Karen set the business card down on her desk with a heavy sigh. She had risen rapidly through the rank and file of the Central Intelligence Agency despite her relatively young age she had seemed to hit the proverbial glass ceiling. She had a certain aptitude for espionage work and it had gotten her far at age 24. Being an intelligent, driven young woman (and it didn’t hurt that she was a curvaceous, slender blonde either) came with certain baggage and she was certain her looks were standing in the way of her ascension beyond field agent. The number of times she had been asked to go undercover and seduce some poor slob for the interests of national security seemed to bear her theory out. Part of the damages to pay for being the stunning beauty that I am,. She tried to console herself. It was as if her superiors never could get past her looks and kept assigning her to the same old assignments. Or chasing her around the desk. Obliquely, of course. Sexual harassment laws did have their pluses in this day and age.
Not that she didn’t excel and aim for perfection at the missions, assigned her. But sometimes she wished there was more to it than she had seen. It was becoming rather routine, taking down pretty minor criminals and the occasional double agent. Where was the glamour? The intrigue? Something she thought would never happen was slowly becoming her worst fear. This was boring. Was this her fate? To be relegated to this for the rest of her career?
That she was even considering this…offer that had been made to her after one of the yawn-inducing meetings. The secretary of one of the assistant directors had given it to her after a meeting. She looked at the card; it had a drawing of the Venus de Milo statue on one side and the word S.T.A.T.U.E. in large type. Beneath it was a one-line address. No phone number. No name to contact. If she weren’t an operative Karen would have been highly suspicious of being handed such a nebulous item. As it was this cloak and dagger stuff hardly surprised her anymore. If anything it sort of made her feel disdainful for the whole secrecy thing. There was very little in her line of work that seemed to merit the extravagant lengths of hush hush. But she was stuck, unless she looked into this STATUE thing…what did she have to lose?
She arrived at the address on her day off. Dressed casually in rather tight-fitting jeans that molded themselves around her shapely derriere and a white, scooped neck shirt with rather thin straps. Her bosom quivered slightly wrapped tightly within her constricting brassiere, as she opened the car door. She pulled on her red leather blazer as she got out of her car and looked at the address on the card again. Same address, but she was looking at a rather unassuming art gallery.
She walked into the hardwood-floored gallery. The walls were white, minimalist, in style as was typical in a gallery so that they would not detract from the art within. Track lighting spotlighted various artworks and paintings. Some bronze busts here, an abstract metal sculpture there. There were a couple full sized statues of nude women along the far wall that caught Karen’s eyes as being particularly good. But the name of the gallery didn’t match the name on the card she had been given. Had she gone to the wrong location or was this all some sort of stupid joke?
“May I help you?” A kindly voice asked.
Karen turned around and a rather middle-aged woman was approaching her. The click clack of her heels across the wood floors broke the silence. “Um, I’m not sure if I’m in the right place.” She fingered the business card nervously as she let the woman see…
The woman’s eyes widened with recognition. “Oh, yes, Miss Melody, they’re expecting you!” She turned to lead Karen into the rear of the gallery. It looked like a bit of a working studio behind the doors where there were all sorts of various art supplies, sculptures in various forms of completion, paint cans, and a modeling stand was in the center of the room. A clay figurine on a sculptor’s stand stood next to the stand. “Please, have a seat, they’ll be right with you.”
“Who’ll be right with me?” Karen probed with a pointed question.
“You’ll see,” the woman smiled as she motioned for Karen to sit.
“Um there’s no chairs here,” Karen looked around.
“Just sit on the modeling stand,” the woman turned to leave.
Karen looked at the drab white paper covered platform. She pushed one of the pillows on it aside and sat down and sighed. “Certainly she doesn’t think I’m a model, does she? I hope this doesn’t end up being a big waste of my tiiiiiiii!”
The floor the modeling stand sat on dropped into the ground like a roller coaster descending its first hill. Karen jumped up onto the platform, bringing in her legs and curled up as the lights along the wall that shot past her slowed and finally stopped. It was dark and she couldn’t see a thing.
