The Island lay still in the mirror-smooth sea, nothing more than a large rock off the coast of Côte D’Ivoire. On the rocky beach, there was no noise save for the gentle lapping of ankle-high waves. The full moon reflected brightly off the ocean, hanging peacefully in the sky like a wide-open eye that saw at once everything and nothing. It was as haunting as it was beautiful.
It would have been better if it had been cloudy.
The figure of a slim woman in full scuba gear emerged from the water. She stepped out of her flippers and hurried up the steep beach, into the cover of a rocky outcropping. She took off her goggles and brushed strands of wet, black hair out of her face. Her dark skin glistened in the moonlight as she pressed herself against the rock and looked over the ridge.
“Here we are,” she said to herself. “I found your secret base, asshole.”
Her eyes followed the rising contour of the island, and spotted the hidden lair. A flat pyramid of black concrete, barely visible between the natural rocks. There were no lights visible, but she knew that they were here: Her abducted friends and colleagues – and the one who had taken them.
She pulled off her drysuit, revealing the skin-tight combat outfit underneath. High-performance bullet-resistant nanofiber, jet black with the slightest of silver accents. A gift from her friend, partner and mentor: Savant. A protective suit that allowed for full range of motion while acting as a conduit for her powers. Her telekinesis had never been more powerful.
“Don’t worry, girls. Blackbird’s here to save the night.”
It was little more than empty bravado. She was talking to herself to keep her own thoughts off of her racing pulse and anxiety. Savant had been captured by Doctor Syn, along with a village full of women. Blackbird had no idea how Doctor Syn had managed to get the drop on Savant, which definitely meant that he must have an ace up his sleeve.
Blackbird’s eyebrows narrowed, and she could feel bottomless hatred boil in the pit of her stomach. That monster Syn would finally pay for what he had done. Traitor. Murderer. Rapist. Most megalomaniacal maniacs at least had some code of honor. Not him. He was the worst kind of psychopath.
Blackbird knew exactly why he had kidnapped all these women, and it made her want to throw up. She had to stop him once and for all. No hesitation. No mercy. Not for him.
She scaled the rock wall and raced toward Doctor Syn’s hideout, using her kinesis to keep her footsteps light and silent. She was a shadow, and no one noticed her.
There were guards; armed men in bulletproof vests carrying SMGs. She broke their necks with her mind as soon as she spotted them. The time for playing by the rules was over, and anyone willing to align themselves with that monster deserved to die. The gloves were off. She used Savant’s gadgets to cloak herself from security cameras and sensors, and opened the digital locks on a door leading into the complex. She heard no alarms, and no shouting guards. This was too easy. Either Syn had underestimated her or she was walking into a trap.
It was definitely the latter. She would have to make a detour, then. Instead of heading for a potential cell block, she looked for the security office first to gather information and to avoid going where he expected her to go.
She killed the guards before they could raise the alarm and accessed the base network from the main terminal. It took her a minute to gain root privileges, but when that was done, she quickly found what she was looking for: The cell block was outfitted with anti-psychic emitters that would have negated her powers if she had blindly gone to rescue the captives without checking first. She disarmed them remotely and scrambled the password. She smiled. Syn’s trap wasn’t going to work. The cell block was safe now, at least for her. She hoped that she had gotten here in time before Syn could do worse things to his prisoners than just to lock them up. She looked at the security feed showing the prisoners to see how they looked and if Savant was among them.
Blackbird’s stomach lurched.
The screen showed Savant – naked, lying unconscious in her cell! The other captive women had been stripped, as well. All of them looked beaten and desperate. Around their necks were thin metal collars. A sickening statement of so-called ownership, just to rub it in. Cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Blackbird knew that meant that he had already let his men have their way with them
Blackbird had to get them out – now!
She double-checked for a silent alarm or a self-destruct timer. She found none. Syn himself, however, was nowhere to be seen. Blackbird had the sinking feeling that he might already have slipped away.
Fuck. Wherever he was, she would find him, and kill him – slowly. He would pay for this.
She smashed the console and went to work.
Another couple of dead guards later, she entered the sub-basement deep beneath the rocky island and stepped into a cold prison of barren concrete and reinforced plexiglass. The bottom of a pit, filled with the unthinkable cruelty and crimes of Doctor Syn. She killed the last guards with a staccato of broken bones, and silence fell. She pressed her back against a wall, listening for footsteps or voices or any other sign of danger. When she didn’t hear anything after a minute, she dared to press forward and approach the cells proper. She saw the stripped and abused women behind the glass. They all looked dazed, probably drugged to keep them from resisting when these sickos decided to have their way with them. Blackbird’s blood was rushing with adrenaline already, and the sight of these poor women made her chest burn with even more anger and fury. She had fought many villains with just as many crazy plans and goals: World domination, wealth, revenge, religion, racism, nationalism. One worse and more cruel than the next.
This was worse. Syn was an undeniable genius even in his utter sociopathy, but he was using his power and resources not to achieve some lofty, pseudo-enlightened scheme – he was using them to kidnap and rape women. There was nothing more lowly and despicable.
She hurried down the line of cells until she found the one holding Savant. The other women would have to wait until Savant was back on her feet. They would have a much easier time getting them out if they were working together.
