Christina drove out of Boston in the same stolen car she’d driven in with. The vehicle had been taken far enough away that the only risk in the city would be if a police officer had any reason to run her plates, and nobody could drive more lawfully than a former cop who didn’t want to be spotted.
(On the other hand, nobody broke more traffic laws than a cop who didn’t give a shit.)
Not far beyond city limits she started to relax. She knew Boston PD would still want to detain her if they spotted her. (Whether it would be legal arrest or off-the-books shenanigans, she wasn’t so sure - she represented a deep embarrassment they might not want to admit to until they were sure they’d be able to make some positive headlines out of it.)
But for the same reason they might want to keep her capture secret, she wasn’t convinced they’d have let any other law enforcement agencies know what was going on - except maybe a group like C.A.L.I.B.R.E., with their superhuman jurisdiction.
In theory, the drive from central Boston to Gloucester should be somewhere in the forty-minutes-to-an-hour range. Theory, however, had never encountered Masshole drivers, and if it ever did, there was a good chance they’d trigger a panic attack and send theory scurrying to hide under the bed. After a couple of quick loops to check for followers, Christina kept to major roads.
The long July days meant there was still plenty of light in the sky when she finally came in sight of her Master’s new headquarters. Some way out of town itself, the beachfront villa had been a B&B for decades when, fleeing law enforcement, Christina, Marcie, and Ellie had brought their Master to the home.
The Thoughtsmith’s ability to take control of any person he made eye contact with had made the takeover simple, and the former owners, Mr and Mrs Henson, had joined his group.
To this day Master referred to them as “my most useless conquests, even when they’re trying”, but they had kept the house in faultless condition and still did - without any question of profit any longer.
Mr Henson’s many skills in property maintenance had been set to convert the basement from a slightly damp storeroom to a well-conditioned, comfortable control room, and Master kept a lot of his work down there. In this way he was able to expand his holdings and operate his brainwashed gangs of followers without having to install anything in plain view which might be suspected.
Gloucester was not exactly a hotbed of criminal enterprise, and as such it did not have a particularly enterprising police department. However, the existence of one inevitably created the existence of the other - even if Master were to take over the locals, too much criminal activity nearby would draw state and federal attention.
Anything he could do early on to make himself harder to find when this happened was…
…well, it was just evidence he’d learned from his arrest at Christina and Ellie’s hands. They’d located the Thoughtsmith with relative ease because it hadn’t occurred to him that he needed to conceal himself.
With the power at his disposal he’d considered himself a god among men, effectively invulnerable. But the two detectives had identified his hand in the way the criminal world had changed, and even deduced the importance of eye contact to his powers. They’d worn polarised sunglasses to escape his effects.
Master had learned, and where he hadn’t, he had trained enforcement officers to advise him now - and Christina and Ellie were both programmed to consider another arrest for their Master to be the ultimate in failure.
His new headquarters might stand out, but it wasn’t one which you’d associate with crime. It wasn’t even the most ostentatious building on that stretch of coastline, and its sides remained classic white wood panelling, the garden remained a lovely place to be but boasted no dollar-sign-shaped swimming pools or other ostentatious frippery.
It was a rather beautiful home, a thought which always struck Christina as firmly as if it was new whenever she came back in sight of it after a mission. The part of her brain that was both slave and person - the small part, locked away from control, unable to stop her body from following her Master’s order - found the house the one benefit of her new state, although whenever Thoughtsmith’s control pulsed through her, the pleasure of service overwhelmed that.
She passed Mrs Henson on her way up the drive. As he often did, Master had her working in the garden. Somewhere in her mid-forties, Mrs Henson had been comfortably settling into middle age, but Master had changed that.
She had been assigned an extensive workout regime, and several months in her pudgy belly was flat enough that Master had used her as a plate more than once; her legs were lithe and muscular, though Master had her wear jeans a size tighter than was comfortable so he would enjoy them more, and she was awaiting breast enlargement surgery at his order.
It was always interesting to see exactly how she might be dressed on any given day; seeing her kneeling over her begonias, ass much higher up in the air than most gardeners would choose, in stonewash blue jeans, wearing a leopard-print blouse stretched over her body, hair bleached blonde and arranged into a Marilyn Monroe styled parody of a 1950s housewife sex symbol reminded Christina that Master periodically brought up transforming her more fully.
