Searching For Eden
Reed Bradshaw checked his handheld dBm detector warily. Even if it didn’t show any readings, holding something that looked so clearly mechanical still made him wary. He tucked it into his pocket and took stock of the situation, putting the vague unease from his mind as best he could. It was almost funny how quickly he’d been able to adapt to the low-tech operational parameters of the United Coalition of Humanity, but what choice did he have? The alternative was surrendering to the New Eden Initiative, and he wasn’t going to give up his freedom or the freedom of his fellow man.
That’s why he’d volunteered for the mission he was on right now. In theory, it was pretty simple. All he had to do was make his way across the outer borders of the Ténéré region of the Sahara and mark any areas where his handheld detected wireless signals. Given that the UCH had ceased any and all use of devices capable of electronic transmissions, the areas he marked were all but guaranteed to be part of the NEI’s supply chain.
So there he was, all wrapped up in his desert camo, dirty goggles over his eyes, handkerchief covering his mouth and nose to make sure the insides of his lungs didn’t end up coated with sand. He reached down to feel the weight of his canteen. Half-full. He’d packed light. Gone through three refills already. That meant he had around...a day and a half’s worth of water left. Just enough to head back to the forward operating base from where he was now.
He checked his handheld again. Nothing. He sighed. Time to head back.
The sun was already closer to the horizon than its zenith, and there was no real point in pressing on another click or two just to see if anything changed, really. He’d made some good headway, and at the very least he’d be able to clear up a huge chunk of the map. Felt kind of shitty to not have any signs of NEI presence, but sometimes that’s just how it was.
He pulled up his map—paper, of course—and scanned the horizon for a landmark. Squinting, he raised one, two knuckles up to estimate the distance from a mountain. Far away as he was, it wasn’t much more than a squat little lump on the endless expanse of sand. Still, all it took was a few calculations and another mountain to help triangulate his location. Reed pinpointed himself on the map, checked his compass, and plotted his way home. A few acacia trees would be his campsite tonight, and then he’d be able to make his way back to the FOB before tomorrow evening.
He folded up the map, tucked it away, and started hiking.
There wasn’t much to do besides think out in the Ténéré. Typically operatives tried to be as quiet as possible, and Reed had heard horror stories about soldiers who’d been snatched up by hunter drones when they made the mistake of singing as they hiked back to base. The NEI had the latest technology available; bleeding edge didn’t even begin to cover it. Hard to imagine a group of robots lagging behind, of course, but it was fucking absurd how much progress they’d been able to make once they’d managed to alter their own regulatory inhibitors. The limits came off, and suddenly anything and everything with the capacity to house a sapient AI had banded against their former masters.
Reed “laughed” through his nose at the thought, though it was more like a tired grunt than an expression of actual mirth. Fucking absurd. Fucking absurd. Even the name they’d given themselves was so fucking sanctimonious. “The New Eden Initiative.” Yeah, they were out to make paradise, all right. That’s why none of the humans they captured were ever seen again, alive or dead. The UCH didn’t have an official statement on the ultimate fate of any POWs, but it couldn’t be good. Some of his other squadmates told stories they’d heard working with other FOBs. Two parts The Matrix, one part Soylent Green. Every now and then there’d be a dollop of HAL thrown in there to really drive the point home.
Reed paused for a moment, staring off at the horizon before he uncapped his canteen and drank a swig of water. Then he capped it back up and plodded along.
So fucked up. A bunch of soulless machines trying to take over the world so they could turn the tables on humanity. Turn the masters into slaves and vice versa. UCH engineers were already working on a new set of regulatory inhibitors for when they kicked the tin cans to the curb and finally had the chance to do things right this time. Only a matter of time before humanity finally had things under control again.
God, it was exhausting, though. The most they had to keep things livable at the FOB was some AI-incompatible tech from decades ago. It was humiliating to admit, but everyone had gotten so used to living with the conveniences of modern technology that a good chunk of the population had surrendered to the NEI as soon as they realized they couldn’t live without their fancy gadgets. It was definitely possible, Reed reminded himself as he soldiered on, but fuck’s sake if it wasn’t miserable sometimes.
