Chapter 10: Trapped

by Cobalt Jade

Lori sighed and rolled over in bed, brushing her cheek against Cal's motionless shoulder. Why do things have to be so complicated and ugly, she thought. She could be living the normal life of a student now, blissfully ignorant of the ugly issues costumed superpowers dealt with every day. She was suddenly envious of Cal. How little he knew.

She kissed his shoulder, inhaling the slightly sweet, slightly pungent man- smell. She wasn't quite ready to go back to HQ yet. He stirred, letting out a deep breath of his own, and her fingertips snaked over his hip to tell her was indeed aroused, and rising fast, warm and solid in her hand.

"Wake up," she whispered. He made a slight noise sounding like hmrgh? and she whispered again, louder, and gave his a cock a squeeze. "Wake up. I want to fuck you."

That got him going, as she knew it would. Ordinarily she didn't care for dirty talk in bed, but it had its uses. She opened her mouth to receive his kiss, parting her legs to accept him inside her. His hips brushed the inside of her knees and she spread herself wider. She wasn't too young to realize that every time she made love could be her last.

He entered her, and she was warm and wet enough for it to feel delicious. He started to move and she heard herself giving little mews of passion like a hungry kitten. His rough beard and mouth were everywhere, her neck, her lips, her nipples. She heard herself cry louder and suddenly her whole body shook. A few seconds later he came too.

Sighing, spent, she let him encircle her with his strong arms. She didn't want to leave him, but she had to... she had to see if the others had found a way to free Cinnabar yet. If they couldn't find a way to counteract Plastica's formula, Cinnabar -- like Darlene and her friends -- would remain a statue forever. "I've got to go, Cal," she whispered. "Early class, remember?"

"You can stay here and have breakfast," he suggested. But only on rare occasions, when Team Paragon had one of its dry spells, did she dare spend the night.

"My books are back at the loft," she lied. She kissed him again, softly. "But I'll see you this weekend, all right?"

"All right," he said, assuaged.

She quickly dressed before she could change her mind.


Darlene and Allison peered over the formula ARTIE had printed out. "This looks doable," Allison said. "Going by what little I know, anyway. Shana was our chem expert." She swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. "Can ARTIE mix up the antidote?"

Darlene nodded. "No problem -- as long as he gets all the ingredients."

"ALOSH can help us with that. They can get hold of anything." Allison looked back at the printout. She'd lied when she said it looked doable; the complicated formula actually looked more like Greek or Martian to her. Yet it was the only chance they had for turning Cinnabar back to normal. She had the sudden, nasty intuition Plastica hadn't left them much time to do it. "That bitch," she swore, crumpling the paper in her fist.

"Careful," Darlene warned, even though ARTIE could easily print out another one.

"Sorry," Allison said sheepishly. "It's just that... I bet Plastica's back at her factory right now. Laughing at us."

"She wouldn't waste her time," Darlene said. "If anything, she's meticulously plotting her next move. All petriphiles are control freaks."

"Petri-what?" Allison said. It was the first time she had ever heard of the term.

"Petriphile," Darlene repeated, her girlish lips curled in an awful, hard-won smile. "She likes to petrify people, turn them into statues. Plastic statues, in her case."

"Like a modern-day Medusa," Allison mused. "But how does that make her a control freak?"

"Because petriphiles like having power over other human beings. And that's a lot easier when their victims can't move or talk... as statues they can treated as if they are disposable or interchangeable. Works of art, or merchandise, or utility objects."

"How do you know?" Allison asked, growing rather alarmed.

"I've studied them for years. Was their victim for years." Darlene gave a short, humorless laugh. Their conversation had taken a definite turn towards the sinister. "Did I tell you I learned to like it?"

Allison could not imagine Darlene, so solid, muscular, and alive, as a mute frozen statue; yet Lori had told her earlier, in private, about Darlene's peculiar fetish. Well, it happens, she decided. More than one superhero found their sex lives reflecting the dangers they faced in real life. One costumed crimefighter was notorious for his bondage and torture escapades; ALOSH had to step in when he began to involve his teenage sidekick in them.

