The Christmas Party
“So, how’s my download coming?”
Janice Patrick growled a response deep in her throat. In fact, she was carefully watching the progress of the little bars across the computer screen, tracking the progress of the operations that would probably cost her her job, if not worse.
“Oh, very nice.” Dina Pollard ran long red fingernails lightly across the keyboard, updating some commands, then patted Janice’s head. “Keep an eye on things for me, Red—OK? I’m going to get another drink. And maybe see if that Brad guy from accounting has something stuffed down his pants, or if he's the real deal ” Dina giggled at the glare that earned her from the redhead she had fastened to the chair, then sauntered back out of the room again.
Janice shook her head, still not quite believing what had happened.
One hell of a Christmas party.
“Janice, this is such a great party. I am SO glad to be temping here at SysCorp!” Dina Pollard took a healthy sip of the drink she'd just fetched from the well-stocked open bar.
Janice nodded, feeling a bit awkward at Dina’s level of enthusiasm. It was true that she’d been the department head who approved Dina’s being hired on as a temp, but she really couldn’t imagine why it should be that big a deal.
Dina leaned forward, blond hair swinging to either side of her face, and laid a manicured hand on the redhead’s arm. “Can I… can I ask you something?” Her voice was pitched low, as if sharing a confidence.
“Um... I guess, sure.” Janice shrugged. “Shoot.”
“Oh, well, not here.” Dina was glancing around the huge conference room that had been trimmed in red and green, festooned with icicle lights and wreaths, and well-filled with employees well-filled with good cheer. “Could we maybe take a little break—say, the powder room? We can talk on the way. The party isn't going anywhere!” Her gaze at Janice was unsettlingly intense, and the girl wondered uneasily if Dina was looking for mistletoe.
“Just for a minute,” Dina smiled. “It’s just that I’m so thankful you gave me this chance, I want to show you something.”
Janice gulped. Since she didn’t think she had any lesbian friends (well, Eve maybe… um, Joann? Come to think of it, I’ve never seen Tina with a man…well, maybe not MANY lesbian friends), she wondered if “show you something” was some kind of code phrase for “jump your bones”. But before she could demur, Dina’d taken her arm and gently led her out of the room, and down the hallway, past offices deserted now, with their occupants all living it up at the SysCorp Christmas party.
So preoccupied was Janice with trying to work out what Dina was up to, that they had turned two corners before she realized something.
“Uh—the ladies’ room is the other way.” She turned to point, and stopped short because Dina was doing some pointing herself. She was pointing a small pistol at Janice.
“Told you I had something to show you. Turn around.”
“Huh? Wha--?” Janice wasn’t sure if anything she was saying actually qualified as words, but she was too dumbstruck to know. She shook her head, as if to clear it—clearly she had fallen asleep at her desk and was having the strangest dream she had ever—
“I said turn around.” Dina’s smile hardened, and Janice was startled to feel a real hand on her shoulder—nothing like a dream—spinning her around and pushing her face-first into the wall. She took a breath, planning to call for help, but the feel of cold metal against the back of her neck brought her up short.
“Hush, now, dear. Let’s not disturb the folks at the party—they’ve worked hard all year long, and certainly deserve it.” As she was saying this, Janice felt more cold metal against her skin: one cuff of a pair of handcuffs had been snapped around her left wrist.
The protest got no farther in her throat than the gun at the back of her neck, and Dina yanked Janice’s left arm back and around by the handcuff. Janice gave a gasp of pain as her arms were brought together so the other cuff could capture her right wrist.
“I said no noise!” Dina hissed into her ear. Janice pulled experimentally at the handcuffs—something she had never seen outside of TV cop shows— and was dizzied as Dina turned her around to face her, pushing the cuffed girl back up against the wall. The gun that had felt the size of a cannon when pressed to her neck was surprisingly small as Dina tucked it into the waistband of her skirt.
“Don’t make this hard,” the blonde murmured. “No struggling, no noise, and you get out of it in one piece.” She reached to a pocket in her skirt, and drew out what appeared to be a good-sized orange Nerf ball which she pulled from its wrapping.
“I was actually planning to just use some tape on your mouth, but when I saw this on the gift table… well, it just seemed too perfect. Open wide, Jan.”
