by Van ©2019

Chapter 5

Dramatis Personæ


After a night of relative comfort in her cell—her bonds reduced to a pair of stainless steel ankle-cuffs separated by a hobbling chain and joined wrist-cuffs with her hands in front—Joan was back in Jamie's studio.  She was naked, as she had been since being stripped by her kidnapper six days ago, was sitting in a wooden straight-back chair, and was lashed in place by an abundance of tight, cinched, and hitched hemp rope from shoulders to ankles.

Joan was gagged, like yesterday, and in the exact same manner: a powder-blue, super-absorbent hand towel wrapped around a length of hemp rope and tightly cleaving her mouth.  It was a different towel than the one used by Jamie yesterday, but in appearance and effectiveness, the bit-gag was unchanged.  Anything Joan tried forcing past the soft roll of cloth clutched between her teeth would emerge as mewling noises.

The chair-bondage was snug, intricate, and inescapable, but different in form from yesterday's suspended box-tie/frog-tie,  It would seem today's bondage only had to be identical from the neck up.  Jamie sat on her stool in front of the easel and only occasionally squinted at Joan's glowering, gagged visage.  Most of the time her attention was on the canvas.

Joan glared at her portrait artist.  Obviously, pretending that Jamie needed Joan's naked, bound, and gagged presence at all was part of Moriarty's ongoing campaign of psychological manipulation.  Jamie Moriarty's memory didn't need refreshing.  There was no practical reason for Joan to be literally roped into modeling duty.  Jamie was messing with her.

Jamie continued to paint, smiling her quirky smile as she concentrated on the canvas.  She was wearing the same costume as yesterday: a white men's dress shirt with her feet and legs bare, an obvious lack of panties, and with her cleavage on open display.

Joan had to admit her kidnapper's casual dishabille was charming and sexy—not!

Joan was well past the phase of objectively assessing her kidnapper's physical attributes.  On this, her sixth day of near-continuous bondage and total captivity, and with no end in sight, Joan was finding it required most of her mental energy to not descend into a funk of fear and despair.  Was Moriarty trying to break her?  Did she intent to reduce Joan to terrified hysterics?  Joan was afraid that might be the case, and feared she might not have the strength to continue to resist for much longer.

Joan stared into infinity and suppressed the urge to heave a deep sigh.  Perhaps something good could come out of this ongoing ordeal.  Perhaps Joan could teach herself to ignore the discomforts of the body and clear her consciousness of emotional concerns.  Perhaps Joan could teach herself to meditate.

Suddenly...  Joan heard a faint, persistent tapping noise... footsteps approaching from someplace in the distance.  She opened her eyes and found that her kidnapper was also aware of the sound.  Jamie continued painting, but now the evil genius' smile was somewhat frozen.  It was subtle, but Joan had enough experience glaring at her kidnapper's infuriating but beautiful visage to tell Jamie Moriarty was nervous.

Joan caught movement from the corner of her eye, turned her gagged head, and her heart began to pound.  A stunning, 40-something women was strolling into the studio.  Her gleaming brown hair was loose about her shoulders, framing her attractive face.  She was wearing a white blouse, beige jacket and skirt, and high-heeled pumps whose staccato tap had signaled her arrival.  The footsteps continued, increasing in volume as she approached.

Jamie continued painting for several seconds... then set her palette on the side table, dipped her brush in a jar of mineral spirits, and set it next to the palette.  "And you are?" she demanded, gazing at the newcomer.

The woman smile was unchanged.  "That's not important."

Suddenly, several women, all dressed from head to toe in black, appeared from all directions and converged on Jamie and Joan!

"What is important," the newcomer continued, "is that you're under arrest."

The newest arrivals were clearly some sort of cops or agents although Joan couldn't see any badges, ID's, or agency markings.  Their black outfits were uniforms: boots, spandex catsuits, knee-pads, elbow-pads, gloves, body-harnesses, full-face masks, helmets, and goggles.  And thanks to the skintight catsuits, their genders were not in question, nor was the state of their collective physical fitness.  Some were armed with handguns and some with assault-rifles, all of which were trained on Jamie Moriarty.

Jamie glanced at the palette knife on the table, next to several capped tubes of paint.  Instantly, two glowing red dots appeared on the knife and two more on the back of Jamie's right hand.  The dots were the focal points of targeting lasers, of course, and served to drop not-so-subtle hints of what would happen if Jamie lunged for the knife.

"Special Agent Shaw has already been rescued," the woman-in-beige announced.

