Gran Casino de Sardinero, Santander, Spain
Kayla LeFer was in awe as she walked with her friend Haley Leone, having never been outside of the United States until now, though she'd nearly gone to Mexico once. The brunette tipped her gray wool cap backwards slightly, brushing her reddish-brown hair back slightly as she looked at the ceiling. "Okay, for the eightieth time, thank you so much!" Kayla almost squealed.
Haley, on Kayla's left, smiled, her street clothing still looking far more impressive than Kayla's, wearing a white designer tube top with the black outline of a woman's face on the front, her pants high end jeans that were a blue Kayla could of sworn could never be pulled off in denim. Haley's friend meanwhile wore a simple white T-shirt with red, white and blue poker chips stacked around the belly, her own jeans black and looking somewhat worn. "Hey, who else am I going to take?" asked Haley as she led her friend towards the main showroom, which was where the fashion show was going to take place.
"Ginger, Tucker?" suggested Kayla with a shrug.
"Ginger's been a bit mean lately and Tucker is a definite no-no, in spite of our current situation," Haley was quick to reply.
"Sweetie, you haven't dated a guy since him, at least not properly," Kayla reminded her best friend. "I know you lied about Miguel and Filipe too, implying you slept with them, but we both know the truth there."
"Thanks for telling me how it was with them, by the way," laughed Haley, smiling for a moment before allowing it to disappear. "Look, he's got a girlfriend and they're serious. In spite of how I feel I'm not going to offer him up any temptation."
"You mean besides sleeping a few feet away?" scoffed Kayla, not getting a laugh this time but a sigh as the pair arrived at the show room.
The show room was designed as one might expect, with a T-shaped stage and great big curtains, black for photogenic reasons with a white stage, dozens of chairs scattered around, surprisingly none of them the folding variety and equipped with cushions. Several lights were still being set up and only a couple of photographers were present. Behind the stage was where the models would stand by, a sort of green room, while two of the rear bathrooms were converted into prep rooms. The set-up was familiar to Haley, it being her third show since signing with Miss Zoe, though it was her first international one, her last two having been in LA and New York.
Miss Zoe's personal assistant Kathryn Summers, a sexy blond in her own right but considered too flawed to be a model, was standing to the right of the stage, guarding the entrance to the back stage with nothing but a clip board and a visible stun gun hanging from her belt. "Haley, good to see you!" greeted Kathryn, who'd become a good friend of Haley's in spite of some past spats.
"Not the last to arrive I hope?" asked Haley, glancing at the gold-framed clock on the wall and noting she was still twenty minutes early.
"No, but you're still dragging," remarked Kathryn with an appologetic smile. "Most of the girls get here an hour in advance to take care of unforseen problems. Vera's special bra, for example, didn't mesh well with the dresses she'd be wearing so she needed to send a runner for a replacement."
"Well, I'll make sure she learns," offered Kayla with a grin, putting her arm around her friend's shoulders. "Who's late, anyhow?"
"Just Lola," revealed Kathryn, rolling her eyes. "Plus, of course, Amy." Haley and Kayla nodded, both knowing the stories there. Lola Mateo was Miss Zoe's number one model, but for the show celebrity models Michelle Foster, Devon Von Krieger and Amelia DuGalle were all booked, causing Lola to become jealous. During the past two pre-show meetings Lola had showed up late and drunk, not helping matters. Amy Spring meanwhile had unexpectedly quit a month ago, deciding to retire out of the blue and not even holding any sort of celebration. Miss Zoe in particular seemed disturbed by it, but it was rumored it was due to Amy secretly being on drugs. Due to the drop-out Zoe had brought in a couple of lower-level models, including Haley's friend from LA Amanda Burns as well as a fairly new Irish model named Lacey Finnegan.
"Well, I'll go them turn me into a swan," declared Haley, smiling as she walked past Kathryn but getting only somewhat annoyed head-shaking from the other two women.
"She really needs to stop saying that," groaned Kayla. "Even in those 'street clothes' she still looks like she should be standing in a window rather than walking around."
"Tell me about it," sighed Kathryn. "Still, at least she's a lot easier to get along with. All the senior models are pretty rough around the edges, though Devon is surprisingly nice..."
* * *
For the second time in her life, Marika Bran was undercover as international super model Devon Von Krieger. The former Interpol agent had played her over a year ago, during said time also meeting her future husband. Now Marika was out of the International Temporal Enforcement Agency's offices for the first time in a couple of months for an assignment, doing a job ideally no one else could do. It was true the ITEA had several agents that could pose as models, notably Palmira Tiago, Anna Federov, Miranda Ohala, the recently-returned Tasia Spiro and even arguably Hui Lan, but Marika was in a unique position since she resembled a real model. It was lucky for IT that the real Devon was in Brazil, filming a television pilot of some sort, the project a secret from the media.