“Hello?” Karen called out, her voice echoed in the darkness. This is starting to look bad…The lights suddenly flicked on, revealing a long, smooth paneled corridor. Karen stood up and looked up at the ceiling. It looked like she had dropped a considerable distance, the top of the impromptu elevator shaft was out of sight. There was no way she could see of activating the elevator to go back up. Looks like I’m…
She heard steps approaching. A female figure appeared at the far end of the corridor and approached. “Karen Melody? Welcome to STATUE,” she smiled warmly and held out her hand. She was about forty-ish, Karen guessed, but still very beautiful and in great shape. Her hair was tied back and up in a stylish bun.
“And you are?” Karen asked as she shook the woman’s hand.
“Lynette Saunders, senior liaison to all field agents. I’m sure you have all sorts of questions. My job is to answer them, if you’ll come this way, please.” She beckoned for Karen to follow.
“Just what is STATUE anyway?” Karen asked. A door slid open and Lynette and Karen found themselves in a room filled with statues of beautiful women lining the walls. A world map, looking like a large peeled fruit was behind the row of statues with the letters S.T.A.T.U.E. in raised letters and the words “Sculpture Transfixed Agents Trained in Undercover Espionage” right below. A glass wall beyond the second row showed a huge staging area below, with many people moving to and fro on foot or mobile carts.
“This is STATUE!” Lynette proudly beamed. “We’re an ultra-secret organization with branches all across the world and dedicated to protecting the safety and welfare of world peace.”
“Ultra-secret?” This was starting to sound like a spy movie. “You don’t answer to the President?” Karen was dumbfounded.
“No, no, we’re strictly global in nature. What we do benefits the entire population of the planet,” Lynette gestured with her arms.
“And just what is it you do?” Karen asked. “This Sculpture Transfixed Agents stuff, what the hell does that mean anyway?”
“It would be easier to show you,” Lynette smiled as she led Karen down to the staging area in an elevator. “We have agents working across the globe in undercover operations in a rather unique way. They’re specially trained in self-defense, espionage and especially camouflage.” They both exited and walked to a room that had some scientific devices in it. Lab coated people were focused on a marble statue of a nude woman standing on a raised dais.
“Camouflage? I don’t get it…what good is camouflage in most situations?” Karen walked around the scientists who were intently concentrating on the statue. “A disguise can only get you so far,” she looked over at the statue and her jaw dropped as the statue began to move!
The nude statue’s marble hued body warmed to an amber-tanned complexion. The whitened hair darkened to mahogany brown on her head and at her crotch. Pebbled nipples turned pink as the statue began to breathe and her chest heaved with the first breath. The statue’s long arms stretched slowly, as if she were awakening after a long sleep. Bright eyes blinked, and the perfect lips of the statue turned red and softened into a smile. The statue had become a living, breathing naked woman!
“Whoa!” Karen jumped back as the living woman stepped down from the dais and a labcoat was offered to her to cover her nakedness. “She was…that isn’t…how can…Omigosh…how?” She looked back and forth between the smirking scientists, the live statue, and Lynette, searching for answers.
“Hi Lynette!” The statue-girl waved. Her luscious breasts wiggled and a nipple poked free from the coat. “That seems to work well, put it into production right away,” she directed to a lab guy who nodded and left the room with a clipboard and metal canister. The woman statue warmly greeted Karen. “Hello, you’re new here aren’t you?”
“Ah…I…” Karen had never met a statue-cum-woman before. She was tongue-tied and couldn’t help staring at the richly colored stripe of flesh from neck to knees the open labcoat offered.
“Karen Melody, meet Gigi Valentine, one of our tech operatives and currently assigned to test new technology in our stasis division,” Lynette said proudly.
“Stasis?” Karen looked amazed as her voice returned. “Stasis like in…suspended animation?”