Jamie smiled.  "I see.  In that case—"

"And Special Agent Shaw's daughter has entered protective custody," the woman interrupted.

Jamie's smile faded (and the predator underneath fully emerged).  "Checkmate," she intoned.

"Checkmate," the woman agreed.

A pair of the women-in-black stepped forward and took Jamie into custody.  That is, they cuffed her wrists together behind her back, placed a black hood over her head, and led her away.

Joan's heart pounded as her kidnapper was dragged from the studio.  She turned her gagged head back to find the smiling, beautiful woman-in-beige standing directly before her...  and openly examining Joan's nude, chair-bound body with obvious appreciation.

Joan blinked and squirmed in her tight, inescapable bonds. 

Finally, the woman spoke.  "Dr. Watson, I presume.  My name is Bondarella."

Joan blinked in confusion.  Bondarella?

"Okay," the woman chuckled, "my code-name is Bondarella."

 Chapter 5

Beebe was sitting in a wheelchair, and not by choice.  Braided nylon straps bound her wrists to the armrests, her waist to the lower back, her thighs to the seat, and her ankles to the foot-rests.  A black nylon panel-gag covered her mouth, cupped her chin, and included a rubber bite-protector that more-or-less filled her mouth.  Her blonde hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail secured by several whipped inches of black nylon cord.  Finally, not counting her bonds and gag, she was naked.

The deed had been done by three of the ubiquitous catsuited handlers, and Beebe hadn't resisted.  She knew it would be pointless to try.  Presently, one of the handlers was pushing Beebe and her chair down a concrete corridor.  She assumed handlers #2 and #3 were trailing along behind, ready to assist #1 if Beebe developed a case of sudden-onset-super-strength.

The wheelchair was a definite break in Beebe's daily routine.  Why it was necessary, she had no idea, and as usual, her handlers were the exact opposite of chatty.  All Beebe could do was hope that breakfast was waiting at their destination.

A gray steel door whisked open as they approached, Beebe and her chair were wheeled inside—"Mrrrf!—and Beebe's blue eyes popped wide!

Before Beebe was a steel table, but it didn't hold the expected breakfast.  Lying on her back on the table, nude and apparently unconscious, was her partner, Suki!  Beebe tugged on her wrists-bonds as she gazed at her partner.  Suki's color was good, her breasts rose and fell as she breathed, which was good, of course, and her features were totally relaxed and her eyes closed.  Obviously, Suki was drugged.

Suddenly, an HDTV monitor mounted on the wall opposite the door and beyond Suki and the table flashed to life, revealing the smiling face of Bondarella.

"Good, you're here," Bondarella said.  Apparently Beebe and Suki were participants in a video conference (bound and gagged and unconscious participants, respectively).

"I'm pleased to announce that Joan Watson and Jordan Shaw are safe," Bondarella continued.  "Both are undergoing medical examinations and the early stage of their debriefing as we speak.  We also apprehended the person ultimately responsible for this fiasco, but that's not your concern.  What is your concern..."  Bondarella lowered her gaze to Suki's nude, prostrate form, heaved a sigh, then locked eyes with Beebe.

"Beebe Bonde, aka Dr. Bondage," Bondarella intoned, "the Sisterhood finds you guilty of the kidnapping and erotic torture of numerous women—not just Joan Watson and Jordan Shaw—and the same goes for your devilishly cute and generally devilish partner.  As a complete electronic record of your crimes was available to the council for analysis and review, a trial was deemed unnecessary."

Beebe was still frowning.  The 'Sisterhood?'  Who the hell are these people?

"You've both been sentenced to periods of indefinite incarceration at a Sisterhood facility known as 'The Island,'" Bondarella continued.  Her smile returned.  "Think of it as a career change.  And before you protest that it's highly hypocritical for the infamous Bondarella to be a party to punishing anyone for kidnapping and erotically torturing beautiful women...  Believe it or not," Bondarella continued, "the circumstances of my 'recruitment' into the Sisterhood were strikingly similar to your own.  I was captured by the Sisterhood in the middle of an operation.  Rehabilitation and punishment followed."  She indicated herself with a graceful flip of the wrist.  "But just look at me now: I hold a position of trust and leadership in that very same Sisterhood.  Perhaps that will be your fate as well.  Not immediately, of course, and certainly not for some time."

Beebe tugged on her wrist-bonds, again.  "Mrrrpfh!"

Bondarella's smile widened.  "Yes, I agree.  We really do need to sit down and swap war stories, but unfortunately my dance card is quite full for the immediate future.  Until we meet again, Dr. Bondage."

