Author: Chris Cook
"This... isn't so good," Willow said thoughtfully, dangling from a pair of electromagnetic restraints over the evil animal pit.
"It's actually quite good for your back," Tara noted, dangling alongside Willow. "I heard Codename Hands recommended one good suspension-over-death-pit every three months when he revised the Ministry's physiotherapy schedule."
"Quiet you two!" Harmony said, in what was probably meant to be a bark but came out more as a yap.
"Or what?" Willow shot back. "You'll string us up over a different death pit?" Harmony opened her mouth to reply, the paused in confusion.
"Don't get smart," Cordelia said, in a bored tone, from where she was reclining on the conference table adding minute highlights to her nail polish. "You know it's not fair on her."
"Hey!" Harmony rounded on her. "I designed this whole place singlehandedly, let me remind you!"
"And if I hadn't installed some extra laser traps," Cordelia calmly replied, "Cathy Gale and Emma Peel here would've probably reduced it to rubble by now."
"Well they haven't," Harmony said smugly, as the logical flaw in her argument eluded her. "They're up there waiting to be dropped into the platypus pit, so there!"
"Excuse me," Tara interrupted. "The what pit?"
"Platypussies are a valid evil animal!" Harmony insisted.
"Platypi," Cordelia added. "And no, they're not."
"Platypodes," Willow suggested. "Isn't it?"
"Whatever!" Harmony shouted. "Okay, you know what? You!" She pointed to one of the body armoured minions lining the control room. "Go get me a dictionary!"
"The minions aren't a valet service, Harm," Cordelia said disapprovingly.
"Girls," Daniel interrupted, appearing on the encircling balcony, "let's not fight..." His face hardened as he glanced at the two captive agents. "Cordelia, why didn't you tell me Willow was one of the intruders?"
"Who'd you think they'd be?" Cordelia shrugged. Daniel glared at her, then slowly made his way around the balcony ramp.
"Willow, I'm sorry you're here," he said stoically. "Believe it or not, I'd really rather you stayed out of harm's way. Still, que sera, sera."
"Do we know a Sarah?" Harmony asked, earning a light swat on the back of the head from Cordelia. "Ow! Hey!"
"Focus," the former agent said, taking a seat. "Look villainous, and let Daniel do the evil speechifying."
"Thank you," Daniel nodded, turning back to Willow and Tara as he reached the main floor. "You'll find this interesting, I'm sure." He gave a smirk, then drew a remote control from his pocket and aimed it at the conference table. The table split in two, narrowly missing Harmony as its two halves tilted over and slid into the floor. In its place was a wide shaft, from which emerged a sleek computer, all brushed chrome and gunmetal-grey accents, with banks of status lights glittering along its sides. Two spindly antennae folded out of its top as it rose to its full height, creating an intricate web of electrical discharges between them.
"What's that?" Tara asked Willow quietly. "Apart from 'War Games' mark two, I mean."
"This is PRUDE," Daniel replied, overhearing her. "Panacea Reactive Universal Defence Environment. Seeing as you're going to die shortly, you might as well know." Behind him, Cordelia heaved an exasperated sigh.
"The Frankenstein's laboratory thing is a plasma matrix," Willow explained quickly. "It's a kind of hyper-storage - that's what, ten, fifteen trillion gigabytes?"
"Closer to twenty," Daniel said smugly. "Panacea is a massive program - a plasma matrix is the only portable containment system for the decompressed, uncompiled raw code. We've had it running self-defence scenarios for months in hyper-mainframes like this, developing responses to every possible attack." He pressed another button on the remote, and the lightning-generating rods slid against each other and folded along their length twice, becoming a single piece of hardware scarcely larger than a mobile phone. Daniel reached up and disconnected it from the huge support computer.
"And now it's ready," he said. "This one device contains the final, active Panacea program. Ready to transmit. From the point of transmission it'll spread like a virus - but then, it gets interesting. The system kernels, spread over a billion separate infected CPUs, will create and maintain links with each other, becoming a single, vast neural network. A learning intelligence, with all the world's computing power at its disposal. Your Ministry - the whole world - has no way at all of eliminating such a network."
"That's..." Willow began, stunned. "I mean, the power, the capabilities of a program like that..." Her amazed face hardened into a frown. "How could you create something like this, and then use it for evil?"
"Your concept of evil differs from mine," Daniel said calmly.
"Uh, hello?" Harmony interrupted. "He didn't program it."
"Harmony, not now," Daniel said warningly.
"Who did?" Tara asked quickly, giving Harmony her full attention.
"Me," she said proudly. Willow had a coughing fit, while Daniel looked embarrassed and annoyed at once, and Cordelia watched with amusement.
"What are you?" Willow asked, once she had recovered. "Some kind of idiot savant?"
