The Breeding Chamber - Chapter 3

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Chapter Three – Welcome Home

Pope Durden

Pope Durden had a beatific smile on his face. He was standing in the vault at his private estate, the City Commissioner’s Residence, surveying the rows of gold. The opulence of the yellow precious metal caused him to become concupiscent. No breeder, no matter how pretty, could arouse him as much as the splendour of those stacked bars.

Of course it was because of pretty breeders that he had his pile of gold.

Other city states had risen from the ashes of the SARS X pandemic which was the catalyst for World War Three and the civil wars that followed and finally the total breakdown of civilisation. Most of them squandered their most valuable resource: women and girls. With only one percent of women surviving the SARS X pandemic they were a scarce and valuable commodity but men are men and their appetites are ravenous.

In most of the cities that sprang up out of the chaos, those men who were the strongest or established themselves as leaders kept the few remaining women to themselves. The women were fought over; squabbles and outright wars were contested over their ownership. The result usually being that the women were kept as chattels by individuals or shared amongst the powerful few who soon exhausted them by overuse.

Justin Durden however had the foresight to develop the breeding program with the view to eventually bringing Durden City’s population back to an equilibrium between the sexes and he had the ingenuity to devise the Comfort Girl program to keep the male population sated sexually until there was a big enough pool of women to integrate them back into society.

When Justin’s son, Steven Durden, inherited his father’s title as City Commissioner he had already decided that women and girls were too valuable a resource to be shared with the masses. He’d already engaged with his counterparts in the other city states who were eager to purchase women and girls.

By the time Michael Durden inherited his father’s title the illegal trade in women was already well established but Michael optimised the trade and ensured that it was kept secret. He increased the number of Comfort Girls and lowered the price of their services to make them freely available. He pressured his Commissioner for communications and entertainment to create content that would appeal to a population that was almost exclusively male. Bloodbaths like ‘Gladiators – Fight to the Death’ and ‘Death Race’ appealed to their masculine competitiveness and their predilection for violence and shows like ‘The Mating Game’ and ‘Bang Her - Rate Her’ appealed to their lasciviousness.

Sex and violence kept the population placated.

He was such a successful City Commissioner that someone had once commented that Michael was more powerful than the Pope had ever been and the nickname ‘Pope’ stuck and Michael condoned and encouraged its use.

Pope was living on easy street; the only pain in his ass was the constant raids by the so called Revolutionaries. The few Revolutionaries that had been taken alive had refused to talk despite the torture and his City Guard scouts had failed to locate their base; that is if they even had one. The citizens of Durden City were told that the Revolutionaries were just a bunch of semi-organised rabble roaming the Badlands but Pope suspected otherwise.

Now they had pulled off their most audacious raid yet. They had raided the television studio at the Visual and Audio Streaming Complex and killed a number of City Guards and that pompous ass Mike Melody and taken Pope’s paramour Victoria Eglin and some nearly washed up Comfort Girl. Pope would like to think that the raid was opportunist; that the Revolutionaries aim was to disrupt communications and take down the streaming services for a while. That on finding Victoria and the Comfort Girl, the Revolutionaries had considered their selves lucky and took the women with them as prizes.

But Pope didn't believe in coincidences. He couldn't give a flying fuck about the Comfort Girl; the Revolutionaries could fuck her brains out and dump her in the Badlands as far he was concerned; they could always make more Comfort Girls. They could rape Victoria to their heats content too. She was past breeding age and although he enjoyed her company, there plenty of other breeders to choose from and Silvia Cornish would make an ideal replacement for Victoria both in bed and as co- conspirator in his illegal enterprises.

But Victoria knew all about Pope’s illegal activities, trading girls for gold. If word got out, no amount of adoration by the populous and loyalty from the Commission would prevent the people of the city rising up and stringing him up by his neck. Pope promised his people that one day there would be a woman for every man. That day might not come soon but it would come. But if the citizens found out that that day would never come because he was selling girls for gold, the populous would tear him apart; not even his Praetorian Guard could save him.

