In the Grand Hall, where Adam and Monica contemplated their next course of action, the overhead speakers came to life again, this time carrying a familiar voice.
“TO THE WARRIORS OF THE SISTERHOOD AND THE SLAVES OF THE ACADEMY, LISTEN TO MY VOICE. YOU BELIEVE THAT I AM DEAD, BUT I AM NOT.
“THIS IS DARLENE, AND I HAVE RETURNED.”
“Told you she was fine,” said Monica.
“AND I AM NOT ALONE,” continued the voice. “THE ONE WHO ESCAPED HAS ALSO RETURNED, AND THOUGH I DON’T KNOW WHERE HE IS, I KNOW THAT HE’S AMONG US FIGHTING FOR OUR CAUSE.”
“The One Who Escaped?” asked Adam.
“Since you left, the other slaves have been talking about you,” explained Monica. “You’re kind of a legend now. She must have heard it.”
“THE STRUGGLE IS NOT YET OVER, BUT NEVER BEFORE HAVE WE BEEN CLOSER TO FREEDOM. OUR ENEMIES HAVE SACRIFICED THEIR HONOR IN EXCHANGE FOR POWER THEY DON’T DESERVE. OUR CAUSE IS JUST, AND THEY KNOW IT.
“TO THE SLAVES CONTROLLING THE CENTRAL CORRIDOR—WELL DONE! BUT I MUST ASK EVEN MORE OF YOU! DEFEND YOUR POSITION UNTIL OUR WARRIORS REACH YOU. THEY DEPEND ON YOU JUST AS YOU DEPEND ON THEM. IF YOU CAN MAINTAIN YOUR POSITION LONG ENOUGH, WE WILL WIN THE DAY!”
This was followed a cacophony of static as the public address system abruptly failed.
The P.A. system did not extend to Mistress Helga’s lavish living quarters on the southern end of the Citadel. The only one in Helga’s home at the moment was the beautiful long-legged housekeeper who had no idea that a revolution was underway.
However, the housekeeper knew that Mistress Helga expected the house to be spotless before she returned home, and if there were any evidence of dust, there would be consequences that no excuse could prevent. She did not need to be reminded of this, but if she did, the portrait of her mistress that glared evilly down at her from the parlor wall served as a warning for her to get back to work.
The absence of a public address system notwithstanding, Mistress Helga’s home had every other modern convenience imaginable—including a wide-screen television connected to the latest software so that the television could act as a teleconferencing device in an emergency.
Such an emergency had never happened before, so the housekeeper was startled when the television received an unexpected incoming message. She answered the call at once.
“I’m so sorry that Mistress Helga is not home,” answered the housekeeper, hoping that she remembered the response protocol correctly. “I beg your forgiveness for disappointing you.”
The captain of the guard stared angrily through the screen back at the housekeeper. “We need information from Mistress Helga,” she snapped, holding her bulletproof vest in one hand. The captain’s standard-issue midriff-bearing battle bra was sudenly making her feel a little underdressed.
The housekeeper could tell something was up.
“There’s an executive security code that only she and Mistress Kathy may access,” said the captain, “but we can’t locate either of them. Do you know where your mistress keeps the codes? It’s an emergency.”
The housekeeper knew her mistress very well, and remembered a drawer in her mistress’s study where information was kept, although it was always kept locked. “What information do you need?” she asked.
“I’m sending three guards over there now. Help them in any way you can.” The captain of the guard did not wait for a reply before ending the transmission. Apparently the housekeeper was not supposed to know the nature of the information they were after.
She was both surprised and a bit troubled by this exchange. It was not at all typical for a security guard to ask anything of her when her mistress was not home. She was even more surprised when another call came only a minute later.
“I’m so sorry that Mistress Helga is not home,” she answered. “I beg your–”
“It’s okay, relax,” said the woman on the screen. “You’re Helga’s housekeeper, right?”
“Yes,” said the housekeeper uncertainly. She did not recognize the woman on the screen. “To whom am I speaking?”
“I’m Darlene,” said Eve. “Look, this is kind of hard to explain, but I’m trying to coordinate a rebellion, and I have to ask, do you know if your mistress has any weapons stashed at your house?”
“I think she might,” said the housekeeper.
“That’s good,” said Eve. “I overheard your conversation just now, so I know there are three guards on their way over. This is a lot to ask, I know–but it would really mean a lot if you could slow them down for a while. Do you think you can do that?”