"Hey!" Harmony protested. "I'm not an idiot... or a savant, whatever that is!"
"She really created the program?" Willow asked Daniel, incredulous. He glared at Harmony, then gave a sheepish nod.
Willow and Tara looked at each other, then, as one, burst out laughing.
"I don't see what's so amusing," Daniel said calmly, waiting for them to stop.
"Your master plan relies on Harmony!" Willow managed to giggle between bouts of outright uncontrolled laughter.
"She's got you there," Cordelia added helpfully, earning another glare from Daniel.
"Dammit!" Harmony protested, grabbing the assault rifle leaning on the back of Cordelia's chair and waving it at the two agents. "Shut up or I'll fill you full of lead!"
"Harmony!" Daniel warned. "We've got a perfectly good automated execution method for them."
"Plus the safety's on," Cordelia pointed out. "And that's a tank buster, so it'd be depleted uranium, not lead."
"Ah!" Harmony shrieked, tossing the gun away. "You want me to catch Gulf Air syndrome?"
"Gulf War," Cordelia grumbled as she retrieved her rifle. "And this is way more advanced, it's safe. Not for whoever's in the tank you shoot at, of course, but-"
"Well just keep it away from me," Harmony interrupted. "I'm not comfortable with weapons that violate major arms treaties."
"Exactly what kind of supervillain is it you want to be, again?" Cordelia asked.
"I'm just saying!" Harmony glared. "You've probably got anti-personnel landmines around here somewhere..."
"Uh, yeah!" Cordelia nodded. "This is a lair, remember? It's full of them!"
"Well it shouldn't be," Harmony said, with finality.
"You designed the place!" Cordelia shouted, her patience giving way.
"They're anti-tank landmines," Harmony replied serenely. "That's different."
"Gimme that," Cordelia snapped, grabbing a book from the hands of a returning minion. "See that access shaft over there?" She tossed the book down it, ducking as it exploded on landing.
"So?" Harmony wondered, as Daniel stared aghast at the mess.
"Did you really think a tank would've come down that shaft?" Cordelia went on. "It's one foot wide, Harmony!"
"Well duh, I had the mines retuned so they'd go off if a person stepped on them, but they're still anti-tank mines - and, that was my dictionary! How are we supposed to look up platypussies now? You!" she pointed at another minion. "Go get me another dictionary."
"You do and your family will be getting a 'we-regret-to-inform-you' letter from the Minions' Union," Cordelia warned, aiming her anti-tank rifle at him.
"Dictionary!" Harmony demanded. Cordelia responded by firing a shot over the minion's shoulder, decimating a programming suite behind him.
"Would you two please stop destroying my lair!" Daniel finally shouted, losing his cool at last.
"Do you want me to get him boasting about the program again?" Tara whispered to Willow, while no-one was paying attention to them. She shook her head in reply.
"I don't think he'll tell us anything else useful," she muttered. "What about Cordelia?"
"Not now," Tara replied quietly. "She's auto-bickering - she used to do it with Anya all the time. She won't be responsive - if she ever will be - until she's alone."
"What do you think?" Willow asked. "Try to get her to hang back when Daniel and Harmony leave?"
"Might be our best shot," Tara nodded. Daniel coughed to get their attention, with Cordelia and Harmony momentarily quelled by his uncharacteristic outburst.
"I'm afraid we'll have to leave you two here," he said, his composure back in place. "I'd say enjoy your stay, but... that's unlikely. Willow, I'm sorry you got mixed up in all this. Actually, our 'difficulties' all those years ago were the inspiration behind my scheme. It's a pity you won't be around to benefit from it."
"Daniel, you're so right," Willow nodded. "Except for one crucial aspect, which is the... Tara, what's the word I'm looking for?"
"Crap," Tara suggested. "As in, full of."
"Thanks," Willow gave her a quick smile, before returning her attention to Daniel. "See, she understands me. You, on the other hand, you know what your whole problem was?"
"My personal life isn't a matter for discussion," Daniel said levelly.
"And yet, here's me discussing it," Willow retorted brightly. "I appreciate how hands-off and patient you were in the beginning, really. Very much not the typical adolescent male."
"I respected you," Daniel said quietly.
"I know," Willow agreed. "But you didn't respect who I became. You wanted me to stay the shy, insecure, introverted girl forever, and no-one stays the same forever."
"I liked the way you were," Daniel insisted. "What happened to you?"
"I grew up, Daniel," Willow said patiently. "I grew up, and I started thinking, well, maybe some of the things I was always too nervous to try, maybe I should give them a go, now that I'm old enough to know what I'm doing. I found out wild doesn't have to equal spaz."
"'Grew up,'" Daniel sneered. "Is that what you call it?"