She found Savant in the cell furthest back. Her friend was still unconscious when she opened the cell with the passkeys she had fed into the system. The plexiglass slid aside almost silently, and Blackbird rushed in with a fluttering heart.
“Savant!” she cried, and knelt down next to the bed, gently shaking her friend by the shoulders, trying to get her awake. Savant moaned, and groggily opened her eyes. She looked just as drugged as the other women in the cell block. She could barely keep her eyes open.
“Blllackbrrrd?” she slurred, looking almost straight through her. Blackbird swallowed a lump in her throat.
“Yes, it’s me – and I’m sorry about this.” She slapped Savant across the face with superhuman strength. Savant recoiled and seemed to wake a bit as her eyes went wide with pain and surprise – and stayed quite alert when the pain faded.
“Owww, dammmmnnn…. Fuck… where am I?”
Savant blinked heavily, obviously trying to focus and having a hard time doing so. Her eyes were glassy. She groaned as she sat up. Around her neck was one of the thin collars that Blackbird had seen all captives wear on the security cameras. She focussed her mind and managed to unlock it with a click. It fell away, revealing red chafe marks around Savant’s neck.
Blackbird laid her hand on Savant’s. “Syn kidnapped you,” she said, leaving out the rest of the horrible details for a later time. “We need to get out of here. There’s other women here that need our help, too.”
“Ohh…. okay, but… I… I don’t think I’ll be able to do much… I feel like my head is full of fog, and everything fucking hurts. I can hardly focus my eyes on you.”
“It’s okay, Savant,” Blackbird said and pulled out something from her backpack. “I brought you your suit.” She held out the nanomaterial suit in front of her. Savant’s creation, designed to augment her non-superpowered body to give her the strength and agility of three trained fighters. It also helped that it was bulletproof.
Savant looked at her. “Okay. This is going to take a minute, though. Make sure that no one’s sneaking up on us. Argggghhhh…. you don’t happen to have epinephrine on you?”
Blackbird shook her head, and Savant nodded weakly. “Going to have to limp my way out of here then,” she groaned. “Go. Get the other people out of their cells!”
Blackbird nodded, stood up, and left the cell. She walked across the hall and opened the closest cell door.
She had just entered the code, when she sensed a movement behind her. “So we meet again,” sneered a voice – and Blackbird immediately spun around and raised her hand against the man whose voice she had recognized.
She didn’t hesitate. She didn’t give him a moment to even react.
She snapped Doctor Syn’s neck.
Or at least, she tried to. Even though her body tingled with the feeling of her power being channeled at her mind’s command, nothing happened.
Syn laughed at her, and Blackbird tried to kill him again.
Again, her telekinesis failed to manifest.
“Looks like I am one step ahead of you, little Bird,” Syn sneered. “Did you really think I wouldn’t have a backup for my suppression field?”
Blackbird didn't slow down. She looked around, and spotted an SMG lying on the concrete floor next to a dead guard, and she reached out and let it fly into her hand. She pulled the trigger and didn’t let go. The room exploded into ear-splitting noise as she emptied the entire magazine into Syn – but when the deafening echoes had drawn themselves out, the monster in front of her was still standing.
“Yes! Good try, Blackbird,” Syn said, his voice a sickening sneer. He was truly an ugly man – not because of his physical appearance, but because of the sickening aura of inhumanity that seeped out of his every word and every movement and every blink of those inhuman eyes. A true psychopath, without empathy and any regard for any life but his own. Even his smile was little more than a sick parody of actual human emotion.
Blackbird looked at him, caught in disbelief to see him still standing after emptying a full magazine at him. He was thirty feet away from her, slowly approaching, his black dress shoes clacking against the hard concrete. He was dressed sharp, in a burgundy suit and there wasn’t even a wrinkle in his jacket.
He must have an energy shield. There was a way to bypass that, though! She had to close the gap!
Syn's smile grew wider, and he was about to say something – but he didn’t get the chance because Blackbird was already charging him, one hand outstretched to her side. She felt one of the dead guard's sidearms fly into her palm – and she threw herself at Syn, trying to press the gun against his skin. But Syn – unbelievably – was faster than her. In a blur, he was behind her, five steps away. Blackbird spun around and fired a burst of three shots at his face, and saw flashes of plasma as the bullets evaporated a foot away from him.
He smiled. “Do you like my new suit? It’s custom-made. You could say that it’s quite… cutting-edge.”
He whipped his arms downward, and from each sleeve extended blades as long as his forearms. Blackbird immediately tried to rip them away with her mind, hoping that they might extend beyond the reach of his shield -- but her telekinesis was blocked again. She took a step back and went into a low fighting stance as she pulled her own telescoping blade from her back scabbard. In her ears, she heard the deafening sound of her own heartbeat.
Doctor Syn had upgraded. He had never been the one to do his own fighting, and he was just a man. Human, without any meta-abilites. But Blackbird had no idea what kind of enhancements his new suit was giving him. For a moment, she considered that he might have tortured Savant to make her give up some of her technology. If that was the case then Blackbird would be in real trouble. Fuck. Savant was still in her cell, getting in her suit. If she distracted Syn from that fact, she might be able to attack him without him seeing it coming. Blackbird had to buy some time.
“You look like a clown, Syn” she shouted. “An ugly and pathetic clown.”