Janice opened wide—her eyes, that is—they bulged. “You can’t be serio—urk!” In the wink of an eye, Dina had the pistol back out and tucked under Janice’s chin. The redhead swallowed hard, feeling the motion cause her throat muscles to graze the barrel of the gun, and slowly opened her mouth.
Dina had crushed the ball to a tiny orange pill, and held it up to Janice’s mouth. The slender, red-nailed fingers pushed the soft, spongy ball past Janice’s lips and teeth; once inside, it immediately began to expand; it was as though something in her mouth was alive, invading her.
The gun was back at Dina’s waist, but with her hands cuffed behind her, Janice knew she’d lose any attempt to fight for it. Instead, she stood still, feeling foolish with her mouth full of spongy foam, as her blond captor took a roll of white medical tape from a pocket. Dina peeled a pre-cut strip off the front of the roll, and the evident amount of preparation that Dina had done made Janice realize just how long Dina must have been playing her for a fool, all the while planning this kidnapping.
Wait a damn minute—kidnapping? Why the hell would she kidnap me?!!? Janice was couldn't even guess, as Dina’s long, slender fingers pressed the first strip of tape across her lips. OK, so maybe she was flattering herself a bit with the lesbian thing, but… well, what the hell else would it be?
A second strip of tape was placed at a slight angle to the first, adhering to exposed skin as well as the first piece. A third strip was plastered over the first two, and pressed firmly down. Janice's lips were sealed shut, and her mouth was full of sound-absorbing orange foam. Even if she'd dared trying to call for help, there was no way the sound would carry over the now-distant noise of the party.
“All right, Jan—let’s move.” Janice felt Dina’s hand on her shoulder—stronger than she’d seemed before—and she was turned around and marched down the hall, handcuffed and gagged, one hand on her shoulder, the other pressing the gun into her back.
They took two more turns, and to Janice’s astonishment, stopped in front of the combination-locked door to the room where the network servers were kept. Janice felt her face reddening in embarrassment, as she finally came to the unflattering realization that she had not become some object of lesbian fixation for Dina, but was rather a hostage in some sort of industrial espionage.
Well, of course, it’s still possible she might have some sort of plans for me and this is the most convenient place to get me away alone…
“Now, let’s just take a peek at what’s inside.” Janice tried to keep her face neutral as Dina addressed the door. She knew that the woman didn’t have password permission for it, and would probably need to…
Red-nailed fingers danced lightly over the keypad and the door opened with a “whoosh” of changed air pressure.
Dina started to urge Janice forward, then got a look at her captive’s astonished face, and burst out giggling.
“I cracked your passwords weeks ago,” she laughed. “If you’re going to keep pictures of Jude Law all over your cubicle, you really shouldn’t use “J-U-D-E” as part of your password.”
OK, I guess that was unusually stupid…
After she’d pushed Janice inside, Dina pulled the door smoothly closed behind them, and directed her captive toward the bank of computers that blinked and glowed in the chill controlled air.
As they approached the CRT’s, Janice continued to try and maintain a neutral attitude-- she certainly didn’t want Dina to spot anything resembling a feeling of confidence. Dina might have cracked her password, but the network security system had one little enhancement that this smirking witch would never have suspected: a recently-installed—
“Ummff!” Janice squealed into the gag as slender fingers tangled in her long red hair and yanked her face down level with the first CRT on the left.
Janice's eyes goggled crazily, and she tried to clamp them shut-- an instant too late; a red light blinked on the panel.
"Retinal scan confirmed," the computer screen told them blandly. Dina clicked "OK" to dismiss the grey dialog box, and turned to the astonished Janice.
"Pretty clever stuff," she giggled. "Finding out about it cost me a blow job to your IS manager, but hey—it’ll pay off."
Janice sagged despondently in Dina's grasp. The woman had successfully defeated their security due to the horniness of that slob Garrett (which might have been expected) and her own carelessness (which, dammit, should NOT have been expected).
"Now, Jan dear, let's sit you down here and get you comfy while you wait." Janice was turned so that the backs of her legs, beneath her skirt, made contact with one of the office chairs; with the hyperactive cooling system going, the chair was freezing.
Dina's hands on her shoulders pushed Janice down, and then spun the chair. Dina grabbed the chain between her handcuffs and yanked Janice’s arms down behind the chair.
