Decker State College, Malibu, California
10:56 AM, Late April, 2009
Susie Kim had been using her Royal Momju Necklace to place her mind in the bodies of other people for what felt like years, though the reality was she'd only really been using it since autumn. Despite all the practice she'd had however, Susie felt a little odd going out in public with her mind in someone else's body, leaving her real body back in her closet at the Phi Sigma Delta sorority house. Susie was instead inhabiting the body of Leslie Chun, a recent graduate, whose five-foot-eight, half-Chinese frame felt like a comfortable pair of shoes, though in public it was a bit different. While anyone Susie was controlling through the necklace and the rings they would still just see Susie as Susie; anyone else would see Leslie, not Susie, but being in Leslie's body gave Susie a renewed sense of confidence. Susie was wearing a pale pink spaghetti-strap top with black polka dots on it, brown shorts on her legs, and white heels, with a mustard leather purse on her shoulder and her black hair down.
“So is there a reason this can't wait until we get back from Fifi's?” asked Angel Mathews, who was walking with Susie-as-Leslie and her other friend, both of her companions ringed. Angel's personality had been altered a lot over the past few months; Susie had wanted to turn the originally anti-social Wiccan into a best friend and found that was more difficult than expected, but she thought she finally had it nailed. Angel's dark hair was pulled back in twin ponytails for once and she was wearing a black T-shirt over a long-sleeved yellow shirt with black jeans on below, as well as dark blue sketchers.
“Hey, for some reason they take a few extra days to post the exam results online, and if I see them now I'll know how to plan my course applications for next year early,” insisted Rose Mazza, the other member of the trio. The diminutive green-eyed brunette wanted to check her exam results on her Ancient Eastern Asia class, as she was worried she might have scored lower than desired. Rose was wearing a powder blue fedora, with her hair down, a matching light blue T-shirt with a dark blue vest over it, with stonewashed blue jeans on her legs and brown sandals on her feet.
“Surprised you aren't in a rush to see your favorite waitress,” teased Susie. Each member of the trio had at least some sexual interest in women; Susie having brought Angel's latent bisexual urges to the surface while Rose appeared to at least be bi, if not gay. Susie herself wasn't gay and only considered herself bi-curious at best, having fooled around with several women but never in a serious relationship kind of way.
“Hey, sorry I'm late,” came a voice near the trio as they passed by a popular sitting area on the greater quad. Glancing to her right, Susie recognized Fay Mochata, a member of the school's volleyball team that Tami Tyler had introduced to her once. Fay was Dominican and fairly cute, having curly brown hair and a nice smile. Fay had just joined Chrissy Pak and Tess Vole, two Lady Raptors Susie that had a passing familiarity with, on a bench. Fay was in a white T-shirt with a band logo on it as well as a olive green knee-length skirt; Chrissy's freshly dyed red hair was up in a loose bun and she was wearing a black tank top with orange shorts; Tess was in a slightly bloused short-sleeved top and green plaid skirt, her hair in a half up-do.
“No worries, Kat isn't here yet either,” pointed out Chrissy.
“Haven't heard anything from her or her sister since yesterday,” added Tess. “Isn't that odd? I mean, if we're going to have some big Raptors meeting shouldn't—” In an instant, whatever more of the conversation Susie Kim would overhear ceased, as did her ability to listen. The entire campus froze at once, with all movement and sound instantly stopping. Fay had her right hand raised as she was looking over at Tess on the far side of the bench, Chrissy leaning back in the middle looking up while Tess was gesturing inquisitively outward. Angel had been playing with the neck of her two shirts, Rose was tilting her hat, and Susie had been glancing over at the bench.
Time had stopped.
* * *
Victoria Towers, Malibu, California
Erika Stone was just using her special shoe stand set up next to her penthouse door to slip on a pair of half-inch heel sandals, her schedule was running a bit behind her friends. The blonde billionaire could effectively set her own hours and favored going into the office between noon and six, either having a quick lunch on her way in or having it served to her at the office. Deciding to dress at least semi-professionally, Erika was in a pink short-sleeved blouse with a white knee-length skirt, her sandals a light and sandy brown. Erika had selected a white leather purse for the day and put her hair in a simple ponytail, placing a pair of big sunglasses in her blouse pocket.
“You know if you just let me set an alarm once in a while, we might actually be ready to leave before Monica and Caitlin,” commented Mary, Erika's now one-year girlfriend. Mary was dressed in a sleeveless olive-green blouse with a black knee-length skirt and pantyhose, black heels on her feet. Mary would spend most of the day wearing a lab coat, which she'd explained is why she preferred going sleeveless as the weather got warmer. Mary's hair was down for the moment, resting comfortably just past her shoulders and a very rich brown.
“Hey, if you anticipate the alarm you can never sleep right, and you're on edge all day,” countered Erika, finishing with her right sandal and taking her foot off the stand. “Talieya, any chance you can check the oven today? I think there's some grease in there.” The woman Erika addressed was Talieya Antzas, their maid. Talieya had come to work for Erika after the blonde had taken pity on the Greek, whose life she'd arguably helped derail, despite Talieya’s freezing Erika in a strange revenge scheme. Talieya had proven to be a useful addition to the household, though the fact that Talieya had been basically indentured to Erika for not pressing charges did leave a lingering air of animosity that never fully dissipated. Talieya today was wearing a classic French maid’s outfit, one of the many agreed-upon uniforms, one which Erika suspected the Greek secretly liked wearing.
“Not a problem, ma’am; only other place I'm concerned about is the pool,” nodded Talieya, flashing a brief smile. Erika knew Talieya was thankful for the job, the brunette having gone stir-crazy prior thanks to forced retirement after a ten million dollar settlement with the Paradise Foundation. Talieya had decent pay and a job she seemed to enjoy, which Erika figured was the only reason she hadn't fallen into some bizarre trap yet, hatched by her not-quite-trustworthy maid. Still, Erika wasn't one to dismiss second chances, having been given a big one herself by Interpol the previous year.
Leaving the penthouse, Erika and Mary boarded the elevator just outside her door and headed downstairs. “Hired a new assistant the other day,” commented Mary as they rode down. “I didn't tell you that last night, right?”
“No, you mentioned something about a cute new blonde briefly but that was it,” confirmed Erika. “Didn't know she was your assistant. She got a name?”
“Payson Quinn, a DSC graduate,” revealed Mary. “Seems smart enough. I think human resources only brought her to my attention because you donate to Decker State. Looks like that's one educational bequest that's paying off... Why UCLA can't churn out more sharp graduates like her, I'll never know.”
“I will not have lunch at Fifi's spoiled by you rankling against my Alma Mater,” warned Erika as the elevator reached the building lobby, opening up.
“This isn't the time!” came a yell as Erika and Mary stepped out into the lobby; Erika let out a sigh. The voice was Monica Stein, who was standing a short distance away in a black skirt suit with pantyhose and a burgundy blouse, her hair down and perfectly straight. Caitlin Trafford was hovering a few feet from her wife, her newly light brown hair also down and in a very curly style. Caitlin, like Mary, for a long time had possessed a natural ginger tint to their hair that both had ended up deciding would look better brown, Mary going for a dark shimmering look while Caitlin had recently gone light. Erika wasn't sure if Mary had done heir hair herself or not since she didn't remember the time, though one compliment was all it took to keep it that way, but Caitlin had done hers intentionally. Caitlin was wearing a blue spaghetti-strap top with a gray mini-skirt, stiletto heels on her feet and a big gray hat on her head.
“Your client has yet to offer a real comment on a book that's been out for over two months!” insisted another voice. Approaching Monica, Erika could see the woman speaking was younger than her, looking to be twenty-one or twenty-two, and was dressed in a chic black and fuchsia leather outfit. Erika quickly realized the outfit was motorcycle attire but was then drawn to the woman's attractive face and her long chestnut hair. The woman was sexy, but in an attainable-looking sort of sexy. The woman was also holding a CyPocket computer in front of her, which immediately made Erika wary as it seemed clear she was some sort of journalist.
“Oh, Erika Stone!” the brunette suddenly called, slipping past Monica. “Claire Cook, Main Street. I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time, or at least a quote?” Erika glanced at the keen-looking reporter before glancing around the lobby. Harmony Niles, the desk agent, didn't seem to be paying any attention to events and was instead reading a magazine behind her desk. Jeridine Jackson, the lobby security guard, however was paying close attention, having raised a radio to her lips.
“A quote on what, exactly?” asked Erika, trying not to sigh.
“Well, back in late January Lotte Ritter published a book describing an incident in 2007 in which she claimed you kidnapped her, and that's the least of it,” noted Claire, glancing at her computer, most likely to get her facts right on the time-line. “She seems to have vanished; the woman hasn't been heard from since February when she was in San Diego. Then there was Monique Garnier, who also has gone missing; she did an appearance on The Nelly Race Show. Didn't you also appear on that show last month, to a less than welcoming host?”
“Ah, that...” muttered Erika, trying to decide if she should just stop time and freeze the reporter as a warning. Just as Erika decided not to do anything however, she suddenly felt light-headed for a flash. As Erika recomposed herself she focused on Claire again and noticed the brunette had her right hand raised with a curled index finger, her lips parted. She was frozen. Claire wasn't moving, and Erika hadn't stopped time.
“Tasia, Holmes?” called out Erika, glancing around in confusion, assuming someone else she knew who could stop time had just shown up. Jeridine was standing motionless near a column, her right hand holding her radio to her lips while her left rested on her utility belt. The woman, Erika thought, looked good with her hair down in a short-sleeved white blouse, red tie and black pants, which was the standard uniform for building security. Harmony was leaning back in her chair in an aquamarine pants suit with a white blouse, her curly dark hair down. The desk agent was, amusingly, engrossed in the April issue of Main Street, which had Erika's old rival Patricia Mero on the cover, the article in regards to her taking the reigns of the Stilton Corporation. Monica stood behind Claire, her hands clenched into fists and a grimace on her face. Caitlin and Mary were exchanging a tired look of amusement, both having their hands clasped in front of them.
