Jennifer looked through the chain linked fence at the vast expanse of
sun-baked sand. They were in the middle of no where. Nothing but desert
and open road for miles. The perfect place for a prison. San Pedro high
Jennifer scoffed at the idea of it. What a pointless waste of resources. A concrete and steel monster dropped into a harsh environment. She looked up at the concrete towers looming over head, guards watching with their rifles slung on their shoulders. Always watching. Always ready to come down like a gavel with their justice for whatever reason, no matter how petty.
The inmate ran her fingers through her short bob of bleach blonde hair, and wiped the sweat from her forehead. She wasn't built for the heat. She was used to living in cooler places. This was basically hell compared to home...
Jennifer thought back to the journey that brought her to this hell hole. The streak of art thefts across the country. Her crime wasn't really one that should have landed her here with killers and gang members. The judge had been especially harsh on her because she hadn't given up her clients. But when your clients were as ruthless and powerful as hers was.... Well, it was either this or being buried in an unmarked grave in the woods.
The clanging of weights and cheering snatched Jennifer's attention out of the inky darkness of her thoughts. She turned to see a huddle of women around the bench. They didn't get much time in the yard, well, not until recently anyway. When they did, most used the time to stay fit. Run laps, work on cardio, boxing, training, or, in this case, lifting weights.
The orange ocean of bodies parted slightly and Jennifer caught a glimpse of what was causing the commotion. In between all the orange was one person on the bench, clad in red. Vásquez. She was benching a ridiculous weight. Well, ridiculous for Jennifer anyway. It must have been 220lbs at least. More than Jennifer weighed. More than most people in the prison weighed.
Jennifer could see Vásquez's arms quaking as she pushed the weight skywards. Bulges of caramel muscle seemed to swell as the weight climbed higher and higher. Then finally, she racked it and the cheering got louder. Vásquez sat up with a smug pride radiating off of her. She'd just broken her own record for heaviest bench in the cell block. Her teeth shone brightly, contrasting against her tan skin as she pulled her pony tail tighter. The act made her lats widen as her chest expanded with an inhale. Jennifer could see the bra through her white vest. Her red jumpsuit was pulled down to her waist, sleeves tied around her, accenting her hourglass figure. "250lbs, bitches." Vásquez said, flipping up her middle fingers to the ladies around her and standing up. There was a chorus of laughter and congratulations as the record breaker rose almost a full head taller than those around her.
Vásquez, and the surrounding ladies, were part of a gang called Los Lobos. The 6'1, towering pillar of muscle and tattoos was second in command of the gang. The muscle. The enforcer. Maria's red right hand. The one that would go out and lay pain down on their enemies. And she looked every inch the part. Despite her sharp features being undeniably attractive, Vásquez gave off a menacing aura. It was the eyes. Two pools of molten honey that seemed to burn into you. Like she was weighing your soul before passing it on to the ferryman. Her long, lean, muscled form combined with that cold gaze made her seem like some great feline predator.
Then there were the tattoos. Catholic symbology crawled up her right arm in a sleeve, tear drops on her cheek and, most disturbingly, the rows of skulls on her torso. Jennifer had caught sight of the skulls tattooed along her ribs while they were in the showers. She hadn't had time to count them but she was certain that, if the rumours about the tattoo's meaning were true, Vásquez had killed over 25 people.
Just then those smouldering eyes turned to Jennifer and the two inmates made eye contact across. Jennifer dropped her own ice blue eyes to the floor quickly and heard the distant chuckle it elicited from the other woman. Jennifer kept her gaze down. Down on her own red overalls. They were both clad in red overalls. Unlike the ocean of orange, they were two specks of red. They were both a part of the same bullshit programme. The same science experiment held in secret within the prison. The one that meant they got more yard time and food at meal times. It had it's perks but she still felt uneasy with whatever it was.
The blonde let her eyes flicker quickly up to see if she was still the target of Vásquez's attention. She let out a breath of relief to see her talking with the someone else, moving on to another set of weights.
Jennifer took this as her cue to leave before she drew any more attention. The 5'2 pixie of a woman quickly strode through the yard, out of the sun and into the shade of the corridor. Cell block B was only half of the sprawling prison. It held over 500 women, and was large enough for them as well as a whole host of guards and, Jennifer had recently found out, scientists. She went to the library, passing by more orange clad inmates.
Once she arrived a quick scan let her home in on who she was looking for. Trish. Another one of the ladies in the programme. Trish was, similarly to Vásquez, a part of one of the gangs in the prison. It wasn't a shock. There were at least 5 gangs in the prison all vying for control. However, unlike Vásquez, Trish was much friendlier than most here, especially towards Jennifer, considering they now shared a sisterhood of being test subjects.