"UUnngghh!" The top of the chair back caught her in the armpits, and Janice felt her eyes begin to tear with the smarting of the pain. She couldn't see Dina's movements, but the woman had hooked something to the links running between her wrists, and fastened it to the bottom rung of the chair; the strain on her shoulders and arms was blazing red pain.
There was a "whizzing" sound from behind her that Janice recognized as a plastic cable tie being freed from its bundle. In the next moment, she managed to forget all about the pain under her shoulders as the plastic tie bit into her skin, right through her thin cotton blouse, and the cable tie was cinched around the upper portion of her right arm.
"HUummfff!" Janice squealed through the gag as the cable tie was passed around the arm of the chair, threaded, and pulled tight. Dina repeated the process with Janice's left arm; now, strapped to the chair, it would be impossible for Janice to use her upper body strength to fight or loosen the handcuffs.
Janice whipped her head around to look over her left shoulder, but as luck would have it, Dina came around from the right, so that by the time she was fitting a second set of cuffs to Janice's ankles, it was too late to even try to kick.
Dina wrenched Janice's cuffed ankles to the left, and used another cable tie to fasten them to the underside of the chair. As a finishing touch, she used her foot to tamp down the brakes, locking the chair wheels. The brake control was on the right hand side of the chair, Janice’s ankles all the way on the left, leaving her with little chance to try and get any mobility. She was well and truly stuck. She still made a few experimental pulls and tugs, until she realized that Dina was just watching her for signs of any looseness in the bondage or gag that would have to be tightened. At that point, Janice just settled back and glared over her gag as Dina turned back to the computers.
"They tell me this is just the latest thing." Dina had pulled a tiny thimble-shaped piece of plastic from her pocket, and Janice could see that it had a USB interface.
Security, Janice told herself, as Dina plugged the tiny drive into one of the USB slots. Surely there are security safeguards that will...
"Welcome." The word flashed dull and stupid on the screen in front of her; the invading program had evidently defeated such precautions as there might have been.
Oh, great. Thanks to that idiot Garrett thinking with his prick, the woman has been able to introduce... God knows what… to the system. As Janice watched in mesmerized horror, Dina used the mouse to initiate some sort of program, and numbers and colored bars began to roll across the screen.
"Curious?" Dina patted her cheek. "Well, I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but it's apparently a… well, like a 'bot' or something .It's going to spend an hour or so rooting around in your network, getting all those lovely encryption codes, and then brushing away the trail of breadcrumbs so that no one can trace it."
Janice regarded her over the gag, puzzled. There was a missing piece to this somewhere...
"Oh, you're wondering what use the codes will be to my employers, since your company will just change them afterwards. Sure, they'll change them-- at a cost of several million dollars, and countless millions more in bad publicity. And you may be sure this will please my employers no end."
She gave one more appraising look to the progress her file was making, then chucked Janice under the chin. "Now, you just sit tight, Jan dear. I'm heading back to the party for a while-- there's some yummy looking plates of goodies that I haven't sampled yet.” With that, the blonde turned and slipped out the door, pulling it closed depressingly securely behind her.
Left alone. Bound and gagged. This had to be a bad dream. Except, of course, it wasn’t—it was quite real, and likely to be worse than her worst nightmare before it was over.
Ok, Dina-- big mistake you made here. Janice was seething beneath the gag. To have been taken in by that… that…
No, this wasn’t the end of it; she was going to turn the tables: get out of here, get the police, maybe take Dina down herself, give her a taste of her own medicine…
Of course, she’d have to somehow get out of the cuffs first…Now, how did they do that sort of thing on TV?
She tried to remember what kind of advice they would give on cop shows. Hold your arms and hands loosely together, so that there is some slack after they tie you...
Only I'm not tied. I'm cuffed. And anyway, it would only help if I’d have thought of it ten minutes ago.
What about Houdini? She’d watched that program about him on the Biography channel. Could she emulate one of his great escapes?
Might have worked if I'd started with a key hidden in my mouth... though the gag would have rendered it useless. Maybe I could have hidden it in...
She flushed red at the thought, then rolled her eyes heavenward as she realized how useless the whole idea was, since there was no spot of concealment anywhere that she could reach, even if she’d had some sort of hidden key or pick.
She was just wondering how long she’d be waiting when the door opened again.