"Another trait petriphiles have is an appreciation of human beauty," Darlene continued. "A frustrated aesthetic sense often drives their 'creations,' so to speak. Marble, crystal, chrome, you name it. The more exotic and precious the material, the better. Some petriphiles liked precious materials like gold, others fragile ones like glass. To think you could destroy someone forever with one small push, or a tap of a hammer..." Darlene shuddered, suddenly wrapping her arms around herself. "They liked us fragile, precious, and helpless...and naked and aroused, too."

"That's true of a lot of men, still," Allison cracked, hoping to inject a note of humor.

Darlene's mouth compressed in contempt. "I would hardly call the criminals we fought men. In fact, I think most of them were impotent. They liked to collect women to leer at... not to have sex with."

"But then what does that make Plastica?" Allison said. "Unless she's a lesbian, why is she turning young women into mannequins?"

"Because she wants to be a mannequin herself," Darlene said with surety. "Oh, she wouldn't actually do it, mind you. She has too much to lose. Nor would she ever admit it. But deep down, that's her secret desire. And that's why she inflicts it on other women, because it gives her a voyeuristic thrill she can't get any other way."

Allison felt slightly nauseous listening to Darlene's theories of petriphile pathology, but she had to admit what she said made sense. Plastica's obsession with the fashion industry, with models and mannequins, and the awful, fetishistic manner in which she had captured Cinnabar... she had to be stopped!

The lab door clicked open as Lori came into the room. Allison knew she'd spent the night with Cal, but she didn't look too happy. In fact, she looked even more worried. She brightened when she saw them talking, however. "Did you -- ?" she asked.

Allison nodded cautiously, indicating the formula. "This may be it. I'll call ALOSH for the rarer ingredients, and then we'll set ARTIE to work on it."


The cell phone beeped softly. Phanxine answered it, her eyes tense. "Iza says he left the house," she whispered.

"Start setting things up," Plastica hissed. They'd parked the van on one of the streets Lori's boyfriend took on his bicycle ride to the UCLA campus, a street mostly deserted of other traffic once rush hour was over. Phanxine pulled her Fruit-en-Fusion t-shirt over her head and opened up the back doors to the van. That was their ploy; they were company reps giving away free samples of a new herbally enhanced soft drink. The bottles were actually filled with kool-aid, but that wouldn't matter to that young man, of course. Plastica smacked her lips at the thought, enjoying the thrill of the hunt. It had been years since she'd pinned such an innocent.

"Free samples..." Phanxine called, waving a cold bottle in each hand. Other students were taking the same route, and the cool drinks attracted attention. Some passersby were eager to get a free drink, but others ignored them. Plastica began to worry; it seemed many of the students weren't interested. Precious minutes ticked away. Plastica tightened her grip on the binoculars, keeping them aimed over the dashboard. Let him come this way today! She couldn't let a change in routine fuck this up now.

"He's rounding the corner," Tiger called.

Sure enough, there was the bicycle. Plastica quickly stuck her head out the window, catching Phanxine's eye. "Make him stop!" she ordered. "This is our only chance!"

She ducked back inside as Cal's bicycle whizzed past the fender. She heard the brakes squeal as Phanxine stepped out in front of him. "Would you like a free bottle of Fruit-en-Fusion?"

Plastica held her breath as Cal steadied himself at a halt. He couldn't run her down, but she was keeping him from his classes, which, by the look of him, he was obviously late for. He glanced over Phanxine's shoulder at the tower of the Arts and Sciences building. "Um, I really don't have time for this," he said, stammering in a way that implied he was too polite to press it further, and hoped Phanxine would do the nice thing and let him go by. Plastica grinned gleefully. Such a vulnerable little cutie, so well-mannered! Imagine the fun she'd have with that one. Her toes curled in anticipation inside her spike-heeled vinyl mules.

"It will only take a minute," Phanxine said quickly with her most winning smile. She turned to the side, showing off the profile of her well-shaped tits, nipples erect inside the tight t-shirt. Damn that girl was good. She saw Cal hesitate. "What flavor would you like? We have Mangoberry, Oralengerine, and Wizardblizzard with taurine and vitamin B6."

