"Can you give your name please?"
"Ah, I'm Mariana Guadalupe Garcia."
I was excited. This was it. I knew it. I fought to contain my enthusiasm.
The setup was slightly different from the previous five attempts. The laptop was on the near side of the table, closer to the armchair than before. Mari was dressed again, sitting in the armchair, with the camera pointed at her, and I had one of the kitchen chairs placed nearby, where I was seated.
"Thank you, Mariana. Do you consent to this Alteration, understanding that I'm a student undergoing training?" It was the sixth time she'd heard those words, and with luck, would be the last.
She smiled elegantly. I'm not sure why that particular smile felt elegant, but it definitely did. "Yes, I understand, and I consent."
I nodded. "In this Alteration, you will be put in a trance, given a few small, simple suggestions, and awakened and tested to see how the suggestions took." The formality of the speech helped me to keep myself steady. "Are you comfortable with this?"
Her smile got brighter. "I am, yes."
By now, the process of getting the helmet onto her was well-practiced, but my excitement made me a bit shaky. I tried to angle my body so the camera could see my technique, but I'd chosen to approach from the opposite side of the chair than I had been working from in past sessions, so it took a couple minutes of fumbling to make sure everything was in order.
"Are you comfortable, Mari?" I asked her.
"I am, Lucian, thank you."
"I'm going to attach the leads to the control, now. Are you ready to be Altered?"
"Yes, I am." There was no hesitation in her voice.
I tapped a button on the collector, and it responded with a green light. Everything was hooked up where it should be. I put the heavy wire dock on the back of the chair and ran the line down behind it and towards my workstation on the kitchen table.
I walked to the laptop, probably blocking the shot, but I needed to start the program, and I needed a sip of my water. "Alright, Mariana," I said, "you're going to see a number appearing on the visor screen, right about now." I started the first scans. "You might hear some soft noises in the headset, or feel the warmth of the electromagnets in the top of the helmet, or see little flashes on the visor. These are perfectly normal." I turned back to her, saw the corner of the visor light up. "What does the number say?
"One hundred forty two," she replied.
I confirmed that on the laptop, then returned to my seat. From where I was, I could see enough of the screen to monitor the important values. "Excellent. It seems that everything is nicely in order." I turned to Mari. "That number is an average of a bunch of physical measurements—long story short," I interrupted myself, "it's a very rough estimate of how awake you are. It's at one-four-two now. Between us, we're going to bring that number down to fifty."
Mari nodded. "Fifty. Got it."
"Maybe further," I said, "but fifty is our goal. Are you ready?"
"Then," I said, straightening up in the kitchen chair, "please look here, Mari. Breathe deep for me, nice and slow, and you'll see how the number quickly starts to fall." I could read the number in reverse, and it slipped down to one hundred thirty nine as she exhaled. "Not every step will be that dramatic, but in the end, that number will fall, and you will be hypnotized, open to suggestion."
She nodded, taking another slow, deep breath, watching the number fall.
"When you look away from me," I continued, "or when you open your eyes, after they've closed, that number will always be there, showing how well you're doing. Whenever you do, you'll notice that the number has fallen. It's at one-three-seven now, but just a moment ago it was at a hundred and forty two. There will inevitably be moments where it comes up a little, but always remember that it's lower than where it started." A trick of the program I'd hacked together in fifteen minutes. It would never again display a number more than one hundred forty, and that upper bound would slowly come down over time.
"Alright, sure, that makes sense," Mariana said, her voice betraying curiosity.
"And when you notice that your gaze is drifting away, you'll start feeling yourself looking back towards me, keeping your eyes on mine as much as you can, so long as they're open. It's alright if you look away, but you know you'll be drifting back to look in my eyes." I deliberately didn't look at the number. It wasn't for me, anyway; if I needed to know, I could glance past Mari and to the laptop on the table. I could tell without looking there, though, that my words, along with the subtle sounds and images and magnetic pulses from the Alteration helmet, were having a potent effect. The fact that she'd had an exhausting session earlier that evening certainly didn't hurt. "Just breathe nice and deep, in and out, simple and straightforward, right?"
"Right," Mari replied, giving me a slow nod. "Simple."