“Hi, there. How’s it going?” Janice heard Dina pull the door closed behind her. She strained to look over her shoulder as the sound of Dina’s heels clicked across the floor toward where her captive still sat, every bit as helpless as she’d been when Dina had first tied her in the chair.
“Oh, proceeding nicely.” There was a low giggle in Dina’s voice as she bent over to see the screen, her curtain of blond hair swishing across Janice’s face. She straightened up and took a good look at her captive—and burst out laughing.
“Gosh, you really haven’t been putting much effort into this, have you?” The higher pitch of her voice suggested to Janice that the bitch had been making good use of the open bar—well, that and the nearly empty drink tumbler in her hand. Third? Fourth? “Guess you knew that when I tied you, you’d stay tied.” She patted Janice’s head again. “That’s my good girl. Now, I wonder if there’s any more of those empanadas…” she was musing as she turned and left.
You… total… BITCH!! Any rational approach to an escape went flying out the window as Janice raged through her gag and threw herself about in the chair as far as the bondage would permit. Goddam it, there has GOT to be something I can do!
The bars on the screen were moving upwards at a discouragingly smooth rate; Janice had no idea if somehow canceling the operation before it reached 100% would salvage things, or if it was already too late, but she couldn’t see a better option than trying.
All right... I can't get out of the chair...so I just have to get the chair where I need to be.
Could she reach the brake? Dina had been pretty careful about not making that easy for her, but would a determined effort allow her to get her legs free, at least to the point of being able to disengage the brake?
Janice twisted, trying to use the leverage in her legs to work the ankle cuffs free of the cable tie. Again and again she slammed herself left and right, but her ankles were still imprisoned.
Useless. She'd twisted herself to the point where her blouse was half-off, and her skirt in not much better shape, but her ankles were still locked in place.
OK, if I can't get at the brake, I can't roll. But just because I can't roll doesn't mean there isn't some other way to get around.
Janice scrunched her body as far down into the chair as she was able, took as deep a breath as she could manage around the gag, then exploded as hard and fast as she could, leaning forward, willing the chair to move with her.
And move it did. Perhaps half an inch. She tried again, grunting into her gag with the exertion, but she still had what seemed acres of floor between her and the computers. She screamed frustration into the gag, head flailing, long hair flying…
Dammit! I don’t have that much more time!
And, as if on cue, once more the door opened behind her. Now, though, the click of the heels was less precise, and Dina was giggling out an off-key version of “White Christmas”. This time, she didn’t even bother closing the door behind her.
Janice, huffing exhaustedly into her gag, looked up as her captor came into view. Dina’s eyes were beginning to look a bit glassy, and her white blouse suggested that she'd been offering someone a peek. Janice could smell the alcohol on her captor's breath.
Dina caught Janice’s glance at her disordered blouse. "Oh, that Brad—the accounting guy?... he's somethin' else. Man cannot keep his hands to hissef."
For her part, Dina was looking down at one seriously rumpled Janice: the captive’s attempts to somehow get free had achieved precisely nothing—unless you counted the rivulets of sweat that were already drying on her cheeks in the cool air, and the steam coming from the top of her hopelessly tousled head. Dina reached down and stroked her hair.
“Wow, feel the heat.” Another fit of giggles, and Dina drained her glass. “Lucky for you they keep the air-conditioning up full blast in here.” She leaned over to the screen, staggered slightly, and giggled again.
"Lissen," Dina's voice seemed thick and slow, "where's your White Elephant ticket?" She noticed the shape outlined against the breast pocket of Janice's blouse, and dipped a finger into it, withdrawing the piece of folded white paper and reading the printing on it.
"Yeah, see, that's what I thought-- you got number 35. The later ones are MUCH better, cuz you can see more prizes that you wanna steal away from other people. Heck, my number was 8—they’da been stealin’ from me all night. And since you won't be needin’ this..." She pocketed the paper, gave one last glance to the screen, and left Janice once more alone, still helpless... and wondering if it was just her, or was there something not quite sane about all this...
Janice looked gloomily at the little colored bars that were now showing 61% of the job completed
OK, throwing the chair forward didn’t work... backwards is the opposite of what I want...that leaves sideways. If she hit the floor on her side, was it possible she could pivot the chair around and...
…and what? If she tipped over, she'd still have no way to reach the computer keyboard to halt the process, even if she could figure out how to do it. Floor. If she tipped the chair over, what was on the floor?