Pope closed and locked his vault, put on his dress uniform and gold sash and went outside his mansion where his escort awaited to take him to the Commission meeting. He returned the salute as his driver opened the door to his armoured limousine and climbed into it, then he checked for messages on his phone. Today the City Commissioner attend the meeting as Colonel Durden, Commander of the City Guard and he would assure the Commission that revenge would be enacted on those who had the audacity to attack, kill and kidnap the citizens of Durden City.

Pope would also offer his condolences and vow to take revenge for the assassination of fellow Commissioner and good friend Harlan Cooter. He smiled at the duplicity and hypocrisy of such a vow. His smile widened as he realised that shutting up Harlan Cooter for good could not have come at a more convenient time: Cooter’s assassination was easily blamed on the Revolutionaries and Harlan would no longer be asking inconvenient questions about the progress of the breeding program.

As the convoy sped away from the City Commissioner's residence towards the centre of Durden City, Pope Durden sipped mineral water and revised his address to the Commission.

Madeline Smith and Virgil Benning

Virgil led Madeline back out through the ops centre, along the underground corridor and up into the fresh air of Freetown. Every man they passed did a double-take and stared at Madeline. Their Commander was a woman, a true female, and now they were confronted with another woman wearing a trooper’s uniform.

“What am I going to do with you?” Virgil finally broke the silence when they stopped outside the large mess hall, the sound of muffled gunfire coming from the distance.

“I think I know,” Madeline gave him a cheeky grin.

“Besides that I mean. I told the Commander that you would earn your keep. You heard what she said: If you're going to wear that uniform you better earn it,” Virgil quoted Susan.

“I do look pretty good in it don’t I?” Madeline smiled cheekily.

“So I had better earn it hadn't I. What’s that noise?” she asked pointing with her chin to where the noise of the gunfire was coming from.

“Some of the troopers are conducting weapons practice,” Virgil answered.

Madeline pointed at Virgil’s sidearm.

“How hard is it to use one of those things?” Madeline asked.

“Not hard at all. You simply point it at the thing you want to shoot and then you pull the trigger,” Virgil smiled at her roguishly.

“All right. Let’s go do that then,” Madeline said matter-of-factly.

“You're joking,” Virgil scoffed.

“I’m not washing dishes, I’m not doing laundry and my Comfort Girl days are over. So I guess I’m going to be a trooper now,” Madeline dropped her rucksack and put her hands on her hips.

“Don’t you want to see your quarters and change into something else?” Virgil countered.

“No, because I’m guessing that once you get me into your quarters and I start getting changed you're going to get ideas and that will be that for the evening. Take me to the range, teach me how to shoot that thing and afterwards I’ll change into something nice and teach you a thing or two,” Madeline gripped the front of his combat jacket and pulled Virgil in close.

He tried to kiss her and she pushed him away. She was stronger than she looked; her regular exercise routine had forged hard muscle under those feminine curves.

“We do that after. Let’s go,” she leaned down and picked up the rucksack and strode off in the dust towards the sounds of gunfire.

Virgil admired her ass in the tight-fitting dungarees for a while and then he followed her. He caught up with her and began to explain range safety and etiquette to her.

Madeline surprised both herself and Virgil when she displayed proficiency with the SIG Sauer M17 pistol, and although not as proficient, she was also handy with the M4 carbine.

“Shooting targets doesn’t make you a soldier Madeline,” Virgil cautioned.

“I didn’t say it did but it’s a start, now where are these quarters?” Madeline asked brushing dust off her combat uniform.

“Let’s drop by the store and see if they have any more uniforms in your size. You can’t keep wearing that,” Virgil countered.

“And I can hardly wear the clothes I was wearing when you brought me here,” Madeline added.

“I actually have an idea about that but let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Virgil grinned at Madeline and led her to the equivalent of Freetown’s Post Exchange.

