The Tuckerverse – Hui's Assignment

by Zero

Author's Note: The following most accurately fits in somewhere between Tucker 12 and 15. There's a little bit of ambiguity because really any date between those two stories works. Choose what you will.
[for sanity sake, I placed it after Tucker 13 in the index, though as noted above that’s arbitrary.  Ed.]

These are all tales of hijinks that Tucker has with his magical gizmo, which take place in what will be known from now on as the 'Tuckerverse'. You may want to read Tucker's tales from the beginning, or catch up on the latest chapter before continuing; the lead characters are introduced in the first story. [Ed.]

Note from the Authors: After deliberation we've decided that yes, the Clockwork series and the Tucker stories are set in the same world. This world is currently being dubbed the Tuckerverse by the authors, since Tucker currently has the most stories that revolve around him though the Clockwork stories are quite large by comparison. We hope you've enjoyed the Clockwork and Tucker series' so far and hope you will continue to do so in the Tuckerverse!


Fortune Sea Resort, Cayman Islands, Caribbean Sea

            The Fortune Sea Resort was the latest craze among jet-setting types. A private island resort with an atrocious cost, Fortune Sea was essentially a massive Spanish villa along a beach whose sand was primarily made from erosion of rocks created by volcanic activity, resulting in a substance so soft and fine it felt like talcum powder. Local sea life also gave the water a greenish color, most like that of an emerald than seaweed, making the island's beach truly a unique experience. Cayman Island bank accounts were also all the rage as opposed to the old Swiss ones, thus the island was the perfect place to handle off-shore banking and enjoy a unique beach experience.

The resort could handle two hundred guests, assuming they each wanted a room for one, but ideal capacity was triple that. Additionally staff consisted of eighty dedicated employees, including over twenty maids and as many security personnel. A daily boat shuttle brought in food and other necessities while guests generally arrived via helicopter or private jet from nearby islands or, more commonly, Jamaica or Cuba. A few boat shuttles also came, but generally it was air traffic that the resort saw the most. In particular, one white passenger chopper had just arrived from George Town. Off of it stepped four guests: two blond millionaire daughters with tiny dogs and extravagant clothing that cost them thousands of dollars apiece, and another pair of women who both appeared to be Asian, though one was Chinese and the other was Hawaiian.

            “God, it's more beautiful than I imagined,” exclaimed Interpol agent Miranda Ohala, beaming as he eyes widened behind her Oakleys sunglasses.

            “Just try not to get too caught up and forget everything you've learned,” warned her partner and lover Hui Lan, adjusting her own glasses that were identical to Miranda's. Back in 2007 the pair had had a few run ins with the Paradise Foundation, which had been interested in exploiting the Type-7 sedative drug invented by famed chemists Mary Hamilton and Ashley Tisdale as well as the time-manipulating abilities of billionaire Erika Stone. Even before that the pair had been kidnapped by Erika Stone while she'd been travelling the world stealing historical artifacts from museums.

Now Hui, a tactical expert, was the head of the International Temporal Enforcement Agency's tactical unit though she shared the position with Jelena Hendraille. The ITEA, or IT for short, had been created through the UN and NATO after several incidents had come to light regarding Type-7 and the ability some people seemed to possess that allowed them to manipulate time. Veterans from the Paradise Foundation battles had been reassigned to the new organization whose charter stated they would investigate any incidents all over the globe that were suspected of being connected to the use of Type-7 or time alteration. It was awkward as Type-7 was technically a drug but due to its ability to suspend bodily functions it had become classified as a 'temporal weapon.'  Type-7 itself was now considered illegal to the public and government use was restricted, but black market dealers were selling it for all kinds of uses, from sex to terrorism. Even worse were people like Erika Stone, who seemed to possess a psychic ability allowing them to stop time more or less at will. Anyone known to possess this ability was documented, which made it really hard on IT member Tasia Spiro as she also possessed the unique trait. If someone other than Lucienne Christophe were running the ITEA, Hui was certain that Tasia would of been locked up for experimentation long ago.

            “Stop treating me like that; I know what our job is,” insisted Miranda as her low-cut strapless white sundress danced in the helicopter-generated breeze. The pair were going undercover as members of the fictional Pacific Trade Group, supposed millionaires out for some rest and relaxation. It was suspected that international criminals, possibly a sort of mafia, were using Fortune Sea as a base of operations. Hui and Miranda were selected to go due to their experience at working together and their diversity, as Hui was a master of unarmed and armed combat while Miranda was fairly good at disguises and undercover work.

            “Treating you like what?” asked Hui, taking her wheeled suitcase from the resort's clerk before he sped away to attend to the other two riders and their dogs. Hui was dressed in a red two-piece bikini but wore black shorts that were almost hot pants over the top of her legs and a white knotted blouse around her body, her hair all the same as loose as Miranda's.

            “I've been with you for over a year and you still act like I'm a kid who can't be serious when I need to be,” complained Miranda as she trailed behind Hui, who was heading towards the main glass doors of the resort. The building was primarily white, which did fine against the sandy exterior that had little greenery aside from the palm trees.

            “Well, what happened when we first met is still well in my mind,” remarked Hui, sniffing to herself as the glass doors slid open automatically.

            “Oh come on, it was like a dream, I couldn't believe it was real!” insisted Miranda as she continued to follow Hui. At a massive oak desk stood a smiling woman in a basic white blouse and black skirt ensemble, a lily in her hair. She was dark-haired and beamed a smile so bright Hui thought she was staring into headlights.