It had yet to happen, but she suspected that once her sister was delivered to him, the last advantage to Christina being recognisable would be gone. She’d be put through a remodelling project just as her former partner Ellie had been.
Marcie has presumably changed before Christina had met her; her body had the lean muscle of a prize fighter or perhaps a low-level gang thug, her nose had a crooked bump that told of being broken, but her tits were large and fake, her lips plump from injections, and her makeup was always on point. Her dark hair was undercut on one side, kept short on the other, and usually styled in waves which kept it even shorter.
As Christina parked the car at the end of the drive, Marcie was seated on the balcony above, apparently sunning herself as she read a sun-faded, much-thumbed paperback.
Christina knew Marcie would actually have watched her turn into the drive and kept a careful eye out for anyone extra in the car or anyone following. She knew that a handgun and a heavy pump shotgun were kept by the balcony lookout, clipped to the wooden handrail out of sight from anywhere but the house.
Marcie had tended to the Thoughtsmith’s security before he ever became Master to Christina and Ellie. It was she who put into place the plan which turned them both and rescued their Master before he could stand trial. Whatever she’d been beforehand, Christina had never asked; after so many times being conditioned and re-conditioned by Master, she wasn’t convinced Marcie would even remember.
And besides, even the part of Christina which didn’t reflexively believe that any woman’s best place would be in service to the Thoughtsmith didn’t want her prosecuted for her past - Christina’s old self believed that Master’s influence had been more than punishment enough. Anything more beyond that couldn’t possibly be just.
She waved at Marcie as she passed under her field of vision on the way into the house.
The hallway opened out into a living room which Master often used for informal dining, and while it was empty, the long coffee table in front of the couch held two large serving bowls - one chili, one rice, both of them mostly empty and abandoned - with one dirtied plate resting in front of Master’s favourite seat and, below the table, four equally-dirty bowls resting on the floor.
Christina was again quietly glad that the Hensons hadn’t owned a cat; maid service was lacking and it could easily be so much worse. Master did like the place kept clean and tidy, but there were always other tasks to do; on days his core staff had other assignments, things lagged.
Nevertheless, having made reasonable time, she had arrived a while before Master required his report. Her programming sprang back to work and she busied herself making a tower of the bowls and carrying them through to the kitchen.
Just that simple act made her happier. Any act her Master required of her made her happier to perform. Even in her strongest moments, when it felt easiest to push back and when the idea of not meeting his gaze when he wanted to reconfirm control felt like something she could do, if she carried out a command it was like a weight lifted from her shoulders.
She returned for her Master’s plate and the serving bowls, set aside a measure of food for herself, and spent a few minutes washing her Master’s dishes. Almost in spite of herself she felt better, and as she did - as the lightness filtered through her system and the sensation of pressure ebbed away - she found herself thinking about why her resistance might be as strong as it was at the moment.
Her best guess was Boston, her sister, or both. As disgruntled as she was and as clearly as her eyes currently saw everything Master had ordered as being an insult to her dignity or a limit she chafed against, she knew that she was, usually, very happy to have her dignity stripped away. She knew she was usually content to be obedient and submissive and used as a sex toy or set to work for her other talents.
But today it chafed. Today the inner Christina was pushing and screaming against her programming, against the limitations she had been brainwashed into accepting.
The strongest act of rebellion she could push herself to was to leave the wet dishes in the rack, dripping dry, and to eat her own cool chili from Master’s plate rather than the bowl her fellow slaves had used.
Christina came to the conclusion that her current frustration and her… well, her level of resistance and protest… all had to stem from a desire to prevent her Master from getting something.
So was she more protective of her sister or of Boston? She had, back when this had barely been a plan, actively suggested her sister as a useful agent in the Boston PD. It would make sense if she fully accepted her sister’s betrayal. And yet Boston was the city which had rejected her. Which considered her a wanted criminal. Which wanted to punish her for the natural act that was service to her Master.
She finished her meal, washed the plate, and was on the stairs heading down to visit her Master in his den before it occurred to her that the side of her which resisted didn’t consider service to her Master to be either natural or desirable.
It was another reminder that thinking like an outsider had become a challenge. She remembered her sudden spike of panic as her sister had arrived early - except it hadn’t been early. Her sister had come home just after her work shift would have finished.