As much as he would have liked to do so Virgil did not show Madeline any public displays of affection. He was well aware of what the Commander had inferred about the other troopers becoming jealous. He did have to order some of the men to back off when they realised that Madeline was a woman under those combat fatigues but the men were more curious than they were threatening.

In the Post Exchange they found a mishmash of Army Combat Uniform, some scrounged from army surplus stores but many items were patched and repaired uniforms taken from City Guards killed in battle. Madeline realised that the Revolutionaries were involved in more action with City Guards than just the skirmishes within Durden City that made the news.

They managed to put together four complete uniforms, a set of combat webbing and another pair of boots then Virgil took Madeline to the armoury where he issued her a SIG Sauer M17 and an M4 carbine and ammunition for both.

“Become familiar with carrying and caring for those weapons. I’ll teach you how to disassemble, clean and reassemble them. We wear sidearms inside Freetown. We keep our rifles handy but only usually carry them outside the compound. If the City Guard ever find this place we are likely to be attacked with little notice,” Virgil explained.

He took Madeline back to his quarters. The Freetown troopers lived in barracks comprising ISO containers arranged in long lines with a dirt road between them. Stacked three high, the upper intermodal containers were accessed by steel stairs welded to the side. Officers and NCOs had their own containers; troopers shared their quarters two to a container.

Madeline was surprised when she entered the Virgil’s quarters through a door cut into the metal side. The floor and walls were lined with marine grade plywood and there were some throw rugs scattered around and prints mounted on the wall in an attempt to make the place appear homely. Power and running water were supplied but the wiring was rudimentary as was the ventilation but at least the water was warm. A modular shower and sink were rigged in one corner and double bed with a single side table was pushed into the other. Mismatched furniture provided some basic comfort.

“We scavenge what we can from the Badlands and in Odessa,” Virgil explained.

“Most of the stores were picked clean after the civil war but sometimes there are a few treasures to be found,” Virgil put their weapons in a rack near the door and began removing his webbing and uniform.

“I’m going to take a shower but you can go first,” he nodded at the shower stall.

“Ok, but where do I go to the toilet?” Madeline asked.

“Well that might be a problem. There are latrines, well I guess they are porta potties really, located at the end of each barrack line,” Virgil shrugged his shoulders.

“Well I need to go,” Madeline stood, feet apart with her hands on her hips, a little defiantly.

“Word will have gotten out by now that you are here. Major Brody will have made it clear to the men that there will be dire consequences if any of them touch you,” Virgil shrugged.

“Except for Leon and Spliff who fucked me in the ops centre barracks,” Madeline spat, her anger returning.

“That was then. This is now and it beats the alternative. You need to get over it,” Virgil shrugged his shoulders again.

Madeline stormed off and found the line of latrines and did her business. She was stared at but no one gave her grief. She returned to find Virgil freshly showered and wearing a towel. He threw another towel at her.

“Mi casa es su casa,” he grinned at her and Madeline couldn’t help but smile back at him.

She stripped down to her cotton briefs and slipped into the shower, covering her genitals with her hand but Virgil had deliberately turned away. She soaped away the grim from the range, rinsed and put on fresh cotton briefs and pyjamas, courtesy of the Post Exchange. She brushed her teeth and was suddenly exhausted.

She fell on the bed and was asleep in seconds.

Virgil was kind of grateful. Despite Madeline’s promise of more sex he was bushed too. He climbed onto the bed, turned his back to Madeline and was soon asleep. Sometime during the night Madeline rolled over and snuggled up to him. It was the first time for both of them that had actually slept with another person and it was comforting.

Susan Solister and Billy Brody

The Commander didn’t live in a shipping container. When Susan Solister had founded Freetown the Troopers had built her a prefabricated two bedroom cottage in the middle of Freetown and even put in a small garden and installed a white picket fence around it.

