[Note that this version contains a number of unfinished and outline only stores in order to provide context for the whole cycle]
"So this is the little lady who started this big war." ~Abraham Lincoln upon meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe
"Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today." ~Robert McAfee Brown
"Storytelling is what lights my fire." ~Hope Davis
"To be a person is to have a story to tell." ~Isak Dinesen
"The story - from Rumpelstiltskin to War and Peace - is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind, for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories." ~Ursula K. LeGuin
"The universe is made of stories, not atoms." ~Muriel Rukeyser
~As you can tell by the abundance of quotes, I believe storytelling to an essential tool. All of the parts that preceded this one are didactic, ultimately just 'the relation of the various concepts', all functionally in the abstract. One can easily keep an emotionally, and therefore intellectual distance from them if they prove too challenging to one's present reality because, while said reality may be unpleasant, it is still familiar.
But a story, if done well, can draw you in and get you to see a world from the inside, live in it, feel it in a way that a straight forward explanation simply cannot and by 'living' in that world, it becomes familiar and possibly even comfortable.
With that in mind, when you come out of the world depicted below, remember that you have just read a rather extensive outline of how that world could actually be made into a reality. Also keep in mind that on various social networking sites, tens of millions of people are listing Hogwarts as a school that they have attended...or would have if they could have. But unlike Hogwarts, The Temple of The Pentavalent does actually exist.
And that will clearly explain why I believe storytelling to be so important to the work of The Temple. It makes that future Sisterhood real and that which becomes real in the human mind can manifest in the physical world.
Of course, 'predictive fiction' is a pretty dicey undertaking in the best of circumstances and the wise author should always take special care in undertaking such a path. However it is quite certain that 'ideologically driven wish fulfillment predictive fiction' is the special province of the mad and the obsessed. And I am willing to submit to both of those labels....up to a point.
Therefore these stories are not about how I exactly believe things would look in a world created by The Temple, but more of an interpretation of how I hope such might be. Don't think of them as a precise blueprint per se, but as something more akin to an 'atmosphere' and only one possible version at that. The actual truth of such a world will almost certainly be far more bizarre and alien then even I can imagine.
Regarding the title of this section, this literally is just one possible future. I have at least two other 'story arcs' of how this might all play out, which I shall get to after I put this volume to bed. Plus, there Addendum B: [Tales of the Vēkkan Cults], which is pure Space Opera and also pure fun. I guarantee more of those tales shall be forthcoming.I have divided this set of stories into three sections; the Near Future, Far Future, and Distant Future. The Near Future starts 'soon' and goes on for roughly the next few decades or so. The Far Future starts around a half century or so after that. The Distant Future is in effect a 'coda' to this particular story cycle.
“A Single Step” [unfinished]
~Sarah was flying first class because she could. And because the flight into LAX was eleven hours over the North Pole and she may never do this again. Even though she had a round trip ticket, she was not returning to London any time soon. Besides, rent per se was not an issue where she was heading, so why not splurge.
There were other considerations, as well. One way coach tickets on international flights into the US drew unwanted attention. A well dressed attractive white female flying first class with two suitcases full of fairly high end clothing drew an entirely different type of attention.
She used her poshest English accent, smiled at everyone, limited herself to two glasses of champagne, and slept through half the flight. No flags.
Going through Customs she kept the mantra of Pleasant and Patient in her mind. She was surprised at how free that made her feel. She smiled genuinely at the large black woman who asked her 'the purpose of her visit'.
“Sun and fun,” she said with a hint of mischief.
The woman grinned, looked at Sarah's pale skin and said, “Easy on the sun, honey,” and stamped her passport. “Welcome to Southern California.”
As she exited the International baggage claim area, she saw a familiar face; Sara – who always said “No H.” – with her sweet toothy grin. She was very blonde, tan, toned, and tattooed, wearing beat up sneakers, jean cut-offs, a tie-dyed tank top, and sunglasses. The quintessential Californian.
They laughed and hugged for the first time in real life. Sara smelled of soap and sweat. It was comforting and erotic.
“The flight okay?” said Sara.
“I played genial royalty the whole way,” Sarah laughed. “It was amazing how well it worked.”
She noticed that Sara had a Bluetooth earpiece and that her sunglasses were a high end designer's.
“Those are pretty nice,” she remarked.
“Michael is a big believer in the proper image.” She pulled up her tank top a bit to reveal her belt. “Check this out.”
Sarah cooed. “Wow!” The belt was a beautifully hand tooled leather with a gorgeous silver and turquoise buckle. She almost missed the brand new Super Phone clipped to the thing.
Sara grinned. “He gave it to me, called it a Bad Girl present.” They both laughed at that.
Sara grabbed the baggage cart. “Follow me.” They went out of the Bradley Terminal and into the warm, bright California sunshine, which felt wonderful on Sarah's skin. She lifted her face to the light. “Mmmmm,” she murmured, which got a knowing grin from Sara. Then across the street to the parking structure.
They wound up at a small 4x4 hybrid hatchback. On the hatchback door, opposite an American flag sticker, Sarah saw another sticker, green and gold with a star, saying, “Member California State Sheriff's Association”.
“What's that?” she said, pointing.
“An excellent investment,” said Sara. “Remember, we're building a new society. That includes law enforcement. Saves on traffic tickets, too.”
Sarah thought about that, looked around at the brightness flooding into the edges of the parking structure. “Through the looking glass,” she thought.
After they put her bags in back, Sara said, “It's a two hour drive.”
“I peed right after Customs,” Sarah replied.
“Then let's mount up”
As soon as they seated themselves in the vehicle Sara reached over and opened the glove box. She fiddled with something and a back panel popped open. She retrieved two zip lock plastic bags, handing one of them to Sarah. It contained a Super Phone and Bluetooth earpiece just Sara's.
“That's yours,” Sara said, while pulling a very intense looking necklace from the other bag, all heavy industrial links, decorated with blue and red swirls and with a large gem-like setting at the center.
“What the hell is that?” Sarah said.
“A wearable computer and Comm link,” Sara said. “Standard Temple issue.” She tapped her earpiece. “This is Fi-Gee back on the net.” She looked at Sarah. “Can't wear the in the airport unless you allow Homeland Security to monitor your traffic.” She made a face.” We're not big on that.”
The Super Phone that Sarah held in her hand peeped at her. She looked at its screen and saw herself, albeit from an odd angle.
Sara grinned, pointed to the 'gem' on her necklace. “It's a web cam and live up-link to our net.” Her earpiece made whispering noises. “Yes, the package has arrived safely,” Sara said to the air, then to Sarah, ”Put on your earpiece. Someone wants to talk to you.”
She did so and that warm deep voice she knew so well spoke, “Welcome to the Southland, my dear.”
“Thank you,” she purred. “It's so bright.”
The voice laughed. “It's even brighter up here, but with that Romanian blood of yours I expect you'll tan nicely.”
“Yes,” she said softly.
“The flight went well?”
“Yes. I did what you said and everything went amazingly.”
“See, I'm always right and I never lie.”
Sarah laughed at that.
“Well, I just wanted to touch base, make sure you're okay. We'll talk some more when you settle in up here.”
“Kisses .” The link went silent.
“We're underway now,” Sara said to her link, and started the vehicle.
Pulling out of LAX Sara said, “He told me to take the scenic route. It's a little bit longer, but it avoids the 405.”
“The four oh five?”
“Yeah. The Santa Monica Freeway. It's a total ratfuck south of the Sepulveda pass.”
“Ratfuck.” Sarah laughed. “You're picking up all his old New York expressions.”
Sara grinned. “Yup.”
They headed north on Sepulveda Boulevard. Sarah had been to LA fifteen years earlier and it looked essentially the same, if a bit more built up. Some things had changed though.
“Is it just me or are there a lot of police around?”
“There are lots of cops around,” Sara said. “Probably because of the Freeway Sniper.”
“No worries,” Sara smiled. “He's only shooting at Asian males out on the 118.”
“Michael thinks he's some white supremacist with China issues. Not too bright however. He shot a Guatemalan bookkeeper the other day.”
Sarah made a face. “Why the Chinese? They're no real threat at this point. I mean, they had a civil war with nukes, for shit's sake! Then lost Sinkiang and Tibet. Plus that whole nightmare in Korea.” She shuddered at that last thought.
“We're getting a lot of refugees from China and Korea here in LA. The pinheads are worried about losing jobs that don't even exist.”
Sarah just sighed.
They reached the Sepulveda Pass. Going over Sarah looked to left and could see the 405 jamming up. Sara notices.
“There's no real reason for that at this time of day. Except human nature,” She said,' We like to believe we're autonomous but we are consistently reacting to things that we do not consciously notice.”
“Knowledge of self must come before all else,” Sarah said.
Sara laughed. “Quoting our fearless leader?”
“So I am,” Sarah grinned.
“I'll let him know. It'll make him happy.” They both chuckled at that.
Heading up Sepulveda Boulevard to the San Fernando Valley Sarah began to see a fair amount of boarded up and burned out buildings. She had watched the riots on TV the previous summer.
