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So, Lollipop Chainsaw just came out. Being a fan of Suda51, I bought a copy for the bois and I to play, and on that rainy Wednesday night we loaded it into the Xbox and sat down to give it a spin. It’s pretty fun, kind of a Rainbow Brite colored hack and slash game with the usual Suda51 sense of weirdness. It’s not the greatest game ever, but it’s entertaining enough, even really fun in places.

But as the controller got passed to me during a particularly tedious run of enemy-filled rooms, D piped up with an interesting question: is this game sexist?

It’s not a question the three of us (oh, right: I’m polyamorist. Haven’t mentioned that here yet.) could easily answer. There’s a lot of elements to consider, and that discussion ended up filling our entire playtime for that night. It was interesting, actually more interesting than the game itself. Honestly, we still don’t completely know the answer, although we’ve reached the consensus that it probably is sexist. And here’s why:

It’s all Juliet’s fault.

"Tee hee!"

Goddamn it, this image reveals NOTHING about her character!

Our main character for Lollipop Chainsaw is Juliet Starling; if you’ve seen any of the marketing, you’ve seen her. She’s the centerpiece for the advertising drive, which is… troubling in its own way, but we’ll get to that.

Now, this is a Suda51 game, and if there’s one thing that’s kind of cool about Suda51, it’s that they always have interesting main characters. From Travis Touchdown to Garcia Hotspur, each one has been entertaining and funny… And this is a trait that doesn’t carry over to Juliet.

Now, I can see what she’s meant to be: she’s supposed to be a schlocky fan service heroine parody, like movie era Buffy, in a way. But she absolutely doesn’t get there, not even a little, and that’s down to specific failures both in the character herself, and the world she inhabits. Let’s begin with Juliet herself.

Though the game assures us that she’s eighteen, Juliet is a high school student and a cheerleader… and that’s all you need to know. You can build the image up in your mind based on that; the blonde hair, the skimpy outfit, the pom poms…  You get it. And there’s nothing wrong with employing cheerleader imagery in this context; the juxtaposition of a role traditionally designed solely for sex appeal with an ass kicking character is what this kind of schlock world has thrived on since the seventies, it’s just that Juliet errs too closely to the latter characteristic.

Juliet is heavily fetishised, in almost every aspect of her character; this is a high school girl who, aside from prancing around in the shortest skirt imaginable, also apparently pole dances recreationally, even integrating it as part of her combat repertoire. She burbles and squeaks with idiotic text speak and ridiculous teen idioms, showing nary an ounce of self awareness, intellect or even concern over the zombie apocalypse that she finds herself embroiled in. Hell, even her walking animation is contrived to raise her hips at an odd angle, just so the player is treated to a perpetual view of her panties as she progresses through the game world.

Yow

Also, this can happen. It’s pretty transparent.

The flipside of this is, of course, her ass kicking side. You see, Juliet was also trained from a young age to be a zombie hunter, because in this world apparently that’s a thing, though everyone else seems quite surprised at the appearance of zombies. The fanservice heroine who’s been trained to fight is a pretty standard trope and I’ve never had a problem with it in the past… It’s just that this time, even her fighting style has been sculpted around the idea of Juliet as a fetish object, rather than a study in internal contrast. Juliet flounces around the battlefield, leap frogging over her enemies and attacking them with pom poms and a Technicolor, love heart-bedecked chainsaw that makes them bleed sparkles and pink stuff. Oh, and the chainsaw is also a phone, because chicks love yapping on the phone. Durr…

It’s not that Juliet is unlikable, she’s just vapid and two dimensional. Her nonstop energy is charming enough, but then again it’s been designed to be, and it feels processed. Not to mention, every camera angle, every movement Juliet makes, every move in her arsenal, has been designed to show off the maximum amount of skin. When you’re building and writing a character, this is the wrong way to go about it; Juliet exists at the player, rather than within her own world. She’s a Barbie doll for the audience to stare at, and I submit to you that this isn’t exploitation theatre, it’s just exploitative. And then there’s the world she inhabits…

None of the other characters can stop themselves from commenting on Juliet. Smack talk is fine and all, but the thing is, the only thing anyone can say about Juliet is that she’s hot. Fight an enemy, he’ll comment on her ass. Rescue a civilian, he’ll tell her he’s going to masturbate thinking of her later (yes, really.) The majority of the people you meet in this game can do nothing but drool over Juliet, and it gets tiring really quickly.

Uh... what?

Then again, she might be asking for it, going to school dressed like this!

So with Juliet posing for the camera almost constantly and most other characters staring at her ass, I ask you: is this sexist? I still don’t know.

Because the thing is, the people who made this game are clever, and entirely capable of meta commentary of the games that they make. At least, I think they are; I don’t know what Shadows of the Damned was supposed to be a commentary on, which really only leaves No More Heroes, which was clever… but maybe it was an accident. Maybe these guys don’t know how to do anything more than making entertaining games.

All throughout Lollipop Chainsaw we found things that might be social commentary, but then again might be nothing more than an entirely un-ironic thing. We just couldn’t tell. The first boss battle is against a punk rocker zombie, whose constant abusive catcalls of “slut!” and the like at Juliet take on physical form to attack her. Now, this could be an incisive comment on the way those words are used to attack and suppress women… but equally it could just be a thing that he does. It certainly doesn’t feel like a message thing when it’s happening, and also this particular character isn’t the only one to employ those words against Juliet.

This kind of sincerity might be the most interesting thing about Lollipop Chainsaw; either its intelligence is so unerringly accurate that it blurs the line between representation and commentary, or its presentation is so all encompassing and sincere that it can be mistaken for commentary in a search for any kind of depth. It’s an odd feeling.

But if there’s one thing we went away certain of, it’s that the game was intended to be silly; it’s definitely parodic, if not actively satirical. It shows in every aspect of the game, from Juliet’s decapitated head of a companion, Nick, through to the music choices (the item shop theme is Lollipop, Lollipop, if that helps.) It’s the kind of thing that Suda51 does quite well, and also the reason why James Gunn was recruited to help with the script writing. The problem I have with this is that Lollipop Chainsaw is the first game by this studio to feature a female main character, and also the first one this outright exploitative. Travis and Garcia, the heroes of the last two game, had way more going for them than this, and if you add in the troublingly casual rape-y implications Shadows of the Damned gave to resident damsel in distress Paula, this attitude toward women is becoming a bit of a trend.

It’s clear that Juliet was intended to be a parody of the standard sexy videogame leading lady, in the vein of Bayonetta, albeit styled quite differently. The problem is, sexiness wasn’t the only thing Bayonetta had going for her. What worked about Bayonetta wasn’t that she was sexy, it’s that she was sexually intimidating. This was a character who not only knew she was attractive, but was completely blasé about that fact. She didn’t let it define her, she played with it, and it showed in everything about her. Not only was she quite predatory in the way she looked and moved, but she would do something awesome every few seconds, and then say “yeah, that felt even cooler than it looked.” She was a badass, and she even shares Juliet’s fixation with lollipops; the difference is, Bayonetta is sexy, whereas Juliet is hot.

This is a distinction very few media seem to understand; someone can be hot- as in physically appealing to look at- without being sexy. Sexiness comes from character, from being intellectually attractive, not just having curves. Bayonetta was sexually intimidating, whereas Juliet is sexually exploitative. Her appearance is most of her character, but Bayonetta integrates her appearance into her character. And they’re both main characters in exploitation theatre pieces, definitely.

That's an angel she just cut in half, there.

This is a character who is sexy, but not a sex object.

There’s a target mark in exploitation that’s very hard to hit; the point where it becomes empowering to the female leads, not degrading. It’s often hard to tell where that line is, but to me it’s the point at where the character and story become gleeful about the heroine’s sexuality, and it becomes another weapon in her arsenal. Often in these types of pieces, the heroine is aware of how good she looks, and uses it to trick or distract dumb men. In fact, that is also an important thing to note; these protagonists are often fighting against an oppressive or violent patriarchal presence. But they’re not fighting against men in general- no, that wouldn’t fly with the largely male audiences for these things- but against specifically, nonconsensually dominant male presences.

Juliet, on the other hand? Juliet never even seems aware that she is attractive: in a move that’s clearly a surface level attempt to ground the character, Juliet has body image issues related to her butt (read: she complains it’s big, while everyone else drools over it.) Furthermore, Juliet’s struggles are never against a patriarchal presence, but are mostly fighting in favor of one; a lot of the men objectifying her in this game have been saved by her mere moments earlier. Juliet fights indiscriminately, and there’s no overarching theme or message that can be gleaned from this. Where most exploitation heroines fight for something, Juliet just fights because zombies are bad, ‘kay?

This also reaches into her design; leaving aside the constant panty shots and pole dancing, Juliet is again clearly designed at the player, rather than for the game. The pigtails, the short skirt and belly baring top… none of these things are particularly great for zombie killing, nor are they in any way required for the normal school day she was embarking on before the game begins. It’s just there, like her high pitched voice (Tara Strong) and the clear oral fixation we can draw from her constant lollipop consumption. And here’s where we come to an interesting observation…

Consider Juliet as opposed to Bayonetta again. Both have a thing about lollipops, and in both cases it’s a clearly sexualized move, and all about the sucking motion. Duh. But here’s the interesting part: check the sizes. Juliet’s lollipops are big, they’re meant to fill her mouth… I think we all know the implication of that.

But Bayonetta’s lollipops are tiny little suckers, barely more than a bite. It’s just another very clever visual choice with this character; once again it’s a subversion of a rather Freudian visual designed to show that Bayonetta’s sexiness isn’t for the benefit of the player. It’s all in service of making her the aggressor in her own skin, in a market where too often the girls are princesses needing rescuing, or if they’re at all competent they’re aloof or infantilized to a ridiculous degree (Juliet in the latter case, Cammy from Street Fighter in the former, for example.) I bet she even crunches them with her teeth.

Is Lollipop Chainsaw sexist? We don’t know, but it probably is. Do we find this objectionable? Hell no. The game is fun as all get out when you get into it, and Juliet herself is rather charming, if not particularly deep. But we did find it worthy of discussion, and our conclusions interesting. At least the game is rather good natured about its representations (that punk rocker boss notwithstanding…) but at the same time, it does say some interesting things. Intentional or not, every piece of narrative art reveals something about the people who made it, and how they think. I don’t think Juliet’s construction was deliberately made like this, but rather built up naturally out of a single concept: “kickass cheerleader.” Like it or not, this is just how girls in videogames are made, usually; sex appeal before sexiness before character. Juliet is how she is because this is how it’s done. At least this time, there’s a little bit of self awareness about it.

‘Doctor, what’s going on?!’

Rory held on tightly to the central control system as the TARDIS pitched heavily from side to side, switches lighting up seemingly at random. They were moving- as far as that word could be applied to the TARDIS- but Rory had no idea where.

‘She’s a Trine-form, Rory!’ The Doctor shouted back. ‘I can’t believe I didn’t see it immediately!’

‘What does that mean?’ Rory exclaimed, exasperated.

‘Exactly what I said! Sander said it too: the Trine are psychically linked. If we find one, chances are we can find any other one, no matter where they are. So I’m taking us to see some friends of mine, see if I can arrange a meeting with a specialist,’ The Doctor smiled for the first time since Amy had disappeared. Finally, some forward progress!

‘We’re going to get her back, Rory!’

***************

Amy whimpered, a combination of humiliation and desire colouring her voice. Sander seemed so tall, standing over her as he was, his eyes roaming her body with intense interest. She had been in this position once before, on the day they had kidnapped her, but she hadn’t felt quite so helpless back then. It was the way he leaned over her, so confident and assured. The way the hand he was using to support himself over her brushed against her waist in a possessive manner.

The way his hardness nestled against her vulnerable, glistening folds, ready to invade her whenever he wanted to. Amy didn’t think she could stand another fucking, not in Nirvana, not with every sense pushing hungrily for every little touch or sensual pressure on her skin.

Sander closed his eyes as his head tipped toward the ceiling, inhaling deeply. This feeling… he had almost forgotten. It was intoxicating. Regardless of his higher motives, regardless of any empathy for Amy that may have been in him, this was enjoyable on its own merits.

She looked so good, with her hands tied above her head like that…

Sander slid his hips forward, pushing himself between Amy’s legs and into her defenceless pussy. He gritted his teeth as Amy cried out, the wave of sensation pulsing through both of them with enough force to weaken his knees and make him lean heavily against the bed. Even Mara whooped with delight and surprise, becoming unsteady on her feet as the mental link delivered Sander’s experience to her.

Sander set up a slow pace, pushing himself deeper into Amy and feeling every spasm of her muscles as he did so. The sensation, the pure pleasure and heat rebounded and multiplied by Lysithea’s presence was almost transcendent. He slid down, pressing their two bodies together, feeling the heat of her flesh against him. Amy gasped with pleasure.

A curiously heavy feeling filled Sander’s mind; by the drooping of Amy’s eyelids, he could tell that it was in her too. Something strange was happening, but in the heat of the moment it wasn’t possible to question it, or even care enough to want to try. Sander’s head dipped, planting a heated kiss on Amy’s breast, making her back arch against him.

He could feel her; beneath him, but also in his head. The dark colours and heavy despair of her mind lifted away like a curtain, revealing a throbbing crimson mass of lust beneath, but that was just colour. This close, with this unity of thought, Sander found himself able to see far deeper than he had been able to before.

Sander’s eyes flicked up to capture Amy’s; he knew immediately that, while he was looking into her, she was doing likewise. It was part curiosity, part an inexorable, unconscious gravity drawing them in, but neither could stop themselves from probing deeper into the other.

Stop it, damn it!’ Amy’s voice, hissing silently in his mind. Sander’s eyes widened.

Can’t…’ The thought went out automatically, before he had a chance to stop it.

I know,’ Amy’s mind whimpered back, along with a feeling of intense concern. They were so close together… it was inescapable.

Relax. Should be fine,’ Sander sent out another tendril of thought; dealing with this was hard enough without Amy clogging his mental processes with her fear.

A-alright…’ Her projection was shaky, and Sander got the message that she was nervous. ‘Hello…

Sander gave a tiny, internal chuckle. This close to her, everything fell away. All the anger, all the negativity, dissolved away. Revenge, kidnapping… None of it meant anything when another mind was open to you.

He was nervous, she was nervous, but they both drew closer to each other. They sank closer, doing so physically as they did so mentally. Sander could feel her thoughts, emotions and memories as clearly as though they were his own.

Sander…’ Amy’s voice twanged through his head, apprehensive and hesitant. ‘What happened to you to make you like this?

Sander closed his eyes, ‘I don’t think I can stop you from finding out. I don’t know whether this is part of the programme or not.

He could feel her in his mind, could feel his memories parading past her like a slideshow. He could feel her welling up inside him; the sum total of her life there for the taking. She was looking into him; could he be blamed for doing likewise?

At her core, Amy was remarkably attractive; sweet, good natured, intelligent… Below everything else was a steely resolve that left Sander no doubts about how long she would continue to resist him. Love for Rory, so deep…

In many ways, she was very like Elsa.

Sander winced at the thought; it made him uncomfortable. Amy could feel it, as deeply entrenched in his mind as she was. She shuddered as another memory of thirteen years ago flitted through her, as substantial as mist. Sander had such trauma in his past… It was no wonder he had snapped.

She wondered whether Rory would turn out like that, if he couldn’t find her.

Simultaneously, Sander thought the very same.

Both were pulled downwards, further into the other. Memories fell around them now, faster than before. Jumbled, mismatched images from each other’s lives. Sander felt his outline begin to blur.

He saw himself, walking the streets of Vesperia, like everything was normal. Beside him, a woman. Elsa. His Elsa… No…

Amy.

Sander, you are going to deep,’ Lysithea’s voice clanged through him like the tolling of a bell, shattering the parade of altered memories and sending him spinning back into his own physicality. Once again, he was leaning over Amy, still inside her.

‘You were in my memories,’ Amy said, out loud and unsteadily. ‘Like you’d been plastered over the spot where Rory should have been.’

‘You were in mine,’ Sander answered quickly. Unexpected warmth flooded through him, a tide of strange, alien affection for the woman beneath him. He leaned down to gently place his mouth over hers; it seemed right. Amy craned her neck, returning the kiss before breaking it with a gasp, nuzzling at Sander’s neck as he moved inside her.

‘What the fuck is this whole thing here?’ Mara deadpanned incredulously, eyebrows arching as Amy sought out Sander’s mouth for another deep, smothering kiss.

I was afraid this might happen,’ Mara turned to the motionless Lysithea as the alien’s voice spread through her mind. ‘It’s the main reason we don’t get many requests to service slaves. The connection gets stronger through sexual activity. That’s what we do here. Sander and Amy… Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that their minds merged, but they did go far deeper into each other than I would normally recommend for a master and slave pair, especially given the realities of your situation.’

‘What does all this mean?’ Mara asked out loud. ‘Short version, please.’

The term we use is entanglement. I pulled them out in time to stop any permanent damage to either psyche, but they both came out of it carrying just a little bit of each other in their minds,’ Lysithea’s head swivelled to look at Mara. ‘The plain answer, barring any psychic terminology, is that Sander’s now incredibly attracted to Amy, and vice versa. Is that short enough, Mara?

‘Right…’ Mara frowned, pouting without realizing it. ‘Can you do anything about it?’

‘Not me personally,’ Lysithea said out loud. ‘It’s really down to the two of them to figure it out, although they seem to be enjoying themselves right now,’ She gestured vaguely at the shuddering, moaning duo. ‘It’ll probably fade in time.’

‘Ooh, I like that probably!’ Mara clapped her hands together, voice filled with sarcasm strong enough to etch glass.

‘Entanglement is an imprecise process,’ Lysithea shrugged. ‘They might shrug it off the minute they leave this room, or they might fall into each other’s arms and never let go.’

‘And here I thought he’s supposed to be fawning over me…’ Mara murmured, her tone joking but the hardness in her eyes saying otherwise. ‘No, no, no…’

Sander and Amy’s lovemaking had wound down while Mara was lost in thought, the last shivering spasms of orgasm running through them as she pulled herself to her feet and circled the two of them, eyes soft and sparkling. Her gaze was inexorably drawn to the scar that dominated Sander’s shoulder. Well, she had to start somewhere…

As Sander slipped out of Amy’s glistening pussy, Mara grabbed his hand and pulled him away, giggling as she dragged him to his feet and separated him from Amy. She wore her most winning smile.

‘Sander…’ She purred, running her hand over his shoulder. ‘Tell me about your scar.’

His brow furrowed, his eyes glanced back at Amy, ‘What? I’ve already said I don’t want to talk about it…’ He trailed off.

Mara’s mouth curved wickedly, ‘Maybe I should just poke around in your head and find out myself,’ She pulled herself closer, her breath hot on his chest, ‘You seemed to like it just fine when Amy was doing it.’

Sander was silent for a moment as he tried to figure out if she was joking. It was so hard to tell, with Mara. He kept drifting back to Amy, so enticingly vulnerable in her ropes. The things he could do to her…

Looking over his shoulder, he saw her eyes glittering. He half turned toward her, then stiffened.

‘Mara, stop!’ He exclaimed, pushing her away as her presence loomed in his mind. She froze, staring at him with wide eyes as her heart dropped into the pit of her stomach. He looked angry, but only for a moment before he turned back to Amy, his features lighting up.

As Sander moved back to the bed, Mara closed her eyes and pushed her mind deeper. There was no time to think, to consider the best path to take. She needed to fix this, before things went too far. She could see his mind, the column of blue light rising in her mind’s eye.

She probed deeper, willing herself inside, and…

A dark, fiery figure rose in her mind, blocking out everything else, ‘Get out!’ It growled, causing Mara to stumble back and cry out in surprise.

Sander wheeled around, face frozen in anger, ‘I told you to stay out, Mara! What’s in my head doesn’t concern you!’

Anger was the wrong emotion to call upon. Mara knew that, but when it came, spurred by the hurt of his rejection, she revelled in it, ‘What the fuck do you mean? You’re the one who’s been trying to get all up in my business every chance you get!’ She snapped.

‘Was that a mistake, Mara? You don’t just go poking around in someone’s mind whenever you fucking feel like it.’

Mara clenched her teeth and raised her chin, eyes flashing with wounded rage, ‘But it’s good enough for Amy, yes? For the woman you kidnapped? I stick around for years, but you’ll only share with her?’ Her voice cracked.

Sander stood silent, shoulders squared and teeth bared. His mouth opened, anger forming the words for him, ‘I’m beginning to think that it was for the best.’

He moved, storming out of the room. As he passed her, Mara’s fists clenched and she almost moved to stop him, pausing at the last minute.

‘You’re just like all the others,’ She whispered bitterly, just loud enough for him to hear. ‘You are exactly like him.’

The door closed. Mara’s eyes fell to the floor. She stood motionless.

There was stillness, and then, as if nothing had happened, Mara raised her head and sighed. Her hand rose, with the slightest, well concealed suggestion that it was wiping away tears.

‘How disappointing…’ Mara sighed, a tiny, fragile smile cresting her lips. ‘Ah, well; come here, Amy.’

She slid down next to Amy, golden hair falling around her like a curtain. Her mouth descended, kissing Amy deeply and with desperation-edged verve. The unspoken tension was like electricity between them, conflicting with the growing lust that Lysithea was multiplying.

Amy didn’t know how the infighting between Sander and Mara would affect her, but she doubted it would be good. The moment Sander had left the room that strange warmth she had felt for him had left her, leaving a momentarily gaping hole in her heart. It quickly healed, and she was nominally back to normal, but it was disturbing when it left her. Now that it was gone, she could see how ridiculous it was, but in the moment, she…

In the moment, she had, against all logic, loved him. How weird.

Mara was practically attacking her, mouth hungrily latching onto her flushed, prickling skin like it was her last meal. It was so clear that she was just distracting herself to avoid talking to Sander, how could she possibly be fooling herself with this act?

Still, Amy cried out in ecstasy as Mara’s tongue flicked at her nipple. That Field was still up, inter-group conflict or not. The heat was rising, she would react to Mara’s touch. She would scream, and beg, and do whatever Mara wanted. Nothing changes.

******************

Sander sat with his back to the wall, Theros’ sunlight caressing his bare skin with its warmth. He was glad; it wouldn’t have been good to have to retreat back inside because he had been caught in the cold without pants.

He frowned. Back in his right mind, Sander felt entirely self-conscious about what had happened between himself and Amy. In the moment, there had been no difference in his mind between Amy and Elsa. The two had been the same. Now, with the moment dead and gone, the guilt of even thinking that was overwhelming. Elsa had been his motivation; how could he have muddled that?

But he was back to normal now. Amy was… They were both back to normal now.

But Mara… He shouldn’t have said that to her. He felt bad, but she had tried to enter his mind. You don’t just do that. There were things in there he hadn’t shared for a reason. They were uniquely his, the last remnants of what was precious to him. They were not to be pried apart and analysed for Mara’s amusement.

That was the problem with anger; it never lets you back down, even if you know you should.

Oh, my…’ Sander stiffened as Lysithea’s voice reached into his mind and laughed. ‘It’s a pity that you and Mara are fighting, Sander.

Lysithea?’ Sander projected. ‘I thought you said you weren’t going into my head anymore.

I can see that the both of you care, deep down,’ Lysithea went on without stopping. ‘But neither of you will make the first move? Too bad. If only the two of you had… I don’t know, a way of reading the other’s mind? Would that work, I wonder?’ Sander hadn’t thought that it was possible for a thought to poke him in the chest, but Lysithea was giving it a damn good effort.

I get it…

Somebody has to make the first move, Sander Hackett. Mara won’t. I’m wondering why you haven’t yet?

Alright! Fine, I’m going!’ Sander tried to think exasperated thoughts. He stood, and experimentally flexed his mind along the connection. He could feel Mara and Amy, even from this distance, but they were doing naughty things. He actually couldn’t tell which was which; their thoughts were so similar. Naughty things. He felt his knees go weak and his eyes slide skyward; even out here things felt pretty intense.

‘God damn it…’ He sighed, closing his eyes. He would have to go back in there. It was the only way.

****************

The Doctor lurched to one side as the TARDIS came to a stop. Before Rory could even recover from the same shuddering landing, the Time Lord was already opening the doors and stepping out into a deep pool of shadow beyond.

‘Right!’ The alien snapped. ‘Let’s get this over with.’

‘Right!’ Rory affirmed. ‘Right? What are we doing?’

The Doctor ignored him as he was swallowed up by the shadows. Rory momentarily contemplated just how many bad things happened in the dark before following him; whatever was out there couldn’t possibly be worse than never finding Amy.

‘Viral, I know you’re out here!’ The Doctor yelled. ‘You can’t hide from me. Well, I suppose you could, but I’d just keep yelling at you! I’ve got time, and-‘

‘Don’t get distracted, Doctor,’ Rory followed the sound of the Time Lord’s voice through the swimming blackness, groping his way into the same dim circle of light that the immortal now occupied.

‘Yes, right…’ He nodded. ‘Viral!’ The Doctor squinted, casting his eyes through the inky shadows as though sheer energy would illuminate the way ahead.

‘I am here, Time Lord.’

Rory stiffened as something in that unseen voice raced through his mind and repeatedly pressed his “Primal Terror” button. It was a deep, ageless voice that spoke with tectonic deliberation and sweeping malice. It sidled through the darkness and right into his brain.

‘What the hell is that?’ Rory hissed, hoping fervently that whatever it was, it couldn’t hear him.

‘The Earth-Clan will be silent,’ Something shifted in the shadows, the vague suggestion of an immense, craggy pincer becoming visible for a second. ‘I do not have business with it.’

‘No, but you do have business with me, Viral,’ The Doctor said coldly, eyeing a patch of gloom that Rory assumed was playing host to whatever the hell Viral was.

‘Yes, Gallifreyan,’ Viral rumbled. ‘I do. You want to find the woman with the red hair. I can help you.’

Rory opened his mouth to ask the obvious question, but the Doctor’s cool glare silenced him. When the huge shadowy monster demands silence, it’s best to acquiesce. His hands balled into fists as, once again, he was rendered completely useless while the Doctor found his wife for him.

‘We know she was with a Trine-form recently,’ The Doctor said, addressing a volcanic rumbling from the dark, as though two huge stones were rubbing together. ‘Psychically connected, even. That should be enough for you to go on, right?’

Viral opened its eyes, two circular yellow lights shining brightly in the blackness. With this added illumination, Rory could more clearly see the vast carapace of the monster before him. He didn’t think it was possible, but he stiffened further, Viral’s eldritch gaze swinging momentarily to him, which didn’t help matters.

They were standing on a stone platform hanging over a pool of infinite darkness, in the middle of a cavern. Behind them, the TARDIS sat at the end of a pathway covered thickly in dark, earthy-smelling dirt, seeming altogether too far away.

Viral hung from one curving rock wall, a huge, shifting shell of living stone with multiple pincered legs scuttling constantly across the cavernous surface. Rory was in no doubt that the chaotic form in front of him could crush both himself and the Doctor with negligible effort.

‘It is,’ Viral growled. ‘I can find you the Trine-form. But it will be costly; do you have payment for me, Doctor?’

‘Oh, come on, Viral…’ The Doctor said with a winning smile. ‘We’ve worked together before. You know me-‘

‘I do, Doctor,’ Viral affirmed. ‘Which is why I know to obtain payment in advance.’

The Doctor’s grin turned sheepish and he cast his eyes down to avoid the penetrating spotlight of the abomination’s eyes. Rory fought to stop the horror mounting in his gut from appearing on his face; the Doctor had met this thing before? And he had come back? What kind of business did Viral do, that he was so unavoidable?

He fished in the pocket of his suit, producing a tiny object that glinted in the dim light, ‘A white point star, Viral. The last white point star, in the entire universe. And this one’s got some history; I stole it from the Master, back when we last-‘

‘I remember, Gallifreyan,’ Viral interrupted again. ‘Your tribute has stood witness to important events. This is good, but I require more. I require my standard fee, in addition to this pleasant trinket.’

‘Viral,’ The Doctor began pleadingly.

‘You are betting with no cards in your hand, Doctor,’ Viral cut him off. ‘I will dictate the terms, if you wish to see Amy Pond again.’

Rory almost said something at that, but the Doctor anticipated this and put up a hand to silence him. The expression on his face grew dark, his eyes glinting harshly.

‘You know, one of these days we’re going to have to talk about this whole arrangement you have, Viral,’ The Time Lord growled. ‘You don’t want to be the being standing between me and my friend.’

‘And you don’t want to be the being that threatens me, oh Oncoming Storm,’ Viral hissed. ‘Especially not if you wish to leave here with your other friend, instead of just leaving in pieces… Five years, Doctor. My final offer.’

There was a moment of silence as the Doctor thought, his mind wheeling desperately for an alternative and, to his eternal frustration, finding none. He hated being trapped, but Viral was the only one who could help here; even he didn’t know what it was, only that its unique talents came in handy for situations exactly like this one. If only the price wasn’t always so steep…

He threw the gleaming white diamond onto the ground ahead of him, and said in a flat voice, ‘Fine. I accept. Now tell me where I can find the Trine-form.’

Viral’s heavy head tilted to one side, a deep, fiery noise issuing from it that might have been laughter, ‘Oh, you are going to laugh when you hear this…’

***************

Mara’s fingers slid deeply into Amy. She squealed, quaking against her captor as she tore another orgasm from her tender body. Whatever it was that Mara was thinking, she was really being mean about this.

Amy screamed, the edges of her perception fraying away to nothing as another heated blast of pleasure drove her breath from her lungs and burned into her senses. After countless intense climaxes, each orgasm was like lava in her veins.

Mara’s tongue burned blazing trails down her stomach and over her hips, nuzzling at the graceful, curving flesh. Amy writhed beneath the blonde’s skilled tongue, sinking deeper into the fires of ecstasy. Mara’s teeth captured her aching clit, flicking it with her tongue as fresh juices spilled against her chin. Two fingers joined the oral assault, sliding deeply into Amy’s hot, slick hole. She tumbled over the edge again, screaming out her agonized climax for everyone to hear. Her mind was blasted away by her body’s insistent want.

‘Please, Mara! Stop!’ Amy’s mouth was barely able to form the plea before her throat was hijacked by another weak moan. She could no longer control herself; her hips ground against Mara’s mouth, her thighs doing whatever they could to wrap around her neck. It was hopeless, she was being swept away on a tide of golden light. Even the feeling of Mara’s long hair brushing against her legs was an unbearable pleasure that made her muscles tighten. Amy couldn’t take much more of this…

And yet Mara persisted, burying her rejection under layers of desire and the shared feeling of fulfilment she was getting from Amy. She was silent, rejecting every desperate, shrieking plea from Amy, every one of her probing, unsteady thoughts, keeping the barrier between their minds strong through sheer force of will. Neither of them heard the door open. It took Sander’s hand on Mara’s shoulder before she even recognized that they were no longer alone.

‘What? Oh, it’s you,’ Mara said, hoping desperately that her sadness was fully masked behind steely defiance. ‘What do you want?’ She said sullenly.

Sander shook his head and moved his hand from her shoulder, grabbing her own hand and enveloping it in his. Mara’s eyes widened.

He pulled her off of the bed, pulled her away from an increasingly relieved Amy. He dragged her out of the room, his grip on her wrist allowing no resistance, his face grimly determined and silent in the face of Mara’s questioning.

‘What do you want, Sander?’ She yelled as they made it outside, fingers of sunlight casting their skin in warm orange and deep red. ‘Didn’t you disappoint me enough back there? Wanted to keep proving how much of an ass you are?’

‘Shut up,’ He said quietly, his eyes closed. ‘Just this once, Mara. Let someone else have the last word.’

‘What the fuck are you-‘

‘Mara, I had to rehearse this whole thing before I went in to get you. If you keep interrupting I’ll fuck it up, I’m sure of it,’ Sander didn’t meet her fiery gaze. ‘Just let me do my thing, alright?’

‘Fine. Whatever,’ Mara crossed her arms over her chest defiantly.

‘Nice of you. Appreciate it,’ Sander deadpanned, turning his back on her. He sighed, and opened his eyes for the first time since coming out here. A thrill of anxiety went through him; he hoped that this would work.

He grinned, ‘Oh, no!’ He said flatly. ‘I have turned my back, thus leaving myself open to any person who might be behind me,’ He tried not to laugh as he injected absolutely no dismay into his acting. He could practically feel Mara’s confusion boring into his back. Time to turn it up a notch.

‘With my back turned like this, any woman who happened to be behind me would find it remarkably easy to read my mind, assuming that she had that ability. I would never know!’ It was becoming harder to contain his laughter. Behind him, Mara smiled despite herself.

‘And what am I doing, thinking about the origin of my mysterious scar? What a potential olive branch this would be! It is a pity that Mara-‘

‘Jesus! Shut up, Hackett!’ Mara giggled. ‘I get it!’

She laughed again, and Sander snorted with laughter himself. She reached out to hold his hand as she closed her eyes and reached out to touch his mind. It was all there, on the surface, waiting for her.

Sander’s memory filled up Mara’s mind’s eye, playing out for her as though she was there. Her first reaction was to marvel at how young Sander looked, back in his halcyon days when he ruled Vesperia.

Her heart sank as she realized what day in his life this must be. Somebody was about to die.

As if in fast-forward, the face of the Doctor, two regenerations prior, flitted through Sander’s office. She had seen this footage before; Sander had gone to some trouble to procure it from the ruins of his office so he could relive his greatest defeat over and over. But this was from his perspective; she could feel his panic as everything failed and the people took back control of the planet. In one stroke of that sonic screwdriver, the Doctor had torn Sander’s life apart.

Like any memory, this one was patchy, and skipped around. Sander squeezed her hand tighter as the next segment started. Mara could feel his cold, terrible emptiness open back up like a mortal wound. She remembered him talking about this moment, just once; quietly, and only after he had been drinking.

It was the worst kind of tragedy; Sander had discovered his wife’s body through the opportunistic lens of a news camera, trained on the open rioting that had preceded his fall. Mara could feel his eyes opening wide as though they were her own, could feel the prickling, helpless tears that fell. She could feel the muscles in his face shifting in abject despair, feel his hands shaking. Worst of all, she could feel his soul being scooped out, piece by piece, as the cold mechanical camera zoomed in on Elsa’s bloodied body.

The rage came and threatened to overwhelm him, but Sander was smarter than to allow that, even in his darkest hour. He forced himself to remain cool, putting aside everything dark that welled up inside him and leaving only his intellect. She could feel him running to his private shuttle.

Only when he was safely off the ground did he let his grief engulf him. He bowed his head low, eyes staring emptily at the control panel, hands limp by his sides. The memory skipped forward again; Mara got the feeling that Sander didn’t do much during this period.

A warning klaxon sounded. Sander barely had time to move. His screens showed that an anti-air missile had been hacked; his shuttle was the target. Someone on the ground didn’t want him escaping. Mara could feel his resolve building, spreading through him, strong as steel. He would survive.

The shuttle bucked, with the sound of screeching metal bubbling under the explosion. The hull shattered inwards, sparks and white hot shards of metal spinning into the cockpit. There was the horrifying organic thud of shrapnel hitting flesh.

Sander screamed in a loud, raw voice as the molten metal sheared through the skin, flesh and bone of his shoulder. In the present, Mara had to stop herself doing the same; she could feel the pain deep down in her bones, so real and so present and so all consuming… She lowered her head, breathing hard.

Sander’s forehead slammed against the cold metal control panel as he blacked out, just for a moment. Blood, hot and sticky, dripped down his neck to slicken the floor. His eyes flicked open, vision strobing on and off, so dark.

‘Oh, fuck this…’ He wheezed through the pain, struggling to his feet. Every movement was a monumental effort; his analytical mind catalogued the damage. Severe burns, shrapnel embedded in the bone of his shoulder blade, deep lacerations, clothes melted and fused to the wound, blood loss worsening by the second…

Not good.

The shuttle had crashed while he had been unconscious; the fact that he had survived at all was a miracle. Leaning heavily against the wall, oozing a crimson streak against it as he moved, Sander struggled along to the aft. Sunlight streamed through the hole in the hull, and by yet another miracle the medical kit had remained intact. Sander struggled with his shaking hands to open it.

The memory skipped again, stopping off to detail the fresh rush of agony as Sander pressed the nozzle of a can of antiseptic gel against his wound and pulled the trigger. The gel would harden upon contact with the air; stopping the bleeding and staving off infection. A good start, but no less unpleasant because of it.

A shadow passed over the light spilling into the cockpit. Sander’s eyelids drooped into his usual irritated scowl. He turned, slowly, to eye the gun being waved in his face. There were no words exchanged between the two of them, the former dictator and his attacker. What would be the point? Everyone on Vesperia wanted Sander Hackett dead; if this man did it here, anonymously, who would care?

And at that moment, Sander wanted everyone on Vesperia dead. His wrath flooded through him, and his blood boiled with it. Sander welcomed the beast into his heart with open arms.

It only took a moment. Even in his memory, Sander’s disbelief at what he had done flowed through the scene like subtext. He leaped, howling wordlessly. In his third miracle of the day, the gun didn’t go off. Sander bore his former subject to the cold steel floor of his ruined shuttle and slammed his head against a nearby bulkhead until he stopped moving. Sander’s eyes were cold and empty.

With a rush, Mara pulled herself out of Sander’s past with a sob, stumbling away from him. He stood, silhouetted motionless in the sunset, not daring to look at her.

‘So that’s where I got my scar,’ He said quietly. ‘It goes on like that for three days or so, but you get the idea.’

‘My god…’ Mara breathed. A moment of silent stillness seemed to stretch on like an eternity between them before Mara regained her senses and rushed over to him. She grabbed his arm and pulled him to her, his arms limp and unresisting at his sides. She hugged him tightly to her.

‘I’m sorry. I didn’t know,’ She sobbed, burying her face in his chest.

‘How could you know?’ Sander said in a hollow voice. ‘I never told you.’

‘And then you did,’ She said. ‘Why?’

‘Because that’s me,’ He said. ‘That’s who I am. Besides, somebody needed to take the first step.’

She looked up at him, saw him smiling back at her with haunted, liquid eyes. She tried to summon the energy to grin at him, the way she always did, but she couldn’t. So she laid her head against the bare skin of his chest, and sighed.