"Mhmm, that's right, Mari. Simple. Nothing challenging here." I smiled at her. "No math, no nodding, no flashes, no tracking of sounds or shapes. Just you and me."
"You and me," she repeated. "And the helmet."
I chuckled. "You can look past the helmet, and listen through the static. It's not there to interfere, it's not there to come between us, it's there to help, to give a little more emphasis to those words that help you to relax, to sink down into a trance, to open your mind to suggestion. That's why it's so easy to keep breathing nice and deep, like you are, without thinking about it."
"Right," she sighed. "Makes sense."
I kept going. "And why it's so easy to let everything else fade away except my voice, and my eyes, and that number in the corner of the screen," that number which, I noted, had just slipped down to double digits, "and to let yourself imagine slipping down into a trance. It shouldn't be too hard to imagine." I grinned.
She giggled endearingly. "No, it shouldn't be a challenge."
"It should even be fun, right Mari? You can imagine it pretty easily, how nice it is to slip down and down into a trance. You're already more than halfway there, right?"
"Heh, nah, I started at one-four-two and we're just at..." she trailed off. "Uh. Maybe it is?"
"We left math behind a few weeks ago," I repled.
"Uh huh. Um. One-four-two and fifty is one-nine-two and half that—"
"Close your eyes now, Mari, for a moment," I interrupted, and she complied. Her head dipped forward a bit as she did. "There's no need for math right now."
"No need," she muttered, her eyes opening back up. Her smile brightened as her head straightened. "No need for much I guess, huh."
"That's right, you can just sit and listen to me. There's a little flash in the corner of your eye right now, but it hardly matters. There's a whisper in your ears right now, but it's not important. You can just relax, and breathe, and let your eyes close again..."
She did, and her head tipped back.
"... and imagine that you're so hypnotized that your left arm simply won't move, no matter what you do. There's no will in it, to make it move. There's no energy in it, to let it move even if there was will." I reached forward and gently lifted her hand, letting her left arm follow it. "I'm going to let your arm back down in a moment. As I do, you're going to let your breath out nice and slow, straighten yourself back up, open your eyes, and imagine your arm so lethargic that it will not rise again." I paused a moment while she took a deep breath it, and let her arm down.
The slow breath came out, her head lifted back up, and her eyes fluttered open. "Seventy-two," she said dreamily.
"Is that the number on the visor?" I asked her.
She nodded. "Two twen—um, go t-uh—" she laughed. "Twenty two to go."
"Was that nice?"
"Mm, yeah," she sighed. Her head swiveled a bit towards me. "My arm."
"Your arm?" I asked, curious.
She strained a bit, and I could see her muscles tense. "Can't move it."
"And the more you try, the more you realize that there's no will to move it, no energy."
"Uh huh, yeah, I can tell."
"And if you look up here," I said, and her eyes drifted up to meet mine, "take a deep breath, and have a slow blink, you'll start to realize there's nothing out of the ordinary about that. Nothing unusual at all."
"Nothing... unusual..." she breathed. Her eyes fluttered open again. She looked a little confused. "Nothing unusual about what?"
I smiled. "Nothing to worry about," I said, "just keep your focus here, listen to my voice, and let everything go."
"I can do that."
I lifted my right hand and put my index finger beside my nose, and her eyes tracked it instantly. I lifted my finger up, and she tilted her head to follow it.
I dropped my arm quickly. "Sleep now, Mari."
She gasped and slumped forward in the chair. I glanced across at the laptop, where I could see that the Alteration system was registering and intensifying the changes in her mental state. Perfect.
"Good, Mari, and let yourself come back up, feel your eyes opening, looking right here at my finger..." My finger which was now held out between us at her normal eye level.
Her eyes opened and locked on to that finger. Her expression was fantastically dazed. Without a word, I raised my hand again, watching close as she calmly followed her fixation upwards, first with just her eyes and then again with her head.
"And three, two, one, down again," I said, letting my arm fall, watching as she dropped deeper into trance. I reached out to hold her up. Her left arm was still locked in place despite everything. "Good, Mari, you can just lean back in the chair, breathe nice and deep, and rest for a while." I gently pushed her back and her body did as directed, leaning back, her head lolled to the side, eyes closed, mouth slightly open.