Their enemies in Durden City called them Revolutionaries but they called themselves freedom fighters. The majority of the residents of Freetown were soldiers and referred to themselves as Troopers. When Susan Solister became their Commander she protested when the men began to build her the cottage telling Billy Brody, her second in command, that she wanted to live just like the troops she commanded; she didn’t want any luxuries.

Billy told Susan that a commander didn’t live with the troops. He went on to explain that command is a solitary commission. There will always be trusted advisors but in the end the men wanted a leader; someone to look up to and that person should always stand apart from the men they commanded. Brody called it the loneliness of command: being ultimately responsible for everything and everyone in Freetown, responsible for every strategic decision, responsible for their victories and their defeats.

So Susan reluctantly agreed to live in the Commander’s quarters. There was also the reality that she was the only woman in Freetown and although she demanded and received respect from the Troopers she commanded, she needed to acknowledge that temptation can sometimes overcome propriety. It was well known in Freetown that Billy Brody shared Susan’s bed but in public he was her loyal second in command and even had his own quarters nearby.

Victoria Eglin had been installed in those quarters comprising two ISO containers joined together which included such luxuries as an ensuite bathroom and hot water. Two armed guards stood outside Billy’s quarters whilst inside Victoria showered and dressed for dinner. Susan had loaned her some clothes and some makeup.

Meanwhile in the bathroom of the Commander’s cottage, Susan Solister leaned over the vanity so that she could see better as she applied her mascara. She was freshly showered dressed in sheer-to-the-waist flesh-toned pantyhose with black high-waisted, seamless, nylon panties over them, hugging her pert buttocks. Her small breasts were cupped in a matching bra; her feet shod in white four-inch pumps. The green satin dress she would wear to dinner was laid out on the bed, ready to slip into.

Billy Brody, naked except for a towel around his waist, stood beside her finishing his shave, looking in the same mirror that Susan was using to put on her makeup.

“Can we trust her?” Billy asked, running the blade across the remaining lather on his neck.

“I think we can,” Susan didn’t look at him; she was trying to get her lashes perfect.

“She’s Pope Durden’s whore,” Billy rinsed the razor under the hot tap.

“Reluctantly. Victoria hates him,” Susan replied.

“So she says but she fucks him,” Billy put down the razor and turned to face Susan.

“You fuck me but you still do what you're told when I tell you to,” Susan smiled into the mirror.

“Because I respect you as a leader,” Billy replied curtly.

“And?” Susan deliberately leaned over closer to the mirror so that her ass stuck out and she wriggled it seductively just a little.

“And, I love you as a woman,” Billy replied, his voice thick and guttural.

He dropped his towel and moved in behind Susan Solister and nestled his burgeoning erection in her ass crack, rubbing it against her panty-clad buttocks.

“Stop that! We have guests for dinner,” Susan flailed at Billy’s goin and sounded annoyed.

“Is that an order ma’am?” Billy slipped his now fully tumescent cock between Susan’s legs and pressed it into her pudenda.

He smiled when she gasped.

“We've no time for this Billy,” Susan hissed.

The hiss was one of exasperation but also because Billy’s glans had pushed the silky fabric of Susan’s panties and pantyhose into her cleft. The fabric moulded to the shape of her clunge and her labia opened and Billy began to grind his cock against her clitoris and she couldn’t deny that it felt wonderful.

Billy rested his hands on Susan’s hips and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet delighting in the feel of Susan’s pubis rubbing against his cock, her pantyhose and panties making an indistinct hissing sound as they rubbed together. The feeling of the gossamer garments on his turgid flesh was like angel’s wings fluttering against a translucent veil.

“Billy!” Susan barked, her voice was hoarse, not with anger but with lust.

Billy pushed harder and pulled Susan’s perky buttocks into his groin, grinding his throbbing cock into her sex. He could feel the moisture seeping into her gauzy panties as her vaginal secretions began to flow. Susan might be complaining verbally but she was pushing back against him and gyrating her buttocks.