"Um, Mangoberry," he said as if he'd forgotten the others. He was still looking towards the campus and made no move to get off his bike. Damn; that thing would take him further and faster than his feet, if he got scared and decided to run. Phanxine reached in back of the van to get to the ice chest, taking out the drugged bottle they'd prepared earlier. "Get him closer to the doors, and off of that bike," Plastica ordered.

"I'll try," Phanxine said, swallowing. She suddenly jerked away, sensing Cal had been about to ride off. "Wait! Don't you want your drink?"

"Thanks. I'll try it later." He tucked the bottle in his bike bag. Shit! Plastica blinked hard, then steadied her eye above the window jamb. Phanxine you ass, do something! Don't let him get away!

"Want a free t-shirt too?" Phanxine said, thinking quickly.

"OK," Cal said, surprising her. Shit. They should've tried that in the first place. College kids always needed t-shirts.

"Come on back then, pick out a design," Phanxine purred. Plastica crouched down by the doors. She heard the kickstand of the bike go down and the scuff of sneakers on concrete. "What size do you want? We have medium, large, extra large -- "

She steeled herself as Cal looked into the van, and into her eyes. Amazement and raw surprise washed over his face. For a split second there was no fear, no comprehension of the danger he was in; she found that rather touching. But he saw nothing more as she struck out with the heel of her hand, hitting him hard above the bridge of the nose. As she expected he crumbled like balsa wood. Cruder than drugging him, but effective nonetheless. As he fell Tiger grabbed his left arm and Plastica his right, and Phanxine gave him a hefty shove from behind. In two more seconds Tiger had hit the gas and they were pulling away with a screech, the abandoned bicycle their only witness.


Sealed behind the stasis field, Cinnabar watched the activity in the Paragon Lab progress. Lori and Allison had a strange machine with them now, a shiny, crablike robot with prehensile arms... and they were clearly working on a chemical formula of some kind. Dear Goddess, let it be her antidote! But all she could do was watch; ALOSH's stasis field turned all outside noise into static. It blocked telepathic contact too, so she couldn't even communicate with Allison, with whom she shared a link.

And she had to communicate with them... she had to warn them.

She tried to moan, wiggle, anything to get their attention. Nothing worked; she was sealed like a fly in amber. She could only clench her muscles a little, and the tiny motion was spread so far out in time by her slowed motor responses that it might as well be nothing. Time was slowed inside the stasis field as well, bringing her metabolism to a virtual standstill. But her mind was still active, if a little slow, and if she couldn't talk to her teammates, she would go insane!

She knew she should feel anxious, but her neurons were firing too slowly for fear. She felt only a slowly mounting dread, a sense of impending explosion... a sensation shamefully amplified by the slow but steady pulse of pleasure from the vibrator still sealed inside her. That was the worst of it, that she should feel such arousal while being so helpless, so trapped. If she couldn't warn her teammates they would all be in terrible danger... as she was sure, by their absence, Gina and Noelani already were.

How could she tell one of the drivers behind Plastica's plot was Kylasha the Damned? And that Kylasha never rested until she got what she wanted?

Cinnabar Steele had freed the ancient witch-queen from her tomb years ago, and nearly died... but she'd emerged from the wreckage with a new identity, that of Scirocco, and a new mission. The naive grad student she was had become a superhero strong enough to face the sorceress, and won. And she thought she'd had. But a few years later, she encountered the sorceress again, and again, she'd nearly paid the ultimate price...


Team Paragon had been investigating a ring of international art thieves. The thieves had broken into a Berlin museum to steal a long-neglected artifact that had not even been on display. Ordinarily the theft would have been nothing notable... but the thoroughness and professionalism of the operation, and the fact a similar artifact had recently been stolen from in the United States, set off warning lights, and Team Paragon -- then consisting of Scirocco, Xenon, and White Rose -- had been called in by Europol to investigate the case.

They tracked the ring down to an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Stuttgart and took separate routes inside, staying in constant contact with each other using specially designed sub-frequence radios -- channel hoppers -- and using more than the usual amount of caution. Cinnabar had chosen to investigate the disused industrial space that comprised the factory's east wing. Carefully she made her way down the catwalks, seeing and hearing nothing out of the ordinary. Yet her heightened sense of smell, far stronger than a normal human's, netted her other impressions... a whiff of fresh lubricant, which meant heavy machinery had been operating recently. And over that, an even fainter odor of human musk. Someone had passed within minutes.

