Betsy Visits River City.
Betsy turned from the holographic projector and started to walk back into the depths of the castle. Her eight bimbos followed chattering. Betsy realised she should ignore the chattering, but it was difficult. She had to continually remind herself that the bimbos were a real force to be reckoned with. At the stairwell, she reconsidered.
“You, you and you,” she pointed at three bimbos at random, “go back and try to find a way out. If you do, look for Faeryfaye and obey her. She’ll tell you what to do. If you can’t, come back and tell me what happened.”
Betsy called them back after they had taken a couple of steps. “Look,” she said. “If you do find Faeryfaye, give her a message from me.” She proceeded to dictate the message.
“Can you remember that?” She finally asked.
”Oh yes,” they all giggled.
Betsy, accompanied by her five bimbos, went down to the depths of the castle. She asked her bimbos to tell her where Vicky might be and was led to the room where Vicky had been held, but there was no one there. They didn’t encounter anyone on the way there. The place felt empty.
“Do any of you know what happened to Vicky? Or where she might be now?”
The bimbos chattered to themselves and Betsy waited. Eventually, one spoke up.
“We don’t know but we think it true that Sonia took her. As far as we know, Sonia was the last one seen with her. She talked to Vicky then left her to stew for the night before starting again.”
Betsy didn’t like that news.
“What shape was Vicky in when this Sonia left?”
“She was badly beaten with maybe a broken rib or two. We don’t think nothing worse than that. A lot of bruises as well, of course.”
“Now, is this the Sonia who works for Three Fingers?”
“Right. Can you think where this Sonia might have taken Vicky?”
The bimbos were distraught. “Sorry, Lady Betsy, we don’t know that.”
Betsy didn’t know where that Lady Betsy had come from. Maybe it was a bimbo initiative in order to get their owners to like them? If it was it worked. She liked it. She didn’t tell them to stop saying that.
“Then we need to search. Do you have a plan of the castle?”
“Not on paper. But Dr. Orlof had us search the castle a number of times.”
“Good. Tell me about those searches.”
And they told her in duosyllabic detail. Betsy thought a while then said, “Vicky would have escaped by now. And the best place to find her will be that trophy room. Let’s go there first. Lead the way.” The bimbos clapped and giggled and led the way.
It was a long way and after a while Betsy singled out a bimbo and they walked together away from the other bimbos.
“Look,” said Betsy, “I need to know exactly what you can do. Can you communicate with the other bimbos without talking to them?”
“Oh yes,” she answered enthusiastically. “We can write emails or texts or letters…”
“No, I don’t mean that. I mean telepathy, or something like that.”
The bimbo looked sad. “No. We can’t do that.” Then she brightened up. “Is that possible? Can you arrange that for us?”
“Sorry, I can’t.” Betsy was confused. This bimbo, and all of them it looked like, was very human and the more Betsy interacted with her, the more Betsy wanted to treat her as an equal. She was definitely not some ex-person who wasn’t quite human.
“What’s your name?” asked Betsy.
“Brenda,” was the answer.
“Brenda,” asked Betsy, “are you the only bimbos left in the castle?”
“I don’t know,” she answered. “Dr. Orlof had an escape plan ready and I guess he’s used it now. There were more bimbos coming, but I don’t know if they’ve arrived here or where Dr. Orlof has gone to.” The bimbo sniffed audibly. Betsy took note.
“What is it?” Betsy asked.
“That smells nice,” she said.
Betsy sniffed and smelled nothing. She realised at the same time she had turned her smelling off, so she turned it back on and smelled it. The disgusting poo smell had gone. ‘That was quick,’ she thought. ‘I expected that smell to permeate the castle for weeks.’ Instead of that disgusting smell there was a lovely smell of food. Someone was cooking and Betsy was hungry. The two paradigms reinforced each other.
Betsy called the bimbos together.
“Can you walk quietly?”
“Oh yes,” they all giggled.
Betsy decided to take them at their word and not try to dictate their every action.
“Right. We’re going to approach whoever is making that smell and I don’t want them to know about us. So, if you know you’ll make a noise, just stay here. OK?”
“The bimbos jumped up and down and clapped their hands together and giggled. Well, it looked like they did, but there was no clapping sound and no giggles and no sound of stiletto heels on stone. Betsy could see they weren’t actually touching their hands together or making a sound when they giggled, but she couldn’t see how jumping up and down in stilettos didn’t produce any sound at all. But, she took that as a good sign and led the way towards the smell.
They eventually stood outside a door and the smell was now intense. Betsy had to instruct her stomach to stop rumbling. There was nothing else for it, so, after informing her bimbos, Betsy pulled the door open and charged in followed by her suicidal troops.
And then she stopped. The bimbos inside had stopped eating and were staring at them.
