Kara Kraft and the Serpent's Kiss

Chapter 1

by scifiscribbler

Tags: #noncon #comic_book #dom:male #drones #f/f #kraft-bimbeau #m/f #modern_pulp #sub:female

Once all the stories are written, this will be the sixth in the Kraft-Bimbeau saga. It's the first written to feature Kara Kraft as a character in her own right, and shouldn't need any previous reading. Before it in sequence is Sisters in Arms, and after it is The Trial of Doctor Bimbeau.

2010

“Thanks, Mike.”

The pilot of the amphibious plane flashed Kara a thumbs-up in response and grinned. “No problem. You and me, we both know how bad people like this can be.”

Kara nodded. Her friend and she had spent a few brief months about a year and a half ago as mindless playthings for the owner of the school they’d just graduated. Shortly after they turned eighteen, at their graduation ceremony, the teachers at their finishing school had activated circuitry in the seemingly old-fashioned mortar boards. Their minds had been overridden.

Over time, Kara’s fury and contempt for mind controllers like the man who’d destroyed her family had bubbled up, and when their daily dose of brainwashing was a little late, she’d surfaced enough to fight back. She and Mike (or Michelle, as her name was officially, in the reports) had ended up handing the faculty over to the Swiss police, gift-wrapped with plenty of evidence.

But not before Kara had managed to confirm that the circuitry in those mortar boards was based on technology designed by someone called Doctor Bimbeau. Which was a name she was one of the few people outside law enforcement, criminal factions, and espionage organisations to be able to recognise.

Kara had been the only person her father, Angus, had been able to tell about Bimbeau when he came home, a week and a half after he mysteriously disappeared - which was a month after his wife mysteriously disappeared.

She was last seen in the university where she worked, in an office she shared with…

…Dr Alphonse Bimbeau.

Her mother had been mind controlled when Kara was fifteen. When Kara was eighteen, a knock-off of the same technology was used on her. And she’d fought clear. But now Kara was twenty, and her mother was still nowhere to be seen. And Kara?

Kara was on one of the smaller Exumas in the Bahamas, having been dropped off by a friend with a plane. On her muscular shoulders was a backpack filled with some of the best equipment money could buy, on her lean hips two loaded pistols. Kara’s fitness regime was every bit the equal of any superhero movie fitness montage, except that she did it steadily, on an ongoing level.

She unhooked her sunglasses from a belt loop and put them on slowly against the glare, then slowly gathered her long red hair back with her hands and tied it out of her way in a ponytail.

Kara Kraft had spent the five years since her family was destroyed finding every way she could to hide from her father how hard she was working and how much she was spending on running Doctor Bimbeau to earth and bringing her mother back. From time to time, she worried about the level of focus she had for this goal - but one day, one day soon, she’d have completed her goal, and family life could resume. Her mother would rally back from her brainwashing just like Kara had.

And her informant was certain that Bimbeau was on an island somewhere in a hidden lair. Which, coupled with reports of female tourists going missing around this island, meant that her five years of preparation and searching were about to be rewarded.

She watched Mike’s plane taxi away from the shore a while, then pick up speed and take to the air. Then she nodded to herself. Her friend was safely away. It was time to get to work.

Somewhere on this island - which seemed like just a dot when she’d looked at it on the map, but which was so much bigger now she was on it - was a mad scientist, and her mother, his devoted slave.

She could call Mike back in once things had changed, but her friend was safe now. It was time to start.

Looking around her, she picked the largest of the hills nearby and began to hike. She’d have a better picture of the map from there.

From a concealed position along the beach, someone watched her go…

At the top of the hill, Kara’s focus on her mission melted away for just a few fleeting seconds. Standing where she was, she saw almost nothing ahead of her but stunning natural beauty, shining in brilliant sunlight. Her quest had brought her to paradise, and she was still person enough to recognise and appreciate the beauty of the place.

They’d been unwilling to do a flyover of the island - too much chance there were watchers of some kind - so they hadn’t been able to see any structures, but from here she could see a low-slung building, a concrete A-frame longhut, nestled neatly under the treeline. The downside was that it was most of the way across the island; it turned out that she and Mike had just made a mistake in terms of where to set down.

Well, at least she had a target. She paused for a moment, unclipping her water canteen from her backpack, then started marching down the other side of the hill and out toward the building. As she went, she took a swallow and listened to the sounds carrying on the wind. She could hear birds, too far out to be disturbed by her own passing yet. Was it her imagination that she could also hear human voices, distorted by distance but trilling laugher on the air?

