“Okay everyone, one more time,” Tiffany said.
In a dull unison, the dolls spoke together. “I am a mindless empty doll. I cannot move or think at all. Mistress likes to play with me. A perfect doll is what I’ll be.”
“Wonderful,” Tiffany murmured. Her four dolls were all posing for her, naked and motionless. The past hour with them had been nothing short of an indulgent delight.
Erin, who wasn’t programmed the way the others were, had done an excellent job at playing along thus far. But that very lack of programming announced its presence often. When Tiffany had taken it in turns to tease or pinch her dolls, they had given no physical reaction. Erin on the other hand couldn’t stop herself from a flinch or a gasp, as much as she tried to.
“Erin. You can stop being a doll now,” Tiffany said softly. Erin turned her head and slumped towards Tiffany.
“Phew…” she sighed. “Tiff, I thought you’d never let me stop…”
Tiffany stroked her face. “Well, if I had you programmed the way I have everyone else, maybe I wouldn’t… Did you enjoy that?”
“Mostly.” Erin nodded. “Honestly it was hard a lot of the time to keep it up, especially when you were playing with me… I just wanted to jump you.”
“Ha.” Tiffany bit her lip. “Well I’m impressed. Maybe next time we could make sure you’re properly programmed for it?”
“Hmm…” Erin squinted suspiciously. “Maybe…”
“Hell, maybe next time I could be a doll, and someone else be the human.”
“That’s easy enough to arrange, Mistress.” Erin grinned. “I would do it now, but aren’t you going to be late for work at this rate?”
Tiffany blinked. Then the memory came back to her. “Fuck! I have work!”
Erin managed to stifle her laughter. “I thought you might be blowing it off. I mean, why bust your ass for minimum wage when the Algorithm offers so many more lucrative possibilities?”
“Shit!” Tiffany ignored her. “Erin why didn’t you say anything?”
“Excuse me!” Erin retorted. “Dolls don’t keep track of work schedules unless you specifically ask them too…”
“I can’t believe this…” Tiffany ran her hands through her hair as she started looking for her bag. “I’m going to be late… Again!”
“Hey, Mistress…” Erin shrugged. “Relax… You don’t even need the job anymore.”
“We don’t know that!” Tiffany snapped. “Until everything is taken care of, nothing is certain! I can’t afford to burn all my bridges just yet.”
“Tiff. Stop yelling at me,” Erin said with her arms crossed.
Tiffany looked at the hurt expression on Erin’s face. “Erin, look I’m sorry but I need to go, my uniform is at my place and…”
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Erin said sternly.
“No wai—” Tiffany’s eyes widened in shock for a moment before the lights went out. Within seconds, her pupils had dilated and she stared into space with an emotionless expression.
“God you can be annoying sometimes…” Erin scoffed. “But that’s okay, Mistress… I’ll help you even without you knowing it…”
She walked up to Tiffany and took the bag that was half slung over her shoulder away. “When you wake up from this trance, you won’t be worried at all about being late to work. You will know that you don’t really need the job anymore because of what it will be possible to do with the Algorithm, so you won’t stress over it.. You will not let any complaints or chastising about your job performance ruin the good mood you’re in, and you’ll enjoy daydreaming about enslaving all of your colleagues and your boss with me throughout your shift. However you won’t do anything stupid that will jeapordise your safety or reveal anything about the Algorithm, clear?”
“Yes,” Tiffany murmured.
“Hmm, this is fun…” Erin grinned. She wandered behind Tiffany and whispered into her ear. “Also, any suggestions I make you will think are all great ideas, okay?”
“Haha, excellent. Okay, Tiff, you won’t remember I put you in trance, alright?”
“Great. Wake up now.”
Tiffany blinked as her awareness returned to her, Erin appearing right before her as her vision cleared.
“Look Mistress, trust me, the stupid job isn’t worth stressing over, so just relax about it, alright?”
Tiffany sighed, head lolling forward, before she looked up at Erin with a grateful smile. “You’re right.” She nodded. “It’s not worth freaking out about. It’ll be fine.”
“That’s the spirit!” Erin beamed, slapping Tiffany playfully on the arm. “And you know what else?”
“I know you need to go and stuff, but it would be a shame not to make good use of such nice looking dolls first, wouldn’t it?” Erin motioned to the still naked and mindless Josh, Hannah, and Janet.
Tiffany’s eyes scanned over the dolls. “Yeah…” She bit her lip as her eyes drank in the naked bodies before her. “It would be a shame…”
Erin cracked her knuckles. “Well then, let’s make sure you’re thoroughly de-stressed before you go to work.”
Tiffany wandered into her workplace with a carefree smile on her face. There were several long lines of customers at the cash registers and she could see her duty manager, Dennis, manning the register where she was presumably supposed to be. Without worrying much about it, she put her coat and bag in the break room and appeared at Dennis’ side.
“Tiffany!” He exclaimed. “Where have you been!” His glare towards her only lasted so long as he quickly remembered the customer he was in the middle of serving. “I’m sorry sir, was that everything?”
The customer proceeded to order a dozen items, and when Tiffany saw the look of overwhelmed bewilderment on Dennis’ face, she touched him lightly on the arm and nodded. “Don’t worry boss, I’ve got this.” She tapped her left thumb and middle finger together and felt herself enter a zone of popcorn clarity. She handled that order and every subsequent one with a speed and accuracy that made her colleagues look asleep.
It was a good fifteen minutes before the surge of customers had been fully dealt with. As the last patrons disappeared towards the movie screens, Tiffany pressed her right thumb and pinkie together to let the world around her return to normal. Feeling slightly lightheaded after such a long time in her hyper-focused state, she nevertheless went to grab a brush and shovel as she knew that the movie in screen three was about to finish.
