& beckett
by Van ©2012 
jane & kate

Chapter 9



Rupandra needed to feed.  More precisely, she needed to feed her soul.  Her hunger for the aura of a normal human was building, once again.  Her "snack" session with the redhead—Dana Scully of the FBI, Mistress had called her—had taken off a bit of the edge, but she still needed to feed.  She wasn't yet near the crisis point.  She could still make the change to her second cycle, but only if she was allowed to feed!

Unfortunately, an opportunity to nourish her soul didn't seem to be forthcoming.

Rupandra was flat on her back on the soft padding of a coffin-sized box.  Her arms were at her sides and broad, tight straps of braided nylon, similar to automobile seat belts, bound her wrists and ankles and passed across her chest and upper arms, waist and forearms, thighs, and shins, making sure she stayed in the box.  She was naked, of course.  Slaves or captives serving as distractions for bored Ice-Wolf Elders were always naked, no doubt.  She was also gagged.  Plugging her mouth was a large wedge of semi-hard foam over a hard rubber core.  A tight panel of thin rubber hugged her lower face from nose-to-chin and ear-to-ear, and was secured by straps buckled at the nape of her neck and under her chin.

As best she could tell, Rupandra's box was constructed of thick-walled aluminum.  The rectangular base had low walls on all four sides, each with a hinged and folded back side-panel.  Presumably, there was also a lid.  When the side-panels were raised and interlocking clamps engaged and the lid closed and latched, the box would very much resemble a metal coffin resting on a wheeled, folding framework very much like a gurney.

Rupandra tugged on her bonds with all her strength.  Other than imparting a slight wobble to her breasts, there was no change in her helpless condition.

The door to the chamber slid open and Irena entered.  She was wearing one of her tight leather dominatrix uniforms and the usual gloating smile curled her Dominatrix-Red™ lips.  "Well, youngster," she purred, "it's time for us to say goodbye—or until we meet again.  I wish you luck with your first change, and remember, as a Seventh-Cycle Elder not of your Clan, I would have been entirely within my rights to put you to death, in the manner of my choosing, for the crime of invading my Lair uninvited and unannounced."

Rupandra watched as the Ice-Wolf Elder walked around the box and raised the side-panels, one by one.  Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk.  She then engaged the corner clamps, locking them together.  Click, click, click, click.  She knew Irena was right, of course.  She would have been totally justified if she'd decided to dispose of her.  Granted, it had probably enhanced Irena's status among the Clans to call for a judgement, instead.  That was a guess on Rupandra's part, of course.  What did a "youngster" at the cusp of her first change know of the politics of the High Elders?

The box was now very much a coffin with an open lid.  Irena leaned close and smiled down at Rupandra's gagged face.  "Now, I've already explained how Helen Magnus has been given permission to monitor your physiological signs and nurture you through the process.  However, on behalf of the Clan Elders and myself, I have a message for the good doctor and instructions for you."

Rupandra listened as Irena continued to speak.  Slowly... her anger drained away.  Rupandra had to admit, despite her resentment of the way she'd been treated and her gnawing soul hunger—Irena of the Ice-Wolves had style.

rizzoli & beckett
Chapter 9

It wasn't the newest or the tallest skyscraper in lower Manhattan, but it was impressive, nonetheless.  The vast lobby was host to restaurants, shops, and even a multiplex movie theater, but mostly the building was office space for corporations and very successful professionals.  A steady stream of yellow cabs, town cars, and limousines stopped before the main entrance to disgorge or take on passengers, and a conveniently located subway station added to the foot traffic.  Other access was via side-streets leading to a multi-level parking garage and the building's expansive loading docks.

And speaking of the loading docks, trucks of various size came and went at a hectic pace on a daily basis, even during the weekends, so no one looked twice when a white, unmarked, two-and-a-half ton truck pulled up to the docks' security booth.  The driver was an attractive woman, notwithstanding her lack of makeup.  Her dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was wearing a baseball cap.  She leaned out of the cab and presented a clipboard with paperwork to the guard on duty.
          (wink, wink)
"Nice hat," the guard said as he flipped the papers.  The hat in question was slate-gray and featured the stylized head of a snarling wolf embroidered in pale-blue thread.  The paperwork was for the delivery and unpacking of five crates of "furnishings and equipment" to an office suite on the 47th floor, "nosebleed territory" in the vernacular of the building staff.  Everything was in order.

"Fresenwulf Freight," she explained, pointing at the similarly embroidered cloth patch on the shoulder of her gray coveralls.

