The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

Light and Shadows II: Dark

by J. Darksong


“Yes, Master. I will kill him. I will obey.”

Not something you want to hear, unless, of course, you happen to be the Master in question, giving the orders. What was even more disturbing was the fact that not too long ago we’d been intimate, that we knew each other in a way few others did. Yet, there was no hesitation in her voice, no deliberation, no resistance to his order whatsoever.

I thought they couldn’t make you do anything under hypnosis that you wouldn’t normally do. Well... whatever kind of spell she’s under must be a lot stronger than hypnosis, or else Techna has another side to her that I never knew about.

I thought I’d end things quickly. I disliked the idea of subjecting the poor girl to any more of my darkness, particularly not knowing what that might do to her in her current state of mind, but I liked the idea of physically fighting her even less. I doubted she had anything in her toolbelt that would actually be considered deadly—this was Techna we were talking about, after all—but I didn’t feel like taking any chances.

Besides, the longer I messed around with her, the more of a head start I gave Hitman and Kat in their getaway.

“Sorry, Techna,” I said, gathering my shadow tendrils, “I have to do this. No hard feelings.” I struck, sending out a trio of tendrils in her direction.

And, she countered, whipping out a small palm-held strobe light from her belt, switching it on. I yelled out in pain, turning away as the light displaced my shadows, and blinded me, stumbling back away from the unexpected assault. Figures... she’d have a... damned... xenon flash bulb... I thought dimly, rubbing the tears leaking from my poor abused eyes. Smart move, though... for a supposedly mindless zombie. That bright a light will effectively neutralize my shadows. And without my sunglasses, it will pretty much neutralize ME as well.

“Can’t fight what you can’t see,” she replied from my left side, just before a stabbing pain struck me in the side. I groaned, covering my hurting side and moved away... only to run into another attack from that side as well. Stinging, I struck out blindly this time, one hand covering my eyes while the other swung out in an arc. I missed... and she attacked again, this time going for a low blow. The breath caught in my lungs, unable even to gasp as whatever weapon she was wielding connected with my crotch. Unable to stand, I sank to my knees and crumpled, whimpering softly.

“I have to kill you,” she said softly, from above and to my left. I managed to open my eyes a slit, and saw her, through blurry tear soaked vision, holding the strobe in her left hand, and a small thin silver tube in her right. She pressed a button, and a long thin beam of scarlet light shot out from the end, burning a small crater onto the concrete floor. FUCK! A laser! So that’s what she’s been hitting me with! She held the tube right above my head, pausing for just a second. “I’m sorry. Must obey Master. Must be a good girl. Have to be. Must be good.” Her finger twitched. “Must obey.”

The strobe light burned out. She frowned, taken aback for an instant, then pressed the button, firing the laser. It was only a split second of distraction but it was enough. I rolled to the side, and kick-flipped back to my feet again. She fired again... or tried to. Something popped, and she dropped the tube with a gasp as smoke and sparked issued forth. “No!” She reached frantically for her belt pouches, looking for something else to attack me with as I once more gathered the shadows around me. “I can’t lose! I have to... find something. Anything! I can’t lose this fight!”

“Sorry, Techna,” I said, a growl forming in the back of my throat, as more and more shadow tendrils sprang into being. “You had your chance. Bad luck for you. Good luck for me.”

I struck. Five. Ten. A dozen. Two dozen. Line after line of ebon energy flashed forth, piercing the poor girl, sucking away a bit more of her inner light, replacing it with my own personal darkness. My own shadowy essence. The growl that had been building up in my burst forth as I struck her again, and again, filling her with more and more dark energy.

‘Fill me up, Master’ you said? I thought furiously. I’ll fill you up, you fucking slut! I’ll fill you up to overflowing!

When I finally stopped, I was panting from the effort, and covered in sweat. I felt dizzy, nearly euphoric... and a little drunk. The reality of what I’d done didn’t truly hit me until I saw Techna’s eyes, however. They were black, solid black, as if someone removed the top of her head and emptied a jar of inky black darkness into her head. Which, basically, I had.

