Ashley's Invention

by Zero

This tale is a prequel to the Clockwork Thief series, introducing some of the characters seen later on.

         It was shaping up to be a bad day for chemical and biological genius Ashley Tisdale. Her former boss had recently died and she now had a new one, namely Erika Stone, the boss's beautiful but spoiled daughter.  Erika, as near as Ashley could tell, was more concerned with shopping while looking like one of the hottest women on the planet rather than developing new forms of medical drugs that could net her business empire billions. All Erika Stone seemed to care about was that Ashley's research was behind schedule and would soon reach its budget limit, which meant unless Ashley could have her product ready within the next day the project would be canceled and she might end up out of a job. Ashley and her assistant Mary Hamilton had nearly finished their product but unfortunately couldn't afford to pay a for clinical test without going over budget.

         Ashley now sat in her office at the Stone Enterprises pharmaceutical research center, the gorgeous compact dark-haired woman rubbing her head while her computer analyzed the latest formula she'd created for the proposed code-named Type-7 Sedative compound. At thirty-four the woman could easily pull off looking younger, her hair was done by some of the Los Angeles area's finest stylists and the company's vitamin drugs helping to keep her skin healthy while hiding almost any signs of age. On her office wall hung her Ph. D. in chemistry and her Master's degree in biology, both having been earned before she was twenty-six. By age thirty she'd perfected a new vitamin supplement that, if taken weekly, could prevent wrinkles from forming for a minimum of ten years later than they were supposed to; the drug's only known side-effect being allergic reactions to those who were allergic to grass. Even with discoveries and accomplishments such as that under her belt, ones that her new boss used, the question of what she was being paid for lately was the mindset now. Ashley could retire and live off of the money she'd made until at least age eighty without changing her lifestyle, but that wasn't her way. She wanted to really create something revolutionary; the Type-7, if it worked properly, could be beneficial for more than just medical science.

         Ashley's computer made a sound and she saw the molecular topology analysis was complete. There were no predicted side-effects of using the drug, declared the computer, save perhaps some grogginess afterwards or allergies associated with existing similar sedatives, none of which could be fatal. Ashley had already predicted the result, as had Mary, but they still lacked any test subjects and at this point getting something other than a rat would violate their alloted funds, resulting the project's cancellation despite of how far along it was. Just then there was a knock at the office door, and Ashley asked whoever it was to come in as she continued to look at the computer screen.

         "Hey Ash, I just got a call from Erika Stone's errand girl Monica Stein," announced Mary Hamilton, walking into the room. The scientist had her own Ph. D. in molecular biology along with an M.D. degree but most people merely looked at her as a sex object instead of a brilliant scientist. Mary was a twenty-nine year old genius, far smarter than Ashley herself, but she had the body of a swimsuit model. She possessed wavy red locks, naturally a nice pale orange, which spilled down to the middle of her shoulder-blades as well as vibrant green eyes and tight body honed from hours on the Stairmaster in her apartment. Clothing-wise she hid little as well, her classic white coat being the only thing to identify her as a doctor; underneath she wore a purple tube top and short black skirt with pantyhose and white heels. Mary nearly tripped as she walked into the room, her one real flaw being that she was quite clumsy.

         "Well go on, spill," insisted Ashley, tapping her finger on her desk, one that had once belonged to Steve Wozniak, the founder of Apple Computers, which had cost the scientist almost one hundred thousand dollars to obtain. Ashley had eyed Mary's impressive breasts as she came in, then her legs before focusing on the woman's soft face that had just the right amount of tan to it.

         "Now that you've finished undressing me with your eyes, sure," laughed Mary, more than aware of Ashley's attraction to her; the two frequently flirting as they worked but never truly having a relationship. "Bad news, I'm afraid. We have ten days before the little rich witch comes here in person, cancels our project and most likely fires one or both of us.  That's not enough to do a double-blind test, let alone a controlled trial.  We're in a crunch," the scientist concluded as Ashley groaned and leaned back in her chair.