The guard nodded.  The same title and logo was on the top page of the paperwork.  He ran the sheet through his time-stamp machine, then handed back the clipboard.

The driver pulled the truck forward to the far side side of the docks, then backed into an empty slot.  Accompanied by a second, similarly coverall-clad, pony-tailed, and ball-capped woman, she jumped from the cab and unlocked and opened the back of the truck.  A third women emerged, also in ball-cap, ponytail, and a coverall.  She was driving a small, powered pallet-mover loaded with two four-by-four wooden crates secured with shrink-wrapped plastic and cargo straps.  Apparently, the Fresenwulf Freight Company didn't skimp with the loading and unloading equipment.

Over the course of the next two hours the women came and went, shepherding four identical wooden crates and a cardboard tri-wall container from the truck to the delivery address.  Packaged containers went up, there was a pause, the no longer shrink-wrapped and presumably empty containers came down, and the next load went up.

Guards manning the video monitors in the building's Security Office watched the activity with dull interest.  There was nothing unusual about the appearance or behavior of the Fresenwulf workers.  A dozen or more similar deliveries of supplies, foodstuffs, and/or merchandise were in progress.  An all-female crew was a little unusual, but their frumpy coveralls and the caps blocking a decent view of their faces whenever they passed a security camera couldn't possibly compete with the steady stream of smartly dressed female shoppers in the Galleria or the businesswomen coming and going across the lobby, riding the elevators, and striding up and down the corridors.

Finally, the three women returned to their truck for the last time and pulled away, mission accomplished.

rizzoli & beckett
Chapter 9

A bell was ringing... and ringing... and ringing.  It sounded like an old fashioned, mechanical alarm clock.

Her eyes still closed, Kate Beckett reached towards the sound to turn it off—but her hand was immediately checked.

What the HELL?

Kate opened her eyes.  Her hair was in her face, so she shook her head—her gagged head!  "Mrrpfh?"  Something was in her mouth—a ball—and a tight strap padded with rubber was keeping it there!  Also, she was naked, and part of a tangle of multiple naked bodies—one of four naked, wiggling bodies!  "NRRRF!"  Handcuffs were locked around her wrists and ankles, multiple handcuffs, some with short connecting chains and some with long.  As she struggled, mewled through her gag, and tried to make sense of her condition, her fellow prisoners were doing the same.

All four were cuffed together, but not in a straightforward manner.  Each of their wrists and ankles were locked in one half of two or even three pair of cuffs, but the other half was always locked around someone else's wrist or ankle, never their own.

Kate succeeded in shaking the hair from her face and determined the identity of one of her fellow captives.  She was head to head with Jane Rizzoli, and the Boston cop was gagged with a ball and padded strap that was probably identical to Kate's own gag.  She looked towards her feet and recognized Olivia Dunham, the FBI Agent, and an unknown redhead in her forties, maybe.  Olivia and the redhead were head to head with their feet more-or-less in Kate and Jane's faces, and Kate and Jane's feet were more-or-less in their faces—but again, not in a straightforward manner.  They were a tangle of akimbo limbs, squashed boobs, bent knees, boney hips, and poking elbows, and if Kate tugged on a wrist or ankle, someone else's wrist or ankle tugged back and/or one of the longer chains slid against some part of somebody's anatomy.  If there was a regular pattern to the arrangement, it would take a while to work it out.  It was eminently clear, however, that they were all bound, gagged, and not going anywhere—not easily, anyway.

And speaking of going somewhere...

Kate raised her head and looked around.  They were in a large, totally bare space.  The captives were lying on thick, soft, wall-to-wall, beige carpeting.  Half a dozen concrete support pillars were spaced around the room.  Three of the walls were solid, their expanse broken only by the occasional closed door.  Eight or nine feet overhead was a drop-ceiling of acoustic tiles.  Its many fluorescent fixtures were dark.  Light was coming from the fourth wall, an unbroken expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows.  Beyond the thick glass was an urban landscape.  Kate recognized some of the buildings, including part of the still under construction Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center.  They were in an empty office suite in the Financial District. 

The alarm clock was over by the window-wall.  It was still ringing and would continue ringing until its main spring wound down.  Eventually, and Kate hoped it would be very soon, it would cease its infernal racket.