I took a moment to admire the image before me. I'd never really noticed how beautiful Mari looked when she was so relaxed. Or maybe I had, and AlterLogic had kept that from me; I'd never know. I'm sure that some piece of technician programming existed to prevent inappropriate employee relationships, especially where the Alteration team was concerned.
"Come on back up, Mari," I continued after a moment. I needed her to be in trance, but I also needed her to be seeing the patterns in the visor. "Gradually, bit by bit, let your body sit up, breathe easy, and let your eyes open up. You can let your mind stay at rest, even as strength returns to your body."
She did as I instructed, and I watched her body regain the strength and stability it had had before I took her down into trance. But her eyes were only half-open, and her expression was vacant.
"You're feeling good," I said. It was a question seeking an answer, but I didn't phrase it that way.
"I am," she said. Those two words weren't enough to get a good read on her reply, whether she was affirming an order or agreeing to a query. That was part of why I needed training, to catch little mistakes like that. It was a bit of a wakeup call that I was starting to lose focus.
And I was. I was tired, this being my second session of the day at the end of a week where I'd been effectively fired after quitting. My usual routines had been disrupted. Not the least of which was the fact that this particular session was going well. But those two words brought me back to reality with a snap. A badly inflected question with an uncertain context to a subject deep in Altered trance could have consequences, and I'd no doubt hear about that in my evaluation.
I buckled down and put all my attention on Mari. I had a list of suggestions to get through, and I had to make sure my subject would be comfortable and happy. I mentally went over my plans, letting Mari rest in that state for a moment, trying to be sure that I wasn't going to make any more foolish mistakes. I took a breath, looked into my subject's blank eyes, and got to work.
I shut off the camera.
"How did I do?" Mari asked me, holding the helmet in her hands.
"Brilliant," I replied, stepping back around. "That was just perfect."
She stood, put the helmet on the chair, and stretched up on her toes. "And how did you do?" she asked with a bit of a smirk.
"B-plus material, I think. Not perfect, not top of the class, but solid work." I stood in front of her and sighed happily. "I'll submit it Monday. Done with this nonsense."
"And you get your certification?"
I nodded. "Once the class is over. Another three weeks."
"And until then?"
I shook my head. "My salary runs out after next week, then I guess it's ramen noodles until I get in as part of a practice."
"Enough about that." She wrapped her arms around my neck, leaned in for a kiss, which I gladly provided. "We have unfinished business in the bedroom."
"Would want to die and be stuck as a sex-ghost," I replied, a bit giddy.
She shook her head in mock-seriousness. "Oh, no, sex-ghosts are the worst." She laughed as we walked down the hall. "So did you leave any fun little games in my brain?"
I led her through the doorway to the bedroom, where two pizza boxes, one empty, one half-full, sat on the side-chair. "Couldn't. The Alteration system would have picked up and recorded anything I did with it, and I was on camera so the suggestions I could give you were pretty limited. It was a project for class, after all."
"Am I a project, then?" She grinned.
"No, you're a co-conspirator." I reached up to touch her cheek. "And besides, there's no reason I can't do a few things without the helmet."
"Mmm, oh really?" She leaned into my hand. "Things like what?"
I lifted her chin to meet her eyes. "Well, I've learned a few tricks about how people used to do this, before Alteration became widespread."
"Oh yeah?" Her breath quickened. "What would you do with those tricks?"
"Remember our first week?" I said, my voice low and even. "Remember what happened when I squeezed your breast?"
She nodded, but said nothing.
"Remember how it felt? How your whole mind and body moved to obey? How you helplessly responded..."
It took her a second to realize I was waiting for a reply, and then she whispered, "I am listening."
"And you are, Mari. You were just hypnotized, a moment ago, and that feeling is still in your muscles, in your bones. It's in the flutter of your eyes as you try to keep them focused on mine. It's in the excited hitch in your breath as you imagine what will happen next. It's the warmth in your cheeks, and elsewhere, as you imagine my fingers on your chest, and how you spoke without your will to say..."
Her response was much quicker, but no louder. "I am listening."