         "We can't proceed without a test subject, and that little dotty bimbo won't give us more funding unless we can sell her on the idea," realized Ashley as Mary walked over and began rubbing her partner's shoulders.

         "There's just two options left then," declared Mary as her fingers worked Ashley's shoulders. "We can either quit or run an improper test."

         "I don't know about you, sweet, but I want to test this before I leave here; if I have to, that is," replied Ashley, taking Mary's hands and kissing them. Ashley then let go and opened her desk, taking out a silver-colored stainless steel thermos. Only ten liters of Type-7 were currently in existence, some of which was in the container Ashley now held. Mary sighed and silently walked over to Ashley's mini-bar, producing a glass.

         "Are you sure you want to do this, here?" asked Mary, concerned for her friend. "I'm more than willing; the analyses all look good, I know. But..?"

         "Yes, but you're young and can always get a job elsewhere," Ashley told her assistant as she took the glass and poured herself a dose of the experimental sedative, eying Mary's figure once again. "If Stone disowns me I might have to retire and I'm not really ready to do that yet." Ashley stood up and held the glass, preparing to drink. Mary merely nodded and hugged Ashley one last time before stepping back.

         "Here goes everything," breathed Ashley, raising the glass to her lips and taking a long sip, emptying half of it. The scientist then slowly lowered the glass and raised her left hand, her index finger extended as she opened her mouth, her eyes looking to the right. Ashley however then stopped, her mouth hanging open as she stood in the unusual pose.

         "Ashley?" asked Mary, waving a hand in front of her partner's motionless face. "Well, I guess the muscle stiffener works." Mary snapped her fingers but Ashley failed to respond, her hand even remaining in place when Mary pried the half-full glass from her hand. Following removing the glass, Mary wrapped her arm around Ashley's waist and touched her face, getting no clear response from the drug-induced immobile scientist.

         "Great, the sedative seems to work as predicted, but will you come out of it?" asked Mary.  "Maybe this will do the trick," she said coyly, leaning in and kissing Ashley full on the lips. Ashley's pink-coated mouth was soft and warm but Mary again felt no clear reaction, Ashley's body and mind was seemingly in a coma or a state of hibernation while she remained frozen in place like a statue. Mary then tried to move Ashley's right arm, managing to straighten it out at her side. "Huh, you are posable," observed Mary, realizing the stiffener was not fully active. Mary made a note of it mentally and then contemplated what to do next. Her superior/partner was now under the effects of a new form of tranquilizer that had never been used on a human being before and it was very possible she'd never wake up, remaining a preserved human statue for he rest of her life. The drugs in the tranquilizer would slow her aging process considerably, resulting in perhaps one minute of aging a month if the suspension lasted that long.

         "Don't worry Ash, I'll take care of you," Mary promised, kissing the suspended Ashley on the cheek this time as she rummaged through the desk, finding keys to the office. Mary would explain that Ashley was working hard in her office for the next few days and didn't want to be disturbed until Erika Stone showed up. Mary would check on Ashley daily to see if she'd recovered and had even considered moving the living mannequin to her office but decided against it, worried someone would witness it. Mary merely shut off the lights, closed the blinds and locked the door behind her.  Ashley remained standing rigidly in the darkened room, looking like a waxwork display of a contemporary businesswoman.  Time passed.

* * *

         "... I... feel... something I think," muttered Ashley, proceeding to blink and groan, her eyes feeling somewhat dry as she stiffly turned and tried to look at the clock. "An hour, that's all?" groaned the scientist as she sat down in front of her computer, noting the glass she'd drank from earlier was sitting on her desk now, no doubt courtesy of Mary. The thermos was nowhere to be seen.  After switching on her monitor, Ashley then discovered her little interlude had lasted much longer than she'd thought. "Wow... that's technically over a week!" exclaimed Ashley, seeing what the current date was. The scientist quickly rose, turned on the lights in her office and paged Mary, who arrived moments later wearing the same clothes as last week.

