The next week, after more accustoming themselves to the ever darker aspects of Capitol, Guy and Thea, bearded and suited up, were in the Regulating Room with Mark again. He was explaining to them how the Creeps technology worked.
“Now to take your test of loyalty to the next level,” he said, holding a yellow Creep casing in his hand.
Steel yourself, Thea thought; no matter how horrifying the next set of bombshells are, pretend you’re totally into it. Show no attitude of mercy for the victims; bury your compassion deep down in your soul.
“Are you at all familiar with a fairly new form of technology devised by researchers in such places as MIT?” Mark asked them. “Ingestible origami robots, really tiny ones, that when eaten, they can solve certain health problems or remove foreign objects from the body.”
“Ingestible origami robots?” Guy asked. “Sounds weird.”
“Yeah, but effective,” Mark said. “The tiny robots are wrapped in sheets of pig intestine that are folded like origami. These, in turn, are put in capsules that, once ingested, melt and free the robots, which by remote control are made to do the work required of them.”
“Wow,” Thea said in her normal voice. Then, after seeing a frown from Guy to remind her to sound like a man, she rasped, “Interesting. So how does that technology relate to what we do here?”
“It inspired someone to create a similar kind of tech, but one for a completely different purpose,” Mark said.
“Something related to what goes on here?” Thea asked, thinking, I’ll bet this is where we learn how they control Petunia.
“Not yet,” Mark said. “The man who created this tech was planning to sell it to the U.S. military, something they could use to implant into the bodies of enemy soldiers, to kill them by burning them up on the inside. It could also be used to control the minds of the enemy, either to get them to surrender easily, or maybe to kill each other, or to kill the leaders of their own regime, one of those the U.S. government wants to topple. Or, the U.S. military might use it on their own soldiers, to make them fight more ruthlessly, more tirelessly, or with greater determination.”
“So, what ended up happening with this technology?” Guy asked.
“We convinced the inventor to sell it to us,” Mark said. “For use on our Commodities. He made several modifications of the tech, so they’d have a sexual application instead.”
Bingo, Thea thought.
“The new version he’s been making for us, what we now call ‘Creeps’, includes a mixture of drugs in some of them, but ultimately, they work much better than drugs, since those who have the Creeps working inside them don’t look high at all when they’re with our customers,” Mark said.
That explains it perfectly, Thea thought; Bastard.
“So how do they work?” Guy asked.
“They come in different colours,” Mark explained. “The blue ones pacify you, and they knock you out if you’ve had a strong enough dose. The green ones make you docile and compliant, even to the point of willingly telling the truth. The orange ones sexually arouse the Commodities, lubricating vaginas and giving men erections. The yellow ones, well…I’ll explain those ones another time…kinda complicated.”
Thea shuddered at what Mark might have been hiding there.
“As for the red Creeps, especially tiny ones, we’ve developed microscopic technology that is implanted in them, and it attaches itself to the brain, since the red Creeps are programmed to slip into the Commodities’ ears,” Mark explained. “This technology gives us control over the speech centre of the brain, what’s called Broca’s area, so we can control what the girls say when they’re servicing a client.”
Or so you can control what they say whenever we try to prove that they don’t work here voluntarily, Thea thought; You slimy bastard, Mark. I wish I’d recorded you saying all of this, but with all this sophisticated technology, you’d probably be able to track my recording of your confessions, too. Then I’d be as dead as Guy’s predecessor.
‘So, Jack,” Mark went on, “what I’m gonna need you to do is, as you’re watching a Commodity with a client, press the red button to your left over there, on the central control panel. It activates that tiny speck of technology attached to Broca’s area, on the left side of the Commodity’s brain, what you’ll have put into her left ear, with the red Creep, to prepare her for the client. Then you’ll speak through the microphone here in front of you, and she’ll say your exact words to the client. Obviously, you’ll want to say exactly the kind of thing the client wants to hear.”
You bastard, Thea thought.
“OK, Mark,” Guy said with a smile. “No problem.” I wonder if I could figure out a way to put red Creeps in your ear, and in those of all the staff, he wondered; then I could speak your confessions in this microphone, and have you say my words to the police. Then Petunia’d be freed from this prison, and you’d be in the normal kind of prison.
“Is there any way the…Commodities…can stop this controlling of them?” Thea asked, remembering her vocal fry after her third word.