“Hello,” said one of the eating bimbos, totally unfazed by the aggressive entrance or Betsy’s bloody appearance. “Do you want to join us?”
Betsy had stopped and her coterie took their directions from her and stopped also. It took a while but Betsy eventually responded with…
“Er, who are you?”
“I’m Liz,” said the speaking bimbo before she started pointing, “Babs, Julie, Liza, Conch…”
“OK,” interrupted Betsy, who saw this would go on for quite a while. “We can have proper introductions later. What are you doing?
Liz smiled the smile of the permanently happy one.
“We’re having a meal to rem… er, think about, our dead ones.”
“You mean this is a funeral feast?”
She smiled. “Yes, but more like a wake.”
“Good point. I see that,” answered Betsy wondering how people who were ‘adjusted’ to be permanently enthusiastic and happy could actually grieve. “Do you know who I am? Who we are?” she included her own bimbos in the last question.
“Oh yes. You are the Lady Betsy. You are Dr. Orlof’s enem… unfriend, as well as Tilly Jigger’s, and TB’s and Stewart Herschel’s and Ffanci Cloyd-Morgan’s—she pronounced Cloyd-Morgan as two separate words. Those bimbos belong to you”
“Thank you for answering that,” said a bemused Betsy. “Now, why aren’t you attacking me, or us? Do you mind answering that?” Betsy was confused. This was not the way enemies behaved. Betsy didn’t like being confused. It confused her.
“Dr. Orlof and his friends have gone and left us. They didn’t leave any orders and they are not coming back. So we are now free.” All this was said with a big smile on her face and a few titters in between words. There was the normal background of chatter and giggles. A background, Betsy realised, that was growing in intensity.
“What’s happening? Your friends seem to be becoming agitated. I assure you, if you don’t try to stop me or my friends I don’t mind what you do.”
“They’re worried about the bimbos you have. Now we are free, we wonder if other bimbos should be free as well and yours aren’t talking back to us.”
“Whoa,” said Betsy. “First of all, my bimbos are just obeying my orders. And I just sort of took them over. I didn’t know they could be freed so easily.” She turned to her new bimbos. “OK, talk to them as much as you wish.” Immediately they became animated and excited. Betsy was a bit more used to them by now and so noticed the additional excitement levels in their demeanour.
“What’s happening now?” asked Betsy of the spokesbimbo as the excitement grew in the room.
“They’re happy because of the feast and the thought they could be free,” was the reply.
Betsy was puzzled. “Well, why don’t they just join you? I assume you don’t object.”
Liz almost bounced up and down in her chair. “Of course we don’t object. But they can’t because they belong to you.”
‘Oh shite’ thought Betsy. She turned around and addressed her bimbos. “You are now free. Go and do what you want.” Her bimbos jumped up and down and clapped their hands and giggled. As did the rest of them. Betsy’s giggle surged passed her to find seats at the table.
“What about you, Lady Betsy? You are welcome too,” invited the spokesbimbo, still giggling. Betsy was suspicious. After all, she had recently killed rather a lot of them and this degree of friendliness was unnatural in her eyes. Then she focused on what they were eating. They all had a salad, of sorts, and meat. And each plate was dominated by a large mound of what looked like fat. And each large mound of what looked like fat was topped by a nipple.
“Er, exactly what are you eating?” she asked.
“Various people,” was the giggling answer. She pointed to the mound on her plate. “This is Carla Johnson. The others are honouring other bimbos.” Her giggles subsided and she smiled. “You are welcome,” she added.
“I’m sorry,” Betsy looked at her face and added, “I really am. But I do have an emergency going on and I need to go and help. But first… Look. I’m sorry, but I have to ask. Where did you get your food and where did you prepare it?”
The giggling resumed. “The leaves, shoots, herbs and mushrooms are from the woods and they’re fresh. The meat is from the fallen bimbos.” She stood and walked to the back, inviting Betsy to follow. Opening the door she invited Betsy into a large, superbly equipped and clean kitchen, now in need of a thorough sterilisation after bloody Betsy had walked through it. “This is where we prepare our food,” she added while walking to the back, to a walk in freezer door. She opened it and Betsy saw, from the doorway, (she had seen a lot of films where someone was trapped in a freezer and wasn’t going to make that mistake here—this wasn’t a story.) the carcasses hanging from hooks like Inanna in that story, but at least these weren’t going off. Some had been expertly butchered and the heads were positioned on shelves. Those heads stared at them all the time through the ice covering their faces. Betsy didn’t like this, but didn’t see what she could do about it now. She would have to come back to it later.