Oh... oh my God...

I could disperse the effect at will, I reminded myself. All I had to do was draw the darkness back into me again. I focused my will at her, and she shuddered, arching her back as a thick inky black... something... began to flow out of her. Black droplets formed on her skin, like ebony sweat. Black tears leaked from her eyes, and ran from her nose and ears. Her hips jerked randomly, and jet black cum squirted with each thrust. After several minutes, she sighed, going limp, the last of my influence fading... well, almost. Her eyes remained a solid black, and no matter how I pulled or tugged, that final bit of me refused to leave her. The last time I’d poured so much darkness into her, I was able to hear her thoughts, and transmit my wished to her without speaking. Now... I got nothing. Her mind was a complete blank.


“Techna... Megan,” I said softly, caressing her cheeks gently, “I don’t know if you can hear me, or understand me... but I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take it this far. I... I just.... I’m sorry.” I took a deep breath. “I need you to do something for me. I need you to walk out of this warehouse, go to your motorcycle, and call for help. I need you to call... um... call Veronica Albinn. Yes. Call her, and tell her you need her. Give her this address, and tell her to contact Omega Girl.” I paused, staring deep into her eyes. “Can you do that for me?”

After a very long time, she blinked. And slowly nodded. “I... will obey.” Moving slowly, sluggishly, she rose to her feet, and made her way towards the main entrance. I waited a few seconds, to make sure she was really okay, then turned and ran towards the back entrance.

* * *

“Okay. That should be the last of it,” Kat said, folding a small stack of papers carefully into a small briefcase. “Everything else is just waste, and won’t matter if anyone finds it. We can go as soon as the girls are finished dressing... it wouldn’t do to be stopped by the police with a couple of naked women in the back.”

“Yeah, well, hurry it up, willya?” Hitman growled anxiously, flipping and catching his coin over and over again. “I don’t know how long that little cupie doll is gonna keep that guy busy, but it won’t be very long—”

“Not long enough for you to escape, anyway,” I growled, panting slightly as I stepped into view. “So. ‘Hitman’... I’m curious. Why the name? Why not call yourself ‘Shiftless Hood’ or ‘Chickenshit Crook’? Was ‘Moronic Minion For Hire’ already taken? I’m just asking.”

The man bristled, going red in the face. Heh. This whole good guy-bad guy bantering thing was kind of new to me, but I think I was starting to get pretty good at it. He stuck his hands in his pockets and growled softly as I made my way closer to him. “I mean, what’s it all about? It is from your ability to hit the toilet five times out of ten when you take a piss?” Closer, and closer. “If so, then you should be called, ‘Hit-or-miss-man’.” Just a few steps away now.

“Oh? What is this? Kid’s got a smart mouth over here?” he replied smugly, not the slightest bit worried. “Pretty big talk, considering the last two times you came after me you ended up lying down on the ground in a pool of your own vomit!” His eyes flashed briefly, then a smile lit up his face. “But tell ya what, smart guy. You wanna know why they call me ‘Hitman’, then step right up here and take your best shot!” He stuck his head forward, chin out. “C’mon, shithead... let’s see what ya got. I’ll even give you the first one for free!”

I merely shrugged. “Okay, if you insist...” I punched him square in the jaw, managing to reign in all the fury and hatred I felt towards him enough that it wouldn’t knock his head completely off...

Or so I though. What the fuck?!?

As I watched with equal parts fascination and disgust, my opponent’s neck swelled and distended as his head flew back at an impossible angle... only to snap back into place with a loud THWONG!. The man’s expression was frozen for a moment as his face returned to its normal position, as if it were plastic, but a moment later, he chuckled, fully animated once more.

“Do you get it now?” he taunted me, pulling his left hand out of his pocket. He held a small plain rubber ball in his hand. “You’re not the only super powered person in this room, kid. I’m called ‘Hitman’ because I can take a hit... and dish one out, better than anyone else in the world! How’s that grab ya!”

“It doesn’t,” I replied, trying hard not to lose my lunch. “I don’t think I’ll be hitting you in the face again. Watching you head bounce around like that... ugh... I think I may vomit again...”