“Nuh-uh!” Dennis intercepted her and stood there with crossed arms and an indignant expression on his mustached face. “My office, Tiffany. Now. Monika and Bethany can take care of screen five.”
“Three, sir,” Tiffany corrected him.
“Three. Whatever. Come with me.”
Tiffany followed Dennis onto the tiny office tucked behind the sales area. It had no windows and was mostly taken up by the cheap desk that Dennis sat behind. He motioned for Tiffany to take a seat.
“Pretty crazy out there, huh?” Tiffany said lightheartedly.
Dennis glared at her. “That’s because I was short staffed. You were late. Again.”
“I was.” Tiffany nodded. “I lost track of time, I’ve had a bit of a hectic week you see.”
“Well I’m afraid you’re fired,” Dennis said bluntly.
A strange calm enveloped Tiffany. It felt like she should be upset, angry even, but her mood didn’t even dip a little. Instead of feeling down about being fired, her mind went straight to questioning the logic behind it. “Really?” she replied with a raised eyebrow. “Are you sure?”
Dennis looked incredulous that his words didn’t have more impact. “Of- of course I’m sure.”
“Well, it looks like Justin also hasn’t shown up tonight, Kate quit last week, and although Johnny is here, he tends to make things worse, not better. You should be firing me at the end of my shift, not the start.”
Dennis just looked at her and shifted in his seat, visibly irritated that Tiffany wasn’t more upset.
“I mean it’s up to you obviously.” Tiffany shrugged. “But you’ll have to pick up the slack yourself if I’m not here, and by my reckoning you have two more busy spells coming tonight. I really don’t mind you just firing me at the end of my shift instead of now, it would save you some bother.”
Dennis seemed to deflate slightly in his chair. “You don’t… you don’t mind?”
“Yeah.” Tiffany shrugged. Although it didn’t ruin her mood, she still recognised that it was a horrible thing for her boss to do to her. Yet she didn’t plan to simply walk out so early. “I don’t need this job, Dennis. I can call you Dennis now, right?”
“Uh, Tiffany, um…” Dennis seemed lost for words.
“But the fact is, it’s a shitty job for minimum wage and you are a truly awful boss.” Feeling a momentum of words behind her now, Tiffany didn’t hold herself back.
“I mean, you gave me crap over being a few minutes late the other day like it was an actual big deal, and now you fire me without so much as asking why I might have been late today? What if a relative had died? What if I had some kind of emergency that had delayed me? You didn’t even fucking ask, did you? You just act like a boss, but this place is in shambles and that’s on you! Now you go and fire me so you leave yourself short staffed for the evening. Genius move, moron.” Tiffany felt like she was enjoying this far too much, but she was able to hide her glee behind a mask of outrage and scorn.
Dennis seemed a bit stunned. Tiffany couldn’t help but imagine herself pulling out a fully functional Algorithm tablet and placing it on the desk in front of Dennis, letting the swirling lights grab his attention and suck him in. Despite feeling zero attraction to him whatsoever, the idea of watching his expression change from confusion to concern to blank, mindless staring sent a shiver of excitement through Tiffany. Part of the thrill came from reducing this person of some mild authority into a drooling mess before her. But it was also that there would be no strategic value to brainwashing Dennis. She didn’t need her job, she didn’t need to hold leverage over him.
But she wanted to, because it would be fun, and because it would be hot. It was just a pity she didn’t have a portable version of the Algorithm yet. However, that didn’t mean she couldn’t still have her fun with him.
“Well, I’ll go grab my stuff and go then I guess.” Tiffany stood up and turned to leave the office. At the door, she turned back and paused to think something over. Eventually, she added, “You know what Dennis, since you’re not my boss anymore, you should come to my friend’s party on Friday. It’ll be fun, and I’ll get to see if you’re likable as a person instead of horrible as a manager. Message me if you’re interested.”
As she turned to leave this time, but Dennis stammered and eventually spat out “Wait! Tiffany, wait please.”
Turning back and hiding her smirk, Tiffany blinked impatiently as Dennis fumbled with some papers on his desk.
“Look, er…” Dennis couldn’t look her in the eye. “Maybe I was being a bit harsh earlier. You made some really good points and I don’t, erm, think… I don’t think you deserve to be fired.”
“Well that makes two of us,” Tiffany said bluntly. “How about I go help Beth and Mon with screen three then?”
“Sure.” Dennis shook his head. “Thanks.”
Tiffany left the cramped office and picked up a brush as she made her way to help her colleagues finish cleaning the movie theater. She was glad she simply didn’t care about the job, as it seemed to have undermined everything Dennis had said and done. His power trip had fallen flat against the sheer might of Tiffany’s indifference, and she couldn’t help but chuckle to herself. Oh, she was going to make him regret his actions, for sure, but right now she was simply enjoying the power of not giving a fuck.
While cleaning screen three, Tiffany invited both Monika and Bethany to the party on Friday, and proceeded to do the same with all of her movie theater colleagues over the course of her shift. She kept on drifting off into daydreams of each of them in turn being helplessly entranced by the Algorithm, until her entire workplace was under her control. She wasn’t even sure what she would do with such power, but that didn’t stop her from wanting it. More than once she wished the world would pause so she could slip a hand downstairs and stroke her fantasies to their conclusion, but there was always another customer or a task to be attended to.
It was as the last rush of the evening was waning that Tiffany looked up from refilling the popcorn dispenser and almost jumped out of her skin.
“Alice! Trev!” she remarked in surprise. Both of them were leaning on the counter facing Tiffany with broad smiles.
Alice giggled in amusement. “Wow, Tiff, you’re like a deer in headlights.”