"What do you call it?" Willow shot back. "You were so proud of yourself for being the patient, no-pressure boyfriend that you never wanted it to stop. So even when you wanted to explore, you couldn't - not with me, not with sweet, innocent Willow, even though I wanted to! No, you got yourself all tangled up in denial, and ended up doing the nasty with some convenient floozy while my back was turned. And now, what's all this? You decided it's not your fault, it's everyone else? It's sexy movies and TV and video games that forced you to cheat on me?"
"They're not natural!" Daniel raised his voice, slightly. "They should be controlled, so they don't interfere with people's lives-"
"Oh, won't somebody please think of the children!" Willow mocked. "What, did somebody hold a gun to your head and make you buy those magazines you hid under the bed? You actually wanted to buy a Disney movie, but some unscrupulous sales assistant swapped it for the DVD you hid in the blank case behind the TV? Incidentally, her breasts were so fake."
"You've obviously become too enamoured of all this... filth, to understand." Daniel shook his head. "I'm going to make the world better."
"Try making yourself better," Willow glared, "before you start making everyone else's choices for them."
"This is pointless," Daniel said, turning away. "There is one choice I'm certainly able to make for you - whether or not you ever leave here."
"Is this the pre-execution speech?" Harmony piped up. "Ooh, can I do it? Please?" Cordelia crossed to Daniel and stood beside him.
"Let her," she whispered. "It'll keep her out of the way while we get ready to go."
"I'm going to regret this," Daniel muttered. "Alright... Harmony, five minutes."
"Glee!" Harmony said to herself, clapping her hands. She took off her long coat, strode in front of the two restrained agents, and took a deep breath, hands on hips, to begin.
"I suppose-" she managed, before Willow and Tara both burst out laughing. "What?"
"What on earth are you wearing?" Tara asked.
"Villain-wear!" Harmony shouted.
"It's barely underwear," Willow chuckled.
"Did you forget to put something on?" Tara added. Harmony opened her mouth to reply, paused, looked down to check her attire, then glared at both of them.
"Villain-wear really shouldn't have lace trim," Tara suggested.
"I'm trying to explain your imminent doom here," Harmony pointed out.
"I don't want to sound judgemental, Harm," Willow said, "but what you've got there really doesn't say 'villain' so much as 'free ride'."
"Oh like a skin-tight wetsuit is so much better," Harmony scoffed.
"At least we've got a reason for wearing these," Tara countered evenly.
"Which isn't 'advertising our availability to any nearby sporting teams'," Willow added snidely.
"I suppose," Harmony began again, loudly, glaring at Willow, "you're wondering what fiendish means of execution will be responsible for..." she searched for a word, "...executing, you two."
"Platypus pit?" Tara guessed.
"Oh, don't misunderestimate the common platypus," Harmony laughed villainously, or near enough. She had to pause a moment, to adjust her outfit in order to keep her left boob from making an impromptu appearance, then continued:
"You're about to meet the newest member of our villainous team," she gloated. "Platypussy Galore. I'm afraid your pleas for mercy will fall on deaf ears... whatever platypussies have for ears... what?"
"What did you name it?" Willow asked, while Tara had hysterics.
"She's my evil pet, I get to choose her name!" Harmony shouted. "And if you don't like it, I'll... well you're about to die anyway, so shut up!"
"Sorry," Tara gasped, reining in her laughter. "I'm okay... continue."
"Right," Harmony nodded. "In just five minutes, you... wait, are you mocking me?"
"Harm, I've known you since college," Willow said. "Would I ever mock you?"
"I... well, you... if... Cordy!?" Harmony wailed.
"Yes, they're mocking you," Cordelia said without looking up from her laptop. "Huh, 'platypuses'... what do you know."
"In just a few minutes," Harmony rounded on Willow and Tara, "the pit beneath you will open, and you'll be lowered in to your waists. At the same time, a tunnel will open allowing Platypussy Galore into the pit with you."
"And..." Tara prompted.
"And what?" Harmony asked.
"Us, platypus... what then?" Willow asked.
"Then you die!" Harmony insisted.
"I see step one and step three," Willow said critically. "Step two seems to be missing."
"The platypus!" Harmony shouted. "Poison spines! Possibly-lethal venom!"
"Didn't you say it was female?" Tara asked.
"Damn it!" Harmony exclaimed, turning and flouncing away in disgust.
"Oh pipe down Harm," Cordelia offered. "I told you before, it wasn't going to kill them just because they didn't know it couldn't."
"Harmony, are you done?" Daniel asked grimly.
"Yeah," the blonde grumbled. "They don't appreciate a good execution speech anyway!"
"Fine, help Adam load the Minions into the trucks." Harmony nodded and left.