It was as if time had stopped.
“The hell?” muttered Erika, digging into her purse and pulling out her smart phone, a GV Blueberry. Glancing at the device Erika saw she didn't have any wireless Internet access but, surprisingly, she still had a cell signal, despite the lack of sound indicating time should be frozen. “Something is really wrong here,” realized Erika, figuring out that whatever had apparently frozen time wasn't like something she'd seen before.
* * *
Models Inc, Los Angeles, California
It had been a while since Tucker Holmes had last visited the headquarters of Models Inc, his girlfriend Haley Leone's modeling agency. Ever since Tucker had helped Zoe Hollander retire, Kathryn Summers, her successor, had been making big strides, including getting a new office for the agency that boasted a modern design of open work areas with glass walls everywhere. Tucker himself was leaning against an actual window that looked out on the city while his own gaze focused on the office in front of him. The building not only had plenty of space that was getting all getting used, but the agency had even hired a couple of cute receptionists who he'd met briefly when coming in. The young man had decided to dress nicely and had his hair slicked back, contacts in his eyes, a blue short-sleeved dress shirt on and a pair of designer gray slacks his other girlfriend, Julie, had helped him buy. Tucker was wearing a solid silver Rolex that he was passing off as a gift from his uncle.
The office Tucker was looking at was really more of a small conference room, as its desk was really an oval table. The blue-eyed blonde Kathryn had gotten a bit of a corporate make-over since taking over, her long blonde hair now curly yet not overly so. The fashion mogul was wearing a red tube top that looked to be made of Parisian silk and had on black Capri pants on that Tucker imagined probably cost in triple digits.
Sitting across from Kathryn was Tucker's friend Cindy Vu, the girlfriend of his estranged best friend Maggie Yen. Tucker and Cindy hadn't really become friendly until recently, which was a shame since it was recently that Maggie had smashed her magic clock and frozen herself as a result. Cindy now watched over Maggie; Tucker had started checking in with her more, which is what in a round-about way had helped lead him to the day's meeting. Tucker’s hanging out with Cindy more had made Haley and Cindy talk more, and that in turn had brought Cindy to Kathryn's attention. Now Cindy was being hired as a proper local model for the company, meaning she'd represent Models Inc at shows in California, possibly later in New York and beyond. Cindy was beaming ear to ear as she signed some paperwork, her black hair down; the pretty model wearing a white backless casual dress whose strap went behind her neck.
The third woman in the room was Sashi Rao, an Indian-born woman who worked as Models Inc's talent agent. Tucker hadn't really talked with Sashi much yet, but she was a striking woman, her skin a very sexy shade of caramel and her body very toned. The agent was wearing a red skirt suit with pantyhose and had her hair down; she being the one orchestrating the papers in front of Cindy.
The fourth and final woman in the room was Cindy's personal agent, Clarisse Faucher. Clarisse was in her late twenties and short; Tucker pegged her for around five-foot-three. While Clarisse had an attractive body with some curves to her and a really cute white smile, Tucker's favorite thing about the agent, whom he'd only met that day, was her Cajun accent, which reminded Tucker of Gambit from X-Men. Clarisse was clad in a brown skirt suit with a yellow lining, a white blouse on under the jacket, with her hair in a half-bun. Cindy's lawyer was glancing over all the paperwork Sashi was having her sign. “You're quiet,” came a sensual voice next to Tucker, making him turn.
Haley's friend Kayla had recently gotten an expanded role on the hit NBC show Savior, and as a result Haley had ended up befriending Kayla's co-star: Megan Wolff. Tucker had a large crush on the TV and film star ever since she'd started appearing in the RoboForce films and now he found himself actually hanging out with her, which he was having some problems coming to terms with. Tucker was dating two women but accompanying a beautiful celebrity was still intimidating. Megan was leaning against the window next to Tucker, the slim tan beauty wearing a green spaghetti-strap top that showed her belly button and designer jeans with a big brown belt, her dark hair down and inches from brushing against Tucker. “Sorry, just, ah, I’m glad Cindy's signing with the agency,” offered Tucker, trying not to blush.
“Good, because if you're being intimidated with hanging around someone who does TV and movies after dating a woman whose become an international supermodel, that would be kind of stupid,” Megan remarked dryly, turning away while grinning. Tucker couldn't help but chuckle a bit, knowing Megan had a point.
“You ever work with Miss Zoe?” asked Tucker, knowing Megan had been a model since she was twelve, though she primarily acted now.
“No, but I met her more than once in New York, back in the day,” acknowledged Megan, the pair glancing around. Kathryn's big talent push with Models Inc wasn't limited to Cindy; they were looking to sign other local models as well. Anastasia Ramos and Michelle Boback were sitting patiently in chairs not far away. Tucker had encountered both women before as they'd actually auditioned for the job Haley had gotten last year. Anastasia was a Filipino, at least partially, and of decent height, currently wearing a white and red horizontal striped crop top with a denim skirt, her hair in a looped ponytail. Michelle Boback was a blue-eyed blonde that Tucker knew could be quite a bitch, but he did find her attractive. Michelle was sending a text on her phone, wearing a frilly tan skirt with a midnight blue one-strap tank top; her curly hair gathered on the right side of her head. Tucker also saw Michelle Foster walking the hallway; she was a recognizable blonde Australian model that he heard had recently signed full-time with the agency, along with the recently acquired local Chene Francois. Tucker had heard Haley mention that Chene was going to be doing a show in London next month, getting her to that next level.
“Hey you run an anime store, right?” Megan suddenly brought up, eliciting surprise from Tucker since he didn't peg her as the kind of woman that would even know what anime was.
“Yeah...” confirmed Tucker, nodding. “Otaku LA. We're actually working on getting two new locations going, business has been so good.” Tucker had been a bit shocked that his specialty store had turned out so well, but he lived in a location not far from where he figured lots of young men and women that were into the genre lived. People being able to buy products online with free shipping had also been a big boost to the store's financial success.
“Nice!” clapped Megan. “I'll try and hit you up sometime, been meaning to give the genre more a shot. A couple of directors I've worked with keep referencing anime and I'd like to know what they're talking about... Think you can help me with that, Tuck?”
“I think I can,” nodded Tucker, now exchanging a smile with the beautiful actress and feeling a bit more at ease. It was then that Tucker glanced down the hall and saw Haley and Kayla returning from the bathroom, moving past Michelle Foster and Chene, who were disappearing into the elevator. Just as Haley smiled at the pair and raised a waving hand, everything suddenly just halted, much to Tucker's surprise.
It was as if time had stopped.
“Is Chloe in town?” muttered Tucker to the blank gaze of Megan, looking around in confusion. Tucker regularly froze time using the Wand of Kronos, an artifact that never left his side, and he'd later learned a spell that made it so if someone else with a magic item froze time, he wouldn't be frozen, assuming that item was within a certain proximity of himself. Tucker had learned the spell initially to help make sure his friend Maggie couldn't prank him with her clock, but Chloe Noi's magic ring was another such item; since Maggie's clock had been destroyed, Tucker figured that time freezing meant Chloe was within a few blocks.
“Hmm,” mused Tucker, glancing around. Megan was glancing over at Haley, smiling with raised hands. Michelle Boback was sitting stationary on her chair, as was Anastasia, who had a hand raised up to touch the hair on top of her head. Inside the office, Sashi was bent over the table, holding a sheet of paper in her right hand in front of Cindy, who'd raised her hands to let the sheet slide into place while Clarisse watched from over her shoulder with hands clasped in front of her. Kathryn had her mouth open while both of her hands rested on the table. Over facing Tucker, Haley, who had dressed in her favorite metallic dark blue spaghetti-strap top and jeans, had right hand raised while her left held a black purse at her side; her hair was in a high ponytail that had almost become a topknot. Kayla was wearing her cowboy hat and boots, dark blue jeans on her legs and a red T-shirt advertising Savior on her chest. The actress had her hair in a braided ponytail and she had her hands in her pockets.
“What?” Tucker suddenly remarked, feeling his pocket vibrate. Digging into his pocket, Tucker pulled out his phone and was surprised to see he had a text, which shouldn't be possible with time stopped.
[Is this u? ~ Erika Stone]
* * *
The Red Rogue, Houston, Texas
“Tell me again why we're doing this now?” Chloe asked as she applied a molded silicone rubber cover shield to the womanhood of former college enemy Janna Brinwells, who was now one of the many lifelike mannequins taking residence at the Red Rogue boutique. The original plan, in Chloe's book, had been do to a little post-lunch shopping with her wife Jamie, but once they'd arrived at the boutique, their afternoon had suddenly changed.
“Because I don't want another parent asking why her son was looking at the 'realistic' vagina of one my 'mannequins' again,” piped up Trina, who continued to apply make-up to a more shiny-looking figure of Mona St. Claire. Mona stood arms out, legs slightly spread, eyes closed as the young boutique owner applied some heavy makeup to push out the older woman's features more. Trina was wearing a red tank top with low V-cuts in her sleeves as well as one around her breasts that revealed ample cleavage. The boutique owner's short hair was spiked out and she was also wearing black Capri pants with brown designer sandals.
“Still, why the hairless wonders?” quipped Chloe as she started applying liquid silicone gel to blend in the rubber with Janna's bare skin. The Korean was wearing a leather jacket, black jeans and a black tube top with a white image of the squid-like creature known as Cthulu on it.
“It's so this spray I bought works better, all that hair on them makes it look odd, plus you ever seen a wax statue with arm hair?” Trina replied, tapping Mona's bald head.
Chloe winced as she ran a hand through her own silky hair, hoping to never have that happen to her anytime soon. She turned her attention back to Janna, and smiled at the fact Janna had not only became a human mannequin, but was now going to look like one indefinitely.
Picking up the large airbrush, she shook it a bit to get the paint primed again. Chloe started the air pump and began covering the molded cover-up with body paint that matched Janna's skin tone. Just as she was about to finish the first coat, the misty spray suddenly stopped in mid-flight. “What the…” Chloe thought out loud as she pulled the airbrush away. She looked around, noticing Trina was standing stock-still. The blonde had her right hand cupping Mona's jaw and was smiling with parted lips as she gazed at the human-turned-mannequin's mouth, she herself rigidly holding the air spray she'd been using.