“I was worried about all of you during the rioting.”
“We were okay. You could smell the smoke for a few days, but they never got near us. Besides, we're pretty heavily armed up there.”
“Yes, he said I have to learn how to shoot.”
“We are an amazon warrior cult after all. Bit we'll start you off with the little plunkers and you can work your way up to the assault rifles.”
Sarah looked around at the semi-ruined neighborhood. “Are we safe going through here?”
“Sure.” Sara tapped the inside of the door. “This baby is lined with Kevlar and the glass is bullet resistant.”
“Welcome to Southern California,” Sarah muttered.
At the far end of the Valley they got into the freeway and were soon winding their way through canyons and scrub desert hills climbing steadily upward. They passed substantial areas of fire blackened terrain that was now sprouting greenery.
“A lot of burning around here I see,” Sarah said.
“It's supposed to burn out here,” Sara replied. “Seasonal fire is part of the ecology. But when you build into this area...”
“They want to stop it from burning and when it finally does burn, it burns even harder and totally out of control.”
“Exactly. That is one of the positive side effects of a collapsed economy. The building has stopped.”
“I never came up here before, I mean when I lived in LA.”
“It has its own special beauty.”
“Yes,” said Sarah softly.
They drove in silence for a while as Sarah watched the landscape go by. In some places the freeway was carved straight through solid rock. In others, it passed through small valleys dotted with a few buildings, usually modest sized ranches sitting at the foot of a hillside. She was always amazed at how huge America actually was. Even this drive, short by local standards, covered a distance equal to nearly three quarters the length of England.
After about half an hour they come to the top of a ridge and a huge valley opened up before them. To their immediate left was a large concrete waterway and to the right was an artificial lake, both sparkling in the bright California sun.
Sarah held her breath for a second, then exclaimed, “It's beautiful!”
“Welcome to the Antelope Valley,” Sara said. “That's the California Aqueduct on our left and that's Lake Palmdale on the right.”
“It's greener than I expected.”
“Been raining more up here. Global warming, you know.”
Sarah made a face. “But wouldn't that make it drier?”
“That's what I would have thought, too. But it seems that because the Pacific is hotter, its storms are stronger, so they push further inland, more north and east, so we get more rain up here.”
“Duh,” Sarah said with a laugh. “How many times have I heard bout typhoon damage to Southern California in the past few years. Never thought it through.”
“You have to look at the patterns,” Sara said, then grinned. “Trust me, you're going to hear that a lot around the Karaal. That's his big mantra; 'Look at the patterns! Look at the patterns!'”
“I thought his big mantra was 'It's no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?”
“It is. But he'll tell you seeing the patterns helps you to understand just how sick it is. And also how it is sick.”
“He is fucking relentless, isn't he?”
Sara laughed. “Yes, he is. But no worries. He's big believer in chilling out, too. Some of the festivals can get pretty wild.”
“So I've heard,” Sarah said with a grin. “Looking forward to those.”
They had now descended into the valley itself, going on a straight length of freeway that passed through a built up area. Sarah noticed that a large portion of it was burnt out.
“What happened there?”
“Arson,” Sara said. “Not that anyone's admitting to that.”
“What do you mean?”
“There was a robbery late last year. Supermarket stick up. Went sideways and badly. Sheriffs showed up while it was in progress and shoot out resulted. Seven dead. Both robbers – pair of meth heads - plus two local kids caught in the crossfire. And a Sheriff's deputy. Probably a justified shooting, but the community is stressed and there's a lot of anger.”
“Everybody is stressed these days.”
“No shit. Anyway, it was at the end of fire season, hot and windy...”
“Somebody set a fire.”
“Several fires. Starting with the supermarket.”
“So why is arson being denied?”
“There'd been a bunch of marches and protests and confrontations. The county fire department was reluctant to come in at first. Worried about getting shot at. So the fires got out of hand.“
“Now's there's all kinds of political bullshit and so on.”
“And the local authorities are pretending it didn't happen like that.”
“Yup. Pretty much. They're blaming budget cuts.”
Sarah sighed. “Sounds like things back in the fucking UK.”
“There's no money to rebuild either. Not yet at least.”
“That's the main part of the political bullshit. The community in question is, or rather was, mostly poor and black. Economic refugees from LA who came up here decades ago. The dead sheriff was Latino. No love lost there. And the local politicos are white and Republican.”
“I though the Tea Party finished off the Republicans.”
“Nationally, they did. But they're still strong among rural white Christians.”
Sarah sighed again. “The more things change...”
“Tell me about it.”
They had now passed beyond the township area and into open scrub desert. Low mountains dotted with white turbo-electric windmills rose in the distance.
“This is beautiful country,” Sarah said looking into that distance.
“Yes. Especially at sunset.” Then in a different tone Sara said, “Copy that, Control. Request feed transfer to proximate unit.”
Sarah's smartphone began to vibrate. She looked at its screen. “Control calling”, was all it said.
“Well, answer it,” Sara said.
She did. “Hello?” There was a low buzzing sound, but nobody spoke.
“Look at the screen,” Sara said.
She did. It showed a four way split screen set of aerial views, one of them tracking a small SVU along a highway. Sarah gasped slightly when she realized that was their SVU.
“What is this?”
“Feed from one of out helidrones. Control just informed me that we had been picked up.”
“The Sisterhood Paradigm” [unfinished]
The Guest Event
~Melissa Cornwell was not entirely sure why she going to this thing. It wasn't really because her pal Jerri had raved about this group. It wasn't because her law firm provided their Senior Associates with free car service. Hell, it wasn't even because Monday nights in Atlanta were pretty dead these days.
Somewhere she knew probably knew why, but was avoiding it. Her career was quite remunerative, but getting more and more boring. She was not particularly pleased with her so-called love life. And generally, she was feeling 'unfulfilled', a phrase that made her actually cringe when she encountered it. It was so...'women's magazine New Agey' and things these days were a little too 'fraught' for that kind of nonsense.
But, at thirty four, it was the 'bio-clock' thing that was driving her the most and she hated that. The idea of Biology as Destiny offended Melissa on a profound level. And yet, there it was.
Her mother had stopped asking about grandchildren years ago. But she never failed to mention when any women she even vaguely knew had a baby. It both deeply irritated Melissa and simultaneously stirred some primal urge, which often turned her irritation into a type of rage.
If she succumbed to 'baby fever', her career was done. And this was not even factoring a possible father, or the ethical considerations of bring a child into this world at this time, or the legal, financial, and emotional complications, which were each individually an additional nightmare. She pushed the whole damned thing out of her mind.
She was going to this little shindig to be entertained – some 'guru' would try to hustle her – and distracted – she'd enjoy matching wits with whomever this 'guru' was. That calmed her in the same way a lioness was calmed by the scent of a game animal nearby, alert, but steady. She felt her body relax.
And then the hybrid Town Car pulled up to the hotel where the 'guest event' was being conducted, the Embassy Suites. It was still showed some damaged from Hurricane Zach, which was at Category Two when it smashed into Atlanta last summer....con't
~Mary had been raped before; that's what happened to old drunk women who lived on the streets. But her rapists had always been other homeless drunks and if she didn't fight they'd just 'do their business' – which half the time they couldn't finish – and then go away.
But even though she was pretty drunk, Mary could tell she was in real trouble this time.
This crazy Hispanic kid, out here trying to rape some fat smelly old black woman living in a doorway, she could tell he was going to kill her. Didn't know how; she just did. So she fought like the Devil himself and screamed bloody murder...and she was going to die anyway.
Mary had rejected God many years ago. Now she only believed in Booze. But somewhere inside, while she clawed and kicked and screamed, a little voice prayed fervently to 'something' to help her.
And suddenly, her rapist seemed to be flying into the air. She blinked a moment trying to see what was happening....con't
~The Women found Reggie living in a tent city under a freeway with a couple of dozen other sex offenders. Between the laws and the economy, the place was Last Stop for most of them.
The Women – he would always think of those two as 'The Women' – were the scariest looking pigs he'd ever seen, a cross between Terminators and MIBs.
Black combat boots, black jeans, black T-Shirts, black leather jackets, not the biker kind, but suit cut and well made, with 'heavy iron' and star shaped badges on their wide black leather belts, badges that he didn't recognize. And even though one was white and the other black, with those mirrored aviator sunglasses and their hair pulled back real tight, they looked like fucking clones.
And they were asking for him by name.
Reggie tried to slip away. But “Reginald Gleason!” rang out loudly in that Cop Voice. He knew better than to run. Weak and underweight, they'd catch him and give him a beat down. Since he was 'a creep who liked little girls', they might even kill him. And no one would give a shit.
Resigned, he turned and said, “Who wants to know?” with all the defiance as he could muster.
“Relax, Gleason,” said the White One, “We're private dicks.” Both of The Women smirked when she said that.
“Great,” he thought, “I'm gonna be murdered by cyborg comedians. Did a Hellmouth just open up around here?”
“We have an employment offer,” said the Black One.
“Fifty bucks just to interview,” said the White One.
Their calm precision caused him to seriously wonder if they really were 'killing machines from the future'.