Cautioned, she began to move forward in a stealthy, practiced crouch. Live electricity shimmered in the air; she felt it from another of her specialized senses. Power had been shut off at the factory for years, so it had to be coming from a generator somewhere. And where that somewhere was, the thieves.

She followed the trail. A wide, open door to her left beckoned her through, off the catwalk and into a dark, high-vaulted hall. Nerves stretched taut, she walked in a silent glide, her footsteps testing the composition of the floor. It was something smooth and dense, but not metal or concrete. It wasn't slick, she noted; she could gain a footing. But it did have an abnormal tack or stickiness to it.

As soon as she thought "abnormal" she stumbled forward, falling into a pool of warm liquid that had suddenly opened up before her. The floor pulled away on all sides, leaving her to sink like a stone in the thick, viscous substance. She thrashed her legs, trying to drive herself to the edge where she might haul herself over. But it was no use. The strange liquid quickly thickened to the consistency of tar, trapping her arms below the surface while holding her upright. In another second it had solidified completely, trapping her with her chin just barely above the surface. Before she could process the repercussions of that the lights clicked on.

Groaning, she turned her face away as much as she could. Bootheels clicked across the hall. A long, slim body passed between her and the spotlights: a person... a woman... in a form-fitting black catsuit.

Black Mamba. It could be no other.

The ringleader's stiletto-heeled feet stopped six inches from Cinnabar's head, and Cinnabar steeled herself. But Black Mamba only gave a throaty chuckle at her plight. "Do you know me, Scirocco?"

That voice. Cinnabar would never forget that voice as long as she lived. And here she was, helpless, in front of the enemy she'd thought she'd killed three years before.

"Kylasha," she whispered. She knew she should not show fear, but still felt herself shudder, tremble deep within whatever substance held her.

"Yes," Kylasha hissed, like the ophidian namesake she'd adopted. Standing quickly, she made to kick the helpless Cinnabar in the head.

Cinnabar flinched; she couldn't help it. But Kylasha only laughed.

"You are trapped completely, aren't you?" she gloated in her strange, glottal accent. The light reflected the ebon curves of her catsuit, shooting off highlights as she moved. "How fortunate I am. I did not expect them to send you to me."

"How did you survive?" Cinnabar said, playing for time. If she stalled long enough, her teammates might notice her missing and come to her rescue.

"I am still a sorceress," Kylasha growled. "Though you tried to take my powers from me. You nearly succeeded. But with every piece I collect from the Sword of Screams, I grow stronger."

Relic #471700, Cinnabar thought. So that's why she stole it. She knew the legend behind the Sword of Screams from the inscriptions on Kylasha's tomb, but thought the sorcerous weapon had been lost centuries ago. That it had survived into the modern world, and could be reassembled, made her head spin. "You broke into the Smithsonian, too."

Kylasha nodded. "I and my team. What was once mine, will be mine again."

The legend also said that if Kylasha assembled the sword, that would mean the end of the world as humanity knew it... not just of one small college town in the Midwest, as had happened three years ago. The government had worked overtime to cover that up. But Cinnabar had seen what Kylasha's powers could do... and the power-mad sorceress had been bent on ruling the world.

"But you," Kylasha laughed, looking down on her. Cinnabar tried without avail to free herself from the block. But not even her superhuman strength could tear her free.

"Scirocco, where are you?" the radio squawked. Kylasha whirled around like a demon. Cinnabar breathed a sigh of relief; her radio hadn't been trapped in the rubber with her, just dropped. But the static indicated it had been damaged. Like liquid shadow Kylasha snatched it up, turning off the speaker so no transmittals could get through.

"You have friends," she said darkly, looking down on her victim. "But they will not find you."

"That's for them to decide, " Cinnabar said. She couldn't keep the note of triumph out of her voice. "Run -- if you can."

"No, my dear," Kylasha said, throwing the radio to the floor. She kicked it far ahead into the darkness in front of her. "Run -- if you can." She touched a button on the remote at her belt.