“Jesus! Hurry up!” Susan’s clitoris was diffusing little sparklets of pleasure that were beginning to coalesce and become a constant glowing ball of intense bliss.

The pressure of Billy’s penis chafing her sex through her intimate garments caused her vagina to ache, invoking the need to feel his stallion-like cock inside her.

She reached around and snagged a red manicured fingernail in the crotch of her pantyhose and eased aside the gusset of her panties and guided Billy’s hard phallus inside the hole in her pantyhose and nestled the crown of his manhood in her labia.

Billy pushed forward slowly; biting his lip in an effort not to orgasm as Susan’s tight, moist, warm quim enveloped his cock. Susan tottered on her heels and her knees buckled as Billy’s huge rampant penis entered her, filling her and bloating her vagina, invoking a powerful orgasm.

She gasped as Billy held her tightly by her hips and gyrated against her as his mammoth cock juddered inside her releasing his seed.

Billy felt Susan’s quim clutch at his member and express his essence from his quivering penis. He held her upright, pressed against the vanity, driving his huge cock all the way inside her as Susan shuddered like an impaled gazelle, her long legs shaking, her buttocks quivering as a huge climax overwhelmed her senses.

He held her tight and leaned down and nuzzled her neck, whispering endearments as his cock disgorged his seed inside her, clutching her like a stallion mounting a mare. Susan found his endearments charming and heart-warming but she was whispering a stream of expletives because her orgasm was so powerful. It aways amazed her that Billy could ignite her passion and bring her to extremis almost instantly whilst at other times he would torture her for hours, bring her to the edge of a blissful climax and then back off and start all over again.

Billy held onto Susan, supporting her, his head resting on her shoulder until she regained her composure.

Susan reached out and snatched a handful of tissues from the decorative box on the vanity and put her hand between her legs and wriggled her bottom, signalling Billy to pull out of her. He did so slowly and as the head of his penis slipped free of her clunge Susan thrust the tissues into the open fissure to stem the flood of semen and vaginal secretions.

She snatched another handful of tissues and mopped up the remaining juices, dabbing at the milky droplets that clung to the outside of her shaven mound.

“I have no time to change my nylons and panties,” Susan whined when someone knocked discreetly on the front door.

“You animal,” Susan brushed past Billy and pushed him playfully in the chest and reached for her dress.

“You slattern,” Billy flippantly tapped Susan’s ass.

“Zip me and get dressed!” she hissed as she stepped into her dress.

The garment was low-cut, the hem cut just above her knees, the green satin complimenting her flaming red hair. Billy zipped up the back of the dress and Susan strode off, her heels clicking on the polished wood floor as she made her way to the door. She closed the bedroom door behind her. Billy dressed quickly in a dark lounge suit and came out to find three of his Troop Captains and Victoria Eglin clutching champagne flutes and talking animatedly with Susan.

He excused himself for being late and picking up a glass from the silver tray held by a steward, he joined the small assembly.

They sat at Susan’s dining table and dined on juicy steaks and fresh vegetables while one of the younger Captains regaled the diners with the tale of how he had led a raiding party that had attacked a train bound for Durden City from Abilene. Derailing it and loading as much of the contents of the freezer and refrigerated freight cars into their trucks once they had taken care of the soldiers guarding the train.

“We prey on Durden City’s supply routes to survive,” Susan explained to Victoria.

“They don’t stick to a timetable in order to make it harder for us to plan our raids and sometimes the goods are too heavily guarded for us to attack them but we make do,” Billy added.

“None of this is reported in Durden City. The citizens believe that the Revolutionaries are a nomadic disorganised rabble roaming the Badlands and making mostly fruitless forays into Durden City and the surrounding areas,” Victoria stated.

“The citizens of Durden City only know what Pope Durden deems to tell them. As you know he rules the Commission with an iron fist and has the unfaltering loyalty of the City Guard and he controls all the entertainment and information services,” Susan poured more wine.

