Autumn crouched behind a low barricade, sliding another clip into her weapon and chambering a round. She peaked her head over the edge for a brief moment, dropping back down as another bout of gunfire erupted from the building across the way. Taking a breath, she waited for a break in the assault before leaning to the side of her cover and firing off three rounds, one at each target. She rolled back behind the wall as only one of the targets fired back.
She counted the seconds, steadied her breathing, and listened. Suddenly, she spun, placing two shots center mass into the man who had rushed around to flank her. Seamlessly, she turned her weapon back on the building and fired a single shot before dropping down out of sight. Even from where she was she could hear the body drop from the window.
Momentarily calm, she stepped out from behind the low wall and made her way toward the building, zigzagging from cover to cover. It was quiet, eerily so after the ruckus of a gun battle. She could see the bodies of the soldiers she had killed laying motionless in the entryway. Behind them, the lobby doors stood wide open. It looked clear, but Autumn knew better than to trust it. She surveyed the front of the building, an industry standard short office building with colonnades and large, blackened windows, now perforated with spider-webbed bullet holes.
A smile crossed her lips as she traded out her clip for a fresh one. Suddenly she rushed from behind cover, racing toward the building. She fired her weapon, sending round after round through the window before her. It shattered under the barrage, sending shards of glass raining into the lobby. She dove through the now open window, shooting down the soldiers who had been covering the doorway as they scrambled to find cover. They fell to the polished marble floor, dead and dying. Autumn slid to a crouched stop behind the front desk, reloading.
Again it grew quiet as Autumn listened. Then, the sound of crunching glass just ahead of her. She popped up, drawing a bead on the target, but stopped herself from pulling the trigger. It was Bridget, a sister operative, her weapon trained on Autumn's heart. She smiled, her pale blue eyes twinkling. They both lowered their guns. Bridget brushed her raven hair behind her ear and motioned for the stairs. Autumn nodded, raising her weapon and leading the way.
Suddenly a mob of soldiers came rushing around the corner, their weapons brandished. Autumn dropped to the side in a tight crouch, opening fire on the men in front. Behind her, Bridget did the same, dropping man after man. The room erupted into a hail of gunfire, both sides firing on the other. In moments, the whole column lay motionless, the only sound was the last tinkling of spent casings dropping to the floor.. Autumn stood, surveying the mess and trading out her last clip. She turned to look at Bridget who smiled back.
From out of no where, a man rushed up behind Bridget, grabbing her. He was distinctive from the other soldiers, dressed in a black suit much like her own. His eyes gleamed from behind Bridget's face, shining like the blade of the knife he pressed against her throat. Autumn brought her weapon to bear instantly. The man leveled his own gun at Autumn, pressing the blade tightly against Bridget's neck. She gasped, her body rigid against his.
Autumn thought quickly, weighing her options. Any moment now and the man would likely shoot her and slash Bridget's throat anyway. He was well hidden behind her, using her effectively as a shield. She took a breath and fired. Bridget screamed as the bullet pierced her shoulder. Behind her, the man gurgled, dropping the knife to clutch at his throat. Blood poured from the bullet wound, flowing over his grasping fingers. Then, he fell to the floor.
Bridget moaned, holding her arm, a small line of blood showing on her delicate throat where the blade had bit her flesh. Her eyes, filled simultaneously with relief and pain, turned toward Autumn who shrugged. She slowed to a stop, like pausing a film and vanished completely as the program ended.
Autumn removed the glasses, finding herself back in the House's shooting range. The room was dressed up with collapsible obstacles and faux walls, allowing for a constantly changing environment to train in. Imbedded in every surface were motion sensors that transmitted data to the training computer. The program, a mix of holographic technology and VR, created the look and layout of the environments and fed it back through the glasses, allowing Autumn to see what the computer wanted her to. It tracked her movements within the course through her suit and, like a video game, tailored bad guys and situations to challenge the user. If she were to be unlucky enough to get shot in the simulation, the suit would also deliver a powerful electric shock to the affected area. Kill shots completely immobilized, like being hit by a taser. Autumn learned very quickly, do not get shot! Throughout her years as an operative of the House, she had become quite adept at the range, and as a result, quite adept in the number of firefights she had actually been involved in.