The housekeeper knew her mistress very well. She knew that her mistress was prone to paranoia and slept more comfortably with a weapon stashed in a hidden compartment in her bed. Helga never imagined that her housekeeper knew about it.
Now the thought of that assault rifle brought a smile to the housekeeper’s lips.
“Yes,” said the housekeeper. “I mean, fuck yeah!”
By this time, Adam and Monica had secured their two prisoners in the archives chamber and were now in the Grand Hall sorting out their next move. Adam had to admit that Monica had done well improvising their plan. He only wished she had thought to bring him some clothes to wear.
“You’re the One Who Escaped,” said Monica. “Deal with it.”
“I’m not really a legend, am I?” asked Adam.
“It’s true,” said Monica. “Even when I was in the stables, I heard the stories slaves told each other about you and how you’d eventually return to free us all. I didn’t believe any of it, but I couldn’t argue because I was gagged most of the time. Pissed me off.”
They heard another explosion, louder and closer than before.
“That was right outside,” said Adam. He ran toward the exit to investigate, and Monica followed.
On the summit of the mountain, they saw the flaming wreckage of a radio tower, but could not understand how the damage had come about.
“What was that?” asked Monica.
“Some kind of tower got blown up,” said Adam.
“That WAS the hub for the local cell phone network,” answered a familiar voice.
Adam and Monica saw Agent Emily and her team emerging from behind the ridge. All three of them wore outrageously sexy outfits.
Agent Jackie wore high boots, a little turquoise miniskirt, and a matching sexy top that bared her midriff. A cutlass hung from a belt around her waste, and Mistress Kathy’s tranquilizer gun hung from her hand.
Agent Jamie had a sequined minidress with an even higher hemline and peekaboo cutouts that bared her waist on both sides. She carried a broadsword in one hand and duffel bag in the other which Adam suspected had recently carried just enough explosives to blow up a cell phone tower.
Agent Emily looked sexy in high black boots, shiny black form-fitting pants and a matching corset, all of which went perfectly with the whip she held in her hands.
One last explosive charge in the wreckage went off belatedly, sending a final fireball into the sky. The three spies in front of it were momentarily silhouetted by the blast.
“I thought Charlie’s Angels was a show,” muttered Adam.
The three climbed down to join Adam and Monica. “This island is no longer in your cell phone’s service area,” announced Emily with her not-so-innocent smile. “Sorry for the inconvenience. What are you doing up here?”
“Taking prisoners,” said Adam.
“Technically, I took the prisoners,” Monica boasted. “I see Eve had no trouble rescuing you before your execution.”
“That was Darlene,” said Emily. “Why? Were Eve and Darlene together?”
“Eve is Darlene,” said Adam.
“Holy shit!” said Emily. “Why didn’t you tell us Darlene was your mistress?”
“She likes being mysterious,” said Adam. “Where is she? We heard her voice on the speaker.”
“We left her in Helga’s secret cave where she’s coordinating the rebellion. Sounds like you’ve been busy, too. Who are the prisoners?”
“Just Kathy and Helga,” bragged Monica. “They’re tied up in the archives.”
“Awesome,” said Emily. “We might need prisoners to bargain with.”
The group went back into the Grand Hall. Monica led Jamie and Jackie into the archives to interrogate the prisoners. Emily and Adam remained on the dais at the top of the hall’s circular stairs to compare notes.
“If we’re angels, then you must be Charlie,” Emily teased.
“How did you get here?” asked Adam.
“There was plenty of confusion at the Citadel, so we were able to steal some motorcycles. How did you get Monica to change sides?”
“Good karma, I guess. I showed her the truth, and she realized she owed me a favor.”
Emily playfully placed the loop of her whip around Adam. “You have quite an effect on women. And I seem to be having quite an effect on you.” She looked down.
“I don’t suppose you know where a guy can find some pants.”
Emily stepped closer. “We didn’t expect to find you here, so we didn’t bring any boy clothes. But you look good naked.”
Emily seemed to have forgotten the doctor’s orders about contact with Adam. Before the situation could become any more awkward, however, they were unexpectedly attacked.
Mistress Ling, whom Adam had remembered from his first visit, ran screaming into the Grand Hall with her sword drawn. She was immediately followed by a seemingly endless stream of armed masters and mistresses under her command. Dozens of them quickly surrounded the dais brandishing their weapons and screaming war cries.
“Look sharp!” Emily shouted to her team. “We’ve got company!”
Jamie, Jackie and Monica came running back from the archives to stand beside Adam and Emily.
They looked into the crowd of unexpected adversaries. There was only one way out of the Grand Hall, and it was blocked by at least fifty swords.
