"Class, we have a special guest here in Contemporary Global Feminist Studies today. Please welcome Ms. Akasuki Solieri."
"I prefer Miss," says the young woman as she makes her way into the classroom. She is a small person--in most ways, though not all--dressed smartly in a business suit, dark hair neatly braided. "It lulls the prey into a false sense of security in my immaturity." She smiles at the class, showing too many teeth.
"Just so," says Professor Roper quickly. "Of course, Miss Solieri. Please go on."
Solieri steps up to the podium at the front of the class. Forty bored college students stare back at her. Jeb Morson, who is taking the class to impress the ladies with his sensitivity to their plight, looks at the parts of her that are not small. She smiles toothily at him before setting her purse down on the podium and beginning to speak. "Professor Roper here tells me that you are all well aware of the underground Japanese canning industry these days. Is this correct?"
Nods, some more enthusiastic than others, ripple across the class. "Good. Then nothing I say here today will shock you." She waits a moment, then says, "When I was fourteen and attending a private school in Japan, a number of other girls and I were sent out on a supposed field trip. Instead of visiting the museum, however, we were instead pushed into a large truck and taken to a factory of sorts, where we were met by men dressed completely in sturdy containment suits who tore off our clothes with knives. I know the suits were sturdy, because I acquired one of these knives and attempted an impromptu vasectomy on one of these men. It didn't work.
"My schoolmates and I were attached to a conveyor line and sent through a series of processes. I believe that you already know the details of these processes--is that so, Professor? Then I won't go into detail."
Professor Roper clears her throat rather nervously and glances out over the class. "There will be a test Thursday on the different male neuroses behind the design of the capture, binding, cleansing, enhancement, and containment processes. I hope you took notes."
The young woman who refuses to be known by any name other than Indigo Chylde raises her hand. She last used it to rub her tired eyes, so there are black smudges all over it. "Will there be extra credit?"
"Yes, Ms. Bularsky," says Roper. "Extra credit will involve Ms.--Miss Solieri's lecture. Please continue," she adds to the speaker.
Solieri nods and continues, "In any case, let me assure you that I have looked over your course materials and what you have read about is in fact what actually happens. The only process I will dwell on tonight is the containment stage. This is where the flaws can creep in. There is human intervention at all the other stages. The containment stage is purely automated, and foreign chemicals introduced into the machinery tend to wear it down at this point.
"The cans are designed with three primary parts: one, the life-support machinery--this is generally not skimped on, as the suppliers cannot afford to give their customers a dead product. Two, the restraint support designed to connect with existing bonds--this sometimes has minor errors, but as it is overseen by humans rather than just machines, it is generally sufficient. Finally, the lid. This is where errors often come into play; it is left to the machines, as the humans usually assume that the restraint support and the minor sedatives (not too much; the customers want their product pliant, but not unconscious) from the life support will be enough to subdue the canned schoolgirl."
A hand shoots up at this point, but Roper waves the student away. "Wait till she's done, Ms. Bularsky."
"No, that's quite all right, Professor," says Solieri. "What's your question?"
Indigo Chylde says, "Are they always schoolgirls?"
"Not always," Solieri says. "It depends on the quality of the operation. The classiest ones will weed out non-schoolgirls. In any case, the bulk of captives come from private schools run by troubled businessmen attempting to make some quick money before fleeing the country. Does that answer your question?"
Indigo Chylde nods hurriedly as she busily translates this into the deeper and more poetic language of her soul, which includes the words "enormous, frightened vylette orbs."
Solieri goes on. "I was about twenty miles out of the factory when I managed to shake off the effects of the sedative. I have always been highly resistant to drugs, although not as much so as I am today. I then spent about half an hour loosening a recently-installed crown from one of my teeth with my tongue. When I had pried it off, I worked it over to where I could use it to slowly saw a cut through the gag in my mouth. From there, I worked my way free of the air mask. Having accomplished this, I was still securely bound around the arms and legs, and I now could run out of oxygen if I wasn't careful. I did the only thing I could do, then.
"The lid of a can of schoolgirl is composed of two main parts: the upper lid, made of thick tin, and the much thinner mesh several inches below it. Between those two parts is a foil tab that can be lifted open to check the product before purchase. On the outside is a pull tab that can be used to open the product after purchase. These were my goal, but I would have to free myself first.