She saw Syn’s face deflate – but not into shock or indignation or anything like that. Instead, it was like any and all emotion had simply ceased to exist. His face had become a blank mask. There was no more pretense to be anything other than a heartless monster. He charged her, and it was immediately clear that the suit was enhancing his speed and strength. If the suit was using temporal compression like Savant’s own latest model, it would even quicken his reflexes. Blackbird dodged and two blades swiped past her – barely. She could feel the air ripple across her skin where Syn had narrowly missed. She spun around and arched her sword after him, but he was out of reach before she could connect.
“Too slow,” Syn sneered without showing any facial expression, and shot forward again, making two, then four quick stabs. Blackbird dodged them, left, right, left, right, and stabbed back at him – only to feel him swipe away her blade with both knives. He twisted them around, trying to gain leverage and pivot her sword out of her hands. She followed the motion, and cartwheeled around him to escape the pincer. He stabbed after her – but she was fast, too. She cartwheeled into a roll and used her telekinesis on herself to push herself off the ground and away from him. She landed fifteen feet away, facing him.
“I like it when they fight,” he said with a disgusting smile. “It makes it even better when they break.”
Blackbird roared as she charged him again. She had no idea how to break through his defenses – she only knew that she absolutely had to. He had to die.
She used all her power to push herself forward as fast as possible, feeling her body being flung through the air like a bullet propelled by her own mind.
Her blade connected at the same time as she felt a spike of pain in her arm. She spun around to face the danger she had shot past, and saw Syn bleeding from a thin cut at the side of his neck. She had missed the carotid, though. He wouldn’t die from this. Not even close. She glanced down at her hurting left arm and saw that she had a gash of her own – and it looked quite deep, but not life-threatening. Shock was keeping the pain at bay for now, and her tendons seemed to be still working.
“I like it when they bleed,” Syn said. His face had once again twisted into a manic grin.
Blackbird breathed heavily, taking a moment to think. What she had done had worked, even if at a cost. That meant that she could hurt him. She was quick enough. But next time, he would see it coming. She would have to –
– she suddenly felt a sharp, cold pain in her neck. Her body went limp and she collapsed like a puppet with cut strings. She was too surprised to even scream.
Someone caught her, and lowered her to the ground. She heard her sword being kicked away.
Then she saw Savant standing above her, wearing her suit, her eyes cold and her expression lifeless and empty.
“I have obeyed,” Savant said.
“Savant,” Blackbird stammered. “What… why?” Blackbird’s mind was tripping and tumbling, unable to understand what was happening. Savant had been supposed to ambush Syn, not her! Why was Savant doing this to her?
Savant wasn’t looking at her, however. She was looking at Syn. Blackbird didn’t understand. This couldn’t be happening! Why was she acting like this? Why wasn’t she fighting him? Why was she betraying her? He had raped her! He had kidnapped and tortured her!
“Because she only thinks what she’s been told,” Syn said as he stepped into her field of vision. Again, she tried to break his neck with her mind, but there was no use. He was still shielded by the suit.
The suit that Savant had made for him.
Blackbird suddenly understood. He hadn’t just tortured her. He had brainwashed her!
“Snap out of it, Savant!" she shouted. "You know you don’t want this! Remember who you are!”
Syn sneered. “You’re wasting your time, Blackbird. Savant doesn’t care.”
Blackbird ignored him. “Remember who you are! Remember what he’s done to you! He did this! He raped you! He hurt you! You’re my friend!”
Syn produced a small remote control from his suit pocket as she screamed, and pushed a button – and the world turned red.
The pain was unlike anything she had ever experienced. It exploded from her neck and filled every nerve in her body, and she screamed in agony as the world turned into blood red light.
Then it ended.
“Shut up, or the pain returns,” Syn said.
“Fuck you, you –”
Her body turned into burning pain hot enough to melt her skin and turn her bones to splinters. Her heart felt like it was about to burst and her breaths were nothing more than shallow whimpers as it finally, finally ended.
“I can do this all day,” Syn said, and this time Blackbird said nothing in return. Tears were rolling down her cheeks.
“I like it when they cry,” Syn said, and Blackbird didn’t dare to speak up even though her stomach was boiling with world-ending fury. A pause followed, filled only with Blackbird’s heavy breathing. Savant had done nothing, said nothing. She hadn’t even shown the slightest sign of distress. Whatever Syn had done to her must have utterly broken her. Blackbird’s skin was glistening with cold sweat.
Syn was still wearing that horrible smile. “You know, not all psychopaths are good liars. That’s a myth. There are plenty of us that are just as stupid and clumsy as the rest of the population. You simply don’t talk about them – because they’re not dangerous. People like me, on the other hand… we’re the knife’s edge of the bell curve.”
He took a step towards Savant, and laid his hand on her cheek. “I always knew what I was. I always knew that I was better. Purer. A born predator, walking amongst sheep, unclouded by compassion and empathy. It’s unbelievable how easy you are to exploit. Your feeble minds can’t even consider going to the twisted places mine is able to reach. You flinch away when you catch yourself thinking about the despicable things you really desire. You think about murdering, and raping, and stealing, and lying – and drop the idea like hot coals. Not me. I see women I want to fuck, and I have them. I see people I want to kill, and I end them. I see something that I want to possess, and I take it.”
As if to illustrate his point, he licked across Savant’s face. His hands were all over her body. Savant did nothing to stop him.