‘All right. You’ve made your point,’ She said softly. ‘Come inside and see my damage, then.’

‘What?’

‘I’ve seen your past. Now it’s your turn. It’s a grand fuckin’ trust exercise, right?’

‘You’re sure?’ He asked softly.

‘Yes, damn it! Don’t give me the time to actually think about it!’

His hands took their position at the small of her back, drawing her closer to him. He closed his eyes and lowered his head so that it rested in the soft hair on top of Mara’s head. He reached out with his mind.

Like before, it was hard to perceive the interior of Mara’s brain. Every thought existed with such intensity that it was like looking into the sun. He had gone deeper than before, but it hadn’t gotten any easier for Sander.

The gold light that represented her thoughts spiralled up into the darkness, spilling motes of light into the air beyond. If he pressed, Sander found he could open a hole through into the eye of the storm. Something inside turned, something dark and vaguely humanoid. He could feel her sadness and anger draped heavily over it, but it was impossible to see clearly. Who was he?

Sander blinked, pulling out. In rapid internal monologue, he questioned whether it would be appropriate to ask Mara about what he had seen. How would she take it? Would she get angry? Now wasn’t the time to risk anything and screw up, so-

Just ask her about him!’ Lysithea’s voice drilled into his consciousness, exasperated beyond belief. ‘Good lord, I’ve never had to work this hard to get two people who cared this much together!

Sander shook his head, ‘Who was he?’ He asked gently, running a finger down Mara’s spine. She shivered and wiggled against him.

‘Him? Walker Ichihara. He’s… my ex, I guess,’ Mara sighed, shifting uncomfortably. ‘I don’t often talk about him.’

‘You don’t have to, you know.’

‘No, no, I invited you in. I’ll spill,’ She said delicately. ‘Walker and I… we were together for a long time. He’s like me, Y’know? All sort of weird and twisted up inside. We used to do all sorts of crazy stuff together.’

Sander looked away, ‘Yeah, you don’t need to tell me about that…’

‘True,’ Mara smiled. ‘The point is, it didn’t work out. Walker was crazier than I knew.’ Her eyes grew dark, and she glanced sidelong out at the ocean, ‘Turns out, Walker Ichihara was a highly prolific serial killer.’

‘What?! You’re kidding!’ Sander said, taken aback.

‘I wish, Sander. I really do, because at the time I had no fucking idea, and he was doing it in, like, the next room over from me.’

‘That’s not… good,’ Sander finished lamely, squeezing Mara’s hand in what he hoped was a supportive manner.

‘That’s one way of putting it,’ Mara eyed him. ‘We had been living together for a while, but the place was registered in my name. When the law finally caught up with him… He skipped the planet, leaving all his evidence in an apartment that doesn’t have his name on the lease.’

‘Oh.’

‘I ended up running. I had to. I wasn’t exactly clean myself, although nothing as bad as Walker,’ Mara said ruefully. ‘That’s how I ended up on Myriad when you were first there. It was pretty bad, trying to find my way in that place.’

‘Did you love him?’ Sander asked, almost afraid of what the answer could be.

‘Yes,’ Mara sighed. ‘Once. I was stupid like that, once upon a time.’

Sander frowned. It wasn’t so often that he found himself in moments like this. He didn’t really know how to react, but with the wave of affection that swept through him, it didn’t really matter. His hands slid up her back to encircle her shoulders, drawing her in as close as possible.

‘Look at us,’ He laughed, kissing the top of her head. ‘Damaged goods. It’s dangerous, the two of us being together.’

Mara grunted, ‘Yeah, we wouldn’t want to spur each other into doing something illegal…’ She smiled pointedly.

‘Ha. Yeah, that’d be bad, huh?’

‘Mm… ‘ Mara pressed herself against him, the heat of her body so wonderful. She turned in his arms, so that the soft curve of her back pushed against his chest.

‘And you say we wouldn’t be good together…’ Sander chided, circling a finger around her navel. She giggled softly in return.

‘You’re looking better every day, Hackett…’

Sander chuckled, rocking gently from side to side. The two of them swayed, the moment of serenity seeming to stretch out for eternity. Beyond them, the perfect mirror ocean spread out like a silver plain, reflecting the roiling clouds above. Their breathing slowed as they stayed in the silent peace, merely enjoying the other’s presence.

Sander’s finger continued to trace the edge of Mara’s belly button, the soft skin quivering at his touch. Absently, almost without thinking, Mara reached up, gently took hold of Sander’s wrist. She guided his hand down, sliding over her stomach and between her legs. At her urging, his finger slid inside her, drawing a tiny moan from Mara’s throat.

For mere moments, Sander’s finger moved inside her, making Mara shudder with pleasure. Slowly though, Sander’s eyes opened, and he furrowed his brow. He pulled out of her, raising his arms to hug her across her collarbone.

‘Sander?’ Mara glanced over her shoulder at him, her voice carrying a hint of disappointment. He sighed.

‘You still aren’t ready. I get that,’ He said, smiling wistfully. ‘Ruining a moment like that with your naughty bits… Your heart isn’t in this to win it yet. I’ll wait, though. If today’s proven anything, it’s that you’re worth waiting for. Maybe when this is all over-‘ He froze with a sudden intake of breath. In his arms, Mara’s eyes widened.

The question hung in the air between them like the poised blade of a guillotine. “When this is all over.” When would this be over? And how would it end? There were only two ways…

‘Sorry…’ Sander breathed in Mara’s ear.

Mara spoke slowly, carefully, as though each word needed to be forcibly pulled into being, ‘I think… I think that when we kidnapped Amy we crossed a line that neither of us realized was there. I don’t know about you, but I-‘

‘I know about me. I like her too,’ Sander mused, his voice troubled. ‘But it’s a little odd that you do; you’re not exactly the type of person who likes other people to begin with, and some of the things you do with her-‘

‘Hey! You were there too, Hackett,’ Mara grinned. ‘Just because I get a little rough with someone doesn’t mean I don’t like ‘em. I mean, she always got off in the end, eh?’

‘Hmm,’ Sander sighed absently. ‘What the fuck do we do with her?’

‘That’s up to you, boss,’ Mara said gently. ‘It’s always been up to you.’

Sander stood silent for a long time, clinging to Mara as though she were a life preserver. When the words finally did come, they carried the note of unbendable resolve.

‘I don’t know how this is all going to play out. We may both be dead when it’s all said and done. Or Amy might. Or the Doctor. But it’s going to cost someone dearly, that’s a certainty. This is a high stakes game we’re all playing, whether we knew it when we started or not,’ Sander lowered his head and sighed. ‘But I don’t regret any of it. Not a second. Everything I’ve done… This is my life now. I have nothing else but my revenge…’ He trailed off. Mara’s hand had slipped into his own.

‘Untrue,’ She whispered, just on the edge of his hearing. Silence descended.

‘Thank you,’ Sander said thickly, bending low to kiss Mara’s cheek. This moment; both would have been content with staying like this for a while longer, but…

‘Isn’t this a touching scene?’ Lysithea’s smiling face poked out through the doorframe. ‘I’m glad it worked out alright for the two of you, but your time is up. Do you feel you used it wisely? Did we learn something today?’

‘Do I detect a patronizing tone there, alien?’ Mara said archly. She stepped out of Sander’s embrace, but her hand never left his. ‘Aren’t we paying you?’

Lysithea nodded, ‘Yes. For the psychic linkup and use of the Amplification Field. The patronizing is a gift from me to you.’

‘Well all right then,’ Sander grinned. ‘We’ll get out of your hair. Mara, why don’t you go untie Amy? I think it’s time to get off of this rock, anyway.’

Mara searched Sander’s eyes with a smile, the sunlight spinning off of him making him seem luminous and alive with energy.

‘Alright, boss,’ She said, walking away. ‘Homecoming, huh? Vacation’s done? All fuckin’ right. We have some serious work to do anyway, right, Sander?’

‘Oh yes. There’s much to accomplish,’ He smiled brightly, with his entire body. ‘Much to do…’

An idea occurred. Sander snapped his fingers, ‘Hey, Mara! We should track down this Walker asshole so you can deck him! Sound good?’

‘Fuck yeah!’

To be continued…

 

Author’s Note: Hello again, readers! All still alive out there? That’s good…

Anyway, here’s the next instalment of Amy, Captured! I’m glad that the cliffhanger from the last chapter seemed to go over so well. Because of that, I was able to post two chapters within a few days of each other. Woo!

Special thanks goes to Isabel for her editing, and to Allyourbase for some truly excellent advice and suggestions. Thanks to the both of you!

Comments, votes and feedback are always appreciated. I hope you enjoy the chapter! 

 

The shuttle landed lightly upon the rear landing pad, Mara practically leaping out while they were still in midair. Sander had once heard her remark that her entire life had been one long search for pleasure in all forms; taking this as true, it was hardly surprising that she was excited to be here. The Trine were renowned across the galaxy for their… unique abilities, and there wasn’t a living being alive that hadn’t harboured some secret thought about visiting with them, provided that they weren’t asexual.

The sea air was still and light, seemingly achieving a relaxing ambience without moving at all. The sunlight engulfed them all as soon as they were off the shuttle, creating interesting geometric patterns through the clouds. The pristine sea made it seem as though they were floating on the surface of a colossal mirror.

There was a member of the Nirvana staff there to greet them when they landed. She was a Trine-form, still in the early stages of her life-cycle. All three humans gave a sharp intake of breath; there was something about the alien that was so… alluring.

Trine-forms were humanoid, and this one was typical of the species, meaning that she was entirely unlike anything that Sander, Mara or Amy had ever seen before. Her basic shape was that of a perfectly formed, athletic woman, with several factors hinting at her nonhuman origin. First, her hair was a shimmering, light pink. Her skin was pale almost to the point of translucence, a milky white colour that seemed luminous in the bright sunlight. Her eyes were a deep green, and they came to settle on each of the visitors in turn, regarding them with a speculative gaze that brimmed with energy and eagerness. She was slightly shorter than the three humans, but this was to be expected. As her life-cycle continued she would grow taller, and in later forms travel even further from her humanoid roots. But it was in this shape that the Trine-forms had found their niche in an expansive galaxy, when they discovered that their unique psychic talents had unexpected results on certain species’ nervous systems.

‘Hello, visitors!’ The Trine-form said brightly. ‘I am Lysithea, and I shall be your guide for the duration of your stay at Nirvana.’

‘Yo,’ Mara grinned, raising a hand in greeting. Lysithea nodded in return, then quickly turned to regard Sander.

‘I take it that you and your girlfriend-‘

‘Ha!’ Amy cut in.

‘-will be the ones partaking of our services today?’ Lysithea finished, making a sterling effort not to notice the interruption.

‘Sure, the two of us will be partaking,’ Mara said smoothly, gesturing to Sander and herself. ‘As will our slave. She’ll be getting the special deal.’

‘Aww…’ Amy whined, as the situation turned against her.

‘This is unusual, visitors,’ Lysithea’s head tilted slightly. ‘We do not get many requests to service slaves.’

‘I’m not a-‘ Amy began to protest. The collar activated, shutting her mouth for her with a highly frustrated growl.

‘Well, lucky for you we’re super rich and willing to spread it around,’ Mara smiled.

We?’ Sander hissed incredulously.

‘Very well,’ Lysithea smiled. ‘Please, follow me.’

Lysithea led them around the edge of the building. There was a distinctly tropical feel about the deck, as though everything within a certain radius was pineapple flavoured. Sander stretched in the warm embrace of Theros’ sun and looked out over the purgatorial water. It was slightly eerie, but undeniably relaxing.

‘Check out that view, wow,’ Sander grinned. ‘Aren’t you afraid of getting walk-ins here?’

‘Not an issue,’ Lysithea said over her shoulder. ‘Nirvana changes position daily to avoid being located by the public. The sea is large, and we are protected by what law there is on Theros. We are highly valued here.’

‘I can imagine…’

‘Oh yes,’ Lysithea smiled like an angel, teeth-sharper than the typical human variety- glinted in the sunlight. ‘Now, if you would just wait here for a moment, I shall prepare a private room for your use.’

Lysithea disappeared into the interior of Nirvana, leaving the three visitors to look out over the sea. Amy edged away from Sander and Mara, still being careful to remain in their sight. Mara leaned over the railing, gazing out over the crystal clear vista.

‘So, will we be partaking of Nirvana together?’ Sander joined her, glancing sidelong at the blonde.

‘Yes,’ Mara drew out the word. She knew what was coming. Sander was nothing if not persistent.

‘So, what if-‘

‘I know where you’re going with this, Sander, so you need to hear this. We would probably be a disastrous couple, you know that?’

‘All my personal relationships are disastrous,’ Sander reminded her.

‘Look at the two of us; we’re beyond the pale,’ Mara laughed. ‘We’re goddamn insane, Sander! Look at what we’re doing!’ She gestured to Amy, ‘Do you think we could ever be forgiven for this?’

‘No, definitely not,’ Sander answered quickly, as though he had the answer chambered up and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

‘Then is it worth it?’

Sander was silent for a long time. He gazed out over the endless ocean, deep in thought. When he finally answered, it was quiet, yet firm.

‘I have nothing else.’

Mara pointed at him, eyes liquid and hard to read, ‘You just hold onto that thought, Hackett. In the end, you don’t have anything but me and your tool over there,’ Again she gestured to Amy. ‘Once again, let’s not test the waters while we’re distracted by other things.’

Sander opened his mouth to say something, but Lysithea chose that moment to reappear and usher her guests into a private room overlooking the water. The room was large and dimly lit, and the moment Sander crossed the threshold he shivered.

‘Whoa… That doesn’t feel good. Ugh…’ He swayed on the spot, gritting his teeth.

Mara stuck out her tongue and gagged, eyes screwed shut, ‘What the fuck is…’

Amy felt it too, like every cell in her body had suddenly expanded. Every sensation, from the soles of her feet pressing against her shoes to the movement of air over her skin seemed unbearably magnified. She understood why Mara had retched; she could feel the back of her tongue pressing against the roof of her mouth in excruciating detail.

‘This room is enclosed in a Neurological Amplification Field,’ Lysithea explained evenly. ‘What you are experiencing is the magnification of your body’s physical sensations. You will adjust to it soon, and the nausea will pass.’

‘Honestly? I would fucking hope so!’ Mara said unsteadily.

‘Just ride it out, Mara…’ Sander groaned.

The trio steadied themselves against any available surface to suffer through the sickness. They had become aware of every tiny movement, every little, long-ignored sensation; Sander could actually feel the blood pumping through his veins.

Slowly, the sensations receded, becoming mere background noise once more. Sander still had the sensation that he was floating, and his awareness of his physical body was still amazingly acute, but it was no longer unpleasant. He stood on his own two feet again, marvelling at his newfound ability to feel every crack and depression of the interior of his shoes. Around him, Amy and Mara were doing much the same, moving slowly to experiment with their new sensitivity.

‘There you are!’ Lysithea nodded approvingly. ‘Better already, yes?’

‘This is so weird…’ Amy said unsteadily, waving a hand in front of her face and feeling the air currents rendered in incredible detail.

‘I kind of like it,’ Mara said, grinning and feeling each and every muscle in her face move.

‘I am glad,’ Lysithea said. ‘But we should continue to the next step. Are we all aware of how this process works?’

‘I am,’ Sander nodded, and then gestured to Amy and Mara. ‘I doubt that they are.’

‘It’s true,’ Mara nodded sagely. ‘I don’t have much book learning.’

Lysithea merely smiled inscrutably and gently placed her palm on Sander’s forehead; in the throes of Neurological Amplification, he was surprised to learn that her skin was rough, almost like a shark’s, and very warm.

‘You will learn,’ Lysithea glanced at Mara before closing her eyes.

Sander’s eyes screwed shut and he shuddered as Lysithea went to work. He felt a humming inside his mind, like an inner radio being tuned. This sound quickly faded away, replaced by a soft tinkling noise that itself faded away to silence. He felt strange, as though something new had been introduced to his mental processes.

‘We are connected,’ Lysithea said quietly. She tilted her head, just slightly, ‘You are a complex man, aren’t you? So angry, and sad, all at the same time. And above it all, you are terribly lonely.’

‘Stop it!’ Sander hissed. ‘I’m not paying you to dispense psychological advice, and I’m fine with my mental illness!’

‘My apologies,’ Lysithea said evenly. ‘It is in the nature of the Trine-form to analyse what we discover in the individuals we connect with. Many find it entirely helpful.’

‘I do not!’ He growled. ‘Let’s just move on.’

‘Very well,’ The Trine-form shrugged. ‘I shall repeat the process for your companions, and then we can begin the game in earnest.’ She smiled that bright, ageless smile.

‘Hey, wait a minute,’ Mara said. ‘What exactly is the “process,” huh?’

‘The Trine are hive-minded and psychically linked with one another, Y’know, sort of like the Ood?’ Sander looked to Lysithea for confirmation. She nodded.

‘Strong psychic link, yes. But not like the Ood,’ She said, a little snippily. ‘We do not need to carry our brains in our hands.’

‘Anyway, Trine-forms at this stage in their life-cycle can attune their minds and sympathetic nervous systems to be compatible with another species,’ Sander explained. ‘In effect, we’ll all be linked up when the games start. It’s an interesting sensation, but I can’t dip into Lysithea’s mind like she can into mine, for some reason.’ He shot the alien a pointed glance.

‘We have become adept at shielding our own thoughts from others, sir. It wouldn’t do to have everyone we join with knowing our innermost feelings, especially in this line of work. But do not worry, since you have requested that I no longer read your mind, I shall offer no further intrusion. However, the three of you will be connected to each other in a rudimentary fashion; just emotional states and shared physical experiences, nothing terribly deep.’

‘We’ll be able to read each other’s minds?’ Amy said, aghast at the idea. Something about letting her captors into her mind crossed all kinds of lines.

‘No. You will share feelings, nothing more. It takes years of training to achieve the level of extrasensory perception that I have, not to mention a natural Trine-form affinity for the craft.’

Lysithea said briskly. ‘You will understand the process better once you have become a part of it.’

She stepped up to Mara, pressed her hand to the human’s forehead. Again there was the slight shock, the noises in the mind, and finally the sensation of something moving just beyond to edge of Mara’s perception. Lysithea stepped away and nodded with satisfaction.

‘You are connected, Mara-‘ Lysithea paused, tilted her head. ‘Oh… Well now, Mara. That is interesting…’

The alien’s gaze shifted to Sander, searching his face. Her delicate brow furrowed, and she turned back to Mara with a look of compassion, ‘He looks so similar! How can you stand to be around him, when he looks like that?’

‘Shut up,’ Mara said through clenched teeth. ‘Just shut up.’

‘Oh, Mara…’

‘I don’t care what you’re seeing,’ Mara whispered. ‘Just shut up. Sander’s not… He’s not the same. He’s not Walker.’

‘Very well, Mara,’ Lysithea said, slightly sadly. ‘I shall withdraw.’

‘Fine. Good,’ Mara hissed.

Lysithea turned her head, regaining her former composure, ‘Just one more now.’ She smiled soothingly at Amy, picking up on her nervousness at the situation. She reached up to touch her.

‘Wait,’ Amy began, backing away.

‘Amy…’ Sander murmured, tapping his foot impatiently and glaring at her.

Amy made a helpless noise in the back of her throat and dipped her head in submission, opening herself to Lysithea’s touch. The Trine-form gently stroked the palm of her hand over Amy’s forehead, a gesture of kindness that, much to Amy’s chagrin, was actually unexpected to her. She forced herself to reconsider this new world; to remember that there were still beings in the universe that were not hostile to her, even if her experience so far had been to the contrary.

Once she considered this, the idea of having Lysithea read her mind became far more tantalizing; the collar stopped her from speaking, but it couldn’t stop her from thinking. She could communicate her predicament to Lysithea, find some way to finally get rescued. Amy smirked to herself, overjoyed with her new plan, and closed her eyes, willing for the connection to come as soon as possible.

When it did, it was a total shock to her system. Sander and Mara had grown up in a universe that was larger than a single world; they had been in contact with psychic beings before. Amy had not, and she was unprepared for the feeling of an alien presence in her mind, strange tendrils of thought prying apart her memories and insinuating themselves into the core of her being. What was experienced as mild noises to the worldlier Sander and Mara was an entirely different prospect for Amy. There were lights in front of her eyes, symphonies in her mind, and cold fingers on her spine. She shuddered, an action that shook her to her core and became audible through the long, shaking exhalation that followed.

‘Amy is…’ Lysithea paused, her mouth a grim line, her eyes narrowed. She nodded, ‘I see. It is certainly a unique situation that the three of you are in.’

Amy whimpered, utter hopelessness filling her again. Was everyone on this planet totally unsympathetic to her plight? It wasn’t fair!

‘Oh, no little commentary for Amy?’ Mara said playfully. ‘I figured you would have something to say about her.’

‘It is not Nirvana company policy to judge our guests harshly, Mara,’ Lysithea said. ‘There is very little law on Theros, and much is permissible. In any case, I hope that I can provide satisfactory service regardless of your personal situation. All that is left is to connect the three of you together, although I must warn you: Some of our clients find this next part to be somewhat… intense.’

Lysithea clicked her fingers. Sander and Amy cried out together, hands clutching at their heads. They growled in discomfort through clenched teeth, as Mara stared at the two of them, perplexed.

‘What? This is intensity? I don’t feel much of anything,’ She said, eyebrows arched.

Lysithea smiled, ‘Mara, you have an extremely accepting personality. You’re having very little trouble integrating your companion’s minds into your own. They, on the other hand, are having difficulties accepting a spirit as… vast as yours.’

‘Ha!’ Mara bounced on the spot. ‘Their tiny minds cannot comprehend me!’

‘Something like that.’

‘Ow!’ Sander exclaimed. ‘Mara, is that you I’m feeling?’

Mara closed her eyes and searched; in the back of her mind… She could feel a couple of new things. In her mind’s eye there were two twisting columns of colour, one deep blue, the other vibrant red. Tiny utterances of sound- thoughts, she supposed- flowed through the twin maelstroms. Of course, that was only her imagination superimposing shape and form over something completely different to anything she had previously experienced.

‘Yup, that’s me,’ She grinned. ‘I see you’re knocking around in my head too.’

‘Y-yeah…’ He said unsteadily. ‘Could you just calm the fuck down for a second? Y’know, let Amy and I recover? You’re thinking too fast.’

‘Good lord, is that what that noise is?’ Amy quavered. ‘I thought I’d had a stroke.’

‘Allow me to moderate you all,’ Lysithea closed her eyes, pulling the chaos of three minds together down into a manageable form.

‘Okay, thank you for that,’ Sander exhaled. ‘Mara, you think so loudly!’

‘Yeah?’ Mara challenged. ‘Well, your thoughts are way too fucking maudlin, Sander! Lighten up!’

‘Oh, calm down you two!’ Amy yelled. ‘You’re hurting my head. Inside and out. And… Actually, Sander’s the… The blue one, right?’ Amy gestured, as if trying to shape the words. ‘Wow, that is serious.’

As much as she hated to admit it, Amy was having lots of fun with her newfound telepathy. It was like having a new toy inside her head. She experimented, dipping into Mara’s loud, brash and confident thoughts and finding that focussing on them for too long made her head throb. Pushing herself into Sander’s mind had been a mistake; there was something truly horrifying about looking out over a desolate landscape and realizing that what you are seeing is the inside of another person’s mind. It wasn’t that regular human emotions didn’t feature; she could detect amusement and, distressingly for her, lust floating on the surface of his mind. It was just that anything he did think seemed to be held aloft over a deep well of sadness and rage that at times threatened to consume everything around it. There was a part of her that looked over such a mind and empathized, even took pity on him.

Of course, there were plenty of other parts willing to point out why that was wrong. Sander may be a deeply broken man, but that didn’t make him any less of a monster. His surface thoughts were proof of that. But she would look at him differently from now on, she was sure.

Experimentally, Sander prodded at the minds of his companions. Mara’s mind glowed like a sun, brilliant gold and pulsing with energy, light, movement… everything. She was a tempestuous giant, her every thought possessed of such verve and vitality that it was hard to concentrate on her without developing a headache. Sander was left in no doubt about her limitless potential and frightening intellect. Mara… every aspect of her personality… He could find himself falling for her very, very easily.

He moved his mind on, shifting his focus to Amy. He recoiled, almost physically, at the dark colours floating on the surface of her mind. He tried to convince himself that he was fine with what he had seen, but it was a lie Sander couldn’t swallow. She was filled with such deep anguish, such heavy despair and fear and world-burning anger. When she thought of him, Amy was pure hatred. And she was afraid of him. Afraid of Mara. Most of all, afraid that they would kill her when they grew bored with their games.

And behind the oily darkness, nestled deep within her blackest emotions, there was something else. A tiny glimmer of light. Some positive thought about them… What was that?

Sander flipped his gaze to Mara, knowing instinctively that she was feeling all this too. She stared back, matching his concern and growing revulsion with sheer lack of interest. It wasn’t surprising that Mara felt that way, but Sander felt somehow worse, being alone with his empathy.

With a great internal struggle, Sander clamped down on his feelings, forced himself to be cold. He had committed to this path long before today. It was far too late to turn back. There was no forgiveness for this. The chill fell over his heart when he remembered Elsa, why he was doing this.

Mara smiled at him, ‘That’s the spirit, Sander.’ She said supportively.

‘Stay out of my mind, Mara,’ He replied quietly, shaking his head to dislodge the last of his empathy.

‘Yeah, okay.’

‘Alright, now that we have reached a state of equilibrium,’ Lysithea began. ‘Let us move to the game itself. If you would care to disrobe…’

What?’ Amy exclaimed, voice filled with frustration and resignation.

‘Amy, we’re still on Theros. Also, you came here with us. What did you think we were here for, if not to get laid?’ Mara said. ‘Oh, and also, you get to be tied down.’

What?’

‘But of course!’ Lysithea said brightly. ‘You shall serve as the nexus point for out convergence today. You must be restrained, if only to keep you from lashing out in the midst of it all and hurting someone. Also, I am led to believe that many of our guests, Sander and Mara included, enjoy the bondage for its own sake.’

‘It’s true,’ Sander nodded, grinning. He pulled his shirt over his head, revealing his broad, thinly muscled chest. Behind him, Mara gasped.

‘Is this the first time you’ve turned your back to me, Sander? Where the fuck did you get that scar?’ She said with gruff concern, tracing a hand down a mass of pink scar tissue that bloomed across his right shoulder blade.

‘It’s just a scar.’

‘Sander… This is a serious mark you’ve got here,’ Mara said, consciously trying to stop her voice from softening. She tapped the scar, ‘Where did you get it?’

Sander looked over his shoulder, eyes flashing in irritation, ‘I don’t want to talk about it, Mara! Just drop it!’ He stepped away from her, ignoring her slight pout and big, liquid eyes. There was a tense moment of silence as Sander stood apart from the group, keeping his back to them and Mara stared at him. To his relief, she shrugged and unzipped the back of her dress. Sander sighed and did the same with his pants; he had been expecting to have to fight her on this. Even so, he could tell that she wasn’t done with him yet.

Amy closed her eyes, her entire body carrying her distaste at what she was being asked to do. Slowly, conscious of her utter helplessness, her hands went to the hem of her shirt, lifting it over her head and exposing her perky breasts. Mara led the way with an appreciative wolf-whistle, but even Lysithea clicked her tongue approvingly.

Watching closely, Sander saw Lysithea wince as she inspected Amy’s battered body. He knew the alien must have seen into Amy’s mind, far deeper than Sander himself had. He knew that she must have seen the events of last night; Sander had seen her fear of Mara so vividly, and he was only getting the tiniest glimpse of her mind. So the momentary expression of shock that flitted across the Trine-form’s face was made all the more emphatic when Sander realized that she had been expecting this, and she was still shocked by what she saw. Looking at poor Amy in the daylight, he found it hard to disagree.

The pale skin of Amy’s back, ass and thighs played host to numerous fading red marks and a number of deep blue bruises that actually shocked Sander; he had no idea that Mara was that strong. She had promised him that she knew how far to go, and Sander wondered what Amy would look like if his assistant had decided to cross that line. Sander reached out in inexorable, horrid curiosity to gently run a hand over a mark on her hip, but she shuddered away from his touch. Sander offered Amy an apologetic look, and her eyes snarled back at him.

Lysithea went back to professional mode very quickly and, once the three of them were completely divested of clothes, she pressed a panel on the wall. A plate of metal slid away from the centre of the floor and a large bed rose into position. Amy noted with discomfort the ropes hanging from the headboard and the end.

‘That seemed unnecessary,’ Mara mused. ‘I mean, aren’t we floating on an ocean?’

‘Nirvana is a taller building than many realize,’ Lysithea responded. ‘We can store many things below the surface. You would be surprised.’

She gestured to Amy, and then to the bed. The redhead tilted her head and whined pathetically, her eyes a picture of sorrow. Mara gave a sparkling, toothy grin.

‘Come on, Amy. Lighten up! This is going to be pretty special, from what I’ve read,’ She laughed. ‘And just think; you’ll be the only person in the whole of Leadworth to have had psychically enhanced sex!’

‘Is that supposed to make me feel better?’ Amy snarled.

Mara stared, searching Amy for any indication that she was joking, ‘Uh, yes it was. How could that not make you feel better? Actually, I don’t care. I know something else that’ll make you feel really good, but you have to be tied down to start it up. Hurry up, Red.’

Amy was led to the bed, and her wrists were wrapped together above her head. Lysithea’s well-practiced hands moored Amy’s hands to the headboard, the rough texture of the rope presenting an incredible demand on her delicate senses.

The alien’s hands stroked down her legs, her rough skin sending hypersensitive shivers through Amy’s body. Her ankles were tied down, her legs spread and her pink, unharmed, eminently enticing pussy on display. She struggled against her bonds, the coarse knots rubbing against her skin, the pressure intensely present in her mind.

‘Wow…’ Sander said dreamily, staring down at his captive.

‘She looks really good all strung up like that…’ Mara added speculatively.

‘Agreed,’ Lysithea nodded. ‘Now, shall I start the party?’

‘Go for it, alien babe,’ Mara shrugged, her legs folding beneath her until she was cross-legged on the floor. Sander took his seat to one side of the bed, affording him a good view of the action.

Amy squirmed as Lysithea drew close, her dark green eyes boring into Amy’s, a broad grin splitting her pale features. The beautiful alien bent her head low, nuzzling into Amy’s neck. She jerked against her bondage, a sharp cry escaping her throat.

The soft curve of her nose pressed against her neck, her hot breath caressing her skin… Every sensation was magnified to intensity, filling up every inch of her world with its shocking virulence. Sander and Mara pricked up, hands reaching to their own necks. They could feel it too!

Amy felt lips against her cheek, the moist flick of a tongue against her skin making her whimper. This could get rough…

With the opening pleasantries concluded, Lysithea began her sensual assault on the bound captive. Her lips travelled, first to Amy’s mouth, her deep, warm kiss quaking through her helpless body in a wave of all-consuming heat. The Trine-form dipped lower, planting blazing kisses on her neck, collarbone… breasts. Her tongue swished around Amy’s nipples.

‘Oh god!’ She gasped, every point of contact seeming to remember the brilliant sensations and to sustain them for several seconds after Lysithea had moved on.

The light patter of heat had passed lower, ever lower, the muscles in her stomach growing tighter as her back arched into Lysithea’s fevered kisses, tiny moans escaping her throat at every touch. Beside her, Sander had closed his eyes and lowered his head, every sensation rebounding across the newly formed mental link and hitting him and Mara at full force. What was left of Amy’s cogent thought processes wondered what it must feel like to them; at any rate, they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

For her part, Amy tried to feel bad, tried to convince herself that this was still heading towards rape, like every other torturous day on this planet. But every time Lysithea placed another gentle touch on her sensitive skin the thought evaporated like mist, no matter how hard she tried to hold onto it. She was being carried away on a rising tide of fire, and she was powerless to resist.

Lysithea’s fingernails were at the insides of Amy’s thighs, scratching gently up the delicate skin. Amy’s legs spasmed at the lightest touch, her ankles jerking hard against their bonds.

‘Ah, such sensitivity…’ Lysithea crooned. ‘This is going to be fun…’

She dipped her head once more, her tongue darting out to circle Amy’s hips, drawing a shuddering gasp from the captive.

‘Yes indeed…’ The alien said softly, diving between Amy’s legs, lapping at her spasming pussy.

Sander and Mara grunted together, the sound drowned out by Amy’s sonorous scream, a sound that continued until her breath ran out. Her mouth remained open for several seconds after, silently shrieking in pleasure.

‘Wow!’ Sander exclaimed, the sympathetic pleasure racing through him in odd ways; he didn’t have a matching set of parts for this sensation. ‘That’s an interesting one!’

‘Word!’ Mara grunted, throwing him a thumbs up.

Lysithea’s tongue flicked at Amy’s petalling outer lips, barely even flinching as the human’s hips bucked desperately against her. She relished the sweet tasting juices that spilled out onto her tongue, driving her soft muscle as deep as she could into Amy’s sopping tunnel. Amy grunted and bit her lip, almost hard enough to draw blood.

Her muscles spasmed against the ropes, drawing her whole body tight as a bowstring, as Lysithea continued exploring deep inside the young redhead. Repeated, endless groans tore themselves from her throat as she arched her back, her breath completely leaving a body that still wanted to scream. Suddenly she realised that, between breathless, animal groans, she was begging. Pleading, over and over for more, her voice cracking with desire. Shame coloured her cheeks as blood pumped to other, highly specific, areas of her body. This was so wrong…

Lysithea was intensely skilled, her warm tongue dancing around Amy’s dripping cunt in sweeping arcs. The Trine-form lapped at her vulnerable clit, causing surges of pure, unbearable ecstasy to burn through her like a nuclear blast.

The heat rose higher, swallowing her mind, blasting down every resistant thought, heating every cell in Amy’s body white hot. She wasn’t fighting a losing battle; she had already lost. The need to cum overwhelmed everything else, increasing the volume and rapidity of her pleading until she was simply gabbling a string of animalistic nonsense sounds. Every muscle in her body was so tight that it hurt… Every sensation was so present in her mind that she was practically blind to Sander’s presence beside her, Mara’s stifled groans of pleasure… Everything faded out.

Lysithea’s tongue circled her burning, sensitive bud, and Amy came. The wave of all-consuming pleasure washed over her, her limbs tensing so hard that the ropes groaned and struggled to keep her contained. Her mouth opened in a wordless, mindless shriek of molten bliss.

Beside her, Sander exhaled explosively, eyes widening as his mind burned. Mara leaned against the side of the bed, her legs trembling and her toes curling. The shared orgasm encircled every nerve in their bodies, singing through them like liquid mercury. It was an alien feeling, at once highly familiar and completely new; a climax of the mind, not the body.

Amy felt herself blacking out as Lysithea kept up the pressure, her senses falling away like sand as her body lit up with a single sensation. And then, as easily at it had overwhelmed her, it was over, leaving her a trembling, gasping mess lying limply in her ropes. Lysithea shifted position, leaning over Amy’s recumbent form to kiss her deeply, the taste of her own arousal invading her mouth.

‘And now you understand why we need the ropes, yes?’ Lysithea smiled peacefully, closing her eyes and sighing, satisfied at a job well done.

‘Well, that was-‘ Sander began breathlessly.

‘Shut up, Hackett!’ Mara moaned dreamily. ‘You’re ruining the moment.’

‘Yeah… Right…’

Amy gave a tiny moan as an aftershock raced through her, drawing the attention of the other three. Sander gently ran a hand down her shivering body, feeling her soft skin prickle under his touch, not even bothering to move as his hand slipped over a series of particularly dark bruises.

‘You can’t tell me that you didn’t enjoy that, Amy,’ He said softly, wiping a bead of sweat from her forehead.

‘I…’ She began, her voice trembling incessantly. She seemed unsure of what to say, of whether any particular sentence would cause her to be punished. ‘Oh, god…’ She moaned, turning her eyes away from him. Unfortunately, this placed her gaze firmly on Mara’s smiling eyes.

‘Aww, she’s ashamed to admit it,’ Mara grinned. ‘You don’t need to worry, sweet thing; everybody here enjoyed it when you came. That was fun!’ She did a little wriggling dance from her seated position.

‘It was,’ Lysithea nodded. ‘But your time isn’t up yet. My purpose is merely to get the motor running, so to speak. From here on in, I shall simply maintain the synaptic link. Whatever else you do is entirely up to you. Although I can offer some suggestions: Sander, you may have noticed how different this experience has been from your normal sexual encounters.’

Sander nodded, ‘I did notice this, yes. I figured it had something to do with the fact that I was feeling a girl getting off, rather than my usual, Y’know, dick.’

‘That’s exactly right,’ Lysithea said. ‘I would ask that you consider the broader implications of this fact.’

Mara cocked her head to one side and smiled, ‘Oh! You mean to say that everything we do is entirely transferrable to the other two… So I’d get the male experience of sex if Sander fucked Amy. And so would she? That’s fuckin’ Meta!’

‘I think our path is clear, then!’ Sander said, happy with any path that ended in him getting laid. He stood, striking a self-effacingly heroic pose. Lysithea nodded and stepped away, taking up position at the far side of the room and closing her eyes in concentration. Sander got the idea that she considered their interactions finished for the day.

Sander trailed his fingers up the considerable length of Amy’s leg, his touch stabbing at her like a knife of pure heat. His digits slid across her hips, finding entrance into the mire of warmth and moisture that was Amy’s pussy. She groaned, weakly, as each knuckle pushed inside her, deeply into her core. He pulled out of her, almost as quickly as he had entered, fingers glistening in her dew. His eyes bored into hers, his passive, wry gaze keeping her entranced.

Sander lifted his wet fingers to his mouth and licked. Every open eye in the room widened. Burning across the mental link, the taste of Amy invaded every tastebud in Sander and Mara’s mouths, utterly different than any other time. Merely human senses couldn’t do this alone, to taste so deeply. Not simply the evidence of Amy’s arousal, Sander could taste what seemed like her very essence in her juices; Amy Pond as pure taste. It was a soulful experience.

Mara giggled, rolling her tongue around her mouth with a delighted “Mmm!”