From the control room overlooking the range, Bridget came strolling toward her. Raven hair loose and flowing, framing her twinkling eyes, pale face, and ruby lips. She smiled.
“Well, I see you managed to shoot me... again,” she said, a hint of hurt in he voice.
Autumn shrugged again, “It was just a flesh wound. You'll heal.”
Bridget's eyes narrowed, looking Autumn up and down. “I don't know, with all the times you've managed to graze me in the range, I'm not too sure that I want to be in the field with you again.”
Now it was Autumn's turn to look hurt. “Well, you always manage to get captured! Come to think of it, I'm not sure I want to be in the field with you either if all you're going to do is get nabbed. I'd almost think you liked it.”
They broke into laughter at that, relishing the levity.
“Besides, if you didn't want to get shot, why do you keep programming yourself into the scenarios?”
“I don't know. Maybe I keep having this deluded notion that I'm special to you or something. That maybe, just maybe this time you won't shoot me.”
Bridget threw her arms out to the sides and Autumn, laughing, stepped into the hug throwing her arms around Bridget in return. She and Bridget had been paired a number of times on missions in the past and had come up together through the various training regiments. Of all the fellow slaves and operatives of the House, Bridget was the closest she had to a true sister.
They pulled away from each other.
“So, how did I do?” Autumn asked, spinning the training weapon around her finger and offering it to Bridget's outstretched hand.
She examined the weapon for a moment, working the slide a couple of times. Bridget was the personal slave of Master Taggert, the House's arms specialist, and as such was often put in charge of maintaining and packing an Operative's load out prior to a mission. That is when she wasn't on a mission of her own. Old habits died hard, even though the weapon in her hand now was a simulation gun, she checked it as if it were real.
“You did great, sister. Highest marks, as always. The computer even gave you credit for shooting me, again. It seemed to agree with your sentiments, I'll live.”
“Computers,” Autumn shrugged, beginning the arduous task of pealing herself out of the suit.
“So, I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times all ready, so I'm not going to ask...”
“How was my latest mission?” Autumn interjected, pulling the suit free from her shoulders.
“No. How was your first night back home?” she said with a sly grin.
“Oh, well... that,” Autumn smiled warmly, thinking back to her night with her Master.
Autumn finished stripping out of the suit, folded it, and handed it to Bridget. Bridget looked Autumn's naked form over and smiled.
“Well, you're looking good. Your Master didn't welcome you back too roughly, I see.,” she said, gesturing to Autumn's rump. “There are only a few bruises back there.”
Autumn reached a hand around to her ass saying, “Well, my ass smarts, and you're a smart ass. Quite the pair we make, sister.” They both laughed and walked out of the range and into the adjoining locker room. Autumn retrieved the simple black dress she had picked out after her sparring match with Ashton and slipped it on. Bridget busied herself with returning the equipment to its proper place.
“Does Master Taggert have you working in the range all day today?”
“No, not all day. I had to run two other sessions before you came in, for Crystal and Jasmine. Now that you're done, I'm to report to Mistress Sloan for a training session.”
“That will be fun. I had a sparring match with Ashton earlier.”
“Oh, and how did that turn out? Was I mistaken about the origins of those marks?”
“Cute. No, it went well. She's very good at countering most of my attacks and that hook kick of her's comes out of nowhere.”
“She's good, no argument there,” Bridgette said, shaking her head. “How about you, sister? What's on your agenda for the rest of the day?”
“Now that I'm done here, I'm to go to my room and wait to be fetched for my debriefing.”
“Ohhhh,” Bridget mumbled, a noticeable shift in her hips. “Now that will be fun.”
“Masochist,” Autumn accused.
“Guilty,” Bridget happily admitted.
They gave each other another hug, and kisses on the others cheek.
“Good luck,” Bridget offered.
“You too, sister. I'll see you for dinner?”
“I'll be there.”
Autumn turned and left the range.
The walk back to her room was uneventful, yet Autumn felt a degree of anxiousness about what was coming. The House's slaves were busying themselves with the various tasks and chores. Half a dozen naked young women, shackled and connected on a chain coffle, worked to polish every last inch of the immaculate wooden hand rail on the grand staircase under the expert whip of Mistress Evangeline, the House's psychologist and linguist. She stood with proud bearing in her black, latex dress, poised perfectly upon massive, candy apple red heels. She turned her head ever so slightly to Autumn and gave her a subtle wink and smile.