“I dare say they have no desire to…or little desire, if any,” Mark said. “When we find these women—and men—we put them through a screening process to determine how…slutty, for lack of a better word, they are. All the Commodities we have here like to fuck; they’re also all from more or less desperate circumstances—unemployed, homeless, or from Third World countries—so we’re providing food and shelter for them, as well as giving them lots of opportunities to do what they love to do: fuck. What we have them say is practically what they’d want to say, anyway.”
Clever rationalization, Thea thought; you fucker. “If this is true, then why put those things in their ears at all? Why not just have the Commodities speak spontaneously?”
“Because they might not put their true thoughts into words our clients will like to hear,” Mark said. “It might come out clumsily. It might sound tactless, or crass, ruining the clients’ fantasy. Also, many Commodities speak broken English, or no English at all. Your speaking for them, Jack, will only guide them to speak well.”
Or to lie well, Guy thought.
“No other questions?” Mark asked. “None from you, Jack, or from you, Cameron?”
“No, I’m good,” Guy said.
“Well, I’m just curious,” Thea said, straining her face into a fake smile. “When you put these mind-controls, or what-not, into the Commodities’ bodies, why use Creeps? I’m mean, why have these worm-like things crawling up their pussies and assholes? Why not just give them pills, or shots?”
“That’s a good question, Cameron,” Mark said. “And it requires a multi-faceted answer. First of all, giving the Commodities pills or shots will be difficult, because the girls won’t cooperate, of course. They’ll squirm. They won’t open their mouths. But Creeps move fast, and they can crawl into a naked Commodity’s cunt or ass before she has time to close up her holes. Some slip in the ears, mouth, or even nostrils, moving as fast as greased lightning. Second, the man who’d been working on this technology had a convenient way of activating the Creeps, remote-controlled by a computer or cellphone app, making them squiggle and slither at great speeds, able to carry drugs into people’s bodies before they can react. As I said before, he was going to sell his invention to the army; I convinced him to sell it to us, offering him such a huge ton of money that he couldn’t resist. For here’s the third reason: Ricardo Davis, Ken Maynard, and I found it amusing to watch the Commodities’ reactions as they had these things snaking up their pussies and asses.”
He laughed, with Thea and Guy pretending to as well.
“Any other questions, Cameron?”
“No, I’m good.”
“Good,” Mark said. “OK, Cameron, come with me. We’ll leave Jack to his work, and I’ll show you what you need to take care of.” He and Thea left the room.
Guy watched a video screen of a man going into a VIP room. A naked black woman, Kusiima, whom Guy recognized, was brought into the room by a man who then left, leaving her alone with the client.
Guy pressed the red button and leaned toward the microphone. “So, what do you want me to do?” he said, noting her saying those words to the client a split second after he said them.
“Get on your knees, bitch,” the man said. “I wanna piss and shit on your head.”
Guy was speechless.
Ten minutes later, ‘Free’ Mark returned to the Regulating Room to see how ‘Jack’ was doing. He opened the door slowly and quietly so Guy couldn’t hear him: indeed, Mark wanted to see what his new employee would do without apparent supervision.
The man in the VIP room was, right then, in the middle of shitting on Kusiima’s head.
“You aren’t saying anything, Jack,” Mark said, making Guy jump. “You’re frowning.” He walked over to Guy.
“Jesus!” Guy gasped. “You scared me. There’s nothing to say.”
“You look unhappy,” Mark said. “Don’t you like the live porn show?”
“Well, he’s shitting on her,” Guy said. “Not my kind of fetish, to be honest.”
“Well, I guess it’s not for everyone. We’ll clean her up as soon as he’s gone.”
“Didn’t you say something about not allowing the clients to abuse the girls? Because injuring them depreciates their value?”
“Yeah, but scat is nothing. He isn’t giving her cuts or bruises. And we have Creeps that kill germs, bacteria, and viruses of all kinds, even HIV. We also have Creeps that heal cuts and bruises quickly enough to get a Commodity ready for a client within the same day as an S and M encounter.”
“Then how do you define ‘abuse’?” Guy asked.
“When a client injures a girl beyond the ability of our Creeps to heal her within a day,” Mark said. “Broken bones, knocked-out teeth, that kind of thing. They’re bad for business.”
“OK, I just wanted to make sure I understood where to draw the line, so I’d know when to intervene.”
“Those are good questions to ask, Jack. It shows me you care about your job.” Just don’t care too much about the girls, Jack, Mark thought; or else you might end up like Jim.