The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

(This is the eighth in the X series, and is intended to be read after “Xhalation”, “Xcogitate”, “Xemplify”, “Xpectation”, “Xotica”, “Xogenous” and “Xpand”.)


30,000 tons of tungsten. 10,000 tons of lead. 20,000 tons of osmium lining the inner walls, with a few thousand tons of platinum, gold, and silver laced through the structure in the form of insulated wiring. Perhaps nine hundred tons of molybdenum alloyed with key components to prevent wear. With the cost of labor, design and engineering factored in along with the raw materials, the sphere probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars—perhaps even twice that, given the scramble to obtain the scarcer resources as the desperation for them grew. President LaQuinta Cotton woke up every morning knowing that she was living in the most expensive prison on the face of the earth.

It wasn’t exactly a prison, but then again, she didn’t exactly feel like a President. Despite what the chain of succession said, despite what the military personnel staffing the sphere called her, she still thought of herself as the Secretary for Health and Human Services in the privacy of her own head. The Presidency didn’t seem real without the will of the people behind her, and LaQuinta never truly imagined that the country she grew up in would ever be progressive enough to elect an African-American woman to the Oval Office. And now, lying in bed in the lightless silence of the early morning, feeling the warmth of her lover’s body against her own in the last quiet moments before she turned on the light and began her round of daily briefings and status reports and endlessly grim communications with the outside world, she carried a constant sick feeling that she was absolutely right.

She rolled over, desperately sliding her thigh up between her lover’s legs, grinding urgently in a final attempt to shut out the sick terror of her position and her responsibilities. LaQuinta heard tiny, sleepy grunts of pleasure, and it helped her sink into the soft ecstasy of mindless rutting for a few moments longer. In the pitch darkness of the windowless room, with nothing but warm sweaty bodies humping against each other, she could pretend she was just waking up from a bad dream into the comfort of her girlfriend’s arms, rather than the opposite. She kissed the other woman’s neck and shoulders, losing herself in arousal as best she could before the morning came.

They found the rhythm of their lovemaking quickly, LaQuinta’s long stiff nipples rubbing against her lover’s chest as she rocked up and down on the too-small bed. Even being President didn’t earn her many creature comforts, not in a space built out of hasty desperation from limited and expensive materials, and her girlfriend had to sleep with one foot on the floor to keep from tumbling to the ground in the middle of the night. It meant that her legs were always spread, though, and LaQuinta liked that in a lover. She pressed her thigh hard against the slick and soaking labia, feeling musky fluid smear against her skin in the final few moments before the other woman convulsed in orgasm.

LaQuinta felt her own pleasure building not long after, bursting out in a gunshot-quick orgasm that didn’t truly satisfy her. But it was all she was getting for tonight—the first alarm had already gone off, and the artificial day was already beginning. Her lover needed to sneak away, furtively departing when the lights were still coming up throughout the sphere to get to her own uncomfortably cramped quarters. And President Cotton needed to get herself showered, get dressed, and check in on the United States of America. What was left of it, at least.

Certainly no one had heard from Washington in weeks. Satellite photos showed a massive blanket of green fog covering most of the Eastern Seaboard from New Hampshire all the way down to North Carolina and inland all the way to the Appalachians. It wasn’t technically impossible to get out—they had armored personnel carriers that could survive a trip or two with the help of some special modifications originally intended to deal with gas weapons in the Persian Gulf conflicts—but they weren’t hearing from any refugees.

They weren’t hearing from a lot of people, not since the spring rains started and the growing season began. Most of the Midwest succumbed within a matter of weeks, the broad acres of golden wheat coming up with a distinctively viridian tint to their stalks and releasing a fine haze of emerald mist that only got thicker as the days went by. The West Coast was already gone, swamped by a network of human contamination even before the plants started to spread the X pollution throughout the atmosphere, and the Deep South followed just as soon as the winds blew the mutagenic gas in their direction. The sphere was constructed on an arid Nevada mesa, high up in the thin air in a desert almost devoid of life, but they could still taste a thin film of chlorophyll on their tongues whenever they went through the airlock.

(So she was told. President Cotton wasn’t allowed to go outside, of course. For security reasons.)