He laughed, taking out his right hand, holding a pair of brass knuckles. “Suit yourself, but don’t mind me if I take the liberty.” His hand shimmered slightly, and when he rapped his knuckles against his palm it made a soft clanging noise. “In case it’s not obvious by now, I can absorb the physical characteristics of anything I touch. I can be as flexible as rubber... or as hard as brass.” He smirked, striking me in the face with a quick jab, knocking me off my feet. “Or, I can be both at the same time!”

Heh. Not bad. I got back up, dusting myself off. “Let me see if I got this straight. You’re a man capable of absorbing the properties of whatever you hold onto... and you picked ‘HITMAN’ as your nom de plume?” I put my fists up. “Think you may need to change your name and occupation. Incidentally, my mom hit harder than that the last time she spanked me!”

Hitman scowled, tossing away the brass knuckles. “No respect. Heh. Same old story.” Opening his jacket, he withdrew a short piece of steel pipe, and his hand did that sparkily shimmer thing again. “I’m from back east, ya know. Jersey. Used to run with a pretty rough crowd. Back then, I was a ‘minion’, a freakin’ little nobody that followed orders, kept in line, did as he was told, and tried not to step on anybody’s toes.” He swung hard, aiming for my head, but I dodged to the side, countering with a hard shot to the gut.

“OWWW!” I yelped, running my hand. Oh yeah. Hard as steel now. Right. Got it.

I took a shot to the kidneys as he continued. “Fat lot of good it did me, though. I used to travel with his guy, named Tony. A real mook. Nice enough guy, but not real bright upstairs.” He gave me another kidney shot, and I grunted, the breathe exploding from my lungs. “So, the boss calls, says he wants Tony to go down the industrial district, pay this guy a call, and remind him that he’s late with his ‘protection insurance’. Tony asks me along, yanno, for backup. We get there, but the place is deserted... cleaned out.” Another body shot, and I’m relatively sure I’m going to be pissing blood soon. And all the while this guy was calming giving me his life’s story as if I had nothing else better to do than listen.

“It was a set up,” he continued, nonplussed. “Turns out Tony was making out with the boss’ girl on the side. And this was the boss’ way of sending him a message. Three wise guys show up and drill him, but good. As for me... well, I had nothing to do with it, so Sunny says to me, ‘It’s nothing personal, Jackie... but the boss said no witnesses. You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ So, they drill me too. Not as good as Tony, so I’m still alive. But, to make sure they are no witnesses, they load us both into one of the empty chemical tanks. And then fill it up with chemical waste.” The last sentence he delivers with a savage knee lift, connecting with my chin, which sends me back to the floor.

I wipe my lip, tasting blood in my mouth. And now, I’m mad. Not pissed, or upset, or angry, just plain old mad. Time for the kid gloves to come off.

“You see, kid,” he said, conversationally, brushing a piece of lint from his sleeve, “it’s all about respect. Paulie didn’t respect me when he tried to have me offed just for having around with Tony. So, when I climbed out of that tank, I went back and taught him, and the rest of his boys what respect means. Now you, you’ve been running your mouth, disrespecting me. I could end it quick and easy... but I think I’ll teach you a bit more about respecting your elders before I finish you of—uuuunnnpphh!!”

He grunted as I delivered a devastating sucked punch to his midsection with a sound of ringing metal, taking him literally off his feet. He went about three feet up, hovered for a second as gravity caught up to him, then slammed back hard into a nearby wall as I followed up with a right cross to his jaw on the way down.

“Okay. How’s that for respect? I’ve decided to stop holding back. I’m strong. VERY strong. One of the few things that actually frightens me is the thought of losing control and accidentally killing someone.” I ran over to him, as he was sliding down from the wall, and caught him by the collar. “But you’re a tough guy, too, aren’t you?” I smashed him full force in the face again. CLANG! “No need to hold back with you...” CLANG! “...tough guy...” CLANG! “...because you can take it!” CLANG! “Can’t you?” CLANG! “Big guy?”

