The pictures will tell you what you want to know... what you need to know....”
The shimmering colors resolved into a pair of life-size images showing Molecula from mid-calf upwards, as seen from behind. One showed her in costume. The other showed her as she appeared now, wearing only body paint, apparently taken a few moments ago by a camera in this room. Both displayed similar poses; the most obvious difference was that the painted image showed all the curves of her butt.
“You see? It’s so very easy to look at this...” An arrow indicated the costumed image “...and see this,” she continued, as the arrow flipped to indicate the painted one. “The fabric hugs most of the curves anyway. It’s trivial to fill in the rest in your mind’s eye—after all, you know perfectly well what a trim athletic female tush looks like. The difference between a costume that looks almost painted-on and one that is painted on isn’t very much at all.”
Meteor Maid stared at the displays. She wanted to look away... she could tell that this was leading somewhere she didn’t want to go... but somehow she simply couldn’t.
“Take a moment and concentrate on what I’ve told you and what I’ve shown you. Since we began here, have I told you anything that isn’t true? Anything at all?”
The bound woman stared even harder at the two depictions of her captor. No, she couldn’t deny that it took very little imagination to look at a spandex-clad butt and picture the fabric clinging a bit tighter until it followed even the inner curvature... to visualize the costume literally rather than figuratively painted on. Thinking back, she knew that Molecula wasn’t boasting when she claimed to do chemistry better than anyone else. She was simply stating a fact.
Was it simply a matter of brain chemistry? There had to be more to it than that! Her strength and determination had to count for something, right? Or could Molecula neutralize that as easily as she could neutralize a vial of acid by adding enough alkaline solution? Did she still have any real control over herself? Could she... could she take her attention away from where her captor was directing it?
“Does anything about those pictures show you that I’m wrong?”
Her thoughts went in circles... she had to look away to prove that Molecula was wrong... she had to look more closely to prove that Molecula was wrong... no, she had to look away... trying to look away made her feel like she was doing something she shouldn’t... trying to look closely made it harder to think....
“It’s the same with you,” her captor finally said, breaking that endless loop of thoughts just when she thought she might break out of it herself. Eventually. Somehow.
Now she was looking at costumed photo of herself. She recognized it as a publicity still from a fundraiser where she’d auctioned off a dinner date. She was leaning forward and to a bit sideways, in a way that showed off her boobs and hips and legs and even a bit of her rear. The image was paired with a front view of herself as she appeared now, naked and painted and bound.
“This is how you’ve been presenting yourself to the world, darling. Wearing an outfit that shows off everything. Really, this painted-on costume you’re wearing now is hardly any different. You know that people look at you and undress you with their eyes every day. All they have to do is visualize a few small details that are perfectly familiar to anybody old enough to take an interest.”
Molecula’s voice became especially compelling. “You know that it’s true.”
And she did.
“Look at yourself in that getup. You’re inviting people to visualize you naked.”
That was also true, she had to admit. She managed to focus her thoughts enough to tell herself that it was in a good cause, to encourage a gathering of mostly middle-aged men to open their checkbooks for charity... but that didn’t change the fact of it.
“Whenever you dress like this...” A half-dozen arrows blinked around her costumed image. “...you encourage people to see this.” Animated pulsating arrows now surrounded her naked image. It might have been her imagination, but to Meteor Maid it seemed that most of them pointed directly at her nipples and pussy.
Molecula continued in this vein, directing Meteor Maid’s attention to pairs of costumed and painted images. Over and over, she was reminded of how the two were very much alike, that the former was just as revealing as the latter.
She was unable to deny it. Then she was unable to remember why she was trying to deny it. At length, she accepted it.
After a while, the usual alternation between pictures of Meteor Maid and pictures of Molecula was replaced by an exclusive focus on the latter. These images were accompanied by new suggestions, describing how she would react to the other woman. Whenever she saw Molecula in costume, a naked and painted image would appear in her mind’s eye. Whenever she thought about Molecula for any reason, she would feel erotic desire. Molecula would appear in her dreams, and her daydreams, as a desirable sex object.
That didn’t seem quite right. Wasn’t she supposed to react that way to men, not other women? It was so confusing....
The images returned to their pattern of alternating between Meteor Maid and Molecula. Both were shown in costume and in paint, two trivial variations on their respective sexual displays. The voice stopped belaboring that point. What it focused on now was the distinction between two types of sexual display... that of a forceful and seductive conqueror, and that of someone offering herself as a conquest.
Specifically, that of Molecula the conqueror, and that of Meteor Maid the conquest. Additional suggestions reinforced this theme. Meteor Maid wanted someone to capture her, bind her, and take her for a lover. That was what she had always wanted. That was her most powerful sexual fantasy, secret even from herself. There was no reason to continue denying it, no reason to continue denying herself. She had put up a good fight, as much as anybody could expect from her, and now she was free to relax and let it happen. Letting it happen was so much easier than playing the complicated ever-shifting game of interpersonal relationships.