He shrugged. “Sure, why not?”
They had a diesel/electric hybrid SUV with tinted windows, full government issue. “Bet it's armored, too,” he thought, rapping on the inside of the door with his knuckles.
“Yes, it's armored,” said the Black One from the front passenger seat. He sat very still for the rest of the drive.
He started to get nervous when they drove into an old warehouse/industrial district. More than half the buildings had 'for lease/for sale' signs and all looked run down.
He began to say a Hail Mary, then stopped. Because of what he'd done, he knew he was going to Hell. Saying that prayer would just piss off several dead nuns. He focused on his breathing instead.
They approached a building that had been painted recently, though otherwise it looked just like all its neighbors. A large rolling metal door was was opening and they drove straight in without pausing, stopping in what looked like a cargo loading area. The door was already rolling down behind them.
“I'm a fucking medical experiment, for sure,” he thought...con't
~Janel was nervous to the point of nauseousness. At least, she called it 'nervousness'. Truth was, her tumble of emotions – fear, excitement, rage, guilt – was too much of a cascading mess for her to sort out any single one for more than a moment.
So she started cleaning the house again.
Mara watched the skinny raw boned brunette as she vacuumed the living room. At half past one in the morning. For maybe the tenth time in the last twenty four hours. She laughed a bit. “Coping,” she thought.
Mara was doing the same thing in her own way, a drop cloth spread over the kitchen table, her Ithaca 37 12 gauge military model pump action disassembled neatly, each dulled gunmetal piece getting loving attention. Again. At half past one in the morning. She grinned to herself.
Cassie was asleep in the back bedroom. Mara knew she didn't mind the sound of Janel's relentless cleaning. “Maintenance noise,” she called it, said it reminded her of Camp Anaconda back in Iraq and she found that comforting.
But no matter what Janel was doing, or not doing, either Cassie or Mara was awake. This operation was in its final phase. Randy, Janel's ex, was on the road.
He'd tracked her down before, three times in the past five years since she'd taken their two daughters and left. Left the yelling and threats and beatings and drunken rapes.
There'd been cops and restraining orders and battered women's shelters. And he never gave up. Janel knew that one day Randy would kill her.
When she'd wound up in one of The Sisterhood's battered women's shelters and told them her story, they agreed with her conclusion. And offered a final solution to her problem
So now, two months later, Randy was on the road.
He'd gotten a call at his job three states over. “Your cunt ex-wife is fucking some nigger,” the 'black sounding' woman's voice said in a growl. And gave him an address.
The Resolution Team tracked his truck's GPS, giving regular up-dates to Mara and Cassie. Mara was Inside on this one, Cassie was Outside.
Janel vacuumed. Her girls were hundreds of miles away in the desert learning how to ride horses. Hundreds of miles away from this two bedroom ranch style in a cul-de-sac, the place where they would soon be released from their past. They still woke up screaming these days, though less than before.
Cassie trotted into the kitchen in a t-shirt and boxers, poured herself some coffee. She looked at Janel pushing the vacuum back and forth, smiled.
“My old master sergeant would fucking love her,” she said. Mara laughed, slipped another well cleaned piece into place.
“I was thinking of getting her some whitewash.” They both laughed loud enough for Janel to notice. She blushed, turned off the vacuum, wandered into kitchen.
“I wonder where he is?” she asked no one in particular.
“An hour or so away with a Glock and a bottle of Jim Beam,” Mara said dispassionately. Janel jumped as Mara worked the shotgun's slide a few times.
Cassie pulled out the chair next to her, patted its seat. “Sit down and breath, Janel. Don't want you crashing before show time.”
Janel smiled wanly, sat down. Cassie rubbed her shoulders. “This will all be over soon, honey. And then you and your girls will be free. Now take some deep breaths.” Janel did so and began to relax just a bit.
Forty minutes later Cassie sat in the van parked in the driveway, once again wishing she still smoked and grateful that she didn't. She patted her own pump action, a near twin of Mara's, a short barreled, folding stock, pistol grip baby.
A voice whispered in her ear piece, ” This is Sky Box. The subject's vehicle just turned onto Dorado Drive, going north bound.”
“This is Top. Copy that,” she said.
“This is Bottle. Copy that,” came Mara's voice on the push.
After a few minutes, a pick up truck drove into the cul-de-sac, then stopped a couple of houses down, turned off its lights.
Cassie checked its plates with a night scope. “This is Top. Confirmed subject's vehicle has arrived. Repeat, subject's vehicle has arrived. Over.”
“This is Bottle. Copy that,” said Mara.
“This is Sky Box. Copy that,” said the 'whispered voice'.
Randy sat in his truck looking at the house where 'his cunt ex wife was fucking some nigger'. He took a slug from the Jim Beam, a big one this time. His Glock .45 lay upon the passenger seat.
He knew he was going to kill Janel tonight, if he found her, then himself. Maybe some nigger, too. He didn't think about 'his girls', but he'd probably kill them too if they were there.
He took another big slug, picked up the Glock, and got out.
“This is Top. The subject has exited his vehicle. ID is confirmed. Wait one.” Cassie peered intently into the night scope. “The subject is armed. The weapon is in his front waistband. Repeat, the weapon is in his front waistband. Over”
“This is Bottle. Copy the weapon is in his front waistband. Standing by. Over.”
“This is Sky Box. Copy that.”
Randy walked up to the door, knocked hard. “Janel! Janel!” he shouted, “Are you in there?”
A moment passed...
“Randy, you fucking piece of shit loser! Get the fuck outta here and go fuck yourself!” Janel screamed from behind the door.
Randy vaguely thought she seemed like she was purposely trying to piss him off, but he was too drunk and too angry to give a shit.
“You fucking cunt! Open this fucking door!” he screamed as he pounded on the door.
“Take your tiny pinky dick and go fuck some dog!” she screamed with real rage.
“You're fucking some nigger, ain't ya!?” he screamed through a red haze.
“Yes I am! He's got a big black cock and I suck it every night!” She was laughing hysterically now.
The red haze consumed him. He pulled out the Glock and kicked the door. It flew open and half off of its hinges with surprising ease. He rushed through the doorway, but then stopped dead in his tracks.
Not six feet away was a large blond in black BDU's pointing a shotgun straight at him.
Cassie heard the single shot, tensed.
After a beat, “This is Bottle. Code Black. Repeat, Code Black. Bottle out.”
Cassie took a deep breath. “This is Top. Acknowledge Code Black. Over.”
“This is Sky Box. Roger Code Black. Over.”
Cassie jumped out of the van and went up to the front door, watching out for blood spatter. Randy's corpse was crumpled in the doorway itself, nothing left north of his lower jaw.
Janel was about ten feet back, looking it the thing in the doorway with an indescribable expression. Mara carefully handed Cassie her radio. “Scoot,” she said, blowing a kiss.
“Ten four,” said Cassie with a smile.
Driving out of the cul-de-suc, she radioed, “This is Top. Code Blue. Repeat, Code Blue. Top out.”
“This is Sky Box. Roger Code Blue.”
Deputy Sheriff Bonita Garza sat in her black and white sipping green tea from a bottle. A large black van drove down the other side of the street, flashed its brights twice.
Garza turned over the engine, turned on the lights, stepped on the brake pedal, put the cruiser in gear, waited.
Her radio squawked a few seconds later, “All units in the vicinity of sixteen hundred North Dorado court. Shots fired. Possible one eight seven.”
Garza responded instantly. “This is Adam one seven. Proceeding north on the thirty five thousand block of Dorado Drive. Responding Code Two.”
She roared up the block, sirens wailing and light bar flashing. She knew exactly where she was going.
Two months later the case file landed on the desk of ADA Jim Dubchek. And then sat there for another ten days.
When he finally reviewed it, he was unimpressed. Randell Pinkston shot dead breaking into the house of Janel Raed, his ex wife. He had a gun and a high blood alcohol level. She had a TRO and a bodyguard, one Mara Jensen, who was the actual shooter.
Now Ms Jensen looked impressive. Bonded and Licensed security agent. Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ex-US Army Military Police NCO. LA County Reserve Deputy Sheriff.
The Robbery/Homicide investigation had signed off on this a 'clean self defense shooting'.
“Public service homicide,” Dubchek muttered, and dropped the file in his Decline box.
There was a small nagging part of his subconscious that wondered how Pinkston had found his wife and that it all seemed a bit 'too neat'. Dubchek was a pretty good ADA. But he stashed that nagging feeling away.
He could work that out tonight while groveling before Mistress Carmella, licking her boots, and taking her lashings. He did need to be guilty of 'something'.
~Jim Haskell was a California boy, born and bred, so he fucking hated D.C. It had been sticky and nasty last summer. Now it was colder than shit and it was only mid November. He turned the limo's heat up a notch. He was a 'good soldier' and he'd endure this for 'the cause'.
“And because you're Mistress Tontine's little doggy,” he thought. A smile flickered across his lips.
He looked at the well lit Georgetown townhouse looming in the dark. Mistress was handling some other 'lil doggy' in there right now. But that was also for 'the cause'. “At least the little faggot let the limo charge from the house line,” he thought. That in itself spoke of Mistress' control of this one.