“His lies actually assist us in some ways. When the citizens of Durden City finally find out the truth and Michael Durden’s evil is exposed, the populous is likely to rise up and denounce him and his Commission. The biggest lie he propagates is of course about the success of the breeding program,” Susan tried her hardest to remain stoic.

“Do you know that he had Commissioner Cooter assassinated recently. He blamed us of course,” Susan waved at her troopers seated at the table.

“Pope always complained about Harlan Cooter questioning him about the breeding program and the continued shortage of female offspring. I guess it doesn’t surprise me,” Victoria felt sorry for Harlan but she knew that he was no angel.

Harlan had a predisposition towards Comfort Girls but he also took his pleasures in the breeding chambers when it suited him.

The dinner was brought to conclusion after dessert was served with the women smoking cigarettes and the men smoking cigars out on the porch while they drank coffee. The Troop Captains were delighted to have been in the company of two beautiful women and would regale their subordinates the next day and make them a little jealous.

Susan, Billy and Victoria went back inside and sat in Susan’s living room drinking brandy while the stewards cleared away the dining room and the porch and then left.

“The information you have provided me about how Michael Durden and his trusted agents appropriate females and smuggle them out of the city and the lengths he goes to cover his subterfuge in invaluable but really only confirms what we have long suspected,” Susan stared at Victoria with passion in her eyes.

“But I need you to go back and work for me,” Susan took Victoria’s hand in hers.

“You have convinced me that you have no love for Michael Durden and that you cooperated with him only to survive as best you could,” Susan continued.

“I have to trust you Victoria. Even though you were blindfolded when you came here to Freetown you know too much about us for me not have absolute faith in your honesty and integrity. If you betray me, I will be heartbroken but make no assumption to contrary; I will kill you,” she squeezed Victoria’s hand.

“You can trust me. What do you want me to do and when am I going back?” Victoria returned the impassioned squeeze.

“Tomorrow. We are going to propose a hostage exchange,” Susan said unemotionally.

“Come, spend the night with me,” Susan rose and took Victoria's hand in hers.

Billy Brody stood and made to leave.

“Where are you going?” Susan asked him demurely.

“To my quarters I guess because Victoria is staying here tonight,” Billy was nothing if not pragmatic.

“Join us,” Susan held out her other hand to Billy who took it.

The three of them walked into Susan’s bedroom hand in hand and closed the door.

Madeline Smith and Virgil Benning

Virgil drove the Humvee with precision, hardly decelerating around tight corners, squeezing between overturned vehicles with inches to spare on either side, speeding into blind alleys where Madeline was sure he was going to crash head-on into a wall and then swerving down an unseen turnoff seconds before they hit it. Never slowing down, working the steering wheel and the gears like a virtuoso, his eyes locked on the road, his foot planted on the gas.

“We call them rat-runs. We’ve mapped all the roads around this area and know where all the obstacles are and how to get around them. In some cases we’ve created passageways through the wrecks and rubble by removing obstacles or placing others in the way,” Virgil took a hairpin turn between an overturned semitrailer and a wrecked motorhome without taking his foot off the gas.

“It’s how we outrun and lose and confuse the City Guard and part of the reason they have never found Freetown. The truth is the Guards don’t like driving outside of the kill zone around Durden City except for where they’ve cleared the highway,” Virgil explained.

“We never slow down unless absolutely necessary, not only when the City Guards are in pursuit but also to keep the scavengers away from us. The scavengers are actually a disorganised rabble living on whatever they can find and are usually loners but some of them have formed gangs and have weapons,” the Humvee clipped the edge of a concrete abutment as Virgil drove down an exit ramp at eighty miles an hour.

“You can deduct a point for that,” Virgil smiled but he kept his eyes on the road.

Virgil had awakened Madeline and escorted her to the latrine and then back to his quarters to shower and dress. Even dressed in ACU and combat boots, with her hair up it was obvious that she was a woman. Her bubble-butt and perky breasts were accentuated by the tight fitting uniform rather than being camouflaged by it.