“I am free from what makes you weak,” Syn continued. “I feel only what serves to further my own goals. Nothing else. When one feels nothing, there is nothing to stop them from doing what must be done.”
He looked away from Savant, and into Blackbird’s eyes.
“Which is exactly how I made Savant here into my loyal servant. Isn’t that right, Savant?”
“Yes, Master.” Savant said matter-of-factly. Blackbird gasped silently.
“She feels nothing now, except what I allow her. I carved the rest of it out of her mind. Tell her who you are. Tell her what happened to Savant.”
Savant looked at her, her eyes dead and without emotion. Blackbird remembered the brilliant mind of her friend. She remembered the snarky and easily obsessed woman that Savant was.
When her friend spoke, all of that was gone. “Master Syn broke me and rebuilt me like he wanted me. I have been carved out and reduced to nothing but a tool. He erased my emotions and values and brainwashed me to be his slave. I have no way of resisting. I have no way of wanting anything else. I will serve him forever. I am happy to serve.”
“As I said: Not every psychopath is a good liar,” Syn said. “But she’s not bad. Good enough to fool you, Blackbird. I had her pretend that she’s drugged to make it easier for her to deceive you. She was more than happy to obey. In fact, she felt nothing but joy doing it.”
Savant smiled softly.
“See that? I left her that. She can still feel satisfaction and pleasure – as long as she gets it from serving me. She likes that a lot, and she no longer cares what she has to do to get it. Isn't that right, Savant?”
Savant nodded, her smile tight and cruel. “Yes, Master.”
“See? But enough about Savant, and back to our little Bird: That collar around your neck has pierced your spinal cord and is currently emitting a strong electromagnetic field that’s more than capable of triggering regions of your brain to fire on all cylinders. Pain. Pleasure. Turn it up high enough, and whatever you feel will burn out permanently in a blaze of emotional glory. You’ll get to feel it all one final time like you’ve never felt it before. And then, you’ll feel only what I allow you to feel.”
Blackbird didn’t know what to do. She had tried to unlock the collar the whole time with her telekinesis, but it hadn’t worked. It must have been unlocked when it had been around Savant’s throat. It wasn’t anymore. And even if she was powerful, she wasn’t powerful enough to break steel in two.
She looked at Savant, her friend, who was looking back at her without any compassion at all. This couldn’t be real. This couldn’t be what was happening. This kind of technology… it was world-ending. She had to stop this. She couldn’t become like Savant. Savant had already improved Syn’s tech. If the same thing happened to Blackbird, he would also have a powerful metahuman as his pet attack dog.
She didn’t even dare to consider what else he was going to do with her.
No. This couldn’t be it. There was still a way out – even if she might kill herself trying.
She focussed all of her mental energy, and moved the one thing that she could still move with her mind.
She flung her limp body into the air, and whipped herself around to smash into Syn’s face. She didn’t feel it when her lower torso connected with his head. The collar had cut off any feeling below her neck. Her arms and legs were numb and unresponsive. She was a ragdoll nearly out of control. Her body flopped around as she tried to control her energy in a constantly moving reference frame, but it was nearly impossible. The tiniest part of her thought about how ridiculous she must look – but this was the only way out. If only she could get out of the base… the African coast was less than five miles away! She could make it. It would take all of her power and endurance, but she could make it!
Suddenly, unbearable pain lashed through her, and she smashed into the floor. Even through the blinding agony, she realized that only her metamaterial suit had kept her bones from shattering. She screamed, but the pain kept going, and going and going.
And then, just as sudden as the pain, something else screamed inside of her. An eruption of the most paralyzing terror she had ever experienced. Her tight, agonized scream turned into a thin, shrill shriek of utter fear. She was dying! She knew she was dying! This was death, and pain, and everything bad that could ever happen! She had to run! She had to get out! Get away! No! Stop! Get away! Get out! Oh God someone help me! Please no!!! NOOOOO!!!!
And then, it stopped.
Suddenly she couldn’t even remember what the fear had felt like a moment earlier. It was gone. Completely gone. She remembered what fear meant, but she couldn’t for the life of her muster any sense of worry or concern. She still felt the raging anger and the sadness and the confusion – but none of the fear. It was a sensation that was so strange and unexpected that she almost forgot to feel those other feelings for a moment out of sheer surprise.
Syn was standing over her again, with Savant at his side. “And that is your fear, gone forever. See how helpless you are against it? How easily I can bend and break your mind? You won’t get out of this, Blackbird. You’re mine.”
The anger returned first. “Fuck you! You’ll never get away with this!” she screamed, and braced for the inevitable pain – but none came.
Instead, Syn spoke again. “Oh, but I will. In fact, I will have two very capable brainwashed slaves to help me get away with this. I’m looking forward to using every last bit of you, Blackbird.”
Blackbird opened her mouth to respond – but as she started to speak, her stomach boiled and her words turned into an incoherent scream of rage and she was ready to gouge his eyes out and smash his skull in and kick him and hit and kill him. Fucking asshole motherfucker cocksucker! Die! Suffer! Fuck you! The world was spinning around her in a red mist. Everything was a blur of hatred. She had to kill him and hurt him and scream and kill and hurt and kill and–
–it was gone. She knew it was gone – and she knew that she should hate the fact that it was gone.