Never mind that this wasn’t something Jillian did while the two of them still talked. She’d changed, obviously, in some way, and work was less important to her as a result.
And the idea that was even a risk - Christina had missed it entirely. You didn’t lapse in your duty. You didn’t confine your duty to set hours. That made no sense, was all but unimaginable to her.
Ellie and Lexi were both in the Master’s command centre. His tall chair, mounted to the floor, was flanked by the two slender beauties, the former policewoman and the ex-swimsuit model both brainwashed into service and both, currently, serving only as bodies, wearing nothing now, though their panties could be seen on the floor.
Master often worked up anyone on handmaiden duty to the point they could feel their thoughts dripping down their thighs. Looking at their bodies silhouetted against the lights of the monitor screens Master was consulting, Christina could see no traces of her fellow harem slaves’ intelligence in their stance. They stood almost identically, with no trace even of their individual personalities. She envied them and could not wait for her turn to come again.
The room smelled strongly of sweat, musk, and arousal. Christina closed her eyes for a moment and breathed deep. Imagined being one of the day’s handmaidens. Pictured herself standing, a blank and empty vessel, constantly wet and ready, and feeling her Master’s touch idly caress and explore her from time to time.
The scent and the ideas seemed to calm her. That frustrating, niggling resistance was starting to subside once again. It still worried at her, but she could set it aside. Setting it aside and returning to service meant happiness.
Her Master’s pleasure was her happiness. She had a clear, understandable goal in life. By working for his pleasure she could achieve it. There were no double-standards nor any contradictions in her goals.
She knew her place in life was one to be envied. Resisting that was foolish, and only her worst impulses might push her toward it.
“Master,” she said at last, into the quiet. Ellie and Lexi turned first. They pivoted almost at the ankles, their feet seeming to turn on the spot, their bodies remaining in their loose poses.
It always amazed Christina what grace and bliss came with total mindlessness.
After they turned, taking his time, the Thoughtsmith too turned to face her in his high-backed swivel chair. Christina stood at ease, biting her lip, and then, when his chair had turned completely to face her, she settled down to one knee and bowed her head demurely. She had seen him just long enough to register that he wore only a T-shirt, nothing below the waist.
This wasn’t uncommon when the Master was at home. He did have a full costume, but he wore that only when he felt the need to be theatrical - something that his wider organisation or criminals he needed to meet face to face got, but his harem did not.
“Did you do as you were told?” the Thoughtsmith asked. There was a light rasp to his voice; she wasn’t sure where it had come from but it had developed over the past couple of months. Of course, he did do something like eighty percent of the talking despite being only a seventh of the people on the property.
“Yes, Master,” she confirmed.
“Did you do everything you were told?”
Here was the point where failures could be admitted and explained. Christina felt no such need.
“More, Master,” she replied. He raised an eyebrow, his lips twitching with amusement. His hand went out to Ellie, slipping behind her, and Christina’s former partner twitched as her Master groped her ass. Christina bit her lip to keep from whimpering.
Master wasn’t paying attention to Ellie’s reaction, though. His eyes were on Christina. The smirk on his lips as he saw her fight down a response…
“Report, then,” Master said. “Perhaps you’ll have a reward once you do.” She watched him take Lexi by the hand and place her hand on his cock. Watched her blank gaze soften without a trace of thought appearing. Lexi gripped and began to stroke, coaxing him to hardness.
Master liked to test his slaves’ devotion to his orders by challenging them to act against a distraction. Christina licked dry lips and began to talk.
She told him about the McDermott gang. About the weak link she’d identified. The instructions she’d slipped him while he was drugged. About the incident which was going to trip up his rival in a week, giving their unwitting mole more power in the organisation than he held or deserved.
And all the while her gaze was glued to Master’s cock, to the lucky hand which stroked it. She was jealous that Lexi had been chosen for even so basic and simple a duty.
Then it came time to report on her sister, and again, Christina held nothing back. She told him everything she had observed and everything she guessed, and everything in between.
With a regretful shiver, she even confessed the misgivings and resistance she had manifested about this, though she begged forgiveness and pledged, her eyes still on his cock, to work always for his safety, success, and pleasure.