Trish looked up from the text book she was trying to figure out. Her eyebrows rose and she nodded to Jennifer, rushing towards her. "What's up?"
"N-nothing. Just needed to get out of the sun."
Trish cocked an eyebrow with a dubious look, but laughed. "Southern sun a bit too much for you to handle?" She asked, her slight Texan accent making the question even more taunting.
Jennifer just let out a laugh. "Something like that."
"Come on, what's actually bugging you?"
"It's.... Ugh, fine." Jennifer threw up her hands in frustration. Trish was far too good at reading her. She collapsed into the opposite chair. "I just watched Vásquez beat one of her records.... Again."
"Well.... She... She keeps doing it." Jennifer said, leaning in and lowering her voice. "She's broken three cell block records in the last week."
"Yeah, the girl's a gym freak." Trish said flatly. The twinkle in her eye said she was interested in where this was going though. The fact that she closed her textbook and looked over her shoulder just compounded that sentiment. Her attention was clearly sparked.
"So.... Do you think, like, these.... These treatments might have something to do with it?" Hissed Jennifer. She was referring to the trial a handful of the inmates were now a part of. For the past three weeks they'd been part of some medical trial. Twice a week, they'd be taken into a deeply hidden away room and injected with.... Something.
Trish's plush lips pressed into a frown as her brow furrowed. "What makes you say that?"
Again, Jennifer couldn't shake the feeling that Trish had her own thoughts in the matter, but was keeping her cards close to her chest. "Seriously?" She asked, making a face that said 'I know you're smarter than that'.
It made Trish laugh. "Yeah, okay. It's obvious the trial is some sketchy, military shit."
"Yeah! That bald asshole in charge is clearly military. The way he stands, like a stick is all the way up his ass. Normal people don't have posture like that." Jennifer said gesturing upwards to symbolise the stick.
"Or that 1000 mile stare. That mother fucker has clearly killed people." Trish nodded, again checking over her shoulder for eavsedroppers.
"Right?" Jennifer almost shouted that part. "I mean, not to mention the way he speaks. 'O-Eight-hundrend-hours'? Like, fuck off." Jennifer was now fully venting. She took a breath and refocused. "So, if this shit is military, then what are they testing?"
Trish thought for a moment. "Could be some bio weapon shit."
"Oh, that would be so fucked up. But, like, people here can't just disappear. We've got families."
"Not like they can visit us though." She gestured around as if they could see the sandy wasteland through the walls.
"Okay, fair, but why wouldn't they test that in the field, y'know? I dunno. I just think it's weird how Vásquez is suddenly crushing records.... And, I mean, so have you." Jennifer said, dancing delicately around what felt like a bombshell.
Trish made a face. "God, I broke one record. A-and it's not like I don't work out." She shrugged. Trish was well built. Okay, that's an understatement. Trish had the lower body of a world class sprinter or an Olympic weight lifter. She'd clearly poured hours and hours into building muscle, but, even she felt the last few weeks had yielded some weirdly good gym sessions.
She finally took the bait and said what she already knew Jennifer was trying to say. "Don't spin me some super soldier shit." She scoffed, knowing that Jen had some conspiratal tendencies. "Should I go to the canteen and get us some tinfoil?"
Jennifer's eyes went wide and she quickly shushed her friend. "I mean.... No, but, like, what if.... What if it is?" She asked with fascination sparkling in her eyes.
Trish rolled her eyes, "aight, say it is. Why the fuck would they test it on us? Us, high security criminals."
Jennifer began listing reasons on her fingers. "No one can visit us, like you said. Everyone has long sentences so the experiment lasts as long as they need. If something does go horribly wrong they can sweep shit under the rug with one or two people disappearing with gang violence. They have 24 hour observation on us..." Jennifer kept listing but Trish had unfocused. She was fixated on her recent workouts in her head. On how tight her overalls felt around her hips. Was it insane?
She opened her mouth to say something when a guard interrupted them from the library door. "Oh-three-oh-four. Oh-two-two-nine. You two are wanted in the med bay." His deep voice sliced through the library. Everyone looked up before going back to what they were doing. The two red clad ladies looked at each other.
"Well, shit. Looks like we're having another brush with our science experiment friends." Trish frowned as she stood from the desk. Jennifer tried not to let her eyes linger on her friends lower half, but it was impossible. The only person that actually competed with Vásquez in her weight lifting was Trish. Her hips and thighs and ass all just seemed to explode out from her trim waist. The way her red overalls clung to her in all the right places meant Jennifer was hypnotised completely. Each step, each sway of her hips was mind numbingly hot.