Trev smirked. “I think she’s still just nervous being around you, Al.”
“Uh, um, yeah! Hi!” Tiffany attempted a recovery. “I just didn’t expect to see you here.”
“Well we watch movies like the other common folk,” Alice teased.
Trev chuckled. “Yes, sometimes it’s good to venture out among the plebs, blend in however we can.”
Tiffany shook her head, letting out a soft chuckle. It was more than refreshing to have Trev and Alice talk to her like they used to, before all the crap happened with mind control. “Sooo…” She looked up with a glint in her eye. “Are you two… on… like… a…” She trailed off slightly, squinting with innuendo.
“It’s not a date, no.” Trev shook his head briskly.
“We’re just out as friends,” Alice quickly added.
“I only just broke up with Lucy,” Trev stated.
“We both just need someone to talk to about everything that’s happened,” Alice stressed.
“It’s okay,” Tiffany replied cautiously. “I was just curious.”
“It just wouldn’t feel right,” Trev murmured. “Because Lucy, y’know.”
“We’ve been friends for a long time.” Alice clutched her elbow. “We don’t want to risk what we have, you know?”
“I get it, yeah.” Tiffany nodded. When neither of them spoke for a few moments, just looking away from each other, Tiffany felt the need to say something else. “So, erm, movie? I mean, you’re here to see a movie, right?”
“Yes!” Trev seemed to come back to the room. “Movie. Yes!”
They ordered their tickets, then Alice asked Trev to get some snacks and drinks while she went to the bathroom.
“So…” Trev said nervously as Tiffany delivered an oversized bag of popcorn to the counter. “Have you seen or heard anything from Lucy at all?”
“No,” Tiffany replied with a frown. “I thought you might have if anyone.”
Trev shook his head. “No, nothing. She’s really gone quiet, and I guess I’m worried about her.”
Tiffany had no words at first. With a frustrated sigh she turned and filled a large soda and a slushie. When she turned back with the drinks, Trev gazed at her with hopeful pout.
Tiffany placed the drinks down on the counter and tried to hide a scowl. “Why are you wasting emotions on her?” she said bluntly. “She’s a lying, manipulative bi—“ Tiffany stopped herself, shaking her head and learning towards Trev in earnest. “You deserve much better than her, Trev. She didn’t treat you well.”
“I know that.” Trev looked guiltily to the side. “I just can’t help but feel I was too harsh with her the other day. I could have done better.”
“Maybe,” Tiffany conceded, “but maybe that’s as good as it was gonna get. You did more for her than I would have. I get you wanting her to be free of the Algorithm, but I worry about how much she knows.”
Trev looked back at Tiffany, a rare serious expression on his face. “I didn’t want to keep her mixed up in all this still. I know she made mistakes, but it wasn’t all bad. We were together for a long time.”
Tiffany could feel the defensive walls up around Trev, and she knew the wrong word could deeply upset him. She considered leaning forward more and staring into his eyes. She could tell him how to think, deliver her suggestions directly into his mind, bypassing his own thoughts to replace them with hers. It would be so easy.
Instead, she slumped on the counter and groaned. “I’m sorry, the whole situation is my fault. I get that you want the best for her, but you have to understand that I’m wanting the best for you.”
Trev leaned down to be closer to Tiff. “It’s not your fault, Tiff. If anything I should thank you, without you I’d never have known she was cheating on me in the first place. I’d rather know, even if it’s painful.”
Tiffany smiled faintly, picking herself up from the counter and fixing a strand of hair. “I’m proud of you, you’re handling the whole thing like a champ. As for Lucy…” It was Tiffany’s turn to look serious now. “As long as she stays away, we don’t need to concern ourselves with her. You deserve to move on, and so should she. But if she tries to mess with you or me or any of us in any way then—“
“Tiff, no!” Trev insisted. “Don’t use the Algorithm on her.”
“I mean it. We can’t use it to solve all our problems. Please, promise me you won’t.”
“Trev, I…” Tiffany tried to think of a good counter argument. She considered pressing her thumb and middle finger together once more, but she was worried it would just convince her to stare into Trev’s eyes and forcibly change his mind. That was the clear solution here. It would solve what had the potential to be a huge problem.
“No more fucking with Lucy’s mind. She’s had enough. Promise me, Tiff.”
Tiffany pressed both hands on the counter and leaned as much as she could towards Trev to stare intently into his eyes. The moment she caught his gaze, he was fixated on her, unable to look away.
“Trev…” Tiffany started. Maybe it had been a mistake to leave Trev, Alice, Josh and Erin with quite the autonomy that she had. If it meant they could cause problems like this, perhaps it would be better to layer some natural obedience towards her into their minds, so she could have them agree with her without needing to force individual thoughts on them with her controlling gaze. It would make matters like this easier. Much easier.
Trev could only stare as Tiffany completed her sentence. “I promise I won’t use the Algorithm on Lucy, even if she’s being a problem. We’ll figure out some other way if we have to.”
Trev nodded as Tiffany broke away from her stare. “Thanks, Tiff. I really appreciate that. I know you’re kinda in charge of all the Algorithm related decisions now, but this is really important to me.”
“I know.” Tiffany nodded. “And I can respect that, even if I disagree with it.” She hung her head. The temptation to force her will on Trev had almost been irresistible, but where would giving in to such urges every time leave her?
“I just want you to be happy,” Tiffany admitted. “I don’t care what does or doesn’t happen to Lucy. I’m honestly much more interested in what you have in mind for Alice…”
Trev blushed as Tiffany beamed at him. “I… I know it’s so soon since, y’know, but I really want to go out with her. “
“Trev.” Tiffany gestured with a cheeky smile. “In case you haven’t noticed, you are ‘out with her’.” She air quoted for effect as Trev rolled his eyes.