"Go, I'll take care of it," Cordelia offered. Daniel gave her a stern glare, then followed Harmony, while Cordelia got to her feet and gave Willow and Tara a glance.
"Those cuffs are electromagnetic," she said idly. "There's no way you can force them open, and the controls are locked off. Don't let Harm's performance fool you - you're not going anywhere."
"Why are you doing this, Cordy?" Tara asked quietly.
"Me villain, you heroes," she said with a shrug. "Me trying to dispose of you is a pretty logical follow-through from that, don't you think?"
"You know what I meant," Tara said accusingly. "Osbourne and his anti-smut scheme... damn it Cordy, you love smut! You practically wrote the book on exhibitionistic espionage, there wasn't a single one of Anya's toys you didn't at least take for a test run... after we saved Mardi Gras from Glorificus and her mad monks, I had to physically drag you out that nightclub after the fifth day of celebrations - and you'd lost your clothes on the second."
"Your point?" Cordelia asked archly.
"How can you do this?" Tara pleaded. "How can you side with Osbourne, against everything you love?" Cordelia nodded, then leaned close to Tara.
"You're right, it's not about him, or his crusade," she whispered. "It's about one thing: I'm better than you." She glared for a moment, then shot a glance at Willow.
"All of you," she said. "I'm the best." Collecting her laptop and rifle, she headed for the main door, turning back on the threshold.
"Oh, and just in case Harmony's precious pet somehow fails to do the job," she added airily, "I'll be setting the self-destruct when I leave. So you girls have about... fourteen minutes before this complex and everything in it flash-heats to about twelve hundred degrees." She blew a kiss at Willow and Tara.
"Goodbye, Agents," she said, and left.
"Well... that's worrying," Willow mused.
"I don't get it," Tara frowned. "She was never one of those agents who has to be better than everyone else. I mean, she was better than everyone else - since M got promoted out of field duty, anyway - but she never made an issue of it."
"She's making an issue of it now," Willow said sadly.
"Poor Cordy," Tara muttered. "I don't know... Something's twisting her up, but I just don't know what, or why..." She looked up at the magnetic restraints encasing her wrists.
"What's your plan?" Willow asked.
"I've got a magnetic pulse generator in my suit, around belt-buckle level," Tara said thoughtfully. "If I can flip up between these cuffs and do the proper sequence of moves, I might be able to demagnetise them. Then find the controls, unlock them - I'll probably need you to talk me through that - get you down, and find a way to break out of here before the whole place becomes one big oven." She gave Willow a glance. "You?"
"I've got the remote control for the car," Willow offered. "I could just have it blast its way in here, then one good zap from the ion cannon will short out these cuffs, and we drive out again." Tara chuckled.
"It really is handy having a technical genius around."
"Extra incentive for you to keep me," Willow grinned. Tara was about to respond, but a thought struck her.
"Sweetie," she asked carefully, "which remote control, was that, again?"
"The, uh," Willow blushed. "The hands-free... attachment... I put a transceiver in it, and rigged it for remote activation."
"The... insertable... control?" Tara asked. Willow reddened and nodded. "So," Tara continued, "you've got that... um... in situ?"
"Uh-huh," Willow nodded again. "It seemed, you know, a good idea - back-up plan, just in case, you know, what with the high the capture-and-put-in-death-trap rates on operations like this... so I... yeah..." She trailed off, then gave a sheepish shrug. "It's actually pretty comfortable, once it warms up."
"I can't believe you did that!" Tara laughed.
"Yeah, well..." Willow prevaricated, "...various sounds of hesitation..." Tara winked and blew her a kiss.
"When did you have time to put it in?" she wondered.
"Oh, when you were putting on your wetsuit," Willow chuckled. "After you'd got the main layer on, and the eye candy was over..."
"Resourceful," Tara said approvingly. "What do you need?"
"It'll be a lot easier to control if you can use your magnet thingy to hold it in place," Willow said. "So, I'll just... could you hold still for a moment?"
She swung her legs back, then forward, and started herself moving. After a few swings she was high enough to reach out with her legs and encircle Tara's waist, bringing herself snugly up against her fellow agent and holding on, with her ankles crossed behind Tara's back.
"Okay," she said, breathing heavily, "now activate your magnet..."
Tara turned her head sideways and bit one of her suit's seemingly-innocuous contour lines running along her arm. There was an answering hum from the level of her waist, and Willow trembled.
"Are you okay?" Tara asked.
"Fine," Willow said quickly. "No problemo at all... it just moved a little... I think it's securely fixed now, so you hold still... I'll drive. Okay, three squeezes to start the engine..."
Tara felt Willow's legs tense as she used her muscles on the control inside her. Willow's eyes seemed to glow for an instant, then the contacts she wore clouded over and gave her a stereoscopic view of the road in the town up above, where they had parked the Aston Martin Vanquish.