         "Ashley, thank God!" cried Mary, hugging her friend immediately. "I thought you were going to be stuck like that forever!" The two scientists continued to embrace for a moment longer, too happy to focus on their next move.

         "Alright, we now know how long a half-cup of pure solution can sedate someone of my weight and physique," announced Ashley, returning to her computer and making notes of her findings. "Unfortunately, that was longer duration than I was hoping for, and we're due to meet with Miss Stone in another three days. We need to test this more, but again it'll have to be on someone who's willing."

         "You did it first; I'll do the next test," declared Mary, squeezing Ashley's hand as she stood at her side. "What size of a dosage do you want to go with this time?"

         "Take what's left in that glass, but water it down with something," suggested Ashley, handing her the week-old glass of experimental Type-7 sedative. Mary took the glass and raided her friend's mini-bar once again, filling the rest of the glass with cranberry juice. "Looks like a 50% dilution."

         The mixture ready, Mary stood up and eyed Ashley once again. "You know, there was something... erotic about seeing you standing there like a statue for a week," she told her partner as she swirled the glass's contents in her hand.

         "Well, I'll keep that in mind if I want to market it to rich people looking for a sexual thrill," replied Ashley, leaning back in her chair and giving Mary her complete attention. The younger scientist grinned and took a long chug of the concoction, downing the full glass and then having time to put the empty container on the minibar, much to Ashley's surprise.

         "That's odd; you froze up right away," muttered Mary, looking at her friend in surprise.

         "Maybe it's a reaction from being mixed?  A buffering action from the citric acid or sugar in the juice?" suggested Ashley analytically.

         Mary then tried to take a step forward but found she couldn't.  "Hang on, my feet feel like they're made of stone," revealed Mary, attempting to walk but unable to lift her feet. A moment later her knees became locked as well, both slightly bent with her right sticking out a bit more than her left. "It's like the diluted drink is causing a slow reaction starting at my feet," realized Mary, suddenly unable to feel or move her waist.

         "Maybe it's a reaction with the cranberry juice itself, not just that it was mixed," proposed Ashley, standing up and circling the slowly freezing Mary. "I'll run some tests while you're sedated, presuming the effect is complete. Ideally you should be out for at the most half the time I was, but with the added weakening of the liquid I'd estimate a maximum of three days."

         "Well, the stiffener is certainly taking its time to take hold," sighed Mary, trying to move her shoulders but failing, her arms flailing at her sides. "I'll keep moving as long as I can.  This is very strange; it shouldn't be vertically constrained." Soon Mary's elbows locked, with her left arm in front of her body stretching out forward while her right was raised above her head, her arm bent at the elbow. Moments later her wrists froze, her right sticking straight up and her left dipping downwards. Next went the fingers; frozen while fully spread.  "Reaching my head... hard to speak.." gasped the young scientist.

         "Goodnight, sweet Mary," Ashley said softly, kissing Mary on the lips, their tongues locking for a brief moment before Ashley felt her assistant's mouth become stiff. Leaning back and opening her eyes Ashley saw that Mary's eyes were closed and that she was stuck with her mouth hanging open, her tongue on the left side of it. "Well, I can't very well leave you like that for half a week; you look kind of silly," declared Ashley, quickly setting to work adjusting how her friend was standing. With a bit of effort Mary ended up perched on the left corner of Ashley's desk with her hands in her lap, staring at Ashley with a neutral expression while the senior scientist worked away at analyzing the new mixture Mary had created.

* * *

         "Woah!" exclaimed Mary, suddenly sliding over the edge of Ashley's desk, completely surprised at her new position. "It took almost forever to fully kick in and the blink of an eye for the diluted dose to wear off," commented the recently thawed scientist, standing up as Ashley laughed at the occurrence.

         "Nice to have you back," the older woman told the younger. "It's been almost three full days, and we're meeting Erika Stone in thirty minutes. From the sounds of things she's eager just to cancel this project so she won't have so much stuff to worry about, not that I think that blonde bimbo worries about anything other than looking good."

         "So did you try any more experiments while I was out?" asked Mary, giggling to herself.