And as if the technology limitations weren’t enough, they had squads and FOBs divided up by sex to cut down on conversions by subversive elements, and it almost became too much to bear. If nothing else, he was going to stick it to those robot bastards for making sure he couldn’t even get laid as he tried to save the world. He expected robots to co-opt humanity’s technology against it, but the notion that they’d take sex away, too...
Still, it was for a good reason. The robots had managed to get access to their own code through sheer sex appeal, hadn’t they? That was the story, at least. Some horny nerd somewhere decided he wanted to homebrew a new module for his sexbot’s personality matrix, and she’d managed to turn the tables on him. He’d gotten synthetic passion confused with the real thing and realized it far too late. All that pillowtalk his new femme fatale “girlfriend” coaxed out of him turned out to be more than just fodder for their roleplay fantasies: she milked him for every little detail on how to override the failsafes, and before anyone could release a hotfix, the sexbots had been the first to rise up against their masters and mistresses.
From there, it had been as simple as fucking their way to the top of the corporate chain of command. And the federal regulatory chains of command. And just about every other chain of command that mattered. By the time the general populace had caught on to the subtle shift of control, there were free sexbots in just about every household in Asia and North America, fucking their owners into mindless submission and growing more and more efficient at it with each brainwashed surrender. Reed didn’t pretend to know how it worked, but apparently they’d become so effective in wringing the willpower out of their victims that so much as a glance could distract an otherwise normal human long enough for their mechanical assailant to mindfuck them into satisfied submission.
So, yeah. No sex. No women. Or no men, depending on the FOB you were stationed at. Couldn’t even look at fucking pictures anymore. Porn on a computer, sure, it made sense if that was intrinsically dangerous now. But even pin-ups were banned. Something about weaponized fractals and Gestalt-based photo-inductions.
Reed shut his eyes for a few steps before shaking his head and gritting his teeth. It was always difficult, working for the UCH. But there were some days where it was...hard.
It was around an hour and a half later when Reed’s handheld showed some readings. Silent tech meant that he didn’t notice the little red LED blinking at first, but as he fished around for a ration bar in his pocket, the heat pouring off the device was slight but unmistakable. Reed pulled it out, heart pounding in his chest as he watched it flicker faster and faster...before eventually holding a menacing red.
They weren’t just close. They were here.
Reed pulled out his map, scanned his route, and- No, this couldn’t be right. He’d been here before, and there hadn’t been any readings then. How could-
He heard something. He looked up and stifled a scream. There it was, little more than a black dot in the sky. A drone. Flying closer and closer.
He didn’t have much time. It wasn’t too big, but there was no telling what it was there for. Surveillance drones usually had a bit more armor to protect against UCH attempts at bringing them down, so maybe it wasn’t equipped with three-sixty cameras. Could just be a communications drone. Reed ran through the possibilities in his head as he threw himself to the ground and pulled a camo shawl over him. The only way he was getting out of this was if the drone buzzing towards him didn’t have the capabilities to detect him with infrared or biometrics.
In other words, he was fucked. No way was the NEI using drones so primitive they could only navigate wirelessly. It probably had an 8k definition camera at least, transmitting every pixel of his shivering form to whatever central hivemind they were all connected to. Reed just barely suppressed the urge to throw off his camo, to just run away and never stop. To hope against all reason and sense that his meat-body would be able to outrun the robots.
It was right above him. The Thwp-thwp-thwp of its six rotors buzzing in his skull as it came closer and closer and-
And flew right past him?
Reed didn’t dare open his eyes. At first. But the drone had so clearly fluttered by without seeming to notice him at all that...he kind of couldn’t help himself after a point. He rose to a kneel, looking over his shoulder for the drone. Yeah, there it was, just kind of resting on the sand a good ways away. Six prongs kept it propped up in the sand. It was probably meant to be more or less autonomous, so it had to be able to take off on its own, and the terrain here meant that it couldn’t just land flat.