“Exactly,” Gigi smiled as she buttoned her labcoat. “Except we do it here with a twist, literally!” She reached into her labcoat and squatted down. She was removing something from between her legs! “Ah, here we are, the latest model in stasis inducing tech.” She held up a dildo shaped object, about seven inches long and made of polished metal. At the flattened base was a dial with engraved markings. You probably don’t want to hold onto this one, but we have some brand new ones over here. She washed her hands after she set the dildo onto a metal tray and motioned for Karen to come over. “Custom fitted to all our agents,” she said proudly. “They’re called RIGIDS, Remote Immobility Generating Insertion DeviceS.”
Karen gingerly picked up a shiny new stasis device off of a surgical tray containing a half dozen of these erotic sex toy-looking devices. “This turns you into a statue?” she questioned rather disbelievingly.
“Not exactly, it places you in a state of suspended animation. Freezes you up stiff as a board. The dial at the bottom sets the length of time,” Gigi gently took Karen’s hand and inverted it so that Karen could see the twisting base. There were markings denoting periods of time, which Karen deduced, were days or even…
“A week! This goes up to one week!” Karen exclaimed in surprise.
“Yes, this is for one of our short term operatives. We have a variety of sizes, so to speak, for different uses and missions. The typical one has ranges of a few minutes to a week maximum,” Gigi held up another that she described as the ‘deep cover operation model’.
“A year! Karen was aghast as she thought she misread the markings.
“Its not so bad actually, you don’t even feel the passage of time while you’re in stasis,” Gigi smiled. It was common that new operatives often got quite scared at the implications of how long they could be put into suspended animation. It was best to calm them down and show how safe the RIGIDS were. “Jenny, could you?” Gigi asked one of the pretty labgirls behind the console.
A brunette lab assistant slipped off her glasses and took the stasis device from Gigi. She opened her labcoat and revealed she was totally naked beneath to Karen’s surprise. Jenny turned the dial to 5 minutes and slid the dildo shaped object into her cunt. The labcoat dropped to the floor and Karen watched curiously as Jenny as she struck a hands-on-hips pose and then did not move at all.
Karen waited for something to happen. As far as she could tell the woman was…something was strange. She looked almost mannequin-like. Karen realized she could not see the woman breathing or even noticed a blink or flinch from the nude. She gingerly touched the naked lab assistant and was amazed to find the woman was completely rigid. She had a completely blank expression on her face and didn’t even blink when Karen snapped her fingers in front of her face. “Incredible, she’s…frozen…” Karen nudged the girl and she started to teeter over. Surprised at the total immobility she was witnessing, Karen caught the woman and felt awkward that she was groping the poor statue-girl’s breast with one hand. She righted the statue-girl who hadn’t flinched a millimeter throughout the ordeal. Only her hair betrayed any movement. And it wasn’t soft and silky either; it was more like flexible wire. “I’m sorry,” she apologized but the statue did not acknowledge her apology. “That’s incredible…she doesn’t even seem like she’s aware…Is she alive?”
She’s fine. And she’s not aware of what you did at all. She can’t hear you, or see you, or even think while she’s in stasis. She’s pretty much a living statue.” Lynette could never resist watching the awe-inducing reactions of a first-timer. “Impressed?”
“But how…” Karen still couldn’t wrap her mind around what she had seen.
“Oh you mean how do we turn to marble?” Lynette smiled.
“Well…yeah…” Karen nodded.
“We don’t, not literally anyway. That’s where the camouflage comes in. Danae, could you hand me a canister of S.H.E.L.L.A.C.?”
“Shellac?” Karen’s eyes bugged. Was Lynette about to spray paint the frozen woman?
“SHELLAC, or Super-Hard Enveloping Liquid Layer Artwork Camouflage, is a spray-on coating that allows our agents to perfectly impersonate sculpture.” She shook the canister and looked at the label. Hmm, Grecian Marble- nice choice. Now we just have to wait for Jenny to come out of stasis, which should be any second now.
“Hi!” Jenny peeped up. Karen jumped as the statue came imperceptibly to life.