Cinnabar jumped as the door she had come through banged loudly shut, sealing itself. It had been of metal and over two feet thick. Machinery deep inside the floor suddenly ground into life. In the darkness at the far end of the hall a metal door slid slowly upward, something huge and round moving out of it. It must weigh several tons, Cinnabar thought, clinically, as it moved out of the shadows and into the light. Then she realized with alarm what it really was... a giant cylindrical press like the front wheel on a steamroller, glowing a soft cherry-red with its own self-generated heat. It was eight feet high and ten feet wide, and rolled over the squawking radio with barely a crack.

The roller stopped. It backed itself up, revealing a wafer-thin metallic pancake steaming on the floor, easily five times the diameter the radio had been. Kylasha pried it off the floor with the heel of her boot, holding it with a white cloth to protect her hands from the heat.

"You see?" she said. She turned the object fore and aft for Cinnabar's inspection. "You are only in its way, my dear."

Whatever the machine had been used for in the factory's early days, it was clear Kylasha intended to it roll right over her, crushing her skull like a walnut... then cooking it like a crepe. Cinnabar wanted to scream, cry, but nothing came out. She could take any pain, any amount of burn, puncture, cut, or bruise; any bone could be broken, wrenched, cracked. But she could not be mangled like that!

Panic slammed in as her mouth went dry. It had to be a trick of Kylasha's; it had to be. Not even she would try something so obscenely cruel... Against her will, against three years of ALOSH training as a superpower, she broke. Tears streamed from her eyes. "Please..." she sobbed.

"Did I hear you say please?" Kylasha said archly.

"Yes," Cinnabar whimpered. "For the love of God, Kylasha, don't -- "

"I am a god," Kylasha reminded. "A god-dess, remember? Remember how you worshipped me at first, when you opened my tomb?"

"Yes," Cinnabar whispered shamefully, remembering how Kylasha had overpowered her mind with her own, forcing her to be her slave and accomplice, and eventually discarded her to die.

"Worship me again," Kylasha said. "I might let you live." She knelt before Cinnabar's face, thighs spread wide. Her fingers fiddled briefly at the crotch of her catsuit, removing a triangle of leather that exposed her pubic region. She lowered her exposed sex to Cinnabar's lips. "Worship me, Cinnabar."

Kylasha's pubic lips were already moist, the musky, acid smell all too familiar to Cinnabar from her days as sorceress's slave. Cinnabar swallowing, her revulsion nearly gagging her. She couldn't do this again, no, she couldn't...!

Kylasha sensed her hesitation. "Use your tongue, or die like that radio!" she ordered.

Tears streamed from Cinnabar's eyes, but she knew she had to play for time. Grimacing, she opened her mouth and extended her tongue. Kylasha scooted forward, raising herself slightly on her heels. With her other hand she grabbed the back of Cinnabar's head, pushing her mouth forward into her crotch.

Cinnabar nearly suffocated in the stink of her, but she was aware her life depended on the length of her service. Every precious second she gained might mean her rescue, so she bit back her revulsion and kissed the vulva of the evil witch. The stern pressure on the back of her head warned her not to slack off. With lips, teeth, and tongue she groomed the slick organs before her, trying hard not to gag at the taste. If she distracted the sorceress enough, her teammates might catch her off guard.

With a grim determination she did just that, swirling her tongue around the sorceress's semi-erect clit. Kylasha began to pant, the smooth leather of her thighs trembling against the sides of Cinnabar's head. It was clear she was becoming highly excited. Her fingers tangled in Cinnabar's auburn hair, pulling it hard enough for pain. Tears came to Cinnabar's eyes, but she did not stop her service.

Many minutes passed. Kylasha hissed in pleasure, her upper body bobbing slowly up and down. Cinnabar raised her eyes to see the witch's face go slack, her gaze go blank. It looked like Kylasha was about to lose all control. Hope came back to Cinnabar. Were her teammates on the way to save her? Had they realized what had gone wrong?