Kate glanced up, again...  Kate squinted and tried to make sense of what she was seeing.  At twenty or more places around the periphery of the room, she saw pairs of the kind of clips used to suspend things from the metal tracks of suspended ceilings.  In each case, one end of a long length of blue-green, heavy-duty fishing line was tied to the first clip, then stretched about six feet to the second clip.  The distance was great, but Kate could tell that dangling from each of the second clips was the other end of the fishing line, a tiny metal key, and a fist-sized block of ice.  The first clip of each pair were the closest to the captives and the second clips radiated outwards.

The ice will melt, Kate surmised, and the keys will drop, and they're handcuff keys.  She examined the cuffs she could most easily see.  They were of different manufacture, and only a couple looked like standard police brands that would all take the same key.  Most were foreign or antiquated designs with non-standard keyholes.  Kate squinted into the distance.  Sure enough, a couple of the keys she could see were modern universal-style keys, but most were not.  Some were barrel keys.

After the ice melted and the keys dropped, however long that would take, they'd have to wiggle, squirm, and roll to a key, keep trying until they found a cuff it would unlock—wiggle, squirm, and roll to the next key, keep trying until they found a cuff it would unlock—etc., etc.

It was a challenging task.  It would get progressively easier as each pair of cuffs was removed, but coordination of the effort would be difficult, to say the least.

Kate's right wrist was cuffed to one of the redhead's wrists and one of Olivia's ankles and was more-or-less useless, so she reached towards Jane's head with her left.  The Boston cop realized Kate was trying to reach her gag and turned her head and craned towards Kate's groping fingers, trying to help.  Kate parted Jane's raven curls and felt for the gag's buckle—then sighed in frustration.  There was no buckle.  The strap was a rubber-padded cable-tie.  Jane turned her head back and met Kate's gaze.  Kate shook her head and Jane also heaved a sigh.

Assuming they could agree on a direction in which to wiggle, squirm, and roll, the imprisoned quartet would have to be very careful.  If all or a good part of the weight of two or three bodies was to bear down on a twisted elbow, awkwardly bent knee, or pinioned wrist or ankle, the consequences for the owner could be disastrous.

Kate stopped squirming.  It wasn't doing any good.  The clock's spring was finally winding down.

...DING-DING-DING-DING-DING—DING—DING—DING—Ding—Ding—Ding—ding—ding—ding... ding... ding... ding.

Finally!  Kate focused on one of the distant doors and noticed an additional detail.  A security boot was over the doorknob.  It was one of those steel clam shells that closed over the knob and locked, blocking access to the keyhole and making it impossible to turn the knob and open the door, even if it was unlocked or didn't even have a lock.  All the doors on the three solid walls were similarly equipped, all but one.  Obviously, when they managed to get free of the cuffs, if they managed to get free, that was where they were meant to go.

The dangling blocks of ice were beginning to drip, but it would be an hour or two, maybe three, before the keys would begin to drop.

Kate gazed at the pale, peach-pink leg, ankle, and foot closely handcuffed to Jane's right wrist.  Who the hell is the redhead? she wondered.  How did she come to join the party?  Suddenly, Kate's eyes popped wide.  What party?  Kate suddenly realized she could remember almost nothing about how she came to be here.  She'd been so busy trying to make sense of their current circumstances she'd ignored the big picture—and now she realized the big picture was almost a blank canvas!

rizzoli & beckett
Chapter 9

Helen closed from the inside the thick, airtight door of one of the Sanctuary's special labs and engaged the cypher-lock.  The chamber's containment precautions were a mix of the bio-hazard protocols developed by the Center for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and similar international agencies.  The room was under negative pressure, ensuring any atmospheric leaks would be into the lab and not out.  An elaborate filter system removed any and all contaminants from the exhausted air.  Periodic samples were automatically taken and stored for later analysis.  Physical access to the lab was via an airlock and a shower room, both with ultraviolet lighting to kill living pathogens and promote the breakdown of complex molecules.  The door, walls, floor, and ceiling were as thick as the front armor of a main battle-tank, and the lab was engineered in every way to prevent the escape of anyone or anything within, no matter how clever or strong they might be.

Helen hadn't showered before entering the lab, not counting her usual morning shower up in her apartment suite upon rising, but she had changed into disposable paper scrubs.  Her long brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail enforced by a fabric-covered elastic band.  She would strip and shower whenever she had to leave the lab, but had decided a containment suit was unnecessary.  Helen knew from experience she was immune to an Incufumara's pheromones.  If additional Sanctuary personnel were required during Rupandra's change, they would have to wear biohazard suits with dedicated air supplies, but not Helen.  She hoped none of the others would be required, for the sake of Rupandra's privacy; however, the lab was being monitored at all times and a powerful sedative gas would be released if her subject got out of control.