Amy sobbed shamefully as the taste of her own juices swept through her mouth like a flood. This was too much; at the very least her previous torments had been within the scope of her comprehension. Nirvana was completely outside her sphere of experience, and Amy was at a loss as to what would happen next. What she had already been through here had been unbearable… She didn’t like the idea of repeating it, no matter the variation.

Sander was circling Amy’s prostrate form with slow, predatory movements, enjoying her desperate attempts to curl herself away from him. It was useless, of course it was, but to resist was to exert some form of control, however limited. Amy wouldn’t allow herself to simply lie back and accept whatever Sander would give her.

His finger traced the delicate curve of her jaw. He gripped her firmly between thumb and forefinger and forced her to look at him, spearing her with his shining, friendly smile.

‘I’m going to need some help here, Amy, before I stick it to you,’ He gestured ruefully at his flaccid member. ‘As… Uh, stimulating as this place is, it does nothing for me physically. And I fear that Mara and your beautiful self left me rather drained last night. So we circle around once again to… You need to prime the pump, sweetness.’

‘No. I can’t, Sander… I can’t take this…’ Amy whimpered, gesturing vaguely at the room around her, as much as the ropes that held her would allow.

Sander’s hand left her jaw and wandered to her neck, where a single finger plucked at the Command Collar, ‘ I could simply force you, Amy. That’s no fun, though. I don’t want to force you. From the way you were screaming, you can’t deny that you enjoyed what Lysithea did to you.’ He reached down between her legs, stroking his fingers softly along her sodden pussy, ‘Can you imagine what I could do to you?’

Amy trembled as Sanders fingers pushed against her, the heat building itself back in the pit of her stomach. In the moments of lucidity following Lysithea’s fiery assault, Amy had thought that she could contain herself, push down the desires that formed unbidden whenever anyone touched her in this room. She realized now that it was useless; right here, in this room, enclosed in the Amplification Field, there was nothing she could do. In the outside world she could keep her wits about her, even if they made her beg, the core of her mind would remain hers.

But in Nirvana, Sander and Mara could do whatever they wanted to her, and worse, she would want it. Lysithea and the Field… They tore at the senses, ripped away any self control Amy might have had, turned her into a moaning wreck. There was nothing she could do…

Three fingers slipped inside her, proving Amy’s point handily. She moaned, bucking her hips against Sander’s invading digits, her legs tensing and shuddering.

‘Just imagine the feeling, Amy… That’s why we’re here. This is something special,’ Sander grinned. ‘This is an expensive treat, because Mara and I like you so much…’

‘Surely you want to thank Sander, right Amy?’ Mara bent her neck backwards over the edge of the bed so that the back of her head rested on Amy’s belly. She looked up, over her fringe, to grin at Sander.

‘Oh god…’ Amy breathed softly, her skin crawling as Sander fingered her. ‘Fine, whatever,’ She said bitterly, arching her neck in defeat. ‘Just stop that…’

‘Good girl,’ Sander crooned. He stepped forward, positioning himself so that Amy could reach his cock if she craned her neck. She frowned. He wanted her to reach for it, take it in her mouth under her own power. He wasn’t going to give her an inch.

Angry tears sprang to her eyes as she stared out balefully from under her mass of fiery hair. Sander had slipped his fingers out of her vagina, leaving her with a frustrating empty feeling. She tried hard to clamp down on the desires swarming through her, finding that she was unable to. Momentarily, her teeth gritted, before she reluctantly opened her mouth and leaned forward. Her tongue gingerly licked at Sander’s dick, causing him to groan appreciatively. He closed his eyes, feeling the faint, moist traceries of heat as Amy’s soft tongue travelled the length of his cock, each one magnified by the Field.

Beside him, Mara tilted her head to one side and pursed her lips. Sander gave a little laugh; Mara was having trouble figuring out the psychic link. He himself was trying his hardest to block out the sensory input from Amy’s mouth- He didn’t think he needed to feel his own dick. He was already attached to it. Thankfully, it seemed to be working; he’d never been so happy that his father had made him take psychic training when he was younger.

Both girls straightened up as Sander reached full hardness under Amy’s frustrated ministrations.

‘Hmm! Interesting!’ Mara squeaked, feeling unsettled. It had been odd enough for Sander, feeling something that didn’t exist. Mara and Amy were suddenly having to deal with a new appendage psychically making itself known all of a sudden. It felt strange to feel what wasn’t there, like a phantom limb.

Sander slid forward, pushing himself into Amy’s mouth, making a special point to clamp down harder on the mental link, blocking this specific sensation from his own body. Amy whimpered around him, the vibrations twanging through him like the breaking string of a violin. For a moment, he stood still, enjoying the warmth of her mouth around him. Next to him, Mara’s brow creased as the unfamiliar, shared sensation flowed through her.

‘Alright, enough,’ Sander grunted, stepping away from Amy’s prostrate form, relishing the feeling of her sucking lips as he withdrew from her mouth. ‘Time for the main event.’

Mara fondled Amy’s breasts as Sander moved around her, stepping between her legs and pressing the head of his dick against her wet folds. Amy whimpered, shifting her hips uncomfortably. She could feel the heft and heat of him pressed against her rendered in excruciating detail.

This was going to get rough…

*************************

Rory leaned against the hull of the TARDIS, glaring emptily at the screens on the control panel. On screen, Sander had positioned himself to rape his wife yet again. The Doctor swept around the control panel, absorbed in the act of furiously manipulating the TARDIS controls, his eyes glowing with dark energy.

Silence reigned between them. In the beginning Rory had been mad, panicked, furious and desperately afraid. He had followed the Doctor, just a step behind him, as he worked on tracking Amy down. He had been frantically searching for something, anything that he could do to help find her. But attempting to help had only highlighted just how out of his depth Rory was.

Even his random searching on Theros hadn’t been very useful; the trail he had picked up had gone cold very quickly.

And through it all, the terrible, taunting footage of Amy’s ordeals were forced through every screen on the TARDIS, cruelly devoid of any identifying information.

It made it so hard to think! She was physically absent, but Amy’s plight was kept so present in both Rory’s and the Doctor’s mind as to make Rory physically sick with worry.

Rory screwed his eyes shut as Sander entered Amy, causing her to scream hysterically. A low growl escaped his throat.

‘Is there any way to turn that off?’ He asked for the millionth time.

The Doctor sighed in frustration, ‘Rory, if I wanted to turn it off I would first need to figure out how it’s being done. This is a near impregnable living time machine. They shouldn’t be able to hack it. That, and there’s more important things to worry about, for example-‘ He waved vaguely at the screens themselves, his other hand working a series of dials.

In truth, the Doctor wished that he could switch off the screens too. In the back of his mind, a tiny part of him was constantly working on that puzzle. If he could just silence the screens… Turn off his friend’s nightmare just for an hour or two. To be able to think straight without the heavy mass of guilt and fear and anger that burned in his gut. He would be able to find her, given just a little peace.

Besides… He would never admit it; it would never, ever leave his own mind, but… Each glimpse of Amy’s shapely flesh, each scream or moan or squeal, each view of Sander’s cock sliding between his companion’s lips… It aroused him more than he cared to think about. Every shameful twinge of lust, intermingled with true horror at what was happening to a woman that he had pledged to protect… His twin hearts beat faster.

He had gotten distracted, back on Theros. That black hole of guilt would follow him forever. It had just become too… tense. The lure of the flesh so rarely intruded in on his mind. He had needed to do something about it. Sure, it had only taken a few minutes, but this was hardly the time. He just hoped that Rory never found out; he would probably punch him again.

That Shangri-La public hall, though… Wow.

It didn’t help that Rory was constantly glaring at him. The Doctor couldn’t help but think that he blamed him for what had happened to Amy. It was true, if he had never met her, she wouldn’t be in this situation, but still…

‘I can’t even tell how they’re getting this footage!’ The Doctor burst out suddenly, one hand gripping the corner of the panel tightly, ‘They only have cameras at their base, and they’re definitely not there now! That’s the problem with these bloody cowboy types: everything they do is so loose and amateurish that it’s hard to figure out!’

‘Yes, that must be it,’ Rory snapped. ‘They haven’t stumped you, or anything, That’s impossible! No, they’re simply so beneath you that you can’t even perceive them. Because you’re the Doctor, and you never lose.’

‘That’s exactly right, Rory,’ The Doctor turned suddenly. ‘And I’d be getting around to winning this one a whole lot faster without you sniping in my ear every few minutes!’

‘Well what do you want me to do, Doctor!’ Rory yelled, standing suddenly and crossing the distance between them in seconds. He pointed at the screen, ‘Look at her, Doctor! She needs our help, and we’re no closer to finding her!’

The Doctor averted his eyes, completely unwilling to look at Amy’s tied, vulnerable body for any number of reasons. Probably best not to get… distracted again, especially since Rory looked ready to lash out.

The idea hit him suddenly, as they tended to, ‘Shut up,’ He said, just as suddenly.

‘What?’ Rory growled.

‘No, no, no! Just shut up for a minute…’ He closed his eyes, butting his forehead with the palm of his hand. ‘I am so bloody thick!’

‘What? What is it?’

‘Trine-form!’ The Doctor burst out. ‘How could I have missed it?’ He began manipulating the TARDIS controls again with renewed fervour.

‘Care to ensure that I don’t miss it either?’ Rory said quizzically.

‘No time! I think I know how to find Amy! We need to move, now!’

 

To be continued…

 

Sander awoke with a jerk, almost knocking Mara’s head from its perch on his shoulder. He screwed his eyes shut against the daylight that flooded the room; the clouds had covered the window opposite him, transforming the sunlight into sinister grey illumination. The room was painted in dark shadows and monochromatic twilight. How appropriate.

It didn’t take Sander long to remember why it was that he and Mara were sleeping in the corner; the bed was… ruined. Both hands swept up to his hair as he sighed and leaned his head against the wall. His eyes slid to Mara’s still sleeping form, regarding her with a surge of conflicting emotion. He doubted that he would ever see her the same way again, after last night. What had happened to her? What had happened to him?

The single image, burned into his mind: Mara in the moonlight. Turning toward him, every contour of her body wreathed in grey light. Her eyes, so blue, burning like the hearts of stars…

His fingers tightened in his hair unconsciously, making him wince. Shit…

She looked so peaceful with those fiery eyes closed, a tiny smile tightening her lips. Unbidden, he reached out and stroked her cheek, his eyes narrowing as the rational part of his mind struggled in vain to figure her out. Had she been holding all that back from him? It was like a different person had taken up residence in Mara’s body. She had been a storm, sweeping up everything around her without a second thought.

Her eyes flicked open, ice blue gaze on his own; he actually pulled away, just slightly. Her smile broadened, ‘Hmm. I was having such a nice dream…’ She said quietly.

Sander turned his head away, ‘Was I in it?’

‘No. Someone far more attractive was, boss,’ She grinned wolfishly as she said the last word, stressing it with teasing, malicious irony. She stretched, long legs sliding languorously across the cool floor. She took Sander’s hand in her own, holding it against her face, ‘Aww, how sweet…’

‘Okay!’ Sander murmured, standing quickly. He stretched a few kinks from his back and walked into the kitchen, his gaze never returning to Mara.

‘Hey, did I scare you last night or something?’ Mara yawned, sliding lower down the wall.

‘A little,’ Sander understated. She was still a little scary, having apparently switched back to normal Mara sometime during the morning. What was worse was that Sander had enjoyed himself last night, far more than he wished to admit.

He shook his head to dislodge the though. Hell, he had crossed all kinds of lines in the last several days, what was one more? His eyes moved inexorably to Amy, still sleeping on the floor, curled up with her back to Mara. He was in no doubt: That one line had meant a lot to her, he was sure. How could it not?

Mara stood finally, crossed the floor in a few long strides. Her hands reached up, entwined themselves in Sander’s hair, pulled him down and pressed her lips against his. Sander’s mind drifted back; She’d been acting like that for a while now. She had kissed him in the moonlight, pressing him against the wall, pressing herself against him. It wasn’t attraction to him, specifically, that was making her act this way, just a kind of vague, powerful feeling that welled up in her. He knew it was there; this close, it was like she was passing it to him. He had felt, in the heat of the night, the undirected anger edging her every movement.

Yes, that was it; Amy should never have tried to attack her. It had made Mara angry, genuinely angry. That must have been a new feeling for her. Sander didn’t think that there was much in Mara’s life to make her angry.

Sander’s reminiscence faded as Mara pulled away, her eyes searching his, ‘Are you alright? You seem off, somehow,’ she said, her dangerous, deep eyes narrowing slightly.

‘I’m fine,’ He sighed, closing his own eyes. ‘Are you? What the hell was that whole deal last night? That came out of nowhere!’

Mara smiled again, her expression bright and amused, ‘Really? Really, Sander? There’s nothing in our past interactions to indicate that I was capable of all that?’ She turned with a laugh, and her expression turned dark, ‘Maybe she’ll learn to watch her fuckin’ manners, next time.’

‘There’s such a thing as excess, Mara.’

She paused, ‘Not with me there isn’t,’ She growled.

‘Change the subject,’ Sander said quietly, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

‘So, how long do we have this place for anyway?’ She turned back to him and leaned against the counter, her features having completely shifted gear back to happiness.

‘We need to be out by tonight,’ He said, cracking open the fridge. ‘I guess these rooms are always booked up. Anyway, that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to leave Theros yet.’

‘Do you have any ideas, Sander?’

‘A couple,’ He shrugged. ‘There are specialists we can see, Y’know, if we want to end our vacation with a bang. Possibly more than one,’ He grinned, but it felt weak. Something in him wouldn’t let go of the new Mara, some undeniable attraction. Like a moth to a flame, though…

‘Oh, do go on, Mr. Hackett,’ Mara said. ‘And get me something liquid out of that thing, yeah? I suddenly find myself parched.’

Sander threw a bottle over his shoulder without reading the label. It wasn’t like it mattered; everything had some florid and vaguely unsettling name anyway, ‘See for yourself; it’s all in the system index.’

Mara looked surprised, as though this thought hadn’t occurred to her yet, and rushed off to the large screen mounted on the wall. The room lit up with an electronic glow, and soon Mara began making little impressed noises. Sander smiled; anything to get her mind off punishment.

He stared. She seemed so… what was the word? Not innocent, never innocent…

She seemed so… Mara now, just like usual. The same Mara he had lived with for eleven years. But she wasn’t, not anymore. His mind kept slipping back…

 

Mara in the moonlight. The thin, slicing sound of the crop scything through the air. Amy screams. Again. Jerks in her restraints. Another red welt on pale skin, virulent in the dim light. That one will leave a bruise.

‘Mara, enough!’ Male voice. His? It sounds alien, constricted somehow. Unfamiliar.

‘Don’t interfere!’ Her voice fills the air, fills the entire available space, like she’s beating the room with a crowbar. Those eyes, Mara’s eyes, turn to him, incandescent with rage and, below it all, barely visible, joy. Glee. One hand plays across the bare skin of her hip, fingers one minute stroking, the next taut and clawing.

‘I know exactly how far to go…’

 

Did it even matter?  That she had done that? After everything Sander had done, was this even worth dwelling on?

Yes… Yes it was. That had been the Mara that Sander had always assumed was hiding deep down within her; he had seen it once before, when someone from her past had approached her while they had been acquiring parts for a machine. He hadn’t heard what they had talked about, but he had definitely seen her break his arm like it was glass.

She had always been one to watch. A person as mercurial as she was, it was inevitable that she was holding something darker in check. But that was something they shared. If Sander wanted to compare sicknesses, he was probably in the wrong place to do it. He just… Needed to be careful around Mara in the future. Yes.

Besides, he had joined her, in the end. He had participated. She had been in the driver’s seat, of course she had, but he had helped. Something in her darkness was infectious, and she had passed it to him effortlessly. When she ordered him to do something, he had done it. When she had praised him, joked with him, she had lit up his world…

Like a moth to a fucking flame…

Amy was stirring, waking to the sounds of life resuming its normal pace. She winced as her eyes opened, gingerly lifting herself into a sitting position. Sander couldn’t imagine how she was feeling, but the dark, defiant look in her eyes was a big hint. There was a strangled, desperate edge to her expression that she was trying unsuccessfully to hide behind her anger. Simultaneously, both broke eye contact and turned their heads elsewhere. Sander felt vaguely awkward around her after last night…

 

‘Sander… Come here,’ Her voice like iron. Impossible to resist. He moved. Of course he did.

‘What is it?’ His voice again, trepidation layered over a deep core of fascination. Something in her was calling to him…

Amy had fallen limp in her chains, head low, long gasping sobs torn from her heaving chest. Mara reached over, lifted her chin with a firm, unyielding grip. Amy’s eyes were frantic, fearful. Tears streamed down her flustered red face. Her lower lip trembled.

‘She wants it, Sander. You simply must not deny her that,’ She toyed with the crop in her free hand. It seemed like an idle gesture, but her eyes burned into Amy’s and said otherwise, ‘Tell him, slave.’

Amy shuddered. Her mouth opened. Words came pouring out; her voice shaking, cracking, high and reedy. She gabbled rapidly, stammering and tripping over her words. Her voice rose higher, almost a scream of fear.

Begging, desperately.

 

‘Try the 08 directory,’ Sander pushed the memory down and walked over to Mara and pointing at an as yet unexplored quadrant of the screen. ‘I think that’s where I saw it.’

‘Saw what?’

‘Just look,’ Sander poked her playfully. Mara switched the directory, and her brow arched with amusement. This was a Mara that Sander knew how to deal with. He began to feel a little more balanced around her.

‘Yeah, that’ll do it. But I’ve read about these guys, it’s not exactly a place that you can just walk into, Sander.’

Sander nodded, and produced a small screen of his own with a magnetic strip running down one side, ‘Sure, but this is my bank balance.’ He thumbed a portion of the screen and showed the resulting number to Mara, who gasped and backed away.

‘Are there even that many zeroes in the world?’ She breathed, slightly horrified that one man could have such wealth.

‘You bet!’ Sander grinned. ‘Most of it’s appropriated from Hackett Industries funds, but since that’s all me anyway, I figure it’s okay.’

‘Alright, that’s cool,’ Mara crossed her arms and frowned. ‘It’s all okay for you, Mr. Fuckin’ Moneybags. Rich folk…’ She mumbled.

‘It’s all trickle down, Mara,’ Sander said. ‘Since I’m paying for all your shit too. Now, you want to go do this thing or not?’

Mara closed her eyes, ‘Good god yes.’ She said emphatically.

‘Then let’s do it,’ Sander said, clapping his hands together.

‘Right on!’ Mara pumped a fist into the air, standing up. Sander didn’t need any more reminding, but he was still stunned at how good Mara looked naked. There was something about her utter lack of modesty that was so alluring, even against conventional logic.

‘Amy!’ Mara clicked her fingers, making the redhead stiffen anxiously and turn her head with a shaky nod. The evidence of her punishment was still present, on her thighs, her bottom, her back, even her neck and stomach. Every movement sent new aches and pains flowing through Amy’s body, and she moved gingerly, stretching each muscle experimentally, gritting her teeth with the pain. Mara laid a hand on top of Amy’s head and petted her gently.

‘Hey now…’ Mara said. ‘You’re flinching away from little old me?’

Sander searched her face, and found not a single trace of irony. He found himself smiling despite himself, looking into Mara’s crystal clear eyes.

‘You go and get dressed, kiddo. We’ve got places to be, right Sander?’

Sander sighed and closed his eyes, ‘Sure, Mara. Whatever you say…’

*******************

 

 

‘So, where are we going this time?’ Amy sighed, staring dispassionately out of the window. She was finding it hard to look at either of them. Outside, an endless expanse of ocean stretched to the horizon, with not a wave or sign of life to disrupt its perfect, mirror-like surface. Theros had no surface winds to disturb the pristine water, nothing to generate waves and no moon to affect tides. If the planet wasn’t blanketed with ice-clouds, much of the surface would have looked like a giant mirror, reflecting the stars beyond. The view from the shuttle was so desolate, almost like purgatory.

‘Someplace special,’ Mara evaded, leaning back in her seat.

‘Well… Doesn’t that just inspire confidence,’ Amy muttered darkly.

‘You ever met an alien that hadn’t tried to kill you, Amy?’ Sander offered the olive branch.

Amy’s head cocked to one side, thought for a moment. She frowned with dissatisfaction, ‘Now that you mention it, no. Aside from the Doctor, I suppose,’ She almost physically winced at the pang of sadness that welled up merely from mentioning his name. She wondered if she would ever see him again.

‘Well, today that changes,’ Mara grinned wickedly. ‘I guarantee you; the aliens we’re going to see will not try to murder you.’

‘Well, that’s good to know,’ Amy narrowed her eyes. ‘What are they going to do instead? Sander’s paying a lot of money for this, right?’

‘Tell me about it…’ Sander muttered.

‘It’s going to be interesting, Amy,’ Mara said lightly. ‘I hope you’re ready for some intense fun.’

Sander shuddered. That sounded familiar…

 

Strong hands wound through Amy’s hair, keeping her aloft when the rest of her body wanted to fall to the floor. Leather cuffs still on her wrists and ankles. Mara’s shoulders shook with soundless laughter, her eyes mercifully closed, her head tilted to the ceiling.

Amy whimpered, her own shoulders shaking, though she was afraid. Mara turned, attracted to the sound. She lifted the crop under Amy’s chin, forcing her head up to look at her.

‘Aren’t you having fun, slave? Sander, this is fun, right?’ Her voice was low, almost vicious. Those wildfire eyes drew Sander in like a black hole; filled with such utter, inescapable darkness. A shiver went down his spine as her gaze turned to him. He felt like a small animal in the gaze of a tigress.

‘Yes Mara,’ He said, somewhat quickly. Exhaustion weighed him down. Mara was demanding, and cum was dripping down Amy’s thigh. He had already done so much; unquestioningly, willingly. Eagerly. What was happening here?

‘The consensus is that this is fun, slave,’ Mara said, dipping her head to be closer to her victim. ‘I suppose I’m not trying hard enough…’

The hand in Amy’s hair lifted higher, dragging her up to her feet with a yelp. It was time for the next round to start…

 

Sander’s physical eyes sent a signal to his brain that interrupted the flow of memory, ‘Hey, shut up,’ Sander motioned to the two women. ‘Check it out.’

Amy and Mara craned their necks to see out of Sander’s window. Their shuttle was horizontally strafing a large building that floated, motionless, on the surface of the glassy, liquid plain. A huge blue dome extended across much of the platform, but a wooden outer deck ringed the structure, expanding out periodically into metal landing pads. From this altitude, it looked like some enormous artificial flower bud floating on the surface of the water.

‘Okay, what is that?’ Amy said, nervousness creeping into her voice. Her hands shifted in her lap, toying with the hem of her simple black skirt. A part of her rejoiced at being able to wear clothes in public again, and a larger part was horrified that she had reached the point where she was happy just to be wearing a shirt.

‘That is called Nirvana, Amy,’ Mara patted her shoulder. ‘And from what I’ve heard, it more than earns that name.’

‘So tell me what happens there!’ Amy exclaimed in frustration.

Sander rose from his seat, walking unsteadily to the pilot’s chair to key in the request for landing priority. Initially hesitant, the Nirvana control room was more than happy to grant Sander permission to land once he showed them the collection of zeroes at the end of his bank statement.

He shot a glance over his shoulder at Mara, and she grinned brightly back at him. Inexorably, his mind slid back yet again; the memories had a kind of gravity that kept drawing him back. Mara winked; she could see the reminiscence in his eyes…

 

Mara laughed, her voice thrumming with deep satisfaction. Other sounds intruded.

Amy’s ragged, shaking gasps. And Sander’s deep, growling breaths as he speared into her over and over again.

Mara was at his back, the silent pressure of her gaze pushing him onwards. It was impossible to resist.

He knew he should feel bad, using Amy like this. Merely as an instrument for their mutual satisfaction. But Mara had said fuck, and he had asked: How deep? Shameful…

She cried out again, her eyes screwed shut. He was fucking her roughly, probably hurting her, but he didn’t care. Part of him was afraid of what Mara would do if he stopped. A far larger, more bestial part was snarling in primal enjoyment.

He felt Mara’s hand on his back, fingers twisting through the fabric of his shirt. She leaned up over the fevered pace of his thrusting, nibbling at his ear with a throaty giggle of delight.

‘Good boy…’ She whispered. ‘You’re doing well.’

Sander couldn’t hold out any longer. With a deep, thunderous rumble he thrust into Amy’s tender opening as deeply as possible, cumming hard. He emptied himself in her as Amy was overtaken by huge, wracking sobs. His hands tightened on her waist, fingers pressing painfully into her.

His gaze slipped to Mara. He didn’t know why. There was a degree of anxiety and expectation in his eyes.

Mara’s features softened, and she kissed him on the cheek, ‘Very good work, Sander dearest,’ her voice was slick, seductive. Dripping in sex and violence. ‘Excellent.’

He smiled. He didn’t know why, but her approval meant something special. Wrapped in exhaustion, he was barely thinking coherently anymore, but her praise tore all that away. He felt light.

Favoured.

 

Mara twisted in her seat to regard Amy, grinning wickedly, ‘Why spoil the surprise?’ She said, voice full of ominous bass. Her smile threatened to devour Amy whole.

To be continued…

 

 

Mara leaned against the cool white tiles, feeling the hot water pound against her skin. She smiled, wiggling happily against the wall and closing her eyes. She hadn’t realized how tired she was, during all the action of the day. She had been running on a few hours sleep and pure enthusiasm for a few days now. She couldn’t keep it up for long, but Mara knew that she could function without sleep for a while, if she really needed to.

Even so, she was supposed to be on vacation. That was sort of the point of the expensive suite and the crazy, adventurous sex. It was why Amy was tied up in the other room taking part in another bizarre sex game. She shrugged to herself, listening to Amy’s strident moans and groans through the wall. She could keep going for a while longer. Weariness was nothing a dose of double-coffee couldn’t fix.

The water shut off, and Mara stepped out into the bathroom, shaking out her damp hair. She gasped, jerking with fright away from the mirror. Sander’s reflection grinned.

‘I thought I told you to be good, Sander,’ Mara said. ‘And I definitely told you to stick with Amy.’

‘I can hear her from here,’ Sander said. ‘She’s lost the game, at least in part. I’m kind of hoping that she’ll speak…’ He shook his head, ‘Anyway, I’m wondering why I have to be good? We were having so much fun together…’ He stepped forward, leaning in to kiss her. She swayed away from him.

‘You’re getting attached, Sander. All that staring deeply into my eyes shit. God knows, I’m as up for a fuck as the next person, but in this case the next person is you, and you are supposed to be sticking it to Amy, not giving me the fucking puppy dog eyes while you’re sticking it to me.’

‘Okay, so I’m interested in you. So shoot me. What would be so bad about the two of us, together?’ Sander furrowed his brow. Outside, Amy screamed, although neither of them could tell if it was in pleasure or pain.

Mara cocked an eyebrow and walked slowly to Sander. Her eyes closely inspected every inch of his face, narrowing as they finally met his own gaze.

‘Sander, how long have you known me?’

‘Eleven years,’ He answered quickly, blinking with confusion but unwilling to pull away from her.

‘And we’ve been living together for all of that time. We’ve worked together, eaten together… You picked me over Shimizu every time we disagreed. We’ve had sex… I’m wondering just what it is that you want me to do, boss man?’

‘What I want you to do? I can think of a few things-‘

‘I know it’s rare, but I’m not joking this time!’ She snapped, cutting him off. ‘Do you know why I’ve kept you at arm’s length all that time, Sander Hackett? Why I never even tried to jump your bones before today, even when you were the only guy for thousands of miles for eleven years? I’ll tell you: It’s because you still wake up in the middle of the night calling out for Elsa. You aren’t over her, not by a long shot.’

His eyes widened, and he found that his words failed him. To have it quantified like that, expressed in a single sentence… it was something else. Of course Sander had always known; every action he had taken in thirteen years had been guided by his rage and grief at the death of his wife. But all of that had become… a sort of background noise, he supposed.  It had become the emotional equivalent of a rattle in the walls; he knew it was there, but he was subconsciously trained to ignore it most of the time.

And all that time, when he had thought himself totally alone in the universe… Mara had been there, hadn’t she? The other constant in his life. Eleven years, and not one day off, not ever. Eleven years they had been together, sharing the joy of the work, and he hadn’t realized. Even Shimizu had failed him on occasion, but not Mara. Beautiful, antagonistic, wry, adversarial, mercurial Mara… For god’s sake, why had she stuck around such a pathetically obsessed shadow of a person?

Still so close, Mara closed her eyes and sighed deeply. She was silent, frozen, for the longest time. When she looked back up at him, she was brimming with energy and humour again, her eyes smiling.

‘You see, boss man? You’re still stuck in your rut,’ She shook her head with mock pity, walking away from him. ‘Still in love with a dead woman. But I’m sure you’ll get over it eventually… At least, I hope you do. Anything else would be pathetic. Well, anyway, when you do, I’ll still be around. I’ve nothing better to do.’

‘Hey…’ Sander said weakly.

‘Oh, shut up, Sander. We can still have sex, if you want…’ She sighed in a put-upon manner. ‘Just drop it and come out to play, Hackett.’

He stood, very still, and wondered what had happened to Mara to make her like this. She was truly magnificent, gliding through the world without anything sticking to her. So resilient, so smart, so pretty. She really was a catch, and Sander was beginning to realize that he may have wasted the last thirteen years trapped in his feelings for Elsa.

He didn’t regret his campaign against the Doctor. He didn’t regret enslaving Amy. The Doctor’s second-hand murder was an entirely separate thing. If he hadn’t come to Vesperia, Sander would still be in command, still living with Elsa. He still needed his revenge, no matter the personal growth he went through on the way.

Mara Syfte… What an interesting person. Sander followed her, his footsteps almost instinctual. He was vaguely cognizant that he was paying her, but he knew he would follow her wherever she went. He knew that, at the very least, it would be extremely fun.

Mara Syfte. She had asked him not to fall in love with her.

Maybe she shouldn’t have put that idea in either of their heads.

Mara took a second to lean against the wall when she left Sander standing in the bathroom. Her brow furrowed and her mouth twisted into a frustrated line. She had just been joking with him, when she told him that a kiss was just a kiss. She had intended to have casual sex with Sander, just to see how it felt.

But, well… It had been eleven years! Eleven years in close proximity to this man, just the two of them, and the generally absent Shimizu. People developed feelings in less time than that.

Maybe she had gone too far, talking about love. That word… The moment it had been said it had ignited a spark in both of their minds, and now it was there, hanging over their heads.

That word, hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles.

That word…

‘Argh!’ She hissed. ‘Fuck it!’ They all had more important things to deal with. And Sander had his own issues to deal with before they could even take a run at that word.

She slipped out into the hall, determined to use Amy to take her mind off of those brewing feelings.

Fuckin’ feelings…

Mara re-entered the main room, Sander right on her heels. They watched in bemused silence as Amy, still blindfolded and shackled to the ceiling, squealed as the vibrator lodged inside her activated, the buzzing filling the room. Her hips bucked forward, her skin twitching in hypersensitivity. Thirty seconds later the sensations stopped, and thirty seconds after that the clamps attached to her nipples electrified, sending a minor current coursing through her like a white heat. She screamed.

Amy’s lightless world had shrunk to consist only of her own aching flesh, the two tormenting toys, and the biting chill of the manacles on her wrists and ankles. Her legs tried to squeeze shut around the spreader bar, and once again failed. The pain and the pleasure were beginning to become indistinct. It was hard to tell where one ended and the other began, not that it mattered anyway; thirty seconds of electricity stretched out into an unbearable eternity when they came as regularly as they did. Thirty seconds of agonizingly strong stimulation was not enough to get off on, but it was enough to keep her hanging on the precipice of orgasm just long enough for the clamps to start up again. To her eternal shame, her pussy began to juice at the mere suggestion that either toy was turning on.

In her blind, shaking, moaning world, Amy sensed that someone was drawing nearer to her. The idea flitted by her that it might not be one of her jailers, and she was torn between the shame of being found in this position and the fleeting hope of rescue. Then the cold, dark reality surrounded her again, and she realized that it must be Mara or Sander returning from wherever the hell they had gone. Her mind desperately edged around her options; how long had it been since the game began? Half an hour? Forty-five minutes? One minute? She had lost track of time, of the cycles of the toys, of everything except the blistering sensations of her body. How much longer could she hold out?

The clips stopped their abuse of her tender tits, and it seemed like an instant between that and the moment her vagina erupted with heat and moisture. She snapped.

‘Sander! Mara! Whoever that is, stop this! I-Ah! I can’t take it… Please, I’m begging! Please, please, please!’ She shrieked, her voice shrill and rising as the length of her pussy was stimulated by the cold machine.

Light flooded in as the blindfold was removed. She blinked in the brightness, her eyes wide and desperate for release. Her fingers curled in the shackles, as if reaching for the grinning, naked form that appeared before her.

‘Oh, I guess we broke you…’ Mara said, sounding a little disappointed. ‘You lose big, Amy Pond. How exciting!’ She clapped her hands together brightly. ‘Especially since it was a photo finish, Amy.’ She giggled, pointing to her watch as it lay on the bed. The countdown on it, which Amy assumed Mara had set up before the game began, had only twenty-eight seconds left on the clock. Amy wept openly.

‘Hell yeah!’ Sander whooped. Amy sank limply against her restraints as the devices were turned off and the vibrator was removed from her body, glistening in a layer of her juices. She knew what was coming; she had lost the game, and she would pay for such a loss with her virgin ass.

‘I’m sort of wondering whether we should leave the clamps on her, Mara…’ Sander mused. ‘Y’know keep her in line?’

Mara laughed, ‘Oh, you and I, Sander? Same wavelength. Totally simpatico.’

‘That’s what I said a minute ago, and you said no,’ Sander said blankly.

‘If you keep bringing that up, I won’t want to play with you anymore, lover boy. Shut your hole, and be patient. Anyway, I still like your idea. Let’s leave them on her.’

‘No, please!’ Amy begged frantically, her nipples so delicate and burning in pain. ‘Please, take them off!’

Mara narrowed her eyes, twirling the soaking sex toy idly in her palm, ‘Alright, Pond. I’ll tell you what: you clean off this dildo, and I’ll take ‘em of you.’

‘Alright, anything!’ Amy cried, tears falling down her cheeks.

‘With her mouth, I assume?’ Sander asked, self-effacingly.

‘But of course, sir,’ Mara giggled.

Amy tried to muster a protest, but failed. She had been around these two long enough to know that they always got what they wanted from her. She opened her mouth with a shaking, despondent sigh, her tender nipples throbbing. Mara slowly fucked her mouth with the glistening toy, the mixed taste of plastic and her own juices revolting her. She gagged as Mara hit the back of her throat, mercilessly twisting the device before pulling out.

Her tongue worked across the shaft, rapidly clearing the evidence of her own arousal from the toy with a desperate energy; she just needed to get this over with as soon as possible. Her mouth was stretched uncomfortably by the terrible device, her throat rubbed raw by Mara’s constant thrusting motions.

‘I don’t know; clean enough yet?’ Mara said, withdrawing the vibrator from Amy’s lips with a satisfying pop and showing it to Sander. He rolled his eyes at his partner’s teasing, and nodded, wishing to get the show moving again.

Mara was suddenly very close to Amy, her hands stroking her trembling haunches, ‘Now, Miss Pond… Are you going to take your punishment like a good little bitch? Or are you going to resist? Frankly, I don’t care either way, but you might. See, if you play up, I’ll tie you down and personally find a way to make you completely airtight with cock while Sander fucks your ass anyway. You get me?’

‘This is insane…’ Amy moaned. ‘You people are insane!’ She screamed madly, screwing her eyes shut and bucking her body against Mara, pushing her away. She had obviously reached her limit.

‘My, my…’ Mara purred. ‘You seem to have us pegged, slut. Quite accurate.’

‘I am not a slut!’ Amy growled, her voice cracking in despair. It rather ruined the anger she was trying to muster. In truth, she was running on empty. In all her life, she had never had sex like this; so forceful, so possessive. Being raped, over and over, with no thought as to what she was feeling… She couldn’t take much more.

‘Please! The way you were moaning… I bet you would have begged for cock if you hadn’t been afraid of speaking. You’re a whore, and you’re loving this. Admit it, and we’ll let you down.’

Sander stared at Mara. Something had changed in her. She was getting into this bondage game with far more gusto than usual, and that was saying something. Was she trying to forget what had happened in the bathroom? Was she trying to forget that he was interested in her? Or- most likely, if Sander knew her at all- was she trying to get her head back in the game at hand and away from any emotional stuff? Mara never forgot anything, not for long, anyway.

Sander thought it best to go along with what was happening; Mara tended to dictate the schedule anyway, what was the point of fighting her now?

‘I won’t,’ Amy hissed through clenched teeth.

‘Oh, alright then,’ Mara nodded, all faux-reason. ‘That’s fine. We’ll just hoist you up higher and Sander and I can take it in turns getting all up in your business. I suppose you’re right: Who needs mercy when the punishment is so much fun?’

‘Oh, god…’ Amy moaned, her voice tiny and weak. ‘Alright… I’m a slut. I’m your whore… Happy?’

‘Getting there,’ Sander sang. ‘Keep going.’

‘Yeah,’ Mara grinned. ‘Beg our boy here to fuck your ass. Look into his eyes and beg, whore.’

Amy sobbed, staring into Sander’s darkly glinting eyes, ‘Please, Sander-‘

‘Master!’ Mara barked.

‘Please… M-master,’ Amy sobbed again. ‘Please fuck my… fuck my ass.’

‘Well, it’d be mean to deny her that!’ Sander said. ‘Let her down, Mara!’

Amy was lowered back down to the floor, and Mara unlocked the cuffs around her wrists. Conspicuously, she left the spreader bar locked to her ankles, making it hard for Amy to hobble over to the bed. Mara pushed her down onto her stomach over the edge of the bed, kicking at the bar to force her knees up and her perfect, creamy ass high into the air.

‘And the first round goes to the gentleman,’ Mara bowed to Sander, moving away to sit on the edge of the bed, her hand at the small of Amy’s back, holding her down. It was easy enough to distract herself, but Sander was like a broken record. He needed something to take his mind off of her. Mara suspected that Amy’s tight little butt would do nicely.

