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, on obvious lack of panties, and with her cleavage
on open display.
Joan had to admit her kidnapper's casual dishabille was charming
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
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
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
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
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
A gray steel door whisked open as they approached, Beebe and her
chair were wheeled inside—"Mrrrf!—and Beebe's blue eyes popped
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 any 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
"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
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
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
"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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
More time passed.
Jamie heard a hissing sound... and suddenly, the holes in the
ceiling not glowing blue-white began raining blood-warm
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
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
"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
Jamie frowned. She recognized the voice. It was
impossible not to recognize the voice. I'm
being interrogated by Sigourney Weaver? Jamie thought.