Jim didn't know who he was. Didn't want to know. “You can't tell what you don't know,” one of his SEAL instructors said quite a few times. Mistress gave him an intersection and then guided him to the right location from there. The limo's GPS had them across town.
He obsessively checked the limo and their in town apartment for bugs and trackers. “Like a monkey hunting for lice,” his Mistress once said, though she smiled sweetly when when she did. Jim knew she loved him, maybe as much as he loved her. She was the type of person who understood the bond and the responsibility that came with saving someones life. And she had saved his.
During his twelve years in The Marines, Jim has seen and done a lot of Bad Things. He'd done umpteen Spec Op Missions in The Sandbox, The Stan and other charming locales. When his second term of enlistment was up, he'd told his CO that he was 'done'. It took a few months for a shrink to talk to him. Only a half dozen had the clearance necessary to really debrief him. After two sessions, the shrink said, “He's done.”
And just like that, he was a 'civilian' again. Sort of. He knew he'd never really be a civilian ever again. Too many bad dreams for that. But he was free to do pretty much what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it.
So he surfed. Chased waves up and down the West Coast, living out of a van. He smoked a lot of weed and fucked a lot of chicks. He shaved only once a week. But he didn't grow a beard and kept his hair in a buzz cut. He'd always liked it that way, even in his teens. Soap up from head to toe, rinse and go.
That helped with cops, too, being all 'clean cut'. Plus they'd check out the Marine and SEAL tats, the numerous scars, some obviously gun shot wounds and they'd let him be. There were more than a few soft grins and muttered Semper Fi's. It was a sweet life; a Real Man's life.
He did that for sixteen months. Slowly, the dreams faded into a back ground noise he could live with.
And then he woke up one morning and knew he needed to do something else. He was up by Port Hunimi. He shaved, put on a clean shirt and slacks and walked down to the local Ventura County Sheriff’s station and asked for a job application.
He did a detox before his blood test. Marijuana was now legal in California, but he knew a positive would wash him out. The dreams came back a bit, but focusing upon a goal kept them at bay and the rigors of twenty two weeks at the Sheriff's Academy scrubbed them almost completely.
He graduated near the top of his class and inevitably the SWAT commander said, “Come and talk to me when your probation is over.” Jim smiled pleasantly, nodded. But no way he was going anywhere near that gig.
Jim wanted to be a motorcycle cop. After surfing, dirt biking had been his favorite sport. He'd kept up over the years and once he got accepted at the Academy, he'd traded the van for an old Moto Guzzi “Le Mans”. That sent a clear message and fourteen months after he had graduated, he'd wrangled an assignment to Traffic Division as a motorcycle officer.
First though he had to get through Probation and that meant a year working County Jail. He knew it might be tough for him, but the place triggered him a lot more than he expected. Sure, it wasn't the hellhole of the Twin Towers, the LA jail, but it reminded him far too much of too many Bad Places and Bad Things from his service time. The dreams came roaring back.
He couldn't smoke pot; too many random drug tests for newbies at CJ. He toughed it out for a while, but after two months of nightmares and day long cold sweats, he knew he was going to crack. Shit, he couldn't even get it up for his old surfer girlfriends and they were all serious hotties.
Then he met Phil. Or rather, she cornered him in the parking lot one evening after his shift was over. They were both in their civvies.
Sergeant Phillicia Lucca was five years older than Jim and a twenty year veteran of the Sheriff’s department. She was the Senior NCO in the Women's Section. She was not a beautiful woman by conventional standards, more what once was called 'handsome' before that became an insult. She was five eleven, tan and fit, with brown eyes and short dark blond hair.
Jim had had minimal interaction with her and 'figured her for a dyke'. She was tough, professional and gave off zero sexual vibes, which is really what led him to his conclusion. He respected her as a fellow deputy and went about his business.
So when she approached that evening, he was a bit bemused. And it had been a particularly bad day for him.
She smiled in a very gentle fashion. That really threw him off. “You're having a hard time, aren't you?” she said with a directness that compelled him to answer.
“Is it that obvious, sarge?”
“It is to me. But I have an old timer's eye. Sweats. Circles under your eyes. Hands shaking a bit.” She gave him a sympathetic look. “I can tell you're a pretty tough son of a bitch, so it's got to be something else besides being afraid of fucking yardbirds.”
He just 'stood his ground', not sure what else to do. Part of that was also that he was suddenly finding her sexually attractive, as though she had turned on some switch. Or maybe it was just the black leather jacket and tight jeans.
She grinned. “How about I buy you a drink and we can talk about it. Or not. We could just get drunk and talk shit.”
That broke his tension and he grinned too. “That's the best offer I'd had in months, sarge.”
“Call me Phil,” she said with a smile that confirmed she was hitting on him.
“Okay, Phil. So how do you want to do this?”
“By the numbers of course.”
She followed him back to his place, parked her car and they took a cab to a watering hole of her choice, a funky low key joint called “The Snap Dragon”. If it were not for all the mixed gender couples he would have sworn it was a gay bar of some kind. Oddly enough the place relaxed him.
They did just talk shit and he got utterly shitfaced. Turned out they both had the next day off. He laughed at that. “I like a woman who knows how to plan an op,” he slurred. She smiled and nodded at the compliment.
They wound up back at her apartment and he promptly passed out cold. He woke at just after dawn needing to pee like a bastard. Phil was spooning him and they were both stark naked. “Down the corridor and first door on the left, “ she whispered.
He staggered to the bathroom and peed for what seemed like an hour. Then, back into bed, where she spooned him once again. He decided he like the way it felt and went out again. He did not dream at all.
It was about noon when Jim awoke once more. He was alone, but could smell coffee and hear Phil banging around, probably in the kitchen from the sound of it. He felt amazingly well rested considering how polluted he'd gotten the night before. But his mouth did seem like he'd had glue for dinner.
He found his boxers, headed back to the bathroom, peed some more, splashed water on his face. He noticed that there was a new toothbrush still in the package on the sink. He smiled at that. “This bitch is as serious as a fucking heart attack,” he thought.
After he brushed his teeth, he searched out the kitchen. Phil was at the kitchen table having coffee and toast and had a laptop open in front of her. She wore a black silk robe covered with large red dragons and was freshly showered. She gave him a smile as he walked in.
“Good morning, sunshine. Coffee?”
He smile back. “Yeah, that would be good.”
She pour him a cup. He sipped it gently, looked around uncertainly. Her place was straight forward and functional, but had lots of little 'woman's touches', the small ceramic vase with two fresh flowers that sat on a matching plate in the middle of the table, the dozen or so small framed pictures scattered on the kitchen walls, the colorful place mats.
He noticed she was looking at him with amusement and could feel himself blushing. This woman totally unnerved him. He was trained to stand up to the most intense interrogation techniques and yet she had him seemingly under her control. Not that he minded, which was unnerving in and of itself.
“Just in case you were wondering all we did last night was sleep.”
He grinned like a schoolboy. “Probably all I could have done anyway.”
“Yes, you went out hard and not just from the booze I'd say.”
“I'm surprised I'm not suffering this morning.”
“I got some water and aspirins into you before you passed out.”
He laughed. “I vaguely remember saying something about likely a woman who knows how to plan an op.”
She smiled knowingly. “Yes you did, trooper.”
“So what do you have planned for us today, sarge?”
“First a lazy breakfast. Then you take a shower. Then we'll spend some time in bed getting to know each other. After that a simple dinner and then I'll take you home. You're on duty tomorrow.”
“Sounds nice.” I had a thought. “What about your truck? It's at my place.”
“I had a girlfriend pick it up for me.”
“Damn, lady, you really do know how to plan a op.”
“When you know what you want, the details come easy.” She smiled sweetly. “Now, would you like some scrambled eggs and toast to go with that coffee?”
“Yes,” he said, suddenly feeling very hungry.
“Good,” she said with a coy smile. “You're going to need your strength.”
He wolfed down five eggs and three pieces of toast with a couple more cups of coffee. He felt almost up to optimum. He ran the shower hot and let the heat soak into his body. When he emerged from the bathroom with a towel around his waist, he could tell the atmosphere had changed.
Trance music played in the living room, just loud enough to fill the apartment, but not overwhelming. The air was redolent of incense and perfume, but not cloyingly. And there was something else, a 'vibe', like he was going into a combat situation, but this time it was not about fighting.
He found Phil in the bedroom. She had covered her bed with a dark blue comforter that was itself covered with stars making the huge California King look like a portal into another universe.
Her vibe changed too. Eye make-up for one. She never wore any at all at work. It was subtle but effective, giving her an exotic look.
She had put all her earrings in, maybe a dozen small silver hoops in each ear. Around her neck she wore a choker of bright blue beads with a silver crescent moon pendant dangling in the hollow of her throat. She had a half dozen silver bracelets on each wrist and an engraved silver ring upon each finger, even her thumbs.