"I began by chewing a small hole in the mesh. From there, I seized a loosened flap of mesh in my teeth and in this way tore away all the mesh. This gave me a little more head room, and I used this new space to take the jagged ends of the mesh--again, in my teeth--and cut my way free of my upper bonds. Once that was done, I removed the intravenous connections, especially the ones keeping me plied with sedative. Then I undid my lower bonds."
In the back of the classroom, Martin Durell passes a note to Jennifer Swenson, his girlfriend, regarding whether or not she plans to pleasure him orally later tonight.
"With that done, I felt around until I found the foil tab and then punched it open. Then--relying on the weakness and error of the machinery--I slowly warped the tin around it until the hole was large enough to fit most of my arm through."
At the mention of such a large hole, Jeb Morson looks up quickly and sniggers. He hastily falls silent again as Solieri stares serenely at him. After a moment, she continues, "I managed to work my arm through this hole and, from there, catch hold of the pull tab. Judging by the time the trucks had been moving, I doubted I had much time left before we reached our first stop. I pulled hard, and for a moment, I thought I would wrench my arm from its socket and need to try with the other arm instead. But finally, the lid pulled open just slightly--and from there, I pulled my arm back inside the can.
"I was just in time, too. At that point, the driver opened the back of the truck to inspect the contents. I lay completely still inside the can, trying to look as if I were still restrained. I wanted nothing more than to lunge from the can and part my transporter's head from his spinal cord, but there were far more of them than me."
"And, uh, they were bigger," Martin Durell says, stretching boredly in his seat.
"Not a concern," Solieri continues as if she had not just been interrupted. "Only the number made escape by brute force less than feasible. Fortunately, the driver did not look very closely at the cans in the back of his truck. As soon as he was gone, I wrenched the lid the rest of the way open and lunged out.
"This presented something of a problem. The sedative was longer-lasting than I'd expected, and it had serious effects on my motor control. I swooned and fell against walls when I walked, and in order to maintain my balance, I had to walk in delicate, mincing steps. It was exceedingly humiliating, especially clad as I was in nothing but a collection of leather straps."
Jeb Morson is drooling. Martin Durell elbows him and hands over a napkin.
"We were at a gas station, I soon discovered. There was a certain degree of confusion when I walked into the store, but I was quickly granted access to the phone, where I could call for help.
"When the police came, with them were two businesswomen from something called the Chainsman Institute. They offered me sanctuary there and a possible position working for them in the future tracking down violators such as the men responsible for the underground canning industry. They also offered me proper clothes.
"I went back to a safer school under a Chainsman-sponsored scholarship and immediately commenced employment with them upon graduating. Are there any questions?"
An awkward silence oozes into the room and wedges itself between the desks. Finally, Jennifer Swenson says, "Uh, yeah. I, like, have this World of Darkness character who's half-Japanese, and--you're half-Japanese, right? Why don't you have almond-shaped emerald eyes and perfect hair? Or even sapphire eyes," she adds, disappointed.
"Because," Solieri says, "of this strange little field of knowledge known as 'genetics.' Also, my other half is Italian. Next and first intelligent question, please."
There's some hesitant shuffling, and then Indigo Chylde raises her hand. "What do you do for these Chainsman people?" She narrows her eyes. "They sound like the sort who persecute vampyres for their beautiful souls. Someday, you'll all see--"
"I'm glad you asked," Solieri cuts her off smoothly. "Hold this for me, will you?" She strides over and deposits her purse on Indigo Chylde's desk. Before going back up to the podium, she extracts from it a slender black square of material. "Chainsman Institute is a very sophisticated sort of mental hospital," she begins, and then she strokes the black square.
A black orb about the size of a bowling ball rises suddenly out of the purse and hurls itself at Indigo Chylde. It spreads out in midair, and by the time it reaches her face, she hasn't even a second to scream. In mere moments, the black latex has covered her entire body.
"We specialize in unusual restraints," Solieri explains. "I apologize for the interruption, class, but Ms. Bularsky had been noted by a team of experts as the source of the black makeup plague vexing this campus. Someone should be here to pick her up shortly. Good day." She lingers long enough to pick up her purse, and then she strides from the room. "Don't worry," she assures Professor Roper. "She'll be safe in our capable hands."