And the thankfully uncorrupted orbital communications network told much the same story all over the world. Everywhere there was green, the X spread through the intermingled roots from plant to plant until the lungs of the world exhaled mutagenic mist, and any animal caught in that mist soon became a carrier. Flocks of migratory birds trailed plumes of emerald fog behind them as they flew, and humans everywhere succumbed to a powerful, sexual urge to contaminate anyone and everyone within reach. The jungles of South America, the steppes and taigas of Russia, even the undersea kelp forests off the Pacific Coast were all undergoing their own form of ecological collapse—no. Not collapse, LaQuinta reminded herself. Transformation. These things weren’t dying, they were becoming something new and taking the world along with them.

In a way, it was keeping them safe. Feroz Zaman, her chief structural engineer, told her that the sphere would have collapsed under its own weight weeks ago if not for the gravitational fluctuations caused by dimensional bridges breaking through in thirty-seven locations worldwide. That had its own downsides—apparently volcanic activity was up seventeen percent—but the sphere’s location had been chosen for its geological stability. They could survive right up until the end here.

But LaQuinta knew the end was coming. Every day, fewer and fewer command bunkers responded to the signals the sphere bounced off of the satellite network. Every day, they had to filter out more and more X pulses from their communications to avert the hypnotic effect that could induce spontaneous mutagenic episodes in the viewer. Every day, the fog around them grew thicker, corroding critical components on the sphere’s exterior and reducing them to helplessness. Lorenza Campos, her head researcher, estimated they had perhaps a week before the entire atmosphere reached critical mass and the entire Earth became engulfed by the dimensional congruence.

And when that happened... what next? LaQuinta had the horrifying mental image of the planet simply dropping through a hole in space, plummeting into some tangential reality where the laws of physics were so radically different that only the mutated creations of the X substance could survive. She thought back to the classified photos they showed her of the spindly alien creatures that came through to this universe, crushed by the weight of a gravity unimaginable to them. She wondered how long she could exist in their world.

And then she went out and met with her Chief of Staff, because they couldn’t just give up. “Status report, Marla,” she said, wearily rubbing sleep out of her eyes as she stepped into the small, cramped space she laughably called an office. “Tell me something good today.”

Marla only shook her head in numb resignation. The crisis was getting to her, too. “We lost Command Posts Thirteen and Twenty-Seven, that’s along the old DEW line up in Canada. Not quite sure what caused it—there isn’t sufficient plant life up there to carry the contamination, and we haven’t reached saturation anywhere north of Edmonton yet. Our best guess is that their signal filters failed and someone on the inside got taken. After that, they would have been locked in with the stuff.” It was a constant worry, and the main reason why the tiny communications room was hermetically sealed while in use. All it took was just one victim and the same containment protocols that kept them safe suddenly trapped them in a box full of X.

LaQuinta sighed. “That leaves us, what? 150 outposts worldwide?” The word ‘us’ didn’t just mean ‘America’, not anymore. With so many governments toppled or overtaken or simply left in impotent hiding like the United States, the entire human race had come together with a single purpose and a common enemy. It didn’t seem to be doing any good, but LaQuinta had to admit it was kind of nice to contemplate in a purely symbolic way.

“One hundred forty-three, Madame President.” Marla’s voice was clipped and precise, but underneath it LaQuinta could hear the strain of a woman trying desperately to hold herself together. She’d been a minor functionary in the State Department a few months ago, squeezed against the glass ceiling and heading toward an unremarkable career as a footnote to a postscript to a minor entry in the historical record, and now she held the fate of the world in her hands. LaQuinta wanted to tell her not to worry so much, but too many people depended on her for hope to hear her say that the world was going to end no matter what they did so there was no point getting stressed about individual performance.

“One hundred... Jesus. A week ago it was two hundred fifty-seven.” And a week before that over five hundred, and a week before that almost too many to keep track of without a spreadsheet. They were being swallowed up, submerged in a sea of contaminated air and taken into whatever it was Joanna Harrington described before she was transformed into one of those monsters. A hive mind? A telepathic network? A single, uniform consciousness that emptied human beings out and used them like appendages? Nobody knew for sure. Whatever that journey was, it was one-way. All the best scientists in the sphere—which meant, at this point, all the best scientists in the world—had no idea how to reverse the mutation and restore even a single one of X’s victims.