He fell to the floor in a heap at my feet. We were both panting from exertion, but of the two of us, I was in much better shape. He may have been a ‘man of steel’ but it apparently only ran skin deep. Despite the hardness of his flesh, my blows had blackened and swollen his left eye completely shut, and knocked one of his teeth out. I wasn’t sure but I think I’d cracked a rib or two as well. As for my hands, well, I wouldn’t be playing concert piano any time soon, but they’d heal up easily enough. Reaching down, I grabbed him by his collar. “It’s over, Jackie. You’ve lost. It’s time to take you out of here to get yourself patched up nice and pretty for the police when they arrive—FFUUUUCCKKK!!!”

The damned stun gun. Forgot about it. Several thousand volts through my system and I dropped Hitman like a hot rock. I staggered back, groaning. I’d pulled away before he had time to really lay into me, but the shock I had taken hadn’t done me any good. I’d already been through a lot today so far, and was running on empty. I’d thought Hitman done, but he plainly wasn’t ready to quit as of yet. This fight could go either way.

I fingered the two small round tablets in my front pants pocket, considering my options. Well... it should work... in theory, anyway. Not much else to go on.

I stood up, taking a step towards him then groaned, sinking back down to my knees. I gagged, then spit, to keep from throwing up. Hitman laughed, making his way over to me. “Nice try kid... you almost had me there. Well done. Okay... I admit it. You earned my respect. You forced me to use my ace in the hole. But, since I respect you so much... I think I’ll play BOTH my aces...” He held out his left hand, showing a beautifully cut diamond ring. Gripping it tightly, his hand sparkled briefly once again. “Diamonds, my friend. Hardest natural substance known to man. With what I’m getting paid to play bodyguard for the Kat, I can afford something a bit nicer, but for now, this will do.” He held up the taser again, grinning like a madman. “So, kid... any last words?”

“Yeah,” I said, panting heavily, fingering the small round globe in my hand, “I think ‘Go fuck yourself’ pretty much covers it.” And I smashed my hand hard against his chest, then hissed in pain, shaking my aching hand. “Damn! Ow, ow, ow... fuck... shit!” I grumbled, making him laugh all the louder.

“That’s it, huh? One last pitiful gesture?” He frowned, picking at the fine silvery powder coating his jacket. “And what’s this? You got me all dirty, you rat. Do you know how much it costs to clean this suit?” Shaking his head, he raised the stun gun to my neck. “Say goodnight, Gracie.” He pressed the trigger.

“Okay. Good night Gracie!”

“AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHFFFFFFFFUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!” Jackie Heitmann screamed as fifty thousand volts flooded his system. He shook like a leaf in the midst of a hurricane, his fingers clamping down on the taser trigger as his muscles locked. Wide-eyed, mouth stuck in a wide rictus of pain, he stumbled back aimlessly, as sparks danced from his fingertips, his chest, all along his body... everywhere the iron and copper dust I’d doused him with hung. I stood up, calmly, rubbing lightly at the sticky remains of the second tablet I’d used on myself, slowly peeling back the clear thin layer of quick drying rubber-plastic polymer from my hands and neck.

I hoped Techna wouldn’t mind me borrowing them from her utility belt. If she were able to mentally process ‘sorry’, I’m sure she’d forgive me.

I waited until the taser finally ran out of charge, then walked over to the still shuddering crook. I frowned, wrinkling my nose. He’d loosed his bladder in the midst of his convulsions, and I wasn’t sure but I think he may have loosed his bowels as well. OOhhhhh... yuck! Damn... I don’t know how much it costs to clean that suit, pal, but after this, I think you’re better off burning it. Deciding that he wasn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, I decided to head outside to see if help was on its way.