“You know what I mean. Go steady. Court her like a gentleman.” Trev sighed. “I just… I’m nervous what she’ll say if I ask. It’s been like three seconds since Lucy, and I don’t want her to think she’d be like a rebound or something.”
“I don’t think she’d think that at all,” Tiffany replied softly. “I’ve seen the way she looks at you, you should just be honest with her.”
“But what if it ruins our friendship?” Trev ran a nervous hand through his already mussed up hair. “What if things don’t work out and we can’t go back to being friends?”
“That’s the risk you take,” Tiffany replied while she fidgeted with her staff ID. A quick glance around her showed one other customer being served by a colleague at a distant terminal and the other staff members nowhere to be seen, presumably in the break room as the next movie didn’t finish for another twenty minutes. “You have to decide if the risk is worth the reward.”
They both stared at one another, Trev deeply considering Tiffany’s words while Tiffany herself applied the same argument to Erin. She quickly concluded that it wasn’t a fair comparison, as she felt closer to Erin now than she ever had, and before everything with the Algorithm happened, Tiffany had never really understood the brash and crude-mannered tomboy. Now she had been with her at her most intimate and vulnerable moments. For Tiffany, the risk had been beyond worth it for the payoff so far.
“Hey, no hotdogs?!” Alice appeared back next to them so suddenly that both Trev and Tiffany were startled. “Oh, did I interrupt something saucy?”
“Oh, we were, uhh…” Trev faltered.
“Erin!” Tiffany blurted out, before regaining her composure. “We were talking about Erin.”
“Uh huh, sure you were.” Alice eyed them both suspiciously, albeit with a knowing smile. “So how is she anyway? I take it you gave her a good talking to, Tiff? Dispelled the notion of her leaving, yes?”
Tiffany thought back to her last few interactions with Erin and blushed. “Heh, something like that, yeah…”
“Oof… Okay I don’t want to know the details.” Alice held her hands up. “But seriously, are you guys out of hotdogs? I don’t see hotdogs here…”
“Oh, we have them, I just got distracted by Trev is all.” Tiffany grinned apologetically. “One moment!” She scampered over to get two hotdogs, focusing on her task as her mind raced. Something about Alice had her on edge. Despite knowing that the version of Alice who had bound her, outsmarted her, and completely enslaved her was safely locked away, Tiffany feared that somehow she could emerge at any moment and finish what she started. And the thing that scared Tiffany most was how much she wanted that to happen, even though the reality of it had been horrifying in hindsight.
She returned to find just Alice waiting by the counter, and gulped as she placed the hotdogs before the gorgeous blonde.
“We swapped,” Alice explained. “Trev’s turn to powder his nose.”
“Oh, cool,” Tiffany said nervously. She stood rigidly, desperately trying not to let an awkward silence form.
Alice sighed in a mixture of amusement and exasperation. “Oh my god, Tiff, relax! All the crap stuff is over. I forgave you. We can go back to normal… I mean, kinda.”
“Yeah. I know…” Tiffany blushed again. “I just, I guess I’m still dealing with a lot of guilt, you know?”
“You have no idea…” Alice nodded solemnly. “Well, I guess you do, now. You’ve met Dillon, you’ve seen who I turn to when I can’t handle life the way I should… You’re not the only one feeling guilt right now, believe me.”
Tiffany nodded. The temptation was to tell Alice that it wasn’t her fault, that she couldn’t help what had happened, but she knew that would only anger her. To Alice, going to Dillon instead of seeking other forms of help was a choice, and she was trying to own the responsibility of that. Instead, Tiffany just sighed gratefully and said, “Thank you.”
“I’m not going to lie, I’m really unsure about this plan to get Dillon in front of the Algorithm. I hate that it means I have to become…” Alice’s tone changed completely as she said “...her.”
“I’m unsure too, but I don’t have a better idea yet. I promise it will only be for a few minutes, and then you’ll never need to be ‘her’ ever again,” Tiffany said earnestly. “I’ll even wipe your memory of it, you’ll never know it happened.”
Alice’s eyes widened at this. Tiffany watched as her whole body tensed and moved away from the counter. “Only if you want!” Tiffany added quickly, holding up her hands. “You get the final say, always.”
At this, Alice seemed to calm slightly, though Tiffany could see she was more on edge than at the start of the conversation. “Okay,” she said bluntly.
“Okay,” Alice repeated herself. A tense silence manifested for a few seconds before Alice said, “I know the importance of getting Dillon under the Algorithm’s influence, but what do you think about Lucy?”
Tiffany raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
Alice squinted at Tiffany with hints of suspicion. “Don’t play coy, Tiff. Trev let her go with all her conditioning gone and all her memories restored. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her, and I think she’ll be a problem.”
“Yeah. Okay.” Tiffany leaned forward on the counter, her fists clenching slightly. “I don’t think Trev should have done that, sure.”
“And what do you think we should do about Lucy?” Alice also leaned forward, as if sharing in a conspiracy. “Because I think the same treatment as we plan to give Dillon is needed. Forget the Algorithm entirely, no memories left about what it is or what it can do.”
Tiffany gritted her teeth for a moment. “That is what I want to do, but Trev is adamant about not messing with her mind anymore.”
“I know,” Alice said scornfully. “It’s one of the few things we haven’t agreed on since we last left Josh’s place.” She then looked curiously at Tiffany. “But I need to confess to you, Tiff. I knew Trev meant to talk to you about her just now and while you were getting the hotdogs I had to check. You didn’t brainwash him or do that thing you can do to change his mind just now. Why?”
Tiffany felt stunned. “You… He said…” She frowned. “Were you… testing me just now?”