‘You ever had anything up in there before, Amy dearest?’ Sander said, stepping close and running his hand over Amy’s smooth butt, eyes filled with lust.

‘No!’ Amy snapped back, looking over her shoulder. ‘Never, you complete and utter bastard!’

‘Well, then… This will be a day of new experiences,’ Mara said, drawing out her syllables sensuously. ‘It’s quite a feeling, the first time.’

‘Mara, have I ever told you that you’re amazing?’ Sander asked.

‘Almost constantly.’

‘Oh. Well, good.’

‘We’re burning daylight, here,’ Mara gave an impatient gesture. ‘Stick it in, Sander.’

He shrugged and stepped up to Amy’s backside. He leaned in close, one hand sliding up her thighs to rub between her legs, ‘I’ll go slow,’ He whispered to her. ‘I’m not a total sociopath, Amy.’

‘Oh, yeah?’ She hissed back, her hips moving against his fingers despite her anger. ‘You are still raping me, remember?’

‘Oh yes,’ Sander smiled. ‘I remember.’ Two fingers slid into her dripping cunt, tearing a moan from his captive. His thumb stroked at her clit, making her shudder in revulsion and unwanted pleasure. Mara nodded approvingly, and Sander smiled.

‘You will cum for me, even so,’ He breathed, spreading Amy’s pert cheeks and pressing the head of his hard dick against her virgin opening. ‘Oh, this is going to be fun…’ He said, pushing forward, just slightly. Her asshole began to open up around him, and Amy buried her head in the sheets and growled in pain and rage, muffling her complaints in the bed.

Sander pushed in steadily, inch after inch of solid cock disappearing into Amy’s behind, until he was completely buried inside her. He exhaled a little groan, savouring the vice-like grip Amy had on his dick. His head tipped to the ceiling.

‘Well, this is an interesting sensation…’ He mused.

‘I’ll bet…’ Mara thought aloud. ‘I’ve always wondered about, Y’know…’

‘The fascination? Or how it feels, from my end?’

‘Both,’ Mara shrugged, her fingers absently toying with Amy’s hair as her hips shifted position to try and assuage the pain in her ass. ‘It’s kind of weird, don’t you think?’

‘It’s not usually my cup of space-tea either,’ Sander grunted, working his way slowly in and out of Amy’s tender bottom. ‘But it does have its advantages. She’s tight as hell back here, although that’s hardly surprising.’

‘Eh. As long as you’re enjoying yourself.’

Amy moaned despairingly. Having this happen to her was bad enough, without the two of them talking so casually, as though she wasn’t even there. Like she was just something to be used…

As if the pain wasn’t enough to worry about. Her ass felt like it was on fire, but Sander’s slow fingering between her legs was making her squirm, each movement bringing a fresh stab of discomfort to mingle with the growing heat inside her. She hated how easily these two could play her like an instrument.

But her hips bucked against the invading fingers as Sander became accustomed to the interior of her backside, and began to move faster. She alternated moaning in pleasure and grunting in pain. To Sander and Mara, each noise was perfect, a symphony distilled into a few seconds of pure sensation.

As Sander continued to screw Amy, he began to hear things a little differently. In his time with her he had gotten well accustomed to each and every noise she made. Her voice, distorted with lust, was an open book to him. So he caught the subtle changes in the tenor of her screaming very quickly.

The little slut…

‘You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?’ Sander said with a laugh. ‘You’re enjoying me fucking your ass, right?’

‘No!’

‘Yeah? Well, watch this,’ Sander plunged forward, his cock in her balls-deep. At the same time, he twitched his fingers inside her cunt, his thumb brushing against her clit. Immediately, Amy arched her back and moaned, long and loud. Her fingers dug into the sheets and her pussy spasmed around his hand as she came, orgasm slamming into her like a bomb blast, shattering her ability to do anything except moan like a whore and grind herself on Sander’s cock.

Mara tipped back her head and laughed boisterously at the display. She grabbed Amy’s still trembling head and forced her to look back over her shoulder into Sander’s eyes.

‘Admit it, slut. You just came for him, with his cock buried in your ass and his fingers fucking that sweet pussy of yours. You ground up on him like a two-dollar whore. Say it!’

Amy’s eyes clenched shut, tears squeezed out of the corners, ‘I came for you, Master,’ She said in a soft, timid voice. ‘I came, with your cock in my ass and your fingers in my pussy. I…’ She sobbed, ‘I came like a whore just for you…’

‘Wonderful,’ Mara sighed wistfully. ‘Fill her up, stud.’

‘As if you even needed to say so,’ Sander groaned, thrusting in as deeply as possible and unloading his balls deep into Amy’s anal cavity. She sobbed softly at this final violation, mind roiling with shame and arousal, horrified at what she had just said, but knowing at the very core of her being that it was the truth, and that she hadn’t been coerced overmuch into saying it.

‘Woo!’ Sander whooped, withdrawing from Amy. ‘That was fun!’

‘You have fun, sweet thing?’ Mara patted Amy’s head, suddenly all sweetness and light.

Amy just moaned indistinctly. She was done. There was nothing left. Just the edge of exhaustion, and the tiny aftershocks of lust. She couldn’t go on; any more and they would snap her in two.

‘I guess you’re up, Mara,’ Sander clapped his hands together and stepped away from the beautiful, limp captive.

‘That’s right…’ Mara said, pursing her lips. ‘But I have to admit, I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do…’

‘Oh, come on!’ Sander laughed, staring at her. ‘You? You’re at a loss? You don’t have some weird little fucking thing stored up for a rainy day?’

‘That’s not what I said, Sander,’ Mara said coldly. ‘The expression is “spoiled for choice,” I think.’

Amy shuddered, not daring even to move, horrified that they would even think of continuing. Her mind was a grey-edged void of exhaustion; she couldn’t even imagine what new torments Mara would devise for her, and how her tender, aching body would react.

‘Well, let’s just do the first thing that comes to mind,’ Sander shrugged.

Mara paused for a moment, her eyes narrowing, ‘Black rose.’

Sander tilted his head to one side in confusion, but his face lit up when he finally understood, ‘Ah. Got it. Good choice. I’d sort of forgotten where we were for a minute.’

‘Well, then it’s a good thing you have me,’ Mara rolled her eyes and smiled. ‘We need clothes. Amy, not so much.’

********************

 

Amy’s eyes shifted uncomfortably around the room, her hands attempting unsuccessfully to cover her naked flesh from the hungry gazes of the strangers around her. Mara skipped ahead as they entered a large, open area on the lower levels of Shangri-La. This was one of the many “party floors” that dominated the lower recreational floors; essentially huge centres of distilled, committed hedonism for all the guests to enjoy.

‘I’ll get us hooked up!’ Mara sang over her shoulder as she flounced her way through the crowd, attracting her own share of attention in a low cut tank-top and denim shorts. However, the crowd seemed to part and shift aside for the luminous presence of the blonde woman, as though it could sense that something was different about her; another hint would have been that she was easily the loudest thing in a room full of loud drunks.

She drummed on the bar energetically as Amy shrunk back from the rest of the world, feeling so completely vulnerable that grabbing hold of Sander actually seemed like a good idea. He looked down in surprise when he felt her take hold of his arm, but felt that only an idiot would refuse the naked woman currently pressing herself against him.

He had to admit, though; there were a lot of terrifying people in this place. Sander felt like he needed some support himself. He stood in the corner as unobtrusively as possible, enjoying Amy’s warmth on his arm; she seemed to be clinging to him for safety while simultaneously pulling away from him in fear- Sander had a mental image of these two disparate motions splitting her in two. Mara had allowed her to shower before they left, removing the sweat of her previous exertions and leaving her skin damp and glistening attractively in the low, warm light. Mara attracted Sander’s attention with a wave, then motioned to a table in the opposite corner. Sander pulled Amy along.

As they crossed the floor, Amy was brought within arm’s length of a number of anonymous degenerates, a number of them took it upon themselves to reach out and touch her. Hands cupped her breasts, stroked down her ass and thighs, fingers slipped into her pussy. She gasped, shrinking away from the intrusive appendages as Sander dragged her forward, apparently unaware of her molestation. A heavyset man reached up and pinched Amy’s nipple, causing her to scream and Sander to look over his shoulder, grinning.

Mara was sitting at the polished table with a bemused expression when they approached, watching as the few patrons nearest Amy reached out to steal one last stroke or fondle of her soft, curvaceous flesh. The frustration in her eyes was wonderful; Mara could see that the only thing stopping the redhead from slapping their hands away was the steely glint of the Command Collar around her neck, a small black rose pendant twisting gently from a clip above her throat.

That pendant was key to Mara’s plans for tonight, and she could see a number of people around her changing their own plans in the light of the unassuming piece of jewellery too. It was a signal, an invitation to come and negotiate with her for a little time with Amy. Slave cultures… She loved that they existed.

‘That get your motor running, Amy?’ Mara smirked. ‘All those strange hands on you?’

‘No,’ Amy said coldly, wrapping her arms around her to cover her chest.

‘Hmm, that’s interesting,’ Mara mused. ‘It would have gotten me going. Sit down.’ She pointed to a chair opposite her. Sander recognized the gambit immediately, and he laughed, dropping heavily onto a seat against the wall. Amy followed suit, sitting down in a chair that seemed to have been pulled from some other table; it was black, where all the others were white. Her ass wriggled unconsciously against the cool surface beneath her, and her back curved defensively away from the chair as she attempted feebly to cover her nudity.

Sander rolled his eyes and leaned his head on one arm, ‘Just sit normally, Amy…’ He sighed, eyes drooping. ‘I don’t want to have to order you to do it, but I will. And there will be punishment.’

Amy gave a weary growl as her hands fell limply to her sides, her eyes staring daggers at Sander as the eyes of many others stared at her now uncovered curves.

‘I went ahead and ordered for us all,’ Mara shrugged and sank lower in her seat. ‘I figured I knew what you all need.’ Her eyes shifted to regard the approaching figure of a scantily clad serving girl, probably the slave of some powerful business partner invested in the Shangri-La tower. She made an approving little cluck in the back of her throat as the soft-curved beauty grew closer and placed a trio of glasses onto the table. Each one contained a large shot of a milky brown liquid that swirled enticingly in the frosted glass.

‘Good choice,’ Sander said shortly, taking a long swig from his glass.

‘Okay, so what kind of sick aphrodisiac is in this stuff?’ Amy spat venomously. ‘I’m gonna drink this and turn into some sex-crazed fucktoy, am I?’

‘We’re all drinking it, Amy,’ Sander said, and continued to do so, almost demonstratively.

‘That isn’t incredibly compelling,’ Amy retorted, poking suspiciously at her glass. ‘You’ve done a lot of things that I find pretty fucking despicable, Sander.’ Her nose curled in disgust.

‘Oh, just drink it, naked Amy!’ Mara snapped. ‘And get that sour look off your pretty little face. You look much better smiling… or biting your lip and moaning. Now, which of those sounds better to you right now?’ The threat was palpable in the air.

Amy dropped her gaze to the table, one hand reaching out to tentatively grip the glass. She was utterly exhausted; the basic level of resistance that she had offered thus far had drained the last of her strength. She felt hollow, like everything good or true about her had been shovelled out of her and replaced with… well, sweat and cum and whatever else it was that Sander and Mara were pumping into her.

‘So what is this stuff, really?’ Amy sighed, perfectly aware that they could lie to her and she would still drink it.

‘Here they call it Rocket Fuel,’ Mara said, taking a sip with a long, drawn-out, hissing sigh. ‘I’ve always just called it double-coffee, but no matter the name, one thing is clear: you don’t need to sleep for a day with a cup of this stuff under your belt.’

‘Oh, so that’s what you’re planning!’ Amy snarled. ‘Going to fuck me all night, are we?’

‘Command: Drink the fucking stuff,’ Mara said, raising an eyebrow in challenge. ‘We can get to the fucking later, don’t you think? You should feel lucky that we’ve been so good to you, Amy. Sander’s so gentle, and both of us let you cum. Aren’t many masters in here that do both of those consistently.’

Amy’s hand raised the glass to her lips, allowing the cool, sweet liquid slide down her throat. Once again, the future surprised her: the stuff tasted like coffee, but the warmth and light that spread further through her wrecked body with every sip was a pleasant shock. Amy felt energy coursing through her, wrapping around her like a warm hug and bringing back something of herself that she had lost during the interminable fucking earlier in the day. She felt like… Herself, again, instead of just a shadow or toy. She felt like a legitimate person once more.

She felt the wonderful, validating rage flow back into her like magma, filling her up, making her skin burn with humiliation. Making her eyes spark into wildfire aggression and hate. Finally, acquiescence would be her state of body again, not her state of mind. God, it felt good to be angry with her captors again!

‘See? It’s working already,’ Mara guffawed, seeing the fight flow back into her slave. ‘I like that fire in you, Amy! It makes breaking you down so much more… fun,’ She smiled her shark’s smile, canine teeth glinting.

‘Fuck you, you crazy blonde bitch!’ Amy hissed, opting for direct aggression to reassert that she was, in fact, back in business.

Mara tilted her head to one side, eyes positively incandescent with delight, ‘Ha! Yes, she’s back alright! I was getting a little worried that we’d totally shattered her a while ago. Hey, look, Sander! Amy’s back!’

‘I see that,’ Sander said vaguely, eyes roaming speculatively over Amy’s body. She stared icily back at him, determined not to give him even an inch. Revitalized, Sander was thinking of some very specific inches that he could give to Amy. Repeatedly.

It was easy to see that the energy drink had done Amy a world of good, as it had for all three of them. In Amy, the change was particularly noticeable; she was lit from within by the old internal fire that had filled her spirit during the early days they had spent together. Her skin glowed with it, pristine and creamy white, with the old exhausted bloodlessness a thing of the past. Her hair, damp and wavy, fell strategically across her chest, covering her breasts and leaving Sander a view of her cleavage. Her lips pouted, blowing him a sarcastic, challenging kiss.

Mara leaned across the table and slid her fingers under the leather collar that Sander had replaced on Amy’s neck. She tugged forward, jerking Amy’s head down lower and breaking her eye contact with Sander. She pulled Amy close, smothering her in a deep kiss that Amy actively fought against, pressing her lips closed against the intrusion of Mara’s tongue.

‘That’s right… Fight me, Amy,’ Mara breathed in her ear. ‘You fight… That’s good. But remember who’s going to win, alright?’

Mara’s hand slid down Amy’s bare skin, between her beasts, over her belly, and between her legs. She slid a finger inside her, deeply within her, and curled it. The message was clear: “I own you.”

‘Tell me what you’re thinking, Amy,’ Mara whispered, slowly pushing her finger in and out of Amy.

‘I’m thinking of how nice it would be to hit you, Mara,’ Amy said, ice tinkling off every syllable.’ I’d really rather like that… Uh!’ She moaned as Mara twisted her finger over a spot that she knew from experience was especially sensitive.

‘Well… It’s been a while since I’ve been the sub… No, better not. Wouldn’t want you to get ideas above your status, would we?’ Mara removed her hand from between Amy’s legs, drawing her fingernails sharply across the soft skin of her inner thigh as she did so. Amy responded with a quick intake of breath.

There was a panel on this table, the options displayed on which serving as a clear reminder as to the purpose of this place, assuming the myriad downcast and submissive eyes of the slaves in various states of undress weren’t enough of a clue. These were meeting places for the rich and debauched. And Amy was sitting in a seat specifically designed for the slaves among the crowd.

Mara pressed a square on the panel, making it light up, making Amy yelp out loud, making Sander jump in his seat. Making her giggle at the chain reaction.

‘What! What’s wrong now?’ Sander said, looking around him for the source of the disturbance.

‘Look down!’ Mara laughed roughly, watching as Amy squirmed around on her chair. Sander slid his searching gaze under the table, his eyes widening as he found what he was looking for.

‘Oh… That’s just… That’s not… hygienic…’ He said witheringly, shaking his head. ‘I didn’t know they could do that…’

‘Ours can’t!’ Mara giggled girlishly. ‘She’s the one in the slave chair, not us.’

Amy’s chair had morphed, growing a pair of phallic appendages that plunged into Amy’s pussy and ass, effectively pinning her to the chair.

‘That is not what that technology was made for,’ Sander observed; it had originally been developed for self-repairing combat androids- his company controlled a large slice of that market. ‘I hope they wash those at the end of the day…’

‘It does other things too,’ Mara shrugged, hitting another button that set off a familiar sounding buzzing from Amy’s lap, making her shiver and grind her hips against the seat. ‘That, for instance.’

‘Stop it, Mara!’ Amy demanded, the muscles in her belly growing taut as she tried unsuccessfully to pull away.

‘No,’ Mara said flatly. ‘Why on earth should I, slave?’

Try as she might, Amy couldn’t suppress the sensations of the dual assault on her nether-regions. The dildos had a fluid life of their own, undulating and pulsing inside her in such a way that they sought out the places in her that would make her squeal and licked across them every few seconds. Her vagina clamped down on the intruding device as she gritted her teeth against the rising, pressurized ecstasy. She couldn’t keep the moans, squeals, whimpers and gasps from bubbling up from her constricted throat, each one increasing the impromptu audience, some of the braver ones even leaving their own table to gather around to get a better look.

Amy’s hands lashed out, slamming down on the table hard enough to make the now empty glasses jump and clatter loudly. She wanted, more than anything, to fight back, to resist. To wrap her hands around Mara’s neck and show her who the real bitch was. But to do so would be to incur the show stopping force of the collar, and the clinical retribution of her cruel masters. To do so would be pointless, and so she would endure this latest torture. She would endure, and always hope that when the Doctor finally tracked her down, he would reconsider his pacifist stance, even if it was an exception just for her.

By this point, many of the assembled audience had noticed the black rose pendant Amy was sporting, and had begun hushed negotiations with Mara for a little private time with the redheaded slave. Sander tried to break into the conversation, protesting that he was the one bankrolling this little operation, but cognizant that, money or no, Mara was the one who had always ran this particular show.

Mara had apparently reached some kind of equilibrium with a group of three lean, tall gentlemen dressed in expensive suits when a fourth broke into the conversation, grinning confidently and exuding an aura of self-assuredness that set Sander’s teeth on edge. He hated it when people were confident in themselves; it was a trait that always slid over into obnoxiousness, it could never stay at appropriate levels.

‘So, what’s your price, little lady?’ The confident fourth said, leaning down to kiss Mara’s hand. What an asshole.

‘There’s no price, guy,’ Mara said, tilting her head in a mixture of confusion and amusement. ‘Just be gentle with her. No permanent damage or bruising. Mouth and pussy only, not the ass, and nothing overly gross, understand?’

The fourth glanced at the squirming, gasping Amy, and shook his head, ‘Her? No. She’s appealing, certainly, but I was talking about you.’ He pointed at Mara, ‘How much for you?’

Mara opened her mouth to speak, but Sander stood, noticing that she didn’t look nearly angry enough for what this newcomer had just implied, ‘Listen, dude. She’s not for sale. She’s with me.’

The fourth looked over his shoulder at Sander, and snorted derisively, ‘Who’s talking to you, buddy? I believe I was speaking to the woman.’

Sander placed a hand on the table, ‘Yes. And now you’re talking to me. I admit, it’s not a situation I’m happy about either, and I hope it will be over soon, but here we are. So let’s get this over with quickly so you can go about doing… whatever it is you do, and I can do something interesting with my time. Mara is not for sale. Go away.’

‘Sander-‘ Mara began.

‘You’re a talky little man, aren’t you?’ The fourth said, drawing himself up to his full height. ‘But I’m still not talking to you. Just let me finish my negotiations so that the two of us,’ He laid a hand possessively on Mara’s shoulder, ‘can be on our way.’

‘Oh, wait,’ Mara said. ‘You really do think I’m a prostitute? Alright, Sander: Get him.’

‘Please,’ The fourth scoffed. ‘Dressed like that around here? You’re just begging for it, girl. I’ll bet you-‘

The newcomer went over sideways as Sander’s fist collided with his jaw with a satisfyingly meaty sound. ‘Just because someone is dressed like a whore doesn’t mean she literally is one!’ Sander growled, slamming his fist into his opposite palm.

‘Oh, how romantic!’ Mara deadpanned.

‘You know what I mean!’ Sander huffed with a shrug.

‘Do I?’ Mara said, throwing her hands wide. ‘Do you know what you mean?’

‘Sort of!’ Sander exclaimed, turning to his prostrate foe, ‘Now, go away. You’re beginning to bore me.’

The fourth picked himself up and backed off, complaining the whole way. Mara stood and walked around the table to hug Sander.

‘My hero!’ She exclaimed in a shrill, girlish voice, acid sarcasm practically dripping from every word. She kissed him on the cheek, then grabbed him by the collar and began leading him away.

‘Hey, what’s up?’ Sander asked, looking back at Amy as she was lifted from the chair and placed on her back on the now cleared table.

‘Fuck. Now.’ Mara answered without looking back. She had no reason to worry about leaving Amy alone with them. Unlike the fourth man, the three she had engaged for this task were scrupulous about the whole agreement. Besides, there were security drones around the place that had witnessed the agreement being made; Amy was registered to her and Sander, if anything happened to her those drones would step in and stop it. As for Amy herself, Mara had issued an order for compliance within reason to the rich gentlemen. She would be just fine, although Mara wondered whether they would be able to make her enjoy it like she and Sander could.

The pair of them disappeared into the men’s room. Sometimes Mara liked the classic settings. The door slammed closed behind them.

Amy watched as, for the first time in a long time, she was separated from her captors. Part of her crowed; this was her first chance to escape in forever!

The elation only lasted a matter of seconds before cold, painful reality closed in once more; even if she was free of Sander and Mara, that just meant that she had been left alone with a group of strangers on an alien world thousands of miles from an earth that would be completely unrecognizable even if she found some way to get there.

Nevertheless, she tried to wrench her body into movement, the thought of escape too valuable not to act upon it. But her limbs wouldn’t move, that cursed collar feeling cold around her neck. She gritted her teeth as she was lifted bodily onto the cool unyielding table, a pair of surprisingly gentle hands snaking between her thighs to guide her legs apart. Amy looked around; found that she was surrounded on all sides by an audience of unmoving men and women, all eyes glued on her and the three men above her.

These people knew when free entertainment was in the offing, that was for sure…

The man who had hold of her thighs regarded Amy with coolly clinical interest, noting every peak and valley of her delicious body. He smiled a gentleman’s smile and stroked a hand down Amy’s belly, her muscles quivering at his touch.

‘You just lay back, young lady,’ He said, and for the first time Amy realized that he was old enough to be her father- although he certainly took far better care of himself than that. ‘Lay back and enjoy.’

Amy shook her head and raised herself up onto her elbows, ‘No, wait-‘ She was silenced by a finger on her lips.

‘No,’ Said a much younger man, roughly her own age, that stood above her head, ‘You don’t get to talk.’ His voice was soft, but firm enough that Amy knew no opposition could be tendered. Besides, the collar was working to their voices, in a limited capacity. Amy felt her tongue grow soft and pliant in her mouth; she would be speechless until their engagement was concluded. She did note the shape of the order didn’t disallow other kinds of noises; these people were almost as proficient with the Command Collar as Sander was.

The third man was staying quiet, which Amy found distinctly unsettling. There was something in him; in the way he stood with his back curving over her, the way his fringe fell to cover his eyes, his brittle, overly sharp smile.

‘Oh, don’t worry about him,’ Said the older man, seemingly reading her thoughts. ‘He’s a gentle soul, really. Just a little quiet.’

‘Can we get down to business?’ Said the younger man impatiently.

‘Ah, yes,’ Said the older man. ‘That.’

The hand that had come to rest on Amy’s pelvis moved down further to caress between her legs. His fingers came up glistening, coated in the dew of her previous arousal.

‘I must say, your mistress has a very enticing sales pitch,’ The older man said approvingly, his damp hand plunging between her legs. ‘Not to mention, she does know how to prepare a slave for the deed…’

Amy moaned as his experienced fingers moved inside her, as the younger man stroked his hand through her luxuriously thick hair, as the silent man kneaded her breasts. Every sound she made was tinged in a mix of lust and tantalizing despair as she realized that, even free of Sander and Mara, she was still entirely within their power, even to the point where she would be fucked by three strangers.

The older man saw no need to delay any further; the girl was already dripping wet and her hips ground against his hand with every forward thrust. He extended a single finger from his free hand, poking Amy in the chest and lowering her back down onto her back. Her head drooped to one side, refusing to meet his gaze as she heard a zipper drop. In moments she felt the unfamiliar cock prodding against her pussy, finding entry into her slick tunnel.

He set up a gentle pace, slowly screwing Amy in such a way that his cock rubbed with increasing friction against her sensitive walls. Even looking away from this sight, Amy began a series of deep, pleasured, tortured sobs as the heat built into a heavy ball in the pit of her stomach.

Then another zipper descended, and Amy felt a firm hand grab hold of her own and lift it. The silent man, having obviously drawn the short straw, wrapped her long, delicate fingers around his throbbing erection and directed her to stroke him. Amy wanted nothing more than to refuse, a look of revulsion flitting across her face, but she knew that a single word from any of these newcomers would make it happen regardless of what she wanted. She sniffled, her fingers travelling the length of his shaft.

In the back of her mind, she knew what was coming even before it did. The younger man shifted position, guiding Amy’s head around so that she was staring down the eye of a third tumescent phallus. She whined at what she was now expected to do, her eyes closing, tears squeezed from the corners. With one cock already lodged deep within her and bringing her closer and closer to a thunderous climax, and with another stroked to hardness by her own hand, Amy knew there was no point in arguing. Things had already progressed beyond the point of no return. Sobbing, her lips parted.

The younger man rubbed the head of his cock across her cheek and down over her chin, the sheer heat and heft of it causing Amy’s skin to crawl with distaste. He grinned, pressing the tip into her mouth and against her tongue, forcing it down to the floor of her mouth. He savoured the soft, wet texture of the muscle as it rippled and tensed against his member, and the look of disgust in the slave’s eyes as the taste of him filled her mouth.

Amy’s nose filled with the scent of sweat and expensive soap as the hard, hot piece of meat filled her mouth and her face was brought closer and closer to the younger man’s crotch. His hand was on the back of her head, preventing her escape as his hips pushed slowly forward toward Amy’s sweet, fuckable mouth.

God this bitch is hot, he thought, enjoying the sensation of Amy’s feather-soft lips wrapped around his dick. He slid his full length into her mouth, making her gag and try to pull away. He savoured the vibrations caused by her muffled protests, pushing in as deeply as possible and staying there, the tip of his cock lodged in her throat.

The older man groaned and thrust forward into Amy’s increasingly heated cunt, starting a chain reaction where Amy slid forward over the table, forcing the younger man’s cock further down her throat. She coughed violently and pulled away, but the younger man increased the pressure on the back of her head, stopping her from completely removing his prick from her mouth. It rested on her tongue, her lips forming a slack seal around it.

‘Now, don’t you stop, slave,’ The younger man said in a hoarse voice. ‘Don’t you stop.’

He slid deeper, directing Amy to bob her head on his achingly hard meat. She found herself at the centre of a chaotic, fucking mass; one cock now pounding her pussy, one forcing its way down her throat, another with her hand wrapped around it, and the constant pressure of the staring audience leaning in closer to get a better look at her tormented flesh. Fresh tears began to flow as she the reality of her situation really began to sink in.

She whimpered around the knob in her mouth, pleasure racing up her spine despite herself. The older man was incredibly skilled at what he was doing, his cock rubbing deep inside her. He began a slow fingering motion over her engorged, needy clit, making every muscle in her body convulse and shudder with desire. Amy’s mind flowed with pleasure and confusion, knowing that she should be horrified that she was being raped by three strangers, but unable to deny the storm of heat growing in her belly.

Oh no, Amy thought, please no…

Her pussy clamped down around the cock lodged in it, her legs wrapped around the older man’s waist and she screamed around the dick in her mouth as her back arched in orgasm. Her juices spilled freely as she came, her legs shaking and her breasts jiggling. She closed her eyes, ashamed, as the crowd erupted into applause at her thunderous, screaming climax.

The older man grunted as the slave’s vagina pulsed and spasmed around his cock, tipping him over the edge into his own orgasm. Amy sobbed at each pulsing thrust, feeling him fill her up with shot after shot of hot cum.

Seconds later, she felt the first blast of salty cum on her tongue as the younger man finished up. Perhaps feeling that Amy hadn’t been humiliated enough, or perhaps just playing up for the crowd, the younger man slipped his cock from her mouth and aimed, shooting his load all over her face. Amy flinched, moaning in despair at each shot that coated her face. Her hand clenched on the silent man’s dick, pushing him over the edge too.

He gripped her wrist and aimed his cock so that he came over her tits, her chest covered in his sticky load. All three men withdrew, the younger man wiping his dick clean in Amy’s hair. Amy lay still, panting and sobbing, crying and covered in cum. She tried to yell something, but found that she still wasn’t able to speak. A tiny, despairing noise escaped her throat.

‘Woo!’ Came Mara’s voice from the back of the crowd. ‘That’s what I call a show!’

She slipped to the fore, dragging a dazed looking Sander by the hand. She peered closely at the thoroughly messed up Amy, her neck craning to inspect her from multiple angles.

‘So, how was that, Amy?’ Mara grinned. ‘Seemed as though you liked that, the way you were screaming.’

‘Fuck you!’ Amy panted, the anger glinting in her eyes rendered meaningless by her cum-coated face.

A towel landed in her lap, and she heard a voice retreating from the room, ‘There you are, young lady!’ It was the older man. ‘Thank you, that was wonderful!’

‘C’mon, this place is beginning to bore me,’ Mara sighed as Amy began desperately wiping herself off. Her furious eyes filled with tears, a hoarse growl escaped her throat, and she pivoted on the table, launching herself at Mara with hands extended.

‘Command: Freeze!’ Sander shouted, one hand outstretched. Amy stopped, practically in midair, and crumpled to the ground with a sound of animal frustration. Her hands shook; she didn’t know why she had just done that. She had just… snapped. But she had failed, and now she would have to accept whatever punishment these two felt was necessary.

Sander knelt beside her, took hold of her chin and lifted her face so he could look her in the eyes. He gave her an incredulous look.

‘That was ill-advised,’ He said. ‘I wouldn’t go making a repeat performance of that.’

‘I guess we’ll have to punish her. What a pain,’ Mara grinned. ‘For her, I mean.’

‘Alright, Mara. No need to belabour a point. Let’s go.’ Sander stood, gripping Amy’s hand and pulling her to her feet. ‘Command: Don’t attack either of us ever again.’ He shook his head in vague disappointment; he had thought her smarter than that.

As the three of the reached the exit, Mara turned back into the room, waving to the still-transfixed crowd, ‘Okay guys!’ She said brightly, ‘We’re off to punish our slave! Wish us luck!’

The crowd cheered, energized by Mara’s… whatever that was. Sander shook his head again, but found himself unable to suppress a grin. He didn’t know what the immediate future held, for any of them.

But that look in Mara’s eyes, that indefinable twinkle… She had something in mind. And with the naked Amy gripped tightly in one hand and Mara skipping down the hall ahead of them, one thought achieved dominance in Sander’s mind.

This was going to be all kinds of fun.

 

To be continued…

 

Author’s note: Hey look, I put one at the start of the chapter this time! Anyway, here’s the next chapter. Many thanks to those kind fellows who voted or commented on the preceding chapters. I’ve been getting some nice feedback, which is always good. Any comments, votes or feedback are entirely welcome. Well, anyway, on with the show…

 

The sun was rising. At this altitude- six-hundred floors above ground- the warm light became petrified and grayish-blue as it spun through the layers of ice-clouds. It cast the room in silver and grey. Mara liked it. It made her feel somehow… peaceful.

She liked that it was an unfamiliar sun; she had grown up on Vesperia and had only been off world once before now. The sun of Theros was smaller in the sky- Theros itself was at the outer edge of the solar system, but the star itself was unusually bright and powerful- and produced a deeper orange light than she was used to. The sunlight coated Theros in an afternoon light at all times. It was the planet whose daylight was locked in a perpetual five o’clock in the afternoon. Consequently, everybody was drinking all the time.

She looked out the window at the swirling mass of thin grey clouds. The tiny particles of ice tinkled against the airtight, durable glass. She longed to open the window and stick her head out into the glinting, crystalline storm. But the windows this high up didn’t open. The air up here was notoriously thin.

Sander and Amy were still asleep, curled up at opposite ends of the large bed. Mara had been between them only moments ago, but she found that, once awake, she couldn’t just drift off again. That said, she couldn’t blame either of them for wanting to sleep in; Sander had been utterly plastered last night, and Amy… Well, Amy had had enough excitement for now.

Sander had been out like a light almost as soon as Mara had guided him back to the suite. Mara had been in need of a stiff drink herself at that point, and Amy had needed anything that could wash that sour taste from her mouth. Since the Shangri-La staff had seen fit to stock only booze in the suite’s fridge, they had both sat up for a while, drinking the strange, sweet-smelling liquor that glowed a suspect blue.

It had been the first time that Mara had been properly alone with Amy. Technically, they had been alone before, but that had been different. From Mara’s perspective, their last little rendezvous had been little more than fevered lust and desperate, possessive sex. Last night there had been no pressure to do… anything much, let alone anything dirty. The both of them had just been so tired; Amy from being forced to play Sander’s sex games, Mara from working non-stop erecting radio relays to convince the Doctor that they had left Theros and taken Amy with them. They had just sort of sat together and got a little tipsy.

For anyone else, sharing a drink with someone you had kidnapped and used as a sex slave would be awkward at best. But not for Mara, who had a complete ignorance of awkward situations. She was able to talk to anyone, in any situation, with remarkable ease and charm. As a result, people warmed up to her very quickly. The liquor helped, but it wasn’t long before Amy stopped hunching over defensively and began to relax a little. They still weren’t exactly best friends, but it had been interesting to talk candidly with her, if only for a little while.

Obviously, Amy had tried to pry some details out of Mara as to what she and Sander had planned for the next few days. Mara had been entirely honest in outlining what she herself had planned, and had guessed at length about what Sander had in mind. In many ways, this was the most honest relationship Mara had ever had; there was absolutely no reason to hide anything from Amy, since she had no power in this situation. It made a refreshing change from her usual, day-to-day interactions.

She strode across the grey room and perched herself gently on the edge of the bed. Her hand stretched out, almost of its own accord, and stroked Amy’s face, causing her eyes to flutter open sleepily.

‘Oh good, you’re awake!’ Mara said brightly. ‘I was getting a little bored.’

She stood again, long legs propelling her to the other side of the bed in a few steps. Her bare foot kicked out, hitting the mattress just below where Sander was sleeping, making the whole set-up pitch to one side.

‘Hey, boss! It’s a big-ass fuckin’ new day, Sander. Time to be awake.’

Sander groaned, screwed his eyes shut tighter, and waved a hand dismissively in Mara’s face. She kicked out again, her toes prodding him roughly in the chest. He rolled onto his back.

‘Fuck off, Mara…’

‘Nuh-uh, boss man. Time’s a-wasting. Up and at ‘em.’ Mara skipped out onto the plush carpet, the hem of her white, button-down shirt- the only piece of clothing she had managed to keep on- fluttering around her. She hit out, punching the light panel on the wall, flooding the room with bright, fluorescent light.

Sander sat up, running his hands through tousled black hair, ‘Ugh! Fine, I’m up! What do you want?’

‘I want to go out, Sander!’ Mara exclaimed, exasperated.

Sander opened his mouth to snap back a retort, but paused mid-breath. His brow creased with thought, and he tilted his head to one side.

‘That’s… actually a pretty good idea,’ He said finally. ‘I don’t know about you, but personally, I need to eat something.’

‘As long as we leave this room, I don’t really care,’ Mara nodded energetically, bouncing on the spot.

‘We are on a different planet…’ Amy said slowly, rubbing at her eyes. ‘I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to check it out.’

‘Okay! Let’s go, then!’ Mara was practically running in circles.

‘Right, right. Let’s go out. But I want to go somewhere normal. Somewhere that isn’t as, y’know, weird as all this,’ Sander waved his hands vaguely. ‘We’ve both been here before. Any suggestions?’

‘Well, yeah. There is this one place,’ Mara said thoughtfully. ‘It’s kind of hard to find a place that isn’t all weird and, y’know, sex-crazed right now. It is the Foundation Festival, after all.’

‘So where are you thinking?’ Sander stood, stretching.

Mara sighed wistfully, ‘Avalon.’

**********

 

Half an hour later, Sander, Mara and Amy were standing in Avalon, which was, as Mara had explained, a “restaurant with a bad-ass view.”

Staring out of a vast window at the expanse beyond, Amy had to agree.

Avalon was set above the cloud layer that had settled over Chroma, scraping the edge of the atmosphere. The marble floor shuddered almost imperceptibly as hundreds of tiny micro-repulsors kept the floating platform aloft. The dining floor was ringed with windows that let in the breathtaking view of the pure, deep blue expanse of sky beyond, the cloud layer forming a silver, undulating plain that seemed to go on forever.

‘Wow,’ Amy breathed, an amazed smile spreading across her face.

‘Alright, well done, Mara,’ Sander grinned, tugging at his collar. The view might be special, but it was also all kinds of exclusive. All three of them were dressed to the nines; Sander in a black suit that had inexplicably made its way into his luggage, Mara in a lengthy, flowing blue dress, and Amy wearing, in Mara’s words, “something slinky and black. Y’know, with a short skirt.”

‘How did you even find this place, Mara?’ Sander glanced sidelong at his assistant.

‘Oh, it’s amazing what some men will do if I bat my eyelashes at them,’ Mara said in a sultry, breathy voice. ‘Their wallets just open up if they think they’re going to get any.’

‘Just so you know, I wouldn’t mind if you put out when I pay for this one,’ Sander smiled suggestively. Mara punched him in the arm.

‘We’ll see,’ Mara smiled back, playfully. Sander blinked in disbelief. Did that just happen?

Amy opened her mouth to say something, but her jaw snapped shut. Sander frowned; before they had left he had used the collar to prevent her from trying to escape or tell anyone about what was going on. Ever since, she had been trying to disobey, he could see it in the sudden, mechanical movements that occasionally overtook her. He pondered whether he should refine the commands; there was nobody around who she could talk to, so the collar must be stopping her from talking about her captivity at all. Still, it was better to be safe…

He didn’t regret bringing her out into such a public arena. He stared; standing in front of the window, backlit by the brilliant, unfiltered morning sun, Amy was a picture of loveliness. His gaze turned, regarding the statuesque beauty of Mara, and he grinned. Out to an expensive breakfast with a literally world-class view, accompanied by two stunning women? Yeah, that sounds good.