But she didn’t hate it anymore. She wasn’t angry. She wasn't angry... at all.
It made no sense. She should be angry. She should be afraid. She knew this.
She wasn’t. She simply… wasn’t. All she felt was a leaden sense of disgust and overwhelming sadness over what was happening – and it was suddenly so hard not to feel like she should just give up. She could summon no anger at all. She couldn’t bring herself to feel any need to escape anymore. She knew she didn’t want this and she knew she was supposed to fight – but she could hardly even think of anything but to shut her eyes and roll up into a ball.
She sobbed. It was the only thing she had left. The only thing that mattered right now. She suddenly wondered if she would feel happiness once Syn took her grief and disgust away, too – because after that, there would only be happiness left to feel.
Will I be happy just because I have no other options left?
She knew that the thought would have filled her with crushing dread two minutes ago. Now, she could only impotently retch at the idea of feeling happy about any of this. It was disgusting: Syn, with his dead eyes and his sickening grin. Everything that he had done. Rapist. Murderer. He was looking at her right now, and she could tell that he was enjoying this.
She didn’t have much time now. She was being carved out. Like Savant had said. This might be her last chance to say something before she couldn’t find the will to say anything at all.
“You’re disgusting. You’re pathetic,” she said – but there was no anger in her voice. Only sad resignation and quiet disgust. “You won’t ever have me. What will be left of me won’t be anything but a shell.”
Syn smiled his disgusting smile. “Oh Blackbird, Blackbird, Blackbird…. that’s exactly how I want you! Do you think I give a fuck about leaving your personality intact? Your soul? Seeing you broken and empty is half the fun.”
He pulled her limp body up, his suit enhancing his strength enough to be able to easily lift her and sit her up against the nearest wall. Before Blackbird could wonder why he had done that, her stomach boiled, and a surge of sickening disgust rolled through her. Her skin crawled with slime and beetles and spittle and shit, and her throat felt full of it, and she retched and gagged, and she barely managed to turn her head and not throw up across her legs as he body convulsed and vomit gurgled out of her throat.
It was over before she realized it – and the taste of sick in her mouth had suddenly become just another taste instead of something revolting and disgusting. Suddenly, she wasn’t quite able to fully understand why it would have made a difference if she had been sick all over herself. The pool of muddy liquid on the floor next to her made her feel nothing. All of her disgust was gone.
She realized that she was down to her last basic emotion now. Syn had almost fully erased everything that made her a person – and she didn’t know if she’d been crying the whole time and simply hadn’t noticed – but she was definitely crying now.
Syn was going to rape her and use her and make her betray everything she’d ever been. She was dying. She didn’t want to be gone like that. She wasn’t afraid; she couldn’t be afraid. But she still knew that she didn’t want this, even though it was so hard to even conceptualize why she didn’t want this. It was all just... thoughts – disconnected, without value, good or bad, other than what she remembered feeling once.
She suddenly realized that some small part of her was happy that it would be over soon. She knew that it was a horrible thing to think, but what was and wasn’t horrible were purely abstract notions now. Without the actual emotions, it felt so much less important.
She still knew why she was sad. She remembered it. But it was so… academic now.
Feeling happy instead would be nicer.
She remembered fearing this moment, when she was so far gone that she would feel happy.
It had once made sense to fear it. She knew it made sense.
Just not to her.
She looked up at Syn, and remembered everything that he had done to her, and to Savant, and to countless other people.
She felt no anger. No fear. No disgust. Only a deep sadness that – despite her best efforts – she wasn’t able to connect to anything tangible. She felt sad, but it had nothing to do anymore with what Syn was doing.
Syn looked at her, a smile on his lips, still enjoying her struggle.
“I don’t want to feel sad anymore,” she said, no more pride and anger and fear left in her to stop her from admitting it. It wouldn’t change anything now. It was going to happen anyway, and she was already carved out beyond repair. This might as well be over with. She didn’t care, of course. She couldn’t care anymore.
Syn smiled, and the world turned into anguish. Oh God no! Please! I can't take this! No! NO! For a moment she thought that the pain had returned. She gasped as her chest constricted and threatened to choke her to death. The universe threatened to swallow itself in an agonizing feeling of unbelievable grief and sadness, and she howled and screamed, and nearly passed out. This was the end! The world had ended! Everything was lost! She couldn't possibly–
– she paused, and blinked. Then, she chuckled, as she realized that she would never be sad again.
This was nice, actually.
Well, not really, of course. She still knew that, objectively, all of this was the worst possible thing that could ever happen. She was being brainwashed. Her brain was being cauterized and permanently damaged. The woman she had once been had already died.
“So, what now?” she asked. She was acutely aware of the absurdity of it all. But there was nothing to be done now. She would never again be able to feel angry about what Syn had done to her, or sad about it, or disgusted by it. All she could do was appreciate the happiness it left her with. It felt like eating candy that she knew she shouldn't eat because it was bad for her. But she did it anyway.
Still, she remembered all of it – and all those memories came with their own momentum. She still knew what was technically, academically, theoretically, the right thing to do. She knew that she had to try to stop him. She still knew that.
“You can let me move now, Master,” she lied. “I won’t resist anymore.”
Syn slapped her across the face. “How stupid do you think I am, you little whore?”