Marika was having her spanish assistant make final adjustments to her first outfit of the evening, which was a dark blue knee-high dress whose top was a wrap-around, almost like a scarf for her breasts. Next to her was another IT agent, the still somewhat green Nessa Kelly, who was posing as Lacey Finnegan. Like Marika was to Devon Nessa was to Lacey, though while Devon and Marika could be twins save for a few minor skin and teeth differences Nessa was an inch shorter than Lacey and her hair was longer, but luckily since the woman was off sailing the world with some Irish millionaire, Nessa was the perfect pairing for Marika's own disguise. In the past members of the IT espionage wing would pose as fake models but in this case IT couldn't risk anyone knowing the women were fake, nor did they have time to do fake photo shoots.
After her assistant was gone Marika turned to Nessa, who was already dressed in a red dress that hugged her like a snake, the wrap effect it carried also giving the impression as there were odd slivers in the material where skin could be seen. Nessa's brown hair was also up in an elaborate bun and framed with a platinum tiara. "Have you gotten a chance to ID everyone?" asked Marika, breaking cover but luckily with no one appearing to listen, the duo having already used bug detectors and finding none.
"The models and regular staff, yes," confirmed Nessa, who was using her cell phone seemingly with innocence, though she was really accessing IT's database, which was tied to that of Interpol's. Nessa would take a picture of a person, pretending to fidgit, and get a database hit moments later. So far Nessa was making good progress, checking to ensure everyone known who was supposed to be there was who they say they were.
"Have you gotten far with the non-regulars?" Marika asked next, admiring the pearls around her neck as she spoke and noting how odd her hair looked when it was shoulder-length and given spiked-out tips. The hair was part of the disguise so Marika had agreed to it, glad to be finally getting a break from her office work, in spite of how much she enjoyed being in one place with her husband and advancing science for mankind and law enforcement.
"Nearly done, but I'm starting to think whatever is going on is with someone established," noted Nessa, continuing to type away. After the disappearance of Amy Spring IT had gotten wind of a rumor that a man had seen a mannequin that looked just like the model being wheeled away from Miss Zoe's agency in LA. This rumor had been confirmed by another and caused IT to suspect that someone within the agency was using Type-7 or something else on models. While Amy Spring was the most prolific disappearance, though it was claimed she'd retired and was off with family somewhere, it had been discovered that two would-be models were also gone without a trace, both having auditioned for Models Inc. While Nessa and Marika followed some of the agency's stop people to Spain the rest of Nessa's team, Team Zeta, would be back in LA checking the agency building itself.
"Any one of them could be behind it," muttered Marika to herself as she began to glance around. Haley Leone had just arrived with her friend, though Marika didn't know her name yet.To Marika's right was Vera Graham, the British model of Indian descent who was currently just in her underwear as her dress wasn't working out, her hair loose. Past Vera at the end of the row was an empty chair for where Lola Mateo, the Brazilian-Italian superstar, would be sitting. To Nessa's left was Diedra Sawyer, the top American model of the group who was also African-American and thought by many to be the next Tonya Cash. Diedra's dress was a silver version of Nessa's, plus she was going to wear an actual snake during her walk, in spite of protests that she felt it was racist. Next to Diedra was a girl only known as Chi, a Vietnamese model from LA that had apparently legally gotten her name changed. The small woman was currently only wearing a green robe.
"Hi girls!" greeted Haley, everyone nodding or offering a couple of words as, in spite of how naive she appeared to be, they all liked her. Haley would be getting changed in the other room, which held international models Amelia DuGalle and Michelle Foster as well as LA talents Chene Francois and Amanda Burns.
"Um, excuse me, Miss Von Krieger?" offered Haley's friend, approaching Marika out of the blue. "My name's Kayla and... I just wanted to say... you... um... your shoot with Otto Shreiken was inspiring stuff."
Marika froze for maybe a split-second before smiling. "Thank you very much, Kayla," offered Marika in her best German accent, which was quite convincing as it had fooled everyone else so far. Kayla opened her mouth to speak again but it was then that something else transpired.
* * *
"Hello mortals," slurred Lola Mateo as she all but flew into the room, stunning Haley. Lola was a mess, wearing a pink halter top and black bike shorts, her hair all over the place and a bottle of wine in her right hand, her left throwing her several thousand dollar purse to the floor. It didn't take a genius to know Lola was drunk yet again, and this time it was the big show.