            “Welcome to the Fortune Sea Resort! I'm Roza Martinez, your head of maid services,” offered the woman, even bowing from behind the desk. She was a bit tall and in spite of the name Hui didn't buy that she was any ethnicity other than either American or possibly Eastern European. She carried an accent but it didn't roll quite right, though Hui had been trained to bit up on fraudulent details. Hui figured the woman carried the name to give the resort a sort of ethnic quality.

            “I'm Hui Lan, this is my business partner Miranda Ohala,” offered Hui, indicating her lover with her thumb. “We booked a two-bedroom suite for one week through Monica Stein from Stone Enterprizes.” Monica Stein was Erika Stone's travel agent and family friend who had originally been an enemy of Hui and Miranda, having helped Erika kidnap them, but following the Paradise Foundation encounters she and her friend had both reformed, at least to a degree. Perhaps out of kindness, Lucienne had chosen to make the cover organization Pacific Trade Group owned by Stone Enterprizes, giving Erika a chance to redeem herself.

            “Ah yes, I remember,” nodded Roza knowingly. “You'll be staying in suite 202, right across the way from 241. I was asked to emphasize that by the residents of that room.”

            “You were?” asked Miranda, confused. The mission was supposed to be a secret so it seemed odd that they were expected.

            “Who's staying in there?” questioned Hui.

            “Why, Miss Erika Stone and Caitlin Trafford,” revealed Roza with a smile.

* * *

            “Hello darling, did you have a pleasant trip?” asked the redheaded sex goddess that was Caitlin Trafford when she opened the door to 241 a few minutes later. After getting escorted to their room, Hui and left Miranda to unpack while she'd decided to confront their neighbors.

            “Cut the pleasantness Caty, why the hell are you here?” demanded Hui, angry.

            “Oh, please don't call me that,” pouted Caitlin as she opened the door wider. “Come in and we'll explain.” Hui sighed and entered the room, discovering that Caitlin was wearing a seafoam green bathrobe and most likely nothing else. The room was like Hui's: two king-sized beds with silk sheets, beautiful carpets, delicately carved cabinets, drawers, desks and tables, a hardwood balcony and a chandelier made most likely of pure gold. Unlike Hui's room however, 241 faced the beach. Sitting on one of the beds with a hardcover book was Erika Stone herself, the blond and tan beauty wearing the same kind of robe as Caitlin.

            “Oh hello Hui, how's my favorite Chinese girl?!” exclaimed Erika, jumping up off the bed and running to give the woman a hug. Hui resisted however, ducking and spinning around behind her.

            “Pissed that you're here!” exclaimed Hui. “What the hell?! How did you know we were coming?!”

            “My wife told us,” explained Caitlin with a casual shrug as Erika offered a guilty smile.

            “She mentioned IT had contacted her about booking a trip to here,” revealed Erika. “It inspired me to come since Caitlin and I haven't had been here in ages. Then I found out at the registry that you two had signed up using your real names and I just had to surprise you!”

            “Ah...” mumbled Hui, suddenly a bit red. “Okay, I guess that's reasonable. I was worried Monica had let you know why we're here.”

            “I can guess, but I promise you I'll try to keep out of your hair,” remarked Erika, surprising Hui with another hug which she ended up giving in to. “I've been busy socializing with some of the guests for the past few days, when Caitlin and I haven't been playing of course. Don't worry; we haven't done anything risky. I figured if IT was sending someone it would be wise to not do that. Still, a few of my old friends are here, so I'm hoping you'll protect them?”

            “That is our job,” rattled out Hui, a bit befuddled by Erika's warm embrace. Lost in the hold, she didn't realize Erika had given her a kiss before it was too late. “Argh!”

            “Sorry, you're just so cute at times,” giggled Erika mischievously. “Remember Sandy, that girl from Decker State College I took under my wing? She's here with a few of her friends too. I think she followed me, but she won't confess. Oh, my fashion guru Zoe Hollander is here too with her top five models doing a photo shoot.”

            “I heard a few software company executives were also here,” remarked Hui, shaking her head. “Don't worry, we have some leads. Still, watch yourself around the staff, I don't want you falling into the wrong hands.”

            “The staff?” asked Caitlin, then nodding. “Ah, this place might have a second, sinister purpose?”

            “Well, at this point the staff is more likely than a guest since it's been going on for some time,” casually remarked Hui, then realizing what she'd done. “Gah! Okay, that's it, I'm leaving!”

            “Oh come on, we'd love to meet you both for dinner...” Erika almost purred, placing her hands on Hui's shoulders as she tried to walk towards the door.

            “Ugh... we'll see,” sighed Hui, quickly tickling Erika under her armpits to escape. Outside of the room, Hui let out a breath and recomposed herself. While Erika, in spite of declaring Mary Hamilton to be the love of her life, openly flirted with virtually every woman she knew, Hui and Miranda were exclusive. In fact, Hui had initially considered herself straight, dating a man when she'd first met the bisexual Miranda, but after a few months Hui couldn't deny her feelings anymore. The pair had managed to keep their relationship relatively secret, save from some of their closer friends. Cassandra Flick, whom Hui had worked with for over three years, still didn't know, but she'd never realized her old friend Lucienne had been somewhat interested in her either.

            Returning to her room, Hui saw Miranda lying on the bed, holding up a glass of just-poured wine. The wine was special as it was from a private stash Lucienne made personally. IT confiscated large amounts of Type-7 during their operations but unfortunately it wasn't that hard to replicate so there was a lot more out there. IT was also legalized to test the paralyzing drug as a field tranquilizer as an alternative to TASER guns, pepper spray and typical sedatives. As a result Lucienne had gained access to a lot of the drug and mixed it into a wine that she shared with her close friends. The reason behind the drug-laced wine was that Type-7, to those who had experienced it, was almost like a sex improvement drug. Most of its black market use was for use in the bedroom, and major members of IT were also guilty of this. Deciding to sweep it under the rug, Lucienne constantly logged in less Type-7 than was recovered and used the rest in the wine as gifts for her people. Type-7 antidote was in a standard IT field kit as well so it didn't surprise Hui that almost every senior agent indulged. Even the stiff Cassandra regularly accepted the wine.