“Yikes!” She couldn’t believe that Jenny was now as alive and breathing as she was. An instant ago the girl could have passed for an ultra-realistic mannequin.
“Karen would like to see SHELLAC in action,” Gigi explained. “Would you mind?”
“No problem. It’ll be a first for me!” Jenny closed her eyes and held her arms out as Gigi began to spray Jenny all over with the fine mist. She sprayed the naked woman all over. Head to toe, every inch of Jenny’s body was covered. Or at least Karen assumed she was covered. A slight glossy residue on the skin faded away as if it dried clear and invisible until nothing noticeable could be detected to the eye.
Karen and Lynette stood back while Gigi finished up with the impromptu spray painting. Karen watched in fascination, while Lynette made note of how Karen was taking in all this fantastic information. She looked totally amazed and fascinated by the process. She will make a great agent. Lynette was looking over Karen’s physique and the sensual curves present even beneath denim and fabric.
“There, all done.” Gigi proclaimed as Jenny lowered her arms.
“I don’t get it, she doesn’t look like marble,” Karen noticed. She firmly expected grey paint to be all over the model’s body to complete the disguise.
“It’s a totally invisible spray,” Gigi explained. “Jenny, if you would,” she motioned for Jenny to mount the dais in the room that Gigi herself had been standing upon just moments earlier.
Jenny reached between her legs and slid the stasis device out so that she could turn the dial. “I’m going to set it for 15 minutes, but it doesn’t count against my break, okay?” She smiled.
“Right,” Gigi and the other lab techs laughed. She let Jenny get into a pose and started her synopsis. “Now as soon as the stasis setting is active, Jenny will have about twenty seconds to get into her pose and then…”
Karen watched as Jenny posed herself into a cheesecake style pose. One arm on her backside, the other on her knee as she leaned forward and let her breasts dangle provocatively. In her mind Karen was counting down and then saw Jenny’s flesh bleach away and become what looked like pure white marble!
“That’s amazing…and so beautiful…” Karen walked closer to the statue of Jenny. “Can I touch her?” she reached out to touch the statue but hesitated.
“Go ahead,” Gigi smiled, proud of her latest work of art.
Karen looked at Jenny’s legs up close. She had the look of polished marble, with subtle veins of color mimicking the stone itself. Upon inspection of Jenny’s face, Karen found her hair was fused into a helmet of stone. Karen touched Jenny’s breast and found it hard as rock. She knocked her knuckles against the statue’s shoulder and found a satisfying solid tone. The girl felt like stone, looked like stone…she was stone!
“How did you turn her to stone?” Karen turned to ask Gigi.
“We didn’t, the SHELLAC spray hardens when the stasis generator in the RIGID is on. It goes from clear invisible flexible coating to super strong hardened protective coating while our agents are in stasis mode. The Stasis effect activates the camouflage so that it goes from clear to whatever pre-selected color was selected.” Gigi looked at the can again. “In this case, Marble: White/Grecian/#04-035.”
Karen pushed at Jenny’s thigh and found her body solidly rooted to the dais. “She’s really stuck on this!
You can do other colors?” Karen switched gears, suddenly curious.
“Sure, Bronze, gold, wood, silver, stone, pretty much any variation on the classics. We have over twenty different bronze sprays as a matter of fact.” Gigi said nonchalantly. “The SHELLAC bonds the agent to the pedestal, in which we can hide certain items like change of clothes and little espionage items that an agent may find useful in the field. Naturally we can’t secret them on the agent herself because she is nude throughout the entire operation, but at some point she may have to abandon her post, so we do have disguises for her inside the base. The SHELLAC also adheres little props like spears or urns so that they are unremovable from the agent, imitating the sculpture that much more.”
“And there’s a great need for sculpture to be impersonated?” Karen asked somewhat dubiously.
“You’d be surprised Lynette soothing voice replied. Do you remember when the Venus De Sonatelli was stolen from the Lourve?”
“I never heard about that,” Karen raised an eyebrow.