They situated themselves at a table by the window; it seemed like a waste not to take full advantage of the view. Sander hit a panel on the side of the table and the section of glass closest to them tinted, giving them a slight reprieve from the dazzling brightness of the all-too-close sun. Avalon moved throughout the day to keep the sun shining on the roof, and blanking out the windows when that became impossible; if it didn’t, the sun would be blinding, burning, unbearable. Below the constantly moving cloud layers, the light was tolerable, but this high in the atmosphere, well, there were prices to be paid for such a spectacular view.

‘So… food…’ Amy said in a listless, vague way that so acutely conveyed her total uncertainty at the situation she was in. She had traveled to many different time periods in her travels with the Doctor, but always in a short-lived, compartmentalized little episode. Even in those times when she hadn’t been fighting for her life against some alien monster or another, Amy had never really absorbed any contextual information about the places she had been to. It had all just passed by, not completely without lasting impact, but just as fleeting glimpses into another time. Now, completely displaced and set adrift and placed in an utterly domestic scene, Amy was at a loss as to how to act.

‘Yes, indeed!’ Sander said brightly. ‘Now, you have to admit, kidnapping or no, this place is pretty damn impressive.’

Amy rolled her eyes, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty cool.’ She admitted grudgingly.

‘”Pretty cool?” An entire array of micro-repulsor units making thousands of calculations per second in order to change position just enough to keep a few tons of building aloft thousands of miles in the air, just inside the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a giant red star. That’s not “pretty cool,” Amy,’ Sander grinned toothily. ‘That’s fucking incredible.’

‘And yet entirely par for the course…’ Mara said flatly. ‘Can we just order?’

‘Where is your sense of wonderment, Mara? We are floating, guys! If we rose up even a few feet, we would be in space. We are literally at the curvature of the planet! That’s cool!’ Sander enthused, drumming his hands on the table.

Despite herself, Amy smiled, ‘It’s impressive. Nice view.’

‘”Nice view?” It’s-‘

‘Alright!’ Amy cut in. ‘It’s miraculous. It’s bloody wonderful! Have I used enough superlatives yet? Anyway, can we order? We didn’t exactly spend a lot of time eating yesterday.’

You did,’ Mara said quietly. ‘Granted, it wasn’t exactly food, but…’ She trailed off with an evil glare. Amy shot her a venomous look and wound up to say something.

‘Now, now, children…’ Sander said. ‘Let’s not fight. Maybe we should get a menu or something.’ He pressed another button to summon some service, conscious of Amy watching everything he did. What must all these tiny, minute differences look like to her?

‘Well, the future certainly is… convenient,’ Amy mused. She propped up her chin on one palm and stared at Sander like she was searching for something. Her gaze was steady and expectant, and Sander found himself looking away without even realizing it. Amy’s mouth curved into a tiny, calculating smile; she felt good about being able to make Sander uncomfortable. In her cell he had all the power. Out here, in a normal- well, more normal than the asteroid- situation, the balance of power had been redressed, if only slightly. He was no longer in control of every little thing, and although he still had her in his power, Amy could tell that that lack of total control made him nervous. That’s why he was trying to be garrulous and friendly. Well, she could play that game too…

They ordered. Food came. Everybody ate. And all the time, Amy speared Sander with her stare, pushing him further and further into himself, squeezing the conversation out of him. Her steady, intense gaze seemed to make him incredibly uncomfortable, whether through some strange social anxiety or guilt, Amy didn’t know. She persisted, though it was a small revenge.

But as Amy watched Sander, Mara watched Amy. Her eyes narrowed as she watched Amy’s game; this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Hell, the frustration in Sander’s eyes indicated that even he knew he was being fucked with, but he was unable to get over it all the same. Sander was a genius, and when he was in control he could be glorious to behold, but now it looked like something was putting him off his game.

Mara thought she knew; although they were still fairly safe here, Avalon was not as hospitable an environment as the base, or even Shangri-La. There was much that could go wrong here. Come to that, the Doctor still hadn’t left the planet yet. If anyone was capable of coming up here and ruining Sander’s day, it was the Doctor. Sander didn’t like unnecessary risks, even if he was indulging in a walk on the wild side by letting Mara drag him around today. And Amy had been trying to fool the collar, Mara could tell. Her body language changed whenever the collar kicked in to prevent her from doing something. It was time to remind her who was boss.

‘Hey, Amy,’ Mara leaned across to whisper in Amy’s ear. ‘Do you feel like playing a game?’

Amy pulled away, going a little pale, ‘No, not really. Thanks all the same.’

‘Well, that’s too bad…’ Mara sang. ‘Command: Finger yourself under the table, but don’t cum.’ She gave a triumphant little grin.

Amy whimpered as the balance of power shifted yet again and her hand slipped down under the table. Of course, she knew that something like this had been a distinct possibility from the outset; why else would her captors have insisted that she not wear underwear? But even so, as her fingers slipped along her bare thighs and under the short hem of her skirt, she couldn’t believe it was starting up again so soon. Especially not in a public setting. Being stripped and paraded in front of the unseemly individuals at Shangri-La had been bad enough, and certainly not an experience she wished to repeat, but this was far worse. Jaded as they had been, the audience at Shangri-La had at least been an appropriate one.

Her lip trembled as her fingers found her pussy, and she cast her eyes down, now unable to meet anyone’s gaze herself.

Sander smiled, spirits buoyed by Mara’s inventiveness, ‘Well now, this looks like fun… Come along, Pond,’ He said, stressing the first word into innuendo.

Two fingers slid stiffly into Amy’s slit, commencing with a slow, deliberate motion inside her. Her eyes darted the length of the restaurant, sweeping the room for any signs of interest from the other diners. Thankfully, the only audience Amy had was Sander and Mara, who both smiled with amusement as the effects of her surreptitious masturbation began to show.

Her breathing became quick and ragged and her cheeks flushed red as her fingers slid deeper into her honey pot. She cast her eyes down to the table, unwilling to meet her captor’s wicked stares, her hair falling around her like a curtain, providing her a modicum of concealment.

Her fingers were coated in juices and, as her clit popped to the fore, Amy’s thumb moved up to begin an insistent pressure on her sensitive button. She bit her lip to stop herself from moaning out loud.

‘Come on…’ Amy gasped softly. ‘Please stop…’

Mara tilted her head to one side, grinned wider. She liked hearing Amy beg, so she was using the wrong tactic if she wanted mercy here, even assuming that Mara would be willing to grant it in any case.

Amy’s thighs clenched as her fingers curled inside her. The collar worked by tweaking brainwaves; it couldn’t introduce anything new into the actions of its victim. It could only induce Amy to act; the actual technique that was causing the torturous, ecstatic sensation was her own. And that only made it worse. It would have been easy for Amy to separate herself from the acts she was being forced to commit had the movements not been so natural, so familiar. She recognized each individual motion of her finger-fucking, each heated, slow curl of her fingers, from those times in the past when she had been hot and bothered, and all alone. Those times when she had lay in bed and fingered herself to a delicious climax while thinking of any number of ribald scenarios and fantasies.

Her fingers circled her clit, causing her hips to buck, driving her fingers deeper. She gritted her teeth as a shudder wracked her body, every nerve enflamed and burning with desire. Her eyes closed, her muscles taut, her breathing deep and hoarse and her teeth grinding with frustration because the collar seemed to know when she was right on the edge and it refused to tip her over it. The command was unbreakable.

The constant soft, fluttering pressure on her clit, the light, tickling caresses on her soft inner walls, the silent, vaguely mocking attention of the audience of two, all combined to create a singular, growing heat in the pit of Amy’s stomach that set her teeth on edge. The humiliation of the public setting intermingled with her growing confusion and lust. It was becoming harder to think. Harder to conceal the effects of her increasingly heated fingering.

Her fingers rubbed, deep inside her, and she moaned, loudly, breathlessly. Many eyes turned. Mara laughed, and applauded as though Amy’s humiliation was a private show just for her. In a way, it was.

‘Please s-stop,’ Amy panted unsteadily, sweat beading on her forehead.

‘Oh, no, no,’ Mara lowered her voice and drew herself closer to Amy. She inspected the deep crimson blush of her normally pale cheeks, the adorable way she bit down on her lower lip, the hunted, desperate look in her eyes. ‘You’re not getting off that easily,’ She giggled at her attempt at wordplay.

‘I think you’re going to have to beg for it…’ Sander sighed. He sensed that this game had gotten away from him; it was now just for Amy and Mara. And, unsurprisingly, Mara was winning.

Amy knew that this wasn’t going to end well for her. She was going to beg, there was no doubt about it; notably, Mara hadn’t commanded her. She wanted it to be something Amy did on her own.

‘Please… P-please let me cum,’ Amy whimpered, her head bent low. Tears dropped wetly to the polished tabletop.

‘Hmm…’ Mara stroked her chin. ‘I don’t know… What do you think, Sander?’

‘Oh, don’t drag me into this…’ Sander stared absently out of the window, savoring the spectacular view and, privately, Amy’s quiet, pleasured noises.

‘Alright, finish yourself off,’ Mara said.

Amy’s fingers plunged deep within herself, thumb pressing into her engorged clit. It didn’t take long. She stiffened, exhaling in an unbroken, shuddering sigh as the orgasm exploded through her. The muscles in her thighs and stomach tightened, the fingers of her free hand gripping the table tightly. Her hand, and her skirt, were drenched in her juices. Her breath tapered off as she came down, and she was unable to contain the languorous moan that followed. She sank lower in her seat, eyes clouded with desire and anger.

‘Hmm. Maybe we should bounce, ladies,’ Sander surveyed the dining room, seeing numerous eyes turned towards the display. A few of them looked interested, but in general there was irritation. This was an expensive restaurant, after all. It wasn’t Shangri-La.

‘You’re right, boss,’ Mara arched her eyebrow, staring back at the onlookers, as though daring them to say anything. Amazingly, all of them backed down. Mara could look pretty dangerous at times.

‘You bastards…’ Amy panted, the collar shining on her neck, the undiluted sunlight sending brilliant starbursts across it. The thing seemed somehow triumphant, as if it was enjoying a job well done.

‘Look on the bright side: You got off,’ Mara said. ‘Which is more than I can say for the rest of us, Miss Pond. You’ll have to rectify that. Sander, pick up the bill.’ She stood, taking Amy by the hand and pulling her out of her seat and out towards the glass double doors. Beyond, the landing pad awaited, with private shuttles to ferry customers back down to the planet’s surface. Sander sighed, and wondered whether Mara was serious about putting out in return for a free breakfast.

After almost choking at the sheer magnitude of the bill, Sander followed his women. They were waiting for him in a sleek black shuttlecraft, but the way it hovered off of the ground implied that Mara at least didn’t intend to wait for long.

‘Time is money, Sander,’ She called to him as he crossed the landing pad. He picked up his pace.

‘Isn’t this getting just a little excessive?’ Amy asked, as the shuttle descended rapidly through the cloud layer. Both Sander and Mara had been entranced by the tumultuous, undulating grey pattern outside the ship, but they jerked to attention when Amy spoke.

‘Excessive?’ Mara laughed. ‘Baby, we’re just getting started.’

‘That’s what worries me,’ Amy muttered to herself, turning her head to the window to avoid having to look at them anymore. She rolled her eyes, and hoped against hope that the Doctor and Rory were still on this planet, searching for her. And that the Doctor could keep it in his pants long enough to find her.

She was still annoyed about his skipping out on the search party to get laid. That hardly seemed gentlemanly.

The shuttle landed. All at once, the trio was enveloped back into the neon embrace of the Foundation Festival. It was a little shocking how just how quickly the transition had happened. Up there, above the clouds, they had existed in a world of dignity and grace. Down here, in the undercroft of the towering metropolis, they were in a chaotic storm of pressed bodies, neon starlight and the constant presence of the music, thumping away like a hammer on an anvil. One would be hard pressed to pick the moment that they had traveled from one world to the other.

The streets whirled with life, like the veins of some immense living creature. They were bathed in light and shadow, the music pressing down, the crowd shunting them back and forth. Now that they were back at ground level, each of them was wearing a different kind of mask. Anonymity was important, not only to avoid detection, but also to fit in with the crowd of similarly disguised revelers. Sander and Mara had stuck with their black and white ones from earlier, but they had been kinder to Amy this time. The white mask she had been given covered her whole face, but her eyes and mouth were free. Her captors were becoming more confident, and confidence bred mistakes. Amy cursed her luck; if she could only get free of the collar, she could escape!

She had been toying with ideas for how to get around the horrid little device. Of course, the task was made much more difficult since she had no idea how the collar operated or literally performed the task it was designed for. It was hard to figure out the mysterious phantom pressure that overtook her when her jailers used the command word. Something like this shouldn’t exist, not in a moral universe. There had to be laws against it, right?

But then, laws didn’t count for much in Chroma, did they?

But Amy was smart, and she had been generating escape plans for days now. Could she break from her orders by keeping one thought strongly in her mind while performing a completely opposite action? No, the collar stopped her.

Could the collar be overworked? If she had two orders operating at once, could obeying one allow her to disobey the other? No, the collar stopped her.

Could she creatively reinterpret a standing order to work against Sander? No, not with the direct orders she had been given so far.

How did the collar work? Could it be shorted out, or broken somehow? Was there some way to take it off, even with Sander’s standing order not to? So many questions, but no answers. How utterly frustrating. She wanted to scream, but of course, that would be breaking orders.

Suddenly, Sander’s strong arms pushed her into an alley, out of sight. His free hand flew out, grabbing Mara by the shoulder and tugging her roughly after him. When she finally got a stable glimpse of him, Amy saw that his eyes were dark as thunderclouds.

‘What is it?’ Mara hissed.

‘Williams,’ Sander growled, and Amy’s heart skipped a beat. Her face lit up, and for the first time in days she was happy again. Rory! He was so close! She slid away from the two of them, edging closer to the mouth of the alley. It would only take a second. Just one glimpse…

She broke into a run.

‘Command: Freeze!’ Sander barked, his voice ringing out harsh and cold as ice. It resounded through Amy’s tiny little world; she felt like it was growing smaller by the second.

Her muscles went dead. She skidded to a stop, mere inches from the corner. Inches from her husband.

‘Get back here,’ Sander snarled, face suddenly all sharp edges and deep shadows. ‘Command: No moving. No talking. If he comes closer, you get out of his sight. Make sure he doesn’t see you. Understand?’

Amy nodded, sobs bubbling up in her throat. Tears flowed, and she stepped away from the precipice, taking her place next to Mara and freezing there. Her muscles fell away from her, numb and useless. Sander strode purposefully to the mouth of the alley.

‘Hey!’ Mara called. ‘Where are you going?’

He turned back, eyes sparkling with a dazzling internal light, ‘I’m going to go speak to him.’ He grinned wolfishly, and stepped out of sight.

Rory was still milling about in the crowd, his desire to rescue Amy clearly conflicting with his intense aversion to the scary kinds of people that made up the bulk of the Foundation Festival revelers. Sander was impressed to see that Rory was talking to the crowd anyway; it wasn’t an activity that Sander himself particularly wished to engage in.

As he drew closer, Sander saw that Rory was carrying a little photo of his wife, and he would brandish it at passersby, complete with rushed requests for information as they walked by. He wasn’t having much success, but Sander frowned anyway. People were seeing that photo, it would only take one of them to recognize Amy and give the game away. They had been careful in hiding her away from public view, but anything could happen on a planet like Theros. Hell, anything could happen with a person like the Doctor.

Taking a brief moment to resettle his mask on the bridge of his nose- anonymity was important for Sander too, since he had insisted on cameras in his base- he set off at a trot, shouldering his way through the crowd.

‘You seem lost,’ He called as he drew closer to Rory, trying to make his voice deeper, rougher. There was a moment of crystalline fear as Rory turned to face him, and it was undetermined whether he would be recognized or not.

‘Well, actually… Yeah, you could say that…’ Rory said uncertainly. ‘I’m looking for someone. Her name’s Amy. Here,’ He proffered Sander the picture. He made a show of inspecting it, trying desperately to hold back his manic, simultaneous fear and thrilling, mad joy.

Sander nodded, ‘Uh… Yeah. Yeah, I’ve seen her.’

Rory tensed up, grabbed Sander’s collar, as though to stop him from drifting away, ‘You’ve seen Amy?’ He shouted. ‘Where?’

Sander feigned surprise, and pulled away a little. He was quite enjoying all this play-acting, ‘She was boarding a shuttle at the spaceport, with some other guys. Seemed kind of on edge.’

‘The spaceport! Right! Which one? When was this?’

Sander nodded again, ‘Um, the Schofeldt port, the one downtown. This’d be… Oh, yesterday, I guess?’

‘You guess, or you know? This is important!’ Rory was inches from Sander’s face. It was truly mystifying that he couldn’t recognize him from this distance.

‘I’m positive. Schofeldt port. Yesterday,’ Sander said, ‘Why all the urgency? Who is she?’

Rory was already running, but he stopped, turned at the question, ‘She’s my wife!’

‘Do you love her?’ Sander said in a quiet, dead tone. His eyes were so cold through the mask, as he eyed Rory.

‘Yes, more than anything,’ Rory answered, quickly, clearly. Honestly.

‘That’s good,’ Sander said, voice dwindling away to nothing. ‘That’s very, very good.’

But Rory was already gone. He was running to meet back up with the Doctor. They would be going, now. Mara had planted the false relays and fake boarding logs at the Schofeldt spaceport. The Doctor would find them, and he would drift off back into space, away from them all. Sander turned. His job was done.

‘Elsa…’ He breathed, his own personal mantra. It was good that Rory loved Amy. It gave the whole situation a pleasant symmetry.

He knew how Rory was feeling now. So easy to predict what he would do.

*******

 

Amy swung towards Sander as he re-entered the alley, ‘What did you do?’ She demanded, striding down the alley to grab him by the shoulders.

‘Nothing,’ Sander replied, shrugging away from her hands.

‘If you’ve hurt him-‘

‘He’s fine!’ Sander called over his shoulder. ‘I just sent him on his way, is all. Directed him to the bogus relays.’

‘Oh, and that didn’t seem suspicious to you? Because we can’t afford to fuck this up, boss,’ Mara stretched away from the wall she had been leaning against, watching over Sander’s shoulder as Amy pursued him.

‘What did you do, Sander?’ Amy yelled. Sander shot Mara a questioning look.

‘I released her from those last few orders, when it became clear that the Doctor wouldn’t suddenly swoop down in his magic box and kill us all,’ Mara shrugged. ‘Seriously, though, are you sure you did a good thing?’

‘Yes, I’m sure!’ Sander snapped. ‘Rory will find the Doctor, and they’ll both fly away. We’ll probably need to change some things around back at the base, since they’ve probably seen the cells and everything now. Y’know, make it seem like we’ve changed location. Now, will Amy be a good girl and cooperate with us for the rest of our little vacation?’

Mara grinned, caught on to the game, ‘Or will we have to punish her? As if you had to ask!’

‘I hate you two,’ Amy muttered darkly. Her pretty eyes flashed with anger, and fear, and all-consuming concern for Rory. Sander took her face in his hands, firmly enough to stop her from pulling away.

‘I didn’t hurt him,’ He said, looking her full in the eyes. The raging, wrathful emotions seemed to die down, just a little.

‘Well, whatever,’ Amy said. It was hard to read her expression through the mask, but her eyes said plenty.

‘I’m getting bored…’ Mara yawned. ‘So very, very bored.’

‘Yeah, probably not a good idea to stick around, ladies.’ Sander clapped his hands together. He offered his arm to Amy, ‘Shall we?’

Grudgingly, Amy linked arms with her captor and allowed him to lead her out onto the street- a very definitely different street to the one they had just been on. It was only a short walk until they were once again standing in front of Shangri-La.

‘Well then, shall we begin the games?’ Sander wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. Amy shook her head flatly, prompting Sander and Mara to shrug in unison. They led her through the glass doors, then through the back to the elevator. Sander made a point of winking at Pearl as they passed her.

Back in the suite, Sander conscientiously locked the door, then pulled Mara aside, ‘So, how’re we going to play this one?’ He whispered in her ear.

Mara shrugged, ‘Get naughty?’ She suggested.

Sander laughed, then went silent, ‘No, seriously. We have no plan.’

‘Sander, you spent thirteen years constructing an elaborate secret base on an asteroid hurtling through space; the whole point of which was to displace a woman through time, stealing her away and then concealing her from a nine-hundred and three year old alien who can travel through time. You should be able to figure out what you should do with a room full of expensive sex toys and two beautiful women. In at least half the time.’

Sander’s brow furrowed. He opened his mouth to say something, and closed it again. He repeated the process, his eyes almost crossing with the effort of constructing a snappy comeback. He gave up.

‘Goddamn it, Mara…’

Mara shook her head, blonde hair flowing around her. Her ice-blue eyes sparkled in that particular way; she was thinking. That was never good.

‘Alright, you slow bastard. Follow my lead. Amy!’ Mara snapped her fingers, never taking her eyes off Sander.

Amy sighed and rolled her eyes, pulling at the straps of her dress. It simply could not be a good thing; being this used to being naked around one’s kidnappers. Her black dress pooled around her ankles, leaving Amy bare. She gestured widely with her hands, as if to say “happy now?”

Mara laughed, briskly stepping out of her own dress. Underneath she was as naked as Amy, an image that made Sander blink at her in disbelief.

‘Oh, you are awesome!’ He laughed, applauding her. Mara gave a huge, theatrical bow. Sander stared at her every motion, watching the play of tightly toned muscles beneath her perfect, pale skin. She looked up, saw him watching, and grinned.

‘Okay, so you definitely, definitely like what you see,’ She said with a rough giggle. ‘Well, I guess I do owe you a little something… Come here.’

She grabbed him by the collar and pulled him close, standing on the tips of her toes to press her lips against his. Sander’s eyes widened, then closed as he felt Mara poke him in the back and glare at him from their uncomfortably close distance.

Mara was known for committing totally to every action she took; her tongue worked against Sander’s, practically sucking the breath from his lungs. He could feel the warmth of her skin pressed against the fine cloth of his shirt, the soft, weighty feel of her breasts against his chest. She broke the kiss, spinning away from him and giving a long, throaty laugh.

‘Holy hell!’ Sander gasped, drawing in a huge breath. Mara shook her head.

‘Don’t read too much into it, boss man. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss. So follow that logic now, no matter what happens.’ She stepped closer to him, all lithe grace and intoxicating beauty. Out of the corner of his eye, Sander could see that Amy had taken a seat on the bed and was staring around the room with a bored expression. Normally, that would bother him, but right now he was unable to think of anything but the naked woman in front of him.

‘I’m just asking that you don’t fall in love with me,’ Mara grinned wolfishly, winking at him. Sander gave a little laugh, in the back of his throat, and nodded. Mara slithered down, onto her knees, and lifted her hands to divest Sander of his belt in a single, shockingly strong tug.

‘You are an interesting woman, you know that?’ Sander cocked his head to one side as Mara unzipped his fly.

‘I strive for interesting,’ Mara answered almost immediately, without diverting her eyes from the task at hand. ‘In everything. Just so you know, I don’t usually go for many men. Humanity has spread across a thousand worlds, and every one of them contains the same three types of man: alpha-male, new-age, and assholes. I guess this makes you interesting, too.’ She smiled, then leaned in, sliding the head of his cock into the warm confines of her beautiful mouth.

Sander groaned as Mara’s tongue went mobile, sweeping over every inch of the stiffening member. Her lips formed a tight O, sweeping down to the base, tongue pressed flat against the underside. In seconds, Sander was completely, achingly hard inside Mara’s skilled mouth.

She pulled away, making Sander follow her with his hips. She shook her head, licking the head of his cock one final time before removing her mouth completely. She knelt there, staring up at him slyly, her long fingers slowly caressing his swollen member. Her free hand extended, pointed at Amy.

‘Amy!’ She barked, gesturing to a spot on the carpet beside her. Amy made a frustrated noise, but joined Mara on the floor regardless. Two pairs of sparkling eyes stared up at Sander, and he wondered just what, exactly, he had done in a past life to incur such good fortune.

‘Well? What do you wanna do now, boss?’ Mara grinned, one hand absently tracing up and down Amy’s back, the other up and down Sander’s dick.

Sander didn’t need to think, he already knew, ‘I want to fuck you, Mara.’ He said through gritted teeth, straining with frustration against the blonde’s teasing touch. Mara gave a tinkling, bright laugh.

‘I like that plan!’ Amy piped up, shifting her weight from knee to knee. ‘You two should do that. I’d just be a third wheel.’

‘That’s an outmoded expression…’ Mara mused. ‘Anyway, your suggestion is noted, Sander. All in good time. But why rush things? Both of us are down here… Use your imagination, Sander…’ She purred. ‘For example…’

Mara’s hand entwined itself into Amy’s hair, pushing her forward. She had a strong grip, and Amy had no choice but to open her mouth as she was pushed closer to Sander’s crotch. Mara gently rubbed the tip along the rounded curve of Amy’s lips, tracing it around the soft skin again and again, fingers clenched to keep Amy immobile.

‘Surely you want this, too? Right, Sander?’ She whispered, biting her lower lip. She had to admit, this was working for her, too.

‘Yes, dammit!’ Sander hissed, fists clenched at his sides. He had the strange feeling that making any sudden moves himself would somehow break the spell, and Mara would lose interest in playing. Below him, Amy whimpered, not daring to close her mouth for the same reason, and Sander almost lost it.

‘I think he likes you, Amy,’ Mara giggled. ‘And I think that a part of you is liking this treatment too. Why don’t you show him how willing you are, and maybe we’ll show you how much we like you. If you’re good.’

Mara positioned Sander’s prick at Amy’s lips, and pushed forward, as gently as she could. Amy’s mouth engulfed Sander, taking him down as deep as she could with one stroke. There was something different going on. Something in the air. Mara hadn’t used the collar or anything, but Amy could tell that she was running the show now. She really didn’t want to know what would happen if she disobeyed.

‘It’s all one big love-fest right here…’ Mara said dreamily as she watched Amy perform orally.

They watched, the statuesque blonde and the dark-eyed man, as the young redhead bobbed her head as energetically as she could. He savored the moment, his cock disappearing between her soft, pink lips. Mara watching with undisguised interest, the fingers of her right hand rubbing slowly between her legs. There were very few perfect moments in life; one needed to commit every detail of them to memory. It helped to know that they were there, when times were a little rougher.

‘So, where do you want to… end up, I guess?’ Mara said.

‘You already know where,’ Sander rumbled, mind enflamed and the alpha-male within in total control. He withdrew from Amy and lifted Mara bodily from the floor and tossed her onto the bed, where she bounced, naked flesh jiggling enticingly.

‘Oh yeah?’ Mara smirked. ‘Fuck, alright! Bring it on, if you think you can handle me!’ Her eyes were burning with intense desire and a vague challenge.

‘That’s what I wanted to hear!’ Sander gave a razor-edged grin and charged the bed himself. Mara’s long, graceful legs parted to allow him to step between them. Sander lifted calves that curved into delicate, beautiful feet onto his shoulders. His hands caressed down her thighs, as he slid deeply into her in one smooth motion. She moaned, her eyes capturing his and holding them with her strong, ice blue gaze. He began his first, slow thrusts into her welcoming depths, eyes shackled to hers, searching for… something. The connection had been made; it would be impossible to tear himself away from the perfect clarity of her stare.

Mara stared back, unblinking, her toes curling as the rubbing inside her ignited a powerful heat. She lifted herself up off her back, grabbing Sander’s hand and guiding it to her breasts, using her new leverage to pull him down onto the bed with her. In a rare show of submission, she allowed Sander to dictate the pace of their fucking, wrapping her legs around his waist and surrendering completely to his skilled- and increasingly forceful- thrusts.

He held himself over her, propped up on one arm as his free hand glided across every inch of Mara’s beautiful body. Her skin was perfect, as smooth as marble to the touch. She pulled him down, kissing him forcefully as her hands worked to undo his tie and unbutton his shirt. The rich, heavy scent of her perfume, the taste of her mouth on his, the sweet, wonderful warmth of her body melding into Sander’s with every deep thrust, the tiny, delicate sound of her squealing; all of it combined into a single, sensuous moment of pure, unadulterated heat.

But Mara wasn’t done yet. Sander hadn’t just recruited her for her skills in the bedroom, and even in the throes of passion he could see her mind working away behind those intoxicating azure eyes. One hand shot out across the bed, grabbed Amy by the scruff of her neck and forced her in for a rough, crushing kiss that left them both breathless. She grinned, white teeth sparkling and gritted to prevent herself from crying out, and she gestured with her free hand, offering their little pet to him, as though she was just a tool for their mutual pleasure. Sander took full advantage, forcing his tongue into her mouth before dipping his head to tease her delicate pink nipples. He could hear, just past Mara’s increasingly strident pants, Amy’s breath quicken as he did so. Mara nodded as she noticed the look in his eye, one hand trailing down between her legs to rub at her swollen clit.

‘Amy…’ She began, panting with each stroke. ‘Command:… Play with…. Yourself… Uh! Use… One of the t-toys… from the closet… Quickly now! Ah!’

Sander crushed Mara’s body to his now bare chest, his teeth nipping at her shoulder, ‘Well, Mara?’ He whispered in her ear, his hot breath so close it made her shudder with excitement. ‘Am I man enough for you? Handling you…’ He thrust in, causing her to scream, ‘Well enough for your liking?’

‘Oh, fuck yes!’ She groaned, burying her face in his neck. Amy had returned from her trip to the ominous black armoire, having selected a thin silver vibrator for her pleasure. She knelt next to them on the bed, her knees spread as wide as she could. Her hand rose, then fell between her creamy thighs, pressing the vibrator into her folds. The tinny buzz of the machine beginning its work could be heard, when Mara was quiet enough to hear anything but her exaltations.

‘Now, you g-get yourself off, Amy,’ Mara moaned. ‘As many… times as possible.’

Amy whined pathetically as her hand pressed the vibrator harder against her love button. The tiny device was merciless, buzzing against her vulnerable opening, building the terrible pressure and heat within her. The bed beneath her quickly became slick with her juices. Her eyes were drawn inexorably to Sander and Mara’s high-energy lovemaking as if it were a private show just for her. Her eyes clouded with lust and, despite the objections of her mind, she came, teeth gritted and muscles shuddering as the vibrator slipped inside her pussy.

To her horror, she discovered that another climax was building within her, mere moments after coming down from her first. The nature of Mara’s order became clear to her; obviously, she had become bored with merely denying her orgasms until she begged for them.

‘How are you… going, Sander?’ Mara teased through clenched teeth. ‘Ready to… cum yet?’

‘Fuck you, Mara!’ Sander hissed.

‘You already are, genius!’

‘I know! And I can… keep going just as long as you can!’

Mara whimpered, and it was a soft, wonderful sound, ‘Truth is… I don’t know how much longer I can last, boss.’

Sander leaned in and kissed her again, nipping at her bottom lip, ‘Then let go and enjoy yourself. There’s no restrictions on cumming between us… or at all, by the sounds of it,’ He jerked his head towards Amy, who was in the throes of a third orgasm.

‘Oh, good. Because I’ve already got off, lover,’ She offered him her trademark sarcastic smile. ‘And now I want you to cum in me, Sander.’ She gave a low groan as he pressed his thumb into her clit. ‘It’s been a while since I’ve done that…’

‘You are fucking magnificent,’ Sander rumbled, bending low to lick at her nipples. He thrust in as deeply as he could, giving off a long, loud growl as he came, unloading shot after shot of cum into Mara’s pulsating tunnel. She grew languid in his arms as he withdrew from her, his still twitching cock suddenly bereft of her warmth. Amy was screaming beside them, but they were lost in the afterglow.

‘Damn, man…’ Mara breathed, kissing Sander on the cheek.

‘Yeah…’ He said vaguely, rolling onto his back beside her. ‘That was fun.’

‘Yes it was!’ Mara chuckled, her eyes drifting to the twitching, shaking form of Amy Pond. ‘What do we do with her?’

‘After letting me do that? Anything you want!’

‘I didn’t “let” you do anything, Sander,’ Mara propped herself up on one arm, anxious to let her boss know that she hadn’t acquiesced to anything. ‘We didn’t do anything I didn’t want to, and after your performance, well… It can be a repeated thing, if you like,’ She broke eye contact, seeming a little uncomfortable. Maybe she had intimacy issues, Sander didn’t know. Didn’t care, either, if what she was offering was casual sex.

‘I would like that, you bloody beautiful thing…’ He pulled closer, nuzzling at the curve of her shoulder. She shrugged him off.

‘Nuh-uh. A kiss is just a kiss, remember?’

‘And a fuck is just a fuck, except when it isn’t, Mara. You were looking kind of cozy with me just then.’

‘You must be mistaken,’ She said, with a little smile. ‘Besides, you shouldn’t ruin the moment. Just enjoy it for what it is, Sander. Don’t think of the future, okay? It just clouds the present.’

‘Alright…’ He said, knowing deep down that this wasn’t over yet. He kissed her again, passionately, deeply. No, this wasn’t quite over. Not yet.

‘I… don’t mean t-to interrupt,’ Amy gasped, sex toy still pressed deeply inside her soaking vagina. ‘Well, actually… Y-yes I do. Ah!’ She cried out as her pussy clenched down around the vibrator and another orgasm struck her like a physical blow.

‘Oh, right… Keep going. I don’t mean to interrupt, either,’ Mara grinned, biting down on Sanders broad shoulder one last time before withdrawing from his embrace, picking herself up off the bed and padding lithely over to the wardrobe.

She swung the doors wide, but from Sander’s perspective the contents of the thing remained a mystery. He toyed with the idea of joining her, but he didn’t want to send the wrong message, and besides, she was way more imaginative when it came to these matters than he could ever be.

She returned to the bed, holding aloft a black silk blindfold in one hand, with the other holding something behind her back. She tossed the blindfold to Sander, ‘You know what to do!’ She said brightly, winking.

He nodded, crawling over to Amy and wrapping the thick material around her eyes, causing her to whimper helplessly, her sweetly scented dew still dripping from between her legs. At another corner of the room, Mara was busy threading a pair of steel shackles through a hook in the roof. At her feet was a bright pink spreader bar.

‘Oh, I see…’ Sander nodded approvingly, prompting Mara to raise a finger to her lips and “Shhh!” him. He laughed. So did she.

Amy’s mouth gaped as she struggled to breathe, huge, wracking sobs of pleasure and shame coursing through her. Her legs trembled as the vibrator continued its merciless work. Her ass was resting in a pool of her own juices, and the muscles of her flanks pulsed and tightened seemingly at random. Her head turned to the source of every noise in the room, fruitlessly trying to penetrate the veil of her blindfold.

Sander took Amy’s hand and pulled her to her feet. The command had not been retracted, so she persisted in fucking herself with the vibrator. Her legs shook, and barely supported her as she was lead under the hook, and her hands were guided firmly up above her head, slid into the cold, biting manacles.

‘Oh, come on!’ Amy cried, as she felt the unyielding metal close around her wrists. At least she was free of the vibrator now.

‘Silence!’ Mara shouted, laying a forceful open-palmed slap on Amy’s shapely bottom. She jerked in her restraints, crying loudly.

‘Please…’ She whimpered.

‘Hey! Didn’t you hear the lady?’ Sander growled, getting into the spirit of this new game. ‘Your Mistress demands silence.’

Mara gave him the thumbs up, nodding with energetic approval. She gave him the universal “go on…” gesture.

‘But since you obviously don’t listen, things will get a little harder for you,’ He continued, reaching up to take hold of the chains and loop them around the hook even tighter, shortening Amy’s available wiggle-room, the end result of which was that she was forced onto the tips of her toes, body hanging there with a delicious forward curve. Her breasts jutted forward, and Sander couldn’t resist reaching up to cup them in his large hands, thumbs tickling the nipples.

‘You are ours, Amy Pond,’ He said slowly, looking to Mara for approval. She gave it with a particularly toothy smile.

‘Okay, hit it, Mara,’ Sander shrugged, stepping away and ceding control to a more experienced party.

‘Good choice, Sander,’ Mara stepped forward, running her hands down Amy’s waist. She wiggled her eyebrows at Sander, and began tickling Amy’s vulnerable skin. She laughed, helplessly, despairingly, sobbing in deep breaths whenever her lungs were exhausted.

‘Stop! Stop!’ She begged breathlessly, and Mara did. Once again, her hand descended, spanking Amy hard enough to leave a red welt.

‘We demanded silence, Pond. Perfectly responsive body, housing a disobedient mind, it seems.’

Sander shook his head, ‘As if we didn’t already know that…’

‘In any case, punishment!’ Mara skipped softly across the carpet, back to the black armoire. She pointed over her shoulder at the spreader bar on the floor, then at Amy. She dipped further into the closet.

Dutifully, Sander took hold of Amy’s ankles and slotted them into the cuffs at either end of the bar, listening to her bite back her protests and whimper as Sander ran a hand firmly down her buttock. With her legs spread wide, Amy’s pussy was on full display, and Sander couldn’t resist running a finger along her dew-covered folds, tasting her juices.

‘Ah-ha! Now we’re cooking with fire!’ Mara crowed, jumping back from the closet and pumping her fists in the air, each hand tightly curled around a small object.

‘What? What’s up?’ Sander moved in for a closer look. Mara glanced up, speculatively. He really was quite a handsome man…

She shook her head, ‘Check this out.’

Mara produced a little black rod and wiggled it in Sander’s face. Sander nodded, understanding dawning on his face.

‘Mara, that’s a rather ugly mind you have.’

‘You love it.’

‘Sure,’ Sander sighed, following Mara to inspect Amy’s helpless form. Mara dipped down, sliding the tiny device along Amy’s slit before driving it in until the end disappeared between her labia. Amy moaned in frustration, her hands pulling against the shackles.