            “Not the best time,” declared Hui, shaking her head as she headed to a large mirror in front of the desk to fix her appearance.

            “Why not, we've only just arrived!” insisted Miranda, disappointed.

            “Right, and the mission takes priority over pleasure,” fired back Hui, shaking her head. “After we've scouted the place out, identified potential suspects... then we can enjoy ourselves. That is, if we don't have to prevent an incident.” Hui heard Miranda growl in frustration and get up. In the mirror Hui saw that Miranda looked very frustrated.

            “We finally get a dream assignment and you don't even give a damn about our relationship!” fumed Miranda, crossing her arms behind Hui. Suddenly concerned, Hui turned around and quickly touched her lover's shoulders.

            “I tell you I love you every day and in spite of an image problem we live together!” Hui reminded Miranda, annoyed but showing passion instead. “You know I'm committed, and trust me, when work isn't a big issue, I will show you that this rolling stone has gathered no moss...”

            “Sexy proverb use...” sighed Miranda, flashing a weak smile. “I don't know Hui... I think I'm just scared that we want different things. Look at what happened when I moved in... remember the fight over that wall-hanging?”

            “Yeah, you told me, 'Sun Tzu isn't sexy!'” recalled Hui, smiling weakly as well.

            “I'm just getting scared we don't have enough in common to really... well, you know...” moaned Miranda, looking at Hui for support. The two women ended up embracing and shared a long kiss, but after that they agreed to get to work.

* * *

Two Days Later...

            “Well its official, the only person that registers as a threat here is Erika,” declared Miranda, returning to 202 with a hardcover copy of The DaVinci Code that she'd been using as a notebook. At least seven guests had remarked how behind the times she'd been for just reading the book now but Miranda's excuse was she could only read on vacation and she hadn't taken a good one in a while.

            Miranda had been down at the beach for the past two hours, watching Zoe Hollander finish a photo shoot with five models. The models were, from first to last on the list and in terms of Zoe's rankings, Lola Mateo, Diedra Sawyer, Amy Spring, Vera Graham and Haley Leone. Lola, Zoe's most famous girl, was a Brazilian-Italian beauty who had captured the minds of men and women across the globe, most notably with Victoria's Secret. Diedra Sawyer was the second most famous African-American model in the world after Tonya Cash and had a famous poster out that featured her straddling an oak tree. Amy Spring was a Perfect 10 model that was frequently seen at American fashion shows even when Zoe wasn't, her vibrant eyes being her key. Vera Graham had been listed as the third-sexiest woman in the United Kingdom, supposedly a first for a woman who was visibly Indian. Vera had even gotten into acting, appearing in several Bollywood films in the past two years in minor roles. Finally the newcomer Haley Leone was a bit of a mystery, having seemingly come out of nowhere but in spite of being fairly short, only standing at five foot six. Miranda had heard Zoe's assistant Katheryn say that Hollander was grooming Leone personally. Zoe herself was only five foot seven and like Haley was a Perfect 10 so Miranda suspected it was a familiarity thing. Interesting, but none of the models seemed like likely suspects, and with them listed Miranda and Hui had officially make a note of everyone at the resort.

            “Damn, that means the only noteworthy people are are Erika and Caitlin,” sighed Hui, sitting at the desk and using her laptop. “I've already written my update for Lucienne and was just waiting any changes you might have. Since you don't all that's left is to send it.”

            “Does that mean we can finally have some fun?” asked Miranda, her eyes widening along with her smile. In a silent reply Hui stood and removed the green resort robe she'd been wearing, to reveal a red silk bikini with Mandarin text, colored yellow, on it. Miranda had gotten decent at the language and knew it said words like 'sun' and 'fortune.' “Oh goody... so what'll it be? Beach?”

            “I was thinking a private soak before that,” explained Hui, reaching behind the desk and producing a dark purple one-piece suit with a white ivy pattern she'd hidden earlier. “I don't know if you've seen them, but there's private hot tubs. I figure a relaxing and stress-relieving dip before we head out into the sun.”

            “Not a bad idea, they should be free right now since a good chunk of the guests are at the line dancing class,” remarked Miranda, continuing to beam a smile as she grabbed the swimsuit and quickly stripped while Hui was in the bathroom retrieving two towels. When the pair was ready, they grabbed their room keycards as well as their purses and headed out.

            A few minutes later Hui and Miranda arrived at the spa area of the Fortune Sea resort. The area did feature private rooms, some containing hot tubs and others saunas. Additionally there was a public pool for those who disliked the beach and a few massage parlors as well as a mud bath. As Miranda had theorized, no one was really around save two of Miss Zoe's models, the blond Haley Leone and the brunette Amy Spring. Both were conversing with a tanned blond man in a white uniform, no doubt a masseuse. “Can I help you?” asked a short redhead behind the administration desk that was surrounded almost entirely in a glass dome, preventing water from getting in. “I'm Izzy Martinez.”

            “You're not related to Roza?” asked Miranda, and Izzy nodded but said nothing more. “Right, I guess chit-chat isn't why we're here. We'd like to use a hot tub room if one is available.”

