New Release - The Venus Virus - Meet the Heroes
The Venus Virus by Carmilla Voiez
New London: 2067
Britain struggles to rebuild after the crushing devastation of the Great Flood.
Those in power have formed a new regime in the wake of the disaster. Whether it is a hard-won utopia or an oppressive nightmare depends entirely on gender. Unmarried women have no legal rights or protection, and their access to education and employment is limited to ensure their servitude. Yet a fire burns within them to prove they are far from the weaker sex, and their rebellion seeks to tear down the patriarchal rule.
Cerys and Gloria have very different dreams, but a common enemy. Joining an underground alliance, they discover a group of scientists in possession of a weapon powerful enough to change society forever.
Their radical solution is not without great risk. Failure means death or imprisonment. Success could land them in a seat of authority, over a society that loathes them, without the requisite skills to thrive.
Meet Cerys and Gloria and read the start of their journeys.
Inside the football stadium, the amalgamation of male voices sounded like a roar. Hair bristled on my arms and legs. This was it. I clutched a duffel bag, hiding behind its bulk as though it was my battle shield. Amid all the men, many of whom were already drunk, I felt more vulnerable than ever.
Grandma said I had the heart of a lion inside the body of a mouse, and I was undoubtedly a diminutive looking woman. Twenty-one years old and still, to my mother’s despair, unmarried. I wore my dark blonde hair, cropped short, and hid my freckled face behind metal-rimmed glasses. I was no beauty queen. Men didn’t fall at my feet. I just had to hide my fear, and they’d leave me alone. Fear was the ultimate aphrodisiac to the men who surrounded me as I stood rooted in one spot on the metal trimmed stairs that led towards the pitch. So many dangerous men. Individually they made me quiver in fear, and there were thousands here.
The smell was the worst thing. The air stank of sweat and musk. Earth, salt, and vinegar; a stench that made my nostrils burn.
This was madness. I couldn’t do it. Every instinct told me to leave. Only loyalty kept me there rooted. They were relying on me, the other women in my group. I would not let them down. Not now that we were so close.
I could already taste the freedom our victory would bring. It hadn’t always been like this. Grandma’s youth had been different. She raised me on subversive bedtime stories, recalling a different time, back in the twentieth century, when women’s rights were gaining momentum. Women had the vote, they had careers, albeit the most powerful heads of industry were still male. There was a joke that there were more male CEOs called John than all the female CEOs put together. It was almost funny now, that joke. So much had changed, that to think of women in business suits, with well-groomed coifs, was a joke in and of itself.
The change hadn’t happened overnight. It had taken decades and a global disaster to bring women back down to where they felt blessed if they had a family and two bedrooms. Mothers were the lucky ones. The ones with social status. The rest found it much harder. I found it much harder.
Unwilling to give up, some women worked together in secret. One of those secrets was waiting in the duffel bag that dug painfully into my ribs.
Gloria smoothed down her uniform, patted her carefully pinned auburn hair, and approached the first group of men. They leered at her like little boys, even though these were supposedly the best and brightest the country had to offer. She hated her job.
The coldness of her stare seemed to encourage them. They liked their ‘totty’ aloof. She guessed it reminded them of their daughters and, in some cases, granddaughters and those forbidden desires they harboured. Every last one of them. Perverts.
These were the men who ran the city. Who made rules for others to follow. How smug they looked. If she could do so and keep her life, she would happily kick each of them in their slimy grinning faces with these uncomfortable shoes they insisted she wore.
She waited patiently for their drink orders. That was one of the conditions of her employment. No speaking unless spoken to. Artificial reverence was key. Today of all days wasn’t the time to cause a scene.
None of the other hostesses, they didn’t call them waitresses, were in R team. Two of her comrades, Debbie and Paula, worked in the kitchen, doing the jobs the men didn’t want, washing dishes and peeling root vegetables, that sort of thing. No big knives, though. Chopping was left to the men. All of them, men and lowly women, were verbally abused by Chef, day in and day out. It was no wonder, anything weapon-like was kept at a safe distance. One more, Emily worked in the laundry room. It was Emily who had easier access ‘behind the scenes,’ who would use the air conditioning system to release the virus.
Gloria glanced up at the clock. Ten minutes.
She hardly noticed their hands on her thighs and ass as the government men dictated their beverage orders. She’d managed to compartmentalise all that in the time she’d worked at the Regal, an exclusive gentlemen’s club. She was acting a role, like the ones in those subversive twentieth-century noir films she watched in secret. She was born for this role. The femme fatale.
No one knew how well this virus would take. Half the patrons were over seventy, and testosterone levels might be too low. But even if their sickness proved temporary, lessons could be learned, and a government could be overthrown. Her comrades outside were active as well. A second London location was due to be hit today. She didn’t know where or who was involved. She wouldn’t be told until later, if at all, just in case she was compromised and forced to talk. The less she knew, the better.