This was a familiar situation; naked, tied and blindfolded. Amy ground her teeth, searching her manacles for any weakness or gap that would allow her to escape. She knew that, even if she were to escape her bonds, she would be frozen in place and reprimanded even more harshly. But it didn’t matter. She needed to do something, anything, to resist what was happening to her. Every second she remained in captivity she was becoming more and more like a possession of these people. She simply had to resist, to fight back, to be herself in the face of each and every new humiliation. If she didn’t stay alert for any chance to defy her captors, then she really was their slave.

Amy’s hips wriggled as the little device settled inside her, mind wandering over every horrible, shameful possibility of what lay in her future. Her eyes were blind; all that was left was the mind’s eye.

Mara tossed a palm-sized remote control up into the air and caught it, hitting a button in the instant it landed. Immediately, the device inside Amy began to expand, thickening and lengthening to fill Amy’s vagina completely. She was stretched, not to the point of being uncomfortable, but to the point of being totally, perfectly filled. Amy’s hips wiggled again; the feeling wasn’t entirely unpleasant.

Mara moved; Amy could sense her moving around, so close to her. What was she planning? Amy shrank back a little, knowing that whatever it was, it wasn’t going to be good.

Sander’s hands were on her back, pushing her back into the center of her range of movement. Mara’s smaller, delicate hands cupped her breast, teasing the nipple to hardness with skilled fingers.

‘There we go…’ She said slowly, lifting her free hand to clip a solid black nipple clamp onto the erect teat. She repeated the process, and both times Amy yelped in pain but, intelligently, she did not speak.

‘Okay, I think I know what happens now, but would you care to explain it anyway?’ Sander took a seat on the bed, head cocked to one side.

‘It’s easy,’ Mara began. ‘I hit this button, and…’

The device in Amy’s cunt began to vibrate powerfully, stimulating the entire length of her tunnel. She cried out in ecstasy, her hips bucking back and forth, humping the air. Mara hit the button again, and the sensations ceased.

‘I hit the other button, and…’

The nipple clamps began generating electricity, knocking the breath from Amy’s lungs and burning into her chest. Her back arched, and she screamed. Again, the button was pressed.

‘And they operate on timers, so…’

First, the vibrator, making Amy moan. Thirty seconds later it shut off. Thirty seconds after that, the clamps started up, again for thirty seconds, before shutting off.

‘It’s a simple game, Amy,’ Mara said, her face mere inches from the blindfolded captive. ‘I’ll keep these fun little toys on thirty second cycles. If you can remain completely silent for one hour, then nothing further will happen to you today. If you moan, if you scream, if you make any sound at all, you shall use your mouth and pussy to serve us all night.’ Mara’s eyes glinted warmly, ‘If you speak, just one single word, then Sander will take you in the ass. Maybe I will too, there’s plenty of ways for me to accomplish that.’

Amy shrank back to the very edge of her movement range. That had been the one act that she had never allowed. Something about it had just seemed… wrong, somehow. There are certain things that shouldn’t go in certain places, she had always thought. She sobbed.

‘Oh, already? I haven’t even turned the thing on yet!’ Mara said. ‘Not that it matters. The game isn’t actually on yet. But it is now,’ Mara threw the switch, and Amy bore the first vibrations stoically, without even a sound. Mara smiled in satisfaction.

‘I’m going to take a shower,’ Mara yawned. ‘Keep an eye on her.’

‘Oh, can’t I come with you?’ Sander said, with just a touch of neediness. He sort of liked the idea of having Mara again.

‘No, Sander!’ Mara said reproachfully. ‘I really need you to be good, right now!’ She backed away from him into the bathroom, eyes showing concern. Could it be that she had made a mistake letting him get so intimate? She hadn’t realized that sex with her would be so addictive.

She slipped down the small hallway and into the cool tiled bathroom. She stared at herself in the mirror. What was going on with him? Eye contact during sex? As a rule of thumb, Mara had found that there were plenty of other places that her lovers looked to during sex, but they rarely held her gaze as long as Sander had.

More to the point, what was wrong with her? Sure, the sex had been amazing, but, well… It had just been a whim, but Mara felt that there were repercussions in the offing. She fucking hated having to stick around for the consequences of her actions…

She shook her head to dislodge the thought. Sander was her employer, nothing more. She stepped into the shower, and started the water running over her, hot almost to the point of scalding. There was still plenty to do.

It would be interesting to see whether Amy could last the hour or not…

To be continued…

 

 

Amy’s first thought upon waking was of just how tired she was of waking up naked in her cell. Her second thought was of just how tired she was in general. She felt as though her skin was paper thin, and that any strenuous movement would tear her open.

When she tried to lift her head, she found that moving at all made her shake and tremble in a rather disconcerting way, and she laid back down quickly to stop the feeling. In the brief glimpse of the cell she had seen, Sander featured prominently. He was sitting down at the foot of the bed, back leaning heavily against the wall, head tilted up towards the ceiling. He didn’t look great; his eyes were darkly ringed in a way that offset the otherwise sickly pallor of his skin. He turned wearily to look at her.

‘Well, well… You’re back among the living,’ he said weakly. ‘That’s good.’

Amy’s eyes narrowed as the hazy recollections of her last conscious experience drifted through her mind, as substantial as fog. Even so, certain things stood out; Shimizu turning the Arclight up to eleven. Sander stepping in to stop it. The actual tactile sensation of the Arclight when it was fully unleashed. None of it was entirely pleasant.

‘You?’ She said in a quiet, weak voice. ‘You saved me?’

Sander nodded, ‘Yes. I’m sorry. Shimizu’s gone. I sort of banished her. I guess she was more unstable than we realized. She would have killed you, if we… if we had been delayed a second more.’ Sander lowered his head into the palm of one hand. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘You’re SORRY? Why? I thought you wanted me hurt?’

‘I never wanted you dead, Amy,’ Sander sighed. ‘That’d be just as bad as what… It’d be bad. I’ve dismantled the Arclight system and collapsed the signal field that targets you. I shouldn’t have put you through that. I’m sorry.’

There was silence, as Sander closed his eyes and swayed in his seat, clearly at the mercy of some kind of internal conflict. Amy regarded him expectantly; it was clear that she had missed a huge chunk of information while she had been out, and she wasn’t about to say anything to Sander right now to assuage any guilt he may have been feeling over what had happened to her. Suddenly, he raised his head again and stood up.

‘You’ve been sleeping for two straight days. Well, for a forty-eight hour period, there’s no day/night cycle here. You’re likely to be very weak, but that’s natural, given what you went through. You’ll probably want to keep sleeping, but you need to resist that urge, for now. You need to eat something, and get some clothes on. We’ll be leaving soon.’

‘Leaving? Where?’ Amy felt a familiar dread growing within her, the same dread she had felt every day of her captivity. Whatever Sander was planning would undoubtedly be unpleasant.

‘We’re going on vacation, Amy,’ Sander clapped his hands together, attempting to muster some form of energy. ‘The Doctor’s coming here, he’s pissed that Shimizu tried to kill you. We’re running away. Just temporarily. Mara’s gone on ahead, she’s setting up some new relays to misdirect him. Anyway, if we’re not here when he gets here we doubt he’ll come back later. The plan should be back on course in a few days, a week on the outside, but until then we can have some fun while we flee.’

‘Where are we going?’ Amy quavered.

‘Sorry, Amy. Can’t tell you, but we need to leave in an hour. You know where everything is, but if you need any help, then please-‘ His dark eyes captured her own, and there was genuine concern there, ‘-call out. I’ll help you.’

Sander left the room before Amy could say anything else. She sighed, and swept her legs off the bed. So, they were running away? That was interesting. Finally, a real hope of rescue.

Of course, before all that Amy still had to contend with her recalcitrant body. She had felt strange while keeping still, but when she tried to walk Amy realized exactly what Sander had meant by “very weak.”

Her legs simply wouldn’t support her. At least, not on their own. She found that if she leaned most of her weight against any available sturdy surface, she could drag herself along. Her muscles felt as thought they had liquefied, and she wondered what kind of damage Shimizu’s torture had done to her, and whether it would be permanent. Either way, she knew she couldn’t continue like this. Swallowing nervously, she called out for Sander.

The door slid open almost immediately. It seemed that he had been waiting outside. Someone was feeling guilty…

‘What’s up?’

‘I need your help…’ Amy mumbled. ‘I can barely move on my own.’

‘Of course,’ Sander moved, putting an arm over her bare shoulder and guiding her gently back to a seated position. ‘You should be back to normal by tomorrow at the latest. If you take care of yourself, that is. We’ll have about a day in transit, so you can relax for a while.’

‘Thank Christ…’ Amy exhaled. Her greatest fear was that Shimizu had done something to her brain that couldn’t be reversed. She didn’t know how the Arclight system worked, but nothing in her experience with it so far had been incredibly pleasant.

‘Here,’ Sander tossed a bundle of clothes onto the bed. ‘These seemed a little easier to get into than… Uh, all the other stuff…’ He gestured at the offending closet. It was odd; now, all the slick confidence and happy energy had flowed out of him, leaving an exhausted-looking awkward person in his place. Amy wondered exactly how bad he felt about the other day. He helped her to put on the loose-fitting clothes, but every time he touched her he sort of flinched, as though she might shatter like glass.

‘So…’ Amy began as Sander slid a large, billowy shirt over her head. ‘You said you switched off the Arclight?’ She couldn’t help but sound hopeful.

Sander shook his head, ‘Not just switched off. I broke down the field. It’s gone for good.’

‘How can I trust you?’ Amy pouted.

‘You can’t usually, but you can on this. There’s no way for me to restart the Arclight. I’d need to reformat the system, take a completely new template of your brain, code an entirely new strike program and put the signal field back up. I should never have used it in the first place. You could have been killed.’ He looked away.

‘Right…’

‘Look, we’d better get going. We’re wasting time, which is… confusing, since the guy chasing us has a time machine.’

‘You. He’s chasing you. He’s rescuing me,’ Amy said in a low voice. Sander frowned.

‘Not if I have anything to say about it. Now, come on,’ He took her hand and, supporting her bodily the whole way, the two of them left the cell. They passed through numerous identical hallways, under countless identical fluorescent lights. Sander had constructed his base from uniformly constructed pieces; it wasn’t much to look at, but it didn’t need to be. It kept in the air and all the machinery ran just fine, that was all that mattered.

Ultimately, they reached a large, heavy steel door, studded with rivets. Sander leaned Amy against the wall and, with a grunt, twisted the handle and pushed in with his shoulder. The door opened with the sound of metal squealing against metal. Amy was moved into the airlock beyond, and the door was closed.

Sander moved to the opposite door, ‘Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass,’ he explained. ‘But it’s better than opening a door out into space.’

The other door opened out onto the interior of a shuttle, but not a very good one. That said, since Amy had lived all her life in a time devoid of space travel any kind of spacecraft was impressive. In Sander’s mind, the shuttle was entirely utilitarian, just a way to get planetside if he ever needed to. For Amy, it was entirely futuristic because, well, it was the future.

The shuttle was little more than a white box illuminated by strip lighting at floor level, with a bank of seats at either side. Two black leather pilot’s chairs were bolted to the floor at the opposite end of the ship, each looking over an array of controls and a large screen that was currently blank.

Sander guided Amy to a seat and strapped her in before striding across the floor to the pilot’s seat.

‘Be with you in a second,’ He called over his shoulder, swiveling his chair to face the controls. He wriggled his fingers. Despite all that had happened to him, Sander was still a technician at heart. Space travel, robotics, any technology made his mind spin with possibilities. His hands descended, working to the beat of furious typing.

In this day and age, even cheap ships like this one had automated options for easy trips. Mara had been conscientious enough to program the shuttle with coordinates to follow her planetside. She was the communications expert; she knew where to go to best fool the Doctor with her startling array of wireless relays and gadgetry that Sander could only guess at. He had laughed when she had told him where she intended to go, and then grinned evilly when he realized what she was suggesting. Mara could be incredibly evil, but she had some fantastic ideas.

The city of Chroma, planetary capital of Theros. He had been there once before, almost three years ago to the day. He had been distracted with his plotting then, but he had to admit that the place was incredible. At night the entire city glowed with neon light. And right now Chroma was in the grips of its biggest celebration. They would have fun there.

The ship disengaged from the airlock with a series of mechanical noises, the slight force of acceleration pushing the occupants back in their seats. Sander yawned as the ship slid away into the darkness. There were no windows, which would be decorative but ultimately useless. Excepting the screen, there was no way to see out. It didn’t matter; Sander didn’t intend to spend his time staring out into utter blackness.

‘Okay, we’re off,’ He said, sliding out of his chair and heading to the aft of the ship. ‘Now, I simply must get some sleep. Mara’s been gone and, what with you being unconscious and the base needing constant attention, I’ve been up continuously for two days.’

‘That’s… dedicated,’ Amy sighed.

‘Yeah, well… Don’t get any cute ideas while I’m sleeping. You don’t know how to pilot a spacecraft, so anything you do to the controls will probably kill us both. Besides, they’re isomorphic, so it won’t work for you. There’s food in the strongbox,’ He pointed at a large metal box that was bolted to the floor. ‘Also, you need your rest too, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to sleep yourself.’ He grinned, ‘Don’t worry; I won’t do anything untoward if you do sleep. I don’t need to.’

Sander dropped heavily into the seat opposite Amy, strapped himself in, and relaxed. It was amazing what two continuous days of sleeplessness will do to a person; Sander could feel pieces of his brain floating away. The ship could handle itself for the day of flight at near light speed. Besides, it would wake him if it needed him.

 

Eventually, the ship did wake him, with an insistent, low buzzing tone issuing from the command console. Sander yawned, his hand groping blindly for the seatbelt release catch.

‘Good lord…’ He mumbled, pulling himself stiffly from his seat. Amy slept opposite him, looking oddly peaceful. Here she was, en route to an unknown alien world at the behest of a pair of kidnappers, and she was out cold. Maybe she had taken a bigger hit than he realized.

He drifted over to the console and switched on the screen. Their destination dominated the image, a sea of sparkling lights blinking endlessly across the surface of the soot-black planet. Theros was a planet that was always awake; there was always someone there willing to pay for what the vendors were selling, as distasteful as it was.

Theros had started out as a separatist colony that had voluntarily left the control of the Terran government and set up shop in a then-unoccupied corner of the galaxy. Of course, being a new colony with no concrete, enforceable laws, it attracted a large criminal element willing to pay for asylum from whatever it was that they were running from.

In the face of this, the new Theros government had two options; on one hand, they could accept a reputation as a criminal haven, with all the implications that had. Evidently, this option had not interested them.

Instead, they had opted to transform Theros into a non-stop commercial and entertainment hub where anything-and more importantly, anyone- was for sale. The criminal element still flocked to the place, particularly Chroma, but now they came to permanently set up shop, driving an intense tourist trade. There were plenty of people willing to pay large sums of cash for things they couldn’t get on law-abiding Terran worlds.

And Theros was there, with a smile and an outstretched hand. Sander could appreciate that kind of barefaced business dealings. Compared to business on Terran worlds, this method seemed almost… honest.

Sander set the shuttle into landing mode, gained the correct clearance to land in one of the commercial spaceports, and stepped back out into the hold. His foot kicked out, clanging loudly against the hull. Amy jerked awake, eyes shooting open in a daze.

‘Wake up,’ Sander said. ‘We’re coming in to land. You need to get ready.’ His hand went to her seatbelt, unclasping it quickly and lifting Amy to her feet. She was able to stand under her own power now, which was a relief to both of them. Having to spend the entire trip clinging to Sander did not strike either of them as particularly fun.

‘What do you mean, “get ready?” Amy asked sleepily, rubbing at her eyes.

Sander grinned, ‘We’re going to attend a party, Amy. A huge one. You can’t go out looking like that!’ He gestured to her loose, colorless clothes.

‘A party, huh?’ She replied flatly.

Sander nodded emphatically. What he called a party was actually a Chroma institution, a citywide festival to celebrate the founding on the city. Of course, since Chroma was essentially a huge, city-sized, neon-tinted brothel, this festival was somewhat more debauched than others.

Sander gestured to a large duffel bag that he had stowed to one side of the hold, ‘There’s some stuff for you in there. Put it on.’

‘What if-‘

‘Amy, you’re still wearing the collar. No arguments, or I will use it, y’know?’

‘Alright…’ Amy sighed. She was becoming very familiar with this particular defeated sigh.

Fishing around in the bag revealed that Sander was done with comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. In fact, he may have been done with clothes altogether; if Amy had to ascribe a name to the contents of the bag, that name would be “underwear,” and even that was dubious.

She wheeled around, ‘Oh, now come on!’ She snapped. ‘You can’t expect me to go out in public dressed in these!’

‘You bet I can!’ Sander stared back blankly. ‘Just watch. Command: Put that shit on, Amy.’

Amy whined as her body complied with the order. That damned collar!

Sander had picked this outfit- if one could call it that- especially for this occasion. There would be a lot of people on the streets of Chroma, and a lot of them would be traveling with sex slaves. Sander intended to stand out. Well… He intended for Amy to stand out.

She stripped off her loose-fitting clothes, barely even conscious of her audience any more. Sander had to resist his impulse to simply bend her over and fuck her right there, but he knew that it would be worth it in the end. Patience would yield some incredible rewards, here in Chroma. It wouldn’t take long for the shuttle to descend through the actually rather thin atmosphere to the surface of the planet itself, but in the midst of the descent itself he could barely feel it. Stabilizer systems: gotta love ‘em.

There was a reason Mara had chosen Chroma. Sexual slavery was entirely legal there, operating as a form of business transaction. One just had to remember that Theros had no traditional legal system. If you were careful, and made sure that someone on the outside knew that you were there and could come look for you if you disappeared, the planet was the holiday destination of choice for a certain class of decadent person. Chroma also had facilities there that were far more… specialized, than Sander’s asteroid base. He grinned, almost salivating at the prospect.

Amy turned, sheer fabric fluttering around her, and stared defiantly at Sander, hands on her hips. She looked even better than Sander had imagined; clad in a gauzy, light blue nightie, pale skin glowing beneath the transparent material. The slightly darker blue of her bra accentuated her breasts, and her panties practically flowed across the smooth curve of her hips. It was only becoming harder to resist the urge to bend her over the seats.

‘That… isn’t everything, Amy,’ Sander said haltingly, shaking his head to remove the prurient thoughts that were settling in.

‘I know!’ Amy exclaimed hotly. ‘But I’m wondering what kind of party requires that I dress myself like this, and wear that other stuff!’

Sander tilted his head to one side, not really understanding the question, ‘Uh, an awesome one?’ He answered. ‘Seriously, though. Finish it up.’

Amy gave a wordless, frustrated growl as her eyes misted up. This was too much!

Her hand delved back into the bag, producing the objects that had so repulsed her. One, a large, red leather collar, she clipped around her neck. A leash dangled from it, down between her breasts.

‘I get the leash,’ Amy hissed through clenched teeth. ‘Kinky, Sander. Really. But I wouldn’t even know how to begin using this thing.’ It flashed white in her hand. ‘What kind of party is this?’

Sander laughed, standing up to help her, ‘Think of it as Mardi Gras Plus, okay? Only kind of sleazy and weird. But also fun!’ He grinned.

Sander took the mask from Amy, his free hand gathering up her long tresses of ginger hair and winding them closer to the back of her head. The straps descended as he raised the white mask to her face, catching up her hair and pinning it in place.

The faceplate of the mask was… interesting. The interior featured a dark mesh that covered the eyeholes, making it hard to discern anything particular about the environment. Worse still, the mouth featured a sculpted cock gag that seemed to grow out of the mask in a single, uninterrupted piece. Amy opened her mouth obediently as the artificial member pressed against her lips; she realized that non-compliance was pointless. Even so, she gave a startled “mmph!” as the gag slid over her tongue, pressing it against the floor of her mouth. It filled her jaw, just barely missing the back of her throat and hence her gag reflex; the stretched position was vaguely uncomfortable, probably exactly as Sander had intended.

Finally, he stepped behind her, gripping her wrists firmly and pulling them up into the small of her back, where he locked them together in a pair of steel cuffs. A chain dangled from these new restraints, which Sander attached to the back of Amy’s collar, keeping her arms pinioned in such a way as to make her muscles stretch and ache.

He stepped back to admire his handiwork. Dressed like this, Amy looked sexy, without having any kind of identifying features. The mask bundled her distinctive curls up quite convincingly, and covered her face enough to render her completely unrecognizable.

Sander nodded, satisfied. It would serve its purpose; he knew that the Doctor would find his lab, it was an inevitability. Without anyone there to maintain it, the asteroid would lose power and air, making it an interesting endeavor for anyone to get back inside if Sander didn’t want them to. But he was the Doctor; he would get inside. And when he did, he would know where Sander had run to. There wasn’t any point in deleting the computer’s data; he could recover it.

The Doctor would know that he was taking Amy to Chroma, and he would follow. The only way to be sure that they wouldn’t be discovered was complete anonymity. At least, until they had gotten off the streets and into the privacy of the club Mara had gotten them into. They could take their time then, until the Doctor found Mara’s false relay and left on another wild goose chase.

Suddenly, the ship emitted the landing tone, and the slight, pervasive shudder that had been with them for the last few minutes halted. Sander grinned, and placed his own black mask over his eyes. It really was like Mardi Gras Plus down there.

The bay doors opened with a metallic whirr, and Sander skipped over to them, barely able to keep his excitement in check. He leaped out into the noise of the city, his skin instantly bathed in a galaxy of neon lights. Amy turned towards the sudden light and noise, her borderline blindness making her nervous. Her whole posture radiated the discomfort and fear that she could no longer vocalize or convey through expression.

‘Welcome to Chroma!’ Sander exclaimed, throwing his hands wide. He couldn’t help but feel the enthusiasm of the moment; right off of the ship, Chroma was filled with thumping music, pulsing lights, and the constant chaos of the crowd. An endless procession of… interesting looking people filled the spaceport; at this time of year Chroma was full of people coming and going. It was a perfect cover, Mara had done well.

Sander stepped back inside to take hold of Amy’s leash; the mask made Amy functionally blind, and this was good for ensuring that she wasn’t identified, but it did make transporting her something of a pain in the ass. The leash had been an elegant solution that also furthered the disguise. It wasn’t Sander’s usual fetish, but he had to admit… it was kind of hot.

Sander guided Amy out into the street, his tugging on the leash making Amy flush with humiliation. As she walked, particularly strong lights would occasionally penetrate the veil of her blindfold, momentarily illuminating a series of silhouettes beyond. She took tiny, cautious steps, conscious of the crowd milling around her, and this made Sander tug harder on her leash.

Of all the disgraces that Sander and his crew had put her through over the last few days, this was the worst. She felt exposed, on display. The skimpy outfit she was forced to wear was bad enough, but the restraints and her blindness and speechlessness brought her to a new low. Even as disconnected from the world as she was, Amy could feel the eyes of the crowd roaming her body. In her mind’s eye, she was the center of attention. Her muscles throbbing, her jaw stretched uncomfortably, she felt like crying out, to let someone, anyone, know that she had been kidnapped. To her eternal frustration, she was unable to do anything except follow Sander like some kind of pet.

‘There are a few things you should know, slave,’ Sander said magnanimously, playing the Master with aplomb. ‘Here, slavery is legal. Even if you do get the opportunity to tell someone about us, nobody will care. Also, this is a kind of dangerous place. Dressed as you are, you do not want to get separated from me.’ Sander looked around, eyes filled with a vague sense of unease at his surroundings, ‘If you could see the things I’m seeing, you’d realize that I’m all kinds of nice, compared to some of the people out in public here.’

Sander scratched the back of his head. There were plenty of master-and-slave pairs in this crowd, and depending on where one looked one’s eyes would be assaulted with all manner of depravities. Everywhere he looked, Sander could see the kinds of scars and bruises that made him wince sympathetically. He looked back at Amy’s pristine, perfect skin. He couldn’t see any reason to damage this image of perfection. Given from the kinds of looks she was receiving from others, he wasn’t alone in this mindset.

‘Hey, sweetheart!’ A heavyset man drawled, clearly drunk off his ass. He draped himself roughly over Amy’s shoulder, his hands tracing up the bare skin of her ass. ‘Maybe we could have a little fun!’

Amy squeaked in fear and tried to shrink away. Sander could recognize that, although the man was talking to Amy, his request was addressed directly to himself, as the master. Sander’s eyes grew cold and protective; this interloper had a slave with him, clearly the worse for wear for his attentions. She shook constantly, her skin a patchwork of bruises and harsh red welts. Sander shoved the man roughly away.

‘Look but don’t touch, asshole!’ Sander snarled. ‘This one’s mine, you got me? Go play with your own.’

‘Alright, alright…’ The man shook his head, dissolving back into the crowd.

‘You see what I mean? Don’t wander off, kid.’ Sander sighed. That had been a little uncomfortable. As visually interesting as the streets were, it was probably best to get inside before any real trouble happened. Besides, the Doctor was coming, and he had a time machine. He might already be here.

Mara had left him a map, and he had done his best to memorize it. He led Amy through streets that left him shaking his head in disbelief; the kinds of things that people were doing in shop windows here was truly amazing. Occasionally he would stop, his eyes wide with wonder and his mind growing progressively more open, until Amy groaned through her gag. She was growing more and more uncomfortable on the streets; people felt compelled to shout out lewd comments to her, despite the fact that she was hardly dressed any worse than the majority of slaves out in public. Compared to most, her clothes were graceful, positively artful. It must have been the way she carried her fear and shame in her posture; the crowd could pick up on that and were determined to have their fun at her expense. Sander felt sort of bad for her, but then again, that was how Chroma worked. The last time he had been there, these people had picked him out as a newcomer and made him suffer for it too. Apparently, all one needed was a high-quality slave for that image to be dispelled in people’s minds.

The pair rounded a corner, and Sander threw his free hand up in front of his eyes protectively as a dazzling white spotlight swept over him. At the end of the street, the front façade of the club blazed with multi-colored radiance, a huge glowing sign featuring prominently: Shangri-La.

Sander grinned with anticipation. Of the clubs in this city, Shangri-La was legendary. Anything and everything that the clientele could possibly desire was catered for at Shangri-La, and quite probably many things that most well adjusted people could never imagine besides. It was incredibly exclusive, but Sander was rich, and bribery came as second nature to him. He and Mara had been able to acquire a large private room and unlimited use of the facilities at short notice, with only minimal drain of his private accounts. Amy really had no idea what she was walking into.

‘Ah, here we are,’ Sander said, nodding appreciatively at Shangri-La’s spectacular display. He tugged Amy forward, but the increasingly bright lights and her natural disinclination to go where Sander wanted had combined into an incredible recalcitrance. She quavered, whining around the plastic prick in her mouth and pulling against the collar around her neck. Over the past few days she had been raped multiple times, tortured and generally abused. This was something different. Now she was being dragged through the streets of some alien world, practically naked and tied up. Amy sensed that whatever had been done to her in the past was only playtime compared to what she would experience if she kept going toward the bright light ahead of her. She struggled.

Around them, interested masters would stop and cluck their tongues at the disobedient slave. Some offered recriminations of Sander for failing to train her properly, making Amy flush with shame. Others scolded Amy herself for being rebellious. Others still gave Sander suggestions about how to punish Amy’s insubordination. Some even tried to lend him tools to punish her with. Sander laughed, liking the way that Amy stiffened in panic and shrank away from him when she heard the tenor of the crowd’s reaction turning against her. Sander could see the keen looks in the eyes of many of the gathered masters; they wanted to see this hot new slave being punished.

Sander shook his head, ‘ No need for that… I’m sure she’ll cooperate now. I mean, I’ve got a Command Collar on her, but I do so hating using it. You’ve learned your lesson, right, slave?’ Amy felt a finger prod her in the chest. She whimpered and nodded emphatically, bowing her head in what she hoped was a proper sign of submission. Tears pooled in the mesh eyeholes of her mask, filtering through and falling to the immaculately maintained concrete. After a moment of sheer debasement, she felt Sander’s familiar touch stroke her hair.

‘There, there,’ He said, all faux- tenderness. ‘We’ll consider this a warning then, shall we? Any more disobedience will be punished, slave. Now come on,’ He tugged on her leash, and she stumbled forward. The crowd parted to let them through, with reactions varying from approval to disappointment.

‘Do you see?’ Sander hissed at Amy between clenched teeth as they drew away. ‘You are not among friends here. These people want to see you hurt. It really is best if you stick with me; at least this way you’ll leave this planet eventually. You are hot as hell, if you get caught up here you’ll be used every way you can think of and then dumped when you’re all used up. They like new meat here, and the collar and the Arclight and all that stuff back at the base? That isn’t even the worst technology that they have here.’ He gave a little, uneasy laugh. Chroma might be a hell of a lot of fun, but it was also terrifying.

Large, tinted glass doors slid open soundlessly and closed again. Inside, the writhing, living chaos of the city fell away, leaving an austere, chilled silence in its wake. They were in a well-lit foyer, cast in obsidian metal and smooth, curving contours. There was a constant, low hum as numerous air filters pumped out cold, sweet smelling air. Sander had not realized just how hot the press of bodies outside had been, but looking back he could see Amy’s lingerie clinging to her body with sweat.

‘Hello, sir,’ Called a voice from behind the bold black desk in the center of the room. A beautiful brunette sat primly behind the reception desk, smiling warmly. This smile did not extend to her eyes, which, although sparkling and clear, carried a certain constricted, dead quality that put Sander off. She was stunning, in a manufactured, robotic kind of way; as though her appearance had been constructed mechanically. As Sander drew closer, he realized why; there was a collar around her neck, with a metal white rose turning slowly from a clip at her throat. Chroma’s slave culture had a sort of unofficial code; white rose said that the individual in question was indeed a slave, but that they were not to be touched or interfered with. They were the property of a master who, while not using their slave right now, did not want anyone else using it either. Black rose said that interference was allowed, but only via negotiation with the master. Red roses, well… Red rose designated a walking free-for-all. Open all entries, all the time.

There were three plastic trays at the end of the desk, each filled with a different color rose pendant. Sander tilted his head to one side and thought, hard. It took him a minute, but eventually he settled on no choice at all, and picked three pendants, one of each color. His eyes roamed up the body of his blind captive with a speculative air. He winked at the slave-receptionist. She gave a giggle in response that was just a little too energetic.

‘We have a reservation, name of Hackett.’

The slave lowered her eyes to an embedded screen in front of her, fingers tapping away at a keyboard. She raised her head, ‘Yes, you do, sir. But, if it pleases, this one sees that your reservation is for three, sir?’

Sander made a little noise in the back of his throat. “This one,” huh? Her master, possibly the shadowy proprietor of Shangri-La, did not wish for her to speak of herself in the first person. He wondered what it might be like inside her head, when she wasn’t even allowed to think of herself as a distinct individual. She was, literally, just an object here.

‘Our third will be along shortly, I think,’ Sander said. ‘She’s the one who made the reservation. Calls herself Mara.’

‘Ah, yes, sir,’ The slave was somehow managing to sound timid and confident, at the same time. Sander had no doubt as to which was the actual emotion she was feeling. She pressed a button below the desk, and slid a keycard across to Sander. She had a scar across the back of one hand, and Sander wondered how it had got there. Then he realized that he probably didn’t want to know.

There was something unwholesome about Chroma in general and Shangri-La in particular. One felt that they were covered in a thin patina of grime mere seconds after entering the building.

‘You are in suite 600-09, a platinum-level suite, if it pleases, sir. Please proceed through the double doors; there are elevators to the left, and the public entertainments are on the right. The Shangri-La Help service is tuned to wireless frequency 8.46, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask, sir.’ The slave drilled out this spiel, as though it had been implanted directly into her brain.

‘I do have one question: What’s your name?’ He knew he shouldn’t be asking it, but Sander felt a kind of horrified fascination with the young woman. He wanted to fuck her, but felt incredibly bad even for that basic level of attraction. He felt like this woman would dissolve into sand at any moment.

‘This one is called Pearl, sir.’

Sander shook his head, ‘Of course you are. Elevators are this way, you said?’

‘Yes, sir.’

Sander stopped talking. There was very little point in it. He led Amy through a pair of doors so seamless that when they were closed they were invisible. The elevator doors were much the same, and the elevator beyond them played soft piano music as they entered, the first sound to intrude on the club since they had entered. Sander recognized the piece; Chopin’s “Raindrops,” and he clucked his tongue appreciatively. Somebody in this club had excellent taste in music.

With the cool air blowing and the pleasant music taking the place of powerful club beats, Amy was beginning to relax, if only a little. Her shoulders had dropped back down, and her breathing was returning to a normal rhythm. In the cooling air, her nipples were beginning to rise on her lusciously pert breasts, showing through her damp bra. Sander stared openly; she was blind, she didn’t know what he was doing. There was no harm in it.

Shangri-La was actually a giant tower, one of the atmosphere-scraping super-towers that functioned as one huge testament to the decadent excesses of Theros. There were hundreds of floors, each one bristling with rooms both private and public for the use of the thousands of customers that were deemed worthy of the earthly delights that Shangri-La offered. A plasma screen attached to one wall of the elevator pointed out the locations of numerous specialty services that the club offered. Sander stood transfixed; some things he felt he simply had to try, or to make Amy try. Others were far more lasting, and he wondered whether he was willing to permanently alter Amy in some of the ways the screen was suggesting. Sander had learned of Shangri-La by reputation, but he had never realized just how sprawling the club actually was; it offered everything a master could ever want for his slave, from simple piercings and tattoos all the way up to gene therapy and direct mental downloads.

Sander found himself fascinated by the idea that sexual technique could be improved vie psychological implantation. He could actually change who Amy was…

Fortunately, the elevator reached its destination shortly after Sander set down that particular train of thought. He shook his head to dislodge it; altering Amy’s personality wasn’t part of the plan. It defeated the purpose of keeping her captive in the first place.

It was only a short walk to their room. The door opened when Sander pressed his new keycard against it, and his eyes widened. The room truly earned the designation “platinum.”

‘Wow,’ He breathed, stepping into his new digs. For the most part, the suite looked like a high-priced hotel room; large double bed, well appointed bathroom and kitchen, and the small living area featured a television screen that was positively breathtaking in scale. But there were several additions and alterations to hint at what the suites actual purpose was.

The walls and roof had a variety of depressions, handholds and clips spaced out at odd intervals. The headboard and foot of the bed featured sturdy iron rings, and even the kitchen counter had some rings through which ropes or chains could be passed. That struck Sander as somewhat unhygienic.

The whole room had been purpose built to restrain people, as well as allow them to live in comfort. A large black wardrobe sat in one corner, distinct from the others in the room. Sander knew, just knew, without having to open it, that it was full of an incredible array of instruments of pleasure and punishment. That was just the kind of place that Shangri-La was.

The Shangri-La service staff had already carried Sander’s bags from his shuttle up to the room. They were that good. Sander ignored them, instead walking over to Amy and reaching around the back of her head to undo her mask. Now that they were safely inside the club, there was no way that the Doctor could find them; and with no publicly accessible cameras it didn’t matter if Amy was caught on tape. In fact, it might be fun to get her on tape…

Amy’s fiery hair cascaded down from its tight bun as the mask came free of her face. Her eyes blinked, adjusting to the light, as the rubber cock came free of her mouth with a satisfying slurping noise. She coughed, taking in deep breaths.

‘Command: Strip,’ Sander exhaled, dropping heavily onto the bed. Outside, clothes were a matter of decorum. Inside the club, none of that mattered.

‘Oh, come on, Sander…’ Amy complained even as her hands worked to obey the command. Sander shook his head in response.

‘I’m not going to fuck you,’ He said. ‘Mara and I have a gentlemen’s agreement on that point. I don’t get to start the real fun until she gets back. That said, we still have around an hour to kill until she finishes up. So we’re going downstairs to kill some time.’

‘Like this?!’ Amy squealed as she peeled off the last of her outfit, leaving her gloriously nude.

‘Yup,’ Sander gave his best winning smile. ‘Enjoy the freedom, Miss Pond. There’s nothing like it where you’re from.’ He guffawed, ‘Of course… If you walked around Leadworth like this, some people might appreciate it. I know I do.’

‘I hate you,’ Amy snapped. Sander just laughed.

‘Well, sure! But I’m in the position of power here, my dear. It isn’t a good idea to antagonize me, my little sex slave. Come, we go!’ He stood, skipping to the door with a gesture over his shoulder. Amy followed unwillingly, going weak at the knees at the thought of walking around in public like this.

‘Oh, wait. Before I forget…’ Sander clipped the small black rose to Amy’s leather collar, the only piece of clothing Sander had allowed. He grabbed her leash, just to complete the image. Free of any kind of covering, Amy’s small, pert breasts jiggled as she walked, a sight that Sander had to physically wrench himself away from. She shivered a little in the cold, her arms covering her chest and crotch. Sander moved to stop her, but the sight of her trying to preserve her modesty, a look of abject defeat on her face, was simply too much. He shrugged.

In the elevator, Sander studied the electronic brochure, looking for something to do. It didn’t take him long; ground floor… a simple idea, but certainly entertaining, and in keeping with his idea of recording Amy’s little misadventures. Yes, that would do nicely…

Once back on the ground floor, Sander led his stripped slave out into the public arena. If the corridors around the private suites were empty, the public areas were where all those people had gone to. The floor squirmed with activity; a variety of adult-oriented entertainment at one’s fingertips. The dance floor was in full swing, but that wasn’t where the action was at; slaves were everywhere, in any number of positions, doing any number of lewd things. Some were chained to the walls, enduring whatever tortures their masters could devise. Others still were… well, it was a visually complicated scene.

Even with all that was going on, a large number of eyes slid to regard Amy appraisingly as she entered the room. It was rare that a newcomer was allowed into Shangri-La, and any fresh meat was cause to stare. And this new slave was obviously new at the entire slavery game.

Amy shrank away from the room, eyes wide with horror at the acts she was witnessing. Faced with lustful gazes of most of the room, Amy’s hands felt like they didn’t cover nearly enough. Sander whispered a command.

Her hands lowered to her sides, prompting a storm of hoots and cheers from the crowd. Suddenly exposed, Amy’s cheeks flushed an even deeper shade of red. Tears welled in her stinging eyes, and she sobbed thickly. Nothing in her life previously could have prepared her for being exposed like this in front of so many strangers, thousands of light-years- and the regular kind- from home. Her evident humiliation only made the crowd more enthusiastic. Sander began to get offers shouted from the mass for some “private time,” with Amy. She whimpered, and stared at Sander in horror.