“Maybe.” Alice skirted around the question. “Or maybe I was just curious. Either way, you didn’t influence him, and I know you could have. Why?”
Tiffany exhaled heavily. “Because it wouldn’t have been right. Or fair.”
Alice gave Tiffany a thoughtful glance. “If you’re not going to use your power to get your way, Tiff, why program us with it in the first place?”
Tiffany stared into Alice’s sparkling blue eyes. “Because it’s there for when I might really need it. For something more important. For if I need to protect you. I don’t plan to use it for anything less than what I know you’d want me to. I don’t think I can explain it properly, but…”
“No, that’s okay.” Alice gazed back into Tiffany’s eyes. “I don’t know if it’s right or not, but you’re proving to me that you’re taking this seriously, and I guess that’s enough for now.” She looked down at her bare arm, marks from her last visit to Dillons still visible. “I have noticed that my cravings are under control, and aside from the occasional queasiness, I barely feel the withdrawal anymore.” She looked back to Tiffany. “Your work I suppose?”
Tiffany nodded. As much as she wanted to prove she could have a light touch with her control, Alice didn’t need to suffer any more than she already had.
“Do you have any idea how many people we could help with the Algorithm, Tiff? Hundreds of thousands. Millions, even.”
Tiffany sighed solemnly. “Alice… in the wrong hands it could be replicated to enslave billions.” She shook her head. “It’s too dangerous, even with good intentions.”
“That’s not good enough, Tiff, and you know it. If it’s really so dangerous, you would destroy it now. There has to be a way. People who have been where I’ve been deserve the chance you’ve given me.”
This thought had occurred to Tiffany again and again since they had first discovered the Algorithm. Was it meant to be kept a secret, or was it meant to help the world? When shared with good intentions, would it be used altruistically, or would the power hungry use it to take control of an endless number of victims? Tiffany couldn’t help but feel like in the wrong hands, the Algorithm would be a curse on the world.
She just hoped her hands weren’t the wrong ones.
“You’re right,” she admitted. “I want to keep it to myself, to just us…” She gestured to them both. “But it is selfish, and it would be a waste. Look… Let’s get through this party, make sure we tie up our loose ends, and we’ll start looking at how we can safely help people without risking the Algorithm being compromised.”
Alice looked at Tiffany intensely, scrutinizing her sincerity, though Tiffany thought she may have caught a brief glimpse of admiration.
“I promise,” Tiffany added.
“Okay Tiff, you’re on.” Alice nodded, her smile reappearing soon after. She ate a piece of popcorn and sighed deeply. “I’m glad we had this talk.”
“Me too,” Tiffany admitted. Alice didn’t seem so scary anymore. Tiffany couldn’t help but feel that things were going to work out okay.
Alice then looked slightly embarrassed as she said in a much quieter tone. “So… umm, now that we’ve resolved to use the Algorithm for the benefit of humanity, can I make a request that is purely selfish and trivial…?”
Tiffany had to stop herself from bursting out with laughter. Instead, she suppressed it to a manic grin. “Well now, that just happens to be my specialty. What are you thinking?”
Alice laughed with embarrassment, then covered her face and whined quietly into her hands. When she re-emerged, she had a sheepish smile. “Can you help me be with Trev?”
Tiffany blinked in surprise. “You’re joking, right?”
“Why would I be?” Alice frowned in confusion.
“It’s… It’s just…” Tiffany stammered, “Look at you?” She gestured to all of Alice. “You’re gorgeous, you’re kind, you’re funny. How can you need help being with anyone when you’re you?!”
“Because it’s Trev, Tiff.” Alice stated as though it was obvious. “And I don’t want to do what I do with every other guy, where its all sex and booze and drugs just to numb myself for another day. I don’t want to do that with him, but I don’t know how to ask, how to tell him what I want. I usually just come onto a guy and it goes from there, but it’s never been what I actually want. Trev respects me, he likes me for me, I don’t want to ruin that from day one.” She mock collapsed onto the counter. “Plus he’s feeling guilty about Lucy and everything. Oh god Tiff please help me, I have no idea what I’m doing!”
“I want to, but I’m amazed you’re coming to me with this, Alice,” Tiffany remarked. “Like, I’m the person who thought a reasonable way to get with the girl she liked was to brainwash her!”
“I don’t mean anything crazy like that!” Alice gave Tiff a teasing glance. “I mean, can you make me less neurotic so I don’t have this constant voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough for him? I mean, if you can make me all cruel and domineering so easily, surely you can make me slightly more chilled out so I don’t screw this up.”
Tiffany chewed her bottom lip for a moment. “I can’t change you like that.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry. I mean, I can absolutely help you, but I can’t mess with your mind to do it.”
“Oh come on, Tiff!” Alice glared. “You didn’t have any issue messing with my mind before! Why now?”
Tiffany chuckled. “Well, for one, we both agreed that what I did before was wrong…” She elongated the last word while staring deadpan at Alice who rolled her eyes before pouting.
“Okay, okay, I know what you mean.” Tiffany held up her hands. “You want a little nudge, to suppress some stuff, maybe amplify some other stuff in your mind. Not by a lot, just enough, right?”
Alice nodded briskly. “Well, yeah.”
“I could do that…” Tiffany said, but as she saw Alice’s face start to light up, she quickly added “but I’m not going to.”
Alice’s excitement rapidly morphed to disappointment. “What? Why?”
Tiffany sighed, leaning forward over the counter and grabbing one of Alice’s hands with both of her own. “Because you need to do this as yourself, or you’ll regret it. I could layer your mind with some subtle programming, sure, but then you’re left with two possible outcomes. If it works, you’ll always wonder if Trev would be with you if it weren’t for the changes, so you’ll never feel good enough. If it doesn’t work, you’ll always wonder if you blew your chance by not being your true self in the first place. Honestly, nothing good will come of it, trust me.”