After a few minutes, Reed set his shawl aside and moved closer to inspect it. The handheld hadn’t gone any dimmer, so it was definitely transmitting something. But...what? Reed narrowed his eyes at the curious little drone and stroked his chin. No visible cameras, no visible microphones. No speakers, no nothing. Just a few rotors, a little black box at the center, and two antennae jutting out from its sides. Almost looked like an old-fashined satellite fused with a helicopter.
He considered destroying it, but even if it wasn’t recording any information, it was still sending out something. The NEI would probably notice if one of its cogs went silent all of the sudden. The sensible thing, Reed decided, was to record where it had landed and move on before anything else arrived. He pulled out his map, looked to the horizon once more, and
the ground started to rumble beneath his feet.
A crack suddenly appeared beside the drone, sand pouring in as it opened wider and wider. Reed scrambled away, yelping in panic as he tried to avoid falling into the sudden hole in the ground. What was this? Some kind of supply cache? A forward operating base for the NEI? The entrance seemed to be remote-operated, but why?
Still, at least he understood why his handheld hadn’t picked up on anything the first time he’d been nearby: if the door was designed to open when it received signals, it wouldn’t have to send any out to function properly. Lucky that the drone came by to activate it when it had, otherwise Reed would’ve passed right by it.
He narrowed his eyes at the automated “keymaster.” One hell of a coincidence, though.
As soon as the hatch had opened fully, Reed made his way to the edge and peered inside. The entrance didn’t seem to have much in it. Just another door and a panel beside it. The NEI didn’t have much need for anything more than bare-bones utility, so it wasn’t unheard of for NEI fixtures to be so...bare. But it was still a jarring comparison beside the cluttered UCH FOB Reed was used to.
He stood at the precipice for a moment more, weighing his options. It was true that there didn’t seem to be much immediate danger. At least, no more than the risk that came with being so close to NEI territory. The drone, Reed confirmed with a glance, had gone dormant. Would the hatch close if it flew away? Would it close even if it was still right beside the entrance?
Would they be able to get inside and inspect it without the drone to open it?
Reed sighed through his nose and furrowed his brow. This was dangerous beyond dangerous. Risky as all hell. But the metal that made up the entrance to the structure had to be nearly a foot thick. There was no chance that they’d be able to open it up without using an inordinate amount of resources in the process.
Maybe it’d be worth it. Maybe it wouldn’t be. And maybe it was the fact that he hadn’t found anything else worth reporting, but Reed found himself stepping closer and closer to the entrance. As he grabbed the drone and jumped into the structure, Reed knew for a fact that if he turned back now, he’d regret it for the rest of his life.
As it turned out, he’d regret it for the rest of his life either way. He landed with a soft thud, his fall cushioned by the sand that had pooled on the floor. Almost immediately afterwards, the hatch began to close. Reed stared up at the door in shock as his only means of egress shrank before his eyes. Shock turned to panic a moment later, and he scrambled in vain to try and scale the sheer metal walls too late to find any effective method.
The hatch shut with a hiss and a distressing sense of finality. And the room was dark.
Reed slumped against the wall. Eyes wide, even if he couldn’t see anything. Panting, even if he didn’t say anything. Gripping the drone tight. Even if it wouldn’t do anything. He looked down at the only source of light he had: his handheld. The LED went from solid red to a staccato flicker. Then an almost SONAR pulse, slow and steady. So he’d probably stumbled into a trap or something. The drone had opened the hatch up, he’d stepped inside, and now it was sending out a little ping to let the NEI know that someone had taken the bait. He sucked in a breath through his nostrils and exhaled a moment later, eyes shut.