“That’s because one of our agents stood in for the statue for the six months it took for us to recover the actual statue.”
“Six months! Holy shit!” Karen wondered what that would be like, being a museum display for half a year. “But why go to the trouble of covering up the theft?”
“Well, it’s a little known fact that the statue is an heirloom from the tiny European country of Sonataly, and according to the articles of royalty, the possession of their crown treasure the Statue of Venus is integral to whomever holds the scepter. Without the statue the royal throne of the country is up for grabs. We suspected the king’s half-brother, the Arch-duke was responsible so in addition to the agent who substituted for the statue in the Lourve we secreted another agent in the guise of a gift from an admirer…”
“I never realized…” Karen said softly.
Lynette smiled. “A lot of what we do is unknown to the general public, but it’s a very important service we do provide. International peace sometimes relies on the most unusual of approaches.”
“I noticed all the statues here are all female…” Karen tried to remember how many statues she had seen on her tour so far. They must have numbered in the dozens.
“Yes, a necessary convention due to the stasis tech device development program…” It just isn’t feasible for male agents to use the stasis device and we haven’t been able to create a stasis device in any other configuration. You should be grateful though, in the old days we had to get injections of stiffening serum and then go through the plaster showers to do our jobs…”
“You used to be an agent?” Karen was surprised. Lynette didn’t look so old.
“Back in the 70s, the program goes back to the late 40s actually…you’ll hear all about it at agent orientation. Let’s show you the training room. Jenny won’t be going anywhere for another 12 minutes.” Lynette led Karen out the door. Karen couldn’t resist looking back at Jenny, as if some great practical joke was being played on her and the girl would jump off the dais as soon as her back was turned. But the girl was solid and rigid and didn’t move at all. The other workers paid her no notice, as if she was nothing more than a beautiful, but harmless sculpture.
Lynette led Karen past some more statue decorations in the plush hallway. How many of these statues are real? She stopped in front of a large window that looked into a gymnasium and martial arts training center. Dozens of women were exercising or practicing self-defense routines in one-on-one pairs or larger classes led by a teacher. There was a full size Olympic pool with diving boards and a weight room in another corner.
“Wow, this is pretty impressive…”
“We do place a definite emphasis on fitness. For more than the obvious reasons. All our agents have to be skilled in the latest hand-to-hand combat techniques, various martial arts, self-defense and counter intelligence as well as maintaining a certain physique. Demands of the job, you know. There has to be a certain look maintained in order to impersonate a statue and the better you look the better your statue will look. All current agents must keep in total perfect physical condition. Many of our agents have to stay in shape for call at a moment’s notice to provide long term service across the world.”
Karen noticed all the women she had seen at STATUE were both beautiful and shapely. Even those in research like Gigi and Jenny, and Lynette herself, could be described as statuesque.
“Here’s our supply department, where the latest inventions from Gigi and co. make field life for our agents more comfortable are available…Gigi, or GG, as in her codename, is one of senior inventive minds behind some of our more innovative devices. She or one of her staff will be the one who supplies you for your missions.” Lynette led Karen into a secured room with a handprint access. Inside the immaculate room were shelves with all sorts of fantastic and mundane items. She took out a suitcase, which held a number of exotic items.
“This some of our field kit stuff we store in the secret compartments of the agents’ pedestals: Communication units, lockpicks, fingerprinting kits, mini camera, decoder devices, and typical stuff. You’ve probably seen all this in your line of work. This however, is atypical.” She held up what looked like a small metal and glass perfume sprayer. “This is S.T.I.F.F.,” Lynette held up the perfume spritzer with a greenish gold liquid evident inside the glass. Special Total Immobilization Freeze Fragrance paralyzes anyone sprayed by it for about 15 minutes. Lynette handed over the spritzer to Karen who inspected the vial. It looked for the entire world like a typical perfume sprayer. Lynette gently pointed it away from herself as Karen fingered the spritzer. “I don’t want to have this demonstrated on me, but I can arrange for a model from research to help show you the effects of all of these.”