These statements were much less confusing than the previous ones, somehow. She accepted them without question.
Finally, the screen showed an image of the two women in costume— or was it body paint? Meteor Maid realized after a moment that the picture did show them in costume, but she preferred to visualize it the other way. It looked like artwork rather than a photograph, anyway. In the picture, Molecula held a leash, which was attached to a collar around Meteor Maid’s neck. There was no sign of struggle or conflict... just mutual acceptance of their respective roles.
Even before the new round of suggestions began, she understood. It was Molecula who would select her, take her, bind her, and make love to her. Actually, it was Molecula who had already done all but the last of those things... and surely that was only a matter of time. Her confusion returned: yes, this was her fantasy... but Molecula was a woman... she wanted this... she was straight... Molecula was attractive... making love to another woman would feel strange....
Then the voice in her ears made the turmoil in her mind subside. The desire to submit was her true sexual preference. Whether she submitted to a man or a woman was not important. In fact, switching her former gender preference would be the perfect way to make a new beginning as she embraced her submissive nature.
The last bit of uncertainty vanished as she understood that Molecula had been the one who had taken the initiative to bind her, and thereby liberate her to be her true self. What mattered was that action, that force of will, and the gratitude and love and obedience that she owed—and would gladly give—in return.
It all made perfect sense now.
Finally, the display screen shut off, and she closed her eyes. She let the voice continue to wash over her, reiterating comfortable thoughts that no longer needed any reinforcement:
This is what you’ve always wanted, even if you’ve never realized that until now.
It has always been your secret fantasy to attract the attention of someone who would capture you, bind you, and take you as a lover.
It’s so difficult to find the right person. It’s so much easier to let the right person find you.
Just relax and let Molecula give you what you crave, what you need.
She simply listened and absorbed. She was no longer sure whether the voice was in her ears or inside her own head. She could open her eyes and see if Molecula was still speaking to her, but it seemed like too much trouble.
“I’ve seen how you look longingly at the symbol on my chest... or, let us be honest, how you look longingly at my chest. That is why I wear an emblem that draws eyes to my bosom.”
This time, she could tell that it was Molecula’s voice, not her own musings. It didn’t matter all that much. Now that the confusion had gone away, the two were in perfect harmony, anyway.
Fingers traced the stylized meteor on her left breast. “And so do you. Each of us drew the other’s eyes there, and looked into those eyes to find what we’ve been looking for. The perfect seduction and conquest, for me. The perfect submission and surrender, for you.”
The fingers slid down to trace the lines separating two shades of blue. Those lines formed a “V” that extended from just below Meteor Maid’s bustline to a point just below her navel. “And to highlight your craving for sexual surrender, you wear a huge arrow pointing directly at your snatch, advertising the grand prize you offer to your conqueror.”
Molecula’s hands met at the vertex of the “V”, and then slid down just a bit further. Fingertips tickled and teased the bound woman’s freshly shaved pubes, a mere inch or so above her opening.
“And now the conquest you’ve been waiting for is almost complete. Your greatest fantasy is so close to being fulfilled. Deep down, you have known it ever since our first confrontation. Step by step, you have seduced me, driven me to make you mine, and finally delivered yourself into my clutches to helplessly await my pleasure.” Her voice dropped to a whisper, but became all the more intense for that. “I am your Mistress. You are my pet. That is how you want it to be, now and forever.“
Yes... yes, that’s what I want. It was the first completely clear thought in her head since the gag-ball spritzer had gone off.
She arched her body, raising her crotch to place her sensitive spots under Mistress’ fingers.
The fingers lifted away. Her eyes snapped open, and she grunted a protest into her gag.
“Soon, darling, soon. But not quite yet.” She stepped around behind her captive and reached for something hanging on the wall. “In a few moments, you will go to sleep. When you wake up, the last thing you will recall will be our confrontation at the museum. You will have no conscious memory of this encounter... but every word and image and sensation will remain with you. Every time you put on your costume, your desire to be sexually dominated will come closer to the surface. Every time you think about me, your attraction to me will grow stronger. You will accept these thoughts, and believe that they are your own idea.”
Madame Molecula gazed into Meteor Maid’s eyes more intensely than ever. “When we meet again, you will give yourself to me.”
Meteor Maid nodded.
“Very good.” In one smooth motion, she pressed a paper mask over her companion’s nose and mouth, not bothering to fasten the elastic band around her head. “Take a deep breath.”
The last thing Meteor Maid knew was the touch of their foreheads as she slumped forward.