"Hi Lola," offered Haley, unsure of what else to say.
"Shut up, Malibu Barbie," spat Lola, moving past Haley only to stop moments later. "You've got to be shitting me... why am I on the end?! I'm the biggest draw this show has!"
"Oh no," Haley heard Chi utter, though luckily Lola didn't turn her attention to the Asian girl and instead began ranting incoherently.
"Lola!" a voice suddenly screamed, and Haley turned to see Miss Zoe standing in the doorway, the still fairly good-looking blond dressed in a black dress that resembled a business outfit thanks to its collar and V-shaped neck, her armed crossed.
"Hey, I need to... to talk... to you," coughed out Lola, dropping her bottle and causing it roll around on the floor, only a few drops of red hitting the ground as it had been already all but emptied.
"Come with me you spoiled diva," hissed Miss Zoe, practically rushing over and dragging Lola out of the room as everyone else looked on in shock.
Once the pair were gone it was Diedra who started in first. "About time that girl got torn a new one," remarked the acclaimed model in a snooty tone.
"That's an understatement, and I'm still new here," chimed in Lacey.
"I'm so glad that bitch is getting what she deserves," laughed Kayla, coming up to her friend.
"It isn't just the competition," pointed out Haley, sighing sadly. "She was just dumped. That's never happened to Lola before, and she's acting out."
"Still, that doesn't give you the license to act like a compete spoiled brat," pointed out Kayla, frowning all the same.
"Yeah, but I should go talk to her," decided Haley, glancing around. "I'm sure my dresses are fine, they always are. Just meet me in the other change room, after you've mingled that is."
"Alright, but don't commit career suicide on her behalf," warned Kayla as she smiled once again and turned to head back over to Devon.
Exiting the changing room Haley spotted Chene Francois popping her head out from the other room, the two women nodding at each other before Haley decided to head into the back, since it seemed like the only way Zoe would take Lola. Chene was French and a gorgeous blond but had been raised in LA and thus lacked some of the culture you'd expect from her background. Haley had also noted the woman was wearing a red dress with furry white seams, looking like Mrs. Claus if she were in her twenties and going out for a night on the town.
Out back of the show room was maintenance hallways, and Haley noted Zoe and Lola weren't present. Frowning, Haley was about to turn back when she noticed a door not far away that was propped open, voices vaguely heard from behind it. Curious, Haley inched closer and opened it, slipping inside.
The room was well-lit and appeared be some kind of storage room with four shapes all covered by white sheets, one in each corner of the room. Haley, fortunately, was hidden by the one near the door and had managed to enter without making a sound, plus she was still a good fifty feet away from her boss and the drunk model she was with.
"You stabbed me in the back by bringing them in!" screamed Lola, clearly almost in tears. "You knew I was hurting, and you've been putting all your time into that Malibu girl..."
"For the last time she's not from Malibu, and her family roots are almost purely Italian!" fired back Zoe, clearly defending Haley, which made her smile in spite of being hidden.
"I made you half a billion last year!" spat Lola, tears now flowing. "Out of all your girls, I'm the only one that can claim that!"
"It's true, you helped my business more than anything," agreed Zoe, nodding sadly and reaching into her purse, presumably to get Lola a hankerchef. "I pay most of the other girls six or seven figure salaries annually, but you're one of the few I'd go to eight with. Unfortunately I can't have you ruining my show, or worse yet, ruining your beauty."
"What are you-" began Lola, only to suddenly be cut off when, to Haley's shock, Miss Zoe produced a pistol from her bag and fired a shot right into the crying model's chest. Haley's blood turned to ice but she quickly realized the shot had been almost silent, barely a whisper in spite of the room's size, and that Lola was merely motionless, not bleeding or collapsing.
"Type-7!" Haley immediately exclaimed, instantly regretting it. Naturally Miss Zoe turned and saw Haley, raising her weapon and training it on the blond. In a panic Haley pulled the sheet from the object in front of her and, used it to mask herself rolling to the left, the dart hitting the sheet instead of her. As Haley tried to quickly stand however she once again stopped when she saw that, to her horror, she'd just removed the sheet covering the mannequin-like form of Amy Spring. This was Haley's final thought before something hit her in the chest, though oddly not from Miss Zoe's angle.
* * *
After getting Devon Von Krueger to promise to give her an autograph after the show, Kayla decided she should go find Haley and stick with her since she still hadn't received her backstage pass. Kayla had been told that Miss Zoe's travel assistant Tanya Frost would be waiting for Haley and her guest in the other change room but it would be hard for Kayla to explain things if Haley wasn't around, even if she'd met Tanya once.