Unfortunately, Jennifer didn't get to watch for long. She forced her eyes away just as Trish whirled back around to her. "Oh, and don't think imma forget about the fact you just admitted to stalking me while I work out." She said jabbing a finger playfully into Jennifer's chest. She shot her a playful grin as she stood straight, eyes locked on Jennifer. She turned and strutted away with even more confidence in her step.
Jennifer's face glowed red as she stood from the table and followed her friend and the guard towards medbay.
In medbay Trish and Jennifer were greeted by the other Guinea pigs. There were six overall. Trish, Jennifer, Jessica, Selina, Amber and, of course, Vasquez.
Amber was a part of some white supremecy group. She was exactly what you'd expect they'd want in their group. Tall, slender, pale skin, emeral eyes and blonde, almost white hair. She kept that blonde hair in a plait that made her look like a norse shieldmaiden. Or at least that's what she probably intended. She was stood at the back, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed under her modest breasts.
Amber and Vásquez were staring daggers at each other. Their gangs were currently at each other's throats because of a fight a few days ago. At 5'11, Amber cut almost as an intimidating shape as Vásquez. Despite the difference in muscle mass, Amber was feared for being brutal, almost rabid, when in a fight. Jennifer glanced at Vásquez before letting her eyes wander to the other inmates.
They were all a part of different gangs. Trish was a part of the 'Nation'. Vásquez, Los Lobos. Amber was a part of the aryan sisterhood. Selina was a part of K13, and Jessica was a Niner. Only Jennifer was completely unaffiliated.
Again, she began to wonder about the design of this experiment. Were they chosen purposefully? Some weird ploy to maintain the prison balance? Or was this another way to divide and conquer? If Jennifer's theory was right then either mindset would make sense.
"Hello, ladies." A chill ran through her. Smith was here. Mr. Smith. The aforementioned bald, military asshole. "I trust everyone has been well?" He asked rhetorically, beckoning for them to follow him. He had a wiry build beneath the charcoal suit. Everything about him was unnervingly neutral. Jennifer began to move forwards, wanting to get this done quickly. Some of the other ladies needed further prompting from the guards before following him through the med bay and across to a set of double doors.
It seemed the 'beef' between Los lobos and the aryans was causing extra friction, today. Smith scanned his ID and, with a beep, a heavy 'ka-chunk- signalled the doors opening. He pushed one of the doors open and stepped through into the sterile, white tiled corridor on the other side. Even the air seeping out of the doorway had a lingering disinfectant scent. He turned to look to his test subjects, waiting for them to step through. Jennifer, Trish, Selina and Jessica stepped through. Amber, however, was shoved hard by Vásquez when she tried to step through. Her foot caught on the lip of the door and she fell hard to the tiles.
There was a short laugh from Vásquez which ended in a strangled gasp. One of the guards had driven a baton into her ribs with a deep thud. Vásquez crumbled, clutching at her side as Amber scrambled on the ground, murderous intentions oozing off of her. The older man stepped between the ladies, as if appearing from nowhere. His passive, dead stare burrowed into Amber.
"Enough." Was all he said. Amber stopped for a moment before standing and squaring up to Smith. She was the same height as the older man and while they were eye to eye, Jennifer couldn't shake an odd feeling. The two women were like predators in the wild. Two lionesses getting ready to tear into each other over territory. But this wasn't the that. Amber's expression was as cold as always but her body language subtly gave it away. She was scared of him. This wasn't two predators staring each other down. It was more like one predator staring into the abyss.
Amber's lips peeled back to bare her teeth. "Fine." She simply said before stepping back. Smith's expression was still neutral. He turned to Vásquez and extended a hand.
She looked up at the hand and then to the face behind it before slapping it away. "I'm fine, vato," she grumbled as she rose.
"Good." Smith strode through the group and to the front of the line. This time there was no more delays to their passage through the labyrinth of corridors. Jennifer had been trying to mentally map the corridors but after three visits she was still struggling. Through the door. Down the corridor. Fifth door on the right. Second left. Down a stairwell into a cooler area. Through another set of ID controlled doors, then it gets muddy.
The twists and turns, and the multiple keys needed to open specific doors was draining. But that was Jennifer's profession, really. Breaking in. Memorising paths to get the easiest theft. She would memorise it. Even if she didn't know why she was so determined to. She counted doors and turns silently on her fingers as they went deeper.
Eventually they were brought to a familiar room. A large open room which held what must have been a huge one way mirror on one side. The florescent lights illuminated six beds on the other side of the room, opposite the wide mirror.