            “Almost everyone's doing outside activities right now, only one of the saunas is occupied,” explained Izzy, producing a key from her glass desk. “Right this way.” Izzy led the couple away from her desk to a door near the back carved from what looked like the wood of a palm tree. Unlocking it, Izzy motioned the pair inside where they saw a ground-level tub that was carved out of stone with enough room to seat easily two dozen people. There were lockers in one corner as well as wooden benches, making it look like a combination of a sauna, locker room and outdoor steam bath. “The door can be locked from this side, and there's an intercom should something arise,” pointed out Izzy with a smile. “Please enjoy yourselves, though it is recommended not to spend more than half an hour in the water.”

            “Thank you for your help,” nodded Hui, and Miranda gave the woman, clearly Roza's younger sibling, a smile before she bowed and left. Closing the door, Hui and Miranda set down their purses and towels and quickly climbed in, Hui nuzzling against Miranda who sat in the corner.

            “Ahh... great idea,” moaned Miranda as she felt the warm body soothe her body and Hui's own warmth make her heart flutter.

            “Water soothes the soul almost as much as music,” remarked Hui, closing her eyes. “I should try and make up a proverb about that.”

            “Like you don't have enough already,” laughed Miranda, closing her own eyes. The couple sat in silence for a minute before Miranda broke it. “Hey... what do you think would happen if we came forward about our relationship?”

            “...Hard to say,” Hui said after biting her lip for a moment. “Lucienne and Tasia were found out by Interpol and forced to stop working together, but ITEA changed things. Marika and Dieter are husband and wife and they work together now. No one's made a fuss about Tasia and Lucienne either, though I think a few people don't know about them since it isn't exactly broadcast everywhere. Colette told me Paddy's still in the dark.”

            “Paddy's a computer geek to geeks as geeks are to normal people,” sniffed Miranda with a chuckle. “He's too caught up in his databases and networks to notice things. I don't think he knows about Cassandra and Odie either, and he proposed to her.”

            “Yeah, and she turned him down,” added Hui, nodding in spite of having her head buried in Miranda's shoulder. “They're still together at least. I guess they just agreed he popped the question too early.”

            “We're drifting off-topic though,” pointed out Miranda. “IT isn't Interpol. Its a tightly-knit organization and can't separate us even if we go public or, more extreme, become legal domestic partners. We're too invaluable thanks to our experiences.”

            “I guess I'm still just worried about my image then,” confessed Hui with a sigh. “I'm sorry. I do love you, I just... I don't think I've gotten comfortable with the political aspects of our relationship. I'm scared about what people will think.”

            “Well, you are a real world action girl and finding out you eat carpet will hurt that image negatively,” Sighed Miranda, kissing Hui on the forehead. “It's okay. I'm patient. I've been waiting for someone like you for a long time. It isn't like I have a ticking biological clock here. If I do have kids they'll be adopted, more than likely.”

            “I still have a hard time even thinking of kids,” breathed Hui, suddenly sitting up. “Okay, lets cut this line of talk and lighten up. Lean back.”

            “Okay...” grinning Miranda, doing as was asked. Grinning as well, Hui disappeared under the water. Miranda then proceeded to moan in pleasure as Hui found a way inside her bikini with her hands, taking full advantage of the water environment. Under the water Hui continued to work her magic fingers, her breath lasting a long time, as she'd been fairly skilled at holding it.

            After three minutes Hui's air was running short so she let some out to have her tongue do what her fingers had been doing for a few more seconds before popping back up. It was then, however, that Hui noticed Miranda was still leaning back, her arms on the edge of the tub, her eyes closed with her mouth open wide but no sound coming out. Instantly concerned, Hui touched her lover's face and confirmed that she was frozen stiff.

            “Oh no!” exclaimed Hui, climbing out of the water and hurrying towards her purse. She could of sworn she'd had a Type-7 antidote gel capsule in her purse but only produced her electronic nose, unable to find the capsule and realizing it must be in their room. All the same Hui decided to use the nose and detect if her suspicions were right, as it did contain the data needed to find trace Type-7 in the air. Had the drug been in the water, Hui would have frozen first but she clearly hadn't. Sure enough, after a few moments the device beeped and concluded that trace Type-7 was in the air, in highly concentrated particles too. That meant that the room had been flooded with gas for at least a minute, which would be enough to freeze someone for hours. Hui would definitely need the antidote now.

            Planning on leaving investigation until after her partner was active again, Hui slid the nose back into her purse and prepared to leave when she heard the lock to the room click. Deciding she could learn who had unleashed the gas and prevent the knowledge of her being unfrozen from being known, Hui quickly entered a mental state of nirvana and froze herself, standing with her hands grasping her purse as she stood up straight, dripping wet and facing the wall, her face blank. Behind her she heard the door open and the click of heeled shoes, meaning whoever was there was a woman. “Weird, I guess her cell rang,” came a female voice Hui knew to belong to Izzy. The footsteps then came closer until the redhead leaned in front of Hui, looking at her face intently. Waving a hand in front of Hui's face, Izzy stared curiously before shrugging and reaching for the purse.

            “Boo!” exclaimed Hui, causing Izzy to jump as Hui dropped her purse and delivered a pair of fast chops to the sides of Izzy's neck, stunning her so that Hui could pinch her windpipe. Izzy's brown eyes went wide but the first blow had already made her lose her breath and it wasn't long before her eyes fluttered closed and she slumped against the bench. Hui counted internally and when she reached the right time she let go. Years of martial arts training had given Hui mastery over knowing how long to choke a person before they black out but where to stop before they died. Recovery depended on how strong the person was, so Hui had to work fast and began searching Izzy. It was no surprise that in the white fanny pack around her waist Hui retrieved a Russian-made injector pistol. The device wasn't technically a weapon, more a sophisticated syringe, but commonly used to deliver tranquilizers to those that were struggling. It didn't take a genius to know the weapon contained more Type-7 and sure enough the fanny pack was loaded with extra canisters of it. After giving Izzy an injection to keep her quiet, Hui waited and confirmed that Izzy was frozen after raising the woman's left arm and leaving it to hang stiffly in the air.