After doing a quick scan of the green room Kayla noticed the back door and assumed that was where Haley and Zoe had both gone, deciding it was a good a way to go as any since it would most likely be quieter. Sure enough Kayla noticed a propped open door in the hallway and immediately prepared to peek inside, but stopped when she heard a voice.
"This isn't how I wanted things to go," moaned Miss Zoe, whom Kayla could see standing in front of Haley, Miss Zoe's Belgian black-haired travel assistant Tanya Frost also present and, disturbingly, holding a gun. If it hadn't been for her acting trainning Kayla might of cried out, though instead she just wondered what was going on and why Haley was just standing there with her arms extended slightly forward, as if trying to push Miss Zoe away. Tanya looked somewhat odd herself, wearing a light blue jumpsuit that resembled something a janitor would wear, her dark hair up in a braided bun.
"Tanya, is the fail-safe installed?" asked Miss Zoe next, looking at her aide.
"Yes, it will just require a few moments to ready the deployment system," answered the Belgian, sounding almost robotic.
"Alright, you go finish that, I'll join you in a moment," announced Miss Zoe, allowing her second assistant to leave the room, apparently though another door at the far end. "Oh, Haley, dear Haley. You're one of my best..." Kayla watched as Zoe then reached out and gently touched Haley's face, though Kayla still didn't see a reaction from her friend, though her face was hidden from sight.
"I'd nearly given up on fashion, but you're... special," sighed the fashion icon, her hands moving to touch other parts of Haley while she continued to show no resistance, standing almost like a mannequin. "You kept me going, being one the first real talents I'd found in a while. When Xavier gave this wonderful drug I thought to myself I'd only use it on the girls destroying themselves. Whitney, Kylie, Joanna... they were all about to go downhill, so it was the perfect time. Amy unfortunately nearly ruined things with my lovely slave and it really did hurt a bit to inject her, but I can't chip a model and still use her. Lola, ha, her stunts had sealed her fate before this trip was even planned. But not you, my sweet Haley... I had big plans for you." Kayla watched in shock as Miss Zoe pressed her forehead against Haley's, but her friend remained effectively a statue. It was during this time that Kayla spotted Lola, standing nearby and also having not moved a muscle the whole time. Additionally even closer was Amy Spring, stiff as a board, standing with her hands on her hips in a little silver dress and her right side swayed outwards.
"This is like that story I heard about Hawaii," realized Kayla in a quiet voice. During the previous summer Haley had gone to Hawaii with Tucker and had been kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend using some sort of drug that could freeze people. The drug had popped up occasionally in the news during international incidents and at one point there were plans to make a movie about what had occurred in Hawaii, though last Kayla had heard the project was dead for some reason.
"Well, no use worrying now," shrugged Miss Zoe, stepping away from Haley and moving to follow Tanya. "In about a minute everyone will be frozen and then I'll have my pick of which girls I want to preserve in my collection of daughters. Before all I had were clothes, but now... real everlasting beauty, that will be my gift to the world. A collection of the most beautiful women in the world. Welcome to Hollander's Daughters." Kayla watched the fashion designer leave and wondered if she'd learned how to act by watching a series of hams do bad Shakespeare.
Once she was sure the room was devoid of animate people Kayla walked into the side room, noting three forms with white sheets over them, most likely more women that had effectively been turned into mannequins. Kayla cautiously walked up to Haley and saw her friend's face was frozen in a look of shock, her eyes somewhat wide and her mouth hanging open, her knees bent as she'd clearly been intending to move to her right, but that must of been when the dart in her chest had struck home. "Haley?" asked Kayla, having heard of the drug her friend had apparently been given but never seen it in action before. Experimentally Kayla reached out and touched her friend's forehead, getting a slight wobble as Haley's body shook ever so slightly.
"Oh my God," gasped Kayla, starting to feel tears well up. "Don't worry, I'll get you back to normal." Kayla threw her arms around her friend and held her tight before looking around the room. "I'll help all of you, even you, you freaking diva," added Kayla, her last words aimed at Lola. Kayla was tempted to look under the other sheets, but currently her plan was to go and find out what exactly Miss Zoe was doing next.
The exit at the other end of the room turned out to be a security station where Miss Zoe and Tanya both stood watching the many monitors. A man in a black suit with an earpiece was sitting in a computer chair but was reclined and looked very rigid, most likely drugged as well. "Do it," Zoe told Tanya flatly, the Belgian pressing a button on a device in her hand without hesitation.