The beds themselves wouldn't look out of place in a hospital. Thin mattress, white sheets, guard rails on the sides and flanked by medical equipment. A handful of metrics were measured on the electronic screens. Heart rate, blood pressure and a few others that Jennifer couldn't figure out. What would have been out of place in a hospital were the guards stationed by each bed and the restraints latched onto the rails.
One by one, the women were led to a bed and hooked up to monitors. Jennifer climbed into the bed, resting her back against the propped up end. She had Selina on her right and Vásquez on her left. The guards strapped the restraints on. Vásquez was mumbling something to the guard strapping her in, but he didn't react. It was the same guard that had struck her earlier. She was one to hold a grudge, so Jennifer thought nothing of it.
Once the inmates were all restrained, nurses stepped forward. They were all dressed in green scrubs, masks covering their faces. Jennifer recognised that it was her nurse though. Always the same woman with her hair tied into a bun. A drip was hooked up to each inmate.
Jennifer squirmed slightly. She hated needles. Whenever she had to have any interaction with a needle she'd pinch her leg and stare off into the distance until it was done. But having had this happen so many times already meant her trust in the nurse administering the needle had built. She hardly felt the needle when they sunk it into her arm. She still stared directly at the ceiling to avoid looking at it though.
Then she shifted her gaze to the almost luminous purple IV bag that was going to be emptied into her. They had one bag each. Looking out across at the other women, Jennifer took stock of what was going on. Trish was looking around, trying to find any details that explained what was happening here, but the other inmates just looked disinterested. Selina looked as if she might doze off already.
Jennifer tried to pry. To see figures on notepads or eavesdrop on the nurses as they passed. Hell, even just reactions to whatever their findings were. Anything.
After a futile few minutes the purple bags began to run dry. Just when the art theif thought things were winding down, one of the monitors started beeping. Blaring. Everyone turned to look at Vásquez. The inmates pulled on their restraints, trying to look at her across the room.
Her skin was covered in perspiration, shining like copper in the white light. Her teeth were bared and she was shaking in the bed. A low, long groan of pain slowly melted into a full on scream and the shivering shakes evolved into full on convulsions.
Nurses rushed over, trying to hold Vásquez down as she thrashed. The guards had to step in to help pin her down. Jennifer craned side to side to see past them until a bellow rang out.
"Out of the way." The command was sharp. Everyone froze and looked to Smith. "Our stakeholders will want to see what happens." He thrust a thumb over his shoulder at something Jennifer hadn't given any notice to. A camera, red light blinking as it whirred over to look at Vásquez. This wasn't one of the run down, low tech cameras in the rest of the prison. This one looked much more advanced.
Smith's facial expression was stone like. He observed the inmate, uncaring of her fate. Jennifer felt her stomach drop. Had she been wrong? Would they die one by one? Was this some twisted test of a bio weapon? Now Jennifer watched Vásquez with a creeping dread. Was she about to watch the towering inmate die?
Her screaming and thrashing seemed to grow more frantic. Flecks of spit twinkled in the light as venomous curses spewed out of her. Her eyes bulged and cords of muscle in her neck bundled and stretched as she writhed in pain.
Her arms flexed as she struggled against the restraints. Jennifer blinked a few times. There was something weird going on. Through all the madness she couldn't help but stare at her arms. Jesus, she was pumped. Each flex of her arm as she yanked on the restraint just seemed to bloat it bigger. Veins throbbed to the surface.
Jennifer's breath caught as her brain clicked and she understood what she was seeing. Her eyes widened and she tried to rationalise it away with logic. But, it wasn't just her arms. It was incredibly hard to notice but it wasn't her arms alone getting pumped bigger. Her shoulders seemed to widen. Her chest puffed bigger with each irratic, ragged breath. Her white, ribbed vest was being pulled tighter and tighter. Vasquez's boots were digging into the white mattress, knees bent, and Jennifer could actually see those knees rising as the red overalls were being stretched around the gradually thickening limbs inside of them.
This was some insane trick of the light or a delusional mirage from the heat and drugs in her system, right?
Wrong. It wasn't. The longer she watched, the more the dread ebbed away and a deep, fear was growing inside of her. Vásquez gripped the rails on the edges of the bed now, controlling her failing and struggling through the pain. It was more apparent like this. Jennifer was watching the biggest bitch in cell block B... Getting bigger.
Jennifer looked through the chain linked fence at the vast expanse of
sun-baked sand. They were in the middle of no where. Nothing but desert
and open road for miles. The perfect place for a prison. San Pedro high