            “Well, that's one down,” breathed Hui, planning her next move. After taking the fanny pack, Hui decided she'd go and get the antidote for Miranda since she couldn't tell if there was any in Izzy's bag, then work with her lover to clean up. She doubted Izzy was working alone and had the nagging suspicion this was all a joke perpetrated by Erika Stone to mess with her. Still, she didn't know if the gas had been isolated to just the room or had been released on a more grand scale. She needed to learn more, thus she carefully opened the door and left the room.

            In the central room Hui immediately got confirmation that the spread of Type-7 gas was wider than just the hot tub room: Haley Leone was standing by the pool's diving board in a gold-colored bikini, frozen in mid-step. Moving towards the young model, Hui did a quick body examination, noting that she did have an excellent figure and no signs of injection, meaning she'd been gassed too. A glance inside the massage parlor revealed Amy Spring laying chest-down on the bed, a towel covering the lower half of her body with the blond man pressing his hands against her back while she lay with her arms crossed. Neither one was moving either so Hui was becoming certain the entire resort had been gassed, save Izzy's little glass office.

            More determined to get the antidote for Miranda, Hui carefully crept out of the spa area, hoping no one would come looking for Izzy. No sooner did she pass through the large doors did she encounter another frozen person, a younger man in a speedo and a muscle shirt frozen in mid-step. A glance down the hall allowed Hui to spot a maid, dressed in the same white uniform as Izzy with with a matching apron, bent over with her hands on a cart. Focusing, Hui began to control her breathing and moved stealthily, making virtually no audible noise to a human being as she stepped; it helping that she was barefoot.

            As Hui reached the closest stairwell that could take her up to the second floor suites she heard sounds from around the corner, two voices speaking. Not wanting to tempt a confrontation she resorted to playing possum again, quickly removing the stolen fanny pack, which Hui had been wearing around her shoulder like a purse, and slid it between the stairs and a decorative plant along with the injector gun which had been in her hands. Following this she took up a simple pose with her left foot on the first step, her right hand on the railing and a blank look on her face, her purse held with her left hand.

            “...can't believe it worked,” came a male voice, coming around the corner.

            “I told you the boss knew what she was doing,” remarked a female voice that was in the same proximity as the male one. “It took us almost a month but with every light rigged with the gas we can rob this place blind in no time. Plus there's the hostage random bonus if we want to go that route.”

            “But won't the gas wear off in less than a day?” asked the male voice, coming closer.

            “That's why we're injecting everyone, so they'll overdose and stay like this until we use the antidote,” explained the female, sounding frustrated. “She went over this; you should have been listening. It's a designer drug, so no government has the cure. They have to follow our terms or their loved ones remain statues until they decompose or something.”

            “Damn,” muttered the male, walking past Hui. She couldn't see them but felt them go by.

            “Focus on the job, not that one's ass,” snapped the female.

            “I was talking about the decompose thing!” stuttered the man as Hui heard them pass her by. She wanted to smile, glad that men still found her well-toned rear end appealing, but feared someone would see the movement and pounce. Hui figured she could take however she came across, but that might be several people and she wanted an ally. The chatter continued and Hui waited until she couldn't hear anyone before moving again, grabbing her hidden belongings and heading upstairs.

            Luckily for Hui she managed to arrive at her room without incident, only passing a few more random frozen people in the hall. When she came to her room however she glanced over at 241 and wondered about Erika. Type-7 was originally her signature before the Paradise Foundation began using it so she had to check to see if the billionaire was in her room. Luckily Hui saw that the computerized key card locks on every room, including her own, were disabled, no doubt by someone at the administration desk who was with the apparent thieves. Mentally dubbing the hostile group as mobsters, Hui cautiously touched the handle to Erika's room and quickly opened it.

            “Ack!” exclaimed Hui in surprise, the door flying open to reveal Erika right in front of her. The blond was standing rigid in a platinum and emerald two-piece bikini and sunglasses on top of her head, her hair in a low ponytail. Erika's right hand was reached towards the door and she was looking down slightly, her hips bent and her right leg forward, her face showing a small smile with her lips parted slightly. Hui didn't need more proof that Erika was frozen, given the pose she was holding for no clear reason. Further proof was Caitlin, who was laying in bed with her arms around a woman who was probably Cuban, neither batting an eye at the now-open door.

            “Sorry I thought it was you,” offered Hui with a weak smile, knowing Erika couldn't hear her. All the same Hui wanted Erika someplace safe in case the mobsters had chips, which had been used in the past to manipulate Erika's time-stopping gene. Stepping in behind Erika, Hui hooked her hands under the frozen woman's armpits, which were completely smooth of course, and dragged her on her bare heels to the bed, then lowering her so she was laying on her side. Finally, Hui got down and pushed Erika under the bed, obscuring her from view. The ruse may prove to be a failure in the long run, but Hui couldn't take any chances.

            Finished in 241, Hui darted across the hallway and entered 202. She spent a few minutes searching and soon found the bag containing their Type-7 items. Just as Hui found the liquid antidote however she heard footsteps out in the hallway. Still not keen on risking confrontation until Miranda could back her up in case she got injected, Hui decided to fake it. This time however a devious plan came into her mind.