One of the slaves sat back on her heels for a moment and was rewarded with a sharp kiss of another stripe across her back from Mistress Evangeline's whip.
“You stop when I tell you to stop, is that clear, you lazy girl?” she demanded in that slight French accent of hers.
“Yes Mistress!” the girl cried, adding more tears to her already streaked cheeks. She redoubled her efforts, buffing the wood to a shine.
“The task is everything, for you there is nothing else. You will focus on your duties! You do not matter, your comfort, your fatigue, your whining does not matter! Only the task that is appointed to you, do you understand girls?”
“Yes Mistress!” the chorus cried.
“Good, then I will stand here and remind you of that until your work is finished. And then, I'll find something else for you all to do, you lazy little cunts!” She then added a number of stokes to the rest of the girls, just to drive her point home.
Autumn smiled and continued on. Her Master believed that punishments should encompass three ideals; they should be memorable, they should fit the crime, and they should absolutely make the slave so miserable that they never repeat the offense. From her own experiences, Autumn knew that those six girls would not be caught dead slacking in their duties again. She also knew that their day was far from over.
Autumn returned to her room to await her debriefing. A twinge of excitement gripped her and she decided to read to help distract her from the thought. Her Master allowed her a small private collection of literature to be kept in her room. The titles were mostly classical literature, some poetry, even some treatises on society and culture. Beyond that were the classical sexual works such as the Marquise DeSade, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and even a touch of John Norman and a more modern addition of Anne Roquelaure.
She perused her collection a bit before settling on Shakespearean prose. Tome in hand, she climbed onto her sun warmed bed, fluffed the pillow, and settled in for a nice read. Before long, she was whisked away to the beaches of Venice, drawn into the complicated and subtle plotting of Iago as he coveted Othello's position of rank.
Abruptly, there was a knock on Autumn's door. Excitedly she abandoned the book, jumped to her feet and rushed to the door. An Operative's room was considered a private space, only the Operative and their specific Owner could enter.
Autumn opened the door, revealing Training Master Phillip on the other side.
“It's time, Autumn. Come with me please.”
“Yes sir,” she said, closing her door behind her as she obediently followed him down the hall. She could not help but walk with light, nervous steps. Debriefings always felt like being sent to the principal's office back in school. Something to do with the ceremony of it all, she supposed.
Master Phillip took her down the long set of stairs to the training sub floors. The feel was different down here, every bit the dark dungeon feel glamorized by popular culture. Stone walls, iron gates, chains hanging everywhere. It was psychological of course, intended to break the slaves down mentally. It was decidedly difficult to shake most people to their very core in a cheery, sun lit, pastel colored room.
Autumn could hear movement in the pens down the hall, the scraping of metal restraints against stone floors and the like. She wasn't sure if they were inductees or just slaves being punished. Not even the Operatives of the House were privy to the slave intake and training process. Usually, inductees wouldn't be allowed any contact save for Master Phillip and a few other House members until their training was complete.
Master Phillip took her gently by the arm and lead her into the debriefing room at the far end of the hall. It was something of a joke really, calling it the debriefing room. It served many purposes, primarily training, specifically psychological reconditioning utilizing visual stimulus and electrical feedback or as the slave's called, the Clockwork Orange room.
Every slave of the house, Operatives included, was intimately familiar with this room. That is, of course what made it so damned effective for today's purpose. The very sight of the bare metal chair bolted to the cold stone floor in the center of the room brought a flood of familiar feelings and suppressed torments. Autumn felt a shiver course through her as Master Phillip pushed her through the doorway.
Across from the chair on the far wall hung the familiar massive monitor used to inundate the captive slave with a barrage of imagery, or in today's case, to review the video capture from the camera ring. Below that, at a long, intimidating wooden desk sat the review panel. A thrill rushed through her as she saw her Master sitting in the center between an empty chair to his right and Mistress Evangeline on his left. She even thought she saw a hint of a smile as he looked up at her.
