“I’m sorry, boss, I don’t know what to tell you,” she said, trying to keep her breathing even, not giving anything away. “It didn’t work that time either.”
“Not even a little? Even after all the adjustments?”
She shook her head, not trusting her voice to stay steady. Across the table, she watched her boss crumple with disappointment. A tendril of guilt stretched its way around her stomach, squeezing tighter. She didn’t like hurting him, lying to him. But she also couldn’t bear to have the tests stop. If she told him that the device worked, that would be the end. Victory would finally be in their grasp, sure, but then what?
If they finally had a functional device, he would use it on their nemesis, obviously. And then the hero would be under his control, a helpless, brainless, empty puppet to play with. To give deliciously un-heroic commands to before setting him loose to destroy the city he once protected. And that was all marvelous, and exactly according to their plan.
That had always been the plan.
But when they’d been making the plan, she hadn’t known. How could she? How could she possibly have guessed how it felt? Having your mind, not just controlled, but taken entirely away. Of hearing those soft tones entering your ears to sink into your brain and make everything feel good and correct and finally someone else’s responsibility.
At first, she’d thought she was only enjoying the break, being able to let someone else take on her burdens. In all her years as a henchwoman to supervillains, she had gotten into the habit of taking on more and more in her role, until she was doing very nearly everything for whatever villain she’d been placed with by the Guild. She’d become a popular henchwoman to request because of that, so she’d kept it up. So it made sense to assume that her reaction to the device was simple relief.
But it didn’t explain why she’d lied.
That first test flipped a switch in her. The device had only barely worked, but she’d lied. Told him it hadn’t worked at all. Didn’t mention the overwhelming longing for him to use it on her again, and again, and again, until she was reduced to a drooling heap on the floor.
Didn’t mention, after the second test, the way she desperately wanted to rub her thighs together at the sounds pouring out of the device, pouring into her ears, and liquefying her mind.
And she didn’t mention, after the third test, that she’d dumped her boyfriend because he couldn’t make her feel the way that device did.