Alice’s eyes filled with sorrow, and she slumped where she stood. “Tiff, I can’t do this without help. I’m not good enough.”
“Yes you are,” Tiffany insisted. “And I will help you.” She squeezed Alice’s hand. “But not by messing with your mind.”
Alice relented, sighing and nodding her head in agreement. “Tiff, you are incorrigible. Fine. What have you got in mind?”
“Well I would tell you a long and intricate plan,” Tiffany started, before quickly speeding up her pace. “But shit he’s coming back quick act natural.”
“Yo!” Trev announced as he appeared next to Alice, plonking down a stuffed to the brim pick n’ mix bag onto the counter with a comically loud smack. “Sorry I took a while, it was like five percent peeing and 95 percent picking and mixing. Hey!” He grinned. “You found the hotdogs!”
Tiffany looked at the pick and mix bag with wide eyes. She had never seen one with twizzlers literally spilling out the top. It had to be about $40 worth of candy in there.
“Oh, I forgot to ask Al,” Trev motioned to the pick n mix bag. “You want one?”
Alice was also blown away by the sheer concentration of sugar. Trev burst out laughing as she hesitated to reply.
“I’m messing with ya, I got this for us to share.”
“Oh, okay.” Alice giggled.
“Yeah but who’s going to share your dentist bill?” Tiffany remarked, as she made a show of using two hands to lift the bag onto the scales.
“Well, that’s $37.80 for the sweets, then the tickets, the hotdogs, popcorn, drinks…” Tiffany furiously typed into the point of sale screen. When the total popped onto the screen, the color drained from Trev’s cheeks.
“Uhhh, maybe I could put a couple of the jelly beans back.” He murmured, looking at the sweets.
Tiffany chuckled. “You know what guys…” She took the pick and mix once more but this time held it on the scale with one hand so it was barely touching. “I think I mis-measured your sweets the first time.” The new total came up as $2.57. “And now that I think of it, I’m sure I saw one of our two for one ticket coupons on the bottom of your shoe when you went off to the toilet… Hmm, I can’t remember if the popcorn is included in that, let’s just assume it is… And these hotdogs are two degrees below an acceptable level of hot now, you should just have them on the house… So that and a drink, just one not two because I’m really good at counting, and that all comes out to twelve dollars.” She grinned mischievously at them both. “Cash or card?”
“Tiff…” Alice leaned in conspiratorially, “Won’t you get in trouble?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Tiffany shrugged. “I know how to work the system.”
“Tiff, you rock.” Trev handed over a few bills and Tiffany handed back some tickets.
“But look, before you go in.” Tiffany shifted awkwardly. “I have a confession to make.”
Alice and Trev exchanged a look before turning back to Tiffany with serious expressions.
“The Algorithm has changed all of us in different ways. Some changes are from it’s direct influence on us, others are as a result from everything that has happened as a result of it.”
“What have you done, Tiff?” Alice asked sternly.
Tiffany held up her hands. “I just need to warn you that if you both look into each other’s eyes, and actually share how you feel about each other, you’ll be powerless to what happens next.”
Trev looked at Tiffany skeptically. “What are you saying Tiff?”
Tiffany stared into Trev’s eyes. “I’m saying that it’s okay to let go of the past and look towards the future.” She then turned to Alice, staring deep into her eyes. “And that you’re more capable than you give yourself credit for.”
She then looked down at the counter. “That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say. I hope that made sense.”
“Uhh, kinda?” Trev replied with uncertainty. “Did you do something to us with the Algorithm or not?”
Alice placed a hand on Trev’s shoulder. “I think she means she didn’t do something directly, but the Algorithm has impacted us all, whether we like it or not.”
“Pretty much.” Tiffany nodded shyly, looking off to the side. “Just… tell each other what you’ve been afraid to talk about… Trust me.”
“Okay, Tiff,” Alice said. “I’ll try.”
“Yeah, sure,” Trev agreed.
They said their goodbyes, and Tiffany watched them walking into screen 1 together. She couldn’t help but imagine that when they came out they’d be full on dating each other, without the stupid dancing around the stuff that really mattered to them both.
Tiffany made a resolution then and there that she would ensure Alice and Trev had a long and happy relationship. And she would do so without using the Algorithm what so ever.
Unless the situation was really dire.
And maybe… Maybe one time Trev and Alice would be looking to spice things up. Maybe a little suggestion to have a threesome with a close trusted friend would slip into their minds one day and they would invite Tiffany over.
Maybe just maybe they would find it fun to revive Alice’s dominant persona for the evening, and maybe Trev might have a similar dominant side that could be brought out with the right suggestion at the right time. Tiffany ran an idle finger through her hair as she zoned into the idea. Maybe they would team up on her, decide it would be fun to break her and make her into their little plaything. They’d gag her first, obviously, so she couldn’t use her control or triggers on them anymore. Then they’d tie her up, strip her naked, and take turns using her for whatever they wanted, all the time telling her over and over that she was a slut, a weak needy toy that existed to be played with.
Maybe Alice would figure out to make the change to her permanent again like she did the previous time, and would do the same to Trev. Together they would take control of the Algorithm away from Tiffany, make everyone else fall under their control, and become Master and Mistress to all that Tiffany had once been in control of. They would force her to watch as they drained the will away from Hannah, Josh, Janet, and everyone else she once held influence over.
Maybe Erin would save her again… Or maybe would end up a slave by her side. Perhaps even all of Alice and Trev’s slaves would take turns to use and degrade her. By the end of it, she’d be a drooling mess.