Power. Lying on the floor, she could probably reach at least one of the power strips; even a bound foot or hand might be able to knock it free from the wall. The emergency backup would come on, of course, but it was due for replacement next week, because it had hiccupped before in situations like that, leaving users frustrated that operations hadn't been completed. If that happened, maybe the spy program would stop working, as well.
Hell, what else is there to try?
Now, she’d be moving side to side, rather than trying to move forward. The chair wheels were still locked, but if anything, that would make it easier to unbalance.
Janice fixed her sights on bundles of black cables running under and behind the bank of servers. One of those... any of them... hell, all of 'em. That was her target.
So, to the right, then. She once more twisted around, trying to convince herself that she was a giant spring that, once coiled, would explode with enough kinetic energy to send her and the chair flying. She gritted her teeth, trying to ignore the uncomfortable squishy sensation caused by the Nerf ball filling her mouth, and threw every last bit of energy into the motion.
"AAAAGGHHH!" she shouted into the gag, trying to focus her energy, and with a sickening sense of complete loss of control, she felt the chair teeter and she closed her eyes and tensed her muscles against the impact.
Ouch! Shit! Well, OK, she’d expected it to hurt, but still...
Time for licking wounds later. Now, she had to scoot herself across the floor with whatever energy she could manage. She swung hips, shoulders, legs... any muscle she could call upon to tense and release.
The cuffs bit painfully into her wrists and ankles, the unnatural angle pulling at muscles all up and down her body. The chair thumped and scraped with every inch of forward motion; her blouse getting filthy, her hair trailing along the tile floor.
She lifted her head to try and gauge her progress, and felt sick to her stomach: perhaps a foot separated her from her goal-- a foot she now realized she couldn't cover in anything less than an hour.
Janice's shoulders sagged, her body drooping back against the chair, her weight supported by the cuffs at her wrists and ankles. She began to weep with the loss of her final chance, as a familiar sound came once more from behind her.
The door whooshed quietly open… the sound of Dina’s staggering heels, the door once again left standing open… and then a snort of drunken laughter.
“Oh, God, you are toooooo funny, gurlfren’!” Dina staggered over and leaned down to get a better view of the bound and gagged Janice lying on the floor, and nearly overbalanced herself. “Whoops!” A plastic tumbler fell from her fingers, and Janice felt ice and liquor spill across her skirt. “Oh, dear,” Dina slurred. “I’d be hap—happy to pay for your cry clean… I mean dry cleaning. Cuz I’ll be rich, you know, after this. Course I also won’t be around but you could send me the bill. ‘Cep I’m not telling you where I’m going.” She looked earnestly down into Janice’s face. “You woon’t tell the p’lice I’m goin’ to Boonos Ay-reez, wouldja?”
Janice nearly choked into her gag at the alcohol fumes coming off her captor. She strained her neck to see the monitor—95% complete… 96%... 97%...
“Janice, you been so good to me…” Dina’s voice was thick and indistinct… 98%... 99%... “and even if I hadda tie you up, cuz I was… I was…” she paused and tried to focus reddening eyes on the girl tied to the chair. “What wuz I doin’ again?” She leaned over to reach a hand to Janice, who screamed into her gag… and watched as Dina’s eyes finally glassed over and rolled back up into her head. She took one stumbling step, threw out a hand to support herself… and fell crashing to the floor… her right hand making one last grasp to keep from falling… slamming down on the computer keyboard as she fell!
Janice winced at the crash, then looked unbelievingly at the monitor:
For a moment, Janice just stared. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? But the computers just sat there glowing silently, and Dina lay there on the floor, snoring loudly.
"Hey, Dina!" Janice heard the door push open and a familiar, if slightly drunken voice.
"Hey, girl," Brad was calling. "I thought we were gonna..."
He stopped short, and Janice could almost see the wheels turning as he asked himself if he was really seeing what he was seeing: the temp he had been flirting with snoring drunkenly on the floor, while one of his co-workers also lay on the floor, gagged, and bound to a chair.
Finally, he managed to blurt out "Jeez, Jan...whu...?", and bent down towards her.
As Brad reached to undo her gag, Janice sighed through her nose... I hope Dina didn't finish off ALL the alcohol... because I could sure as hell use a drink.