But that didn’t mean they would stop trying. “Okay,” she said, straightening her shoulders. “Let’s contact those remaining DEW line stations, warn them about the possibility of internal contamination and get them to check their comms filters. Then we’ll check on the folks up in the ISS—the last thing we need is for one of them to start getting X in their brains. They’re the only people who don’t have any risk of atmospheric contamination, we need them to stay in reserve and keep collating our research. Speaking of, has Lorenza—”

Her question was interrupted by a knock on the door. “Come in,” she said, swallowing the rest of her sentence. The doorknob turned, and Abdou Babatunde, Chief of Staff for the remaining United States Armed Forces, leaned in. “General,” LaQuinta said calmly, snapping him a salute. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”

He didn’t smile. Abdou didn’t have much to smile about these days. But he returned the salute crisply and replied, “There’s been some activity in Louisiana you should see.” He nodded his head toward the door, and LaQuinta forced herself to her feet and followed him to the research room.

* * *

“The first pulse came at 0600,” Doctor Campos said, pointing at a white spot the size of a city in a map covered in solid green. “Judging by the satellite overlay, it appears to have come directly from the location of the former city of New Orleans. At first we thought it was some sort of infiltration attempt, and we retuned the comms filters to block it, but it wasn’t on the standard contamination pattern frequencies. This was something new. We think it may be a sign of dimensional convergence.”

“I thought we were already getting pockets of dimensional convergence all over the planet,” LaQuinta replied, her brow furrowing in consternation. It was hard to be sure about anything—Lorenza was probably the foremost expert in the world on X and its effects, but nobody really had any true knowledge of what the substance was and how it warped the structure of space-time around it. Hell, Einstein never imagined it in his worst nightmares; how were any of them supposed to figure it out in a matter of weeks?

Lorenza’s wan smile gave away her uncertainty. “We think that those are dimensional bridges, liminal spaces where the laws of reality operate according to some sort of cross-universal protocol we’re still attempting to map out.” They’d sent drones in, but they didn’t last long and the data they got usually came back badly contaminated. “This, though... this may be a region that achieved a sufficient density of X per cubic meter to fully cross that dimensional bridge and come out the other side. It’s a portal to wherever these things truly come from.”

LaQuinta’s furrow became a frown. “So if we’ve seen bridges, New Orleans is the land on the other side?”

Doctor Campos nodded. “Exactly. I’ve been conferring with General Babatunde, and he’s confirmed that we still have thirty-two percent of our nuclear arsenal in strike-ready status. There’s no real way of knowing whether a fission reaction will still behave the same way on the other side of the portal, but it seems likely that if we launch an ICBM, it’ll come down at sufficient speed that we can detonate it before it becomes completely contaminated by whatever effect transforms the physical matter that crosses the boundary between universe. We could send a test shot through, just to see if it shakes anything up and—”

LaQuinta snorted. “There’s a whole universe on the other side, Lolli.” She didn’t really care anymore about keeping her lover’s pet name hidden. It wasn’t exactly like Fox News could start a scandal over her sex life anymore. “How many nukes do we think it takes to blow up a universe, huh? Because if it’s more than a thousand, we’re shit out of luck.” She sighed. “No, I think we have to assume that this isn’t a problem that can be solved by force. Whatever’s out there, whatever’s on the other side of that dimensional bridge, it’s a mind. An alien mind, but a sentience nonetheless. I think that if we have a chance to communicate with it directly, we’ve only got one choice. We have to go out there. And we have to talk to it.”

Abdou raised a single eyebrow. “You’re suggesting we send someone to New Orleans? Through that? Into that? It’s a death sentence.” He didn’t even sound angry, that was the worst part. If he’d been furious at her, LaQuinta could have been mad right back at him. But he sounded... defeated. Like he’d just heard the worst idea on the face of the planet and realized it was the best idea they could come up with at this point. It hurt LaQuinta’s soul to hear him like that.

But she persisted. “It might not be,” she replied. “If we take them up in one of the cargo planes, put them in one of the modified APCs and parachute the vehicle in directly over New Orleans, they could drop down into the portal at speed. They might not even need the parachute if gravity is what we think it is on the other side. Even dense metal would hit the ground pretty lightly over there.” If there was ground. If there was anything even remotely compatible with human understanding in that universe.

“And once they’re through?” Marla asked, idly stroking the touch-sensitive screen to zoom closer and closer to New Orleans. “What do we do then?”

“We try to communicate,” LaQuinta said. “And we hope that maybe, just maybe we can convince them to leave us in peace.” She knew that it was the worst idea on the face of the planet. She knew that she was operating well outside of her area of expertise. But she also knew that humanity didn’t have a whole lot of hope left.