It was as if time had stopped.
“Tucker you asshole, why in the hell did you freeze time like that?” Chloe called as she got up, looking around for the only one she knew of that was capable of freezing time besides, her. “Tucker? Come on out, let’s just dispense with this mystery crap.”
When Tucker didn't show his face, Chloe knew something wasn't right. “Dammit,” she uttered as she walked out of the backroom to the store’s front, looking for Jamie. Chloe's wife, as it happened, had been looking at lingerie when she had frozen; her hands gripping a sexy dark green bra as she smiled to herself. Jamie had dressed for the day in a white spaghetti-strap top with a yellow knee-length frilled skirt, her hair down, and heels on her feet. With a snap of Chloe's fingers, the unmoving redhead came to life.
“What, oh, did you freeze time again, honey?” Jamie asked, looking around, confused, as did Chloe since she knew she hadn't frozen time yet she'd somehow been able to unfreeze her wife.
* * *
Stilton Corporation Headquarters, New York, New York
They were all seated in her personal conference room, located behind a secret wall door behind her office. Since the space’s existence was secret, it had no outside windows good for prying eyes that might want to steal a glance at what was happening within but even that was being farfetched, as the office was nearly a hundred stories above the city. Patricia Mero didn’t use the room that much for her ‘non-official’ meetings, as she had her Sanctum for that purpose, but it was during business hours, right after lunch in fact, so the secret meeting room was put to use. The room had oak walls and was circular in shape to accommodate the polished circular mahogany table that dominated the room. Plush blue carpeting served as the flooring for the room, sitting under the twelve black swivel executive arm chairs that were placed around the massive table. The lighting the lit the room was soft, subdued, and overhead; giving the secret space a romantic glow almost.
Patricia was dressed in a tailored dark gray skirt suit that included dark pantyhose and spiked black high-heels, settled into her seat and looked around at her staff as they did the same. There were six other people in attendance with her. These were the highest-ranking members of her secret organization, The Gorgon Sisterhood. The group consisted of five women and one man. Sitting to her right, dressed in a black pants suit with a white top underneath, was her assistant and bodyguard and the only redhead in the room, Selena Chandler. On Patricia’s left was Darcy Keibler. A tall bombshell of a blonde who once been Patricia’s assistant back when they had worked for Stone Enterprises, which felt like ages ago, she was now a representative of Patricia’s security firm Triangle Security. Darcy was clad in a teal skirt suit with nude pantyhose and white heels that brought her height to well over six feet. Next to Darcy was Patricia’s former chief of staff when she was at Stone, Canella Kim. Canella now served as the vice president of Stilton Corp. after her brief tenure at Triangle, also as a member of their corporate team. The experienced businesswoman was dressed in a conservative black skirt suit with dark red trimmings, her tan muscular legs were naked and a pair of red heels finished her look.
Back on the right side of the table, next to Selena, was Sarah Hardy, a brilliant leggy blonde scientist who served more for the Sisterhood than with Stilton, as her Stilton title was Head of R&D, which was a small department by itself since Stilton was a hospitality company and wouldn’t normally do research. No one really questioned the department’s purpose or Sarah’s outlandish paycheck, so that was a win in Patricia’s book. Sarah was tall as Darcy but didn’t display her height as well; she mostly wore flats or low heels to stay under six feet. Sarah was dressed in a tan pants suit with black flats to complete her ensemble. Sitting two seats away from her were the newest members of Patricia’s staff: Thomas Hood and his partner Marian Bell. Both were Brits and both had violent pasts, working as mercenaries; they came to Patricia highly acclaimed and mainly worked for the Sisterhood as well; their corporate cover was just as ‘consultants’. Thomas, who preferred to be called Thomas or just Hood, though Patricia had heard Marian call him Tommy more than a few times, was clad in dark blue tailored slim-fitting suit with a fitted dress shirt that showed off his bulk and height; the man was broad shouldered had typical military-cut hair and an overall grim look to him. He was only a little bit over six feet tall but they way he carried himself made him seem bigger; the skinny black tie that he wore only complimented to that image. Marian had dull blue eyes and was the only brunette in the room. Though Marian and Thomas were close, Patricia had a feeling that their relationship was not romantic; it was almost like if they were siblings. Marian was dressed down the most of the group, wearing only a short-sleeved maroon blouse tucked into a pair of dark slacks, with simple black heels to finish her casual look.
The last person in the room was the only person that was standing as well. She was the other Asian woman in the room besides Canella. Her name was simply Kai; Patricia didn’t know much about her, only that she was a ‘freelance traveling model’ and that she stuck to Marian like glue. At the moment she stood obediently behind the brunette with hands behind her back, staring blanking ahead. Though Patricia didn’t know anything about the woman, she had been warned by Thomas and Marian that Kai should not be crossed. That was warning enough and spoke volumes about the woman’s background. Kai was dressed in an off white skirt suit with a purple blouse underneath, her slim legs masked nude pantyhose; she stood in a pair of white platform heels.
Seeing that everyone was settled in Patricia, spoke to draw their attention, “Thank you, everyone, for arriving here on time; shall we get started?” With no objections, she continued, “Mr. Hood, Marian… how are we doing with Melissa Barton?” Barton was the head of Stone Travel and was the highest-ranking Stone Enterprise official near to Patricia that she could target.
Marian reported, “I’ve managed to befriend her enough for her to offer me a job in her office. Kai has infiltrated her workplace and penthouse, so we have the layouts for those locations if they are needed.”
Thomas continued next, “I’ve been following her for the last couple of days; I think I have a grasp on her routine, I’ll submit my full findings by day’s end.”
Patricia nodded, “Very good, good job. Canella…” she then said, turning to her vice president. “How are we on the emails?”
“Well at first we didn’t have too much luck, but Sarah got me some software to help,” Canella reported, nodding towards the lanky scientist, whose attention was glued to her CyPad, no doubt preparing for her report. Canella continued, “Eric Stone’s emails turned up so very interesting information, like for starters...”
The Stilton vice-president didn’t get to finish her report as she promptly froze, as did everyone else in the room. Canella sat unmoving, with her eyes closed and lips parted with a slight grin on them; her hands were up with her palms facing up while her elbows rested on the table. Patricia sat stiffly, focused on Canella with an empty gaze locked on the Asian woman, her hands resting on the chair’s arm rests. Darcy sat with hands resting the tabletop in front of her; her attention was also focused on Canella. Selena sat leaned back in her chair with her right arm up in front of her and her attention aimed at her wristwatch. Sarah had frozen while still focused on her CyPad. Thomas had his left hand resting on his chin, while his gaze was looking up at the ceiling. Next to him, Marian sat with her legs crossed and hands resting on her knees. Her eyes were closed and her mouth slightly open. Kai stood as if nothing had happened at all, only that that was an eerie silence in the room and nothing moved.
It was as if time had stopped.
* * *
Utopia Towers, Caxias Du Sol, Brazil
Scott Dawson stretched out on his favorite lounger and took a sip of his bottle of Alexander Keith’s. The former criminal turned multimillionaire was in his theater room, which was built to fit over twenty guests comfortably, but at the time there were only two people occupying the spacious room. Along with Scott was his assistant, Adriana Dashkov. The gorgeous young Russian was dressed in a tight-fitting black skirt suit with pantyhose and shiny black heels, her blonde hair pulled back in a tight bun. She sat idly and stiffly on a nearby over-cushioned armchair that could fold back into a recliner if a guest wanted it to be. Her hands rested on her lap, sharing it with a CyPad. Like most chipped people, she went into passive mode when not needed. Scott meanwhile, was nearly asleep as he idly flipped through channels on the massive screen before him. He was literally just watching the TV, not really taking anything in. He and his wife, Ryoshi, had plans for later in the evening but for now he was just killing time. Scott was dressed comfortably in a loose tan short-sleeved dress shirt and a pair of faded old jeans, his feet bare.
All the sudden, the image on the screen froze. The channel it stopped on was a GNA channel that was apparently showing live coverage according to the ‘live’ icon at the top of the screen. The event in general featured the First Lady of the United States, Laura Bishop, the former junior Senator from the state of North Dakota. Due to his government background, Scott had habit of following politics so he knew a little something about the latest President of the most powerful country in the world and his spouse.
Adam Bishop had run for President as independent, his stance on key topics seeming to be very inconsistent even so, given he leaned right on some issues and left on others, but he believed in his logic and was a very good speaker, able to tear his opponents apart during debates; he made them look like fools. Adam had won the fragmented, three-party election by a margin of 39% of the vote, on his wit and charm mostly. Laura Bishop, in a move that shocked most political analysts, resigned from her post as senator, a position that she had easily won, to support her husband in his bid for office. She was also considered a bit of a shark in the political arena and most of her rivals were happy to see her go. Scott had an inkling however that Laura Bishop had other motives for her resignation, since she was a smart and cunning woman. There was a good chance, he figured, that she was actually running her husband’s office.
At the moment however the political shark known as Laura Bishop was frozen in mid-speech, thanks to an interruption in Scott’s cable line. The First Lady stood on an open stage. She was dressed in a purple pants suit with matching heels. Her hair was let down – as it was always – and she stood with her hands in a gesturing pose in front of her at chest level. There were a few other people on the stage with her but only one really stood out: Natalie Bishop, Laura’s daughter, who shared her mom’s dark hair but had her father’s blue eyes. She was a busty woman with fair skin and today was dressed in dark skirt suit and white blouse. Natalie stood with her hands behind her back and her gaze looked over at her mother with a beaming smile on her face. Scott thought back as he eyed to the two women, who appeared nearly life-size on his on his massive screen; Natalie was an archeology student so there was a chance they might meet someday.