* * *

            “Izzy still hasn't checked in,” Frank Strum commented as he reached the second floor alongside his boss Roza Martinez. Roza was concerned about her little sister but was fairly certain she'd merely forgotten to don her mask at the right time, a time they'd been planning for over a month. After years of travelling the globe with a small crew and pulling off minor crimes they were finally going to hit it big thanks to the drug Rajni Arora had sold them. Roza had even made their new identities legal, burying their old Russian names for good. Now it seemed however that Izzy had decided it wasn't worth remembering the exact time of day when their lives would change.

            Shaking off her thoughts, Roza looked at Frank. “I'll get started with the occupied rooms, you go straight to 225 and grab Megan Wolff. She's due to start filming a new project in a few weeks so she'll make a great hostage. No one's in 201 so I'll start with 202.”

            “You got it boss,” nodded Frank, walking away. Roza smiled and watched the muscular redheaded man go. She'd never heard of a German redhead so he was an oddity, as was his ponytail, which Roza thought looked weird. In any event Frank was part of her team's muscle and disposable so if he proved to be a pain later on she could just overdose him and dump him overboard.

            Roza opened the door to 202 and immediately saw there wasn't much worth taking. Some of the guests brought large amounts of expensive objects including massive jewelry boxes and racks of designer dresses but it seemed these two women had packed light. Roza only saw three suitcases and anything worth carrying in one of those generally wasn't valuable. All the same Roza did note there was decent looking laptop on the desk and a purse on the bed. As for the actual women who'd reserved the room, only the Chinese one was present, clad in a bathing suit. The stiffened woman was standing in front of the dresser, a bottle of wine in front of her and her right hand holding a glass of it. Her left hand was on her hip and she seemed to be staring at the wall clock, probably wondering if it was too early to be drinking. Roza smiled and casually snatched the glass from the woman's hand, figuring it would be a waste to let it sit there un-drunk.  It was a very good vintage, she recognized.

* * *

            After counting out an entire minute between when the woman, who turned out to indeed be Izzy's sister Roza, took the glass and the current moment, Hui quickly turned to her right and was pleased to see the trap had worked perfectly. Roza was standing with the glass to her lips, her right arm fully bent at the elbow and tight against her arm with her hand raised and her fingers spread, looking extremely happy to be drinking the fine, drug-laced wine, her left hand holding the glass. “That'll teach you to drink on the job,” whispered Hui, reaching into the dresser and producing the injector gun. A moment later the weapon's canister was empty and Hui was removing Roza's fanny pack, now geared up to go and get Miranda.

            Closing the door to 202, Hui quietly moved down to 225, having heard Roza's orders to her companion from inside. Moving quietly she found the room that belonged to the now-famous actress and stood outside the door, listening intently.

            “How can someone so beautiful have such junk?!” complained the man in the room. Grinning, Hui raised the injector gun and with a free hand knocked on the door. “The hell? Who's that?” Hui heard grumbling and then the door opened, a redheaded man sticking his head out of the door, right where Hui could inject him. The strike was fast and the man's eyes barely had time to widen before the Type-7 kicked in. Not wanting to risk a visible disturbance, Hui quickly stepped into the room, pushing the immobilized thief over. Wolff's room was almost identical to Erika's and the short dark-haired model/actress was standing front of a gold-framed full body mirror. Megan's lips were puckered as she stared into the mirror, her arms raised in a flexing pose that almost made her look like she was playing superhero. The young woman was wearing designer dark blue jeans and a silk tank top, barefoot like most of the other people Hui had seen that weren't staff. Shaking her head, Hui returned to the matter of the intruder and dragged him over to the closet, grabbing the cords from a couple of robes and used them to tie the man up. While Hui had heard that the injectors were loaded with overdoses she figured if Miss Wolff unfroze she wouldn't be as concerned if the man in her room was tied up.

            “Be sure to give me your autograph after this,” Hui told the gorgeous movie star, who now looked more like a waxwork image of herself, before leaving with a smile. Outside of 225, Hui quietly made her way towards the stairs, needing to return to the spa area.

            A few minutes later Hui arrived back at the hot tub with no further encounters, the IT agent assuming that any other suspects, including the pair that had passed her in the hall, were elsewhere. Hui still wasn't sure how they'd deal with everyone on the beach, given that the lights were what were rigged to emit the gas and it was designed to dissipate rapidly. In any event, Hui's focus was on Miranda and she made it back inside the room, then realizing she should of turned off the steam jets. It was the first time Hui had seen someone with Type-7 in their system show real reaction to heat or cold, Miranda's upper body was glistening with perspiration in spite of it not having gone into the water. Izzy too was soaked from her own bodily fluids, though it didn't seem to be at a serious level. All the same Hui turned off everything but the lights and quickly pulled Miranda from the water, laying her down flat on her back.

            “I guess it does pay to cut loose now and then,” remarked Hui as she produced a gelcap from her purse and dropped it into Miranda's open mouth. The cap quickly dissolved.

            “Oooh!” gasped Miranda a moment later, then opening her eyes. “Huh?!” she exclaimed, sitting up and getting a surprise hug from her partner and lover. “What in the hell...”

            “Our targets struck at just the right moment; luckily I wasn't affected,” Hui quickly explained in between a few quick kisses. “Roza seems to be their leader, but I've already taken her out. Izzy here – the kid sister – was with them too, she's also down. A third man has also been eliminated, but I'm not sure how many others Rosa had with her. They installed gas sprayers in the light fixtures with a concentrated dosage, plus they planned to overdose everyone with these guns so they'd be able to hold the guests for ransom indefinitely. Oh, and Erika isn't part of this, because she's frozen too.  I stashed her under her own bed so she wouldn’t be taken.”