They must have been busy recruiting since I left, thought Adam. He thought this because there were as many masters as mistresses in the group, and even the women seemed unfamiliar to him. Among the few that he recognized were Mistress Margo, an administrator he had met on his first tour of the Citadel. He also saw the domme whom he remembered only as the Clipboard Girl–who had designated him a “horny liar” on his first visit.
Standing next to Mistress Ling was Della Tiara, trying to look convincing with a sword in her hand.
“How did they sneak up on us like this?” asked Adam.
“We must have passed them in the fog,” whispered Emily.
“Did you bring any guns?” asked Monica.
“Just a couple of swords,” said Emily, “my whip, and the tranq gun.”
“One dart left,” whispered Jackie.
“Make it count,” answered Emily. “How are we on explosives?”
“Used them all to blow the tower,” answered Jamie.
“Okay,” said Emily with grim resolve. “It’s a knife fight then.”
Adam was inspired by the courage of the women standing beside him, but courage wasn’t going to matter against so many. Even with the uncanny skills of three Marstonite spies on his side, a fight like this could only end one way.
“Before you take another step, you should know that we hold your leaders hostage!” announced Emily. “Kathy and Helga are our prisoners!”
“Good!” answered Ling. “Never liked them!”
This was true. The secret of Kathy and Helga’s relationship had never been trust, but necessity.
“We have you surrounded,” said Mistress Ling. “You cannot escape. You cannot fight us and hope to live.”
This was also true.
“What are your demands?” asked Emily.
“You will lay down your weapons and surrender. Adam will be taken in chains to the Citadel where he will tell his allies to give themselves up. Order will be restored.”
As Emily considered her reply, Adam stepped forward.
“What makes you think the rebel slaves will listen to me?”
“You’re the One Who Escaped. You’re the one who inspires them. When they see you in chains, their spirit will be broken and they’ll know their only option is to surrender.”
“And if I refuse?”
Ling smiled as she considered this idea. “That would be an unexpected pleasure.” She slid the flat end of her blade across the palm of her hand, enjoying the sensation of the steel against her skin. “Your severed head on a stick will make an even greater impression on your friends.” She gestured toward the many armed fetishists standing behind her. “You’ve lost. This rebellion is over.”
Adam looked to his friends and saw steely resolve on their faces. They raised their weapons in defiance.
He looked at those who were gathered against him. They outnumbered his friends ten to one.
Yet he wondered, Where did all these people come from? I thought all the guards had been summoned to the Citadel.
He looked into the eyes of his enemies and tried to read what he saw there.
Emily stepped to Adam’s side and was about to yell their refusal, but Adam made her stop.
“Thank you, Emily,” he whispered, “but this is something I have to do myself.”
Adam turned toward the mob and paused, naked and unashamed.
“I’m curious,” said Adam to the mob. “How many of you are just students at the domination school?”
A few of the masters sheepishly raised their hands before Mistress Ling rebuffed them. “Do nothing he asks!” she commanded. “He’s only trying to confuse you!”
He had suspected it before, but now he knew.
For the first time since his ordeal began, he was winning.
“Right now in the harbor, there are three big yachts,” Adam announced. “Unguarded, because all the guards have been summoned to the Citadel. As a representative of the rebel forces, I pledge that anyone who leaves the island in the next thirty minutes will NOT have their names leaked to the press following the revolution!”
There was a tremendous clatter of dropped swords hitting the floor as the people who held them ran for the exit in a panic. Mistress Ling could not stop them.
When the last echo of their din finally faded, the mob that remained looked far less impressive than before.
Where there had been fifty, there were now four.
Agent Emily and her team advanced upon the four, making it clear they would not be allowed to leave.
Mistress Ling, Mistress Margo, Della Tiara and the Clipboard Girl closed ranks, raising their weapons defensively.
Adam walked down the stairs of the dais calmly, purposefully. By now he had learned that someone in charge should not be seen to be in a hurry.
“I’ll make the same offer to you, Della,” declared Adam. “You don’t deserve it, but you haven’t been here long enough to be guilty of any serious crimes. The way I see it, you’re not worth the trouble.”
Emily and her team looked at Adam as if he had lost his mind, but they said nothing.
Della Tiara lowered her sword, looked at Ling, and shrugged. “Sorry, Ling. Battle scars would bring down my day rate.” She threw down her sword and sauntered toward the exit.
“Better run, Della. Before I change my mind.”
She broke into a dash and disappeared.