He tried to flipped the channels and remembered his satellite feed was frozen. Scott lazily looked over at his assistant. Adrianna held up her CyPad, tapping on it, looking back up at the screen and then at Scott, a puzzled look on her lovely face. “The feed is fine Scott, not sure what happened, it may be an outside issue.”
Scott looked at the chipped Russian, “Well… could you go check?”
“Right away Scott,” She replied and stood, tucking her CyPad under her arm before leaving the room. Ryoshi had adjusted all the assistants’ chips so they were bit more life-like; they were not as aware, compared to how they had been before, but the human touch was good for the public. Scott was just not sure how he felt about it since the new programming involved him giving extra orders sometimes. Ryoshi claimed that gave their assistants a bit of a personality. Scott didn’t see it, at least not yet.
Pulling out his CyPocket, Scott tapped in some commands and a minute later Ellen Morrison appeared. He had first met Morrison on mission in California to retrieve an escaped chipped girl that he no longer had. Ellen had been a crewmember of salvage ship that Scott had hi-jacked; she was a deck hand and part-time cook. On that trip, Scott had taken and chipped Ellen’s crewmate Torre. Apparently Ellen had never gotten over her friend vanishing; she had tracked down her missing crewmate and as a result she herself became one of Scott’s chipped women. Ellen now served as a member of his general house staff. The former deck hand was dressed in the house standard French maid’s getup, consisting of a skimpy, bloused, short black dress with a thigh-high hem and low neckline. The lower front of the dress was covered by a tiny white frilly apron, tied in back with an ornate bow. The spicy look was concluded by a pair of thigh-high black fishnet stockings and tall black spiked heels. Ellen was a stocky woman with strong legs, defined arms and an impressive bust. Her brunette hair was cropped jawline-short and slightly curled. She held a feather duster in her right hand as she stepped in front of Scott, “You beckoned, master?” she asked with a programmed smile.
A good chunk of his household staff were former prostitutes, so he or Ryoshi didn’t really mess with them, but there were a couple that were safe and Ellen was one of them. “I think I may need your help with something,” Scott replied as he started to unbutton his shirt.
Ellen tossed the duster behind her, “Of course, master, anything you wish…”
* * *
There was soft knock at Parker’s door. She stirred and woke to darkness. Her senses caught up with her; she was in bed and in her room with the blackout curtains pulled shut to keep out the afternoon sunlight. She'd had a heavy lunch and fell asleep soon afterward. Looking at the digital clock on her nightstand she saw that it was almost four in the afternoon. “Yes?” she called out, her voice still hazy with sleep.
“Park, it’s me; can I come in?” asked the voice of Parker’s personal assistant, Catherine Harper. Like the assistants that belonged to Scott and Ryoshi, Catherine was chipped. In her former life the dark-skinned woman had been part of a two-person burglary team, both of whom were now chipped; her partner now served as a field operator, also under Parker’s control.
“Yeah,” Parker replied, sitting up in her bed and stretching as the door opened, letting the light from her living room in. Catherine entered the bedroom and flicked one of the many switches near the doorway. A moment later the blackout curtains slid open, though the windows behind them were tinted there was at least some light entering the bedroom.
“I’m sorry to disturb you Park, but we have a situation in the command center…” Catherine reported as she gathered up Parker’s clothing that was scattered on the floor. The assistant was currently clad in a body-hugging mid-thigh khaki skirt and short-sleeved green blouse. Her legs were bare and she walked on tan high heels with green soles. Catherine’s lush dark hair alternated styles per her program everyday; for today it hung loose to the middle of her back. She was also the only assistant of the three that wore jewelry; being dark skinned, the gold bracelets, necklace and earrings she wore added contrast to her overall look.
“It’s all right Cathy, I needed to get up anyways… help me store these guys,” Parker said as she climbed out of bed. The brunette was only wearing her bra while the two frozen men she had shared her bed with were stark naked. Both men were local; one was a crooked cop while the other was a gangster. Parker had picked them up one night on impulse, having some Type-7 on her, and finding herself in the right place at the right time. Catherine grabbed the cop and dragged him out the bed while Parker took care of the criminal. Both were soon stored in Parker’s closet, tucked away in the corners and out of sight.
Parker was soon dressed in a pair of jeans, sneakers, and a yellow and green Brazil soccer jersey. With her hair tied quickly in a loose ponytail, she followed Catherine down a level and through a secret door that had to be opened with her security ring. They went down another hallway to a set of double-doors, where her ring was used once again. “Ah; this is an issue indeed…” Parker muttered as she entered the command center. The big flat screen that dominated one wall of the room was blank, as were the smaller screens at the various workstations as well. The two maids who were on duty were the dark-skinned Carol Danvers and brunette Jessica Drew, both turned as Parker and Catherine entered the room. “Report,” Parker demanded.
“All systems appear to be functioning,” Carol reported.
“Satellite uplinks are operational though the signal is unusually weak,” Jessica added on.
“So, everything is fine?” Parker asked incredulously.
“According to system readouts, yes mistress, it should be,” Carol replied with a nod.
“Everything is not fine, obviously,” Parker shot gesturing at the blank displays.
“Correct; that is why we summoned Ms. Harper to inform her of the current situation, as per protocol,” Jessica then replied.
Parker sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose; she was not so tech savvy but she could clearly tell there was a problem brewing. She was about to issue another order when Adriana entered the room. “Ah yes, there is an issue here too,” the Russian assistant observed. Parker turned towards the stunning blonde who stood in the doorway, clutching her CyPad against her ample chest. The blonde met Parker’s gaze briefly before looking back at the blank screen. “Mr. Dawson’s television program signal was interrupted. He directed me to check the system. Everything seems to be functioning. I came here to check the satellite uplinks, but they also look like they too are functioning nominally. We may have a problem, Ms Reich.”
Parker let out another sigh with groan; the Russian bimbo had a keen sense of the obvious. “Get the boss in here now, Adrianna. Catherine, where is Ryoshi?”
Catherine moved over to one of the workstations and accessed the keyboard. “I can’t track Veronica’s or Teresita’s chips.”
“Fuck…” Parker groaned, smacking her forehead with her palm.
Adrianna cringed, “Mr. Dawson will not like this.”
Parker glared at the Russian, who only looked at her indifferently. “Adrianna, get the boss now!”
“Right; right away,” the Russian nodded and left the room.
“Where the hell are you Ryoshi, your new program for these chippy assistants is driving me crazy…” Parker muttered, moving to stand behind the passive maids. “Give me a full system diagnostic right away and get Karen up here.”
* * *
Scott had left Ellen naked and asleep in the theater room, thinking he would be back shortly after seeing what the fuss was all about. Though Parker picked up handling a lot of the operational issues since she came aboard, leaving he and Ryoshi a lot of free time, she was still not comfortable dealing with the more technical ones. Luckily, there weren’t many of them as their chips and systems were top notch and self-sufficient for the most part. This situation before him however was odd to say the least. He was currently seated at one of the open workstations, Adrianna, Parker and Catherine stood behind him, looking over his shoulder. Karen Draskal, their science officer, occupied a workstation at the end of the row. She had been called up during her downtime cycle and thus was currently dressed only in flip-flops, cut-off denim shorts and a yellow short-sleeved t-shirt tied just below her breasts. The chipped scientist worked the keyboard and analyzed its data robotically. As human as they could make her with the chip’s programming, some things they couldn’t get rid of.
“Are you getting this Mr. Dawson?” Karen asked, her gaze still focused on the flat screen before her. “Everything seems to be online… yet, the Internet and our satellites they are just aren’t uploading anything. “How could this be? It’s like the world has stopped. But, not us.”
“That sounds pretty ridiculous,” Parker remarked, trying to understand the modal readouts that were displayed on Scott’s monitor.
“How is it ridiculous, Ms. Reich? The data do not lie… Oh wait; you don’t…”
“Karen, freeze!” Parker ordered. The chipped blonde woman abruptly froze while looking at Parker with a smug look on her face. “Bitch…” Parker muttered.
Scott chuckled, swiveling around in his chair, “She’s right though, Park; it looks as if the world has stopped. The data doesn’t lie; all of our systems are up and running, they’re just not receiving any new data and the only way that could possibly happen is if there was a major temporal disturbance in progress. I can back that up; I saw a jet liner frozen in mid-air as I made my way over here… thought it was odd at the time, but this data explains a lot. I’m pretty sure there is something magical happening here.”
“Yes; as you are probably aware we have a big stone statue currently situated in our artifact room. An ancient Babylonian artifact, it is said to be able to protect an area around it from magic. Probably that’s the only reason why we’re still moving and not stuck in time like the rest of them. I’m pretty sure the outreaches of the building are frozen… our area should be good, as well as the two floors below us, if I remember the scriptures on the statue right. Still, this situation seems off... The basic idea is that when time freezes, it's like a bomb going off; the statue's our bunker, but the protection is only useful when we're within close proximity to this 'bomb.”
“Bomb metaphors; I feel like you're humoring me,” grumbled Parker.
“Anyhow,” continued Scott, rolling his eyes, “Normally anything protected by the 'explosion' is fine. But from what I can tell from these readouts, it's almost as if this hypothetical temporal bomb ‘detonated’ all over the world simultaneously, and it hasn’t stopped. I’m worried that without an active way to protect ourselves, we'll freeze too the instant we leave the protection range of the Peace Keeper statue. Er, bunker.”
“Great… are we stuck here, then?” Parker asked.
Scott smiled and stood, “On the contrary, Park, we do have active protection… you remember our latest trip to Egypt?”
“Don’t tell me: those Babylonian necklaces we picked up are related to our big statue?”
Scott nodded quickly. “And now, Parker, you’re on the same page.”
“So, with the Peace Maker necklaces on we can go and look for Ryoshi, but what about after?”
Scott stood, “One thing at a time Park; first things first. I have an idea where Ryoshi might be; I’ll go and take care of that. You secure the two floors under us, flood the floor with Type-7 gas and check for any stragglers. I’m heading down to the lobby, so have one of your girls meet at the elevator. Adrianna, follow me please,” he commanded as he left the room; his chipped assistant followed close behind.