The more she walked, the tenser she found herself getting. All the self-defence training in the world, marksmanship, practice… she’d taken the advice of one of her instructors and had a fight for real. Not so much picked one, but gone out and invited one. She’d confirmed to herself that she was willing to throw a punch in anger, with sustained power behind it. She wouldn’t pull her shots.

Right now, though, that felt like practice, not reality. This - getting ready to confront Doctor Bimbeau, who before her mother disappeared Kara remembered only as one of four laughing faces when her parents, the Doctor, and his wife sat and socialised together - was another level. The closer she got to that longhut, the more she felt her body tense up. She was suddenly apprehensive. The skin on the back of her neck prickled.

She felt like her senses were heightening from the nerves, but she knew that wasn’t true, was a trick her body was playing to try to keep her calm. The canteen took two attempts to snap back onto her backpack. Once it was clipped into place, one hand simply rested firmly on the grip of one of her pistols.

It was as if this had never been real before. Had always been just her imagination.

She was beginning to hear her heartbeat louder than the sounds of the island. She stopped dead in her tracks for a moment, closed her eyes, took a deep breath. She ran through her mental exercises, trying to calm herself. Trying to slow her heart. The longer she was stationary, the more the birds around her began to start up, too.

Kara’s eyes snapped open. She shouldn’t be as sure as she was, but she’d heard voices. Human voices, all women.

It would be a detour from her direct path, but it was a detour she clearly had to take.

She slipped into the foliage, doing her best to blend in perfectly, though her bare arms and legs must have shown somewhat. In years to come, Kara would improve her skills at moving silently, passing from place to place without being noticed - but that wasn’t something she’d mastered yet. On several occasions she froze, wincing at the audible crack of a stick snapping as she shifted her weight.

But the sound of voices was clearer now. It was steady, rhythmic, melodic. A choir who can only remember the chorus attempting to fake it.

And it was clearly not disturbed by the sound of her movement. Nor did it - or Kara - note the figure behind her, moving much more quietly, with practised ease.

It would be unfair to say that this figure was anything more than very good at woodcraft. No one would expect a competent hunter to be much less quiet than her, and she was only less obtrusive because hunters find it wise to be clearly marked against others with guns.

But she did not understand why Kara Kraft was here. She didn’t recognise her, and Kara did not fit the expected profiles of those on the island. She was an anomaly, and a potentially troublesome factor for the figure herself.

Before she reached the clearing, Kara came face to face with a statue.

If she’d been asked when she was on the plane, she would have assumed any statues she might find here would be crude, hewn rather than carved from rock, probably primitive or perhaps vaguely Aztec in their style. All this statue had in common with the expectations cheesy filmmaking had given her were glittering emeralds for eyes.

The statue itself had been carved by someone very gifted, and it had more in common with an art exhibition than anything you’d expect to find vines starting to twine up. A beautiful, curvaceous, nude woman, poised as if ready to do battle, in smooth grey stone, with gemstone eyes.

Kara studied it for a long moment, wondering what it might mean, before she turned back toward the voices, which were, now she was closer, less a song and more a chant.

*

In a small room below the longhut, a pair of glazed golden eyes studying a monitor blinked lazily as they registered movement in front of their camera. “Master?” a woman’s voice called, softly, its tone blank and expressionless.

The man who rose from his throne was tall, muscular, tanned. He wore little, here in his sanctum; casual, loose robes, a pendant with a hooded snake symbol, and a weapon at his waist. The robes might once have been a bathrobe before they’d been modified.

He approached. “You called me.”

“Yes, Master,” one of the two naked women on monitor duty replied, her taut, fit body bathed in the green glow of the screens. She did not look away from her monitor.

Her Master studied the face of Kara Kraft from one of the cameras behind the glittering eyes in one of the boundary statues.  Difficult to make much of her, except that it was strange for a tourist to have made it to the island without their sonar picking up a boat some distance out from the island.

“How did she get here?”

“Unknown, Master.”

“Hm.”

Kara turned away from the statue and began walking away. More of her came into frame, and the monitor’s Master saw a bulky backpack, broad shoulders, strong arms, powerful thighs… and twin pistols.

His eyes gleamed with an inner golden light. “This is no tourist.”

“No, Master.”

There were times that he found the echo chamber responses irritating. Thankfully, this was not one of those times. Her devotion reminded him of the power he wielded.

“She will require almost no work.” He pivoted on the spot, addressing the other woman, the one monitoring the internal boundary cameras. “Alert me when she approaches.

“Yes, Master.”