"In... gear," Willow gasped, wriggling her hips against Tara, "and..." she gave a hearty thrust, "go! Hard right!" She jerked herself sideways and gasped.
"What is it?" Tara asked quickly. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah!" Willow panted. "Yeah, fine! It's just... oncoming traffic!" She thrust left and right, then rocked her hips forward against Tara's waist. "Uhhhh... just... it's got feedback... you know, road-sensing?"
"This gets better and better," Tara said, with a rare smirk.
"Distracting!" Willow warned playfully. "Okay, now... rockets!" She grunted and heaved her body against Tara, and there was a distant, muffled explosion from beyond the sealed doors.
"What was that?" Tara asked breathlessly.
"Just knocking on Daniel's front door," Willow huffed. "You okay?"
"You're not... the only one... getting feedback..." Tara gasped as Willow slid back and forth against her, gripping her tightly with her legs. "That waist panel you're... magnetised to... reaches down just far enough..."
"You want... me to drive... slower?" Willow asked, her cheeks flushing as she gave a series of thrusts. From outside, nearer this time, there was the staccato rattle of an automatic railgun, and Willow gave a delighted shudder.
"Or faster," Tara murmured, "either... works for me... oh god..."
"Those railguns have a hell of a kick," Willow agreed. "I'm in the corridors... lots of tight turns, hold tight..."
Tara kicked her legs up and managed, with a considerable feat of flexibility, to get her ankles around Willow's sides.
"Ohhhhh yeah baby!" Willow shouted lustily, as Tara used her newly-gained leverage to push her waist against Willow's crotch. Willow rocked side to side unevenly, thrusting up and down at the same time, clenching and releasing her muscles now and then, to the accompaniment of various sounds of destruction from outside.
"Okay..." she panted, her chest heaving in its wetsuit, which did nothing to conceal her curves. "Coming up on the main doors... uh! Uh-uh-uh-uh!"
"Speed bumps!" Willow said desperately. "Oh god! That was not 'traffic calming'! Ready now... oh baby I'm so ready..."
"Do it," Tara whispered.
"Here it comes baby!" Willow moaned, squeezing and thrusting against Tara with all her might. The doors to the control room exploded inwards, and the agents' Aston Martin rolled in, its paintwork scratched on the sides, but otherwise intact. A panel in the car's bonnet retracted, and a curious, high-tech weapon emerged and gave off a brief hum. Willow and Tara's cuffs sprang open, and Tara managed to get her feet beneath herself just in time to catch Willow, who was in no condition to control her own landing. They sprawled, safe if undignified, among the imitation plants in the platypus's habitat.
"Okay," Willow gasped, "now just the platypus to deal with..." She and Tara looked sideways, to see Platypussy Galore staring at them in bemused curiosity.
"Put the car in neutral," Tara whispered.
"Done," Willow said, through clenched teeth as she squeezed. "Why?"
"I don't think Platypussy's a problem," Tara said, arranging her legs to find purchase on the sand beneath them, "but unless I'm mistaken, you didn't quite get to the end of your 'drive in the country' there." She wrapped her arms around Willow, cradling her head with one hand while the other supported her back, and thrust hard between her legs.
"Uh- Yes!" Willow shrieked, as the car revved noisily, and Tara thrust sensually against her. Her climax was swift in coming, almost before Tara had had time to settle into a rhythm she screamed: "Yes! Oh... god yes!"
Tara nuzzled her neck adoringly as she gasped, then leaned back and gazed down at her, admiring her flushed beauty. Willow lifted a shaking hand to stroke Tara's cheek. "Mmm, baby..."
"Magnet off," Tara murmured, touching the contour on her suit's arm. Willow lifted her head up and pressed a kiss to Tara's cheek, then moved to capture her lips in a second, far steamier kiss.
"Let's get out of here," she whispered at last.
"You read my mind," Tara agreed.
"I'll drive," Willow grinned. Tara nodded, and helped Willow stand up and brush the sand off herself.
"Oh," she said to herself. As Willow jumped for the edge of the ersatz death-pit, Tara caught Platypussy Galore around the middle, and carefully handed her up.
"We've picked up a passenger," Willow grinned.
"You never know," Tara replied with a smile, accepting Willow's hand as she pulled herself out of the pit. "She might be redeemable."
Evil Lair Above-Ground Exit
About half a mile from the outskirts of the town of Millau, an unassuming haystack remained spread open one side, revealing itself to be camouflage over a steel-lined ramp leading underground. Within, further down the tunnel, sirens were blaring, hazard lights were flashing, and a massive blast door was slowly descending.