She wore a rich blue robe now, short to show off her long muscular legs, wearing a pair anklets of the same bright blue beads at the end of each. The robe hung open to show her hard flat stomach and the narrow trimmed strip of dark hair between her legs.
All this had the desired effect and his cock started to stiffen. She looked down at the tenting of his towel, then back to his eyes, smiled in lewd knowing fashion. That made him even harder.
He later remembered thinking she had looked like some kind of Pagan Priestess, which in fact she was. But he was never quite sure where his next words came from. “I feel like I should call you 'mistress'.”
Her smile widened with pleasure. “That would be a good start.” She paused. “Slave.” The word sent a small jolt through him, both fear and pleasure, each reenforcing the other in an accelerating loop.
She got a hard expression. She pulled his towel off and grabbed his cock. Her grip was strong, not like a lover, but of someone taking possession. Her hand was like a man's hand, callused from working out and martial arts. It was a Warrior's hand.
She looked him hard in his eyes, squeezed his cock. “Kneel for your Mistress, slave.” The capital 'M' was plain to hear. She released her grip and he went to his knees almost without thought. She put a foot up on the bed, opening up her vagina's lips to his view. They already glistened with her lubrication.
“Pleasure your Mistress, slave.” He moved his face between her thighs and stuck his tongue into her pussy. She grabbed his hair, pulling him back. “No. First you must kiss my yoni, like you would a lover. Understand?”
“Yes,” he said. She smacked him, not too hard, but hard enough to sting.
“Yes what, slave?”
“Good boy.” She smiled, sweet and evil. “Proceed. And remember, like a lover.”
“Yes, Mistress.” He leaned in again, kissing her pussy lips as he would a lover's lips. He saw that her clit was pierced, too. And that she had a pair of strange eyes tattooed on either side of her stomach, which did make all of this like a lover's face.
She moved her hips against his face while she held a grip on his hair. He could feel her breathing deepen. After a few minutes, she pulled his head back.
“Enough,” she said. “Lay on the bed.” He got up and scrambled into the bed.
“Spreadeagled.” He had a pretty good idea what was coming next, but he trusted this woman and anyway, he was excited by all of this.
Producing silk ropes, she tied him down, first hands and then legs. Tight, but they both knew it was nothing he couldn't escape from. Escape was not the point.
She checked his bonds, then dropped off her robe. Beside the eyes, she had wide bands tattooed on each bicep, both complex designs of a pattern he did not know. Naked he could see her body was very masculine, though she was also very feminine. The combination made him even harder.
She literally climbed up onto the bed and stood with her feet planted on either side of his prone body. “You just stay hard, slave, while your Mistress takes her pleasure.”
She straddled him and then slid back onto his cock. She was tight and wet. He fought the urge to cum. She started to ride him, slowly and steadily, her hands braced against his chest, fingers spread, her eyes closed.
He focused on his breathing. The way she was working his cock with the muscles up inside her pussy, like little fingers, made it easy to stay erect.
She maintained her rhythm for several minutes, then sat up. After a beat, her body shuddered. He felt the sensation of her warm juices rushing down the shaft of his cock. He was ready to cum himself when she pressed her finger firmly against a spot just below his scrotum.
“Not yet, slave,” she hissed. “Your Mistress will tell you when.” His orgasm receded. She leaned forward, bracing her hands again, and once more began to ride him. She reach her next orgasm within minutes, this time a bit harder. Again, she pressed that spot and stopped his. Over the next hour or so, he repeated this process, each time her orgasm getting more violent and prolonged. Sweat ran down her body in streams, dripped off of her nipples, their flesh slipping with it.
Finally, after an orgasm that seemed endless, she shouted out, “Now, you fucking little bastard!! Shoot that hot wet cum into your Mistress!! Do it now!! All of it” She kept yelling that last line. He arched his back and let go. And it kept going. It felt like he'd never stop ejaculating.
But he did, seemingly hours later. She collapsed on top of him, though she kept his cock clamped inside of her. For the first time in all of this, she kissed him, her tongue deep into him month. He responded eagerly.
She looked at him, smiled. “We're not done yet.” She slid off of him and then squatted over his face like some savage. “Lick!” she commanded, grinding her pussy into his face. Their mixed juice poured out onto him. The act was so obscene and yet intimate that he never thought twice. He sucked and licked her now swollen pussy with like a hungry dog, swallowing his cum and hers.
She came again, her juice squirting out on to his cheeks and into his month. He lapped that up too.
Then she got up and walked out of the room, leaving him there breathless. As she had her back to him he noticed another tattoo in the 'tramp stamp' position; a pentacle inside a circle with a red 'V' superimposed upon it and a wing-like pattern that swirled out on either side to the edge of her hips. The design looked like her armbands.
She returned shortly with a damp cloth and a glass of water. She wiped his face and gave him a drink. But he remained bound.
She lay next to him, smiled very sweetly. “Your Mistress is very pleased with her new slave. She thinks she'll kept you.”
“Thank you, Mistress.” He squirmed a bit.
She grinned. “Doggy has to pee?”
“Yes, Mistress. Like a bastard.”
She undid the ropes and let him up. Then she took a dog collar out of a drawer.
“Have to make sure you do not escape,” she said as fasten the collar around his neck. Then, she clipped a chain leash onto it. “Okay,” she smiled, “Let's go pee-pee.”
She stood hold the leash while his pissed. When he was finished, he put the seat down.
“Ah, you're already housebroken, I see.” She laughed lightly, then yanked the leash. “Mistress is not through playing yet.”
Back in the bedroom, she guided him to a chair. “Sit!” He sat. “Stay.” He stayed.
She left the room, returning with a bowl and shaving gear.
“Legs apart!” He opened his legs. “I like my slaves clean shaven. If you please me, we'll shave the rest of you.”
Then she shaved his crotch totally clean. She admired her handiwork. “Good. Now, on to the bed!”
She tied him down once again. She produced a leather cord and a butt plug. He made a small gasp at the latter. She smiled. “Trust me, I know you'll like it. Your type always does.”
She knelt between his legs and wrapped the cord around his cock and balls, causing him to get hard again. She wet two fingers and carefully slid them into his asshole, first one, then two. “Relax and submit,” she said softly.
He did. And, as he had been afraid, he did find it pleasurable. She started to suck his cock while worked his ass for a few minutes. Then she put the plug in her pussy, swirled it around. It was covered with her juice when it reemerged. She slid that up into his ass. He almost came.
“No, no,” she snarled. “Not until you get permission.”
For the next hour or more she sucked and bit his cock, licked his balls, and working the plug in his ass, always stopping his orgasm on the edge, until he started to beg.
“Please, Mistress! I can't hold it any longer!”
“The you may cum, slave.” She stroked his cock as he shot cum four or five feet into the air. She kept stroking until he shuddered from her touch. She licked cum off of his cock, lay next him, kissing him with his own cum still in her mouth.
She untied him and took off the collar. They embraced, kissed gently and fell asleep for a few hours.
It was dark outside when Jim woke up. He was by himself, but he could hear Phil in the shower. The music from the living room was now light classical. He lounged for a few minutes, taking in what had happened here.
She came out soon wearing a terrycloth robe. Her vibe was back to its 'old self'. She still had her earrings in, but the rest was gone.
She smiled happily. “Dinner in twenty minutes. I left a robe for you in the shower. Go wash the sin off.” She grinned at that last one.
He smiled, saluted from the bed. “Yes, ma'am.”
Dinner was stirred fried chicken and vegetables with sparkling water to drink. “No wine cause that would lead to trouble and you have duty tomorrow,” she pronounced. He realized he liked that she had such clear boundaries. It was weirdly like being back in the Corps.
They gossiped about work, not saying a word about the events of that afternoon. He did however get around to asking about her ink.
“The armbands are an Etruscan pattern. My maternal grandmother came from Tuscany, which the Romans called Etruria. They were famous – or infamous – for their skills as magicians and augurs. The Romans took a lot of their old religious rites from them, reading the entrails of animals and so on.”
“Are you Wiccan?” he said. “I noticed the pentacle on your back. I served with several Wiccans in The Sandbox. Not so many in The Stan for some reason.”
“No, I'm a striga, a witch. Runs in the family, from my mother's grandmother, who I'm told was well known for it.” She laughed. “Apparently people thought my great grandfather was crazy for marrying her, that she'd put him in an early grave. But he lived until his nineties.”
“She did spells and made potions and charms. All that was passed down through the women. My mother despairs a bit because she's had no granddaughters. There's just me and my older brother and he has two sons.”
“You don't want kids?”
“Yeah, I do actually. I've saved a bunch of my eggs in cryo-storage for after I retire.”
“Really?” He was kind of shocked by the idea.
“My religion believes in Female Supremacy. I like men, but I have no intention of being dependent upon any of them ever.” She smiled at him. “Nothing personal.”
He smiled ruefully. “No worries. It's just unusual, that's all.” He had a thought. “I guess that means you like women, too. Sexually, I mean.”
She grinned broadly. “Oh, yes. And if you're a good boy, you'll get to meet some of them.”
He felt himself stir again at that idea.
