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Paragon 02


Paragon vs. Plastica

by Cobalt Jade (

Chapter 2: Grand Opening

"Hey, Cinn, do you know where Shana went to?"

Cinnabar Steele -- also known as Scirocco, the founding member of Team
Paragon -- shrugged and returned to the newspaper, biting into a jelly
donut. "Who knows? She's never been one to lead a tame life."

Lori blushed. Cinnabar was putting it mildly. Shana, or Xenon as she
was known to criminals, often returned from her wild nights on the town
bragging of her conquests. She'd even confided to Lori she'd gotten her
clit pierced. Lori couldn't imagine doing such a thing. Ouch!

Still, the older crimefighter fascinated her. She laughed at ALOSH's --
the American League of Superheroes -- regulations and seemed determined to
live down her image as a "Paragon" of all-American decency. Scirocco kept
her on the team only because A) she was so good at what she did, especially
regarding technical matters; and B) they went back a long way together.
Even Lori had to admit that Shana, despite her appetite for sensual
adventure, would lay down her life for her friends.

"She'll be back by Friday," Cinnabar said. "After all, we have that
all-hands meeting."

Lori nodded. The other members of Team Paragon -- Xenon, Blue
Cymbidium, Chrystar, and White Rose -- met every Friday night in Cinnabar's
loft to discuss the week's events and the state of crime in the city. Of
course, they all had their "mundane" or workaday identities. Lori was a
medical student, Cinnabar an archaeologist doing research for the Near East
Institute. Not all their occupations were glamorous, though. Allison,
White Rose, drove a cab while Noelani was a social worker. Gina was a
makeup artist for the movies. Shana herself had been a body double and
sometime porn actress before becoming the owner-operator of her own latte
stand. It wasn't unusual for superheroes, or superheroines, to team up.
It allowed them to pool their resources and share information, and also
provided a support network in what was a very isolated and dangerous job.

"Hey, look at this," Cinnabar said, flipping her long red-brown hair
over her shoulder. "They're opening up a new Sexateria store in

"Isn't that the one they were having all that controversy about?"

"Yeah. Remember the protesters? 'Not in MY backyard!' " Cinnabar

"They said the neighborhood wasn't zoned for adult entertainment," Lori

"Not according to the Sexateria reps. They claimed they were no
different from a Costco or Barnes & Noble."

"Well, calling the stores Sexateria doesn't help their cause any," Lori

"I think it's cute," Scirocco said. She held up the paper to show the
younger superheroine the ad. A sketchy, Jules Feiffer-like cartoon of a
young man and woman with a downtown look walked out of the store holding
two shopping bags from which a few... things... protruded. Above was the
Sexateria logo in tall, retro-fifties letters. The caption read: WE'RE
GOING TO COME... Below it, in smaller letters, was: Hollywood, soon,
on September 9th.

"There's a coupon, too," Cinnabar said, mischievously waggling her
eyebrows up and down. "Ten percent off all merchandise at any store."

"No thank you," Lori said primly. She grabbed the last jelly doughnut
off the plate. "I've got to run. I've got class today."

"Oh, lighten up, kiddo," Cinnabar said. "They're just doing the great
American capitalist thing. They're probably plain old decent, law-abiding
folks at heart."


Leaving Xenon locked in the van, Plastica bounded upstairs to her
Century City condo where she transformed herself, via business suit, wig,
and glasses, from Plastica into Paula Jean Estes, the effervescent Vice
President of Merchandising of Sexateria, Inc. She made a call to her head
display artist. "Hello, Kate honey?" she said, adopting the sexy southern
drawl that marked this persona. "This is Paula Jean. Listen, I really
hate waking you up so early, but I've got something you just have to see.
Meet me at the dock of the Wilshire store in an hour."

She hung up the phone, beaming with satisfaction, and slipped on a
string of pearls. Paula Jean was a fun persona, but as an executive
Plastica had to dress more conservatively than she usually did. She
smoothed the creases out of her pale green Donna Karan suit and went
downstairs to have a quick cup of coffee. Then she went back to the van.

She couldn't resist a peak. Xenon lay on her back, her legs canted up
because of the round, wheeled base of the stand. Plastica threw in a
couple of blankets to help cushion her. The last thing she wanted was for
her new mannequin to chip its finish.