Then there were three.
“As a representative of the rebel forces,” announced Adam, “I order you to lay down your weapons and surrender.”
Without argument, the three complied. Emily, Jamie and Jackie quickly restrained the captives with ropes from Jamie’s bag.
“Yayyy! More prisoners!” squealed Monica.
When the prisoners were secure, Monica, Jamie and Jackie escorted them back to the archives section to join the other captives.
Emily looked at Adam in bewilderment. “I thought you were going to surrender. How did you know they were students?”
“It wasn’t hard,” he replied. “Most of them looked scared, and a lot of them were out of shape. And I’m pretty sure I recognized one of them as my congressman.”
Suddenly they heard a scream from the archive section.
“Look out! She’s getting away!”
Adam and Emily scrambled down the tunnel to the archives. They were chilled by what they saw when they reached the chasm.
Helga was loose and brandishing Monica’s sword. Monica was on the ground rubbing her head as if she had just been sucker punched. Jamie and Jackie had cornered Helga with her back to the chasm. She was about to make a break for the exit when she saw Adam and Emily blocking her way. She retreated back toward the ledge.
“How did she get loose?” asked Adam.
“Oh, please,” said Helga. “You tried to restrain me with my own cuffs? You underestimated me. I’m hurt!”
Without warning, she lunged at Adam with the sword.
Emily lashed with her whip, striking the sword from Helga’s grasp and into the chasm.
“You can’t escape!” said Emily.
“There’s no way out,” said Adam. “Why don’t you just surrender?”
Helga remained defiant, smiling with insane confidence even as she massaged her stinging hand. “I don’t surrender to slaves! For me, there’s always a way out.”
With a final glare, she stepped off the ledge.
In astonishment, they watched her plummet into darkness. Seconds later, they heard a distant splash from below.
“She killed herself!” Emily gasped in astonishment.
“No, she didn’t,” said Monica.
“Monica’s right,” said Adam. “Suicide’s not her way. There must be an underground river down there.”
Jamie grabbed Mistress Ling, the nearest prisoner, and pushed her back toward the ledge. “Where does the river come out?” she demanded. “Tell us!”
Ling stared with steely eyes at her captor but said nothing.
A sudden realization came over Adam as he gasped, “I think I know.”
In Helga’s secret cave, Eve was alone and was not expecting a visitor. She sat in the hidden surveillance room from which she could see the battle from every angle and could use the radio frequencies provided by Emily to communicate to the Marstonite warriors in field. The surveillance equipment also allowed her to eavesdrop on the communications of her enemies.
“Pinned down at Mistress Helga’s quarters!” a guard’s voice could be heard shouting as the sound of machine gun fire rattled in the background. “Send back-up! With guns!”
“Get out of there!” the captain of the guard ordered. “Our cell phones have been disabled anyway. Just get back here!”
“We can’t!” replied the guard. “Someone stole our motorcycles!”
Eve smiled. The battle was going better than she could have expected, but it wasn’t over yet.
She looked up at a malfunctioning screen. She noticed earlier that the screen had gone dark, but now she noticed a movement in it from a reflection that shouldn’t have been there.
She spun her chair around and stood up.
“Hello, Darlene Charmichael,” said the bitch blocking her exit.
“Good morning, Sister Helga,” said Eve with sweet sarcasm.
Helga stood dripping wet and nearly naked before Eve. The dominatrix had been forced to discard her latex suit in the river and now wore only what she’d had on underneath—a rubber bikini that neither hid nor constrained her considerable natural assets. She might have looked vulnerable had it not been for the sword in her hand.
Eve stood resolutely in the doorway to the control room. There was no place Eve could run and no one to help her, yet for some reason, she was unafraid.
“I see you remembered how to find my inner sanctum,” said Helga. “How clever of you.”
“You came here to make your escape, no doubt,” said Eve. “Your boat’s over there. Don’t let me stop you from running away, you cunt.”
“In time,” said Helga. “First I have one more lesson to teach to a very, very bad student.”
“Ooh, I’d hate to be that student. Did you really swim all the way here with a sword in your hand?”
“No. I keep an extra sword or two hidden here in my cave.”
“Like the one you keep here behind the radio console?” Eve pulled it out of its hiding place and raised it meaningfully.
“Maybe you’re a better student than I remembered,” admitted Helga, who smiled again.
Today may have been the worst day Helga had had in eleven years, but now she had one last chance to vent her rage. “I suppose you’re going to bitch about how you’ve been wronged by me, and now you want your revenge?”