She couldn’t see his expression, but she could hear his breathing, his gasps, his occasional satisfied grunt. Christina didn’t think he was angry, but given Lexi’s skill, she might not find out in any case until he elected to punish.
Master stood, and Lexi’s hand went with him. He stood as she worked, and Christina tilted her head back to look at her Master. She watched him reach up and tug on Lexi’s left nipple, saw her hand motions speed up, knew Master had given her extra programming.
And, again, Christina was jealous of the woman whose body had been the only reason for Master’s interest. Of the woman who had been reduced to some philosophical ideal of sex-slavery, below womanhood. Who had had her mind taken while Christina was required to keep hers, and therefore occasionally to be guilty that she did not do enough.
She looked up nervously, awaiting her Master’s judgement - and then, with a satisfied moan, he let fly. Christina was baptised again into his service, coated with the reward of his cum.
Reflexively, she parted her lips and licked up as much as she could reach, feeling as always rewarded, contented, and even fulfilled just by the taste of her Master.
He left his handmaidens standing behind him, left Christina on one knee, and swept out with a brisk “Well, that changes things. I have to think.”
His three slaves remained as they were, unconvinced they had permission to move.
The room grew silent.
The one downside to having improvised to plant a suggestion in her sister’s head had been using another dose of the toxin Master had secured. Sourcing it had been hard - he had sent Marcie and Ellie to steal it some weeks earlier, from a laboratory across the country.
They’d returned muttering darkly about snakes, and it seemed that the toxin was manufactured through genetically-altered animals which were also delivery mechanisms. For some reason, though, Ellie had deemed it a security risk to steal one of the snakes.
They therefore had a small supply only, and it was Master’s express wish to disguise his hand in things as much as possible. His detainment had made him paranoid, and she understood that his time in jail had not been kind. Metahuman captivity was a relatively new field, and measures were reportedly taken that many called inhumane.
Christina had known that there were going to be consequences to her extra use. She’d just believed it was still the right action to take on her Master’ behalf, and she was willing to take any consequences in her Master’s service.
On Sunday morning she opened her eyes with no memory of Saturday, a sensation which usually meant her brain had been melted completely down by high-duty assignment in Master’s service. She smiled blissfully and rolled over in bed. That strange vagueness-as-hangover usually meant she’d been used heavily for her Master’s pleasure, something which was bliss enough on its own even if she didn’t enjoy it - which she did.
As she stretched in bed, she realised she wasn’t sore, and that her body hadn’t been pushed to its limits the way it usually was when she’d been nothing but a pleasure toy.
Christina got up and took a shower, then found herself taking a pair of dark blue slacks and matching shirt from one of the two closets Master had made Marcie shove into the room where any women who wouldn’t fit in his bed slept every night.
She held them thoughtfully for a moment as her waking mind tried to catch up with the commands currently driving her body.
These weren’t hers. They were in her size, though, and by touch, they were new, probably never even washed before.
And they would pass as a police officer’s uniform in the Boston PD, so long as a shoulder patch and a badge were added.
Christina steered her own compelled activity enough to put on a sports bra - her reflex was always now to reach for flimsy, decorative lingerie, but it looked like she had a job to do. She’d want better support if she had to be at all active.
Unfolding the shirt, she found that a patch was already in place on one shoulder.
Christina bit her lip. Master knew best, of course, and she would of course obey him. But she didn’t want to feel that resistance in her mind again all the same.
She dressed as Master clearly wanted and headed down to his control room. He wasn’t awake yet - not uncommon, if he’d left briefing her til the day of the operation; Master preferred to sleep sandwiched between beautiful women, and when he did he would lie in as long as possible.
Christina simply took up position kneeling before his chair and waited.
It was late in the day before she was finally sat in the same car she’d driven away from Boston just a couple of days before. Driving this time was Mrs Henson - her first time being used as an asset in her Master’s plans, instead of a warm, willing body and garden maintenance.
Christina felt a chill in her belly at the approach back to Boston. She knew most of what she would do there was buried in her subconscious, hidden from her. Not something the Master’s powers did - he must have used some other device, or some drug like the toxin she’d been issued.
Master didn’t trust her, not on this task. He was using her body instead, controlled with different puppet strings, so she couldn’t fail him.
She worried that it wouldn’t be enough. She and Ellie had discussed, occasionally, their perception that Master would not make much of a crime boss if he didn’t have his powers. He had the determination and the ego, but they both agreed he didn’t have the instincts.