"Comfy?" she said lightly. Xenon didn't answer.

Traffic was heavy on Wilshire, as it always this hour of the morning.
Plastica drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. She couldn't wait to
see Kate's reaction. Though she had a fair amount of control as VP she
left most of the day-to-day aspects to her assistants. She clicked the
security gates open and drove the van up to the dock. It only took a
little bit of maneuvering to wheel Xenon up the ramp to the receiving area

Kate Spolington, the head visual merchandiser for the Wilshire store,
arrived a few minutes later. In contrast to her boss she dressed as
flamboyantly as only a VM could in LA, her slim, toned body a perfect
showcase for the hottest young designers. "Oh -- " she gasped when she saw
the mannequin. "It's so... real." She couldn't help running her hand over
the smooth plastic skin. "Where did you get it?"

"Oh, it's a secret honey," Plastica said in her southern drawl. "A new
company, let's leave it at that. This one's an experimental model.
They're not taking orders yet, but they will be. If we like this one,
they'll give us a good deal."

Kate nodded, now running her hands over the mannequin's torso. She
seemed particularly taken with the large breasts and their nipples. She
walked around to the mannequin's rear, then tried to bend one of its arms.
"Oh," she said with disappointment. "You can't move it."

Plastica's face fell. Damn, she'd forgotten about that. Xenon was as
rigid as a two-by-four.

"Do its head or limbs come off, maybe?" Kate said, grasping Xenon by the
neck and pulling.

"Better be careful, honey. It's on loan." Kate dropped her hands.
Plastica realized what faux pas she'd made. What good was a mannequin if
you couldn't pose it? She'd have to go back and rewrite that part of the

"Well, it is an intriguing pose, even if you can't move it," Kate mused.
She glanced down at the thick pole emerging from Xenon's plasticized pussy.
"That pole gives the idea of penetration. She looks like she's having one
helluva orgasm."

Plastica laughed. "Exactly!"

"And with those arms and legs spread out, she looks like she's been
caught in a spiderweb, or some kind of bondage scene... Hmm, I could do an
interesting theme around that. Fake cobwebs, the helpless heroine stuck in
the middle."

"I was thinking of the B&D department myself," Plastica said.

"Or leather gear, right. It'll be attention-getting if nothing else.
Sure to turn heads." She touched Xenon's shoulder, sending her scooting
forward on her rollers a little. "And so light? Oh yeah, we've got to
have this. Our VMs will LOVE it!"

"I'm glad you like it. We'll be getting more in the future, for all the
stores," Plastica said. It was the perfect setup... money would go out of
Sexateria Inc. and into the dummy corporation she'd set up to take care of
the mannequin business. She'd be practically operating within the law.

"We should get the posable kind, though. Does this company have a
catalog? I'd like to look through it -- find out about prices, ordering
lots. We have to be sure to have some racial diversity, too -- Latinos,
Asians -- "

"I'll be taking care of that," Plastica said abruptly. Still, Kate had
brought up an important point. She amended her words with a smile. "With
your advice and support of course." That should satisfy her. If Kate got
too nosy about the source, she might have to be turned into a mannequin
herself. "Let's take her... er, it, inside. I want to see how it looks
in the store."

Kate placed her hands on Xenon's waist and wheeled her through the


*I am a mannequin.*

She knew her name -- Xenon -- but not any other information about
herself. She was in a store full of books and magazines with pictures of
naked people on them. The two women chatted as they wheeled her past long
counters under which strange objects gleamed brightly. Xenon knew one of
the woman. She had done... something... to her, but she couldn't
remember what it was. It wasn't important. She was a mannequin now.
Remembering was too hard.

So she absorbed her surroundings without analyzing them, neither
intrigued nor upset at this strange turn in her adventure. The women had
to turn her sideways to get her through doorways, as her arms and legs were
splayed in a giant X. The pose was exposed and undignified, but Xenon
didn't worry about it. She didn't feel her limbs anyway. Nor did she feel
the thick pole that protruded between her legs. The pole ended in a set of
rubber wheels that made slight squeaking noises as she was pushed, limbs
akimbo, through the empty aisles, an endless loop of porn videos heaving
and grunting above her. But that didn't matter either. She was a
mannequin. She belonged in a store.