The screen went dark.

Beebe blinked in consternation.  Well... that happened, she mused.  Whatever it was... or is.

Suddenly, the door whisked open behind her and two of the black-clad handlers entered the chamber pushing a coffin-like container on wheels.  They positioned the container alongside Suki and her table, on the side opposite Beebe and her chair.  Behind the handlers came a woman wearing a white catsuit uniform.

Beebe thought she recognized the model of container.  Then, the handlers opened the lid, folded down the side-panel facing Suki, and Beebe's suspicions were confirmed.  It was a self-contained, fully automated, state-of-the-art prisoner transport module.

While the women-in-black prepared the module's many restraints, the woman-in-white fitted Suki with a urethral catheter, an anal plug, and a torpedo-shaped latex dildo.  The three handlers then lifted Suki's unconscious form, placed her in the container—quickly secured cuffs and straps around her wrists, upper arms, torso, above and below her breasts, and her waist, thighs, and ankles—adhered medical sensors to her chest and inner thigh—popped a ball-gag in her mouth—then strapped a full-face gasmask over her face.  The sensor wires and catheter tubing were plugged into the appropriate sockets inside the container, then they locked the buckles of all the restraints with a barrel-key.

Beebe had a last glimpse of her partner's naked, restrained, gagged, plugged, and monitored form, then the women-in-black lifted the side-panel and locked it in place, closed and locked the lid, and wheeled her away.  As Suki's module left the room, a second pair of handlers wheeled a second module inside.

Beebe turned back to face the woman-in-white to find her charging a syringe from a small glass vial.

It was obvious what was going to happen next.

 Chapter 5

Joan was extremely comfortable.  She was lounging in bed, dressed in satin sleepwear: baggy shorts and a sleeveless, V-neck top.  The bed sheets were very high thread-count cotton, the pillows equally soft and luxurious, and the firmness of the mattress was... just right.

A smile curled Joan's lips.  If this was her bedroom in the brownstone, this would be the exact moment Sherlock would barge in and order her to get dressed so they could rush to a crime scene or an interview with a new suspect.  Either that, or Joan would open her eyes to find, thanks to Sherlock, that she was sharing the bed with Clyde-the-tortoise (or something equally unexpected but harmless).  Sherlock was of the firm belief that progress in an investigation trumps everything, including personal privacy.  He was literally incapable of waiting until Joan woke on her own so he could share his latest deduction.  It was irritating... and a little cute, although she'd never admit it.

Joan wasn't in the brownstone, of course.  She wasn't entirely sure where she was... except someplace safe... and she was still a guest of her rescuers.

Joan opened her eyes.

The decor was sparse, timeless, non-ethnic, and aesthetically pleasing: pale wood paneling, exposed rafters, and plush carpet underfoot.  A window-wall provided a relaxing, early-morning view of an open pine forest and sere grass, with snow-capped mountains on the horizon.

Biogeography was one of the study topics of Sherlock's ongoing, endless training program, and Joan recognized the sights, sounds, and smells of a Ponderosa Pine Savannah.  Even with the sliding door out to the patio closed, Joan could detect the vanilla scent of the pine's rough bark wafting on the dawn breeze.

Colorado?  Maybe.  She was in a Western state, that was for sure.

Warm bed... magnificent view...  Joan could snuggle between the sheets forever... if they'd let her.

The "they" in question were her rescuers, of course.  Sore, exhausted, joyously relieved to no longer be a naked, bound, and gagged prisoner—and equally relieved at the rescue of Jordan Shaw—Joan's memories of the immediate aftermath of her rescue were still a bit of a blur.  The chair-bondage ropes were untied, her gag removed, a quick and highly professional medical exam administered, and water and a pair of white pills dispensed.

After that... Joan remembered being happy.  The beautiful woman not in black tactical gear had introduced herself with the dubious code-name "Bondarella," but Joan had been disinclined to press for her true name... or the identity of the law enforcement agency (or agencies) responsible for her rescue and the apprehension of Moriarty.  Details could wait.  Joan was content to be happy.

Yes... Joan remembered little more than drifting in a mildly euphoric haze.  There had been a pleasant gurney-ride to... somewhere... followed by a delicious but simple meal hand-fed to her by Bondarella... followed by a Bondarella-assisted shower.

Joan stretched and heaved a deep sigh.  Yes, she was positive: a Bondarella assisted shower!