            “Boy... you nearly orgasm and the entire world nearly goes to hell,” breathed Miranda, standing up. “I guess we're back on the clock.”

            “Lets hunt these bastards down and show them what the ITEA is all about,” grinned Hui, handing Miranda a fanny pack.

* * *

            Harold Winters was glad he could finally get rid of his white uniform for something he'd found in a room on the third floor, now sporting a black muscle shirt with an undone buttoned navy dress shirt and a pair of khaki pants. So far he'd looted the first six rooms of the top floor, gathering a decent amount of jewelry and wallets as well as a couple of laptops and some designer clothing. All of his stolen goods were in a laundry cart he was pushing along and brought to a stop outside of the next room, one that belonged to a Diane West, whom Harold recalled was a photographer with the Zoe Hollander group. Stepping inside, the man saw that the woman was there, as stiff as all the other victims of the gas, standing facing her desk with her arms raised in alarm, a broken lamp on the ground. The redhead's hair was frizzy and hanging free, hiding all save the lenses of her square glasses. She was dressed in a worn sweatshirt and jeans that looked completely out of place in such a luxurious room. If ever Harold had been into women it would of been ones like Diane that could make him reconsider.

            Ignoring the dumpy-looking redhead, Harold did a quick search and found a purse, which he quickly snatched, then raiding a few suitcases before finding nothing more of value, not even a decent laptop. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” grumbled Harold as he injected Diane with his weapon, deciding to steal her cameras before he exited. Roza hadn't mentioned cameras as being worth stealing but he figured an preofessional outfit owned by a woman employed by one of the most famous modeling agents in the world had to have something decent.

            Exiting the room Harold quickly became puzzled as his cart had been moved in spite of no one else mobile being around. Harold now turned to see it was back near the rear stairwell at room 301. Confused, Harold cautiously walked over and saw no one, it almost seeming like the cart had moved on its own. As Harold tried to move it however he noticed it felt heavier. Perplexed, he reached in to feel around and felt a sharp pain in his hand before everything went dark.

* * *

            Giles Taureau was fairly disappointed that he was partnered with Val, given that she wouldn't let him have any fun and scolded him for so much as unnecessarily touching a frozen woman, never mind kissing or groping them. He wanted to go back and check out the Asian woman he'd seen on the stairs or visit one of the models but instead he was looting the coatroom in the dance hall and main dining room. It had been mid-afternoon when the gas attack had been launched thus they'd managed to freeze an entire line dancing class. As a result there was a series of checked in purses and coats that Giles was now looting as a bored male attendant leaned on the counter, frozen as he stared with disinterest at the crowd on the floor before him.

            A Ukranian dance leader stood frozen with his hands on his hips and his right leg extended to the side, caught in the middle of the next step for the class. Dozens of resort guests, including the notable Miss Zoe Hollander and one of her models Lola Manteo, all stood mirroring the leader's pose, stepping with their left. Some were smiling, some looked bored, but all more or less held the same rigid pose. As Giles wrapped up on the coatroom, he was free to leave and begin on the crowd while Val worked on the kitchen.

            Collecting the final purse and dropping it into the garbage bag he was carrying, Giles walked out onto the empty wooden dance floor as the bad Reggae continued to play. The Frenchman would never understand how one could dance in a folk style to such music, but earlier he'd wondered if hula would of been more appropriate in spite of it being a Caribbean resort so he wasn't exactly an expert either. Still, a man in a puffy white shirt with a fur vest would always look stupid to Giles.

            The front row of the dancers was as good of a place to start as any for Giles so he did so, walking the line and feeling men and women for hidden wallets while taking their watches, rings and necklaces. Near the end of the row came Zoe Hollander, who in spite of being nearly fifty looked forty at the most and had the body of a tanned mannequin. She had her signature full but cropped short blond hair and wore a shimmering white dress made from satin that hugged her form almost like a bodysuit. Zoe kept a toothless smile on her face as Giles casually moved her hands from her hips so he could pull off her many rings and drop them into his bag, then taking the gold chain necklace that bore several gold coins from various cultures from around her neck. “I will... take good care of you,” whispered Giles as he injected Zoe with his gun as he'd done with the others.

            Following Zoe came Lola Manteo, who looked extremely bored; she wore a yellow leopard-skin dress that might be real, thus Giles figured she wasn't for animal rights. The woman's breasts seemed inches from popping out the way the material seemed unable to contain them, given it was a strapless outfit. Giles took even longer to remove Lola's jewelry than he had with Zoe, as Lola was still younger and sexier in spite of how good Zoe looked. Giles had to fight his urge to sniff the woman's hair as he injected her.

            The last woman in the row caused Giles to pause in confusion. She was wearing a one piece swimsuit, which seemed out of place since everyone else was at least wearing a proper skirt, shorts or pants, not to mention shoes or sandals. The woman also bore a completely blank expression on her face and her hands were both to her right. Even more disappointing was that the woman appeared to not be wearing any jewelry. Sighing, Giles readied his gun to inject the Hawaiian beauty when something brushed his neck and his senses failed him.

* * *

            Val fished some of the broth out of the boiling soup to try a taste as she stood in the kitchen opposite the dining room/dance hall, careful to not let her waist-length blond hair fall in. All the chefs, who were mostly men in white uniforms and big hats like one would expect, stood frozen and Val had been forced to turn off several stoves and ovens to avoid a big mess. One particular man, a Jamaican who's cliche dreadlocks were hanging out of his hat, had been standing with a ladle inches from the broth thus Val couldn't help herself in between injecting him and everyone else with Type-7.