Tiffany snapped out of her reverie when she realized her hands were unconsciously sliding down her body towards her waist.
“No…” she muttered to herself. “Not here. Not now.” She looked at the clock. The movie Trev and Alice had gone to see was the last showing of the night. Once it was finished, it was a final cleanup and then she was done. She went back to imagining each of her coworkers in front of the Algorithm, their minds draining away. Then she pictured her boss, blank and helpless, and ready to be taught a lesson in fair treatment of employees. Next shift she could spend it in his office as he kissed her feet and professed his undying obedience to her. All of her colleagues would cover her work as she lazed about and thought up more ways to expand her influence. And her sexy female co-workers would be more than happy to spend their break time with her.
It was all pretty hot, but she couldn’t help but think that if she were to use the Algorithm as she could, her power would quickly outgrow the need for a place like this. She was built for bigger and better things, that much was clear.
When the last movie finished, Tiffany and her coworkers rushed to get the screen cleaned so they could close up. She didn’t have time to stop and talk to Alice and Trev, but to her delight they left holding hands very much caught up in each other, barely noticing anyone else was around them. Tiffany finished her shift unable to keep herself from smiling.
Just as she went to leave, she heard someone clearing their throat behind her. She turned to see Dennis standing in his casual clothes looking sheepish.
Tiffany couldn’t help but enjoy the complete change in demeanor that Dennis was displaying. “Yes, boss?” she asked politely, hiding her smirk.
“I just wanted to apologize again for earlier. It was uncalled for. You’re of course not fired, you’re one of my best employees.”
Tiffany considered Dennis’ apology for a moment before deciding to say, “I quit.”
The look on Dennis’ face was beyond priceless. Tiffany turned to leave as Dennis stammered in complete bewilderment.
“Bu- bu- bu- Wait a minute!” Dennsis tried calling after her.
Ignoring him, Tiffany just called back. “Leaving now. At least you can come to the party on Friday!”
She rode a high all the way home, her heart beating with triumph. When she entered her apartment, she heard voices from the lounge and immediately went to investigate. Erin was sitting on the sofa in her red catsuit outfit, stretched out in a leisurely fashion. Tiffany’s eyes were more drawn to Hannah, however, who was completely naked apart from a collar around her neck. Attached to this was a lead which Erin was holding onto. When she saw Tiffany enter, she grinned enthusiastically. Hannah, upon seeing Tiffany, gasped in excitement.
“Mistress!” Hannah immediately turned to kneel at Tiffany’s feet, bowing her head and thrusting her chest out prominently.
Tiffany stared down at Hannah’s naked form. Her eyes flowed over her roommate’s fiery hair as it tumbled down across her milky pale breasts. Tiffany felt her cheeks turn rosy pink as she drank in Hannah’s creamy freckled skin and careful posture. She looked ready to serve, ready to meet all of Tiffany’s needs.
Eventually, she turned to Erin, quickly deciding how she should handle this situation. Erin stared up at her from her relaxed pose on the sofa, a satisfied smile across her ruby lips. Erin had clearly spent some time with make up to make her face match the style of her outfit, bold and domineering.
“Hey Tiff,” Erin said playfully. “How was work?”
“I quit.” Tiffany shrugged. “How was the rest of your day?”
“Productive,” Erin replied, glancing down at Hannah for a brief moment.
“I can see that.” Tiffany smiled slyly. “Josh and Janet the same?”
“No, of course not. You want them working on that portable tablet version of the Algorithm, and for Josh to implement the changes to the actual Algorithm that you texted to him. They’re both working hard for you, as they should be.”
“And you? What are you doing for me?”
“Why, I’m training new slaves for you, as a good slave should.” Erin’s grin was cheeky and provocative. She liked getting a ride out of her Mistress, that much was clear.
Tiffany kept her expression stoic, not wanting to give away to Erin the torrent of emotions going on within her. Part of her wanted to burst out in anger and chastise Erin for so blatantly acting out of turn. Part of her trembled before the wilfulness her supposed slave was displaying, and wanted to plead for her to be given the same treatment as Hannah. Keeping the urges at bay took some will, but Tiffany knew how she really wanted to handle Erin in this instance.
“Well then.” Tiffany stared sternly at Erin. “What are you doing on the sofa when all my slaves should be kneeling to me right now?”
Erin’s smile only widened as she slid off the sofa and took up position beside Hannah. “As my Mistress commands.”
Tiffany held out her hand and Erin immediately handed over the lead that ran to Hannah’s neck. “Strip. Now,” she commanded.
Erin kept eye contact with Tiffany as she slowly peeled off her catsuit. “Yes, Mistress,” she said dutifully.
Tiffany waited until she was done before running her hand through Erin’s hair and down to her neck. “You’re missing something. I take it you got one for yourself as well?”
“Yes Mistress.” Erin nodded.
“Bring it to me,” Tiffany said softly. Erin crawled across the room and returned with an identical collar and lead which she obediently handed to Tiffany.
Tiffany held up the collar, looking from it to Erin’s bare neck, back and forth several times.
“You know…” she mused. “When you saved me from Alice, and put me in the position of power, I told myself I was going to show restraint. I told myself I was going to use a light touch of control, make little changes here and there to benefit us all. I was going to take care of Dillon and then see how we could use the Algorithm to enhance our lives. And help people, it’s important to Alice that we find a way to help people.”
She threw the collar down on the floor in front of Erin and looked down at her bluntly. “I didn’t want to go around turning everyone into brainwashed slaves.”
Erin simply stared up at Tiffany, a mixture of curiosity and concern in her eyes.