They came at last to a section that sold lingerie and parked her next to
a rack filled with satin teddies and bras. There was another mannequin
near her posed in a more natural position, its limbs drooping in erotic
languor. "No comparison," the flamboyantly dressed younger woman said,
looking from Xenon to the other. "I know they're Adel Rootsteins, but this
one just looks more real, more... frozen, for want of a better word,. I'd
like to keep it here to watch peoples' reactions."

"Do that," the taller woman said. Her voice chilled Xenon, though she
didn't know why. "Have some of your assistants circulate among the
shoppers to overhear the comments. I'd like to hear them." She glanced at
her watch. "I'm going to get some coffee now; I'll be back at nine. More
people than usual will be at the opening today because of those coupons, so
advise the staff."

"I will," the younger woman said as her boss left. She began to dress
Xenon in a pair of sheer white stockings, hooking them to a frilly garter
belt around her waist. The sensual lingerie reminded Xenon of something,
but she wasn't sure what. Had she owned garments like these? Worn them
for pleasure? Her concentration imploded; it was much easier to watch the
woman dress her. Now she was hooking a strapless bra around Xenon's
breasts, the push-up kind more akin to two shelves. That done, she picked
out a pair of satin panties and made a curved cut through the crotch,
gluing the ends back together when the elastic was around Xenon's hips.
After that she sprayed Xenon's scalp with some kind of adhesive and pressed
a blonde wing into it, fussing with a crimping iron for a bit. She applied
some cosmetics to Xenon's face, then, grinning mischievously, set a pair of
star-shaped sunglasses on her nose. And left her alone.

*So this is my new home,* Xenon thought, while having no memory of her
original one, or the adventures that had brought her there. The thought
had a final and depressing ring to it. She knew she had been... someone,
or something else, and as human as the woman who'd dressed her. A tiny
spark of hope flared into life. *Maybe someone will see me and remember
who I was. They'll take me away from here...*

Xenon could only wait. She stared out at the empty store, hot
California sunlight beginning to stripe the floor. Without stimulation her
mind faded to an empty movie screen. Then the curtains lowered and she
thought no more.


Despite Cinnabar's assurances Lori found herself worried. Shana's latte
stand wasn't in its usual place that day. Of course she might have run
into some emergency, as crimefighters often did. Lori tried to tell
herself that was the case, but in her heart she knew something was wrong.

When she had first joined Team Paragon Cinnabar had taken her to the
West Coast ALOSH -- American League of Superheroes -- headquarters for
orientation to the responsibilities of her new position. To impress the
danger of her new job upon her she took Lori to a room where a costumed
superheroine like herself stood staring into a tv screen. She ignored them
completely. As Lori came closer she saw the young woman was not breathing.
Indeed, she wasn't moving at all. "Who -- ?" she blurted.

"Her name was Photon," Cinnabar whispered. Not is; *was.*

Photon stood with her legs slightly apart, arms at her sides with her
palms facing outward. Her eyes were wide, lips slightly parted in a blank
yet somehow trapped expression. Lori went closer, walking around to her
side... and her hands flew to her mouth. "Oh God, no..."

"A criminal genius named Catwalk captured her," Cinnabar said in a low
voice. "She was using the persona of a designer in the fashion industry."

"But she's..." Lori sputtered, unable to look away from the awful
reality...that Photon was as flat and two-dimensional as a figure cut from

"Catwalk invented a device called the transdimensional reducer. She
turned it on Photon so she could play with her 'life-sized, living paper
doll.' "

Lori felt hot tears well up in her eyes. "Can she hear us?" she

"I don't know," Cinnabar said sadly.

Lori tore her eyes away, ashamed at her show of repugnance. In contrast
to the rest of the complex, which was sparse and functional, Photon's room
was furnished with soft carpets and drapes, and fresh flowers were
everywhere. A stereo system with a CD player sat in one corner and
photographs and paintings covered the walls; there was even a table with a
fresh meal laid on it. Clearly the medical staff were making every attempt
to provide visual, audio, and olfactory stimulation to their
two-dimensional patient. A comedy starring Julia Roberts was even playing
on the VCR. But Photon showed no reaction. The passage to two dimensions
had frozen all signs of life.