Master Phillip lead Autumn beside the metal chair. Thick leather straps hung from various points of its frame, hungry for her limbs.
“Remove your clothes,” he said, his voice taking the hardened tone of the Head Trainer of the House. She complied instantly, her eyes wandering to her Master as she slipped the straps of the black dress free from her shoulders. She watched his eyes as they followed the dress sliding down her flesh to fall to her feet. Now naked, she stepped free and bent to pluck the dress off the floor, quickly folded and placed it at the foot of the chair.
“Hop on up, Autumn,” Master Phillip said, patting the seat.
“Yes sir,” she said, climbing into the chair with practiced ease.
The cold metal raised goosebumps over her flesh and she suppressed a small squeal as she settled in. Obediently, she placed her hands along the arm rests and her feet into the guides.
Master Phillip stepped beside her and began strapping her in. His expert fingers wrapping the leather restraints around her wrist, guiding it through the metal buckle, and pulling it to a gentle tightness. He continued up her arms, along her chest, and down her legs to her ankles. Finally, he buckled one more strap across her forehead, holding her head facing forward. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her growing excitement as he finished. However, held immobile and helpless under the scrutiny of her Owner and former trainers, deep breathing did little to slow her pounding heart.
Master Phillip then began placing a number of electrodes on tender areas of her body; on the breasts, inner thighs and stomach. He did a final check on the wires, gave her a cruel smile and a pat on the thigh before heading back to his seat behind the desk.
Autumn tugged at the restraints holding her to the chair, testing their give. There was, of course, very little. A sudden jolt shot through her, ceasing her chest and stealing her breath. She gasped and twitched uselessly against her bonds.
“Well, the electrodes are working just fine, I think we're ready,” Master Phillip said, his finger still poised on the shock button.
“Thank you Phillip,” Master Cross said. “Evangeline?”
“We are ready, Head Master,” she said, double checking her equipment. Being the head of psychological wellness for the House, it was her job to evaluate the Operative and ensure a number of factors including docility and honesty.
Master Cross nodded.
“Very well, let us begin. Phillip, would you play back the ring capture.”
“Certainly.” Master Phillip typed something in on the computer before him and the monitor above them blinked on, displaying a closeup of Autumn's face. It was a little disturbing to see first thing, but then the image changed as her hand moved.
They watched quietly through the whole video capture once, no one commented. It was disorientating, having the image shift around so often and so randomly. A downfall of hiding the camera in a ring, she felt. Also, she realized that she had fiddled with the ring far too often as her fingers would block out the image for several moments at a time. Nothing like being on the big screen to make you overly self conscious, she mused.
Finally, they came to the part where she picked up the ring from the floor and left Kyle Porter to his well deserved fate. A moment later the feed went dark.
“Well,” Master Phillip started, “it looks like a delightful evening overall.”
Autumn couldn't help but smile.
“Yes, someone certainly enjoyed themselves,” Mistress Evangeline added. “A little champagne, a little sport, and satisfaction in the bedroom. What could be better, no?”
“Very well done girl,” her Master said. “Definitely a success, I would say.”
The others nodded in agreement.
“Now, lets break it down. Master Phillip, anything you'd like to point out?”
Master Phillip thought for a moment, his finger playing absentmindedly on the shock button. Autumn found herself staring anxiously at his hand as he thought.
“Let me ask, how did you feel when he started getting physical?”
“Fine sir. I did not feel overly threatened or frightened. Truthfully it felt good, like when an opponent in a game of chess falls into your trap. When we were alone, I knew I had him.”
“Okay,” he said, “Anything else?”
Autumn thought for a moment. “I do have to say that I got a little indignant when he spanked my ass. That tripped me up a little.”
“Good girl,” he said, smiling broadly. “I had noticed that momentary pause in the play back. I wondered if you consciously recognized it.”
He leaned back in the chair and crossed his arms. Autumn let out a small breath of relief as his finger abandoned the button.
“Autumn, you sweet girl,” Mistress Evangeline said, “I have to say that you did an excellent job at drawing Mr. Porter in. A great example of remaining in total control while seeming to be powerless. My compliments.”
“Thank you, ma'am,” Autumn said, a slight blush warming her cheeks.
