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…