At seemingly the last moment, racing ahead of a wall of flame, Willow and Tara's Aston Martin roared into view and emerged from the ramp at such speed that it flew for several metres before thudding down onto the grass and swerving towards a nearby road. The blast door slammed shut just in time to contain the firestorm behind itself, and the haystack whirred closed.
"I'm contacting the Ministry," Tara said from the passenger's seat, activating a communications console in the glove compartment. Willow nodded, and devoted her attention to negotiating the unlit field. In the back seat, Platypussy Galore curled up for a nap.
"We're being jammed," Tara frowned.
"Boost the signal," Willow suggested.
"It is boosted," Tara replied. "The only way we could be being jammed is... at close range..." Suddenly a siren blared through the vehicle.
"Missile lock!" Willow warned, thumbing a control on the steering wheel. Panels on the car's radiator slid aside to reveal banks of missile, two of which streaked out ahead, curved over each other, and shot back on either side of the Aston Martin to collide and detonate in mid-air with a pair of larger missiles roaring towards them. As Willow swerved on to the road, Cordelia's Lamborghini Diablo shot out of the shadow of a barn and pursued them.
"You didn't really think I'd assume that death trap would work, did you?" the former Bunny taunted over the radio. Willow and Tara exchanged a worried glance.
"Cordelia," Tara warned, "I've got the best driver in the Ministry beside me."
"Second best!" she shot back.
"That's not what it looked like off Long Beach," Tara said quickly. Willow gave her a surprised glance, and she added, lowering her voice: "She always had a bit of a temper, when the villains got to taunting her. Hardly my specialty, but anything that gives us an advantage..."
"If it weren't so trite, I'd say you'll pay for that," Cordelia snarled. "Think about this, though: you've only got eight target-seekers left, and after that, you're all out of weapons that can fire backwards. And I've got a lot more than eight shots in this baby."
"She's right," Willow said quietly, glancing worriedly in the rear view mirror at the Diablo, which was proving impossible to out-distance now they were both on the winding country road. "Sedans are always built for frontal assault - they're not so good at, uh, backal assault, or whatever..."
"I'll give you five seconds to give up. If you're nice, I won't tell Danny boy I found you, I'll just hogtie you together until we win. Hey, you might like it! Tara, didn't I always say you needed to rope yourself a hot girl?"
"Can we lose her in the town?" Tara asked.
"There'll be civilians around," Willow warned. "Do you think she'd risk them to hit us?"
"Right now I'm not sure of anything about her," Tara frowned. A roadsign showing a bridge flashed past.
"That's it," Willow said, veering towards an on-ramp.
"Willow?" Tara asked. "The bridge - it's a straight line, there's nothing to keep her from hitting us."
"This thing can take a few dents," Willow said confidently. "And a piece of straight road is just what I need right now!"
Millau Suspension Bridge
The bridge stretched more than two kilometres, there hundred metres above the ground. Tiny specks compared to its majestic span, the two vehicles roared onto the bridge, flashes of fire lighting their path as the Aston Martin's target-seeker missiles intercepted and detonated each salvo of heat seeking missiles from Cordelia's Diablo. Tinier flecks of light marked the ricochets of autocannon shells off the Ministry vehicle's armoured rear.
Cordelia smiled as she saw her prey accelerate on the straight bridge roadway.
"Amateur mistake," she chuckled to herself, ramming the gear shift forward and pressing a button on top of the stick. "Bad move Tare, should've picked a better driver." A large panel opened on the back of the Lamborghini, revealing a pair of jet engines which roared to life and sent the car hurtling forwards.
"Willow," Tara said worriedly, glancing back through the bulletproof rear windshield, seeing the Diablo closing on them.
"I know," Willow replied grimly. "She left the Ministry two years ago, right?"
"Yes," Tara frowned.
"Then she doesn't know about the ion cannon - even if she's got a scanner, she won't see it until it powers up." She glanced in the mirror. "Come on, use your AI missiles... what's she waiting for?"
There was a flash behind them, then a crack as something hit the back of the car. The tyres squealed as they slowed, and Tara looked back to see a cable leashing them to Cordelia's car.
"She wants to reel us in," she said grimly. The dashboard beeped urgently.
"Computer lock!" Willow warned. "This is it, hold-"
"I know," Tara grinned wryly, "hold on!"
Four plumes of fire leapt from the Diablo - four computer-guided missiles launching from its side bays, weaving out and then turning in mid-air and converging on the captive Aston Martin. At the last moment Willow ran her fingers down a bank of controls on the steering column, and spun the wheel sharply. The car's brakes locked, spinning it around, a razor-sharp buzz-saw slid from beneath the passenger side door and severed the restraining cable, and the ion cannon emerged from the bonnet and pulsed, detonating the incoming missiles as their on-board computers fried and triggered their self-destruct.