Bondarella had disrobed... as had one of the female EMTs who had given her the exam (and little white pills).  Then, the naked pair had soaped, scrubbed, rinsed, and dried Joan's already naked, compliant body—then dressed her in a really nice outfit, a skirt, blouse and jacket similar to Bondarella's and suitable for travel.

Joan frowned.  How could I have shared a shower with a naked Bondarella, a stunningly beautiful woman, as well as a cute little 20-something EMT... and now it's no big deal?  What was in those pills?

Once fully clothed (and still in a sedated haze) Joan remembered a ride in the back of a comfortable sedan (or was it an SUV?)—followed by a comfortable ride in a private jet—followed by another car ride (and this time she was sure it was an SUV).  In all three cases, a great deal of intermittent napping was involved.  And then...  They'd arrived at some sort of rustic resort, or spa, or retreat... or clandestine debriefing facility.

After that, Joan remembered another delicious meal.  This time she fed herself.  Then, she was led to a comfortable bedroom (her current bedroom) and assisted into a set of very comfortable satin pajamas (similar to her current set of very comfortable satin pajamas).  And then... blessed oblivion.

When dawn arrived, Joan awoke relaxed, refreshed, and clear-headed.  The bedroom had a closet with ensembles similar to the one she'd worn on the plane, several sets of running and yoga clothes, and just plain comfortable-at-home clothes: shorts, t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and slippers.  All were stylish, the sort of things Joan would have bought for herself.

Bondarella arrived (dressed casually) to invite her to a delicious gourmet breakfast served in a charming little dining room.  And then, the inevitable debriefing began.  It wasn't all sitting around and talking.  There were also yoga sessions with Bondarella out on an expanse of lawn near the proverbial babbling brook, as well as runs along trails winding through the pines.

Conspicuous in their absence were security fences, armed guards, obvious surveillance cameras, or any other signs that Joan was not simply a guest at a luxury resort.

Early in the program (and well after the two little white pills had left her system), Joan decided she had to deal with the nagging possibility that she'd traded being Jamie Moriarty's prisoner for a more expansive and comfortable captivity.  She didn't think so, but it was time to start sorting things out.  If Bondarella could be cagey, maybe Joan should be as well.  Joan demanded to know who "Bondarella" worked for.

Bondarella smiled, reached into her pocket, and presented an expensive leather wallet/ID holder for Joan's inspection.  On the right side were credentials from the International Criminal Court at The Hague.  On the left was a photo-ID from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identifying "The Bearer" as a "Special Operative."

Joan gazed at the holder with a dubious smile.  As far as she could tell, the IDs were genuine (or at least weren't obvious forgeries); however...

"To the best of my understanding the United States doesn't recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC," Joan intoned.

Bondarella's smile never faltered.  "My status with Homeland Security is similar to your status with the NYPD: that of a consultant without actual legal authority.  My superiors at the Hague offered my services to the investigation... and Washington accepted."

"I see," Joan nodded.  After that, she spoke openly of her experience as Moriarty's prisoner and held nothing back.

The information flow wasn't entirely one way.  Joan learned that Jordan Shaw was being debriefed in-house by the FBI, but Jordan had already been able to talk with her husband and daughter via Skype.  Joan would be able to meet with Jordan in person... "later."  The offer was made—and declined!—for Joan to Skype with Sherlock.  Joan was under no delusion that she's be able to keep her abduction a complete secret from her partner, but at least she could try and control the nature of the disclosure.  Moriarty was involved.  It was wise to take things slowly and very carefully.

And speaking of Moriarty, on that topic Bondarella was totally uncommunicative.  Apparently, very highly placed and supremely sensitive international negotiations were underway.  Joan should rest assured that she was perfectly safe, Jordan and her family were perfectly safe, and Jamie Moriarty would never again be able to threaten anyone, but the less Joan knew, the better.

Joan would have liked to know more, but she supposed the secrecy made sense... she supposed.

Anyway, this was the third day of Joan's post-rescue debriefing and recuperation.  Joan dressed in shorts, a comfortable T, and a stylish sweater, then enjoyed breakfast with Bondarella in the usual dining room.  Afterwards, her rescuer/hostess led her to a sunny sitting room with several comfortable-looking armchairs and a view of a grove of pines interspersed with craggy boulders.  Off to the side was an easel and a large canvas covered by a cotton drop-cloth.

Bondarella took hold of Joan's hand and smiled.  "I'm going to show you something you'll probably find disturbing.  Are you ready?"

Joan frowned.  "I suppose," she answered, not knowing what else she could say, given the circumstances.