She chuckled. This was funny. It was so absurd. “Stupid enough to give it a try,” she said. It felt like the right thing to say, even though she couldn’t really get her heart behind it. If she could, she would have shrugged while saying it.
Syn cocked his head. “I’m gonna so enjoy breaking you in. Remember to tell me to rape you when you spread your legs for me later.”
“You’re disgusting,” Blackbird said. “You’re pathetic.” The words meant nothing to her anymore. She was only reciting what she knew she had once meant to say. She felt like she was only playing along now anyway, and it was kind of fun.
Doctor Syn looked at his victim, and already saw no more fight in Blackbird's deep brown eyes. She was already broken, and her vestigial displays of resistance were nothing but wisps of smoke escaping from a burnt-out candle. Even now, he could see her fighting not to smile. Even without any programming, she was already unable to hate him, already incapable of conceiving of any reason to resist beyond habit. He had taken her ability to be motivated by anything but simple pleasure – and what pleasure he would give her.
He looked at her, and smiled. “What I am, my dearest slut – is winning.”
He pushed a button on his remote and Blackbird’s eyes instantly lost all focus. Her mouth fell open as she stared into the middle distance without seeing anything. The collar had instantly put her into deep trance. She was his to toy with.
“Now that you have no more emotions to push back against the control field, you’re going to be really easy to brainwash. No more thoughts. Only happiness. You’re happy now, aren’t you, little slut?”
“Yes,” Blackbird answered mindlessly, her words little more than a quiet mumble.
“So very happy.” Syn tapped another button, and Blackbird’s mouth widened into a bovine smile even as her eyes remained empty and unseeing. The young superheroine who had fought him so hard was now nothing more than another drooling woman ready to be enslaved. Her body lay limp and helpless, and whatever person she had once been was already gone. She had lost. And now, Syn would turn her into everything she had been afraid of.
He smiled, and went to work.
The world had dissolved around her, and suddenly everything was simple. It was all like a dream. She was sitting here, on the cold concrete. She had forgotten why. She had forgotten for how long. She only knew that she was happy.
She was so happy.
Someone else was here with her. She knew him, but it was so hard to remember who he was and how she felt about him. She felt happy. She must be happy because he was talking to her. She must be happy because she was with him.
Blackbird’s mouth was hanging open. Drool was slowly dripping down her chin. The collar had put her into trance. She was helpless and open.
Syn told her to think about serving him, and when she did, he pushed a button, and Blackbird began to giggle with joy like someone drugged out of their mind. It felt sooooo good. He told her to think about doing what she was told, and she did, and her face lit up with serene happiness. She loved it so much.
He told her to think about running away, about hurting him or lying to him. She did, and her world turned into pain and agony, and through her screams he told her to think about serving and obeying him, and she did, and the pain turned into bliss.
“Imagine being fucked by me,” Syn commanded and Blackbird’s eyes remained unfocussed as she did what she was told. He pushed a button, and Blackbird moaned with sudden joy and ecstasy, and her face lit up with innocent wonder. Yes! More!
“That’s your brain’s reward center telling you ‘Yes’,” Syn said. “I have a button for that.” Blackbird liked that a lot. She liked it when Syn made her happy.
He knelt down next to her, and licked across her face. He pushed the button, and Blackbird gasped with mindless joy. He squeezed her tits, and pushed the button again. He pushed his hand between her thighs, and pushed the button again.
He took a step back. “I could take away all of your memories,” he said. “It would make things much easier. It’s what I did with all the common whores in the other cells. But not you and Savant. You’re too valuable.”
“...valuable,” Blackbird lulled, a stupid smile on her lips. Dim memories danced just out of her mind's reach. Who she was. Where she was. What had happened. It was unimportant.
“However, that does mean that I’ll have to spend some time fucking your brain before it’s finally safe to have your cunt.”
“...fuck my brain.” Yes. She remembered. She was being brainwashed. Enslaved. She hadn't realized it would feel so good. She hadn't realized that it was something she could want.
Syn smiled. “Exactly. Let’s go another round. Think about serving me.”
Blackbird gasped and giggled and laughed at the push of a button, her brain carved out and vulnerable and helpless against the relentless artificial stimuli. There was no fight left in her, only pleasure and pain without any impulse to resist that anger or fear or disgust would give her. Her paralyzed thoughts were spinning. There was too much joy, too much pain, too much tension and release to think about anything else. She was happy. She was horny. She was in pain, and then in ecstasy. Thoughts fluttered through her mind like ghosts, coming to her from the man that was talking to her – the man that she was so happy to have next to her. It felt so good when he touched her. He made her happy. Syn made her happy. So happy. Every time she felt that happiness explode inside herself, it felt simpler and easier. Every time she thought about him, there was less to think about. Syn! Every time she laughed and screamed and moaned with pleasure, her thoughts became smoother and simpler. At first, she noticed it -- noticed how it beame harder to think, noticed how with every repetition, there was less and less of her remaining.
Eventually, she stopped noticing. The field penetrating Blackbird’s brain switched her thoughts on, and off, and on, and off. It made her happy, and horny, and happy and horny, until everything that she had known had become obsolete. She no longer felt anything but happiness and arousal – and she was no longer able to doubt the reason for her happiness. Her mind was broken and smooth and carved out and reduced to nothing but what it needed to be in order to serve its master. She was a drooling mess, her dark skin glistening with sweat and her curly hair a matted mess around her face. Her chest was rising and falling quickly with shallow, exhausted breaths. Her eyes were unfocussed. Her mouth was hanging open. She was broken.