“You got it,” Parker replied as Scott left, pulling her CyPocket out and punching in some commands. She then glanced over at the frozen Karen. Turning her attention back to her CyPocket she ordered, “Karen: strip naked,” Without a word, the blonde scientist stood and began to remove her clothes. Parker only smiled as she punched some final commands on her CyPocket.
* * *
Since the penthouse elevator had been sitting at the top level when the time-stop happened, Scott predicted that it still would function since it was within the protected range of his statue. He was happy to find that he was correct. After stopping by his artifact room to pick up three necklaces, he headed to the elevator lobby with Adrianna obediently on his heels. There they met the resource that Parker had sent to meet them. Mandy Mahina was a new chipped operative, but an old friend that Scott had picked up while Egypt. She was currently dressed in the standard security attire that all of his operatives wore: a tailored-fit black pants suit and matching heels; she had her dark hair tied back in a tight bun.
Scott looked her over and nodded, “Ms. Mahina.” He had to admit that the Hawaiian looked great in the tailored suit; he always had been attracted to how well she kept her body in shape despite being in her mid-forties.
“Mr. Dawson, are we ready to go?” Mandy asked, her hands behind her back.
“We are, we are,” Scott replied, looping the Peace Maker necklace around his neck and then handing the two the other pieces he had with him to the two chipped women. “Put these on, and don't take them off unless I tell you to,” he ordered before pressing the elevator call button.
As he expected everything and everyone was stopped in time when Scott and his party arrived at the lobby. The air felt stale and thick. Scott rubbed the necklace that he had around his neck, glad that he had read the scriptures properly. The lobby was somewhat crowded, with frozen people dotting the floor and seated in its wicker furnishings. Looking around, he noted that he didn’t really know the frozen people around him; they were a mixture of males and females, but he did recognize them well enough to know that most of them were tenants of the building. The ones that he had no idea who they were he figured were either just guests or prospective tenants looking to move in. Stepping off the elevator, he made a note of the few attractive women frozen around him either in mid-stride or mid-conversation. Most of them looked to be high-class locals but there were a couple of beauties who looked international.
Focusing back to the task at hand, he made his way towards the front desk where two of his staffers stood frozen. Normally there would only be one at the desk, but given that it was almost four in the afternoon there was a shift change in progress. The two girls, Janet Van Dyne and Heather Douglas, were locked in motionless conversation behind the desk with their hand gestures and expressions frozen. Both girls were dressed in the standard Utopia uniform, featuring white skirts, pink blouses, and white heels. Being that they were both chipped, they didn’t really need to give turnover, but since they were out among the tenants the act was a nice touch. Scott moved casually behind the desk with his Adrianna and Mandy trailing him. Mandy scanned around for threats, but Scott was sure no one was going to pop out from a lobby full of statues.
There was a labyrinth of administrative offices and rooms behind the front desk but Scott knew where to look. He casually moved down the polished hardwood hallway, looking into open offices as he passed by. In the management office was Lillian Carmichael, a new lady that Ryoshi had picked up not too long ago during her trip to the States. Lillian was over fifty, but the brunette looked stunning for her age. Lillian was new property manager for the building, with Torre now being moved to operations for her diving skills. The attractive property manger sat behind her glass desk, dressed in a white skirt suit with a pink blouse under it; she held a phone to her ear. The next office was the leasing agent’s office, which now belonged to Nefreri Chalthoum. She was a pretty Egyptian tour guide that Scott had recently picked up from his travels to that country. Being a tour guide, she was naturally charismatic, but with the chip on the nape of her neck she had become a perfect leasing agent. She was dressed similarly to Lillian minus the suit jacket; her attention, though frozen, was focused on the three women standing before her.
Scott moved into the office to get a better look at the three women, since their backs were to him. “Well, well,” he muttered upon looking at the three women after rounding Nefreri’s desk. Two them he didn’t recognize, but the taller woman in the middle was Tonya Cash. He had chipped the international model once earlier and had not seen her since; he had to admit she was still as lovely looking as ever. The dark-skinned model was clad in a colorful print sundress and had her hair loose. On Tonya’s right was a blonde woman dressed in a white pants suit while on her left was a light-skinned African American woman with long curly hair; she was dressed in tight jeans, black heels, and a leather jacket. He was about to examine the women more closely when his CyPocket chimed. Cursing, he fished it out of his pocket. It showed a text from Parker. She had secured the floors under the penthouse, as ordered. He texted back that his OK and stuffed the CyPocket back into his pocket.
“Business calls…” he sighed, looking at the three available women regretfully before getting an idea. He turned to Adrianna and Mandy, who had waited for him obediently out in the hallway, “Adrianna, Mandy, move these three to the elevator.”
“As you wish,” both women replied in unison as they stepped into the office to begin.
With that task taken care of, Scott proceeded further down the hall, passing some empty rooms before reaching a closed door that was marked ‘Security’. He opened the door and found Izel Cortez, Utopia Holdings chief of security and also head of Talon Security. As usual, Izel was clad in black leather; today her leather outfit was in the form of business skirt suit that included fishnet pantyhose and red spiked heels. She was frozen like everyone else as she sat with her back to him, looking at an equally motionless bank of security monitors. Walking up to the security leader, he reached into his pocket and produced another necklace, slipping it around her neck. In an instant she was moving and turned around, seeming not to notice that anything was unusual.
“Yes, Mr. Dawson?” Izel asked in her accented English.
“Has my wife returned from her outing?”
“She has; Ryoshi Dawson is in the private room down the hall with Ms. Lydia Talent,” Izel replied somewhat mechanically and then turned back to her security monitors. She typed on the keyboard a little more before muttering, “Interesting,” as she looked at the bank of frozen displays. She turned back to Scott, “Is the system down?”
“No, it’s a lot more complicated than that,” Scott replied, pulling out the last necklace that he had taken with him. “Don’t worry about it now; let’s go get my wife. I have some explaining to do to you both.”
“Understood,” Izel simply said, standing up.
“You look stunning by the way.”
“Why thank you Mr. Dawson. Your wife picked these garments out.”
“Of course she did.”
They moved down the hall and took a right, which led them to a dead end; at the end of that hall was room that was simply marked as ‘private’. Ryoshi’s chipped assistant Teresita stood frozen outside the door, clad in a stylish red pants suit and clutching a CyPad under her arm. Standing opposite to the assistant was Veronica Estes, Ryoshi’s long-time bodyguard, clad in the usual tailor-fitted black pants suit. Like the assistant, the Spaniard stood frozen with legs spread slightly and hands clasped behind her back. Izel opened the room using an unmarked key that was on the keyring she carried. The interior was decent in size and contained a full bathroom including a shower, king size bed, and a wall mounted flat screen. Ryoshi had set up the room, almost a studio apartment, just in case she wanted to have fun with a new tenant without taking them upstairs or doing them in one of the office spaces. Lydia Talent was laid out on the bed, naked, with a pile of clothing spread about the floor. She had her hands behind her head while her bare legs were spread wide, showing off her well-groomed sex. Her face bore an over-exaggerated smile. It was clear the girl had been already frozen before the time-stop event had occurred. Ryoshi stood at the end of the bed, clad only in a black thong and red lace bra. Her arms were bent behind her as her fingers were frozen over the clasps of her bra. Scott eyed Lydia’s naked form and nodded at her. “Izel, take her to the elevator and wait for me there,” he ordered.
“Understood,” Izel simply replied. Moving forward, she reached down and lifted Lydia’s stiff form up from the bed. Lydia was carried out the room like a pole.
Once Izel and her frozen cargo were gone, Scott moved behind Ryoshi and slipped the remaining necklace around her neck. Ryoshi blinked and jumped a bit in surprise at seeing that Lydia was gone, and in fact had seemed to vanish in the blink of an eye. She had pumped the girl with enough Type-7 to permanently freeze her after their little lunch meeting. Feeling a presence behind her, she turned around and soon smiled. “Well hello; I should have known you were behind it,” she cooed, looking at Scott. She then noticed the necklace around her neck. “What’s this... what’s going on?”
“We have a little crisis, my dear…”
* * *
Bran Residence, London, UK
The meal of the evening was grilled chicken breasts served under a basil-based sauce, with a side of steamed veggies and rice. Marika Bran looked over the four dishes sitting in front of her on the top of her island counter. She nodded in satisfaction; she had never been much of cook until she got married, but now she enjoyed it even though there was still some room for improvement in her cooking. The important thing was that her husband Dieter didn’t complain; of course he was a very good husband. As if on cue, Dieter entered the kitchen. He made his way over to his wife and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her on the neck. She turned around inside his hold and kissed him full on the lips before breaking free of his warm embrace. “Not so fast, we still have guests.”
Dieter looked at the dishes, “Well…we can change that if we add a little special seasoning to their food…”
“Dieter! I would at least like our guests to be well fed before we make them comfortable…” Marika chided, frowning at her husband.
Putting up his palms in surrender Dieter backed off, “I was just suggesting, that’s all; probably a bad idea to break our proven method anyways.”
“That’s right. We’ve done this seven times already, without raising any suspicions in our guests. Let’s keep it that way,” Marika stated. “What would our friends think if they found out?”
“I know, I know; but it’s so much fun…”
“I know it is,” Marika smiled. “Help me with this and get this dinner moving along so we can get to the fun part,” she said picking up two of the dishes.
“Lead on sweetie,” Dieter said, picking up the two remaining dishes.
The couple joining the Brans for dinner party was Ian and Zelda Blake. Ian was part of the ITEA internal affairs department while his wife, Zelda Parker-Blake, was head of the medical department. Ian was dressed in a black suit with a blue dress shirt under, he had gone tie-less for the evening since the event was a casual one. Zelda was clad in a short-sleeved tan dress with gray ballerina flats on her feet. Ian stood from his spot on the couch next to his wife as the Brans entered the dining room. Marika for this evening was clad in a sky blue spaghetti-strapped dress with white heels while her husband went with khakis and a white dress shirt.