Kayla watched from behind the door leading into the office as, on the monitors, everyone suddenly just stopped moving. The rows of journalists and celebrities present in the show room, the models and the assistants in the back rooms, the gamblers at the slot machines and game tables, even people in the upstairs hallways, every single one of them almost instantly froze in place as if each video had been simultaneously been placed on pause. One monitor Kayla had the best view of showed Devon standing to one side while facing a mirror, her hands cupping her breasts in what had appeared to be some sort of adjustment. She remained in that frozen pose as the seconds ticked on.
"I am glad I get my pick," sighed Miss Zoe, appearing to smile. "Tanya, I want you to start loading the women from the back room here into the truck. I'm going to go get Kathryn and get her to help me pick out a few more lucky ladies to become part of my legacy. I have to say, I really am glad we got Devon Von Krieger to turn up. She'll look great at the center of my collection when we get back to New York."
Kayla leaned back behind the door and let her brain process everything that had just happened. Miss Zoe and a woman that Kayla swore was an android had just flooded nearly the entire casino with a freezing gas; Kayla remembered the drug could work as a liquid and beyond and doubting something else had been involved. Kayla also knew that Miss Zoe was planning to take a group of helpless models to New York to be a part of some strange private collection, each being referred to as a 'daughter,' leading Kayla to conclude either Miss Zoe was going through a horrible mid-life crisis or she was just plain insane. Either way, Kayla's best friend Haley and Devon Von Krieger, a woman that had promised her an autograph, had both been turned into helpless living statues and were both about to be kidnapped and possibly never seen again. Kayla had just sworn to herself mentally that she'd find a way to save the day when Miss Zoe and Tanya both walked by, neither noticing her due to her presence behind the door.
Miss Zoe quickly left the back room but Tanya casually walked over to Lola, starting to move the human mannequin's arms so they were flat at her sides. Kayla watched for a few moments then decided that Zoe was probably far enough away to not hear Tanya if she cried out for help, so Haley's friend quietly slid out from behind the door and quickly broke into a dash, running up to Tanya and pushing her sideways. The dark-haired woman fell to the ground but almost immediately snapped back up, surprisingly agile. Kayla faced Tanya and braced herself, expecting a fight that she admitedly didn't know if she could win.
Tanya, susprisingly, walked right by Kayla and began straightening out Lola's body some more, completely ignoring the woman that could still move. "What the hell?" muttered Kayla, cautiously waving a hand in front of Tanya's face. The dark-haired woman continued to work on Lola, who by now was standing like an old toy soldier, apparently not even noticing Kayla's hand.
"Am I invisible?" asked Kayla, and once again Tanya said nothing as she stepped away to move a medical-style gurney from one corner of the room, casually wheeling it towards Lola. "Zombie, perhaps?" Kayla then mused as Tanya picked up Lola and laid her down on the metal surface, flat on her back.
"Lets try a hypnosis scenario... Tanya, freeze!" Kayla ordered, and to her shock the command worked. Tanya, having finished placing Lola, suddenly stopped in mid-step, her right arm forward and her right leg slightly off the ground, her face blank. Tanya was effectively as motionless as all the other women in the room, not so much as flinching when Kayla pulled the strange gun from the immobilized woman’s left pocket.
"It must be hypnosis... or maybe she's a robot," decided Kayla, laughing off the latter suggestion as she examined the pistol. A bit of a gun person thanks to her father, who was a police lieutenant in her home state of Arizona, Kayla managed to quickly determine that the weapon had been modified to fire small darts, a common practice as most commercial dart guns weren't as effective as traditional firearms due to range and capacity issues. Kayla then guessed that the darts contained whatever kind of drug had been used on all the women present, though she still couldn't remember the name for it.
"Well, better safe than sorry," declared Kayla, casually shooting Tanya in the leg with a dart before turning to look at Haley once again. "Okay, I'm going to go get my cell phone and call the cops, and then I'll see if I can't take the bitch down. You'll be back to normal in no time... though you know, this drug might be handy the next time I want to borrow some of your clothes." Kayla laughed at her own little joke before giving her frozen friend a hug and slipping out of the room.