“You seemed to fidget with the ring quite a bit, I noticed,” she said. Autumn twitched at the recognition. “Were you nervous, girl?”
“No ma'am, I didn't feel nervous,” she said confidently, “I just found the ring to be... unfamiliar. Something I held in common with my cover identity, Melanie.”
Mistress Evangeline nodded thoughtfully, typing at her keyboard. She then leaned over and whispered something into Master Cross' ear. He smiled.
Her Master spoke next.
“Tell me, my slave, how do you feel about Mr. Porter?”
Autumn's brow furrowed, or as well as it could under the tight strap. Her Master always had a knack for asking questions that gave her pause.
“I'm not sure, Master. If I may ask, what do you mean, feel?”
“How do you feel about him?” he reiterated.
Autumn sighed, pondering Kyle.
“I suppose I feel he was pathetic, Master. Not worthy of being a part of the Society, or any society really. A part from that, I don't feel anything for him.”
Master cross leaned forward, resting his lips on interlaced fingers as he considered her answer.
“Do you resent him?”
“Do you pity him?”
Her Master sat back in his seat, looking to his fellow panel members. They whispered among themselves for a moment, Mistress Evangeline referring to her equipment frequently.
Autumn shifted nervously, or tried to. Her attempt made the leather restraints creak, which only served to further fuel her anxiousness.
Her Master sat forward once again and asked, “Autumn, how do you feel about the female members that Mr. Porter victimized?”
Again her brow furrowed. She honestly didn't know what to think about them. She supposed pity would be the appropriate answer. Though, being a slave and having no right to her own sexuality, she couldn't really bring herself to empathize. She knew it was wrong for him, or anyone, to do what he did, but really that was only because the Society rules forbade it. She still felt that Kyle was rather pathetic, but really it was because he attacked meek inductees and had to rely on alcohol to subvert them. He didn't have the strength to dominate outright, so he raped.
It wasn't a moral issue for her. But then, she supposed morality didn't play a big part in being a slave. That thought made her chuckle.
“Something amusing?” Master Phillip asked pointedly.
“No sir. I was just thinking that morality doesn't mean much to someone who is owned, sir.”
A crooked smile spread across Master Phillip's face.
“No, I don't suppose it does.”
“Please answer the question, Autumn,” her Master said, his voice smooth and calm.
“I don't know how I feel about them, Master. I'm not even sure how I'm supposed to feel about them. I feel sorry for Tanya Peters, that she is in a coma. Other than that...” she said, trying to shrug.
Master Cross looked over to Mistress Evangeline, who nodded.
“Thank you for being honest, Autumn,” her Master said. The three of them leaned back and conferred once more. After a long moment they leaned forward to address her.
“Well, Autumn, it is the determination of this review panel that this mission was a resounding success. Your conduct, as well as your responses here, are in keeping with the highest standards of conduct for an Operative of the House Obsidian. Excellent work, slave.”
A warm pride filled Autumn's heart, as it always did in hearing those words. She lived to please her Owner and to have he and her former trainers express their satisfaction... Words could not express how wonderful it made her feel.
“Thank you Master! Thank you trainers.”
Her Master smiled as the three of them began tidying up. Master Phillip started to rise to come and release Autumn, but her Master put a hand on his arm.
“I'll get her, thank you Phillip.”
Master Phillip smiled knowingly.
“Of course, Head Master.”
He and Mistress Evangeline gathered their equipment, nodded to Master Cross, and took their leave. They both gave a final parting smile to Autumn before they slipped through the door. Master Phillip, pulled the heavy metal door closed behind him. It latched shut with an ominous click.
Autumn looked to her Master. He stared warmly back.
“I have to say, my slave, that I am very pleased with you. You performed admirably.”
She blushed openly.
“Thank you Master.”
He rose from his chair and came around the desk. Slowly he drew near, each step brought her to the realization that she desperately desired to touch him. He stepped in front of her, placing his hands on the arm rests of the chair and brought his face close to hers. His hot breath washed over her face and neck, an almost electric sensation that elicited goosebumps over her flesh. She moaned, pulling at her restraints. He was so close to her, agonizingly close but still out of reach. He just stood there, his eyes locked with hers, maintaining the painful vacuum between them.