"My turn," Willow said, staring at the oncoming Lamborghini. A massive bank of forward-firing rockets lifted up from the car's boot and let fly, filling the air with flaming exhausts and smoke trails.
Just in time the roof of the Diablo blasted off, allowing Cordelia's seat to fly clear on an escape rocket as the car was blasted to pieces beneath her. The flaming wreck screeched across the bridge and smashed through its guard rails, hurtling off into the night and erupting into a fireball in mid-air.
Cordelia, now several hundred metres above the bridge, watched the car destroy itself, as her seat sprouted wings and stabiliser fins.
"She's out of the arc of the railguns," Willow noted, watching the glider as it swept away into the night sky.
"The jamming's stopped," Tara said. "We're getting a signal from the Ministry."
"Good," Willow nodded, "they need to know what we know about Daniel's program. I'll find somewhere secluded to park."
"...and he said 'point of transmission'," Willow finished explaining to Agent Hidden Bunny, Fred's field director of statistical analysis, on the car's communications suite, "so my guess is that he intends to use a single transmitter to broadcast the Panacea kernels to all the receptive sites those substations you've been finding are opening up."
"That'd be my guess too," the agent agreed on the monitor. "We've stepped up search-and-destroy operations, but unless Osbourne is planning to sit on his behind for a couple of weeks, we're not going to be able to shut down the vulnerabilities he's created in the world's data networks in time. We'll... hang on, incoming from M... She's skimmed your report, she says good work, report to the nearest safehouse, and wait for your assignment."
"Uh... thanks... I mean, thank her, from us," Willow replied, quite distracted by Tara, in the driver's seat and out of view of the monitor, wriggling out of her wetsuit. With a considerable effort, Willow fixed her attention back on the screen.
"M's still at the Ministry?" she asked. "I mean, this late?"
"We're running shifts around the clock," Hidden Bunny nodded. "Minimal rest for critical personnel. Enjoy the down time until your orders come in, she finished with a wry smirk.
"We will," Willow nodded.
"We definitely will," Tara agreed. Willow turned to see her stretched out on the reclined seat, head propped up on one arm, wetsuit draped over herself in a not at all concealing fashion, and one leg thrust provocatively out over the gear shift console.
"Um, gulp," Willow grinned.
"So," Tara purred, "when were you going to tell me about your passenger?"
"What about her?" Willow asked, confused. She cast a glance at Platypussy Galore, who remained curled up and contentedly asleep on the back seat. Her eyes shot back to Tara's as the blonde stretched her leg across the car's centre console and trailed her foot up Willow's thigh to her crotch.
"I mean," Tara smiled, "your other passenger..."
"Oh... oh!" Willow nodded, wide-eyed. "Well it was really just a spur-of-the-moment thing... and besides," she added, suddenly assuming a lascivious grin, "I was worried you might accidentally trigger the vibro-feedback test mode... using the diagnostic control in the steering column, just below the indicator arm in a little safe compartment, combination 2-5-1."
"Oh look," Tara smiled lazily, retrieving the diagnostic control - a slim palm-sized gadget - from the steering column, and pretending to be oblivious to her toes wriggling their way between Willow's thighs.
"Look what I just happened to find," she grinned.
"See, that's exactly... what I mean," Willow agreed, spreading her legs a fraction to allow Tara a little more access. "It's so easy to stumble across... and switch into test mode, by pushing the two green buttons, then keying in T-T-zero-D-zero..."
"You're right," Tara nodded solemnly, keying the combination into the gadget's tiny control pad. "See how easy that was..."
"And then, the merest noise would make the car remote generate vibrations," Willow pointed out. Tara widened her eyes, feigning academic interest in this titbit of knowledge, then held the gadget to her lips.
"Mmmmmmmmmmm," she purred resonantly.
"Mmmmmm!" Willow agreed, clutching her seat.
"Yes," Tara said in a low tone, making Willow shiver delightedly, "that's actually far too easy to do by accident, mmmmm..."
"Told you," Willow whispered, clenching her eyes shut.
"Maybe," Tara suggested, "we should tell Anya, and get her to reconfigure the control? Hmmmm?" Willow squirmed, holding Tara's foot tightly between her thighs.
"I won't tell her if you won't," she promised.
"Agreeeeeeeeeed," Tara smiled, sliding her toes up to Willow's waist as the redhead involuntarily parted her thighs. Willow ran a shaking hand along the blonde's calf, and lifted her leg higher, leaning down to kiss her ankle.
"Mmmmmm, remmmmmote control Willow," Tara chuckled.
"Just what you wanted for Christmas?" Willow giggled. Tara laughed lightly, then gasped as Willow closed her lips around her big toe and sucked it heartily.