‘Sorry, gentlemen. She’s not for sale just yet. Maybe later, we’ll see how my fancy strikes. But enjoy the visuals, by all means.’ He winked at the crowd, prompting scattered applause. Nevertheless, he took her in a wide arc, away from the crowd, to avoid their pawing, eager hands.

At the far end of the room was a sort of alleyway, one wall playing host to numerous black doors. Sander selected a door at random. Inside was a small booth, large enough for a single person. There was a hole in one wall, beyond which could be heard the sounds of the city.

‘Oh, you have got to be kidding me!’ Amy shouted.

‘I take it you know how this works, then? Well, to ensure cooperation… Command: suck the cocks that come through the hole. And… try to have fun,’ Sander smiled, closing the door on her. There was a tiny click as it locked. Amy found herself sinking to her knees, face level with the hole. She wished Sander hadn’t added that last part; she was salivating at the thought of what she was to do, regardless of how repulsive the thought actually was.

Sander slipped around to the other side of the booth. He knew he had promised Mara that he would control himself until she came back, but what the hell. He was her boss, not the other way around. This section of the club was open to the public, but only slightly. A door at one end of the hall let in the outside world, but the door Sander had to pass through would only work with a keycard. These booths were for a special kind of exhibitionism.

Besides, this was also a relatively low-impact game to play. Sander was cognizant of the fact that Amy was still recovering from her ordeal. He had resolved to go easy on her for a while. Shangri-La was notoriously tough on its slaves, and Sander felt he had plenty of time to ease her into that. For now it was best to allow her to fully recover her strength. She would need it.

Amy found she could look through the hole, giving her limited warning as to who was approaching. So she saw that it was Sander coming to her first. She rolled her eyes as her captor lined himself up with the hole and poked his junk through. Unbidden, her tongue shot out, licking at the head as her mouth engulfed this familiar dick.

Amy’s head bobbed rapidly on Sanders hardening prick, hoping that he would cum quickly, tire of this game and let her out of the booth. Spending hours at a time on her knees getting her face fucked didn’t exactly appeal to her. Outside, she could hear Sander groan appreciatively as her tongue slid along the underside of his cock. She remembered that he liked that.

For Sander, having Amy suck him off was just a way to relieve the tension that had been building inside him as he forced her to expose herself. He had been all distracted and… well, hard, for a long time, and he didn’t expect that he would last particularly long this time. That wasn’t a problem, given that the whole point of the booth exercise was to force Amy onto many strange cocks, rather than his own.

He allowed Amy to slurp up the length of his cock for a few minutes more, before letting go and unloading into her mouth. Amy moaned as the first spray of cum hit the back of her throat, and tried to pull away. The collar wouldn’t allow that, and she had no choice but to swallow Sander’s copious seed.

His softening cock slid from her lips and out through the hole. Amy growled at him in frustration and opened her mouth to say something through the hole, when suddenly his face appeared on the other side.

‘Actually, this is probably a good idea,’ He said. ‘Command: Do not attempt to speak with or reveal your identity to anyone outside the booth. Just a little safety measure.’ He called that last part over his shoulder as he rapidly retreated into the member’s only area.

As the door slammed shut behind him, Sander exhaled explosively, ‘Well, that was fun!’ He exclaimed.

Amy peeked out through the hole, then suddenly found herself jerking back away from the opening. She hadn’t told herself to do that; it was the collar working, and Amy knew why.

‘Oh, you have really, really got to be kidding me…’ She lilted in her lovely Scottish accent. She closed her eyes and hoped that it wasn’t true.

Outside, in the hallway, looking around himself furtively, was the Doctor.

Sometimes, it seemed as though the universe worked to certain narrative rules. The young hero will always fall in love with his female opposite, the heroine can never die, and there was absolutely no chance that the Doctor, with his hand loosening his belt, will ever pick a booth other than the one Amy was in.

Even as the Doctor’s dick slid through the hole, Amy couldn’t help but feel a little offended. He was supposed to be rescuing her, not trying to get laid in a brothel city! The Doctor had always gotten distracted at crucial moments, but this was fucking ridiculous! She had waited twelve years for him once, and now this? The girl who bloody well waited, indeed!

Amy’s jaw clamped shut when she tried to call out. Her body froze when she tried to signal. Moments passed as she struggled with the Command Collar. She was so close! He was right. Fucking. There! This was horrible!

‘Hey, hurry up in there,’ That achingly familiar voice called out through the thin wall. Amy glared. Still, she found her lips craning forward to take the -surprisingly thick- head of his cock into her mouth.

Amy contemplated other ways to signal to the Doctor. How, precisely, did one communicate with someone while simultaneously lapping at his cock? She supposed she could trace the words “SOS,” on the underside of his dick with her tongue… No, that’s stupid…

Once the hopelessness of the situation had reasserted itself, Amy realized just what she was doing. She remembered the time she had tried to seduce the Doctor, back in Leadworth. But that was different. That was a world away from being forced to service him in complete anonymity. This was utterly humiliating.

She choked back a sob, or rather, the Doctor’s prick did, as it hit the back of her throat. She was having trouble taking all of him into her mouth, but the collar compelled her forward regardless. Her teeth grazed at his sensitive skin, causing a long moan from the other side of the wall.

Her head bobbed mechanically as her mind swirled in a storm of thought. On the one hand, the cock in her mouth belonged to the Doctor. Her Doctor. The one she had waited for since childhood. She had wanted to do this to him more often than she cared to admit.

On the other hand, it was the Doctor. Her friend, who had saved her countless times. Who had rejected her advances in Leadworth, and with good reason; she was married! And Rory… Where was he in all this? Had they split up to search the city, or was he back in the TARDIS? Getting fucked by Sander and Mara, that had been enough of a violation of her wedding vows. But the Doctor was something else. The entire, confused history that the three of them shared, that made this far, far worse.

Her head filled with images of escape, of somehow getting loose from the collar’s control. The Doctor was right outside, for god’s sake! But there was no way to get to him. The collar’s control was absolute, and it made her suck harder, slid her lips over him more energetically. It made her tongue move and twist around the thick piece of meat in her mouth, coating it in her saliva. She had never given a blowjob like this before.

The Doctor began thrusting deeper into her mouth through the hole. Amy had never deep-throated before –she had never needed to- but the Command Collar didn’t exactly take that into consideration. She had no idea what kind of intelligence was driving the thing, but it seemed to force her into the least desirable course of action. She groaned in panic, her eyes widening as her pink lips slid progressively further down the Doctor’s shaft. She felt the head of his dick hit the back of her throat, and she gagged, yet still the collar compelled her to go deeper.

Over the course of several seconds, Amy’s mouth was forced down, lower and lower, until the entire length of the Doctor’s penis was in her. Her throat convulsed as her gag reflex went into overdrive, drawing long, shuddering moans from her. Amy concentrated on breathing through her nose as she began to move again, diving down the full length of his shaft again and again. Her throat burned from the repeated violation, and she coughed and spluttered even as she continued blowing the Doctor. The collar wouldn’t allow her to stop.

Suddenly, she drew back, the tip of the Doctor’s cock resting on her tongue. There was a moan from the other side of the partition, as a jet of cum landed on her tongue. Amy was left in little doubt of a single fact; Time Lord semen was different from the human variety. It was thinner, like water, and tasted… sort of sweet, in a vague, indefinable way.

The Doctor came copiously, and Amy wasn’t prepared for the sheer volume of the deluge. She swallowed rapidly, desperately, as it filled what remained of her mouth to be filled.

The Doctor finished, pulling out of her mouth. She lapped enthusiastically at the tip of his prick, licking every last drop of cum from the softening head. She cursed the collar for making her do that, her eyes moistening at the implication of what she had just done.

She tried, once more, to wrench herself free of the collar and call out. It would only take the slightest sound, just one word, to alert him to her presence. But her mouth clamped shut, and she whined in frustration. Was this nightmare ever going to end? Sander had said that the Doctor had lost many friends, and that he had forgotten them all. Given what had just happened, it seemed as if he had forgotten her.

In the tiny, dim booth, time meant very little. Amy couldn’t tell if she had been on her knees for a few minutes, or several hours. An endless procession of faceless, anonymous men came for her services, a seemingly unlimited supply of cocks in every shape and size. The collar was merciless and uncaring; she sucked every dick that came through the opening, growing progressively more resigned and exhausted. She swallowed every time, the collar forcing her lips into such a tight, sucking seal that nothing escaped it. Her throat grew raw, her jaw ached, and her mind descended into a bland haze of exhaustion.

When the final prick slipped out of the hole, and the booth door slid open, she barely registered it. Her eyes were half-closed, and she was drawing deep, shaking breaths through her mouth. In the dim cell, exhausted and kneeling, utterly naked, Amy possessed a ragged, worn-out kind of beauty that made the figure at the door break out in a wide grin.

Amy turned, but the figure was lit from behind and appeared to Amy only as a silhouette. This kind of dignified, showy anonymity didn’t last long.

‘What up, sweetheart?’ Mara giggled, her white teeth gleaming in the low light. She stepped into the booth, looking resplendent in a deep red dress that flowed around her like liquid. The neckline plunged, her soft, strawberry blonde hair falling around her in a shroud. Behind her, Sander leant against the wall, grinning inanely. It was clear that he had been hitting the bar, in that he swayed constantly and seemed to be giggling under his breath.

Like Sander, Mara was wearing a mask; hers was white and covered her eyes, curving lines like fangs following the edge of her face down to her jaw. Unlike Sander, she was still able to see straight, and didn’t smell like a distillery. She possessed enough manual dexterity to bend down and extend a red-gloved hand to Amy, gesturing to indicate that she would help her up off the floor.

‘C’mon. Game’s over. If he stays out in public much longer,’ Mara jerked a thumb over her shoulder at the inebriated Sander. ‘He’ll probably get into some trouble, or get killed. Or both, most likely. The point is, I’m back, baby.’

Amy was too tired, her legs too sore, to snap at her captors, or assert her independence by pulling herself up. She took Mara’s hand gratefully and grunted with discomfort as she was pulled bodily to her feet. Her bare thighs quivered, and she moved to cover her nudity once more.

Mara shook her head, ‘Come off it, Amy. We’re all past that now. From what Sander has been telling me, everyone outside at the bar is past it. Show it if you got it, that’s what I say.’

‘That’s easy for you to say,’ Amy pouted in a breathless, faded way. She really was tired. ‘You aren’t wearing the collar.’

Mara nodded, ‘I wore the first one. Well, I tested the prototype to come out of our manufacturing facility. It’s kind of creepy, isn’t it?’

Amy nodded back, as emphatically as she could, making Mara laugh. Sander laughed too, but it wasn’t entirely clear whether he even knew what was going on. Mara turned to him with an exasperated look, and rolled her eyes.

‘Seriously though, we’d better get him out of here. You too, I suppose, before someone out there gets drunk enough to try their luck. I don’t know what Sander was thinking; we agreed to leave you alone until I got back,’ Mara sighed. ‘ And then he leaves you all alone in there, and gets plastered? Anything could have happened to you! Well, whatever… Come on.’

‘So, what happens next?’

Mara smiled, this time only looking a little like a shark facing down a baby seal, ‘Well, we still have a couple of days here in Chroma. We can take it easy tonight. Tomorrow, well…’ Mara stared at Amy, her eyes glinting. ‘That’s when the fun begins.’

 

 

 

Author’s Note: Okay, so here’s the deal: This is the newest chapter of Panic Moon, the latest series I used to run over at Literotica, but that will now be continued here. For various reasons, Lit will no longer take this thing, so it’s here now. For a while, anyway. Watch this space, I’ll have news at some point, or at least additional chapters (and the intervening chapters too) in future. 

Many thanks to Literotica users Allyourbase and LogicalDreamer for their help in proofreading, editing and general ideas-crafting, and thanks also to my wife Bel and girlfriend Dana for their constant support and feedback on the series.

Oh! And please, please, please comment or give me feedback if you have it in you. I need this stuff to keep writing, alright? Your words are the fuel that keep these creative fires burning, readers. Enjoy!

******

‘Okay, so what’s our game plan?’

Mara leaned her hip against the door of the elevator, keeping it open as Sander paced the interior. She had just, rather forcibly, dropped Tsugi off in Kanaria’s room to look after her before coming to join this party, along with her other sister. Dulcimer, for whatever reason, had been unavailable.

‘Do we really need one?’ Ren yawned, and for the first time Sander realized that it was rather late, and he hadn’t slept in quite a while now, what with one thing or another. ‘It’s two women, right? Human women.’ She said it as though it was a slur.

‘We don’t want them getting out. Luckily, the only way they can from down there is up the elevator shaft we’re sitting on top of, so we can pretty much take our time now,’ Sander said. ‘Not that I, y’know, think we should take any longer than we absolutely must, since I don’t exactly want those two talking, whoever they are.’

‘What do we know?’ Ren yawned again. It was starting to get a tad irritating.

‘One’s Gwen Cooper, former Cardiff police officer and currently former Torchwood operative. Can’t say exactly when in her timeline we’ve taken her from, but no matter what she’s got training with small arms, probably some hand to hand. Nothing we can’t handle,’ Sander shrugged.

‘You say that like you’ll be the one handling it,’ Ren deadpanned. ‘If so, why d’you need me?’

‘Because you’re, like, Iron Man or something, apparently,’ Sander frowned in the knowledge that he had yet to really ask her about that. ‘The other one’s an unknown, and I don’t like unknowns. Especially not when they might have a penchant for breaking my nice, shiny stuff. So, I figure why not bring out the big guns?’

‘Because the big guns are sleepy?’ She answered. ‘Also, maybe they don’t want you depending on them for every little damn thing that crosses your mind in future?’

‘Ren, quit your bitching,’ Mara said, waving her hands vaguely. ‘I know that look. You want to punch something. So stop acting like you don’t care.’

‘Well, look,’ Sander began. ‘We’re essentially going in blind, because we haven’t gotten around to repairing the cameras that were damaged by Marduk’s attack. But so are they. There’s only one way in or out, and we’ve got a lot of things going for us, even if they do end up getting violent.’

Demonstratively, he tossed a single silver Command Collar up into the air, catching it deftly. There was another in his other hand, but he grouped the two together before pocketing them, ‘The more time we sit up here talking, the more time they’ve got to think.’

‘And thinking is bad,’ Ren droned conscientiously.

‘… I’m pressing the button,’ Mara sighed, before living up to her word. The elevator descended rapidly, picking up truly obscene levels of speed as it shot down into the core of the moon. Not for the first time, she thanked god for gravitational stabilizers.

And it had always surprised her just how quickly it reached the core; she had seen Trismestigius from space. It hadn’t looked that small.

Sander stepped forward as the elevator settled at the base of the shaft and the doors began sliding opened. He was out onto the walkway first, though Ren followed swiftly behind with a hungry look in her eyes, and Mara found herself shouldering past her older sister to take up position behind and to the right of her boyfriend.

They caught sight of the three of them almost immediately. What else was there to see?

‘Hey, excuse me?’ A very distinctly not Welsh accent filled the distressing lack of silence that the Eternity Engine sat in. One always got the feeling that all those constantly moving parts would make the kind of noise that pressed against the walls and sent the senses skittering away uselessly. But the future was a quiet place, ‘Do you know where we are? Or… how we got here?’

Sander looked from one girl to the other and back again, before he started frowning. Beside him, Mara- the only other person who could recognize the Doctor’s collaborators on sight- made a little curious noise in the back of her throat. Ren grinned, apparently more concerned with the physical aspects of the women before them, but Sander’s heart was sinking.

‘Jerry!’ He called out angrily, holding out his arms to stop Ren’s advance.

‘How may I assist?’

‘You can start by telling me how, instead of Gwen Cooper and some mystery chick, we’ve just got two mystery chicks,’ Sander said, eye twitching. ‘Why am I looking at Sally Sparrow and Lorna Bucket, here? What’s the deal, Jericho?’

‘It seems that, in addition to the Eternity Engine and my own diagnostic subroutines being damaged in Marduk’s attack, the cameras in this room were also rendered non-functional,’ The A.I said. ‘My apologies, Sander. I made an educated guess based on available data.’

‘Those are not people names!’ Ren guffawed, shaking her head. ‘Man, people of the past were dumb…

‘Do you not remember who I am, Ren?’ Mara tilted her head. ‘I know what your full name is, remember? Do you really want to be making fun of other people’s names, S-‘

‘Shut your face!’ Ren punched her sister on the arm, perhaps a little harder than she had meant to. Still, it achieved its goal of shutting her up, ‘What are you, my mother?

‘Girls, please,’ Sander said quietly, keeping his eyes locked on the newcomers. ‘Not exactly making an effective impression on our guests, here.’

‘Oh, right,’ Mara grinned. ‘New girls. Fun.

‘Please, could you help us?’ Sally quavered, her confusion writ so plainly over her features. ‘You seem quite comfortable here, you must know where we are, yes?’

‘Lorna Bucket…’ Sander picked out the greater threat and pointedly ignored Sally, laughing a little as his eyes grazed the camo-print clad body before him. He turned fractionally to address the girls behind him, ‘That’s interesting. The targeting system’s clearly been destabilized, but the Engine itself is still locked to the Doctor. We’re still getting timelines attached to his.’

‘Fuck the science stuff…’ Ren grinned, surveying Lorna with a distressingly transparent look in her eyes. ‘Dibs on the Private, there…’

‘Don’t bother,’ Lorna scowled, laying her hand gently on Sally’s shoulder as she passed her by, eyes never leaving Sander’s. ‘The shape of things is pretty obvious. Transmat beam, all this tech surrounding us… You people, identify yourselves.’

She held herself loosely, but with confidence, and for the first time Sander remembered that Lorna had been a soldier of the Church, and that one didn’t get there by being a pushover. He recognized the stance from so many trainers and teachers in his past; she was ready to fight. Unlike Sally, she’d been able to put together enough of the picture to make an educated guess as to what was going on. Good for her.

Beside him, Ren’s hands curled into fists, knuckles cracking from the pressure. So, she saw the fight in her eyes too…

‘Stay where you are,’ Sander said calmly, trying to look the picture of authority. Lorna kept moving, and he could feel Ren’s gaze prickle on the back of his neck. Things were escalating quickly; he didn’t like the feeling of losing control, especially with his captives. It made him uneasy.

‘Fuck the nice talk, Sander…’ Ren growled. ‘Let’s just collar them so’s I can have a little fun. Because I think the kind of fun the Private’s looking for, will end up pretty badly for her, in the end. And I don’t think you want that, boss. I really don’t.’

Ren was itching for a fight, she had been ever since Walker, and Sander had honestly been a little afraid of what her trigger would end up being, what would make her snap and start punching. He desperately didn’t want it to be this… But at the same time, he knew he couldn’t stop her if it was.

‘Ren… Calm down…’ He kept his voice as level as possible, putting out his hands to try and keep Lorna at a distance. But he could see the fear lurking behind her controlled assertiveness, and fear was liable to make a girl lash out; case in point, she gripped him firmly by the wrist and flipped him, easily, over her shoulder and down onto the walkway below with a resounding metallic crash.

It was Ren’s incessant need to talk that had tipped their hand and given the game away, and not coincidentally, it was also Ren who- entirely unhelpfully- couldn’t stop laughing at Sander as Lorna continued, a gasp from Sally audible in the background. She slipped past him with ease and put Mara down with an easy, low sweep of her foot, sending the blonde sprawling onto her ass. Ren she avoided, shouldering past her and making a break for the elevator; it was pretty clear she had seen the Half as a threat, and decided just to move on.

‘Okay, officially? Ow,’ Sander snapped, leaping to his feet as the doors of the elevator sealed closed behind Lorna. ‘Oh, goddamn it… Ren, go get her!’

Ren laughed, rough and unrestrained, ‘Sure thing, boss! My fuckin’ pleasure.’

‘No permanent damage!’ Sander called after her as she turned and started running down the walkway. He tossed a Command Collar to her, ‘Just bring her under control. Bruises, scrapes… whatever. But don’t break anything!’

‘Sander,’ Ren chided, shaking her head. ‘Did you see the rack on that one? Now, why would I want to hurt that? In a way that’s not recreational, I mean,’ She winked, before firing herself down the walkway.

‘I’m getting the feeling you people aren’t entirely friendly,’ Sally said, backing way. ‘But I don’t know what you’d want from me, so maybe you could just show me to an exit and I could be on my way? Might be a bit hopeful, but I swear I won’t tell anybody about your teleporter, or whatever that is… I doubt anyone would believe me even if I did,’ She laughed nervously, the sound fading away as Sander and Mara continued to stare her down, and her feet reached the central control dais of the Engine.

‘Shut it, Earth girl,’ Sander pointed. ‘And get away from my machine!’ He strode with purpose down the central walkway, practically pushing Sally’s cowering form into Mara’s arms as he passed her, stepping up to the controls of the massive machine. He started tinkering immediately, streams of data running across the holographic screens, ‘Oh, my poor Engine… What did the mean A.I do to you?’

‘Hey there…’ Mara purred in Sally’s ear, her grip plenty strong enough to keep the bewildered Earth woman from struggling. ‘Sander, can you tell what’s wrong? Should we just shut the machine down until we can fix it?’

‘Can’t exactly shut down a temporal engine that easily, Mara,’ Sander’s eyes remained fixed on his screen. ‘The best I can do is put it into standby for the time being, stop it from running the capture program until I’ve even figured out the glitch. Want to get our guest under control before she breaks anything?’

‘Ha, yeah… Let me do that…’ She grinned, slipping the Command Collar around Sally’s neck with the kind of ease that became a little unsettling in retrospect. The younger woman gave a little squeal of shock, her hands- now freed from Mara’s grip- racing up to her neck to try and pull off, or at least identify, what had been put there. As the pads of her fingers traced the cool, thin band of metal, her eyes went to Mara, filled with a kind of questioning horror.

‘What-‘

‘No, stop,’ Sander cut her off before Sally could get too far. ‘I really don’t want to have that conversation going on while I’m working. Sorry Mara, but this is gonna take me some time. You feel like you can handle the young Miss Sparrow for a little while before I join you?’

Yes,’ Mara hissed, her voice suddenly very intense. ‘Come along, Sparrow, I’m kind of interested in how you sing…’

Sander could hear Sally attempting to talk, and Mara very enthusiastically talking over her, notably beginning her sentence with the proper command word, but in truth his attention was elsewhere. All he cared about, in the moment, was repairing the Eternity Engine; mostly because a moon sized temporal engine attached to a dimensional scalpel is not something he wanted exploding in his face, but there was a much scarier fact at work here.

The Doctor had far, far more dangerous friends than Sally or Lorna. If someone less harmless was accidentally pulled through to Trismestigius, things could get ugly, fast.

*************

‘I’m serious, can you please tell me what’s going on here?’ Though trying to keep herself calm, as was apparently appropriate in a kidnapping scenario, Sally was having a hard time keeping her voice level. Her eyes were wide, darting around the room- cell, really- that Mara had, rather forcefully, ushered her into. Mara’s answering grin only made the panic rise higher in her chest.

‘I could, for sure,’ Mara said. ‘But, ooh, I don’t see it improving your mood any. Because, see… You’re really not involved in our little war game, not much, anyway. But, you touched the Doctor, and that makes you a target. Good enough for the Engine, apparently. I guess… Yeah, it must be fate that you’re here, Sally Sparrow.’

Sally opened her mouth to speak, then quickly closed it again. There were simply too many questions she needed to ask, all of them competing for room in her immediate thoughts, but the one fact that had served her in good stead stood tall above them all; don’t talk about the Doctor.

This blonde woman and her strange accomplices weren’t the first people to come calling about the Doctor, not by a long shot. Rumors had dogged her for quite a while, mostly due to Larry’s initial inability to stay quiet about the incident on message boards and the like, and it was only natural, she supposed, that in time her run in with the blue box would garner some unwelcome attention. First there had been someone claiming to be from UNIT, that man in the old timey military coat… Some of her visitors had seemed oddly inhuman, too…

She had learned to lie often, and convincingly about the incident.

But then again, she guessed that these people, whoever they were, weren’t interested in the lies; they had already decided for her. And now, the one with what was possibly the most scarily intense stare Sally had ever seen was directing that stare right at her.

‘Now then, you seem a meek little thing,’ Mara said smoothly, eyes glittering. Her hips swayed as she closed the distance between them, making Sally back away at a rapid pace, ‘I don’t think you’ll give me any trouble, will you, Sally?’

Sally backed away, step by step, until her calves hit the bed and she tripped, landing heavily on the mattress. Mara was right there beside her, sidling up right into her personal space. Sally’s entire body tensed as the blonde’s hand slipped onto her bare thigh, under the hem of her demure brown skirt.

‘What are you doing?’ She squeaked, scrambling away from Mara’s slightly manic smile, eyes wide as, impossibly, the situation seemed to get even worse. Her back hit a wall- unsurprising given that she seemed to be in a cell- and once again Mara shifted position, effectively trapping her in place, against the head of the bed.

‘This is what you’re here for,’ Mara said slyly, slipping her arms around Sally’s neck and drawing her inexorably in, laying her mouth on the Earth woman’s, wrapping her in a solid, iron-strong embrace that kept her from fleeing as she forced her tongue into Sally’s mouth. The younger woman squealed into Mara’s mouth until the blonde pulled away, ‘What? I’m trying to be nice, but if you want I could go rough. Maybe you like that… I’m pretty sure I could make you like it…’

‘I’m not into girls!’ Sally quavered, throwing herself out of Mara’s grip with panicked strength and pressing herself against the wall, desperately. Mara simply smiled, slithering across the bed and bringing her face close to Sally’s, so that her ice blue eyes filled with the kind of slick confidence that Sally herself had always found exceedingly rare; it was clear this was a woman who had seen a great many things that had tested her, and had always come out on top, through any damage they had inflicted upon her. She wasn’t used to not getting what she wanted.

Tough,’ She whispered, clicking her tongue before diving in, trapping Sally against the wall and kissing her again, forcefully, deeply and dominantly. Though she tried to pull away and her heart pounded in her chest, Sally could feel the gleeful passion in Mara’s kiss, a kind of assured, sharp edged confidence and a desire that could be switched on and off like a tap. This was a woman that… knew sex, in ways that Sally couldn’t even comprehend.

Sally wondered just what she had been drawn into. It wasn’t the first time she had thought this since coming here, but she found she was now thinking it with more urgency.

‘I don’t think you’re thinking this through, Sally,’ Mara purred, lips brushing softly against Sally’s, feeling the girl twitch and squirm in her grasp. Her back was pressed against the wall, her legs forced apart so that Mara could be between them, and the simple act of having to splay her thighs and let the other woman sidle up to her left Sally feeling highly vulnerable and open.

‘This is the future,’ Mara continued. ‘The sexy stuff’s gotten way more advanced since your primitive-ass time… We can get you off in some amazing ways,’ She winked suggestively.

‘I’m not going to let you do anything to me!’ Sally exclaimed archly, trying to push Mara away. ‘Much less let you have se-‘

‘No choice, Earth girl,’ Mara shook her head. ‘Command: Silence.’

Sally couldn’t even vocalize her surprise, as her jaw snapped shut, an entirely adequate demonstration of Mara’s power over her. The blonde smirked, running one hand across Sally’s thigh. With a wink, Mara slipped from the bed and pressed her hand to a seemingly random spot on the polished white wall, causing the holographic window projection above the bed to switch off, and a small shelf to slide out, bearing a number of objects whose purpose Sally could only guess at.

‘You see? Future!’ Mara grinned. ‘We’ve got the cool toys to play with, Sally. I don’t even need to get you out of your clothes!’ She thought for a moment, then added with a wink, ‘Yet.

With an expression distinctly like a child in a candy store, Mara eyed the row of devices set into their own depressions on the shelf, running the tips of her fingers over each in turn before making a selection; a large, oblong silver thing that she closed around her fingers. She turned with a grin and pointed the curved edge of the device at Sally, depressing a series of triggers set under her fingers.

‘Behold!’ She said dramatically, as Sally felt the metal of her Collar heat up. Sally gasped, her hands flying between her legs as her thighs clamped shut around them, strange, instantaneous pleasure blooming through her nerves in a matter of seconds. She practically doubled over, trembling as her entire body was seized with an ecstasy akin to a physical force, making her pussy flood and tearing whimpers from her throat.

It only lasted a few seconds, but the sheer sudden power of it had certainly left an impression. She gasped for breath as her eyes shot to Mara, watching the blonde cautiously as she straightened herself out, looking for even a second of warning before that strange device was used on her again.

‘What the hell was that?’ The Earth woman quavered, her body still shaking with the memory of that sparking, artificial pleasure. Mara tapped her fingers lightly over the grip of the device, giggling quietly to herself.

‘Direct nerve stimulation,’ She shrugged. ‘Tied into your Collar. It’s actually pretty fun watching you squirm, although kind of… less satisfying than some other ways I could think of to get you off, but it does prove my point. The future’s a big, wide place, little Sally. You’d better start… stretching to fit.’

‘D-don’t do that to me again,’ Sally quavered, shaking her head. ‘You can’t-‘

‘I can!’ Mara gave a thumbs up with her free hand. ‘See?’

She hit the triggers again, and Sally’s eyes almost rolled back into her head. When she came back down to Earth, she was face to face with Mara, with her skirt hiked up progressively higher by the blonde’s confident hands. She squirmed and tried to push Mara away, but her captor would not be denied.

‘Never fucked a girl before…’ Mara gave a razor edged grin. ‘Yeah, you’re going to be fun, Earth girl.’

‘Please, don’t do this. Reconsider,’ Sally pleaded desperately, pressing herself back against the wall, as far from the strange blonde as she could get. ‘I don’t know why you’re even doing this!’

‘Because you played with the Doctor,’ A voice from the door said. ‘Having fun, Mara?’

‘Hey Hackett,’ Mara turned just long enough to shoot him a languid grin, before returning her mouth to the curve of Sally’s neck, laying in with her teeth, hard enough to make the captive woman squeak. She continued, ‘Why not have a little fun together? I’d like to enlist your, uh, talents…’

Silently, Sander made his way to the bed and slid down beside his girlfriend. Sally felt her heart began to pound ever harder in her chest, as panic rose to fill her mind; Mara alone had been bad enough, what with the continuous assault of new, barely comprehensible information and concepts, but with Sander here, her chances of getting out of this unscathed had worsened considerably. She attempted to pull her knees up to her chest in an attempt to protect herself, but Mara had her ankles in seconds, pulling her legs back down and spread open.

‘What do you want me to do?’ Sander grinned, insinuating himself between Sally’s legs and looking the brunette up and down with a vague, hungry expression. With his Eternity Engine shut down, Sander had found himself alone with his frustration, and was more than willing to indulge Mara, happy for any kind of distraction. That the blonde woman leaned over and, in an apparent fit of hormone induced mania, pressed her tongue down his throat, was merely an unexpected bonus.

‘Hold her down,’ Mara murmured to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. ‘You can watch, if you make yourself useful… And if you’re good, who knows?’

Sander found his smile slipping away as he looked into Mara’s eyes and found something very familiar; that same intense, flickering glimmer that told him he was now in the middle of serious business, and he’d better behave if he knew what was good for him. A chill went down his spine.

Obediently, Sander gathered Sally’s wrists into his tight grip, as she shook her head and tried desperately to pull away. Optimally, she could have fought against Mara alone, excepting the strange influence of the Collar around her neck, but with Sander pulling her down, Sally could do little but struggle fruitlessly, as he dragged her down, out of the corner and onto her back. The dark haired man sat by her head, keeping her hands pinned together above her, as Mara’s fingers slid between her thighs and forced them apart.

Of course, Mara could just as easily have used the Command Collar that ringed Sally’s neck to force her to sit still, a prisoner in her own uncooperative flesh as her captors used her body as they pleased, but that wasn’t her style. Collars were fine for ensuring obedience in the broadest of terms, and for keeping the captives from outright attacking, but there were some things that required the personal touch. As Mara slithered up Sally’s body and pressed her lips to the squirming girl’s, she knew she had made the right decision.

Sander watched, but his ability to enjoy the show being put on by his girlfriend and their new plaything was hampered by one simple fact; he was responsible for this place. As he sat there, as the sounds of Mara’s passion and Sally’s distress swept over him, in the back of his mind he was reviewing what he knew of Sally Sparrow, probing her past for potential risks to him and his team.

Sally Sparrow, who had tangled with the Weeping Angels with no prior knowledge of them, or even of alien existences at all. Sally Sparrow, clever, resourceful, but painfully human. Sally Sparrow, who had met the Doctor only once, and even then only in passing… but had had her life marked forever by even that single meeting.

Sander’s mind caught on that last fact, the concept stalling the clockwork of his thought processes. He dissected it, turned it over and examined it, his eyes widening at the sheer sense of opportunity it represented. Sally was near unique of all the Doctor’s acquaintances; distanced, but affected by him in many small ways. Her entire life bent around the Time Lord’s single appearance therein.

Automatically, he laid a hand on Mara’s shoulder and physically pulled her off of the Earth girl, ignoring her vague, incomplete protests as the blonde attempted to reattach herself to Sally’s lips. He turned her, made her look him in the eye, see the serious glint that cut deep down to the centre of his mind.

‘I want her,’ He said, voice low. ‘I want her, Mara. There’s something I need to show her.’

‘Yeah, I’ll bet,’ Mara said smoothly, running a finger up the inside of Sander’s thigh, up to his crotch. ‘Something very specific to show her, I’m sure.’

‘What? No, stop that,’ His larger hand encircled her wrist, pulled her hand away from his groin. ‘You hold her down. Think about what she is, what she represents: There’s so much I can teach her, so much she can learn…’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘She’s not been programmed, Mara!’ He was grinning now, but it wasn’t a mirthful expression. More like a frown had somehow become reversed, ‘She’s not invested in the fantasy! The Time Lord just skipped through her life and left. No impression… she can be taught!’

‘Nope, still not getting it,’ She shook her head, prying his increasingly tight-gripped fingers off of her wrist. ‘I mean-‘

Hold her down,’ Sander said, with the kind of softly spoken intensity that few people could properly master. ‘Let me show you. Better, let me show her.

Mara had a skill for switching gears in seconds; the mental levels in her head could be traversed with amazing ease. In the space of a moment, the shimmering confidence and directed, dominant energy that Sander had come to call Dark Mara vanished, and was replaced by an amused and gleeful… willingness. Even as Sally tried her hand at struggling once more, Mara’s hands replaced Sander’s as her restraints, her two captors switching places as Sander forced her legs apart.

‘You need to listen carefully, Sally Sparrow,’ Sander tried to keep his voice as smooth as possible, and mostly succeeded, but the old rage was coming back. His mind was filled with dancing shadows and memories of black leather jackets disappearing behind wooden doors painted blue. Of the sound of sonic screwdrivers and the burning, terrible pain of a shard of metal ripping right down to the bones in his shoulder. His teeth gritted, just for a second, ‘You’re in a bad situation, yes, but let me enlighten you as to why.’

He debated with himself about exactly how rough and dramatic he wanted to get. The memories had come upon him again, and he knew that they would stick around for a while, enflaming his mood into a kind of directionless hate that could be channelled one of two ways; violence, or sex. Both options- perhaps even simultaneously- were present in the struggling girl before him now, and it would be the work of but a moment to completely ruin her clothes and leave the kinds of bruises that would dig into her skin like they owned the place. Too easy…

No, that wouldn’t work. He was trying to send a message, to imprint a lesson into the squirming little thing below him, like he had tried to do with Amy. Subtlety wasn’t exactly on the cards here, but he could at least ensure there would be no lasting marks.

‘Who are you people?’ Sally attempted to ask, the question drifting off into a squeal of horror as Sander’s fingers wrapped around the thick material of her sweater and lifted, dragging the thing up over her breasts, revealing a conservative white bra beneath. This single action started her struggling again, eyes widening in fear.

‘I’m Sander, and like you I once met the Doctor,’ He said, palm flat against her chest to keep her pinned down, as Mara kept her wrists crossed over her head. ‘It didn’t go well.’

‘What does that have to do with-…’ Sally whimpered, the words leaving her. ‘Please, please no, don’t do this…’

‘Consider this the heart of your lesson, Sally Sparrow,’ Sander said, pulling down her skirt and underwear in the same movement, even as Mara eagerly pulled one hand away from her task of restraining Sally to undo her bra. ‘Playing with the Doctor does nobody any good. He’s not to be trusted.’

‘He’s not the one kidnapping me!’ Sally snapped, as Sander took a moment to look down at her body. She seemed pretty standard for an Earth girl, from what he could remember from old vintage films, with none of the sleekness or accoutrements that came with modern, genetically superior bodies. There was a touch of softness about her that indicated a relaxed pace to her everyday life, not that it wasn’t appreciated; it gave her curves a fullness that Mara’s lacked. He got the feeling he could sink his teeth into those pert, pink-capped breasts and leave quite a lasting mark.

The woman struggled and twisted, trying to turn her more vulnerable parts away from his gaze, but Mara shifted position and knelt on her hands, keeping the brunette trapped under her full weight. Occasionally she kicked out, but with Sander tucked safely between her legs the blows were misaimed and clumsy, barely worth his attention. Even so, she refused to look at him until he made her, the pads of his fingers playing across the soft skin of her face. He stared down at her, outwardly impassive, but Sally could feel something lurking behind his eyes; vicious intelligence, mixed with the kind of nonspecific frustration and rage that lashed out at vulnerable, naked girls like her.

She shuddered. This wasn’t going to end well.

‘I know,’ Sander said, running a couple of exploratory fingers up between Sally’s legs. ‘I am. And I’m the one doing this to you, too. But it’s no accident that I’m here, with you, tonight. We were both driven here by the same man. Keep that in mind.’

His hands drifted to her hips as Sally gave one last, desperate buck to try and dislodge herself from her captors. Sander’s strength was more than enough to keep her down, and in position as he shifted his weight, awkwardly pulling his pants down and freeing a cock enflamed with the sheer intoxicating power of having to fight for it. But he pushed away any desire he had to put on an expression of enjoyment; in his mind, this wasn’t for him, this was a lesson he was imparting to someone who was very nearly a Doctor-virgin. It wasn’t about his personal enjoyment.