* * *

Katherine Hogan sat behind the steering wheel of her rented black van, fuming silently as she watched the procession of police raiding her ‘safe house’. She couldn’t believe everything had gone downhill so quickly! The plan had seemed perfect, and utterly foolproof. Her sister had sent her a copy of the coding she’d requested, cleanly, and without any traces. Not overly difficult, considering the recent incidents going on at Draupnir Enterprises, but even with the... distractions... their owner was dealing with, circumventing their security had proved a monumental task in and of itself. Months of planning, experimentation, testing the altered program on random unrelated people a few at a time to filter out all the bugs without leaving a trail, hiring dependable people willing to do the dirty work for a little money without asking too many questions... and finally, FINALLY she’d perfected it... only to have the whole project come crashing down around her at the very end!

I suppose I’m just lucky that I thought to send Mr. MacDonald regular updates and samples of the altered code at regular intervals, she thought miserably. With my notes, I should be able to reconfigure it from the last version I sent out to the current perfected form in a few hours. Lucky I kept a copy save on the flash card around my neck, otherwise I’d have to start over again from scratch!

She glanced into the rear view mirror at the two women sitting silently in the back seat. Heh. I suppose I should dump the two somewhere, and get the hell out of Dodge while I still can. Such a pity... that young one is such a good pussy licker. The mom’s not bad, either... but I DO love the younger ones.

As it was, she was lucky to have gotten out of the building when she had. No sooner had she backed out of the driveway than the sound of police sirens split the relative quiet of the day. Panicked, she’d nearly floored it, thinking to try and outrun them, or something equally unlikely, but when the first car drove past her without stopping, circling around to the front of the building, she realized that whoever had alerted the police in the first place hadn’t given them the entire story. No one had attempted to stop her from leaving because they weren’t looking for her yet. Or at least, not in a black van.

Forcing herself to drive calmly, like nothing was wrong, she drove a block away, pulling into an empty garage near enough to the front side of the building that she could watch what happened without being seen. She’d almost panicked again when, a few minutes later, a statuesque blonde in a silver and black costume dropped down from the sky, landing next to the lead police cruiser. Her heart nearly stopped as she recognized the famous heroine coming out a moment later, with a dazed looking Techna in her arms, covered in a police blanket. FUCK! The very one MacDonald and his boss had worried about getting involved! But as the seconds and minutes ticked by without anything happening, she started to breathe a little easier.

I can get through this, she told herself. I just need to stay calm. If I can make it back to my home, I grab my portable laptop, get some spending cash, and change vehicles... and I can be on the road to heading to the Austin facility before they even know to look for me. No one here knows about that facility, not even Heitmann. Nothing to connect me to any of this, anyway, unless he gives me up... and for the hundred grand he’s getting for his services, he’d better not give me up!

Checking her watch again, she sighed. Ten minutes. I’ve sat here for ten minutes. Okay. No cop cars have come to do a street by street search, but it’s only a matter of time. If I’m going to make a run for it, this is the time. Taking a deep breath, she started the van, and pulled slowly back out into the driveway. Pulling out into the street, she slammed on brakes to avoid ramming into a black dressed kid just as he stepped off the curb. He looked up, and their eyes locked.

Wait a minute... oh fuck! He’s the guy from the warehouse!

* * *

I glanced up at the squeal of brakes, and blinked, stunned, as I stared back at the driver, the very person I’d been looking for! I’d emerged from the back entrance just in time to see her take off in the van, and I’d cursed myself to taking too long. I’d followed after her, hoping against hope that I might catch up with her at a stop light or something, but as I came around the corner, I found it completely gone, without a trace! Several cop cars were approaching down the road from the direction she’d gone, and if she hadn’t been caught or captured, she sure as hell hadn’t driven away like a bat out of hell.

Which meant that she was hiding somewhere on this block.

After about ten minute of searching building to building for the van, I’d about given up hope. When I saw my mom arrive and head straight for Techna, I decided to head back, and meet up with her and the cops to fill them in on everything that was going on. I stepped off the curb, and, lo and behold, I almost run right into the object of my search. I wasn’t sure if this was good luck or bad luck.

When Kat’s eyes narrowed, and she gunned the engine, trying to run me over, I decided it was definitely bad luck.

Planting my feet, I extended my arms, palms flat, as the vehicle slammed into me. It jarred me, making my teeth vibrate slightly, but I held my ground, keeping the van in place despite the squealing of tires. The noise was attracting attention, and from the corner of my eye, I saw mom and several of the cops coming towards us.