They’d eaten breakfast in the mess, most of the men staring at her. A couple had overcome their bashfulness and came over and introduced themselves. Virgil had paid Leon and Spliff a visit at sunrise in their quarters and explained in great detail what he was going to do to them if they opened their mouths about what had happened in the ops centre barrack room. It involved a razor-sharp skinning knife, their tongues and their penises and both Leon and Spliff got the message.

Madeline was used to being ogled and gawped at in the Comfort Palace and in the streets when she went out shopping in Durden City with other Comfort Girls accompanied by their armed escort. It didn’t really concern her. She was a product of the system, raised to provide men with pleasure and fulfil their desires. But these men were different. Their eyes still lingered on her ass, her breasts and her pretty face but they showed her a grudging respect, even a little camaraderie.

Major William Brody had got the word out through his Troop Captains that Madeline was to be shown respect and for the men to keep their hands off her. Also word had gotten around that they had a fledgling female Trooper in their midst and of her proficiency at the firing range. All of the Troopers had come from somewhere: some were scavengers who had sought refuge and been deemed suitable to join the freedom fighters, some were deserters from Durden City who had had enough of the Committee’s stranglehold, some were drifters and loners who had been drawn to Freetown from other city states.

They all had that in common and it was a bond that created a camaraderie and loyalty that hardly existed elsewhere except perhaps once in the Foreign Legion. Their leader was a woman who they respected and admired so why not accept this Comfort Girl for who she was and see if she if she could make the grade. They all knew when they joined the Troopers that if they didn’t make the grade what the consequences would be. Their exact location, their organisation and the layout of Freetown was a closely guarded secret that could never be allowed to fall into the hands of the Durden City Guard or any of the other city-states.

After breakfast Virgil had taken Madeline back to the range to practice with her weapons some more and then he’d led her to the motor pool.

“I gotta say you fill out those camouflage pants better than anyone else except maybe the Commander but we need to get you some other clothing and, ahem, essentials that we don’t have in Freetown except at Commander Solister’s cottage and I doubt that she’s going to share them with you,” Virgil said as he signed out a Humvee.

“Virgil… you’re just confusing me,” Madeline said.

“I’m taking you shopping,” Virgil had a shit-eating grin on his face that Madeline found hard not to love.

“Get in, buckle up and keep your firearms handy but don’t shoot anything unless I tell you to and for fuck sake don’t shoot me,” Virgil’s grin widened and Madeline stuck out her tongue at him.

“You're such a girl sometimes,” he whined.

“Yeah I know and you love it,” Madeline gave him an impish grin and climbed into the vehicle.

Virgil finally pulled the Humvee up outside of a shopping mall entrance. The parking lot was full of abandoned vehicles, some rusted, some burnt-out and many riddled with bullet holes. At some stage someone had tried to barricade the entrance doors and the windows but all had been for naught. The main doors to the centre were wide open, most of the curbside display windows were either broken or the window panes had been removed.

“Where are we?” Madeline asked.

“This is Music City Mall in what used to be Odessa Texas. Justin Durden was originally going to establish Durden City here in Odessa but he figured out that it would easier to defend Midland,” Virgil explained.

“This place has pretty well been picked over. There’s no food here and almost anything of value was stolen long ago,” Virgil commented as he checked his weapons.

“Then why bring me here?” Madeline asked.

“How many females survived the SARS-X pandemic?” Virgil shut down the engine.

“Less than one percent I believe,” Madeline followed Virgil’s lead and checked her weapons.

“So guess what hasn’t been pillaged and plundered?” Virgil climbed out of the Humvee and motioned for Madeline to do the same.

“Women’s stuff?” Madeline countered.

“Exactly; women’s stuff,” Virgil gave Madeline a know-it-all smile.