            Wrapping up with the kitchen, Val walked over to the pantry and opened the door, surprised to then see a handsome Brazilian man with a shaved head on top of a white woman who was in turn on top of a pile of flour, locked in a passionate kiss. The man was clearly a chef, being only without his hat, while the woman Val recognized as being Zoe Hollander's assistant Kathryn Summers. Summers was wearing a pink tube top with white cords, her hair a tangled mess making it clear some hands had been run through it as she rested on her back with her arms around the tall and handsome man. Val was about to approach and inject them when she noticed the door lock was broken. Val had spent most of her time in the kitchen away from the pantry and only come to it last and not attempted at the lock, which now appeared to have been forced. Puzzled, Val bent down to get a closer look at which point a loud clang rang out as something struck the back of her head. Val's vision went blurry as she fell backwards into someone's arms as a tiny pain pricked her neck.

* * *

            James McWhirter, nicknamed 'Tex' since his family had moved to Arizona when he was five, exited the rec hall, having dealt with the two men inside. A pair of older, stuffier looking men in suits had been playing a game of pool, one man with gray hair bent over the table about to shoot for the yellow ball in the corner pocket. Now outside and with a few nice watches stuffed in his pants as well as a pair of cell phones, Tex smiled as he saw his next target: the tennis court.

            Two beautiful blonds who looked to be maybe twenty-one and were almost identical stood in the only occupied court, both dressed like cliché socialite players. One with wave-like hair stood in a pink and white horizontal-striped collared top with a white sweatshirt wrapped around her neck and clad in white shorts, bent over with her racket held between her legs. On the other end was a blond with straight hair in a color-opposite outfit of the first girl's, her racket raised, as she stood in mid-serve, a tennis ball on the ground in front of her. Tex was going to enjoy having them around.

            “Hey, I thought you were ordered to go to the beach,” came an unfamiliar voice behind Tex. Confused, Tex turned to see a Chinese woman in a bikini standing there with a fake smile. Tex wanted to ask who she was but at that point she seemed to blur and something poked his neck, causing him to black out.

* * *

            Milo wandered the sandy beach in his red swim trunks, gleefully injecting everyone he passed. Most of the people on the beach were sitting on chairs or laying on towels making it easy for him to complete his assignment. In addition to rigging all the lights with gas sprayers Roza had had them rig all the beach chairs and night lamps with them as well, thus how they'd managed to freeze everyone at the beach. Roza and Tex had also been standing by with dart guns in case someone was in the water and thus away from the gas when it went off, but since the guests were mostly stuffy millionaires and the waters were terrible for surfing this time of year no one was shot. Milo happily groped Diedra Sawyer, who was lounging in a simple black two-piece bikini on a padded beach chair, nursing an orange smoothie while wearing massive sunglasses and letting her short, dark hair hang loose. Milo ran his fingers along her perfect belly as his free hand injected her in the neck. The criminal then proceeded to give the woman a long kiss before walking away, also sipping her drink. “Tequila, you sneak,” laughed Milo as he left.

            The next person on the beach was Vera Graham and the surfing instructor Kwami, the latter's name being some strange alias he'd made up for himself. Vera stood with her arms above her head, her fingers locked and her spine tight, her heels off the ground thus it was clear she was stretching. The woman had long curly black hair that reached to the middle of her back and had a sort of bouffant look. Her outfit consisted of, curiously, a white tank top and a red thong, not a standard bikini. Like with Diedra, Milo couldn't help but notice how Vera's perfectly shaped body shimmered in the afternoon sun, causing him to ignore Kwami who was wearing a visor, T-shirt and shorts as well as a series of pretentious necklaces.

            Milo readied himself in inject Vera when there was a rustling from the plantlife on the alcove overlooking the area. Looking up, Milo was just in time to see a dark-haired woman diving towards him. “Argh!” cried out the thug as he was tackled to the ground, his gun escaping his grasp. Another woman jumped down then quickly pricked his neck with something, causing his senses to fade.

* * *

Six Hours Later...

            A quick tropical night had fallen by the time Tasia's team had arrived to help clean up and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Force had come to arrest the mobsters. There had been eight in all; Hui and Miranda had managed to take them all down successfully. Now the pair were standing in their room with Tasia, doing a full debriefing.

            “The Martinez sisters had been going under the name Brom while living in LA, that's the name we got from Rajni Arora's list when we brought her in,” revealed Tasia, sitting at the desk while Hui and Miranda shared one of the beds, both still in their swimsuits while Tasia wore a black business dress with a white blouse and pantyhose, her hair combed behind her ears. She looked out of place at the laid-back resort.  “Their profiles fit the one we got from that file, so that's good and bad news. The good news is that's one name off that list, the bad news is that we don't have a new supplier to go after.”

            “Well, at least we stopped a potential major kidnapping incident,” remarked Hui, sighing in relief. “Never mind the actress and the models, just having Erika in the wrong hands again could be... dangerous.”

            “I know, I don't want that nightmare again,” agreed Tasia, shaking her head. “So how are you two? You seem to be working well again, you get past move-in jitters?”

            “What-” began Miranda, surprised Tasia knew. Miranda had raised her hands in shock and Hui looked like a deer caught in the headlights, her eyes wide. Silence persisted as Tasia grinned a knowing smile while she leaned back in the chair, her arms resting casually on her chest. After a moment the door opened and Erika Stone walked in, stark naked and a giant grin on her face.

            “Ah, just like old times,” giggled the billionaire as she admired the three frozen women whom she'd soon see naked again.



End of Report

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