Kayla's first instinct was to get a phone, as she luckily knew the local emergency number, another important tip her father had taught her. Not able to find one in the back hallways, Kayla decided to risk it and go into the fashion show area, hoping she'd be able to avoid Zoe and anyone else she might have hypnotized. Carefully peeking into the backstage area from the door, Kayla was disturbed by the silence, observing all the crew frozen in place. Aides with trays, people talking into headsets, hangers loaded with dresses pushed by local hirelings, everything had stopped. Kayla did however see Miss Zoe, who was touching the back of Kathyrn's neck by the main curtain. Kathryn, who'd been standing idle looking to her right with her pencil held to a clip board, suddenly dropped her possessions when Zoe appeared to whisper into her ear, promptly facing forward and looking as robotic and stiff as Tanya had been before Kayla had dealt with her. "Back of the neck," Kayla whispered in a hushed voice to herself, making sure Zoe wouldn't hear. While unsure of the significance, the actress figured Zoe wouldn't be making such grand gestures for no reason, deciding to memorize it as if it were a Chekov's Gun.
Moments later Kathryn headed off into one prep room while Zoe went for the other, the latter unfortunately picking the one where Haley, Devon and the rest had been preparing while Kathryn went for the other one that contained the two LA girls and the two big-name ones. Once she was sure Miss Zoe wouldn't see her Kayla elected to follow Kathryn, deciding that the apparent zombie would be easier to take down than the fashion icon. As she moved Kayla passed Chi, who was wearing a white dress that was nearly a two-piece save for the small line of fabric binding the area just below her breasts to her waist, the outfit also lined with fake but well-designed feathers. Chi's hair was also done up in a Japanese bun, but instead of chopsticks or needles two green feathers that looked like they belonged to ostriches held her hair up. Chi was standing with her right arm reaching for a glass of water on a waiter-like aide's tray, her eyes looking down but a soft smile on her face.
Kayla cautiously glanced into the room where Kathryn had entered and wasn't shocked to see this one provided more room for its starlets, given it was essentially the same size as the other room but only held four models. Besides the four make-up and prep sections the room also had a collection of couches and craft service tables in the back, several important-looking people in suits and fancy dresses sitting around stiffly and looking like what would happen when you took a still picture of a party and then only looked at said photo. A few fashion aides, once again mostly dressed in white collared shirts or blouses with black pants and headsets, dotted the area, many surprisingly with nothing in their hands. Furthest down the line was Michelle Foster, the somewhat short blond from Australia who'd recently started appearing in a few films and HBO television shows, though she wasn't exactly a household name yet. Like others of the proposed first act of the fashion show, Michelle was in white, wearing a dress that almost looked like a throw-back to the infamous Marilyn Monroe outfit that the famous actress had worn in the photo where her skirt blew upwards. Michelle's version of the dress, however, had a shorter skirt and was held up entirely by her breasts. Michelle was leaning forward as she looked into the mirror, her face serious and most likely an attempt to make sure nothing looked odd.
Next to Michelle was Chene Francois, another blond who was a French immigrant and, in spite of being with Miss Zoe, was mostly known in LA, though she did appear in a few New York shows. The blond's hair was pulled up and shaped so it had an elebatorate hole in the middle, almost as if her hair was wrapped around an invisible curler with its tip facing forward. Chene was leaning back in her chair, dressed only in a teal robe while an un-lit cigarette rested in her right hand, her left hand holding her robe shut at the waist, a somewhat smug smile on her ruby lips.
After Chene was Amanda Burns, the other LA model and a humble one at that, being a brunette. Amanda was popular in Mexico, having down several shows just south of the border, and to reflect this her dress of the night was reminicent of a Mexican dancing girl outfit, a pure white outfit with a frilly skirt that could whirl with the best of them and be ideal for something like the Can-Can. Amanda's hair was even done in sausage curls and under her dress she was wearing black fishnet stockings, making her almost look like she could of stepped out of the past. Amanda sat with her legs crossed, a glass of white wine in her left hand with her right under her left elbow, supporting it as she cocked her wine hand out at her side, a relaxed look on her face.
Kathryn was hovering around Amelia DuGalle, the other big name model in the room; she was a French redhead and a total knock-out, the kind of woman even Kayla, as straight as could ideally be, would consider going for if given the opportunity. Amelia's face was quite literally perfect, lacking any sort of blemish or mark, making it look like it had been carved from plastic or another material used to make a mannequin. While her face was perhaps artificial, most likely due to plastic surgery, Amelia's lips were all her own, possessing just the right amount of curve and size to put them in proper proportion to her face while still looking sultry, her natural lip color even strongly pink. Amelia's red hair was also a miracle, having a sort of golden hue to it which, surprisingly, was almost entirely natural save for some special conditioner she used when washing it. Moving away from the face Amelia's body was in perfect proportion for her height of five feet and eight inches, her breasts large but not appearing to bulge and her waist neither too wide nor too thin. With her skin a pleasant tan color and no signs of blemishes Amelia was, in Kayla's eyes, one of these most perfectly-proportioned and beautiful-looking women on the planet, which was good since she was a super famous model.