“My sweet girl,” he said, his words slow and deliberate. “I am so very proud of you.”
Autumn's heart swelled. A lump developed in her throat and she felt tears coming to her eyes.
“Thank you Master,” she said.
A warm smile spread over his face and the leaned in closer, his lips merely an inch away. Autumn strained against the straps, desperate to kiss him. Yet the restraints held firm.
“So often you exceed the expectations of myself and the other members.” His breath was hot on her pursed lips. She quivered.
“I try hard to please you, Master. To make you proud of me.”
“Oh and you do,” he said, growing closer. His lips just brushed hers when he suddenly pulled away. He spun on his heels and walked briskly back to the desk. She groaned, catching herself in a pout. A chill descended upon her in the absence of his warmth and she shivered.
“You so often perform so well that we never really have any need to do this,” he said, unceremoniously jabbing his finger down on the shock button.
Autumn's chest seized, stealing her breath in a surprised scream. Electricity shot into her through the pads on her breasts, thighs, and stomach. She shuddered in the straps, held firmly for the extent of her torment. Finally his finger relented and she gasped.
Her Master smiled, his eyes locked with hers. It was a cold look, uncaring and unsympathetic, the stare of a sadist enjoying her agony. It was that look that really made her heart race. Her attention shifted to his hand as it began a slow descent back to the button. She caught herself involuntarily shaking her head. His smile broadened.
“I spoke with Master Augustine earlier. He mentioned something about how you told him he was a victim of his own success.”
Autumn cringed, he did say he was going to speak to her Master. She just didn't expect it to be so soon. She watched as her Master's finger began tracing little circles around the edge of the button.
“He asked if I would give you the chance to express to him later how it feels to be a victim of your successes. What could I say?”
He pressed the button. Autumn went rigid with a groan. Master Cross held the button down for several long moments, enjoying the sight of her shudder, straining as tears began running down her cheeks. Finally he let off the button, cutting the flow. Autumn collapsed, as much as she could, gasping deeply.
“Thank... thank you... Master,” she managed between raspy gasps.
He came around from behind the desk again, stepping in front of her. Sweat had begun to bead on her flesh from the straining muscles and in the cool air of the room washing over her made her shiver. She moaned, more from the excitement building within her from her torments than from the torments themselves.
Her Master reached his hand out, fingertips brushing her tear streaked cheek as he cupped the side of her face. She melted at the touch.
“My girl,” he said with such satisfaction filling his voice.
His hand then traveled slowly over the strap across her throat, down her chest, around her breasts, down her stomach, until at long last his fingers settled in between her thighs. She moaned at the touch, unable to bring her hips forward into his hand, his grip.
Slowly, gently his fingers made small circles around her stiffened clitoris, eliciting whimpers of desperate desire. He smiled, leaning in to give her the kiss she longed for, their lips locking in a hungry embrace, their tongues dancing. She felt her self growing close, hell she had been there since Master Phillip strapped her in the chair. Her body took over, using what little latitude it managed to grind into her Master's hand. Her breathing was growing heavy again, sucking in gulps of air as he Master's tongue raped her mouth.
Just then, his touch vanished and the burn of electricity shot through her again. She screamed, out of anger and pain. She couldn't bring herself to open her eyes, to see him standing there in front of her as she suffered. It would send her over the edge, an edge she was forbidden without permission. She sat there instead, a shuddering mass.
Just as suddenly as it had come, the voltage abandoned her and her Master was back. His eager hand slamming into her as his hungry mouth met hers. Again and again her tormenters traded places, taking her well beyond any rational sense and filling her only with a powerful desire for it to never end. At some point she realized that someone was screeching, begging pitifully for permission to be allowed to cum. God, she thought, I wish someone would shut that bitch up!
Then she realized that it was her begging, a moment before he finally consented. She erupted into a shuddering, straining, screaming orgasm so intense she couldn't be sure he hadn't zapped her again. She clawed at the metal frame with her fingernails, her toes curled till they almost touched the bottoms of her feet. The restraints held firm as her body attempted to tear itself apart. She vaguely remembered feeling something warm and wet spray all over her inner thighs. Then everything went black.
“Good girl...” his words echoed in her ears, chasing her into nothingness.