Syn smiled at the woman he now owned, and turned off the collar.
The field lifted itself as the needle retracted from her spine and its control over the woman’s nervous system ceased.
Even as awareness returned to her, her eyes stayed unfocussed. She lazily turned her gaze upwards, at Syn. Her expression was blank and emotionless. Her blunted and carved-out mind produced barely any emotions at all as she looked up at her new master.
Eventually she understood that she was expected to speak.
“I am ready to serve, master,” said the brainwashed slave that used to be Blackbird.
Happiness glowed in her chest even as she said the words. Serving meant happiness. She wanted to serve. She had to serve. She thought about nothing else.
Her master smiled, and more happiness rippled through Blackbird’s body. She felt her pussy tickle. Making master happy was good. She wanted to make him happy.
“Take that off,” said her master, and Blackbird looked down at herself, and saw the black combat suit she was wearing. For a moment, she remembered vividly why she had come here, and what had happened to her.
She smiled, and got to her feet in order to obey. Her muscles were sore, and her arm hurt quite a lot from the cut, but she did it anyway. She had to obey. She ripped the velcro open and unzipped her suit, and stripped for her master. She was in her underwear now, dark gray cotton.
“That, too. I want you naked, slut.”
She obeyed without hesitation. As she stepped out of her panties, she remembered a fear she had once felt. She remembered a distant anger. She remembered the reasons for them. She remembered why they had seemed like good reasons, once.
Her master was a murderer. A rapist. A torturer. A psychopath.
Nothing about that made her feel any different now. When she thought about all the horrible things Syn had done, she felt nothing at all. When she thought about everything that he might make her do, she felt nothing at all. She thought about killing innocents in his name, and felt nothing at all. She thought about people dying, and being raped, and tortured – and felt nothing at all.
But obeying him – obeying meant happiness. Obeying meant pleasure. Obeying meant joy.
Her smile grew wider. She was naked for her master and ready to obey. She wanted nothing else anymore. Everything else had become meaningless, without emotion, without consequence.
As Blackbird stood before him with dull eyes and a mindless smile, Syn laughed. It was a cruel and mocking sound, without any warmth at all. The kind of laugh that the two superheroes Savant and Blackbird would have given everything to suffocate in his throat.
Instead, his brain-washed servants stood by passively as he laughed at them, dull smiles on both of their faces. They were shells of themselves, their minds carved out and bent into unquestioning obedience.
He looked at Blackbird’s tits, and between her legs, and licked his lips. The dark skin between her thighs glistened with moisture. She was wet. He looked into her eyes and his slave looked back at him and he could see the need in her expression. The need to obey. The need to serve.
He had left her with nothing else to feel.
“I like it when they’re broken,” he said. Blackbird grinned in response. She remembered all the things he had said to her before, and fully realized that it was the final punchline in a series of cruel mockeries. She had fought and cried and bled, and he had broken her – just like he liked it. She was happy to have pleased him.
“But before I take you, there’s one last thing I want you to do.”
He walked towards one of the cells at random, and looked at the slave inside. The brainwashed women were no longer pretending to be drugged now that Blackbird was eliminated. He opened the lock, and commanded the slave outside.
“Yes, master,” said the slave, and obeyed. She stepped into the hall, and looked at Blackbird and Savant, her fellow slaves. She said nothing. She knew how to behave.
“Blackbird,” Syn said, and his newest slave snapped to attention.
“Yes, master,” she asked.
“Kill this slave.”
Blackbird looked at the woman next to her master. She looked about thirty, with dark brown hair and a tomboyish look. She was nothing but an innocent victim in this, captured and enslaved to lure Blackbird into coming here.
For a second, Blackbird considered the consequences of ending the woman's life. Some part of her knew that this was supposed to be wrong. Killing her was supposed to be wrong.
But she felt nothing for her, or anyone. Killing her meant nothing. She didn’t care. She only cared about one thing, and there was nothing she wouldn't do to get it. She flicked her fingers, and there was a sharp snap of broken bones, and the woman died. Her body hit the floor with another loud crack as her head split against the concrete.
Blackbird didn’t flinch. She didn't even turn her head to look. Instead, she smiled at her master.
“I am happy to obey,” she said, and she was. She felt no more guilt, no more hesitation. Only the joy of obedience. Killing in his name had felt wonderful. It was good to be his slave.
Syn nodded with a satisfied grin. “Perfect,” he said. “My very own stable of obedient superheroines. And now, there’s no more doubt at all that little Blackbird is truly mine, isn’t there, my little pet?”
“No, master,” Blackbird said firmly. “I am yours.”
Syn looked at Savant. His other slave hadn’t spoken since she’d last been prompted to. She was as obedient as she was supposed to be. She had watched everything that had been happening, standing stiffly next to her master with a thin smile of satisfaction on her lips.
“Well done, pet,” Syn said. “Without you, I would have never been able to get a hold of your little friend Blackbird.”
“Thank you, master,” Savant said. “I was happy to betray her for you.”
Syn grinned. “Are you wet, slave?”
“Yes, master,” Savant replied. “I’m a wet horny slut for obedience.”
“And you, Blackbird? Are you wet?”