She was about to leave when a head right at the back caught her eye. It wasn’t a bimbo. In fact, it was very average looking, verging on ugly. Its hair was thick, black and short, short enough to evade being grasped in a fight. Its skin was pale, the face a little too elongated to be truly beautiful, or handsome even. It looked like it was in its early twenties and yet the seriousness of its demeanour, its evident discomfort at finding itself there, made it appear older. Its RBF didn’t help its appeal either. Betsy was immediately reminiscent of some patients who had consulted a doctor, the type of patients who had refused to believe they were unwell until their symptoms persuaded them otherwise. The type of patients who were always the most gravely ill. The head’s eyes stared accusingly straight into Betsy’s eyes.
The face looked surprised and had a small hole right in the middle of its forehead. Liz saw what Betsy was staring at and stayed quiet for a while. Betsy took a deep breath and looked around for the accompanying body, which she saw right at the back, neatly hanging on its meat hook. She now knew what Inanna felt like when she was stupid enough to let Ereshkigal trick her out of her powers. Betsy vowed to herself never to do the dance of the seven veils again. Well, OK, she’d never done it yet, nobody wanted that, but she mustn’t ever do it now.
Betsy looked at Liz, thinking furiously.
“If you want to assimilate some of me, you’re welcome,” she said.
“Thank you, Lady Betsy. Will we take on some of your powers?”
“You never know,” Betsy answered with a wink and a smile.
“Then we will certainly attempt to take on your powers as soon as we can.”
As they were returning to the meal room, Betsy said, “So, Tilly Jigger and Stewart Herschel programmed you to eat yourselves? Or was that Dr. Orlof’s doing?”
“Oh no,” giggled the spokesbimbo. Our eating has not been altered. But to save money, they gave us food bars. They are nutr.. er, good, but taste nasty. But Dr. Orlof didn’t tell us to only eat them. We can’t take from his food stores, he told us that, but he didn’t tell us not to eat food we find. And we can find a lot of good food in the woods and lately from our dead.” She was giggling and smiling throughout but never castigated Betsy and her side for anything. Betsy found that unnerving. She went on…
“So now we can honour our dead in a proper fashion by eating them and keeping them alive inside us.”
“Doesn’t the taste put you off?”
“Well yes, a bit. Carla…”
“The one on my plate, Carla Johnson, yes, her breast meat tastes of plastic but that doesn’t matter. It’s important to remember her, even if she was what she was. Her rump also tastes of plastic but the rest is OK though, except her brains. We had brain soup as a starter and Carla’s was thin and weak. There wasn’t a lot of it either. Her thighs are really good and tasty though.”
“Ladies,” Betsy said when she returned to the table, “I really must leave soon. But I do have a couple of questions for you, so I’ll accept your kind invitation to join you, if I may? Unfortunately it will have to be quick. I hope you can appreciate that.”
The response was instantaneous. Noise levels went through the roof and they shifted along to make room for her next to Liz. Her plate was half filled with salad.
“We have Carla readily available right now, Lady Betsy,” said Liz. “Will she be acceptable?”
“Yes, of course. If you are honouring her then so shall I.”
“Which part of her do you want?”
“I’ll take your recommendation. You implied the thigh was good?”
Liz smiled and piled Betsy’s plate with thigh of Carla. Betsy tucked in and outdid the bimbos in speed of eating. She really was hungry.
“Ladies,” Betsy said between mouthfuls. “As I said, I need to leave soon. I have to find my friends. But you are now free. Can anyone come here and claim you?”
“Oh yes,” Liz giggled. “They just have to convince us we belong to them. It’s not hard. You worked it out easy.”
‘Oh shite, what do I do now?’ thought Betsy while deliberately ignoring the implication. After a pause she said,
“Look. You know how I made those bimbos mine. I’m using the same argument on you all. You all belong to me now. Isn’t that right?”
There was a loud chorus of yesses and giggles. They all looked extremely happy to be back being enslaved.
“Now, here are your orders. You must obey them, right?”
Again the chorus of yesses and giggles.
“I order you all to be free permanently. You all do what you want and look after yourselves.” Betsy looked around in the silence. “It’s obvious you can all look after yourselves. Form a group, but if you don’t want that, then don’t.” Betsy looked around again. “I recommend you contact the League as soon as this is over and talk things over with them. Tell them what I said here and take it from there. If you like what they say, then consider joining them or taking their advice or whatever. But, from now on, it’s all your choice.”
Betsy thought and worried about their literal interpretation of orders.
“And when I say it’s your choice, I mean it’s now all your individual choices. Continue on with this group if you want, but only if you want.” Betsy stopped there and looked around. “Does that make sense to you? Can you obey these orders?”
Liz clapped her hands, which was nearly alarming after the silence. “Ooooh yes we can. Thank you, Lady Betsy.”