‘But hey,’ Mara cooed, leaning in to dominate Sally’s vision as she gritted her teeth, trying to pull herself away as Sander slipped inside her. ‘If there’s one thing we’re kind of experts on here, it’s gettin’ off. We could show you some amazing stuff…’

Sally arched her neck, twisting her face away from Mara’s, squeezing her eyes shut as Sander started slow, but quickly gained speed and force, rolling his hips, fucking in and out of her seemingly without concern. The humiliation of it all, of being violated, of being the only undressed person in the room was so keenly felt for Sally that she groaned in despair and panic, squirming under her kidnappers.

‘Oh well, fine,’ Mara clucked, pouting. ‘I was just trying to prepare you for what’s to come. It’s gonna be… intense.’

‘Thanks for the warning!’ Sally snapped, eyes welling with tears, filled with injured outrage. Sander speared into her, eyes boring into her from above; if this could be called sex at all, it was like no sex Sally had ever had before. There was no love or affection obviously, but there was also no emotion at all; it was barely even an interaction. Sander didn’t touch her, barely looked at her body at all. He maintained eye contact at all times, and the effect was… unsettling.

And they both talked. It was an odd kind of separation, the almost committed physical disinterest coupled with the near constant back and forth talking.

‘See what I mean?’ Mara purred, hot breath in her ear, after Sander had finished his latest acidic denouncement of the Doctor. ‘We know what works. You’d be better off just going with it… you’ll enjoy it, I promise.’

Sally whimpered, tried to ignore her, but…

Try as she might to deny it, with every last bit of her will devoted to quashing it, her body was reacting. She was being manipulated with almost supernatural skill, like her most sensitive places were merely dials to be turned at her captor’s leisure. It hadn’t taken long for Sander to turn her pussy into a slick, dripping mess; Sally could pretend her wetness was merely a defence mechanism, but the pleasure she felt most certainly wasn’t.

Each of Sander’s thrusts seemed to slice right into her core. There was pain to it, oh yes, but also pleasure at an intensity that truly shocked her; it wasn’t right to be feeling that, surely? It wasn’t right that her toes curled automatically, and that her gasping breaths were becoming more like moans every second. No matter how hard she tried to ignore it, her muscles still ached and tightened with the strain of keeping it all in.

Of course, Mara wasn’t making it easy; her fingers effortlessly skated the soft, pliable flesh of her breasts, manipulating her nipples into hard, sensitive nubs. At times she leaned in, back curving, her body filling Sally’s vision so she could use her mouth; tongue and teeth and lips marking her skin with warmth and wetness, each new point of contact tugging at the connection to her pussy. How could this be happening to her?

Behind her back, the curving silver glinted in the artificial light from above, polished and cleaned with loving attention to detail. It sat at the apex of her buttocks, clasped between her fingers, triggers gently depressing the triggers. Mara giggled, watching Sally try to suppress the tautness in her muscles or the wetness between her legs as she played that familiar sex toy expertly, funnelling pleasure into her nerves in waves.

Sally bucked, gritting her teeth as Sander pushed deep into her, making her thighs tremble. She wanted to yell, to scream out and tell these people off, but she knew their response would be… unfavourable. It wouldn’t be so bad but for the constant talking, their words distinct in intent, yet somehow interchangeable, echoing around in her skull through the haze of panic, indignant anger and building, confused lust.

‘Concentrate, Sally,’ Sander growled, grunting with the effort of fucking her. ‘When you play with the Doctor, you get hurt. That’s the way he works, we all just get caught up in his path of ruin.’

And behind her, Mara was whispering, cooing in her ear, ‘I know how it feels, Earth girl… I’ve been there before, in fact. Exactly where you are. Trust me, it’ll feel even better if you’d just let go… Let it come, you know you want to…’

Sally shuddered, braced herself against the clash of sound and sensation, wanting nothing more than to scream, though she was unsure exactly why: Parts of her wanted to vocalize her frustration, bellowing out her outrage at the situation she found herself in to the world, but she couldn’t trust herself not to moan when she did.

But Mara was inspecting her closely, far closer than she was engaging with Sander. She was watching, waiting for the moment when the forced pleasure in her peaked, when Sally would struggle her hardest against it, trying desperately to stop herself tumbling over into orgasm. Mara knew what to look for, and she grinned when she saw it; that strangled look in her eye, the restrained tightness of her muscles, as though if she let go for even a second something would escape. She was losing the fight against her own body, and in that moment she was the most beautiful thing Mara had ever seen.

Only for a moment, though.

Because the moment after, she squeezed, just gently at her nipple, taking the hard little bud between her thumb and forefinger as her other hand pressed down on every trigger on the silver nerve stimulator. The floodgates broke. Sally screamed.

All at once, Mara had turned Sally all the way up to eleven, set every nerve ablaze with ecstasy. Sally’s back arched, a deep red blush spreading over her face and chest as the muscles inside her contracted around Sander’s length. He stopped talking as orgasm took her, his angry lesson replaced by an amused, lopsided smile as he watched her cum.

His own orgasm seemed almost to sneak up on him, the concerns of his own body far away in his mind when compared to the memories that stuck with him, and the lesson he felt he needed to impart. Sally’s cosmic punishment for associating with dangerous elements and worse, saving it.

As Sally moaned and squirmed, Sander’s fingers dug into her hips, a reflexive tightening as he spilled his seed inside of her, the muscles in his hips jerking as his sticky warmth splashed up through her.

He was faster, though; Mara wouldn’t allow Sally to subside until Sander had pulled out of her silently, and the two of them watched her spasm and whine, until eventually the notion caught on. Minutes passed, and in time Sally looked up desperately, pleading with Mara in half formed, breathless sentences and looks for it to stop. The blonde actually laughed as she allowed the Earth native to come down from her peak.

It took Sally a moment or two to even realize that her fingers had fallen asleep.

Sander shifted position, leaned back on his hands and closed his eyes, trying to unwind the muscles in his shoulders enough to properly relax. He knew it was trouble, thinking directly of the Doctor, but time and again the memories returned to him, especially when he looked upon the apprehensive faces of his new guests. In the years that had passed since that first meeting, even the concept of the Doctor had become something tightly wound and terrible; an onslaught of emotions and thoughts, philosophies and moral arguments and beyond it all, rage.

And it was taking him longer to decompress and rid himself of it every time.

‘Well, you certainly took all the fun out of that,’ Mara pouted, placing a hand on his shoulder and squeezing in a way she hoped would be interpreted as reassuring. She’d been with him long enough to know when something was up, but also long enough to know when it was okay to give him a hard time about it, ‘If you wanted to lecture, you might have picked teacher rather than kidnapper, Hackett.’

‘Yeah, fine,’ He shook his head, finally opening his eyes for long enough to catch her gaze and smile. No matter how deep he got, she was always the one who could bring him out of it… or at least give him the motivation to pretend. When she kissed him, he felt almost human again, and kissed back with the kind of gusto he felt could almost pass for normal.

‘Could you deal with our new friend?’ He said to her, glancing back at Sally’s panting, sobbing form only momentarily. ‘I feel like I should go and make sure Ren isn’t nailing Lorna to a wall with a strap-on or something like that.’

‘Hey, yeah!’ Mara snapped her fingers. ‘You can’t just usurp the first go like that! Go get her, Hackett. I’ll… have a chat with Sally here. Though I think you wore her out, so I’ll be a little gentle. A bit. Maybe.’

He laughed, but there didn’t seem to be much more to say, especially around unfriendly- and by this point quite tender, surely- ears. With one final kiss, he got up from the bed, straightened up his pants and sauntered out of the cell, outwardly languid but with a mind filled with too many damn problems.

He supposed the Eternity Engine should have been topping that list, but the truth was he was avoiding dealing with it. The situation was as he had feared; Marduk’s assault on his systems and destabilised large parts of the Engine’s delicate software array, and as a result it was right now in the process of building up another charge, without the ability to articulate just who it was aiming at. That was frightening enough, without taking into account its strange ability to capture multiple targets now, which Sander was fairly certain nobody on his team had programmed.

The short answer was that it needed fixing. But it would take time for the Engine to build up the requisite charge, and there was already so much to do, what with Lorna running loose in his home. Sander could dimly recall that she was a soldier for the Church, though he had no way of knowing the level of danger she might represent.

But then, given Ren’s conduct the last time soldiers had been running around in the base, he supposed it didn’t really matter. Maybe this time, with only one target, there might be less blood to clean up.

*****************

‘Okay, hold it!’ Ren slammed her palm down on the scanner set into the wall. Lorna was forced to come to a complete stop as the door she was about to escape through slammed closed and locked. ‘Sorry, end of the line, hottie.’

‘Who are you people?’ Lorna turned sharply, clearly ready to fight. She stood her ground against the advancing Ren, fists raised, bouncing on the balls of her feet. ‘What do you want?’

‘Me? Just wanna collar you up, personally,’ She grinned, allowing the glinting curved edge of the collar to poke out from the depths of her pocket momentarily. ‘The rest is Sander’s bag. I’ve got very specific plans… But they can wait. He said no marking the merchandise, so it’d be really nice if you’d just give up, though.’

Lorna’s eyes sparked, ‘Command Collar… So that’s how it is. Who’s backing you? Which military do you work for? I won’t let you take me, not like the others!’

Confusion settled momentarily over Ren’s features, before the decidedly chequered past of the Command Collar technology came back to her. These things had been used in wars, even on Uo. Ren remembered fighting waves of soldiers, familiar faces from her own army decked out in armoured collars; unwilling double agents set against their friends and comrades.

‘Oh yeah, I guess these things mean something else to you…’ She said, grimly. ‘Hey, who are you, anyway? San-chan seems to know who you are, but I don’t remember seeing you in any of the Engine’s registries.’

Lorna stood tall, raising her chin, ‘Private Lorna Bucket, seventh regiment, Anglican marines. I fight for the Church, and if you think you can take me on, you’re sorely mistaken, Half or no. I won’t be as easy as that poor other girl.’

‘Oh…’ Ren breathed, grin growing wider. ‘Oh, this is going to be fun…

‘Now you,’ By now, Ren and Lorna were circling each other, Ren in a predatory, aggressive manner, Lorna in a more defensive, careful one. ‘Identify yourself.’

Something tugged at Ren’s mind, compelled her to respond in a way she hadn’t had to for years, ‘Captain Ren Syfte, Uo Capital military, Shikishima detachment special forces. And I’m real glad to see another military gal around. Haven’t had a good brawl in a while…’

Can I play with her, Ren? Please?’ Shichi’s voice rose in her mind, but she tamped it down with the slightest shake of her head.

‘No,’ She thought. ‘No, I wanna deal with this one myself. Yeah.’

Ren’s heart raced, her fingers twitched and curled into fists, before she raised them into a practiced boxer’s stance. She moved with light grace, each step carefully measured, fluid and strong. She barely even had to think about it anymore, her training had taken over so completely; stay compact, dodge from the central body mass, keep light on your feet… And know where to strike.

To her great pleasure, Lorna’s form was nicely matched to her own; it was clear that the Church had done more than just give her attractively tight camo pants and an olive shirt. Ren would have been happy just to get her hands on the soldier’s lovely curves, but the thought of actually getting a decent fight along with it was truly exciting.

She could hear the newcomer talking to herself in a hushed voice, the words flowing and almost lyrical. It took Ren a moment to identify it, but there was only one language- that a human being could speak, anyway- that sounded like that.

‘You a Gamma gal, soldier?’ Ren smiled, she couldn’t help herself. She began wondering just how orthodox she was; they may have hit the jackpot. At least… that would be the goddamn pervert outlook that Ren subscribed to.

‘I am from the Gamma forests, yes,’ Lorna eyed her opponent distastefully, stepping in to attempt the first blow while it was unexpected. Ren stepped away casually, as though it meant nothing.

‘I thought that was a prayer, yeah,’ Ren laughed, catching Lorna’s next punch and throwing it back, rebuffing her with a few vague, unformed shots of her own. ‘That’s good, you know? I like ‘em religious. Fun.

They circled in silence for a few moments longer, inspecting each other, trying to figure the other out. Under her breath, that same flow of silvery, rounded syllables as Lorna prayed, muscles tensing in preparation for the next attack; the motion would have been almost imperceptible to the layperson, but to a seasoned veteran like Ren, it was all to visible. When the next punch came, she was prepared for it.

‘Oh no, you’ll have to do better than that!’ Ren gasped in shock as Lorna laughed her down, laying in with a second punch that slammed into the Half’s chin, sending her stumbling back. Ren’s eyes flickered dangerously, cheeks burning red. Pain pulsed along her jawline, and she frowned; this wasn’t something she was used to. It had been quite a while since she had even been afforded the opportunity to fight bare-fisted, let alone been in a fight where her opponent had been able to land a blow on her.

‘Weren’t you awfully cocky a moment ago?’ Lorna smiled slightly, and it was like everything she did was suddenly an insult to Ren. The Half’s attention became solely focused on beating down the woman in front of her.  Anger flowed through her, helped along by memories of Walker and everything she had failed to achieve there. She attacked.

The two women traded blows, nearly silent but for the rushed exhalations that accompanied each attack. Shockingly, Lorna proved to be at least Ren’s equal, pushing back at the former soldier with as much vigour and prowess as she could. Mitigating factors swarmed through Ren’s mind, not the least of which was that she had opted for a form of combat that she herself hadn’t used for many years. Still, each new blow that landed past her defences increased the hot, frustrated anger that coursed through her, and her own attacks became increasingly fervent.

‘I’ve never been to Uo,’ Lorna said, grunting as she pushed Ren back. ‘I didn’t know they were “recruiting” new soldiers… But I suppose I can see why they would, if you’re the quality of their captains.’

Ren snarled at that, throwing herself at Lorna, putting her weight behind it so that the two women slammed into the nearest wall, Ren’s arm at Lorna’s throat. She leaned in, face to face with the other girl, ‘I’m not working with the Uo military on this.’ She broke into a wide grin, before leaning in and pressing her lips to Lorna’s in an invasive kiss. The other girl’s eyes went wide, and she moaned in surprise as Ren’s tongue worked its way into her mouth.

When Ren broke away, her steps were light, dancing across the floor as she stepped safely out of Lorna’s range of attack, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand. She laughed hotly, ‘Yeah, you do taste good, I’ll give you that.’

She looked into Lorna’s wide, shocked eyes, as the newcomer began weighing up this new information. If she had to hazard a guess, Ren would have pegged Lorna as the type to assume there was some greater motivation behind it all, that at the very least this was a kind of psychological warfare against her. Well… Sander might have some greater purpose, but personally, Ren would simply enjoy proving Lorna wrong, as quickly, and in as dramatic a way as she possibly could.

‘I’m beginning to get the feeling that I’m rather in over my head with you people,’ Lorna said gravely, throwing herself back into the fray with a vicious kick that Ren had to throw up both hands just to block. ‘Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t beat you down, no matter the training you have. Were you really a Captain?’

‘Stop that,’ Ren growled. ‘Don’t insult a girl’s military career, Private. It’s not something she’ll react well to, and you don’t want her reacting badly. Because… Well, you wanna know the difference between the way the Church trains you and the way Uo trains you?’

She launched herself forward, hooking a foot in behind Lorna’s heel and pulling, sending her off balance enough that it was a matter of moments for Ren to pull her in, gripping the cloth of her shirt tightly in one fist and keeping her upright with it. Before the other girl could react, she lifted, pulling her shirt up over her breasts, revealing them to the cool night air. Ren held her there for a moment, inspecting the soft, supple flesh with a look of true appreciation as her suddenly bare nipples hardened in the artificially cool air.

‘Uo trains you to fight dirty,’ She said softly, adding silently that, completely coincidentally, it had been Jae that had taught her that move in a highly impromptu- not to mention surprising- way. That had been a sparring match that had quickly devolved into something far more passionate and… sticky. Good day.

The memory made her smile despite herself, as she pulled away from Lorna, giving herself the distance she needed to stay safe and ogle in equal measure. Very quickly, her head tilted to one side, eyebrows cocking; rather than the expected blush and the rush to cover herself, Lorna remained fixated on Ren, fighting stance maintained, chest bobbing in time with her breathing. Ren made no effort to hide the fact that she was staring, but the Gamma native seemed quite happy to allow Ren her perve, as if covering up would break her concentration. Not that Ren minded; Lorna looked… nice, like that.

Then she remembered.

‘Oh, right,’ She said, a little deflated. ‘Gamma girl. Your people are the tree freaks and hippies, aren’t you? You just sort of run around like that.’

Mission accomplished. Victory. Lorna’s face shifted, anger written across her features. She hunched in, weight shifting onto her back foot; a classic offensive posture, ‘We are not “tree freaks,” Half. We just live in the forests, is all. But then, I don’t suppose someone from Uo would know the difference, what with your entire planet tearing itself apart over a bloody emperor.’

She threw a punch, aiming for Ren’s stomach. Laughing, Ren danced away from the blow, watching Lorna, unbalanced after having thrown her entire weight behind the punch, stumble, ‘I’m not even from Uo!’ She giggled. ‘I’m Vesperian.

‘Ooh, even worse!’ Lorna spun, pulling her momentum into a backhanded swinging blow that Ren, lightning quick and with practiced ease, caught and pulled the Gamma native into a tight bear hug. With a sharp edged grin, one of Ren’s hands moved up to cup one of Lorna’s breasts, as the other retrieved the Command Collar from her pocket and slid it around her throat.

But she wasn’t done: Her foot swept out, catching Lorna’s legs and throwing her to one side with all her strength, as the arms that had previously encircled her began pitching her sideways too. Ren had always been abnormally strong, and this was on clear display now; for several seconds, Lorna was airborne and spinning. She landed with a heavy thud.

‘Damn right!’ Ren growled, performing a complex series of obscene gestures at the prone, panting Lorna. ‘Uo special forces, bitch! How d’you like it?’

She allowed herself to gloat for several seconds more as Lorna recovered. She didn’t even notice the door she had originally come had opened, and then closed again.

‘Was she just badmouthing Vesperia?’

‘Oh,’ Ren blinked, smile fading. ‘Sander. Did you see that? What I just did? That was cool. Fuck yeah, it was cool.’

Sander ignored his friend as she bounced from foot to foot, suddenly all energy. He stared down at Lorna- at a certain exposed area in particular- as she gingerly pulled herself upright. He raised a finger as her muscles tensed, sensing impending violence, ‘Ah, no. Command: You may not harm myself or anyone on my crew, Lorna. Nor can you remove, or attempt to have your Collar removed. Also? You’re not allowed to badmouth Vesperia, that’s not cool.’

‘Sander, you rip on Vesperia more than any of us,’ Ren pointed.

‘Yeah, but I’m allowed to.’

Why?’

‘Did the entire planet rise up in rebellion and try to kill you?’ Sander said flatly. He tried to remain upbeat, but his hand unconsciously went to his shoulder, rubbing at the thick mass of scar tissue to be found there. It still twinged occasionally, and if he put too much weight on it, he could still feel the dull, deep in the bone throb in his cybernetic bones. He may have left Vesperia, but Vesperia had never left him.

Lorna gasped, and Sander tensed.

‘I knew I recognised you from somewhere!’ She exclaimed, eyes wide. ‘I’ve seen you before! In the history archives! You’re him! Sander Hackett-‘

‘Command: Shut up,’ Sander said sharply. ‘Ren, let’s get her to a cell. I sure would like to hear about all this, but only on my terms. ‘

He rolled his shoulders, feeling that old familiar twinge run through it. A history lesson wasn’t exactly what he wanted right this second, but he couldn’t deny a certain perverse curiosity at what, precisely, this newcomer thought she knew about him.

‘I think it’s time for a little interrogation,’ He said, stopping as Ren yawned, loudly and conspicuously. He blinked, looked out and noticed the darkness slowly giving was to the morning light for the first time. ‘Okay, point taken, Ren. Maybe in the morning…’

He tried to remember the last time he’d gotten a full night’s sleep, but found himself yawning himself. There was still a lot to do, but it could wait for a few hours. Six or seven, at least.

Like most gamers recently, I have been playing Skyrim. I have been enjoying Skyrim, in fact; Skyrim is great, I’m having a lot of fun with it. To me, it’s a wonderfully constructed sandbox game that has just enough detail in its world to alleviate the issues I usually have with sandbox games, namely that the game world itself lacks points of interactvity.

But on my last play session- half an hour ago at the time of writing- I came across the first segment of gameplay that I outright disliked. I might go so far as to say hated. I might (accurately) go further and say that I loathed it with an ardor that could kill me if I ever allowed myself to fully feel it.

Some of you may already have stumbled upon the quest called “Forbidden Legend.” For those who haven’t, it is a quest you can pick up from a certain book that sends you off after an old legend concerning a magical amulet. The quest itself is just a little bit boring, forcing you to wander around collecting the amulet in parts, with each one guarded by an undead boss. It is here that I began to feel that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

One of the bosses I fought was, in life, called Sigdis Gauldurson. When I first fought him, he was a Draugr that, it was immediately apparent, had taken a disliking to me. But, though frustrating, I was eventually able to slay him. I sighed, “Well, at least I won’t be seeing him again.”

Some of you might be predicting where this is going.

The final battle of this quest is against ghostly versions of each boss in sequence, with Sigdis taking up the middle slot in this carousel of torment. It is here that the true, dark design of this quest becomes apparent. It very nearly destroyed me. So, in the spirit of giving, I’ve compiled a little list for all of you who haven’t yet had the true, terrible misfortune of encountering this quest. It is simply entitled:

Tips for surviving your encounter with Sigdis Gauldurson.

Even when you turn the game off, he is still there. Waiting.

Number One: You cannot enjoy this fight. Do not try. Your struggles will only teach you the pointlessness of human endeavor.

Number Two: Learn to hate yourself. Do not consider Sigdis as simply an annoyingly bad piece of enemy design; think of him as an ironic punishment from the universe itself for some wrongdoing in your past. If at all possible, select a wrongdoing that is small and insignificant, to properly enforce this cosmic bitch slap as something petty and unfair. This will help prepare you for the ultimate truth that this level has been constructed to impart to you. You will need all the preparation you can get for this.

Number Three: Learn to hate Skyrim. In playing this level, I have become convinced that it, not the main questline, is the black and beating heart of Bethesda’s latest Elder Scrolls game. It is simply too finely honed, too perfect an engine of human misery, to have been a simple conflux of programmer’s accidents and inattention. In order to survive your final encounter with Sigdis, you must learn to consider the high quality of the rest of the game as one grand trick; a method by which Bethesda can pull the rug from beneath your feet when you are at your weakest, exposing you to the cold and yawning void below. Where you will be crushed.

Number Four: Learn to hate your weaponry. Because you will lose them. All of them. Permanently. If you hate them, at least you will not be disappointed when every armament you have is ripped away, leaving you defenseless and vulnerable. And I implore you not to realize what this act really is; an act of theft by the game itself, with you as its victim, and no benefactor of the theft, except whatever cosmic horror happens to be feeding from the misery and rage generated by the Forbidden Legend quest.

Number Five: Prepare yourself for the cold realities of combat. You see, in much of Skyrim’s combat, you are exposed to the myth that martial conflict is fair, or at least, that you will have a reasonable chance of meeting your enemies on a playing field that, while perhaps not level, at least presents you with a chance of coming out victorious, if you are skilled or cunning enough. Sigdis is the terrible, gleaming hook to this bait. He is not an opponent; the word opponent implies that one will be fighting. Sigdis has been endowed with a number of crippling, unfair powers and skills that you, as the player, may already have, but will be unable to retaliate with during this battle. You do not fight Sigdis, you are crushed by him, without any hope of an actual battle, or fairness of any kind. You are devoured.

Number Six: Know beforehand that Sigdis is actually an extended and horrifying metaphor for a gang rape. The first thing that he does, upon beginning the “fight,” with you, is to create three illusory copies of himself, each of which is armed with exactly the same skills and powers that the real one possesses, including a magically empowered bow, and two different Shouts. It is your task to find the real Sigdis, and attack him: you will recognize him by the horns on his helmet, which are curved, not vertical like the copies. Upon the creation of the copies, you will cast your eye around and find the real Sigdis quite quickly, upon which time you will rush him, running across the center of the room as fast as you can. The moment you reach him, the gang rape metaphor becomes apparent; from out of nowhere, you will be Shouted at. The most usual configuration of this is that you will first be hit by a Disarm Shout, robbing you of your weapon (See Number Four) and staggering you momentarily. Seconds later, you will be hit with one or more Force Shouts, hurling you away from your intended target, and sending your weapon spinning off into the void. Once the three false Sigdis’ have finished Shouting at you, all four will pelt you with arrows from their powerful, magically enhanced bows, while you struggle to your feet. Once you have regained your footing, Sigdis will teleport away, and the process will be repeated. This experience, of being disarmed and powerless, entirely at the mercy of multiple cruel and aggressive monsters, is easily what I imagine a violent assault would be like, and the utter humiliation one feels during the experience must certainly be a reference to violation. Why the developers would be this cruel remains to be seen.

Number Seven: Know that Sigdis is a coward. Much like the rapists he is surely constructed to represent, Sigdis is an awful and base aggressor; a terrible excuse for something that was once human, deserving of all the punishment that can be meted out by man and god (See my final point). This is a creature that delights in the suffering of his victim, while ensuring that the odds of him actually coming into a position where he himself might be harmed are low, if not outright zero. This is a lesson about the true nature of man. Learn it well.

Number Eight: The game has allied itself with Sigdis. You will be the victim of multiple, terrible glitches. This is representative of the world itself turning against you. From the moment the fight starts, you are being taught that the universe desires only your slow destruction through inevitability. If the repeated, multiple Force Shouts hurl your helpless form into an awkward part of the level’s geometry- and they will- you will find yourself sinking through the level into a white void that the game treats as being underwater. This experience, of drowning in sheer, existential nothingness, is an apt comparison for the universe in which you live. You will then be forced to repeat the battle from the beginning. Furthermore, often- by which I mean, every time I played it- the defeat of the real Sigdis will not result in the disappearance of his duplicates, as it should as reported by other players. While you are forced to engage the third and final boss for this quest, you will be assailed continuously by the arrows and Shouts of three unerring, unwavering copies of the monster that has given you such trouble. This experience, wherein victory gives you no satisfaction, or even a cessation of suffering, is another lesson about the cruel pointlessness of human endeavor.

Number Nine: Know that this will ruin your ability to enjoy Skyrim. For every quest you undertake from this point on, every location you scout, every enemy you fight, will have that terrible question hanging overhead: Is there another Sigdis nearby? Never again will you feel safe. Never again will you feel joy, in Tamriel. You are no longer the Dragonborn. You are merely a man, as vulnerable and weak as any other.

Number Ten: The Truth. It is here that we come to the final piece of advice that I can give you: the true, dark purpose that Forbidden Legend harbors. This quest, in its entirety, is designed to pull back the comfortable curtain that most people live in front of, and to reveal the cold, black sky beyond. It revels in the pointlessness of life, the existential torment in which we truly live, and when you are done, you will never be the same. Though you may walk about as a free man, know that you will be a prisoner of this knowledge, unable to see the world as anything more than the sharp-toothed maw of the creature known as Death. For the duration of Forbidden Legend, you are jerked around through a series of meaningless and extended fetch tasks, dangling some small and petty bauble in front of you at the end of each in order to distract you from what you are actually doing. Then, the true horror of Sigdis comes crashing down upon you and, once you finally defeat him, what is your reward for this torturous experience? Only an amulet, another pretty but ultimately dispensable bauble, in exchange for the loss of your capacity to feel joy. You will ask yourself if it was worth it, and you will not like the answer.

Carry this around your neck; the noose of your disappointment.

Now that your battle with Sigdis is over, you may be asking yourself: how can I recover from the raw, soul-shredding experience I have just put myself through? In truth, there is no way to fully heal the scars that Sigdis has carved deep into your mind, but through some quick, emergency steps right now, you can at least chisel your grim visage into something approaching human facial features again, if walking unnoticed and unshunned through the world of men is your goal. Go to your loved ones, resist the urge to kill them and mercifully spare them from the truth you have endured, and sit with them. Remember what made you love them, back when you still had a heart with which to feel love. Look at old photographs of yourself, back when you were unaware of the universe’s cold grip, and try to replicate the smile you will never again feel. Listen to music that you could once enjoy, in the hopes of blocking out the shrieks of reality as it slowly kills everyone you were once able to care about. It won’t help, but the illusion may provide momentary, cold comfort.

The life you once enjoyed is over, this is true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t paint the lifeless doll that is your body with the disguise of happiness, so that you don’t offend the sensibilities of those with the blessed gift of ignorance. Remember: What Bethesda has done to you is a crime against your mortal essence, and whether it was human evil, or something far older and far more sinister at fault, you still do not have the right to do this to others, as tempting as it may be to envelop others in your misery, and earn yourself the empty comfort of no longer being alone. Best of luck to you.

Kurokami, signing off.

On Piracy

Humans, I spend my time thinking about some odd things, sometimes. One of the things I hold some pretty strong opinions on is software piracy and intellectual property. Actually, it’s kept fairly present in my mind because most of the times I load up a DVD, I get a condescending message from the manufacturers, telling me not to pirate stuff.

I don’t know about you, but I find that a tad offensive. This is the one that most Australians are familiar with, rather dramatic and pointed in its equation of piracy to any other act of theft. Sure, I get it. Manufacturers don’t want me to pirate, because it loses them money. Yeah, I totally get it.  I get it.

But aside from making me dislike Happy Feet, another thing these piracy messages make me do is frown. Actually think about them: when do we, as viewers, see these messages? When we are watching a DVD. In other words, something we have already paid to watch. Want to know who gets to skip these messages entirely and move on straight to the movie? People who have pirated it.

I for one don’t appreciate being moralized to while I am in the process of doing what the moralizer wants me to. Especially not while the people who actually need to see the moralizing get to skip it entirely. One wonders whether the manufacturers actually understand what they’re doing, here; the message simply isn’t getting to the people that need to see it, while the people who don’t are forced to sit through a lecture every time they want to watch something. That they paid for.

Another thing I’m not entirely wild about is this whole idea of including a digital copy of the feature on the disc. Usually there’ll be a little boastful thing somewhere on the DVD about how you can “watch it anywhere.” Okay, thanks for your fucking imprimatur, DVD. I actually didn’t know I needed it. See, I already bought you, I own all the content you have. I can do with it what I want, assuming I’m doing it for private use. I’m damn sure I could just, y’know, download a digital copy onto my computer anyway. Because I bought it. Specifically so I could watch it. At home. Whenever and wherever I want.

Let me clarify my position on piracy itself, before I go much further: it’s wrong. You shouldn’t do it. I don’t. Insofar as I do pirate, it’s under a contract with myself that when I am in a position to buy a DVD of the feature, I do so. And I’ve never broken that contract. I use piracy- torrents and the like- to level the playing field of release dates; Australia has some pretty woeful delays most of the time, so I pirate stuff to be able to watch it at the same time as the online communities I frequent. This year, I pirated the entire sixth season of Doctor Who as it aired in the UK. And even though the complete series DVD collection cost ninety-six freaking dollars for thirteen episodes, I did buy it. Because content producers rely on the money brought in from sales of their merchandise in order to fund more content; it’s simple commerce. If I don’t support the things I enjoy, I lose all rights to comment about the content, or to bitch when it goes off the air. Because I’m no longer a consumer, and the producers no longer have any need to please my sensibilities. This is a very simple concept; I don’t understand why it escapes so many people. You pay for stuff, people. Anything else is theft.

I once had a conversation about this with a friend of mine who is an unashamed pirate. He pirates everything, he says. He countered my above argument by saying that “there are plenty of other ways for producers to make money.” I didn’t understand. I sat, grave and silent, trying to parse his argument for a moment, but came up empty.

“That’s very true, there are plenty of other ways to make money,” I replied, finally. “But this is the way that content producers have chosen to make their money.”

It’s the basis of a capitalist economy; you produce something of value, a product, which is then sold on to the people that desire it- consumers- so that you make a profit whereby you can produce more products. Filmmakers, television producers, videogame studios and musicians have opted to use these specific things as their products. The fact that they could make other products- or work for other companies making products- is not a terribly compelling assuagement of guilt and responsibility for stealing their chosen product. And it is stealing; there seems to be this idea that a lot of people share that data- software- is free, or should be. It’s almost like what you’re paying for, when you buy a DVD, is only the case and the disc itself; that the content on the disc isn’t what you’ve paid for. This is simply untrue: when you buy a DVD, what you’re really buying is a license to watch the feature on it as much as you want. You’re buying the feature, not just the delivery mechanism.

It’s the internet that does it. The web is a great global platform, a wonderful mechanism for the free exchange of ideas and knowledge. I love the internet, but there seems to be this prevailing mentality that movies, music and the like are on the same level as ideas and opinions. At least, that’s the high-minded justification that’s often trotted out when one dares make the argument that piracy is theft. Pirates like to play the role of the revolutionary, of modern day Robin Hoods shirking the Hollywood, consumerist system and redistributing product to those who deserve it (and when they say that, they always mean themselves.) I once heard the argument that piracy is a form of idealism; once again, this is merely a veneer of justification.

That friend of mine that I talked about earlier? I kept arguing with him, persisting in my view that piracy is morally wrong, and it became very clear, as we continued, that all his arguments were walls erected around a very simple basic stance: I don’t care, I just don’t want to pay for things.

In the end, that’s what it really comes down to: pirates do not want to pay for the things they consume. And that’s fine, because I don’t really want to pay for them either. I also don’t want to be paying for my groceries. But we live in a capitalist society, and in one of those you pay for the things you want to own. Money is a thing. I’m sorry that you don’t want it to be, but fuck you. You don’t get to steal things just because you don’t agree with the way society is set out. I want to kill people sometimes, but I don’t, because it’s a moral evil according to our society (and many societies, but I’m not getting into an argument about moral relativism here.)

Let’s be clear: there are plenty of instances in which these high-minded, radical ideals that the pirates espouse fall away, and the simple greed underneath is exposed: occasionally downloadable services like Steam will offer game packages where the profits go to charity, and that often you’re allowed to pay whatever price you like. You could pay literally the lowest monetary denomination that exists, but you can bet your fucking ass that people still pirated these things. In one instance, the Humble Indie Bundle, a full quarter of all the people who played it pirated it. So aside from avoiding a very simple moral good, these people opt to commit a moral evil in its place. Stealing from a charity, that’s just good, isn’t it? This is the point where any ideas of defying the money grubbing corporate system disintegrates.

But I’m also not really here to be shrill or accusatory. I’m here to ask a simple question: where does this conflict between producers and pirates leave legitimate consumers like myself? I buy DVDs, games, music… A lot of that stuff, deliberately giving up the monetary advantages of piracy in order to support my favorite production studios. Then, my reward for this is becoming the victim of strictures put in place by the manufacturers to stop the pirates: I’m not just talking about irritating anti-piracy PSAs, folks. I’m talking about region codes, and Digital Rights Management crap. About authentification systems for new games, and whatever else will be employed in future.

Here’s the thing: I bought this stuff. I’m doing exactly what should be done, I’ve fulfilled my side of the bargain. By and large, pirates don’t give a fuck about this stuff. Pirates gonna pirate, it’s sort of in the job description. If they can, they’ll get around whatever copy protection or DRM stuff is put in their way, and if they can’t… well, some might buy the product through legitimate means, but an equal number will surely move onto something a little less challenging to steal. Meanwhile, both sides continue to moralize to me about piracy.

I love getting moralized to by fucking thieves on one side, and by the people I’m allied to on the other. That’s just awesome. Ordinary consumers don’t really seem to factor into this conflict at all; producers seem to think of us as safe, like our business is assured. And pirates don’t really give a fuck about us either, because they aren’t actually striking out at the corporate system; they’re just having a great time stealing stuff. We become caught in the crossfire, like commodities. I hate the idea that some of the money I pay for my games or DVDs goes toward developing new DRM programs or PSAs to lecture me, but what else am I going to do?

It’s a vicious cycle: pirates steal stuff, leading to producers wanting to safeguard their investment via DRM, leading to more consumers becoming dissatisfied and turning to piracy… Welcome to the wheel of idiocy, folks.

But listen. It’s more than that, humans. This is what you are in the dark. I get the feeling that pirates are engaged in an effective little act of doublethink whenever they torrent, download or burn something; telling themselves that they aren’t stealing anything, even as they steal. But it’s maybe time to actually think about this shit. By “what you are in the dark,” I mean, “what you are when you’re all alone.” See, it’s pretty easy to think of piracy as something victimless; whenever you steal something physical, you’re having to take it from somewhere. You have to at least think about the people who actually own it, since you’re on their turf. But piracy is the one kind of theft where you don’t even have to be in physical contact with what you’re stealing. You don’t get to see anyone lose money, and because it’s hard to police, hard to catch the offenders, it’s probably very easy to think of as being above board. Thieves get arrested, I have not been arrested, therefore I am not a thief. But if you pirate, you are.

Far be it from me to be an idealist, but… is that really want you want to be? Buying things actually isn’t hard. I manage it fine, over and over again, and I’m a very lazy human being. Also, I have a wife and two infant children, so I end up having to buy a lot of things. Seriously. That’s not even the point. But this is: I get the feeling that none of you out there wants to be labeled as a thief. Even by yourself. Nobody thinks of themselves as a bad person or a criminal, but that’s kind of what pirating is. A crime. And…

And I could go on about this forever and it wouldn’t do a damn thing. Pirates will defend their right to pirate just as vociferously as copyright holders will defend their right not to be taken advantage of. This isn’t something people can win. Either side, and certainly not consumers. I just wonder where it’s going to end, y’know? Which side will see sense first and understand that nothing the other side can do will change anything?

In the end it just makes me a little tired. I’m tired of having to deal with shit from manufacturers just to get to the product I paid for. The fact that it’s everybody’s fault but mine only makes it worse. Like I said earlier, I think about some odd things, and maybe this seems silly to everyone else, but fuck. It’s my blog, I’ll write about what’s important to me.

I just get the feeling that everybody involved in this thing could lift their game a little, you know?

Actually, anyone reading this, why not post a comment? I’d love to hear from content producers or pirates or whatever: clarify your stance, people!  If you’ve got a view, tell me about it!

 

Kurokami, signing off!

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