“Yes, master,” Blackbird said. “I’m a wet horny slut for obedience. I am happy to serve.”
Syn looked at her with an expression of shameless desire, and she was happy to be his property. He wanted her, and she was ready to be had. It gave her joy.
“Come with me, slaves,” Syn said, and Savant and Blackbird obediently followed at his heels as he led them through the secret complex and past the bodies of the guards that Blackbird had killed earlier.
Blackbird looked at the death she had wrought, and felt nothing. She thought only about whether or not it would please her master if she had left them alive. But Syn didn’t seem to mind at all, and as a consequence, neither did she. She knew that she was worth more than all of them combined. That made her happy. She liked being a valuable tool.
They arrived on the top floor, at Syn’s personal quarters. The solid concrete walls were covered in screens that showed the panorama outside as captured by omnidirectional cameras: The ocean all around and the starry sky above, with the full moon illuminating wispy clouds over the western horizon. In the north, the coast of Africa. It was beautiful.
Blackbird realized that they were still showing the one-minute loop that she had hacked into the system two hours earlier. It didn’t matter. Savant and her would fix it soon. But right now, they were going to offer their bodies.
She looked at the large bed that stood centered against the far wall, her nipples hard and her pussy wet and ready. For a brief moment, she considered what she had become and what she was about to do. She considered the alternative. She considered what she had come here to do originally.
It was meaningless. She lived to obey now. Only obedience had meaning. Only obedience had value. Only obedience gave her joy and satisfaction. Everything else had been carved out of her.
She was happy to serve.
Syn commanded her to take off his clothes, and Blackbird obeyed. The brainwashed slave stripped him of his high-tech suit and let it fall to the floor as arousal boiled between her legs. She wanted him. She needed him.
Blackbird’s smile grew wider when she saw how hard her master was for her.
“Suck it, slut,” Syn said, and Blackbird eagerly went to her knees. She took him in, wrapping her lips around his cock, and starting sucking him off. He thrust into her, and she pushed hard against him, swallowing him deep, feeling him warm inside of her. She pulled back, and pushed, doing everything to be a mouth that felt good for him. She sucked, and pushed, and licked, and moaned for him, until he told her to stop.
“On the bed. Spread your legs.”
“Yes, Master,” Blackbird said, and obeyed. She was soaking wet for him. She was on her back, and her master crawled up to her, above her, and he was on top of her, looking down at her. Savant was standing next to the bed, smiling softly, watching it all happen.
Blackbird looked into Syn’s eyes, the eyes of her master. The eyes of the man who had violently carved out everything that had once made her who she had been. The man she had come here to kill. The man who was maybe the most dangerous person on the planet. The man who would do so many horrible things, and use Blackbird to do so many more.
Suddenly, she remembered something. Something from before. Something important.
“Rape me, master,” Blackbird said, a proud smile on her lip.
Syn pushed into her, and her body became his toy. She twisted herself around him, hungry for his presence inside of her, and bucked her hips in time with his violent thrusts. He was using her hard, and between thrusts and moans, he slapped her and spat in her face, and she let it happen with only a smile on her lips. Her carved-out mind was nothing but happy. She was his to abuse. She was his to fuck. She was his to have.
He came into her, and slapped her across the face again.
“You’re mine, you fucking whore!” he said. Blackbird looked at him, eyes dimly awake but without emotion. His carved-out slave, feeling only what she needed to feel in order to serve him. Naked, sweaty, dirty, bloody. Her nipples were hard, and she was smiling.
“Yes master, I’m yours,” said his slave. “I am happy to serve.”
“Finger yourself,” Syn commanded. “And say ‘I’m nothing but a shameless whore. I’m nothing but an obedient slut.’ Keep saying it until you come.”
“Yes master,” Blackbird said, and did what she had been told.
“You too, Savant. Lie down next to her and fuck yourself. Say what she’s saying.”
Savant laid down next to the furiously masturbating Blackbird, and pushed her hand between her slick pussy lips.
“I’m nothing but a shameless whore,” Blackbird said. Her eyes were closed as she furiously rubbed her clit in front of her master. “I’m nothing but an obedient slut.”
“I’m nothing but a shameless whore,” Savant joined in. “I’m nothing but an obedient slut.”
The slaves fucked themselves hard, and Syn lazily stroked his cock as he enjoyed the sight of his former enemies debasing themselves in front of him. They were truly broken. Brainwashed and enslaved to do his every bidding, without question and without hesitation. He watched their tits swaying as they rubbed their cunts in front of him. They were his property. His pets.
“I’m nothing but a shameless whore. I’m nothing but an obedient slut.”
Blackbird knew that she had become everything she had been afraid of. She knew that she was a brainwashed husk of her former self. She knew that she was nothing but a dirty whore. She knew that she was nothing but an obedient slut. She was going to be a good slave. It was the only thing she cared about. It was the only thing that had any meaning left. It was the only thing that she was.
“I’m nothing but a shameless whore. I’m nothing but an obedient slut.”
Blackbird the shameless whore came for her master with a deep moan of pleasure. Her eyes remained vacant. There was nothing left but a shell. Just like Syn wanted it. Just like he liked it.
Blackbird the obedient slut smiled for him. She was happy to have pleased him. She was happy to have served.
She would always serve, now.
She wanted nothing else.