Kayla was mesmerized for a moment as when her eyes had fallen on Amelia and Kathryn the former had been rendered naked, the hypnotized zombie removing a purple robe to reveal nothing underneath, Amelia standing up right with her arms more or less at her sides, her face showing a faint smile. Staring at the famous woman's breasts and womanhood Kayla was impressed, noting only a small mole near her right nipple, which was perfectly round and the size of a Canadian dollar coin, about right for her breast size, though if they were larger they would most likely look small. Amelia's crotch area was also well-shaved, but there were enough traces to make it clear red was her natural color.
Deciding to use her experience with Tanya as how to deal with the situation, Kayla casually stepped into the room and, sure enough, Kathryn didn't react, instead continuing to straighten Amelia's pose and features. Feeling free to strike, Kayla fired her stolen gun and was pleased to see the dart hit Kathryn's right hip, but frowned when she didn't freeze. "Weird..." gasped Kayla, then deciding she needed to try her second plan. "Kathryn, freeze." Sure enough, as with Tanya, Kathryn froze in mid-movement, her thumbs touching Amelia's lips to remove her faint smile.
"Time to check that neck," announced Kayla, moving in and taking a look where she'd seen Miss Zoe touch her aide. At first there didn't appear to be anything, but then Kayla noticed a bulge and, picking at it, managed to remove something. Looking at the strange element, Kayla noticed circuitry and a small needle, the latter part apparently what had allowed it stay on. "Some kind of... mind control device, not hypnosis?" wondered Kayla, carefully putting the device down on the tray of a nearby aide.
"Kathryn, unfreeze," ordered Kayla, but nothing happened, Kathryn remaining as she was. "Well, that answers that," noted Kayla then proceeding to hunt for a phone.
* * *
Miss Zoe was taking great delight in just sitting on Devon Von Krieger's lap, examining the famous model's face in every detail. The blond had been just placing a gold earring in her right lobe when the gas had struck, Devon looking into the mirror with what looked like almost worried intent. "I'm surprised how hands-on you are," remarked Miss Zoe, touching the frozen woman's cheek. "What a perfect daughter you'll make... you would think I'd be sick of blondes, but no, it’s women like you that I need. You'll be one of my greatest legacies... I may put you together with Amelia." To Devon's right was Vera, still in her underwear and holding up a smut-filled book, apparently a fan of stories about teenage vampires and the girls who love them. To the other side of Devon was Lacey, who held a glass of red wine to her lips, something that Miss Zoe questioned since most models knew red wine and white dresses were a bad mix. Past Lacey was Diedra, whom Zoe was angry at for not agreeing to use the snake prop, the woman sitting still as a powder brush hovered over her face, said brush in the capable hands of her assistant.
"You all act like people, but you're just my canvas, living mannequins for my great creations," Miss Zoe almost laughed as she felt every feature of Devon's frozen face. "How fitting that I've turned you into statues, for that's what you are. However, you are my daughters, and I will treat you with a greater dignity than time ever would." Miss Zoe considered to keep going, loving to talk to her latest acquisitions, but the sound of movement alerted her and, hearing the source appear to come from the doorway, immediately grabbed a special smoke grenade she'd brought with her, pulling the pin and throwing it at the ground. Immediately red-colored gas spewed from the grenade, quickly filling the room though not enough that Miss Zoe couldn't see. When Zoe had contacted Xavier to get the Type-7 equipment, not only had she requested a few dart pistols but a couple of rapid-release devices, ending up with Type-7 gas grenades, the gas was colored red so it was clear exactly where it had gone, also making it seem more like military signal smoke than a freeze weapon. The grenade wasn't meant so much for stealth as just a panic weapon, as it had just been used.
Having planned to gas the show for months, she'd come prepared with a special chip that would protect her from Type-7 while not turning into a voice-command slave, but she doubted whoever had come would be so lucky. It certainly couldn't of been Tanya or Kathryn, as both hadn't been given enough time to finish their tasks, though Tanya would most likely be done in five minutes.
As the smoke cleared Miss Zoe carefully walked towards the source of the footsteps, which had abruptly stopped, her special gun at her side. From through the smoke Miss Zoe was surprised to see Kayla, Haley's friend, now as frozen as the rest but carrying another of the modified guns in between her hands, her face frozen in shock with her back to the wall, apparently having been trying her best spy act. "Naughty, naughty," tisked Miss Zoe, at the same time getting a good look at the girl. Kayla wasn't exactly model material, but Zoe did note she'd make an excellent cow girl, which wasn't a shock since she'd seen Kayla wearing cowboy hats and sporting pigtails in the past. Zoe's amused demeanor vanished however when she realized she only could of gotten the gun from Tanya, and that there was a cell phone sticking out of her right pocket.