Rupandra's transport capsule had been delivered by a bonded freight company less than an hour ago.  It was across the lab, resting on its integrated, folding, wheeled framework, and was still closed and locked.  Helen wanted to open it with deliberate speed, but first, with due diligence, she ran her mental checklist one last time.

To the left of the transport capsule was a patient bed with an open, bubble-like cover of clear plexiglass.  It was a hyperbaric chamber, and it was there Helen intended for Rupandra to undergo her change.  The bed had standard patient restraints, but Helen hoped they wouldn't be necessary.

To the right was a gynecological examination table, it was well-padded and had foot stirrups, leg supports, arm supports, and a headrest, all of which could be locked into different positions.  It also had patient restraints—heavy-duty and plentiful patient restraints, just in case.

As a final precaution, in Helen's pocket was an auto-injection syringe loaded with a strong sedative.  All she had to do was make contact with any part of her patient's skin and trigger the device and Rupandra would be unconscious in seconds.

Around the lab were stainless steel cabinets filled with drugs, medical instruments and supplies and everything else Helen would need to complete her research protocol and to respond to emergencies, as well as monitors and computer stations.  High definition video cameras were mounted on the walls, up near the ceiling, recording everything that happened in the lab from multiple angles and across the electromagnetic spectrum.  Hard copies of the information Irena had provided rested on a small desk in one corner and digital copies were already in the Sanctuary network and accessible from any one of the lab's workstations.

All was in readiness.

Helen pulled from her pocket the key that had come with the consignment, unlocked the lid of the capsule, and folded it back.  As expected, Rupandra was inside, naked, gagged, and restrained with nylon straps and cuffs.  Helen smiled a dimpled, welcoming smile.  "Hello Rupandra, my name is Helen Magnus," she said.  "I'm a doctor, and I'm going to help you through your change."  She released the side-panels, one by one, and folded them down.  "You're perfectly safe.  Welcome to the Sanctuary."

Helen unbuckled the chin strap of Rupandra's gag, gently turned her head to the side, parted her tousled hair, and unbuckled the gag's main strap.  She then eased the plug from her patient's mouth.

Rupandra swallowed and licked her lips.  "Thank you," she gasped.  "Lady Irena explained the arrangement and I'm grateful for your help.  I already know you're immune to my power."

"Splendid," Helen smiled, then inserted the key in a keyhole in the interior of the open capsule labeled "RESTRAINTS."  She turned the key, there was a quiet click followed by a whirrr, and all the straps holding Rupandra in place first went slack and then released and reeled into their housings.

"Let me get you some water," Helen offered, turned, and walked to a sink.  She pulled a paper cup from a dispenser and filled it from the faucet.  She turned back to find Rupandra sitting up in the capsule, rubbing her wrists.

Rupandra accepted the cup with a smile, and drank.  "Thank you, again, Helen."

"I'd like to give you an examination and take a blood sample," Helen said, "but can I get you anything else before we start?"

"I am hungry," Rupandra answered, "and by the way, we can easily confirm your immunity to scent-of-power.  Kneel before me!" she ordered, still smiling.

Helen smiled back.  "I don't believe I shall."

"There," Rupandra chuckled.  "I've been releasing my scent since you opened Irena's box.  Now, let's try my scent-of-terror."

Helen's smile faded.  "Your what?"

"Don't be alarmed," Rupandra said.  "The name denotes terror on my part, not yours.  It's a primitive fight-or-flight adaptation, a defense when attacked."

Helen's hand slipped into her pocket and her fingers curled around the auto-syringe.  "I don't know what you're speaking of, but let's not—"  She blinked uncertainly, then her eyes rolled up in her head.

Rupandra leaped from the capsule and caught Helen before she collapsed to the floor.  "Excellent," she whispered in Helen's ear, "you are susceptible to the alarm perfume, just as Mistress said."

Helen's eyes fluttered.  "Wha?" she muttered.

"Hush," Rupandra whispered.  "Go to sleep, Helen."  She lifted Helen's limp body onto the gynecological table, then turned and smiled at the nearest of the cameras.  "Whoever is out there watching," she said, "allow me to assure you that Doctor Magnus is perfectly safe and will remain so—as safe as I would be in her care—as I am in your care.  I know I am still in your power, but allow me to explain what I'd like to have happen next, and why."

rizzoli & beckett
Chapter 9


Chapter 8
Chapter 10