Ian was just reaching over to assist Marika with the serving when he suddenly froze, as did everyone else in the room. Marika was frozen in mid-stride with a beaming smile on her face, her eyes empty as she held the two plates. Zelda was frozen seated at her husband’s side, with her elbows resting on the table while her hands held a glass of cider mere centimeters from her parted lips. Her eyes, closed to mere slits, were aimed at the glass. Dieter had frozen just standing behind his wife with a smile on his lips and an empty stare in his eyes, if he had any sense of what was going on, he would had thought the situation was quite ironic, given what he and his wife had been planning. At the moment however no one in the room really had any sense of what was going on.
It was as if time had stopped.
* * *
Tasia Spiro's Residence, London, UK
Tasia lived in a townhouse in the heart of downtown London. The townhouse had three floors, including the ground-level garage and sat on a narrow street with identical houses belonging to the same development. The development itself wasn’t as old as some of the other neighborhoods, the city only being established in the early eighties. However due to his location and its walking distance to the tube and pretty much anything around town, the property value was quite high. Though Tasia’s pay rate as a senior agent of ITEA was well above average, she would have still had a hard time affording the posh three-level townhouse, but thanks to friends like Erika Stone and a wealthy family that she kept low key, she managed.
The top level of the house featured Tasia’s master bedroom, which had its own bathroom and custom walk-in closet that she had installed after she moved in. There was a full bathroom in the hall as well as a guest bedroom, which was quite spacious seeing as only three rooms and a linen closet took up the top floor. The middle level had a living room, a study or library that Tasia used as her office, a half bathroom and finally an eat-in kitchen. The ground floor had the utilities of the dwelling such as the HVAC units and the washer dryer. Since the streets were narrow Tasia had to almost always parked her Aston in the garage; at the moment however, there was rental blue 7-Series BMW parked within garage and her Aston took up the short driveway space looking out on to the street. In general the townhouse was too small for the price she paid for it, but it was prime real estate and she loved it.
At the moment Tasia Spiro loved something else as well, too. She laid on her king size bed that was covered in expensive satin sheet imported from her parent’s resort back in Volos. The Greek agent was naked and moaning loudly; her hands clawed at the cool sheets as the woman between her legs worked her tongue expertly within Tasia’s sex. Her companion, who was also naked, was one of Tasia’s two girlfriends: Lacey Finnegan. Tasia had met both of her girlfriends while on assignment in Paris. Both were international super models who had unrealistically agreed to date Tasia at the same time. Another funny thing was that both were near-doppelgangers to two of Tasia’s co-workers. It was a good time to be Tasia Spiro, to say the least. Lacey lived up to her tabloid reputation as being a wild party girl with a dirty mouth. She was even more sex-crazed then Erika Stone. Tasia had the feeling that Lacey was only in this relationship simply so she could have sex with two women. She wasn’t sure how long that was going to last, as Tasia knew relationships never went far when they were only for sex. She wasn’t complaining though, not by far. Devon Von Krieger, a tall blue-eyed German model, was another story; in the few weeks after hooking up, the model had already moved items into Tasia’s place as well requested a spare key for the townhouse, which Tasia willing provided. The woman was a perfect ten, or maybe even an ‘eleven’; she wasn’t about to say no.
With Devon, Tasia had a sinking suspicion that the woman was clingy and probably had some bad relationships in the past, especially since she had kept her true sexuality a secret. She was a sweet woman, though, and often liked to talk more than just have sex with Tasia; their lovemaking was an exotic spice. The Greek felt a closeness to her that she didn’t feel with Lacey. It was something she had once felt with Lucienne… the thoughts of ex-girl friend and present boss quickly vanished from her mind as her body began to reach its climax. Lucienne was a distant memory anyways; with Devon and Lacey by her side (or on top) she was finally getting over the French woman. Tasia began to feel light headed in her ecstasy, something she never felt before, but she figured the Irish model was just that good. All sudden, Lacey stopped moving but her body remained fixed and rigid between Tasia’s legs.
Tasia let out a satisfying scream of pleasure and panted for a few endless seconds. Upon opening her eyes, she spotted the blonde mass of hair at her sex that was Lacey. The model looked frozen, “What the hell, Lace, why’d you stop? Lace?” She moved herself up a bit and felt Lacey’s stiffened tongue slip free from her sex. “Timed Type-7…you’re good,” Tasia giggled as she lifted up Lacey’s face and cleared some blonde hairs from it. It was clear the girl was completely frozen with her eyes closed and mouth oddly open in a kissing pose with her tongue protruding. Her lips were shiny from Tasia’s love juices. Lacey had frozen on her knees, leaned forwards and resting on her elbows.
“Well now…I wonder if Devon has something to do with this; she does always want to get you out of the way,” Tasia said as she manipulated the model’s pose to lie on her back with her hands behind hear head with her legs wide. “You hang tight, let me go ask Devon – that minx – if she has anything to do with this… whatever this is, Lace you will have your fun tonight, that’s for sure!” Tasia remarked, tapping Lacey on the nose before hopping off her bed.
She padded, barefoot and in the buff, down the hall and then down the flight of stairs that led to the middle level of her townhouse. As she moved though, she felt that the air seemed thick and things were too quiet. There was something else going on, and it finally hit her as she reached the kitchen where Devon had been busy preparing dinner. The German model was an excellent cook; she had told Tasia once that if she hadn’t become model, she would have been chef following her mother’s footsteps. Not only was the air in the kitchen thick as a result of time being stopped, Tasia noted that water from the running sink was frozen as well. Devon stood unmoving at the stove, dressed in baggy plaid pajama pants, fluffy house slippers and a German soccer jersey, all under Tasia’s cooking apron. Her blonde hair was tied back in a playful ponytail. Like everything else in the room, she was frozen while holding a frying pan up from a frozen open flame.
“Tucker? Erika? You can come out now; you got me!” Tasia called, out looking around and smiling. Her smiled faded however when she didn’t get a response and didn’t feel that feeling she would get when not alone. Tasia in fact was very alone. She moved into her living room and looked around, frowning. She shook her head, realizing something was very wrong, and then something caught her eye. There was a shadow outside the living room window behind the curtain. Moving into the living room, she opened a drawer in one of the end tables that flanked her sofa and withdrew her personal compact USP, loaded with lethal ammo. She cocked the slide back, switched off the safety, and moved towards the front window. Immediately she wished she had at least slipped on a robe. Reaching the window, she pulled back the curtain with her USP at the ready and spotted the bird, a blue jay to be specific. It was frozen in mid-flight.
“Oh fuck…” Tasia muttered as she observed the three women who were Devon’s entourage, all frozen near and in the rented BMW parked in her driveway. The group included two bodyguards and a newly hired assistant. The bodyguards were the same pair that had been with Devon when Tasia first hooked up with her back in Paris: Malena Roldan and Kazu Shiitaki. The assistant was a woman named Janey Tapper, an auburn-haired American who had been only working with the supermodel for a little over two weeks and was only now starting to leave her office. Kazu was frozen while seated in the driver’s seat of the BMW. Janey leaned against the back door with a cell phone held to her ear while finally Malena stood unmoving at the mouth of the driveway, with her hands on her hips. Looking beyond her driveway, Tasia noted a frozen car in the road and a couple both frozen in mid-stride across the street. Everyone and everything seemed to be frozen except for her.
It was as if time had stopped.
* * *
ITEA HQ, London, UK
Lucienne Christophe was annoyed. Takashi was already waiting for Lucienne back in Dartford, as they had a seven-thirty dinner reservation; she knew she'd already be late for it, despite the special route she took that usually made it an even forty minutes. Now the Assistant Director of the International Temporal Enforcement Agency was returning to her office from the motor pool and she wasn't sure why, just that she'd been called up urgently. The brunette had let her hair down from her work look, but was still wearing the gray tweet skirt suit and black blouse she'd worn all day, along with the black three-inch heels and slate pantyhose. Planning to now have a smoke before leaving, Lucienne arrived outside her office. “What is so important?” demanded Lucienne, glaring at the woman who'd called her back up to the top floor.
Angelita Castillo, daughter of Director Sonia Castillo and her personal assistant, looked like a deer caught in the headlights for a moment. The young dark-haired beauty was wearing a black pants suit with a white blouse and a long golden pendant draped around her neck, something so business-like it had most likely been Sonia's idea. After a moment Lita focused, grabbing a note she'd written while adjusting the ponytail on the back of her head. “His name is Ryan Tully, Interpol,” confirmed Lita, checking the name. “Gitana authorized him. Background says you worked with him once? He's stationed in Vancouver.”
“Oh wow, that takes me back,” smiled Lucienne, deciding not to seek revenge on the junior Castillo, at least for the moment. Curious to see her old acquaintance, Lucienne hurried into her office.
Lucienne's office had remained fairly simple, having a pair of shelves, a closet, her desk, and a couple of chairs. The walls were the most detailed part of the office, sporting now a dozen clocks for the major time zones the ITEA needed to keep track of, though Lucienne was planning to get a full universal clock someday. Sitting across from her desk was a brown-haired man in his late thirties, dressed in a brown suit with a blue-gray dress shirt and a dark blue tie. The man's most notable features were his strong chin and executive-style hair, which had licks in the front but was otherwise slicked back. Ryan Tully turned to look at Lucienne as she entered and beamed. “Lucy!” called Ryan, his blue eyes lighting up as he stood.
“Ryan, it's been ages!” greeted Lucienne, shaking her acquaintance's hand. “I heard you got married a couple of years back!” Lucienne had worked with Ryan once five years prior, back before she'd gotten her first team and had been stationed in the Ukraine. While Lucy had a hard time calling Ryan a friend she did like him, and knew her friend and co-worker Cassandra had been a lot closer with him previously.
“Yeah, she is the best thing that ever happened to me,” chuckled Ryan, rubbing the back of his neck. “Remember that dusty old brown coat of mine? She finally convinced me to throw it out.”
“Wow, you had that jacket for ages,” noted Lucienne, moving to sit behind her desk. “She really must be good. What's her name? Got a picture?”