She gave him a serious look. “Okay, some ground rules here. I only play with one boy at a time. I expect that boy to only play with me. At work, we're just colleagues. Zero overlap. Can you live with that?”
“Sure. That makes things simple.”
She looked at him for a moment. “Yeah, you get it.” She smiled. “Now, you need to get a good night's sleep.”
She drove him home. They kissed lightly, then he got out.
“See ya when I see ya, sarge.”
“Roger that, trooper.”
That night he slept like a baby, not even a hint of the dreams.
When Phil came back to work the day after that, they just smiled and nodded at each other. And that set their basic routine for the next year and a half.
While he was at CJ, they saw each other two/three times a month when their schedules meshed. When he moved on to Traffic, they could get together once a week.
Phil slowly turned the intensity up, adding handcuffs, dildos and strap-ons to their sexual play. He got his own collar, soft black leather with a silver tag that said “James”. After a lifetime of Being In Control, Surrender came as a tremendous relief.
They learned more about and from each other. That she had done a tour as an Army MP before she joined the Sheriffs. That he had no family to speak of. He improved her shooting skills. She taught him yoga. He was happy and content for the most part.
But the dreams still hovered on the edge of his consciousness. And he felt like something was missing with Phil, though by now he was thoroughly in love with her, a fact he kept to himself.
She was however a very wise woman and noticed such things. One night over dinner she said, “I think it's time you met a friend of mine.”
“Mistress Tontine. She's a co-coreligionist of mine.”
“Your temple of amazon witches,” he said smiling. He'd glanced through one of the several copies of The Explanation, a black trade paperback she kept around her apartment, which had both amused and intrigued him.
“Yes, the very same.”
“That should prove interesting.” He paused. “Why do you think I need to meet her?”
“I do what I do sexually because it gives me pleasure. But ultimately I'm a Warrior by nature, you know, a cop and a soldier. But Tontine is a dedicated Domme. It is who she IS at her core, twenty four seven three sixty five. And I think it is time you moved beyond what I can do for you.”
Jim felt a twinge of fear deep inside, not that he showed it. Too well trained. But Phil knew him far too well to be fooled. She gently touched his face, ran her hand over his hair, kissed him softly on the lips.
“You will always be my boy, no matter what. Tontine and I are Blood Sisters and we share everything.”
“Which would include me...” he said with very mixed emotions.
“Yes, it would,” she said in a way that stirred him.
He sat quietly for a moment.
“So, when will I meet her?”
“I'll call her and ask. Depending upon her sched, probably one of the next times you come here. I'll let you know after she and I talk.”
And nothing else was said about the matter for the rest of the evening.
A few days later he was on duty out on an empty stretch of road with his radar gun. Being a 'new guy' he would be stuck with low traffic places like that for a while and he was fine with that. He'd long ago learned he was quite comfortable with clearly defined hierarchy.
He liked this place in fact, an access road for a high end housing development that was abandoned mid construction over a decade ago. It became a high crime area for a while; squatters and dopers living in the half built ruins. Then several years ago a wild fire had leveled the whole thing. Now it was quiet and peaceful and its only resident trouble makers were coyotes. To Jim, their laughter-like yipping seemed to mock the human failure.
He would pretend it was Bandit Country, which was easy because to him, everywhere was Bandit Country. He'd three sixty the area while focusing on moderating his pulse rate. In his left ear he had an earpiece playing a twenty minute surf and seagulls loop, while in his right he listened to the Sheriff's radio band. The tape paused for fourteen second before restarting and he'd count his heart best in that window. Down to sixty eight today.
A dark shape appeared down the road, growing rapidly.
“My lucky day,” he thought and aimed the radar gun. The red LED numbers cycled, stopping with a beep at 106mph. “Fuck me,” he muttered...and then the black shape whooshed past in near silence.
Roaring off in pursuit, lights and siren going, he figured this one was going to make him work for it, but the vehicle was already slowing down and pulling over. He parked the bike a good car length behind and unclipped the strap on his holster. The whole thing felt hinkey.
The sleek black sports car was very expensive work, customized to the point where all he could recognize was the make of the tires. It did have both a California State Sheriff's Association and American flag sticker, neatly placed upon either side of its rear. But he dismissed them as probably 'camouflage'.
As he approached, the driver's window came down, revealing a rather intense looking woman. She was beautiful, but not in a pretty way, her face harsh angles and lupine. Against her black blouse and the black interior, her pale skin appeared luminous. And her pale blue eyes seemed to look right through him.
As she regarded him him calmly, he had a crazy suspicion he knew exactly who she was.
“License and registration, miss,” he said in his best official voice.
She produced them instantly, but remained silent, watching him coolly, her hands resting upon the steering wheel overtly in plain sight.
Her license revealed her to be one Antonia Sakala with a Sausilito address, a pretty pricey neighborhood these days. The vehicle was registered to a Sakala Associates at 400 Capital Mall, Sacramento. That address he knew; the California State Bank Building, formerly Welles Fargo headquarters before they imploded and the state seized their assets. These spoke of both Money and Power.
“Miss, you do realize that you were doing one hundred and six miles per hour. That's felony speeding.”
She smiled coyly. “I wished to fully get your attention, Deputy Haskell,” she said in a strong throaty voice. “And to see you in your, ah..'natural environment'.”
“Mistress Tontine, I presume?”
She smiled much more fulsomely. “You live up to expectations, deputy. That is most pleasurable.”
He found that felt pleasurable to him as well.
“Note that I found you through my own resources, so no berating Sergeant Lucca.” Though she was still smiling, that was clearly a firm commend.
He handed her back her license and registration. “So, we shall meet again?”
Her smile warmed again. “Yes, most definitely.” He knew he wanted to please this woman.
“I look forward to that, Mistress.“ He felt an impulse to come to attention, but resisted it.
“Yes, deputy. Soon.” Her window was sliding up even as she pulled away.
He felt a little lightheaded, but he raised his radar gun anyway. Fifty five on the button. He smirked...con't
~The first time Maggie heard about what she would call “the Sisterhood and all that” was when her favorite niece Diana came to visit her 'working' townhouse in Georgetown. It was out of the blue, but that was Diana, brilliant and precocious and oh so flighty, always bubbling over some new thing that had caught her fancy.
And Maggie loved Diana for exactly that, for being the total opposite of her own obsessive, controlling, workaholic self. Because of that, she would drop almost anything when Diana appeared, except maybe a face to face in the Oval Office. But Diana's timing was ever fortuitous and the present occupant of the White House would likely have understood, being a mother and a very old friend.
This time however, Diana seemed different. She was still bright and energetic, but she was now more...focused was the word that came to mind.
“I'm going back to school, Aunt Mags. Law school,” she said.
Maggie blinked at her a bit. Diana laughed. “No, I don't have a brain tumor. Lawyers run things in this country and I want to be a part of that.”
“Well...” was all she could get out. Diana laughed again and gave her a hug.
“I'd never thought I'd find you speechless.”
“It is something of a shock. You've always been so...”
“Directionless and erratic?”
“No, no, but really a free spirit.”
“I still am, Aunt Mags. I've just found purpose.”
Maggie could hear the capital 'P' and got a tiny bit nervous. “And what would that be?”
Diana smiled coyly. “I guess you could say I got religion.”
Maggie's heart sank a little bit. “Really.”
“Goddess, you make that single word sound like the gates of Hell slamming shut,” Diana said grinning.
“Goddess is it?” Maggie breathed a bit more. “I suppose that's some relief.”
“Yes,” she said and grinned wider. “I've joined a cult of communist mankilling lesbian witches.”
This time Maggie laughed to loud. “Then you have not changed all that much.”
She then looked at Diana seriously. “Tell me about it.” And for the next hour, she did.
When her niece left, Maggie was thinking this 'prophet' of hers was either a complete lunatic or a brilliant conman. After she quick read the slim volume Diana had left her, Marguerite concluded that he was probably both. And then she pushed the whole episode to the back of her mind. For the time being.
But she did not forget and as time went on she did some 'research' into Diana's new friends. And so, years later, Maggie found herself on board a private jet borrowed from a corporation she partially owned, orbiting on approach to a small municipal airport out in the Southern California High Desert. And wondering how she of all people had gotten here.
Marguerite Vandevere Cabot was known by many names. 'Maggie' to her friends. 'Aunt Mags' to the coterie of nieces she doted upon. 'Pup' to her late husband. A 'formidable woman' to her allies. And all manner of obscene sexual epithets to her enemies.
There was however not a single government title among all those names. She could have, at the very least, successfully run for congress. She was articulate, attractive, rich, and well connected. But she thought “why have a single seat in The House when you can own a dozen of them?”
She considered herself an 'old school' East Coast Liberal, though she'd been a Republican until Reagan's second term, when she became, as she put it, 'affiliatively agnostic'. Her father was annoyed – the family had been Republican since the election of 1860 – but harrumphed, “At least you're not a Democrat,” which in his mind was something akin to 'Satanic lesbian'.
He would have been half right however. But by then she was dating Roger Cabot, who was even deeper in the closet that she was. After a fumbled attempt at sex, they tearfully confessed to each other, which produced a real moment of love and a decision to marry as an 'alliance'.