Karen put the spritzer down as Lynette picked up another innocuous object.
“This is freezestick,” she held up a lipstick container. “Perfect for when you need to extricate yourself from a close up confrontation. Immobilizes the man…or woman,” Lynette added, “for about 5 minutes. Enough time for you to make a quick getaway. Needless to say you need to be inoculated against the formula or you’ll be frozen yourself the moment you apply it to your lips. It’s totally a non-lethal gadget, as we frown on doing permanent damage on our exploits.”
Karen looked at the tiny gadget, impressed with the design and reputed potency.
“If you can come this way we can discuss your future with STATUE,” Lynette directed Karen to her office. Karen recognized Lynette’s secretary.
“She was the same one who had handed me the business card at the CIA meeting!” Karen realized.
“Yes, we have agents in more typical positions throughout the world in more normal undercover operations as well. We’re always looking out for qualified potential employees.” Lynette smiled at her secretary, who warmly grinned at Karen.
“Please have a seat.” Lynette’s office was plush with a stone statue of a nude woman in the corner. Karen couldn’t take her eyes off the statue as she sat down in the comfortable chair. Was that an agent too? She looked at the slender beauty over and over, almost to the detriment of Lynette’s sales pitch. “Now our benefits package is quite generous, and we have a ten week vacation annually…”
“Excuse me, but…” Karen couldn’t wait to satisfy her curiosity and lowered her voice. “Is that…is that a real person?” She pointed at the nude water bearer statue. Water trickled out of the stone urn the nude woman held on her shoulder and into a basin at the statue’s base.
“Would you like a closer look?” Lynette offered Karen the chance to inspect the statue close up.
The applicant touched the statue’s hip. It felt solid enough. The statue was made, apparently, of solid stone. But Jenny felt like solid marble too a few minutes ago. A neatly trimmed pubic area revealed no telltale signs that this was anything other than a realistically sculpted statue. Karen didn’t think many statues were sculpted with pubic hair in classical times, but this one seemed to have a more modern sculpt. It was not out of the realm of possibility for a statue to have that kind of detail down there. She grasped the statue around its waist, trying not to get wet from the falling water, and looked for any sign of a water connection or reclamation device. The statue had a nicely shaped bottom and its hardened nipples were poking Karen in the head as she tried to look around for any clues. If there were a pipe drilled into the statue that would eliminate any possibility of a real person, or at least that’s what she thought. She had seen enough weird things today to cast even that assumption in doubt. But as Karen looked closer she could see a tube where the recycled water was coming back up from the basin on the statue’s base and looping inside the urn so that it looked like the flow of the water concealed the clear tube. A clever disguise. “This is a real person,” Karen declared with much certainty.
“Very good,” Lynette applauded Karen’s detective work. “Most people can’t even tell one of our agents from the real thing.” Toni here is my personal bodyguard. “Her stasis device has been set on maximum, but I can release her by pressing the panic button underneath my desk.” She has a revolver hidden inside the urn.
“Incredible,” Karen peeked inside past the flowing water and did see the weapon Lynette described. “And the other statues decorating the compound?”
“Some are real, some are agents in disguise who are released from stasis when an emergency alarm is triggered. Most people give up trying to figure out after awhile. The security director rotates between agents disguised as statues and casts made of agents’ bodies which are made up to look like real statues. No one except the Director knows for sure most of the time where the agents are secreted. It keeps us on our toes.” She smiled.
“And you’re the Director?” Karen asked.
“No, Forsythe Hamilton, is the director of STATUE. He’ll be introduced to you as soon as you agree to become an agent. Now, tell me, are you intrigued by our offer?”
“Very,” Karen smiled. “When do I get started?”
“Soon,” Lynette shook Karen’s hand. “First we have to get you trained and up to par. Go home, get some rest and get your resignation papers ready. You’ll start first thing in the morning.”
Karen left STATUE in a mood of exuberance and joy. Finally something had come along that made her feel as if she had finally found a place where she could do something really important.
Next: First Day on the Job