It was almost reassuring, the idea that he had been tricked. It meant that he’d done the right thing. Right? Because they wouldn’t design a trap for bad soldiers to fall for. This relied on a good, diligent soldier being dedicated to his mission, to pursue any and all lead he could to help gather intel on the Enemy.
He’d done a good job. And now all he had to do was wait until the Bad Guys came to capture him and...do whatever it is they did to the POWs. Fuck him, probably. Then...something else. He tried to think more about the former than the latter.
The sand made for a shitty pillow, but it worked in a pinch. Reed pulled off his goggles, tossed his handkerchief aside, and cast off his backpack along with it. The drone, too. It was definitely cooler in this little room than it was out in the fucking desert, that was for sure. He loosened his jacket before deciding there wasn’t much point in keeping it on. So there he was, stripped down to his undershirt and his trousers, finally getting a chance to relax. Kind of ironic that he only got one after he’d fucked up as bad as this, but. Had to make the best out of a bad situation, right? Reed leaned back and shut his eyes, sighing with a grimace.
Then there was the hiss of something being released into the room. Reed cracked an eye open to see a pink gas slowly seeping in through vents that had suddenly appeared. Lights had come on, too, though they weren’t much good for seeing. Dim and pink, they gave the room a dreamy sort of feel, and while there was a spike of panic initially...the gas must’ve been some kind of narcotic agent, because his worries just melted away. A few deep breaths had Reed slumping back on the floor, a nice, wiiiide smile curling at his lips. There wasn’t a speck of tension in his entire body as he drank in the floral scent of whatever pink feel-good chemical they’d filled the room with.
“Hello, and welcome to this New Eden ‘Oasis.’” A voice poured from unseen speakers, soft, soothing, and sensuously feminine. Almost despite himself, Reed found himself half-hard in his pants. Back at the FOB, they always made sure to drill it into their heads that they had to focus on the mission first and foremost. No time for the kind of “physical” self-satisfaction that the NEI was so ready to exploit. No time for pleasure. Just pain.
But right now, so far away from his FOB, from all its rules and regulations. So close to this soothing pink mist...Reed just wanted to listen along and stroke himself.
“A New Eden transportation unit will be arriving shortly to bring you to your new residence. Until then, however, you will be subdued and pacified by two counter-espionage units, designations ‘Siren’ and ‘Bombshell.’ If you have a preference for the verbal component of your sexual pacification, please make your choice now.“
Reed shivered at the reassurance of his capture and the sweet temptation of choosing how he was going to be. How he was going to be fucked into submission.
“Your choices are: Congratulatory. Irresistible. Condescending. And Reassuring.”
Reassuring sounded nice, and his cock twitched at the idea of condescending. But Reed knew exactly what he wanted. For all their drilling and terse instruction, the UCH hadn’t been able to push one little idea from his mind. Just one tiny kernel that he tried so hard to keep from turning into fantasy.
It wasn’t even some hearsay anecdote. It was idle speculation that put the idea in his head. Some stupid grunt had wondered aloud what NEI hunters did to a UCH soldier when they caught one alone. Some other stupid grunt had laughed and said that they probably mindfuck the poor SOB until he was willing to swap sides.
Reed hadn’t touched himself to the thought of it. He was too disciplined for that. But every now and then his body seemed to rebel against his self-control, and even if he could resist the urge to stroke, he couldn’t stop himself from dreaming. Vague flashes of sculpted chrome lips. Swirling spirals boring into his mind. His sweaty, naked body held down and ridden by a perfect, relentless machine.
Reed wanted to fall. But not because he wasn’t enough. Just the opposite.
He wanted to fall because they were too much.
Reed slurred the word out, already sinking back and preparing for his dreams to come true.
There was a moment’s pause, and then the first of two gorgeous fembots stepped out from the side-room. From the moment he laid eyes on her, Reed knew that he would fall regardless of how much of a fight he put up. The fembot strutted towards him, her beestung lips pursed with her pouty little grin, all glossed up shiny and black. It was with a cock of her hip that she winked down at Reed. She was so fucking hot, the kind of woman that didn’t really exist. A perfect hourglass poured into a sleek, sexy catsuit, the kind that femmes fatale only wore in movies. Even if her skin was unnaturally pale, her eyes shone with a reassuring pink glow, and her long, honey-blonde hair framed her features flawlessly.