Bondarella gave Joan's hand a final squeeze, then released her grip.  "This is a high-resolution photograph," she said, "not the original."  In one graceful motion she flipped the drop-cloth off the easel and let it flutter to the floor.

Joan gasped.  On the easel was a high-resolution photographic print of the painting—meaning the painting—meaning the painting Moriarty had been working on at the time of Joan's rescue.  The painting.

On the canvas, Joan was naked, box-tied, frog-tied, super-absorbant-hand-towel-bit-gagged, and suspended.

Joan's heart was hammering and her face flushed.  It had all come rushing back: the humiliation, the squeeze of the ropes, the ache of her muscles, the ache of her entire body, and—now she could admit it to herself—the soul-numbing horror of her situation—meaning her situation then, of course, not her situation now.

"Why are you showing me this?" Joan demanded.  Her eyes remained on the image on the easel.  She leaned forward and looked more closely.  It was, indeed, a high-resolution photographic print, as Bondarella had said, but aside from the lack of the three dimensional texture of brush strokes, it might as well have been the original canvas.

"Why?" Bondarella purred, "to satisfy your natural curiosity.  And, so that from this point forward, whenever you think of the, shall we say, 'incident,' you'll remember your expression."

Joan focused on her bit-gagged face, as depicted by Jamie Moriarty.  The naked, bound, gagged, suspended, and two-dimensional version of herself was staring at the viewer in angry defiance.

"It's a lie," Joan said quietly.  "I was putting up a brave front.  I was terrified."

Bondarella leaned close and planted a chaste kiss on Joan's left cheek.  "The eyes don't lie, Joan," she whispered.  "The eyes never lie."

"I was afraid," Joan stated in a near whisper.

"You would have to be a fool not to be afraid of Jamie Moriarty, but remember, Joan..."  Bondarella indicated the eye region of Joan's gagged visage with a graceful gesture.  "This is what Moriarty saw.  This is what she painted.  Maybe you were terrified, but this is what Moriarty saw."  Bondarella's smile widened.  "Do you really think an artist as perceptive and talented as Jamie Moriarty couldn't capture a facade of brave defiance?  If she had seen fear in your eyes, do you really think we wouldn't see it on the canvas?"

Joan continued staring at her nude, bound, and gagged image for several seconds... then heaved a sigh.  "No, I suppose not."

Bondarella strolled to one of the easy chairs and sat.  Joan followed, settling into the neighboring chair.  They both still had perfect views of the photograph.

"If you like," Bondarella said, "we'll take you home to New York tomorrow morning.  This last day, we'll simply enjoy ourselves.  After yoga, I'll show you our sauna."

Joan nodded, absently.  She was still gazing at her image.  "It looks... finished," she observed.

Bondarella smiled.  "Your portion is complete.  She was working on the background when my colleagues and I arrived.  For all practical purposes, it is finished."

Joan nodded.  Like the first portrait Moriarty had painted of her, "Naked, Bound, and Gagged Joan" was realistic and in the style of Johannes Vermeer, or perhaps in the manner of the Dutch Golden Age in general.  It was... striking.  Suddenly, Bondarella's most recent pronouncement registered and she shifted her eyes to her hostess and smiled.  "New York.  Thank you."  She then returned her gaze to... herself... to her naked, bound, gagged, hanging, and defiant self.

Bondarella watched Joan from the corner of her eye.  At moments like this, she missed "The Bad Old Days," before she was "recruited" by the Sisterhood and couldn't kidnap, bind, gag, and boink any beautiful woman (like Joan Watson) who caught her fancy.  Bondarella didn't want for playmates, not by any stretch of the imagination, but Joan was off limits... for now.  As for the future, who knew?

 Chapter 5

It wasn't like this was the first time in her life that Jamie Moriarty had been arrested, and it certainly wasn't the first time she'd been restrained and locked in a cell.  It wasn't even the first time her detention had been "special," meaning decidedly different from the treatment afforded most criminal defendants in most countries.

Jamie's most recent incarceration had been as a "cooperating detainee."  In exchange for (supposedly) providing information about her various international criminal enterprises, she'd enjoyed carefully negotiated privileges in the form of access to newspapers, painting supplies, spartan but relatively roomy accommodations, and excellent food.  And then, she'd proceeded to wrap her elite cadre of jailers and interrogators around her proverbial little finger and escape (without the higher-ups in the various organizations concerned with her debriefing and punishment knowing she'd escaped).

Anyway, Jamie's current incarceration was... different.