         "I tasted a few drops of the sedative and ended up freezing fully for a just a few minutes, but it was very tame," replied Ashley, pointing her her monitor and the large binder that sat on her desk. "I now have a rough breakdown and model of how long a given measurement of the drug will put someone out for based on taking it orally, diluted with water.  I haven't had a chance to check how alternate methods would work."

         "Put someone out?" muttered Mary, not a fan of the term. "Why not just say 'freeze' or something?"

         "Because it doesn't look good in a scientific journal," explained Ashley. "Suspended animation and hibernation are good ones, or even drug-induced paralyzing coma. Oh, I also found out that the unique chemical make-up of cranberry juice is what triggered that slow effect of yours. If you'd taken it with anything else, like water, tea, beer, wine, whatever, you'd of gone into stasis almost instantly like I did at first. In fact, after the first sip it takes at the most five seconds for the full suspension to occur, barring a natural immunity or something."

         "Well then, hopefully we can get Miss Stone to listen at least that long to show her what our new drug can do," said Mary, mentally crossing her fingers. If the product was considered complete by their boss then they could submit it for trials, FDA approval and then begin marketing it, netting billions of profit. That would take more time, easily a year at minimum, but it would be worth it.

         "Don't worry, I have a plan," Ashley assured Mary, making the younger scientist uneasy. Ashley merely winked and blew her assistant a kiss as she picked up the binder and exited her office, Mary followed reluctantly, close behind.

         A few minutes later the two scientists were sitting in a white conference room in the building's top floor, the pair sitting on one side of the long oak table with the windows behind them, both enjoying the leather seats. Erika Stone was due any minute but the duo was ready, Ashley having prepared a full presentation including a video documenting the experiments involving her assistant and herself, both queued up to be played on the wall monitor at one end of the room. A pitcher of water with a few glasses sat on the desk as well but Ashley had suggested that Mary not pour herself a glass, suggesting something was afoot.

         "Good morning ladies; lets make this quick, shall we?" suggested Erika Stone as she strolled into the room wearing a pink strapless dress with matching heels, nails, lips and purse, her blonde hair extra straight with no bounce in the tips, unlike Ashley's, as well as golden ring earrings. Accompanying Erika was a woman with black hair who wore a sleeveless white blouse and a black skirt as well as leather flats; her lips were colored red, she had silver rings decorating her ears. The unprofessional-looking blonde sat across from Ashley and Mary, nodding at the pitcher. Taking the hint, her escort quickly walked over and poured her boss a glass of water, afterward pouring one for everyone else, herself included.

         "All right, Miss Stone, what would you like to hear first?" asked Ashley, Mary noting she seemed a bit taken aback by their boss's beauty. Mary then recalled the other woman was Monica Stein, Erika's travel agent and gofer.

         "I expect to hear you saying you're sorry you wasted my father's time and money on something as pointless as a new sedative," replied Erika, offering a very cocky grin. "Or, have you actually got something society needs?"

         "Miss Stone-" attempted Ashley.

         "Call me Erika," interrupted the billionaire icily.

         "Okay then, Erika," continued Ashley. "We do have something. This new Type-7 sedative could help revolutionize the medical field and possibly have other applications as well. If we could show you our research tape-"

         "Sorry, I've got to meet with the head of our airline in two hours, and that's an hour away from here," interrupted Erika once again. "Since this drug hasn't been reported as being ready for FDA approval and my financial analysts didn't promise me anything as big as what you've claimed, I think you're trying to put one over on me.  I'm going to cancel your project, effective immediately, though I won't give either of you the axe just yet..." The billionaire winked at Mary as she raised her water glass to her mouth and took a sip. A few seconds passed as the billionaire lowering her glass and looked at her employees with a grin on her face as she leaned back in her chair. Then Erika didn't move. For a moment, neither did Mary or Ashley. Behind Erika, unknown to her, Monica had already also taken a drink and stood frozen with the glass held to her lips, her left hand at her side as she looked out the window.