The marriage was a great relief to her parents, her older sisters already married off and procreating straight out of collage. And, like their mother, 'tossing daughters, as her father so delicately put it. That allowed Maggie and Roger to forgo having children, as their relationship was too complex for that. And her nieces fully satisfied what slim maternal instincts that she possessed.
Marguerite Vandevere Cabot was much more of a hunter and killer than a nurturer, though she certainly knew how to nurture the political ambitions of her 'clients' as she called the various politicians she funded and guided.
At first she focused upon the accumulation of Power, which would inevitable lead to the accumulation of Wealth. After all, she was investing her Time and Money and as a good American she was entitled to a decent return on them. She was fully on the same page with her father – and grandfather and great grandfather and so, etc. – in that regard.
And yet she did have a social conscience. She was still a child of the Sixties, however tenuously and Abolition had once fired up her ancestors, so it was in her blood, as well.
But as time went on her social agenda became harder and harder to advance, and being a practical political operative, she would 'put it off until later' and focused almost exclusively on getting, and keeping, her clients in office and then moving them up the ladder of political power, until one day she realized that her social conscience had been in a coma for close to a decade.
For a while she rededicated herself to engaging in at least some type positive social change in what had become a rather bleak and hostile landscape for some work. Then Roger died and in her grief, she drove herself back into pure power politics.
But that ate at her, especially since, as a 'can do' personality type, it was immensely frustrating that she could not see any way to really affect the change she saw as clearly necessary. The whole system, of which she was fully a part, was too locked into getting and keeping power and money and almost nothing else. If Marguerite Vandevere Cabot had had any tendencies toward depression, they would have started to manifest at that point. She was too bloody minded for that however and she just kept working.
But things were getting worse. The economy was flat, a growing underclass was getting increasingly restless, and the electorate was more polarized than ever. There was at least one major urban riot per summer. And on the day Diana came to visit, Maggie had a number of estimates for hurricane proofing her townhouse sitting on her desk. The storms rolling up the East Coast were getting stronger and traveling with that new strength further north each year.
A number of the things Diana's 'guru' said stuck in her head, especially about 'masculine ego' being the Inevitable Obstacle, and the male need to always 'become'. As much as she pushed his ideas away, the more she saw them clearly in her day to day affairs.
So, slowly at first, she began to quietly direct some money and resources in the direction of his little operation. She didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised when the results measured up to his words. She directed some more money and resources, the attitude she presented being, “Yes, they're a little bizarre, but they are doing actual good, so what the hell?” However she herself rarely made direct contact and required that she be cut out of any official link back. What she was committing to made her nervous.
But more and more of the women in her circle and just beyond seemed to be getting involved, in one way or another, with 'the Sisterhood and all that'. And then finally, here she was, squinting at the intense brightness reflecting off of the Southern California High Desert pouring in through the aircraft's windows.
She saw the First Karaal's hydropolis pass below, a huge oval shaped structure, it looked like a football stadium with a half-shell theater at one end, the whole thing seemingly filled with a tropical rain forest, dug into the desert floor. Two more were under construction on either side of it. She smiled with pleasure and no small wonder.
Maggie had followed the planning and construction of Stage Three from the very beginning. She knew the locations of the culverts carved into the desert floor to channel the rains into a system of subterranean cisterns. She knew the generating capacity of the vast solar cell and windmill farm just north of the Stage Three hydropolis. She knew the design specs of the vertical farming towers rising up next to the hydropoli. She knew that the dozens of shiny rectangles were solar cells covering the roofs of of mobile homes arranged to reproduce the layout of Stage Two as interim housing.
But out side of plans, drawings, and photos, she had never seen the place itself. And doing so gave her feelings she had not really experienced since she was a child, a sense of hope and excitement for the future. She made sure not to tear up.
Then the jet landed and taxied into a hanger. Maggie had done something she had never really done before; placed herself entirely in someone else's hands. She took no assistant or bodyguards on this trip. The two pilots and the single cabin attendant were all Initiated Sisters. Yet she felt perfectly safe. “I suppose I'm a Sister now, too,” she thought.
As she emerged from the aircraft, she stepped into a solid wall of heat. There were armed personnel stationed around the hanger, all in tan colored full combat gear, helmets, automatic weapons, wraparound sunglasses, etc. Opposite the aircraft was a convoy of five vehicles, three large tan SUVs, bookended by a pair of black and white police sedans. Maggie was duly impressed, especially as everyone present appeared to be female.
A woman in a well tailored raw linen pants suit approached her as she stepped onto the concrete. She looked to be in her early thirties and of South Asian descent. She had a broach of The Sisterhood's symbol on her jacket lapel, the wreath and star in black, with the red 'V' superimposed. She smiled politely.
“Greetings, Mistress. I am Badria, the First Karaal Chief of Protocol and I bid you welcome.” Her accent was clearly British, with a 'foreign' hint underneath.
“Thank you, Badria. I can honestly say it is a pleasure to finally be here.”
Badria's smile brightened a bit. She gestured toward the waiting vehicles. “If you would, Mistress.” They proceeded in that direction.
“Forgive me for prying, Badria, but where are you from originally?”
“I was born in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. But my mother took me out of the country when I was six. First Pakistan, then the UK.”
They reached the center SUV and one of the guards opened the rear passenger door for Maggie. Badria looked her squarely in the eyes. “She did not want me to be mutilated as she had been.”
Maggie held her gaze. “Then Blessings upon your mother.”
She got into the vehicle. After a moment Badria opened the opposite door, beckoned her silently. Maggie scooted over and out the door. Behind Badria waited two women who looked and were dressed very much like the pair of them. They got in the vehicle while Badria led Maggie to an office at the back of the hanger.
From there they watched the convoy pull out of the hanger and speed away. She noticed a pair of heledrones keeping pace with the vehicles.
“Those things yours?”
Badria smiled demurely. “Yes. Those things belong to us.” She turned. “Please follow me, Mistress.”
They went through a small office space, a half dozen desks, presently unoccupied, maps and charts on the wall, and out the main door to a shaded driveway. There waited a small electric runabout, late model, white with heavily tinted windows. Badria opened the passenger door for her.
At the wheel was a heavy set man in a loud Hawaiian shirt and tan shorts, his long silver hair in a ponytail, mirrored aviator sunglasses and a big stupid grin on his goateed face.
“Need a lift, lady?” he said in very nasally New York accent. Maggie could not help but laugh.
The first time she had met Her Prophet – the only time until this moment – had been just over a decade ago.
After funneling connections and resources toward his various projects for about two years, and over a million dollars as well, Maggie had gotten a little nervous and needed a face to face for reassurance. All of this was pretty far outside of her comfort zone.
Through her intermediary she let him know she wanted a meeting and that on such and such date she would be at the O'Hare Hilton in a business suite one of her companies maintained. A local number was provided to get further details when he arrived in Chicago that morning.
She was not sure if he would actually show, but she had business in town anyway so it would not be a total loss.
She'd seen photos and some video of the man, but he was much bigger than she expected, a bit of giant in fact. And she noted he did not 'dress up' for the occasion, wearing, a blazer cut black leather jacket, a black t-shirt, jeans, traditional black and white basketball sneakers, his ubiquitous pendant...and sunglasses. “A Hollywood uniform,” she thought.
After her bodyguards searched him for weapons and electronic devices – he didn't even bring a cellphone – he shook her hand firmly but gently.
“I'm pleased to finally met our benefactor,” he said, and she believed he meant it, though she just smiled politely.
They sat down, she offered him coffee, he swapped his sunglasses for regular ones, grinned at her.
“Well, here I am. Guess you wanted to eyeball me to see who you've been funding.”
“I'm surprised you took so long. We're at a million bucks.”
“One million, one thousand and sixteen dollars and fifty eight cents.”
He laughed. “I always end those numbers with an eighty seven.”
She blinked slightly at that and got annoyed with herself.
“So, you are human after all.” He sipped his coffee. “These days I never know when I'm dealing with aliens.”
She began to think this was all a horrible mistake, then realized he was fucking with her.
“I was told you could be a wise ass.”
He smirked. “That would be me, ma'am.”
“And you don't think that it might not be so smart to play head games with someone who has given you over a million dollars?”
“This is who and what I am and I find my authenticity has served me fairly well so far. I'm selling a pretty crazy product and I damn well better laugh. 'Sides I'm sure you already have battalions of folks who'll blow smoke up your ass on command.”
He leaned forward and fixed her with an intense look that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. When he spoke his voice had dropped an octave or more and taken on a 'rich and rounded' quality.
“The reality is you need me. No one else can make this thing of ours work, not in the beginning. And you want this world I promise, you want it badly, the idea makes you moist and throbbing, because you're sick of us, sick of us telling you who you are, and what to be, and how to be it, and what you're worth, and only a madman like me can bring this promised world into being, with its cyber amazon elite and mass of genetically engineered servitors. You want it. And it is my life's purpose to deliver it to you.”