Both of them had worked in law enforcement long enough to know how often his tactics just didn’t work, and only controlling the right minds had kept him afloat - literally only his cops gave him the advantage, she felt.
Even when Ellie was being turned, Christina had been watching for ways she might try to break her programming.
Christina would have to try very hard not to break her programming, or she might outthink him without trying.
Mrs Henson, on the other hand, had her Master’s implicit trust. She knew her orders and her role. And aside from what they were to do at the beginning, she had been told not to share these with Christina.
That hurt, even if she understood why.
She wanted to prove herself to Master. To earn back his trust. And yet, already, she felt the fear of what he wanted growing within her. The urge to fight it.
She would rather have been deprived of the mission and set as lookout than to risk failing him. She hadn’t been given that option, and just had to hope that there was a reason he’d sent her, not Marcie or Ellie.
“It’s going to be difficult,” she said aloud. It was meant as reassurance for Mrs Henson. Perhaps it worked that way; for herself, it seemed to make everything worse.
“Yes,” Mrs Henson agreed. “But Master wishes it. It will be done.” It will be done, Christina noted. Not We will do it. Her weakness, he failure, it was known to the harem as a whole.
Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. She had to redeem herself.
Boston loomed ahead, and she set her jaw in determination.
They loitered around a street corner for an hour or so, waiting for the right moment.
Christina kept in the shadows, just a face in darkness atop her dark blues. Mrs Henson, though, had added pink vinyl hotpants and overstretched fishnet tights to her leopardprint top, plus a pair of outlandishly large hoop earrings. She certainly caught the eye, and had to turn down a few inquiries from hopefuls before they finally got what they wanted; approached by an officer.
“Hey,” Mrs Henson said as the officer was almost past her. “Fuck you.”
The policeman glanced up from his walk, saw her, and smiled a little in surprise - but he kept going rather than respond. Christina winced, anticipating another hour or more before their next chance - and then Mrs Henson showed something more than Christina had thought she had in her.
She spat in the cop’s face.
He lost that good-natured smile fast; real fast. One hand came up to point in Mrs Henson’s face, he rounded on her, and for the first time she had not just his curiosity but his attention.
Henson continued to rise to it beautifully. She stepped into his space and delivered an unhesitating, uncompromised, unpulled knee to the balls, followed up with a kidney bunch while the cop was still doubling over.
Even as her own doubts drew, Christina admired the purity of her action, the desire and drive to serve it showed. She knew the woman wasn’t a fighter, and as someone who’d had to break enough heads herself, she knew how much a punch hurt the person throwing it.
But Henson didn’t hesitate. Didn’t flinch. Christina knew she was feeling the pain, but it clearly didn’t matter to her. The older woman was just…
…was just a better slave.
She was taken aback enough by the sudden emotional wrench that she almost forgot her cue. Hastily and embarrassed, she stepped forward out of the shadow and drove the prod into the cop’s spine. There was a brief crackle of energy and he dropped to the ground, unconscious.
The two slaves silently looked at each other for a moment. Mrs Henson, breathing heavily from the unaccustomed adrenaline, beamed; Christina managed a less confident smile in return.
They stooped to grab the cop and drag him into the doorway where Christina had been hidden. The door opened behind her and they secured him away, bundling him into a ground-floor apartment they’d already prepared.
Christina quickly stripped his gunbelt, badge, and radio away from him, and started attaching them to her own uniform while Henson injected him with a sedative and got him strapped to a bed and gagged.
This was definitely the riskiest part of the whole operation - or, at least, the part of the operation Christina knew about.
All the same, it was done now, and it was necessary.
Impulsively Christina grabbed Henson by the back of the neck and pulled her in for a kiss. Their bodies squirmed close against one another, and the shocked eagerness in Henson’s mouth was, for a moment, a reminder of just how important the harem was to Christina.
Somewhat uncomfortably, she broke the kiss. “Right,” she said. “I’ll see you after we’ve done what we have to,” she said.
Henson nodded after a moment’s hesitation. “Good luck,” she said, and then added “Make our Master proud.”
The reminder that her fellow slaves considered her a weak link ringing in her ears, Christina stepped back out onto the streets of Boston and headed for the nearest precinct.