PLEASURE CREWS OF THE ULTIMATE LOVEDOLLS
The girls slept late. Tamantha woke first. The sunlight filtering through the porthole made her think she had slept late for work; usually she was dressed in her power dress suit and out the door gulping down her instant coffee before the sun came up. She now reared up with a start. She got her bearings. “You’re on a vacation, silly,” she said. “First one in five years.” Her voice sounded stuffy in her ears until she remembered she still wore the earphones. The gentle sound of the surf must have worked, because she recalled having vivid dreams although the details seemed to have evaporated in the sunlight. She stretched and turned to her roommate.
“Hey, Kira, wake up! We’re sleeping away the day!”
The oriental girl remained curled up. Tamantha swung her legs off the bed and lifted the earphones off the sleeping girl. “Kira, dear, time to get up.”
Kira blinked and opened her eyes, then stretched lazily like a cat. “Now that was what I call a good night’s sleep,” she said. Her voice had a husky, early-morning quality that sent a warm stir into Tamantha’s loins. “I’m going to use these earphones every night!” She hopped out of bed and looked out the porthole. “Look at that water, Tamantha! And that sky!” she squealed in delight.
Tamantha glanced ruefully at the laptop computer and satchel of financial reports she had promised herself to digest during the trip. “I suppose we should check our e-mail,” she said in a way that she wasn’t convinced they should.
Kira said, “I don’t know about you, but I want to relax on this trip.”
“Well,” Tamantha conceded, “I do hate to work on vacations. Maybe later.”
“Let’s get some breakfast and start our great adventure. We’re supposed to cruise by some islands today, I think the schedule said. Who knows, we might even get to hunt for buried treasure, or something.” Both girls quickly got dressed and headed for the dining room.
The coffee was thick and delicious, the croissants served with an assortment of jams. Both girls came back from with a second helping from a buffet table groaning with fruits and yogurt and eggs any style. They had just resumed their seats when a handsome man with tousled hair and a silk scarf stopped by their table.
“Mind if I join you?” he asked in his debonair French accent. “I with the cruise line, and I always like to meet our newest guests.”
“Sure,” said Tamantha. “You the captain, then?”
“Oh, no. mon cherie, nothing quite that grand. I’m more on the administrative end. I just make it my job to see to it that everybody enjoys themselves. My friends call me Andre, which I hope you do too.” He extended a hand with slender fingers. The hands of a pianist, thought Tamantha. She watched, fascinated, as the man delicately spread some jam on his croissant, his fingers—such control! She also noticed that even though he radiated good humor, it was his mouth and never his eyes that smiled.
Tamantha gestured to one of the many cameras mounted in a ceiling corner that surveyed the room. “What are all the cameras for?” she asked.
Andre said, “Security. We want to account for all our guests, make sure they are safe.”
“The officer told us yesterday we were the last women to arrive. So when to the rest get here?” asked Tamantha.
“She means the guys,” added Kira pointedly to Andre, then fluttered her eyes innocently back at Tamantha. “We understood this to be a mixed group.”
“Ah, but of course,” said Andre. “There’s a separate tour we pick up on the island of Kelos. A soccer team—victory cruise, they won their province finals—and a separate tour of rather wealthy Continental businessmen—a single’s group’, as you say in the States, I believe. I can tell you they are all most assuredly looking forward to meeting you.”
“Just us? How flattering,” said Kira, as she sipped her coffee, her jet black hair glossy and luxuriant in its straight-down bangs.
“Yes, you and the rest of your delightful companions,” said Andre diplomatically with a wave of his hand around them.
Tamantha looked around the dining hall. About a dozen beautiful girls sat at separate tables, also enjoying breakfast. Not a one of them would have looked out of place as a runway model or cover girl. Tamantha felt a stab of envy, then quickly quashed it. High school stuff, she thought, worried about who gets the guys. This was supposed to be a working vacation anyhow. If that McPherson deal gets snagged while they’re out of the office—
“Tamantha!” Kira’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Andre just asked us a question.”
“Oh, sorry,” said Tamantha.
Andre dabbed his lips with one of the ship’s monogrammed silk napkins. “I was just commenting to your lovely friend here that our course takes us over several sunken shipwrecks. We always turn on our sonar over this passage, you never know what you find.”
“Treasure,” breathed Kira, and the two girls laughed. Then Kira explained to the bemused Andre that they had both joked about finding treasure on the trip.