“I genuinely wanted to make things right with you and be friends when I set out to find you the other day. I didn’t mean to make you my slave again.” She looked off to the side. “And I mean… I guess I haven’t, I didn’t make you, you chose to play along. You can walk away at any moment…” When she looked back at Erin there was a fire in her eyes. “But fuck me Erin, you make me want to force you in front of the Algorithm so I can strip every last bit of free will you have, and make you my sex slave forever. I want to control every single detail of your life down to the brand of toothpaste you use. I want to play out so many fucking bizarre and depraved sexual fantasies with you that I don’t know if we’d have time for them all even if we did two every day. Some of them are so intricate they’ll probably take days of careful planning. I don’t know how you do it, but you bring this out of me. I can’t help myself. I don’t want you to just pretend, I want to be able to make you cum when I snap my fingers, freeze in place when I tell you to. I want to be able to drain your mind with a word and turn you into someone else for my amusement.”
Erin’s cheeks were flushed as she listened. When Tiffany stopped for breath, she very slowly nodded, her eyes alight with desire.
“But you’re supposed to keep me in check, Erin!” Tiffany snapped, feeling the agitation and heat all over her face. “If I can’t control myself then who knows how far I’ll go. And I have these recurring fantasies of all my power being stripped away, my mind being drained, my body enslaved, and everyone I used to control being used to punish and abuse me in the most sadistic ways imaginable. If I get carried away, then I’ll end up surrounding myself with a harem of obedient fucktoys, I’ll ruin lives, I’ll destroy the futures of everyone who gets mixed up with me because their entire lives will revolve around me. And I won’t be satisfied when I have a dozen slaves at my beck and call, Erin. It’s the process of stripping away someone’s will that I find the most irresistible pleasure. That and the idea of it being done to me in vengeance or righteous comeuppance. I need someone, something to balance out my crazy ideas, or it’s only a matter of time before I make the same mistake I did with Alice, but it might be you, or Hannah, or Alice again.” She growled in frustration. “I can’t trust myself! If I can do anything, I’ll want to try everything, and eventually I’ll slip up. I don’t want to let you get hurt again. And if I do screw up, our deal still stands… Wipe my mind, enslave my will so I can’t hurt you or anyone else ever again.” Breathing heavily, feeling like she was nearly in a panic, Tiffany looked down to see a reassuring calm on Erin’s face.
“I won’t get hurt again,” Erin said plainly. “We won’t let that happen.”
“How?” Tiffany demanded. “Erin, I’m sorry but what use are you in helping me control myself when you throw other slaves at me like this?” She gestured to Hannah, who stayed in her kneeling position of obedience, staring up at Tiffany with almost manic adoration.
Erin looked up caringly at Tiffany. “Because, Mistress, I will help you, every step of the way. We’ll come up with some rules to program into you, make it so I’m always able to interfere if I truly believe I need to. We’ll create sleeper agents to reset us if things ever go wrong. We’ll have backups of backups. But most of all, you won’t be doing it alone. I’ll be there with you.”
Tiffany sighed deeply, sinking slowly to her knees in front of Erin. “Thank you. I… I really appreciate that.” She laid her forehead gently against Erin’s, and the naked tomboy pulled her into a comforting embrace. “I just get so confused by you.” Tiffany murmured into Erin’s ear. “Sometimes I want you to be my slave, other times I want you to be my Mistress. And sometimes I just want us to be equals, doing this together… Figuring it out…”
“Hmmm…” Erin contemplated, bringing her hand up to caress Tiffany’s warm cheek. “Well, I should mention that Hannah’s enslavement here is only in effect while she wears that collar. When out of it, she reverts to her normal self, aside from the programming you’ve already put in place within her that is. And I suppose a couple of little compulsions I added to make her put on the collar when requested and find it all perfectly normal to do so.”
“Ahh, so you haven’t permanently changed her.” Tiffany drew back from Erin, smiling with relief.
“No. I know you don’t want that.” Erin winked. “And I’m making it my mission to anticipate your desires. The point is, we could do something similar to us. Take it in turns to wear our collars, and sometimes neither of us will, or maybe both of us will. Could be fun… But we’d make sure we always go back to ourselves at the end.”
“It sounds amazing,” Tiffany replied in awe.
“I gave you the power, Tiff. I want you to do what you want with it. I just secretly hope your plans involve me to some extent.” Erin grinned, and Tiffany found it impossible not to return her smile.
“So sometimes when I need it, I’ll wear my collar and you will be my Mistress?” Tiffany asked.
“Exactly.” Erin nodded. “I get it, you know. I know you want to feel things from both sides. Where you went wrong before was that you didn’t come to me. You don’t need to make that mistake again.”
“I won’t.” Tiffany reassured her. “I’ll come to you, Erin. Always.”
“Good girl,” Erin purred, pulling Tiffany in for a passionate kiss. Their tongues danced with each other as Tiffany ran her hands all over Erin’s naked flesh. When Erin finally broke away, she was happily flustered and breathing heavily. “Now, what is it you need right now? For me to wear the collar, or for you?”
Tiffany picked up the collar from the floor, and ran it through her fingers. She could live out her fantasies on both sides of control. The idea was freeing in a way, and as she fastened the collar around her own neck, she saw Erin’s eyes gleam with excitement.
“Maybe you could train me like you’ve trained Hannah?” Tiffany asked, biting her lip before adding “Mistress…”
“Oh you have no idea what you’ve just gotten yourself into, slave…” Erin ran her hands tenderly over Tiffany’s body before finding her hair and grabbing a clump of it to pull her head right back.
Gasping with excited surprise, Tiffany closed her eyes and waited for the words she knew would come.
“Her mind was Tiffany twisted.” Erin whispered into her ear.
A slight happy sigh escaped Tiffany’s lips before everything faded away.