I was ready for this to be over. Beyond ready. Gritting my teeth, I pulled at the shadows under my feet, and along the undercarriage of the van, and with a mental shove, send a plethora of shadow tendrils up into van’s interior.

The engine ran idle, and the pressure against me died as Kat lost control over her body and will. I sighed softly, pushing the van back up into the garage, then opened the door and turned off the engine. Pulling Kat not-to-gently from the vehicle, I began questioning her just as the others arrived.

“Jimmy! Thank goodness!” my mother said, wrapping her arms around me tight enough to remind me of my earlier injuries. “I was so worried! You phone call, I couldn’t understand what you were saying, then I got your text message, but when I tried to call you back, it kept going straight to voice mail—”

“Sorry, the battery died,” I cut in. “I’ll explain in a minute. Right now, you all need to hear this, this is important.” Turning to face Kat again, I locked eyes with her. “Katherine, I want you to tell me the absolute truth. Do you understand?”

“Yyheeah... mmmm... truth...” she moaned softly, shuddering. “Absolute... truth...”

“Good,” I murmured softly. “Tell me, what is this all about? Why did you have those women kidnaped?”

Her eyes fluttered slightly. “N... needed them... test subjects. Had to... had to test the... program... make sure it could... enslave... anyone who watched it...”

That got everyone’s attention. “You were trying to get away. Why were you going? Where were you taking Miss Sanchez and her daughter?”

Kat moaned softly, and her thighs clenched tightly. “Uhhhnn... tried... to run... to safe hour. In... in....” her eyes fluttered as the thin strand of resistance left within her tried to bind her words. I was feeling neither patient nor charitable, so I gave her another shadow jolt. Her eyes rolled back as the words burst forth. “AUSTIN! Austin... Texas... uuhhhhnnn.... yeesss... was going... to use... girls... for sex, one more time... then leave them... in hotel along the way... didn’t want... police... tracking me d-down... looking for them... but... mmmm... so good... so sexy...”

Texas, hmm? “Is that where your headquarters is? In Austin?” She moaned softly, shaking her head.

“ just... a... a... safe house...”

“Where is your headquarters?” Her eyes widened. “Where is your boss, MacDonald? How big is this organization?” Her lip trembled slightly.

A feminine hand clenched my shoulder. “Easy, Jimmy. Give her time to respond.”

“Where is your organization’s headquarters?” I barked angrily. Geez. I felt a little like Jack Bauer. “Where is your boss? Where is he?”

“I... don’t know...” she gasped, grunting slightly in pain, my anger feeling into her through our link. “He... finds me... con... contacts me...”

“You KNOW where he is!” I growled, barely keeping my anger in check. This woman was the cause of all my recent misery. “Tell me! Where is he?”

“I don’t know!” she wailed, starting to shake. “I don’t know... I don’t know! I DON’T KNOW!”

“Enough!” Omega Girl growled, pulling me away from the sobbing girl. “Jimmy, she doesn’t know. You made her tell the absolute truth, remember? You’re just torturing her now.”

“Good,” I replied hotly, rubbing at my shoulder where she’d grabbed me. With an effort, I dissolved the link, drawing my spot of darkness back into myself once more. “It’s no less than she deserves.”

I filled them in on everything. Everything. I was too physically tired and emotionally drained to hold anything back, even my own stupid rookie mistakes. In the end, Kat was arrested, along with Jack Heitmann, and that other hapless gunman whose name I’d never even learned. A local telepath and psychic had been contacted, and arrived to help Megan, Brenda Sanchez, and her daughter Rita. The part of MacDonald and this mysterious group he was a part of had me worried, seeing as how they were aware of my folks, but mom assured me that they’d check into it.

All in all, it was a win for the good guys. So... why did I feel so much like a failure?

* * *

Fred Seivers hummed softly to himself, forcing himself to calm down as he maneuvered his character into position. His tongue slid unconsciously to the side as his thumb hovered right over the X button. His target was almost in position, almost in the sweet spot. All he had to do was take him out before one of the others found his location and sniped him, and he’d win!