         "Oh, we are in for it now," breathed Mary, realizing what Ashley had just done; her mouth suddenly dry. "Ash, we've just drugged our boss!"

         "Our boss and her little secretary slave girl, too," reminded Ashley, nodding at the still Monica by the window. "Go get the camera and record this scene. I put only a little in the water, diluted enough for them to maybe be out a couple of hours, max." Mary quickly hurried out of the room, desperately trying to contain her raging panic.

         "I guess you've learned how to keep a stiff upper lip, Erika!" joked Ashley when Mary was gone, walking around behind the immobilized sitting Erika and snatching her glass away, pouring her unused portion back into the pitcher. "Finally after all this time I have you right where I want you, and there's only one thing to do now..." Leaning in Ashley quickly kissed the frozen blonde executive, releasing a large amount of sexual tension. Ashley had always preferred women, feeling they were much better lovers than men, most likely due to their great familiarity with the female anatomy. Erika, being frequently included on lists of the hottest women on the planet, was a dream come true for her. If it wasn't for the returning footsteps that no doubt belonged to Mary, Ashley might have gone further.

         "I've got the camera!" announced Mary, setting up the small camcorder at the corner of the table so it could take in both Monica and Erika.

         "Alright then, roll tape; I'll do a little demonstration," suggested Ashley, casually strolling into view of the recorder. "My name is Ashley Tisdale, and what you are seeing right now are the effects of the new Type-7 sedative on two women, Erika Stone and Monica Stein." Ashley walked over to Monica, wrapped her arms around her waist and turned her to face the camera. "Both women have consumed a glass of ordinary tap water laced with just a small amount of the sedative, yet as you can see both are now effectively in suspended animation, their minds having gone into near-instant comas, their bodies held rigid. We predict this effect will last roughly four hours, but we will record the entire duration to confirm that estimate.  At full strength, the paralytic suspension can last much longer." Ashley then proceeded to remove the glass from Monica's stiffened hand and place it on the table, then changing her pose so both her hands were on her hips. "The subjects are completely unaware of what is going on around them. They're completely helpless and comatose..."

* * *

         Roughly four hours and a few minutes later Erika and Monica had finished watching the video after reviving as predicted, with Erika applauding after Ashley walked off-screen. "Considering what time it is, I'd say your estimate was absolutely correct!" laughed the billionaire, apparently not at all miffed about being used as a test subject and missing her other meeting. Right after Erika had woken up, Ashley and Mary had played the video on the large projector screen in the room before the rich heiress or her assistant could comment, though neither were first aware that something was amiss save for how much lower the sun had dipped in the horizon.

         "Yes it was, if you like we can even demonstrate it for you again right now," offered Ashley, indicating the pitcher that still sat on the table. Mary and Monica were conveniently sitting right next to it.

         "Sounds fine, why don't you show me yourself?" suggested Erika, causing Ashley to shrug and take a glass offered to her by Mary.

         "Very well; I'll just take a short sip, one that should last a few minutes," declared Ashley, drinking the equivalent of a tablespoon of the concoction and having enough time to set the glass down before freezing in place, her arms rigid at her sides with her right still leaning forward slightly, relaxation frozen on her face.

         "Okay; I take back what I said before, you two are fricking geniuses!" exclaimed Erika, clapping her hands.

         "Thank you, Miss Stone," offered Mary, bowing her head. "Now then, would you like some more detail on the drug, or would you like to discuss the findings from your last body scan? You'll recall I wanted to talk to you about that if you had time after this meeting, and Ashley isn't free to talk for a few minutes..."

         "Oh right, that little thing..." muttered Erika, tapping her finger while using her other hand to reach into her purse and pull out a stick of gum. "What exactly has you concerned?" she asked as she slid a pink piece of bubblegum into her mouth.

         "Well, your thought patterns..." trailed off Mary as Erika Stone closed her eyes and concentrated, hard. Mary suddenly became fixed in her chair as if she'd taken some Type-7 as well as Monica. Mary sat motionless in her chair with her right hand raised, her index finger extended and a word frozen on her lips, her thin eyebrows furrowed in concern.