"Oh shit..." muttered Miss Zoe, pulling out the phone and checking the call history. Sure enough, the local police had been given a call, and they were known for fast responses. Miss Zoe figured she had ten minutes at the most, which meant she needed to do something quick.
"I'll get you for this, somehow," vowed Miss Zoe, even shooting Kayla with a dart in spite of the fact that it wouldn't do anything perhaps save give her an overdose, which was reversable sadly. The police coming meant all of Miss Zoe's daughters, or at least the ones she'd brought with her, which essentially just left two she had back home, would be freed, and it was clear that she had been behind the whole scheme. Miss Zoe did luckily have an escape plan, but she was moved to tears as she prepared to play it out.
* * *
"Thank you lieutenant, that will be all," offered Marika in her best Spanish, which wasn't that strong, having finished with the police officer. The IT agent was still in shock at all that had transpired in just over three hours.
When the police had arrived they'd found everyone still immobilized under the effects of Type-7, the gas used to flood the building concentrated enough to last for at least six hours. Luckily the call to the police had also alerted Paddington back at IT HQ in the UK, and he'd contacted them to get an update. From there the police were advised to contact a local Interpol branch, who provided them with the Type-7 antidote, which was then used to flood the building. When the gas cleared, only a handful of women were left frozen, most of them in a back room where several were found to have been given an overdose and one, Tanya Frost, was noted to have been chipped. Kayla LeFer, the Krieger fan girl Marika had met earlier, was also still frozen, a Type-7 dart gun even in her hands, and Miss Zoe had been found in the bathroom, lying on the floor with a broken chip stuck in the back of her neck.
"I just finished with Miss Zoe," announced Nessa, coming up to join her partner for the assignment. Both women were still in their dresses but were now also wearing special ID tags around their necks that identified them as special Interpol agents, which was in a sense true since IT was an off-shoot of sorts. "It seems she met someone, but she can't seem to remember who, who apparently chipped her and started her on this whole kidnapping situation," explained Nessa, going over her notepad. "From what we've learned from the girls in the back she was picking off models that were threatening to quit or ruin their careers. When Haley Leone discovered this, whoever was controlling Zoe apparently decided to just go full-scale, almost like a Paradise raid, and just collect as many as they could. Kayla LeFer was the one who called the police in and apparently tried to help but Zoe outmaneuvered her, only to slip in the bathroom and damage her own chip."
"So Miss Zoe was just a puppet too, like her two assistants," noted Marika, shaking her head. "Do we have any inklings on who chipped her?"
"She's trying, but she just can't remember," cited Nessa, shaking her own head. "The description is just pretty much a male. We know, what? Seven potential Type-7 dealers or users currently on the run in western Europe alone that are male? That's assuming this man is European."
"A dead end," sighed Marika, this time not shaking her head. "Alright, I'm going to go speak to LeFer. If you could continue working with Hollander that would be excellent."
"Not a problem," agreed Nessa, handing her teammate an enveloppe. "Oh yes, here's something she wanted to get to LeFer. Still glad to be out of the office?"
"Absolutely," laughed Marika. It had been, however, the second time that Marika had faced kidnapping while pretending to be Devon, the attempt having succeeded the previous time. When she returned home Marika planned to suggest creating some solid cover identities for their agents, ones that couldn't be picked apart so easily, thus masquerades wouldn't be so dangerous for agents in the future. Risking herself by posing as a famous model was bad enough, but to do that to Dieter again just made Marika's blood run cold.
Kayla was sitting on a bench, her friend Haley next to her, the pair leaning on each other in a somewhat cute way, the blond's head almost nuzzled under Kayla's. "Hello ladies," greeted Marika with a smile.
"Hello, not-Devon," offered Kayla, smiling in spite of now knowing that the woman she'd wanted an autograph from was not who he'd expected.
"My name is Marika Bran, I'm with Interpol," explained Marika. "I just wanted to say you were very brave, Miss LeFer. We're very impressed. In fact, Miss Hollander wanted to give you this."
Puzzled, Kayla took the envelope Marika offered her and opened it, promptly beaming when she read the small note inside. "Miss Zoe says thank-you, and wants me to let her know if I ever want to do my own photo shoot!" exclaimed Kayla.
Definitely Not The End, but the Stopping Point of This Story for Sure