“Pepper, she's a school teacher,” revealed Ryan. “No picture. I've gone digital but I keep forgetting to transfer pictures onto my phone. Though actually, Pepper is the reason I'm here... Sorry if I'm keeping you, but this really is important for me.”
“Hey, anything to help an old friend,” offered Lucienne, not entirely comfortable calling Ryan a friend but figuring it would be comfortable for him to hear. “What's going on?”
“Well I've been in Vancouver for four years now,” explained Ryan. “I was made section chief three years ago, actually, back around when I proposed to Pepper. I promised her then that with the section job I'd never have to move, so we could stay in Vancouver until I retired.”
“Oh boy; you're now getting transferred, aren't you?” realized Lucienne, already seeing the problem.
“Exactly, and she isn't a fan of the idea of having to learn to teach outside of Canada,” confirmed Ryan.
“Well first of all I have to ask what they're offering for a posting,” asked Lucienne, wanting to get a feel for Ryan's situation.
“It's the big one; they want me in Lyon,” announced Ryan. “Some low-level yet key role, I blacked out after I heard Lyon. They're not letting me refuse the transfer either, just willing to slow down how long until I need to have made the move. Lucy, I can't leave Canada. Hell, I can't leave Vancouver; we're both Canucks fans! People get killed for liking the wrong team in the wrong city...” he wasn’t smiling.
“Okay, I see the dilemma,” smiled Lucienne, holding back a laugh, but finding it hard due to how serious Ryan was acting. “Luckily, I think I can help...” Lucienne pressed a button on her desk, activating the intercom. “Lita, can you get Lina in here, please?”
“No problem, she's already on the floor,” acknowledged Angelita. Lita technically worked for Sonia and not Lucienne, but she was in charge when Sonia wasn't around, and the director had just driven off before Lucienne had been called upstairs. Not twenty seconds later, the door to the office opened and in walked Lina Maier. Lina was a very gifted employee of the ITEA, being originally hired as a recruiting agent. She, however, was also trained in psychology and was also therefore the one who tended to handle human resources when Rachel Clarke wasn't available as the other agent, Noah Durand, tended to be almost constantly abroad. Lina was a German national and Lucienne had no problem with that, having actually become decent friends with the blue-eyed blonde.
“Lina, is the director still looking to set up field offices?” asked Lucienne as Lina approached the desk. “Oh, this is Ryan Tully of Interpol. He's the Vancouver section chief.”
“A pleasure,” offered Lina, briefly shaking Ryan's hand before moving to sit down in the other chair across from the desk. “The field offices? Yes, Noah is in the process of finding the right people for the proposed cities. Why?”
“Well if Vancouver is still on the table as a possible location for a field base, I think we have a great nominee for the person to run it,” explained Lucienne, indicating Ryan and grinning.
* * *
Franklin Adams, usually just referred to by people as Frank, was standing just outside of ITEA HQ enjoying a cigar. The forty-six year old security guard had tried to kick his smoking habit more than once, but there were days when he just felt he couldn't help himself. Before joining the ITEA, Frank had worked for years in private security, his roughly two decades of military service seeing little use. While London hadn't been the most appealing prospect for Frank, a NATO representative named Colonel Mallory Keaton had found and recommended him for the job. The money was good and since Frank's wife had passed, he'd had little reason to stay in the US, so he'd accepted it and that was that. Despite being low man on the totem pole, Frank didn't mind the job, even the long hours. Luckily his relief was just getting on shift and he'd already turned in his carbine, he just needed to stay a few more minutes before being cleared to leave.
The door opening next to Frank snapped him from his idle thoughts. From inside ITEA HQ came Makeda Getachew, second-in-command of Team Epsilon as well as the agency's number two scientist, and Epsilon's secretary Qi Sun. The Ethiopian Makeda was wearing a gray trench coat which hid what looked like a yellow blouse and white pants, comfy-looking white and red shoes on her feet, and her hair up in a bun. Qi, who was Chinese and only twenty-seven, was wearing a black summer dress with a leather belt around her waist, her dark hair down in a half-ponytail. “Frank, you really shouldn't smoke so close to the door,” chided Makeda, grinning.
“Can't get too far away in case some idiot tries to rush inside,” shrugged Frank, nonetheless deciding to put his cigar out. “You two stayed late. Something going on?”
“Still trying to study that Chrono Flash weapon the bad guys used at Waterloo,” commented Qi, shrugging. “I'm off; I'm going to be late for dinner.” The secretary promptly began walking off, though she offered a quick wave to both Makeda and Frank.
“There's also a possible incident in Houston and they were debating who should go, if it is actually something,” added Makeda, shrugging. “Just silly micro-management and number crunching, really. You have a good night, Frank.”
“You too; remind your husband he's a lucky man!” called out Frank as Makeda headed off, getting another flash of the woman's bright smile for his words. Smiling to himself, Frank pocketed his cigar and stood up straight, figuring he should go back inside and check on how Jin and the rest of the night crew were doing.
As Frank turned to casually gaze out at the street one last time before going inside, he suddenly noticed something strange. For a moment Frank didn't even realize what he'd witnessed, but as he blinked he realized that all movement in the streets around him had suddenly stopped cold. Cars were motionless, pigeons were pinned in the air, and even people seemed to all be standing still, yet holding odd poses. Glancing down the street, Frank could see Qi was as frozen as everything else, her right arm and left leg forward with her back to him. Makeda, Frank noticed, was still moving away. “Makeda, wait!” yelled the guard.
Makeda didn't stop walking, but she did turn to look at Frank. As Franklin rushed towards Makeda the woman suddenly instantly froze after taking one more step, her head looking over her right shoulder with her left arm raised up to chest level, her right at her side with her left foot behind the right, only the toe of it on the ground. Makeda's unmoving face held a look of puzzlement. Frank rushed forward, stopping just short of where Makeda stood, realizing it was only with that final step that she'd frozen. Cautiously, Frank reached out with his right hand and as he touched the air around Makeda he felt his skin go numb, like he’d pinched a nerve. Wincing, Frank managed to force his unresponsive arm forward and clumsily grab Makeda, pulling her backwards. The woman fell to the ground, bouncing like a wooden toy, but remained stiffly frozen.
“Argh...” grunted Frank, pulling his right arm back. Frank's paralyzed hand felt a bit better after some wiggling, but there was still a numbness to it that hadn't fully dissipated. “The hell is going on?!” he muttered.
* * *
“Director Christophe!” came a sudden voice as Lucienne's office door burst open, distracting the French woman from her conversation with Lina and Ryan about Vancouver. Alexandra Blake had just popped in, a panicked look on her face. The Australian woman was wearing a teal blouse and olive slacks, her hair loose, but Lucienne wasn't focused so much on the woman's attire but rather the shock in her eyes.
“What is it, spit it out Alex,” hissed Lucienne, annoyed at the woman's theatrics so she decided to speak to her very informally.
“We've got a... crisis!” managed Alexandra, rapidly gesturing with her arm. From outside her office Lucienne could hear voices yelling.
“Sorry; I'll see what this is, you two keep talking,” insisted Lucienne, quickly getting up from her desk and leaving Ryan and Lina behind. Exiting her office, Lucienne noticed Lita at her desk fielding constant calls; the young woman looked very frazzled. Glancing over at the analysts’ area of the top floor, Lucienne then got a good idea of just how bad things were.
“Director, Adams is downstairs!” came the voice of Christina Merritt, who was the first to get Lucienne's attention. The blue-eyed woman with dark hair worked the night shift for security, and it made Lucienne realize just what time it was. “He's reporting the city streets are frozen, as is Assistant Science Director Getachew!”
“Wait, what?!” exclaimed Lucienne, only to immediately be pulled away by Alexandra. All over the office floor the analysts that were still around were acting frantically, with many people on phones, both landlines and cells.
“It just happened; we're still not sure what's going on!” cried Alexandra, bringing Lucienne to one specific cubicle. “Tell her what you told me!” Sitting at the desk of the cubicle was Addison Finn, an American UCLA sociologist charged with analyzing Internet social profiles. Addison was pretty young even by ITEA standards, her twenty-sixth birthday coming up next month. The blue-eyed blonde, who had always reminded Lucienne a bit of Erika Stone, was wearing a denim shirt with gray slacks, her hair pulled back in a high ponytail.
“Director, I've never seen anything like this,” announced Addison. “All at once, a few minutes ago, everything just... stopped. I can't connect to anything. It's like all our modems are disconnected. I can't access the Internet, it's like it doesn't even exist.”
“The landlines are down too!” added Alexandra, glancing around. “Director, it's like everything's been frozen in time all at once! How is this possible?!”
“Merde,” muttered Lucienne, immediately craving a cigarette as she glanced around. Several of the analysts were still busy, security couldn't be much help, and both Alexandra and Angelita seemed to be on the verge of tears. Finally Lucienne spotted Parisa Golzar; the Iranian woman was standing in front of one of the agency's smart boards. Parisa was wearing a royal blue skirt suit with pantyhose and had clearly just let her hair down from a ponytail as it was still clumped on her right shoulder, the support technician now standing with her arms crossed as she looked at a map of the world.
“Pari, please tell me something, we're like ants on a fire right now,” asked Lucienne, ducking away from Alexandra for the moment. “We've got no interweb, no phones, and reports of people being frozen in their tracks outside...”
“Well, Lucy, while I don't know exactly what's doing this yet, I think I can help quantify what we're looking at,” was Parisa's terse reply. The woman was friends with Lucienne, hence the shorter name use. “We clearly have power, though it’s coming from the backup generators and not the mains. Our own computers are still online and the local intranet is working, meaning that this building appears to be unaffected. Further, I can confirm that cell phones are working, and I think I know why. Our global monitoring network, the one that uses the NATO satellites? It's still online, and we're in direct communication with it, using the big dish on the roof. While security camera footage of the vicinity outside is shoving that while motion and thus energy are also frozen, or else we'd have crashed cars, it isn't totally frozen, starting at some altitude. I'd say we're looking at some kind of global temporal distortion, but that it stops somewhere in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, it does appear to be global in effect. Basically at 6:58 PM London time, the world froze.”