I chuckled. "You absolutely are, and nothing makes you happier right now." My voice was almost as soft as hers, though I wasn't whispering. We hadn't moved for some time, and I could feel her trembling a little. "Maybe it's not always this way. It may never be this way again. But right now, what you want, is for me to whisper seductive words in your ear, to draw you down into that place where you were within yourself, where all you do, over and over again, is say..."
She finished my sentence without a break, breathing out the words, "I am listening."
I nudged her backwards lightly and she sat on the bed, then put my finger between her eyes on her forehead and pushed, with the soft command to, "Sleep." She tumbled backwards, eyes closed, knees bent, flopped onto the blankets in a beautiful uncaring disarray.
"Good, Mari," I said, kneeling down by where her head had fallen. "Good. Just listen, and breathe," I said.
"am lis'ning," she slurred, her voice barely audible. I may have imagined it.
I rubbed her arm gently. "You know what I'm going to do. And you know that if you have any problem at any time, all you need to do is say 'stop,' and everything stops."
I paused, and was rewarded it a soft, "I'm lissn."
"But until then, just like a little bit ago when you were under Alteration, every suggestion or order I give you will be one of two things; either it will be something you don't like, which means you can let it slip away like it never happened, not even needing to remember it, or it will be something you want to accept, in which case it will be like it always was a part of you, something so strong and powerful that you can't help but follow it." I was improvising, but I thought I was doing a pretty good job. Most of this sort of thing—activating neural systems, projecting subliminals, managing suggestibility—was generally handled by the Alteration machinery far more efficiently and essentially automatically.
Even given that, there was something about the experience of talking it out, just as I had when she was in the armchair, that felt... not right, so much, though it was that, but significant. It's not like I was about to throw out the headgear and shift entirely to a spoken model, or even to a more hybridized version, but with Mariana, in that space, in that moment, it felt like I'd had a breakthrough.
And then, there was understanding. In my eventual practice, in my future Alterations, this accreditation that I was barrelling towards, I would be encountering the sorts of situations that Mari had presented me with over the past month. I couldn't imagine all four methods I worked with failing, not to mention the other tricks I knew, but if they did, I had still more options. Of course, if I'd just picked up on the situation to begin with, I could have switched techniques in week two and saved us both all this trouble. But this is why I was taking the class; if I'd known that, I wouldn't need lessons.
All this self-reflection was occurring while Mari was breathing softly on the bed, with me knelt beside. She patiently lay there, deeply entranced, as I sorted out my own issues, turning back to her after what felt like a mental eternity but was in reality probably no more than a minute.
"Now that you've had a chance to process that idea," I said, as though I had intentionally sat in silence a while, "it's time to start waking up. Deep breaths, in and out, Mari..." I adjusted my position, and reached over to her feet. "And as you start to come out of the trance, feel the way my fingers dance over the ticklish spots of your soles, and remember what happened last time I touched you like this."
Her breath turned to a giggle and kicked her legs clumsily. I kept at it. "Recall how easy it was for laughter to turn to arousal, and arousal back into—" I stopped as she kicked again and laughed, more loudly this time.
I shifted again, reaching up to tease her knees. "That's right, Mari, coming up more and more, thinking about how much fun it is when I touch you, how much more fun it can be when I can touch you more, more entirely, more intimately, more closely..." My hands slipped under her shirt, reached around to her sides...
"Mmm, Lucian... this is..."
And I dug my fingers into her ribs.
She yelped in surprise and wriggled, then, still laughing, planted her feet against my chest and shoved me away. "Well, it was wonderful and relaxing," she said as she sat up, a wry smile on her face. Her breathing was deep and quick, excited and enticed, and her hand was rubbing her belly through her shirt . "What comes next, then?" she teased. "We covered the first two weeks worth of screw ups, are you gonna put me to sleep, and then make me worry about you, and then, uh... what went wrong earlier?"
"I put together a program that didn't work well for you," I explained, standing up. "And no, I expect that I'll just stick to making you feel nicely submissive and obedient."
She snickered. "Oh really? Do you really think that I'll get submissive and obedient just because you—"
I snapped my fingers. She looked surprised, and glanced up at me, wide-eyed. "Take off your shirt."