"She's been that way for eight years," Cinnabar said. "The
transdimensional reducer was destroyed along with Catwalk's hideout; our
scientists here are still trying to figure out how to reverse the process.
In the meantime, we keep Photon here. The staff move her from room to
room, play the movies and music for her, take her outside sometimes. They
have to be very careful. She weighs only ounces now, so gust of wind could
blow her away like that." She snapped her fingers.

"I'm sorry," Lori said to the silent figure. Cinnabar took her outside.

Lori knuckled her tears, thinking of Photon frozen on her stand, her
fiery orange hair as coifed as when she had woken up that fateful day, her
one-piece unitard unwrinkled by the motions of her body. A fresh, shiny
paper doll...forever. "Why did you show me that?" she sobbed.

Cinnabar remained implacable. "So you understand exactly what you're
getting into."

Lori never forgot the lesson she learned that day.

Still, she tried to put her fears out of her mind. She still had the
coupon from Sexateria that Cinnabar had forced on her. She took it out of
her purse, grinning. Why not?

In a half hour she was at the Wilshire store. Business was brisk, going
by the amount of people that passed in and out of the doors. To her relief
most of them looked perfectly normal, not leering old perverts or
bleached-blonde nude dancers. They could have been students on her campus
or workers in the office building across the street. Relieved, she decided
that if they could walk in without embarrassment, she could too, so she
walked through the double doors into the cool hiss of the store's air
conditioning system.

A polite young man carded her to verify she was over eighteen, then
sales assistants bombarded her with samples and coupons: free condoms, a
coupon for a free video rental, a catalog. "Welcome to Sexateria," they
said, with identical smiles. "We hope you enjoy shopping here."

She picked up a shopping basket of high-tech chrome wire. The store
surprised her. She'd expected either adult-bookstore tackiness or the
overdone frippery of a Victoria's Secret. But whoever designed Sexateria
had a puckish sense of humor about it. Crazy retro-fifties lettering
marked the walls announcing each department, and there were humorous if
risque displays like a Jolly Green Giant-sized dildo hanging from the
ceiling. Lori was reminded irresistibly of Disneyland and the unique
California penchant for cartoonization. Even the sales staff looked hip
and ironic. Both male and female employees wore dark pants and tuxedo
shirts with shocking pink bow ties, as if they were laughing at themselves
and at the whole idea of a Sexateria store. "We're having fun with this,
and so should you," they seemed to say. The casual atmosphere must have
worked on everyone else, too, for they were shopping exactly as if they
were in a Kmart or Ralph's. So Lori felt free to browse the merchandise

The media section was very large and included a bookstore with separate
health, self-help, and gay and lesbian sections. There was a large
selection of art books and, of course, erotica; she discreetly put a copy
of "Beauty's Punishment" in her basket before she left, the first of her
purchases. She decided to skip the video department, however. Signs
boasted it carried largest selection of porn in LA; but going by what was
playing on the monitors, most were exactly as tawdry as their boxes
suggested. Across the aisle were several long racks of magazines perused
by desperate-looking men. She decided to skip that as well.

Next came the safe sex department, which included condoms, contraceptive
sponges, enema bags, and other essentials. Next door was a large medical
section which had everything from aspirin to herbal aphrodisiacs. There
was a fully functional pharmacy, a post office, even a Starbucks.

*This store has everything,* she thought.

The sex aids department was laid out like a jewelry store, long rows of
cases overseen by discrete, helpful attendants. Free flyers were available
in cardboard holders: "Choosing a vibrator" "The myth of cockrings" and
"Just what are buttplugs, anyway?" She discovered that silicon vibrators
were superior to latex ones and that it was better to work your way up from
smaller buttplugs to larger ones as your anal muscles stretched. Some of
the other equipment made her cheeks burn.

She glanced at her watch. Had it been an hour already?