Andre smiled. “When you finish your breakfast, come on up to the wheelhouse—Deck Three, take the stairs to the left—and maybe I can persuade the Captain to let you use the sonar. Would you like that?”
“Sure,” said Tamantha. “Sounds like fun!”
“Excellent,” said Andre. “I need to check some radio signals, weather, that sort of thing, then I can meet you up there. Say, twenty minutes?”
After he had gone, Kira said, “Watch out for that one. He’s a charmer.”
Tamantha smiled knowingly. “I interned with the Credit Mobilier bank in Paris, remember? I know French men. If I want him, I can twist him around my little finger.”
Kira arched her eyebrows. “If you say so, girl,” she said.
Andre swiped his entry card to the communication room he had been using last night to monitor the sleeping girls. All the monitors from the secret cabin cameras remained on, spying on empty rooms in most cases.
“Any word from the Island?” asked Andre to the duty officer. He didn’t need to ask which island.
“Yes, sir, this came in about fifteen minutes ago. I just decoded it.”
Andre took the slip of paper. It read: MAX TO ANDRE. CONFIRM PICKUP OF FULL COMPLEMENT OF PASSENGERS. ADVISE ON ETA SO WE CAN PREPARE BODYSUITS. FORWARD MEASUREMENTS ASAP. ORDERS INCREASING.
“That’s our leader Max,” said Andre with a grin. “All business, eh?” He caught sight of himself in a mirror on wall, adjusted his scarf, and left for his appointment with his latest passengers in the sonar room.
The two girls, Tamantha and Kira, found their way to the sonar room. The door opened invitingly, and Andre helped them step through the doorway. Dim red overhead lights cast dark-hued shadows around the two matching chairs and sonar screens. Andre hustled the regular operators out, and invited the girls to each have a seat.
“We have two stations, one for forward sensors, the other looking aft. Just follow the blips as the sonar sweeps your area. You have to concentrate. A single blip could be all that you see to show a shipwreck. And here, try these headphones, you can follow the audio signal as it makes its sweep, too. If the sonar encounters something, it will sound a high ping. Otherwise, just the regular tick, comprevue?”
The two girls squirmed with excitement as they glued their eyes to the screen. Tamantha couldn’t wait to be the first to spot any treasure. All her old competitive instincts revved up and she shot a quick glance to see how Kira was doing. The earphones blocked out all external noise, so that all she could hear was the soothing tone of the sonar and the steady rhythm of her own breathing. Soon the girls began to relax. As minutes slipped by Andre watched with approval as their bodies seemed to settle into the chairs, and their eyes grew docile and unblinking as they followed the steady track of the sonar scope.
It wasn’t long until Tamantha felt her mind grow quite still. The steady sweep of the sonar was like the regular ticking of a metronome, the soft green light on the screen so easy on here eyes. . . back and forth . . . back and forth. Andre picked up a microphone that had a direct hook-up to the girls’ headphones. His voice came over the lines clear and low. “That’s right, mon cherie, keep watching. . . it’s important that you keep concentrating. . .just let your mind grow blank, it’s easier that way.” He saw them lean forward to watch the screen even closer. Then Andre casually flipped a switch that blended a recording of his voice, slightly deeper and more authoritive on a pre-programmed routine. He picked up a spare set of headphones and listened in, to confirm the program was running.
“. . . That’s it. . . just relax. . . it feels so good to relax and just watch the screen. . .it is so soothing to watch the screen. . .it’s so important to keep watching the screen. . . so that all you see is the screen. . .and all you hear is the sound of my voice. . .you feel very comfortable listening to my voice and watching the screen. . .you feel your mind emptying of all worry, you feel so relaxed, so ready to hear my voice.” In fact, he watched the lithe bodies of the young women sag even further in their form-fitted chairs, their eyes glassy and half-lidded as their focus was drawn inexorably to the center of the sonar screen by the rotating blips as the first trigger words of entrancement were firmly planted in their minds.. Tamantha’s breasts rose and fell in regular rhythm to her slowed breathing. Kira’s face seemed utterly placid, like the mask of a Japanese Noh actress. Her oval face was bathed in the soft green of the sonar light, making her smooth skin look almost ethereal. Her eyes were mere slits. She sat motionless, like Tamantha, watching the screen, absorbing her first lessons as the seductive words coiled around their minds.
Andre quietly left the room.