Careful, he chided himself. Wait for it...

His hand clenched as the doorbell rang, and he fired prematurely. His target dove for cover, and a hail of shots rained down at Fred from all around him. One connected, and his character fell over, dead.

“Goddammit!” he yelled, slamming down his controller. Pausing his copy of COD: Modern Warfare 2, he stomped angrily up the stairs to the front door.

“Package for Fredrick Seivers,” a UPS delivery man intoned, holding out a brown cardboard package and a clipboard. “Sign here, please.”

Anger momentarily forgotten, Fred scribbled his signature and took the package, quickly heading back downstairs. Switching his XBOX 360 off, he booted his workstation, and eagerly ripped open his package. Taking out the small Sat-com device, he plugged it into his computer and waited anxiously for it to connect. Within a few seconds, a man’s face appeared on the screen.

“Greetings, Shark,” MacDonald said ruefully. “I trust you’ve heard about your... competition... by now?”

Fred shrugged. “I never really considered the Kat as competition. She’s a wanna-be. I’m not surprised she got pinched.” He smirked as he opened up a second window. “The only real surprise was that it took you guys this long to see the light and come over to the ‘Shark’.”

“Yes, well, despite her lapse in judgment in picking a secure locale, Miss Hogan DID do a remarkable job in obtaining and reworking the program we seek.” MacDonald smiled evilly. “Naturally, we took precautions to make sure we received a working copy of code in case something unexpected occurred. We’ve tested it, and it works just as we’d hoped. We have half of the equation solved. Now... we need you to finish up where she left off.”

Fred pretended to consider for a moment. “Same deal you had with Kat?”

MacDonald nodded. “One million dollars—half now, half when we receive the finished product... providing it works as specified,” he added. “I’ll assume you’re up to the challenge.”

“Yeah, no problem. It would be nice to have a copy of the Kat’s program to start from, though...”

“You already have it,” the man replied coolly. “Check your email. We sent you a copy of the code as soon as you logged on. You’ll also find that we’ve taken the liberty of wiring the money into the account number you provided us with. A word of advice, however: be discreet in how you spend it. We’d rather you didn’t draw undue attention to yourself, at least until AFTER you’ve sent us the finished product.”

Cheeky bastard, Fred thought to himself. Telling me how to spend my own money! Aloud, he merely acquiesced. “By the way, not that it should be a problem now, with the Kat being arrested and all, but I did receive a visit from a couple of capes snooping around earlier. I doubt they’ll be any blowback to me, but I need to know—should I expect ‘Omega babe’ and ‘Armored guy’ to come busting down my door? Do I need to hire some muscle?”

“That shouldnae be a problem,” a second voice replied, as MacDonald moved aside, letting his employer slide into view. “We’ve taken steps to make sure those two particular heroes are otherwise occupied.” Duncan Frasier grinned, a macabre image that made Fred shudder despite himself. “It was already in the works, by the by... Omega Girl showing up at Miss Hogan’s arrest merely prompted me to accelerate the timeline. No... she and her husband won’t be a problem for you, lad.” He frowned slightly. “Their children, however... they may require something a little less subtle to keep them from getting involved.”

Fredrick blinked. “Um... kids? Who’s kids? You mean Omega Girl’s kids?”

“Never you mind,” Frasier said dismissively. “Just focus on rewriting that code to the specifics we requested, and we’ll take care of everything else.”

“Okay,” he said after a moment, shrugging. “If you say so. But, um, how do I get in touch with you if something happens? And, um... what do I call you, Sir? Mr. MacDonald I know, but I never actually caught your name—”

“You don’t need to know my name at this point,” Frasier shot back hotly. “The less you know about what’s going on, the safer you are. Remember what happened to Adam and Eve when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge.” He chuckled darkly. “As for reaching us if anything goes wrong? Dinnae fausch, lad,” he said, just before the screen went back. “If anything happens, we’ll get a hold of you.”