*

Kara paused about three trees deep before the clearing, with enough trunks to keep her in at least partial shadow. She could make the chant out clearly now.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

There was a lilting, musical quality to the chant that sat completely at odds with the womens’ activity.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

In the clearing stood a group of thirty women. Kara recognised some of them from photos of missing tourists posted online. They were dressed in skintight outfits - more flattering for some than others - carried rifles, and each of them must have a truly astonishing amount of product in their hair, which had been shaped and fanned out around their ears, held in place with spray or gel, resembling the hood of a cobra. Tourists who had arrived here with much longer hair had clearly had it cut; only those whose hair had been shorter when they joined this group were still growing out their hoods. Two women, standing side by side in the second to last row, had clearly had undercuts on one side, and their hoods were now heavily lopsided.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

They moved in unison, running through close-quarters combat katas, using their rifle butts as part of the sequence. It looked like a fitness routine that was also a way to build combat muscle memory.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

Kara remembered a story she’d seen when she and Mike arrived in Miami, about a month earlier, on the trail of the lead that ultimately brought them here. A squad with this basic appearance, though all much, much fitter than any of this group - lean muscle under their suits - had made headlines robbing a bank. Nobody knew where they came from, but there were rumours attaching them to a dozen or more different villains as a group of henchwomen.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

These women weren’t at that level yet. Some were skinny, muscle beginning to form, obviously starting to struggle with the weight in their arms after probably an hour’s drill. Others were luscious, curvy, but obviously with only a basic yoga level of fitness, being honed to a new level. Still others might have been considered overweight, though they were clearly turning their bodies into muscle through diligent, droning exercise. A couple might have been cross-fit enthusiasts or might have arrived at the island more recently; it was difficult to tell.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

They were a startlingly diverse group - many different ages, many different colours, obviously different attitudes before they arrived. But their diversity was tapering as they were shaped into someone’s ideal. Not only that, but they moved with a synchronicity that was surprising given their different levels of fitness. As if they were linked somehow.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

Another point of unity among the group became clear to Kara only after a few minutes to study the scene; each one had eyes of glistening gold.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

Perhaps Bimbeau had some sort of diet that sapped their will and had this change as a side effect?

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

She debated taking action against the group. But even with their not being at peak condition, even if she assumed their weapons weren’t loaded yet, it would be a stunningly bad idea.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

Instead, she faded back away, leaving this new squad of henchwomen - actually, that was probably being too kind, the reason you recruited in this kind of volume was to make up for a lack of quality, so they were clearly goons - behind her, where she could hope that they’d be left behind when she acted.

“Slaves to the Serpent. Warriors for his Will.”

The chant echoed in her memory as she fled the sound. This didn’t seem like the man Bimbeau had been when her father had crossed his path - but five years could change someone, she supposed. One of her newer friends, Daniel, had family in international espionage (which had a lot to do with why she’d cultivated him) and she’d heard a confused rumour percolating back to MI6 that at some point the United States Department of Defense had taken a direct interest in him.

Details on that were sketchy, though. Bimbeau’s government trouble had certainly not brought him to a full stop. She was sure she’d have heard something if that had been the case.

Now, though, he seemed to have adopted a new identity. The Serpent.

Ugh.

How disgustingly Freudian.

(She really should stop thinking about this, and the redheaded strumpet who had perhaps superceded her mother, before she considered Bimbeau making demands of her mo- Oh. Dammit.)

She passed another statue, the theme of this one still nude women - but in this instance, the woman stood to attention. A snake was looped loosely around her neck, the snake’s head extended up past her own, looking in the same direction. The gemstones were present in both the woman’s eyes and those of the snake. It seemed as if the snake, or perhaps the Serpent, had taken control.

It had the same quality of art as the other, but it seemed somehow more powerful. Kara considered it for a moment, feeling as if there were energy throbbing through it.

A ridiculous idea, of course.

*

This time the other woman bound to watch the monitors spoke. “Master?”

The Serpent strode across to check. Looking over the screen, it was clear that the interloper had passed the inner boundary.

He nodded to himself. “Very good,” he said with a smile. He rewarded her - if that was the word - by reaching down over her shoulder to fondle her breasts for a few moments as he watched the intruder push on toward the longhut, gauging his timing, and then left her.

Protocols in her mind left her aroused. She had no stimulus to end that, and so she remained aroused. She would until her duty watch ended and she returned instead to the Serpent’s harem.

Elsewhere in the underground, however, the Serpent was at his own control panels.

The intruder was only two hundred yards from the longhut. The Serpent took his pendant into his hand, drawing on its energies, closed his eyes, and reached out, taking hold of a captive mind in the area.

Then he flipped the switch in front of him. The switch remotely released the cage door, and in the mind of one of his modified cobras, he slithered out to meet her.