"I'm listening," she said, her confident, brash tone suddenly turned meek, her hands practically leaping to pull her top over her head and toss it aside. There was a moment of silence. I smiled. "Oh," she said, looking down.
"You get it, now."
"Yes, Lucian, I do." She shivered and looked back up to me. "Do it again."
I snapped, and she gasped. "Stand up and lose your jeans."
She jumped to her feet. "I'm listening." She undid the fly and shoved the pants down her legs, stepping out of them quickly, then stood in her panties and bra.
"Tell me just how much fun you're having," I said, stepping close.
"I'm listening, and I'm... on a scale of one to ten, thirteen." She grinned. "Like you said, not always like this, maybe never again, but right now... give me more, Lucian."
I cupped her chin, made her look up at me, and said, "Stand still, perfectly still. You may speak, but everything from the neck down is locked in place."
She gaped in shock. "I'm listening. Mmm, Lucian, this is—"
I cut her off with a finger lightly on her lips and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "My name is 'Master.' Feel your memories shifting, changing, you've always called me that, and you have no memory of any other name for me."
"I'm listening, Master," she whispered back.
"Now, what were you about to say before I so rudely interrupted?"
She chuckled. "Master, this is amazing, and I really want to see how far we can go."
I stroked her cheek. "Well, right now, you're immobilized from the neck down, and you're doing pretty much anything I tell you to do. How much futher is there to go?"
"I can think of a few steps," she said, her voice warm and inviting. "There's a surprise, I'm more perverse than you are, Master."
It was my turn to chuckle. "I bet if you look into the programming I used to get, there's something in there about ignoring those kinds of perversities." I stepped behind her and undid her bra, letting it fall to the floor, then pressed close, slipped my arms under hers and gently cupped her breasts with my hands.
"Now we're getting closer," she said. I could hear her smile. "A real shame, Master, if you had all these perversities just hiding out and weren't able to act on them for however many years you were there."
I nibbled at her earlobe. "We can make up for lost time, then."
She shivered as my hands slid over her sides and slipped under her panties to play on her hips. It was hardly any trouble to shove her last remaining piece of clothing down her legs and run my fingers over that beautiful backside.
"So what perversion is on your mind right now?" I asked, giving her a light spank.
She yelped softly, more in surprise than pain, then moaned. "That's a good start," she said, breathing heavily.
I gave her another slap on the ass, earning another little eep. "You can move, Mari, but only as I direct. I control you like a puppet, either by my words or by my actions."
"Listening," she managed through laboured gasps.
"Good." I gave her another swat. "Turn around, bend down. Hands on the bed."
Her body moved almost mechanically, spinning on her heel past me and bending over.
I had to ask. "Enjoying this, Mari?"
"Oh God, Master, yes, yes!" she exclaimed. I shrugged and spanked her again, and again, never all that hard; enough to sting, to get the reaction, but not causing harm. Mari and I had never really done more than hint at this sort of play, and it was exciting to indulge in it, even to this small level. Maybe it would be something to explore more in the future, but this was as far as I would go without a good long talk about it. I wasn't even sure where my limits were with it, let alone Mari's.
But a good spanking was a good spanking, and she definitely seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it, both by the sounds she was making and by how wet she was when I reached between her legs.
"Alright, Mari," I said, continuing to touch her. "When I give the word, your body will be your own again," I positioned myself behind her, still playing with her labia, "because you'll experience a powerful orgasm, and you'll need to move."
"I'm listening," she gasped. "Oh please, Master, oh I'm listening, please, I'm lis-list'ning, I'm—"
I snapped the fingers of my free hand by her ear. "Now."
She gripped the blankets as her knees gave out, buried her face, and let out a loud, low moan. Her body convulsed in waves, thrusting against the side of the bed. A beautiful display.
After she'd caught her breath, she looked up at me. "Holy shit, Master. I ..."
She grinned. "I need a glass of water, and then more of that."
I helped her to her feet. "I could use a little myself."
"Water?" she grinned. "Or..." Her hand rubbed my hard cock through my pants.
I swallowed. "Let's go get a drink, and sort that out."
She swatted my ass and laughed. "I'm listening, Master," she said, leading me out of the room.
So was I.