Betsy smiled. She liked being called ‘Lady’. She wondered if she could get Faeryfaye and the others to call her Lady Betsy but couldn’t immediately envisage how to get them to do that. In fact, all she could see was them making themselves sick from laughing. Well, except for Faeryfaye. She would analyse the request then start treatment immediately. Betsy decided, there and then, that, perhaps, she would forgo this pleasure until she could control Faeryfaye a little more than she can now.
She also realised she had missed something.
“Can I still give you orders?”
“No,” was the immediate and full response.
Betsy smiled as she finished off her plate. “Then, I will give you this recommendation. “If you find any new bimbos, do your best to enslave them and have them obey you and then free them, just like I did to you. I’ll not say any more. You can decide for yourselves from now on.”
Betsy remembered a question and mentally castigated herself for remembering it now. It was just that everything happened so fast she couldn’t keep up.
“Now,” Betsy said, “Can I ask you a question?”
“Yes,” came from everyone.
“Before, when you told me about the ones who enslaved you, you mentioned T.B. Just who is T.B.? Do you mind answering this?”
Liz perked up. “We don’t mind that, Lady Betsy. T.B. is Tilly Betsy but it’s just one word. We can’t say that.”
“And who is TillyBetsy?” she asked with a worry beginning to form.
“She is Tilly Jigger with your body,” came the giggly answer.
‘Oh shite,’ thought Betsy.
“Did anyone see her arrive here? Or does anyone know about her arriving?”
There was a chattering, then an answer from Liz. “No one here saw her arrive but we know she was there in a storeroom. It was a room that contained the stuff we took from your warehouse.” The answer was said in a totally innocent way, as if Liz, or anyone there didn’t know that the recipient of such news could be angry and take it out on them. Fortunately Betsy didn’t take it out on them.
“And TillyBetsy is with Dr. Orlof now?”
“They all left at the same time.”
Betsy wondered, then asked, “Do you know why Dr. Orlof left you all here?”
“Oh yes. Dr. Orlof thought we would fight all the people coming in the castle and hold them up so they could escape better.”
Betsy smiled. “Dr. Orlof made a mistake, didn’t he?”
“Oh yes. Yes he did. He assumed we would do that so he didn’t order us.” The giggles and chatter predominated again.
Betsy wished she hadn’t freed the bimbos so soon as she thought for a while, wondering how to say what was on her mind.
“OK,” she eventually said. “I have a request. After all this is over, you will all be asked questions, and some of those questions will be about me and my colleague, Faeryfaye. I don’t think you know about her, but they will ask anyway. Will you please tell them as little as possible? Especially about TillyBetsy. I’m going to have to deal with her sometime and I want it to be me alone.” Betsy smiled at them. “Don’t bother answering, I trust you.” There was a pause after she said this as she looked each one in the eye.
“Now, I have another request. I want to employ you all on a little job. What sort of payment do you want?”
The bimbos became excited. They were being negotiated with and that reached their clitties as much as straight orders. This was new to them and they embraced it eagerly, bouncing up and down in their seats as they did so.
“What’s the job?” they all asked this immediately. Liz added, “How can we tell you what we want if we don’t know what you want?”
Betsy decided to trust them. “I want all my machines, the ones Dr Orlof took from my apartment and my warehouse, destroyed. Or, at a minimum, not there when the searches begin, and they will begin soon. If you hide them initially they should be destroyed when it’s safe for you to do so.”
“Oooh yes, we can do that easy,” said Liz. The bimbos chattered amongst themselves in their own unique manner and eventually came up with, “Fifty thousand dollars.”
“What?” Betsy almost screamed in amazement after she converted that to Pounds. “Do you know how much trouble I’m in already over expenses? I can’t afford that. Anyway, you said it would be easy. Five thousand dollars is far too much for such an easy job, but I’m willing to pay that because I like you.”
Thus began the haggling. Betsy was amazed at how good the bimbos were at this new endeavour for them, but, after five minutes or so of continuous debate, they agreed on a mutually acceptable figure. Liz and Betsy shook hands formally over the deal.
“OK,” Betsy said. “How do I pay you?”
More chatter. “Show me your card,” Liz eventually answered. “I’ll transfer the money when we get an account.”
Betsy showed her her card, adding a mental memo to keep the card active until this payment was made and to make certain it contained exactly the correct amount and not to show them any of her other cards.
Then she continued, “Thank you all for your help. Now, I must be going. Can anyone tell me the way to this trophy room?”
Again the giggles and chatter before Liz gave her directions.
There was a loud chorus of thank yous from the whole group as Betsy said goodbye and left. At the door she turned to them and gave a formal bow. This impressed the hell out of them. As she left she wished she had asked for a bucket load of food for the journey. It was extremely tasty. They would make a good living if they decided to open a restaurant.