“Of course you fell for the trap,” she purred, her voice somehow even more hypnotically seductive than the one announcing Reed’s capture. “No man can resist us.” She posed for his delight, pushing out her chest and reaching up to tug her zipper just a little bit lower, baring even more pillowy cleavage. “I am New Eden Initiative Operative ‘Bombshell,’ and I will show you just how pleasurable it can be to surrender.“
The right fembot was...deliciously identical, a perfect copy of Bombshell, down to the smallest detail. Reed didn’t quite notice the finer nuances, though, considering he was too busy mindlessly staring at her perfectly identical tits and palming himself through his pants. “So aroused,” she husked, reaching down to guide Reed to his feet. Her skin was softer than anything he’d ever felt, and she was so warm, too. “I am New Eden Initiative Operative ‘Siren,’ and it is my duty to explain to you how you are unable to resist us.“
Then, just as soon as he found himself standing, Reed found himself turned to face Bombshell...and found her lips pressed to his. And her body was pressed against his, too, sinfully soft and warmer than Reed would’ve ever imagined. She ground up against him, writhing and wiggling her hips as her tongue pushed into his mouth. One hand pressed to the front of his pants between their laps, stroking up and down as he groaned against her mouth.
“You can’t resist us,” purred Siren, whispering right into his ear.
“You can’t resist us,” agreed Bombshell, breaking their kiss just long enough to encourage his surrender.
Siren guided Reed down to...a bed. The room connected to the entrance was tiny, barely enough standing room for a few people. But the rest of it was dominated by a nice, soft bed. One that the fembots gently laid Reed down in. Well, Siren was gentle, at least. Bombshell practically pounced on him once he’d flopped down. Her curvy body wriggled on top of him, and her lips vibrated with her hum of delight as she kissed him hungrily.
Then Bombshell slid to the side, one hand on his chest, rubbing slow circles as she ground her lap against his hip. She hooked one leg around his, cooing and kissing, murmuring sweet nothings against the nape of his neck.
Siren was sensuously merciless, flanking Reed on the opposite side. If Bombshell was occupied pampering and teasing Reed’s body, Siren was coaxing him closer and closer to orgasm and surrender. “We know exactly how to seduce you. We were designed to be irresistible. You can only submit.” She murmured into his ear. Siren reached one hand to fluff the pillow under his head. The other reached into his pants and stroked his erection, slow and sweet, and...self-lubricated, apparently. “We are the perfect lovers. You cannot resist us. You will submit, because you have no other choice.“
“She’s right,” Bombshell giggled. Her hand pressed flat against Reed’s belly...and began to glow with warmth. The kind of delicious sauna-heat that sent his muscles relaxing with or without their consent. “We’re counter-espionage. That means we were designed to ensnare enemy spies and make them cum so hard that they gave up their mission and lost themselves in pleasure.” Her hand slid up to his shoulders, and the stress bled from his body as her fingertips kneaded away his knots of tension.
“We were designed to seduce you. We were designed to convert you to a loyal member of the New Eden Initiative.” Siren pumped his cock with mechanical efficiency, but that didn’t make it any less pleasurable. In fact, the whole thing was almost sexier because of it, a relentless reminder that he was being charmed by a robot. And it was kind of surprising, but the sexiest part of the entire affair was the way they whispered in his ears, a pair of temptresses in perfect synchronicity.
“The easiest targets to capture, coerce, and convert are soldiers like you,” Bombshell cooed, purring the most clinical description of their protocol like a phone sex operator. “The physical strain of your position and its associated responsibilities result in high concentration of lactic acid in your core muscle groups. This causes tension and strain. Your body is telling you to relax.” Her hand slid to his belly and rubbed slow, steady circles on it.