She still hadn't seen the clothes, so she took the escalator to the
second floor. There were men's and women's bathing suits, sleepwear,
underwear, and other garments that had no function except a fantasy one --
frilly maids' outfits, leather Harley Davidson caps, tear-away briefs and
panties. She giggled as she held up what looked like a shiny black
jockstrap with leather suspenders attached. What would her boyfriend look
like in this? Cal was so straight; he never wore anything but white

After much deliberation she picked out a boned satin corset to try on,
the garment as fully functionless and decorative as only a piece of boudoir
wear could be. She couldn't help grinning as she regarded herself in the
mirror. The elasticized corset cinched her waist, making it even narrower,
and above it were two underwired cutouts for each breast, with stiff
shelves of fabric that held them erect. The legs were cut almost to her
waist, sexy black lace filling in the vee, and the back they tapered down
to a cute little thong that disappeared between her cheeks. She had to
keep her own panties on, which ruined the effect, but she couldn't believe
how slutty she felt. Oh, Cal would like this! She did a few steps of a
va-va-voom dance, imagining a pair of pasties glued on her nipples.
Suddenly, to her surprise, she felt a warm spurt of liquid stain her
panties. No wonder the attendants made you keep your underwear on.

She glanced at the price tag to bring herself down to earth. Sixty-five
ninety-nine. She made a face. Even with her coupon it was too much. She
should wait for a sale.

On her way out of the dressing room she saw a small group of shoppers
had gathered around an unusual mannequin. It wore a white satin panty and
bra ensemble with stockings, a feather boa, and a pair of kitschy
star-shaped sunglasses which hid its face; its lips were puckered as if to
say "Mwah!" accompanied by a sexy kiss. The shape of the eyewear was
echoed in the pose, its head, arms, and legs each forming one point each of
a giant star.

Lori couldn't take her eyes off it. It looked so... real. Almost as
if a living person, someone she knew, had been spread-eagled and stuck on a
pole. She noticed a display of the same star-shaped sunglasses had been
set next to the mannequin. Half of them were already gone, even though
they were ridiculously overpriced.

Lori frowned. Why did it seem so familiar...

From clothing she passed through shoes -- mostly black leather, with
absurdly high heels -- then furniture. First came waterbeds and special
mirrors, then the padded benches and frames of the bondage world. *No
thank you,* she thought, moving on to the next department, and the next,
and then the aisle that would take her down the escalator with her

On the way she passed a simulated castle dungeon showcasing a selection
of bondage wear. The strange mannequin had been moved to the entrance,
where the staff was dressing it in a new outfit. Curious, Lori stopped to
watch. The mannequin was already wearing a pair of thigh-high vinyl boots
to which they added a corset and nipple clamps. Lori thought the ensemble
looked very uncomfortable. She noticed the two clamps were connected by a
chain... for being yanked by? Too kinky for her... yet the light touch
of the chain, moving with one's breathing, must feel erotic against exposed

As she mused the dressers the continued to work, removing the
mannequin's wig and sunglasses to fit on a leather bondage hood.

Lori gasped.

The face was Xenon's. Startled, blank, and very, very, trapped.

She only had a brief look before the hood slid into place, the handlers
zipping it up like magic. Lori shook her head. *Am I dreaming? *

Then the handlers stood aside to fit on a leather thong, and she saw,
between the thing's legs where the pole emerged, a tiny gleam of gold on
the realistically modeled genitalia... a clit ring. Then the panties were
tugged into place and fastened to the corset, and the boots, with a series
of straps.

Lori stepped back, her mind reeling. A clit ring. Who would bother to
put a clit ring on a mannequin?

And in the back of her mind, whispering, Who would bother to model realistic genitalia for a mannequin, either?

Her head felt light. Clutching her purchases, she made her way to the
registers, trying to convince herself she'd made a mistake. Sexateria was
a store specializing in sexual items; why wouldn't their mannequins have
realistically modeled genitalia? And why wouldn't those organs have
piercings? But that didn't explain Xenon's face, or her wide blue eyes!

She was so flustered she forgot to use her coupon.

This work is copyrighted 2002-2003 by Cobalt Jade (
This work may be be freely distributed over electronic media provided no
fee is charged for its use. Charging a fee for this story, or publishing
without author credit or this notice violates my copyright.


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