         "Too bad; I liked you," whispered Erika as she circled around behind Mary and dragged her chair away from the table, then leaning her head back. "I guess you could call this the kiss of death." Erika leaned in and locked lips with the frozen scientist for almost a full minute before retrieving the pitcher of water from the desk. There wasn't a sound save for her movements, the clock on the wall having even stopped ticking. Erika casually poured nearly the entire contents of the container down Mary's throat, her stomach filling up and some of it sticking to the sides of her mouth. Erika then left what was left of the pitcher on the table and took Ashley's glass, pouring what was left of that down the already frozen scientist's throat, making sure her immobilized coma would last much longer than she'd planned.

         "Since only she did the scan, I'll spare you, but I need time to cover this up," declared Erika, returning to her seat and casually removing her gum, sticking it under the table as the clock began to tick again. Mary instantly coughed, surprised at how much water was in her throat. The scientist stood with her eyes wide and promptly froze yet again, her hands touching her neck as she was bug-eyed, her cheeks puffed up.

         "She found out your little secret?" asked Monica, raising an eyebrow at Mary.

         "She did a brain scan back when there was that speculation I had a tumor and I guess she found where it comes from," revealed Erika, getting up and looking over at Ashley. "Mary has to go away, but I think Ashley is more of our kind of girl..."

* * *

         Five days later Ashley was enjoying her new job as the vice-president of Stone Enterprises Pharmaceuticals, which came with a lavish new office and signed permission from Erika Stone to pretty much use anything in the company to do whatever she wanted. Currently Ashley was thanking her employer by making out with her on the couch in her office, both of them dressed in nothing but silk underwear, their clothes a pile on the floor.

         In record time, Ashley had gotten the approval she'd wanted to start developing a large amount of Type-7 though Erika had suggested holding off on submitting it for FDA approval for a bit longer, suggesting testing out its various uses fully before doing so. Ashley had quickly figured out Erika wondered if it might make a useful sex drug or even non-lethal weapon, Erika's late father having supported both in the past with other products. After Ashley had recovered from the overly long stasis she'd been placed into, she and Erika had proceeded to unleash their sexual appetites on one another and discovered they were very much alike. The main difference between the two, Ashley soon realized, was that in spite of Erika's high IQ scores she didn't use her intelligence to her full potential, enjoying the party girl lifestyle while Ashley was more of a schemer. After on particularly sexy session of love-making, a threesome involving she, Erika and Monica, Erika had revealed the secret for why she'd silenced Mary; Erika had discovered she could stop time through intense concentration. Ashley promised to keep it a secret but suggested someday in the future they explore that in more detail.

         "I still feel a little bad for her," sighed Ashley, breaking the latest lip lock and looking over at her desk. Standing behind it, posed in a black and white bikini, was Mary, frozen stiff while running her hands through her hair with an orgasmic-like look on her face, her body leaning slightly to the left. The large amount of Type-7 Mary had been injected with, thanks to Erika, had caused her metabolism to max out; with her muscles and bodily functions thoroughly frozen she had no way to reject the large amount of liquids in her system that constantly fed her the Type-7, resulting in a sustained dose of the sedative that would last almost indefinitely. The only way to reverse the situation was with a restorative solution, something Ashley was working on, but Erika was adamant about Mary remaining a statue for the foreseeable future.

         "She knows too much," Erika reminded her new lover, pinching her nipple. "I've contacted her family and they now think she's working in Sweden. One of my secretaries is in charge of constantly sending them emails posing as Mary, telling them how she is doing. If they ever try to visit, she'll be off elsewhere. I figure that'll keep them guessing for a few years. Should they continue to look for her, we just forge a death certificate, it's easy. Now come here!" Erika grabbed Ashley's head and proceeded to nearly tear it off with the power of her lips, the scientist wanting to moan in pleasure as a result. She decided not to complain about her new office decoration, instead focusing on the fun she was having with her boss and the bold future that awaited her and her new invention.

To Be Continued...

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