“Great, if we could communicate with the astronauts we'd be in business,” grumbled Lucienne, nonetheless relieved to at least know something about what was going on. “Global... merde. Anything else you can tell me?”
“We have some telemetry of the incident,” revealed Parisa, pressing a button on the screen. The map of the world shifted to focus on North America, with several intersecting circles forming in a pattern, leading to one specific location.
“What exactly am I looking at?” whispered Lucienne to Parisa, talking low to avoid being shouted over by people nearby.
“This phenomenon, as I'm calling it for the time being, has a point of origin,” announced Parisa, indicating the smallest circle on the map. “The... time-stop wave, let’s describe it as that for now, covered the globe in less than a second, but we were able to track back to where it started since a large portion of the world's energy use suddenly ceased, but not quite instantly. There is Region Zero.” Lucienne silently stared at the map, which slowly zoomed in to center on a Californian city, specifically: Malibu.
* * *
Decker State College, Malibu, California
Sandy Vanholt lowered the Polaroid camera and grinned ear to ear. After using the hourglass to stop time in her old student apartment, with her entourage touching her and away from prying eyes, Sandy had carefully carried the artifact out into a nice central area of the quad and placed it on a bench. Then after gathering her trusted slaves together, Sandy had used the magic camera to freeze the hourglass. Given that the sand within the Durga Hourglass was now frozen in mid-fall, Sandy knew her nefarious plan had worked. A photograph had printed out of the camera, showing the frozen hourglass, which Sandy knew meant time itself was frozen; everywhere.
“Freezing the thing that freezes all time,” cackled Sandy, holding the photo aloft. “No repercussions; no side effects. I love it.” Sandy tended to usually try and dress in trendy clothing, but she'd found a certain outfit in Kelli's wardrobe she felt she just had to wear when freezing time for as long as she wanted. The outfit was cheap but form-fitting purple leather, a skintight bodysuit that totally covered her legs and even had build-in heels. The outfit was sleeveless, which Sandy enjoyed since that made slipping into it easier. She carefully tucked the Polaroid photo into the suit's right breast pocket and the blonde turned to face her slaves.
“Everyone, freeze for a moment, I want to enjoy this feeling,” ordered Sandy. Five women instantly became as still as waxworks; they had been exposed to Transmoxide, a drug Sandy had recently fallen in love with, and were now hypnotized to be her slaves. Sandy knew eventually she'd need to reapply the drug to them to keep the hypnosis going. She currently didn't have a supply, but she did have a plan: a DSC student named Friday knew how to make it, so Sandy's idea was to put a Type-7 chip on Friday and supply her with the ingredients to make the drug. That plan however would come later, as Sandy was just enjoying being able to freeze time with no limit on how long it lasted.
“Not bad for a girl who used to be in some stupid Scooby Gang, huh?” mocked Sandy, looking at her five naked frozen slaves. Michelle Gim had been the one who had gotten Sandy the hourglass, the Korean having foolishly trusted her as the two had, at least in Michelle's eyes, fallen in love. Sandy had been just manipulating Michelle for the most part, though she did at least have some genuine attraction to the girl. Kelli McAdams had discovered that Michelle had been hiding the women she'd kidnapped as mannequins at Balfour Boutique and ended up becoming one herself before Sandy had come along. Pamela Flipspatrick was another member of the so-called Scooby Gang as well as one of the smarter ones, which Sandy figured was why Michelle had targeted her after collecting Kelli. Pam, unlike the rest, was only partially hypnotized, only obeying Sandy’s orders when they had to do with protecting Kelli. Adora Morales was Erika Stone's assistant and secretary, and amusingly she seemed if anything too susceptible to hypnosis, but that just made Sandy love her most of all. The final slave was campus police captain Peggy Sharp, who Sandy figured would make good muscle and was very attractive for a woman who was nearly forty. All five were frozen while standing at attention.
Barely able to contain her glee, Sandy glanced around nearby. The curvy Molly Desmond, who managed DSC's buildings, was nearby, leaning against a lamppost with a smart phone held up to her face with both hands. The fair-skinned redhead was wearing a black long-sleeved blouse with a brown knee-length skirt, her hair in a half-ponytail. Sandy skipped over to the motionless woman and gave her a kiss on the cheek as well as a grope of her chest.
The next woman Sandy saw was Veronica Parker, assistant coach to the soccer team. Veronica was wearing orange shorts and a matching hoodie, both DSC attire, a baseball cap completing the look with her ponytail pulled through the back. Veronica was standing left foot forward, her right hand raised up near her face and a smile on her lips, suggesting she'd been frozen when about to wave at someone. Sandy gave the brunette a dip and a long kiss before casually dropping her on the ground.
After Veronica, Sandy located Terri Grant, the theater professor. The redhead was wearing a side strap gray shirt with a red frilly skirt, her hair in a coiled ponytail. The professor was standing near a bench occupied by three random girls that Sandy vaguely recognized; the professor was glancing up at another lamp with her hands on her hips and frowning. Sandy slipped her hands underneath Terri's skirt and dropped her white silk panties, proceeding to tickle the woman's bush for a few moments before doing a twirl as she returned to her slaves. “You tell me that sorry, you didn't think I'd turn around...” sang Sandy to herself, then pausing. Returning to Terri, she searched the professor and found a master key to the theater.
“Okay girls, unfreeze,” Sandy ordered her slaves, noticing in the corner of her eye that three of her old sorority sisters weren't far away, but she decided to ignore them for the moment. “Peggy, I want you to go around and gather as many master keys as you can. Kelli, I want you to start gathering food, and Pam, Kelli needs you to help her or else she'll be in danger by going alone. Michelle, I want you to find a campus map and a notepad. Use them to start tracking every hot woman you see and where they are. Adora, you're with me...”
“We obey, my goddess!” said all five women at once, breaking off to their ordered tasks. Adora happily came up behind Sandy and placed her arms around the blonde's shoulder. Sandy focused on her old sorority sisters, whom she recognized as being Angel, Leslie and Rose. The blonde grinned and licked her lips with anticipation, looking at the frozen trio.
“It's too late to apologize,” Sandy continued to sing, starting to walk off with Adora in tow.
End of Part 1-- Continued in 'Unification'
Susie Kim – Kim Hyuna
Leslie Chun – Shay Mitchell
Angel Mathews – Kristen Stewart
Rose Mazza – Lucy Hale
Fay Mochata – Monica Raymund
Chrissy Pak – Jenna Uskhowitz
Tess Vole – Leah Michele
Erika Stone – Blake Lively
Mary Hamilton – Sarah Lancaster
Talieya Antzas – Evelina Papantoniou
Monica Stein – Shiri Appleby
Caitlin Trafford – Jewel Staite
Claire Cook – Carly Foulkes
Harmony Niles – Diane Parish
Jeridine Jackson – Michelle Forbes
Tucker Holmes – Drake Bell
Kathryn Summers – Jennifer Morrison
Cindy Vu – Jenny Chu
Sashi Rao – Aarti Mann
Clarisse Faucher – Lacey Chabert
Megan Wolff – Megan Fox
Michelle Boback – Riley Keough
Anastasia Ramos – Christine Honey Cruz
Michelle Foster – Holly Valance
Chene Francois – Kate Ryan
Haley Leone – Kayley Cuoco
Kayla LeFer – Kaylee DeFer
Chloe Noi – Jang Nara
Jana Brinwells – Keira Knightley
Trina Goldworth – Elisha Cuthbert
Mona St. Claire – Leslie Mann
Jamie Mosley-Noi – Kendra James
Patricia Mero – Rena Mero
Selena Chandler – Scarlett Johannson
Darcy Keibler – Stacy Keibler
Canella Kim – Gail Kim
Sarah Hardy – Tricia Helfer
Thomas Hood – Vinnie Jones
Marian Bell – Lena Headey
Kai – Chanty Sok
Scott Dawson – Kiefer Sutherland
Laura Bishop – Famke Janssen
Natalie Bishop – Kat Dennings
Adrianna Dashkov – Ksenia Sukhinova
Ellen Morrison – Nora Greenwald
Parker Reich – Gina Carano
Catherine Harper – Meagan Good
Carol Danvers – Melyssa Ford
Jessica Drew – Elise Gatien
Karen Draskal – Josie Bissett
Mandy Mahina – Kiana Tom
Janet Van Dyne – Shenae Grimes
Heather Douglas – Alycia Purrott
Lilian Carmichael – Sela Ward
Nefreri Chalthoum – Bahar Soomekhi
Tonya Cash – Tyra Banks
Seraphina Wiegard – Ona Grauer
Sydney Peron – Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Izel Cortez – Roselyn Sanchez
Teresita Zuniga – Kate Del Castillo
Lydia Talent – Dawn Olivieri
Ryoshi Dawson – Maggie Q
Marika Bran – Charlize Theron
Dieter Bran – Til Schweiger
Ian Blake – Alex O'Loughlin
Zelda Parker-Blake – Emmanuelle Vaugier
Tasia Spiro – Doukissa Nomikou
Lacey Finnegan – Olivia Wilde
Devon Von Krieger – Charlize Theron
Lucienne Christophe – Josie Maran
Angelita Castillo – Selena Gomez
Ryan Tully – Nathan Fillion
Lina Maier – Elizabeth Rohm
Franklin Adams – Adam Baldwin
Makeda Getachew – Paula Patton
Qi Sun – Gemma Chan
Alexandra Blake – Clare Van Der Boom
Christina Merritt – Michelle Ryan
Addison Finn – Leelee Sobieski
Parisa Golzar – Sarah Shahi
Sandy Vanholt – Jessica Simpson
Michelle Gim – Park Gyuri
Kelli McAdams – Kellie Pickler
Pamela Flipspatrick – Rachel Hurd-Wood
Adora Morales – Eve Torres
Peggy Sharp – Jenny McCarthy
Molly Desmond – Sara Rue
Veronica Parker – Leighton Meester
Terri Grant – Debra Messing