*

Kara was a novice in many parts of her ‘job’ outside of fighting, which she had spent the bulk of her time preparing for, but she was a quick learner. Already she was much quieter as she moved than she had been when she first landed on the island. She was more sensitive to noises around her, and her eyes watched more carefully for humans moving through the trees.

But she still hadn’t seen the woman following her, and she was certainly not looking out for snakes.

So when she suddenly felt something with a different texture to the undergrowth against her bare shin, she didn’t immediately consider the danger it might represent. Not until it was whipping around her, clinging tight to her leg. She looked down and saw the hood of a cobra swiftly surging up her as the snake - far too long, much longer somehow when seen for real than on TV - climbed.

Her hand tightened on her pistol grip, and she’d almost drawn if before she realised how big a mistake that might end up being. Shooting a thin target attached to her? That could go wrong in dozens of ways. No, she had to go for her knife - which presented a problem. She’d strapped it to her ankle, thankfully on the other leg.

Maybe if she was fast enough…

She dropped to one knee, reaching down across her body for the sheath. Moving as fast as she could and fuelled by fear, she unsnapped the sheath’s strap and took hold of the knife’s grip.

But by this stage the cobra had lunged, and it was transferring from her leg to her arm, even closer to her - and on the same arm with the knife.

Kara tried to shift balance and in her haste she fell backward onto her rear. She brought up her other arm to transfer the blade, but somewhere in there her eyes met the shimmering, pulsing golden eyes of the cobra, and as she was opening her fingers, her muscles all seemed to lock. The blade fell from paralysed fingers to the dirt beside her. Her green eyes took on just a hint of gold as the power of the Serpent flooded her mental barriers, causing her willpower to start to buckle and give. She summoned up the will she’d used to overcome her old headmaster, but it didn’t seem to be helping. The snake’s position was adjusting on her arm, its eyes still on hers, and she lay there, propped up by her other elbow, frozen into place. And then the cobra’s head lashed forward, its jaws open, to bite and inject its venom.

She felt a heat at the point of the bite. Galvanised by terror, she flexed her fingers, found she could move, and began to scrabble for the blade, but the heat of the Serpent’s modified venom was spreading through her. She turned her head away from the snake’s eyes, her own starting to lose their golden tinge, but as the venom reached through her, she felt her nerves come alive with… desire? No, that was unfair. With lust. Every pleasure nerve was registering into overload and the result was driving her brain into heat.

Against her own wishes, she threw herself backward onto the earth and her fingers gave up the search for the blade. One hand yanked her shirt up savagely, the other pawing at her shorts. She tore her bra cup away entirely, ripping at her shorts until the button flew away with an audible snap.

The snake, meanwhile, transferred from her arm up her shoulder to coil around her neck, giving it easy purchase. As Kara helplessly thrashed, masturbating herself with a drive, a passion, and a  roughness she had never before experienced, the cobra’s hood was back into position.

The small ball of her original self, pushed in and all but overwhelmed by the mounting heat of the venom, attempted to glower at the snake; a rookie mistake, but one Kara would never remember clearly enough to learn from. Her eyes met the golden eyes of the Serpent, and her mind found itself paralysed again - but this time, her body was not contained, still desperately humping against the air.

The Serpent’s kiss. She could feel her free will burning out with every new wave of pleasure. This was so unlike any experience she’d had before. The devices in the finishing school had been crude, simple, and had simply suppressed the workings of her mind. This combination of science and sorcery was clearly developed to burn away free will, leaving behind a receptive mind with whatever skills it may once have had intact.

But the part of Kara that was aware even of that much was diminishing fast. Her body was under the Serpent’s control. Her mind was frozen by its gaze.

She became aware that her left foot had lifted and thumped against the ground three times. Her right foot did the same, and with that she finally realised that another consciousness was active in her body, moving in where her own will had lost control.

The Serpent was testing to see how quickly she could be turned into a puppet, she realised. Like the women in the clearing.

She knew that now, and still she couldn’t turn away, turn her head. Instead she was accelerating the venom’s takeover, fucking away her own mind, fucking away everything that kept her from being one of the Serpent’s goons, her hair and body reshaped into what he wanted. He almost certainly used them as a harem too. What supervillain with an all-female goon squad didn’t?

She was losing her grip. She could feel the things that were important, that drove her, becoming unimportant, even irrelevant.

I’ve failed you, Father. You never even knew your confession was priming me for this, and you’ll never know that I was lost to it, where I went, or where I’ve gone. You won’t even have the half-answer you had with Mum.

 

And Mum, I’ve let you down. I’ve lost you forever.

 

And soon I won’t even know, or remember what I was trying to do, or even that I was trying to do anything.

 

I love you both. I love you both so much.

 

I’m sorry-

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