The cops or agents or whoever-they-were had cuffed her wrists behind her back, placed a light-proof hood over her head, and hustled her from her lair.  During the car ride that followed, she'd received an injection of some sort in the side of her neck.  That, of course, was followed by unconsciousness.

When Jamie awoke she was in a featureless cube about five meters on a side.  The walls, ceiling, and floor were coated in some sort of gray plastic, or were the same gray color and smooth texture, as far as she could tell.  She couldn't touch the ceiling.  The walls were solid except for a row of tiny holes up near the ceiling.  The floor, however, was pierced by thousands of tiny, closely spaced holes in a hexagonal grid.  There was a similar grid covering the ceiling, and light shone from LEDs in a couple of hundred or so of the holes.  All of the other ceiling holes were dark.

Also, Jamie was naked.  Her blond hair was neatly braided, pulled back in a tight bun, and secured with what might have been a small pocket of plastic netting secured by a plastic cable-tie, impossible for her to remove without some sort of sharp tool.  Her fingers tingled slightly, and she noted that her fingernails had been trimmed very short.  The same went for her toenails.

And then... the waiting started.

Jamie filled the time by a closer inspection of her cell.  It turned out the walls weren't completely featureless.  Hairline cracks separated rectangular panels.  Between the LED lighting and the exceedingly thin, almost microscopic nature of the cracks, Jamie forgave herself for not noticing them immediately.  The panels were all rectangular, of various sizes and proportions, and set at various heights.  One of the panels might be a door.  Others were set between close to the floor and waist height.  Also, the exact same pattern was repeated on all four walls.  Did that mean her cell had four doors?  More probably, Jamie decided, the uncertainly was to keep her disoriented.

More time passed... hours.

Suddenly, one of the panels that wasn't a potential door slid open and a stainless steel cube extended into the cell.  It had an oval-shaped bowl built into its top surface and Jamie recognized it for what it was: a commode.  A pair of rectangular buttons were flush-mounted on the side.  One was labeled "FLUSH" and the other "BIDET."

Might as well, Jamie thought, then sat on the cool steel (shivered, delicately), and emptied her bladder.  After flushing the bowl, and more to confirm the function than from any real need, she triggered the bidet button—then gasped when a jet of cold water rinsed her genital region.  There was no provision for drying herself.  Jamie stood and watched as the commode quickly retracted back into the wall and the panel slid closed.

More time passed.

Abruptly, another panel opened.  This time, what was clearly a stainless steel drinking fountain emerged.  Jamie leaned forward and drank her fill... then stood and considered whether she should wet her hands and wash her face—but before she made up her mind, the drinking fountain retracted and the panel closed.

More time passed.

Jamie heard a hissing sound... and suddenly, the holes in the ceiling not glowing blue-white began raining blood-warm water.

Jamie heaved a sigh... and got wet.  The cell was now one giant shower stall, and Jamie had absolutely zero control of the matter.  She stood in the center of the space and ran her hands over her body, scrubbing herself as best she could.  She noted the grid of holes in the floor were acting as a highly efficient drain.  In fact, she felt a slight sucking sensation against the soles of her bare feet.

The shower continued for approximately five minutes... and then abruptly stopped.

Jamie was now drenched from head to toe, of course.  She noted that water neither dripped from the ceiling nor beaded on the floor, and the suction under her feet hadn't stopped.  Her braided and coiled hair would have to dry on its own, but she began using her hands to strip the water from her skin.  Soon, she was no longer wet... but merely damp.

The air was humid and warm... which became humid and hot... then dry and hot... and finally... warm.  The suction underfoot stopped.  Apparently, Jamie's shower was over.

Jamie sat on the floor and rested her back against a randomly chosen, indistinguishable wall.

More time passed.

Jamie's stomach growled.  She waited for one of the panels to open and reveal a gourmet meal... but it didn't happen.

More time passed.

Without warning, a melodious alto voice filled the cell.  Obviously, Jamie's cell had a hitherto unsuspected high-quality audio-system.

"Good morning, Jamie.  My name is Sally.  Breakfast will be served in about an hour.  While we wait, I'm going to ask you a series of questions about your various organizations and operations.  We'll start with your partial control of Le Milieu.  Answer truthfully and eventually I'll move you to more comfortable accommodations."

Jamie frowned.  She recognized the voice.  It was impossible not to recognize the voice.  I'm being interrogated by Sigourney Weaver? Jamie thought.

 Chapter 5


Chapter 4
Chapter 6