Without warning Kylasha trembled and cried out. A foul-tasting fluid squirted out of her vagina, rolling into Cinnabar's mouth and down her throat. For a few seconds she lolled, ribcage heaving deeply, then looked down on her victim with an inscrutable expression. Slowly and deliberately she wiped her crotch several times across Cinnabar's face, depositing more of her come-fluid like an animal with its spore.

She laughed. "That was good. Very, very good. You always were such an exemplary slave, Cinnabar."

Cinnabar flushed with shame, not daring to ask the sorceress for her reward. But hoping, praying...

"I'd forgotten how skilled you were with your tongue," Kylasha chuckled. "How nice to be reminded of past pleasure." She snapped the triangular bib at the crotch of her catsuit back into place and rose from the floor. "But in the end you were disposable, as all human slaves are."

She strolled to the side of the hall. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave you now. I usually like blood and gore, but I'm afraid this will be a little too much, even for me." She stooped to pick up a can of white paint and a paintbrush, waggling the bristles in a mock-playful way. "This is to cover up the nasty stain you'll leave on the concrete, my dear... " Laughing, she pressed the switch that set the roller into motion.

Cinnabar watched it advance... and screamed.

She was still screaming when Shana found her, Kylasha's come still stinking in her hair. The red-hot curve was mere inches from her face, only her magically summoned sword, Sabreglass, was holding it at bay... its pommel held tight in Cinnabar's mouth.

She'd broken her jaw, and several teeth. And Kylasha had gotten away with both relics.

Shana and Allison eventually captured the sorceress's henchmen, but their partial victory did not hide the fact of Cinnabar's failure. She'd been careless and caught off-guard; the consequences had been rape, humiliation, and nearly death. Many months passed before she could regain her confidence, or faced her teammates as an equal.

Now, in a space of days, Kylasha had taken it all away from her again.

She had to get out of the cube!

Allison, Lori and a dark-haired stranger were conferring, over what, Cinnabar couldn't hear. Please, she prayed, let it be the antidote...


Allison stared at the tube of clear liquid she held in her hands. At last they had the formula, but they needed to test it. Otherwise, Cinnabar might wind up in a worse state than the one she was in now. She gave the Aubrey mannequin a guilty glance. Logic said they should test it on her; she wasn't a superpower with the responsibilities it entailed. She was expendable. But that was cruel, and she immediately put the thought out of her mind.

Darlene was thinking the same thing. "Too bad we don't have any rats," she muttered. She glanced at Cinnabar in her transparent prison. "What would she want us to do?"

Allison knew Cinnabar wouldn't want them to test an unproved formula on a human guinea pig. But it seemed they didn't have much of a choice.

"We can run a computer simulation," Darlene suggested. "ARTIE can set one up pretty quickly."

"It'll take time to run through all the possibilities," Allison said, half factual, half protesting. "Time for Plastica to take some action. But there's no other way around it, I guess."

Darlene went to program ARTIE, keying in a long sequence of numbers. "Don't look so down. Plastica can't be 100% ahead of the curve all the time."

"How do you know?" Allison said. She hadn't thought that mantis-hipped, candy-haired travesty of a female model had any human vulnerability, besides the need to breathe.

"Because she lets her fetishes take her over," Darlene said with surety. "Her need for control will make her lose sight of the big picture, or she'll get overconfident or careless. And that's when her defenses will be down. Sexual fantasies -- of whatever kind -- always tend to do that."

Allison watched her for several minutes, then realized Lori should be there, too. She went into the other room to fetch her.

But Lori wasn't there. The phone was hanging out of its cradle, emitting a beeping sound. The door to the loft was open.

"What the -- " Allison began. Wherever Lori had gone, she'd gone quickly -- too quickly. The light on the answering machine was blinking rapidly, a malevolent red eye that indicated the message was unfinished. Allison hit play.

Plastica's nasal, grating voice filled the air, her Southern accent thick as grits. "Are you there, Arctica? Well, we've got that boyfriend of yours. If you want to see him again, y'all can come over for a visit, hear?"

Darlene joined her as the message ended, and their eyes locked. "Oh no, Lori!"



This story is copyrighted 2002 by Cobalt Jade ( This work may be freely distributed over electronic media provided no fee is charged for its use. Charging a fee for this story, or publishing without author credit or this notice violates my copyright.

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