Then he sat back and in that moment she knew with a fair amount certainty that if anyone could pull this madness off, it was this particular madman. And, yes, she wanted that world his promised, more than she had even known until he had outlined it like that.
He smiled. “If you wish, you can get rid of me in a decade or so, but by then I won't care.”
“And what to you get out of all of this?”
“The satisfaction of a job well done?” He laughed. “Okay, I know you won't buy that line of bullshit. What I get is hundreds of daughters who will be at the core of this new world. That's what true men want anyway, reproductive immortality, the spreading of their genes.”
“You're in this for the sex?” She was slightly shocked.
He chuckled. “One does not leave such a crucial thing to the vagaries of fucking, madam. Sperm is pre-selected for the production of female offspring and then implanted. My actual fucking is largely educational, you know, the training of Dommes.”
Maggie smiled. It was the whole 'Army of Dommes' scenario that had first led her to think this madman was actually on to something. She very well how men worked and apparently so did he.
“There are other reasons.” He gotten a bit subdued. “I was a gold plated bastard in my youth. I'm fairly certain that my actions helped lead one girl, my first true love really, along the path to her murder. If I could go back to that time...well, I know I couldn't save her her. You cannot save anyone but yourself. But I could have been kind to her, showed her the love and compassion I really felt, but was then unable to express, and maybe, just maybe, I could have shifted her path enough so that she might survived long enough to discover how to save herself.”
He sighed very deeply. “Consider my work a living amends to her. There are a lot of women and girls out here like her. Can't save any of them either. But I...we can provide them with the tools and a the space to save themselves. And doing that allows me to sleep very well these days.”
“Okay,” she thought, “He hit all the bases and at the right tone. He pitched the product hard and right to the point. He was brutally honest about his own outcome. And he 'shared the demons' that motivate him, a good emotional 'closer'. Yes, he is the man for this insane job.” She also realized that this helped her to sleep better, too. That in particular made The Sisterhood a pretty good investment, no matter what its long term success might be.
As they pulled out onto the main road, a four lane blacktop, she the convoy shrinking in the distance.
“What was that little charade all about?”
He laughed. “We let the NSA think they know everything that's going on here.” He pointed to the convoy. “They hack the video feed on our drones.”
“Really?" she said, entirely unsurprised.
“Yup. We pretend we don't know. Course we hack the video feeds on their drones, too. We suspect then also pretend not to know.”
Maggie shook her head. “The Sisterhood has arrived I suppose.”
He grinned. “Not yet, Maggie. But we're getting there.”
“Aren't you worried I might be wired?
“Nope. Scanned you on the plane. You personally are clean. However you do have two trackers in your luggage. One of them seems to be a passive AV device.”
“You're shitting me!” That did surprise her.
“Wheels within wheels. Someone from Security will point them out to you.” He tapped the roof. “This baby is electromagnetically screened, so even if you were wired, all transmissions are blocked.”
She laughed. “The gang down at Langley would love you guys.”
“They do. Nothing undermines militant Islam more than an aggressive militant feminism. The FBI likes us, too, even though we've turned every female agent they sent in. The American radical right wing is a mutual enemy.”
“Enemy of my enemy,” she muttered.
“Indeed. Plus we're really not into revolutionary violence. Randomly blowing shit up is of extremely limited utility. Some times a little, um..'sanitizing' is necessary. But it should be very specific and applied with great restraint.”
“You sound like you're ready to testify before Congress.”
“Only behind closed doors and with blanket immunity for the entire organization.”
She looked out the window at the busy roadside landscape. Brightly colored houses. Various types of small gardens. Groups of women and girls on horseback. The hydropoli and vertical farms in the near distance.
She saw her own refection in the runabout's window. She looked old and tired, yet this man next to her seemed younger that a decade ago, tan and fit and full of life. But she had learned long ago that life was not fair.
She must have sighed because he said, “Almost there,” and then turned off onto a gravel road. A decent sized mobile home lay directly ahead. Like the rest, its roof was totally covered with solar panels. It had been painted pink with a blue trim, both colors now nicely sun bleached.
They pulled under an open sided car port. Exiting the runabout she found the air still warm, but with a peasant breeze that carried the faint scent of desert sage. Her mood lifted a notch or two.
“What is this place?” she asked.
“This is where I live.”
“You don't live over there?” she said pointing toward the hydropoli.
“No, that's the Promised Land and Moses may not go there.” He smiled gently. “Some times, in the middle of the night, I do wander around over there, just to see what's cooking. But that place is not for me. Not this incarnation anyway. Next Turn of The Wheel.”
That made her sad. But also once again confirmed her choice to support this man in this work. “A humble egomaniac,” she thought.
The house was comfortably cool and modestly decorated. As they entered two young woman, mid to late twenties, came out of the back. Both were very tall and extremely fit, one Slavic looking, the other possibly Arabic. They looked at her like a pair of tigers watching a tethered goat. Her 'pleasant face of authority' seemed to have zero effect upon them.
“This is Natasha and Aisha,” he said to her, then to them, “This is Aunt Mags.” The effect was instantaneous. They both smiled warmly and bowed their heads slightly. “Greetings, Mistress,” they said almost as a chorus, their accents fully American.
They both shook hands with her, firm yet gentle. She looked into their eyes, took in the muscles and ritual tattoos and concluded that either of these women could easily kill her with their bare hands and without much compunction. She found that oddly reassuring.
He beckoned. “This way,” and heading into further into the house. She followed him to a bedroom being used as a storage room, two thirds full of cardboard boxes, filling cabinets, and various items swathed in bubble wrap and packing tape.
He opened the door of the closet in the back, pushed hangared clothes aside, and squatted. She heard a few sharp clicks. Then he pulled up part of the closet floor to reveal the top of a metal spiral staircase.
“You've got to be kidding me,” she said.
He just grinned that big stupid grin and said, “Watch your step, Alice,” then proceeded down the steeps. She took a deep breath and followed.
Lights were flickering on in the space below, which turned out to be a type of small garage for a pair of golf carts.
The whole place was solid concrete, the walls and ceiling painted an off white, the floor a medium gray, with three parking spaces delineated with bright yellow lines. Then, as more lights flickered on, she saw there as a wide corridor that seemed to go on forever.
He climbed into the nearest cart. “Hop in,” he said. She climbed on board and they purred off down the corridor.
“You've got this whole James Bond obsession I see,” she said.
He grinned again, eyes straight ahead. “Actually, this is more like the Miniaturization Command from Fantastic Voyage.”
She thought about that for a moment, then laughed out loud. “Yes, you are absolutely right.”
“So,” she said, “Are you training Natasha and Aisha?”
“No. They are a Security Trikona. My bodyguards. Naomi was probably sleeping. One of them is always awake.”
“No wonder they looked at me like that.”
“Yes, they're all pretty formidable. Probably be the death of me if I was fucking them.” He chuckled. “I am an old man.”
She smirked. “And what is their reward for guarding Her Prophet?”
“When their three month shift is done, they plan to become a Breeding Trikona. They started off as Peers, so that's not a big transition.”
“And they'll get your seed, I take it.”
“Yup. They'll get to bear the Daughter's of Her Prophet.”
“At lot of power and prestige in that.”
“Gender not withstanding, we are social beings and hierarchy is an organic part of our nature. If one accepts and understands that, it can be properly used for the greater goal.”
“What do you call them again? Your daughter's last names.”
“They are given the family name Nemmera. Hebrew for 'tigress' or leopardess'. That breaks the naming chain of Patriarchy.”
“And sets up a Nemmera Clan with great power inside the Sisterhood.”
“Well, that will ultimately depend upon the Nemmera women, won't it.”
And then they reached the end of the corridor, another little garage exactly like the one they just left, except there was a large black metal door instead of a spiral staircase and only one cart.
They dismounted and walked to the door.
“Okay, Maggie, this is where I leave you.”
“We'll talk again before I go?”
“Yes, of course. I'll sneak in in the middle of the night.” He gave her a quick hug, unlatched the door. “Through the looking glass, Alice,” he said, pulling the door open.
Beyond was a small room with identical 'decor' and another black metal door directly opposite. In between stood a stocky black woman in a rich blue silk pants suit. Like Badria, she had a Sisterhood broach upon her lapel, though this wreath and star were white. The Sisterhood was ever fashionable.
She smiled. “Greetings, Mistress,” she said with a distinct West African accent, “My name is Monifa. Welcome to the First Karaal.”
Maggie heard the other door clung shut behind her.
Monifa opened the door ahead of Maggie. A defuse light full of many shadings poured into the room, followed by a wave a mild humidity that carried a melange of wonderful scents too numerous to differentiate.
Somewhat wide eyed, Maggie stepped through the door and onto what appeared to be a balcony, except that it curved off endlessly to her right and left. Ahead of her lay the forest that she has seen from the air. Her ears were filled with the sounds of water and birds and little girls laughing and chattering.
She wobbled slightly and Monifa was instantly at her side, discretely holding her elbow to steady her.
“It can be overwhelming at first,” she said softly.
“Yes,” Maggie whispered....con't
Her Prophet Explains: Part Six “One Possible Future” [Far Future]