"Sweetie," Tara purred, her eyes heavily lidded with desire. "I think... it's time to switch to manual control..."
At Willow's eager nod, Tara withdrew her foot and nimbly clambered out of her seat to straddle the redhead. Willow opened a hidden panel in the passenger side door and touched a button, which retracted the back seat - and its bemused occupant - into a rear compartment, leaving room for both front seats to recline fully, leaving ample room for Tara to stretch out on top of her and begin to open her wetsuit.
"I like this car," she said idly.
"Lots of neat accessories," Willow agreed. "But you're right, automatic is only so good. It's always better to go manual - have the control right there, in your... hand!" she finished gleefully, as Tara pulled her wetsuit open from neck to crotch and slid her hand between Willow's legs.
"First gear," she murmured, sliding down to rest her head on Willow's body, licking and kissing her stomach. She slid a single finger into Willow's steamy sex, and began slowly pumping in and out.
"Vroom!" Willow nodded, stretching her legs beneath Tara, her hands in Tara's golden hair, stroking her.
"Second gear," Tara whispered, adding another finger. Moist sounds emerged from between them, as the blonde's thrusts displaced generous amounts of warm nectar.
"You're a natural, baby," Willow murmured, one hand still running through Tara's hair, the other gently caressing her face.
"Third gear," Tara said, adding a third finger. She opened her mouth and sucked Willow's fingers as the redhead's hungry, moist core welcomed her questing fingers and clenched tightly around them. Her other hand snuck around Willow's hip, delving between her cheeks and massaging her tightly-clenched rose, slick with the rivulets of juice running out of her sex.
"Mmmmm," Willow purred, grinding her hips into Tara's hands. The blonde kept her other hand's caressed superficial, stimulating without penetrating.
"Fourth... gear..." she murmured around Willow's fingers, withdrawing her soaked fingers, adding the fourth, and slowly easing them back into the redhead's clenching channel.
"Ohhhhhh," Willow moaned, "oh, baby, sweetie, love you..."
"Love you," Tara replied. Willow's wet fingers stroked her chin, her cheek, ran up and down the edge of her ear. She opened her mouth wide and pressed against Willow's stomach, laving her tongue over all the pale skin circumscribed by her lips.
"Fifth gear...?" Willow asked, in a hushed, tentative whisper. Tara looked up slowly, without ceasing her slow thrusts between Willow's legs.
"You want?" she asked. Willow opened her eyes and met the blonde's gaze unflinchingly.
"I want," she said in a deep, husky voice.
"You've got," Tara murmured, returning her lips to Willow's skin. She slid slowly down, licking Willow's waist, her russet curls, while her fingers grew slowly more agile, venturing a little deeper, twisting a little more from side to side with each gentle, drawn-out thrust.
"Open," Tara whispered, finally reaching Willow's clit and circling it with the tip of her tongue. She tucked her thumb in her palm and pushed gently inward, withdrew, thrust, a little more each time, feeling Willow's body give more, her tight, grasping lips clutching further up her hand with every sliding penetration. She tilted her head to one side, placed a gentle kiss on the side of Willow's vulva, careful not to overstimulate her, to cause her to tense, and with a slow, inevitable motion, slid her hand beyond the final set of knuckles, over the widest point as the back of her thumb slid in, and buried herself to the wrist in Willow's yielding sex.
"Ohhhhhh!" Willow exclaimed in a low, constant exhale. "Ohhhh my god..."
"Willow?" Tara whispered, glancing up, seeing an expression of rapture lighting the redhead's face. Willow looked back, and Tara felt engulfed in the dark pools of green that caught her gaze.
"Yours," Willow said, "yours, yours... the moment I saw you, yours..."
"I'm in you," Tara said, unable to process any thought besides the warmth surrounding her hand, more than ever before.
"You've always been in me," Willow said, letting her head drop back. "Oh, Tara, please..."
Tara smiled and ducked her head, finally covering Willow's clit with her lips and sucking voraciously. She felt, from inside and out, Willow's climax begin, a heavy, trembling wave that ran through her, erupted from her mouth as a blissful moan and from her sex as a gush of nectar escaping the tight seal her lips made around Tara's wrist. It subsided quickly, and almost as quickly began again, Willow tensing, releasing, a second time, then a third, and again, again. Tara swallowed all she could of the precious juices coating Willow's sex, feeding on the ecstatic shockwaves - Willow's core was tugging at her, clenching and relaxing, and Tara let her arm go limp and watched in amazement as Willow's body made love to itself, forcing her hand back almost to its widest point with each orgasm, then drawing it back in, hungrily, bringing on the next.
It was a deliriously long time before Willow finally subsided. Tara gently withdrew her hand, placing a soft kiss on Willow's inner thigh as she felt her lips draw tight in the moment before she slid free.