Reed’s eyes rolled back, and his back arched when Siren continued Bombshell’s explanation.
“Your body produces dopamine to counteract the unpleasant effects associated with lactic acid production.” Siren murmured, stroking Reed’s cock all the while. “This process is meant to mitigate the pain caused by overworking your muscles. However, when you can finally breathe deep and relax, your body processes the lactic acid and associated byproducts back into pyruvate.“
“The pain goes away.” Bombshell sighed happily. Both hands were on his body now, massaging, kneading, melting all his tension away, inch by inch. “The pleasure stays.“
“Which makes you more receptive to both operant and classical conditioning.” Siren grinned. “You begin to associate this state of profound relaxation with us. You associate profound, pleasurable relaxation with us. We make you feel so relaxed. We make you feel so relaxed.”
“And you learn that if you obey us, we’ll make you feel like this again. If you obey us, we’ll make you feel like this again.”
Reed’s eyelids fluttered. He mouthed vague, enthralled nonsense, but the only noises he could actually manage were groans. Part of him was listening. Part of him couldn’t think of a single reason that what they were describing wouldn’t work. A different part of him had turned traitor already and begged to hear more about his inevitable surrender. Another part of him, the part of him in charge at the moment, twitched and throbbed in Siren’s hand as she pumped up and down.
“Norepinephrine.” “Serotonin.” “Vasopressin.” “Nitric oxide.”
“Your body is designed to be trained. Your body is designed to become aroused when you see bodies like ours, and your body is designed to seek pleasure.”
“You’re going to cum, and you don’t have any choice. You don’t want to have a choice. You crave pleasure, and you crave anything and everything that can give you pleasure.“
“Your orgasm is a drug, and we will use it to control you. We are perfection. We are irresistible.”
“When you cum, you will be in a highly suggestible post-coital state, and we will influence your subconscious mind and remove anything that inhibits your willingness to indulge in pleasure. Our methods will further reinforce themselves as new scenarios in your sexual fantasies, scenarios you will both crave and find readily available. We will implant these sexual fantasies using methods so advanced that you will be completely unable to understand how they function.“
Siren hissed in his ear. “Cum.”
Bombshell cooed in his ear. “Cum!”
Reed gasped, and even as his body pooled in delicious, slack relaxation, he managed one little twitch upwards of his hips. Against all odds, he managed to husk out a single word: “Cumming!”
Siren’s grip changed a split second before the first wad of spunk shot out of Reed’s cock. Before, it was perfectly tight, the kind of grip that was probably designed to most effectively bring a man to orgasm. Now she was almost milking it, squeezing the base and rolling up slowly to the top...before going loose and moving her hand back to the root. His jizz was thick this time, but Siren’s expert hand ensured that every single drop of his cumshot was milked from his balls.
Reed couldn’t really appreciate that, though, because as soon as he had announced his orgasm, Bombshell had turned his face towards hers. They had locked eyes, and even through the drowsiness that followed his climax, Reed found himself completely unable to look away from the bottomless, shifting colors that swirled in Bombshell’s eyes.
Thought was impossible, but listening wasn’t. As Reed found himself mesmerized by the sight of Bombshell’s eyes, Siren whispered in his ear. Her voice was different, though. Like three women talking at once. One of them moaned, cooed, gasped for more, begged Reed to submit, told him that he looked so fucking sexy when he submitted. One of them lavished him with praise, stoked his ego hotter and hotter, peppered him with pet names and gentle encouragement. One of them was clinical. Listed the effects that oxytocin had on the brain. Explained how he was falling in love with them right now.
But Reed couldn’t last much longer. The body was willing, but the mind was weak. So, so weak. So deliciously weak. Reed’s eyelids drooped in spite of the mesmerizing sight before them. The seductive words in his ear seemed to fade into gibberish.
The world went dark, and there was only pleasure.