“I doubt we will encounter any scavengers but you never know. We’ll clear the places we want to visit and I’ll cover you while you shop. There is no reason to rush but the longer we are out of the Humvee the more vulnerable we are,” Virgil was suddenly serious.

“I’d prefer if you did most of your shopping in one store if possible,” Virgil checked the surrounds again but the parking lot and storefronts appeared to be uninhabited.

“No problem Sergeant,” Madeline beamed when she saw a sign advertising JCPenney.

“We have that in Durden City at the Midland Park Mall but of course it’s stocked with locally manufactured stuff now,” Madeline commented and Virgil nodded like he really cared but was intent on scouting the surrounds.

He gave Madeline a flashlight and took one himself but the light streaming through the broken windows was good enough to see by. The mall had been ransacked just as Virgil said. They entered JCPenny and made their way into the women’s department and sure enough it had hardly been touched.

“Goody!” Madeline put down her M4 carbine on top of counter and clapped her hands like a schoolgirl who had found a lost puppy.

“You go for it while I stand guard,” Virgil pushed a shopping cart at Madeline who busied herself mopping up everything she needed.

She raked cosmetics and perfume into the cart and then moved onto lingerie and hosiery. After that she went into the shoe aisle and took off her combat boots and tried on several pairs of heels and some comfortable sandals.

“How much clothing do you need honey? It’s only for after work and weekends; most days you’ll be wearing ACU,” Virgil was getting a little nervous.

Madeline gave him her best don’t-you-dare-rush-me look and continued mopping up clothing, selecting an assortment of skirts, blouses and dresses.

“Are you about done? That Humvee parked outside advertises our presence,” Virgil fingered the stock of his M4.

“You said this place has been picked clean by the scavengers so why would they come back?” Madeline scooped deodorant, bath soap and a goodly supply of personal lubricant into her cart and then headed for the fitting room.

“I won’t be long and then we can go,” Madeline pushed the cart through the door into the fitting rooms.

Virgil heard her scurrying around in one of the stalls and lit a cigarette and smoked it impatiently.

“Hurry up,” he hissed crushing out his cigarette.

The door to the fitting room opened and Madeline emerged wearing pink satin babydoll pyjamas, translucent holdup stockings and high heeled sandals.

“What do you think of my night time attire?” she gave him a coquettish grin and turned a heel seductively.

Virgil's insistence on haste seemed to vanish as he stared at Madeline. He could hardly believe that this woman was his.

“I’ll take your silence as approval,” she teased and turned back to the fitting room.

Virgil hooked her elbow and spun Madeline around and pulled her into his arms. He kissed her and she melded her body to his and returned the kiss.

“Shouldn’t we go back to Freetown?” Madeline said breathlessly.

“I think a short dalliance won’t affect our schedule,” Virgil made no attempt to let go of her.

“If we go back to your quarters I can model everything for you,” Madeline gave him a cheeky grin.

“When we get back to Freetown your training continues. You need to work hard to prove to Commander Solister that you’re prepared be one of us and not just my concubine,” Virgil said levelly.

“Is that what I am; your concubine?” Madeline whispered.

“I don’t know what you are. Very few men have long-term relationships with women of either persuasion. It’s virtually unheard of,” Virgil admitted.

“But you consider me yours. I was given to you by the Commander,” Madeline looked earnestly into Virgil’s eyes.

“I want you. I want you to be mine but not under duress. I don’t know what has changed in me; maybe it was seeing how desperate you were to survive. I know what you did with Spliff and Leon was done out of desperation. It was a distasteful necessity to prolong your life,” Virgil returned Madeline’s gaze.

Madeline nodded; it was undeniable.

“Was it that way with me? Is it that way with me now? Because if it is I’ll let you go. I’ll take you back to Durden City and smuggle you in the same way we smuggled you out. I’d rather let you go than have you stay with me under false pretences,” Virgil breathed.

“Susan will kill you,” Madeline whispered.

“I could never go back to Freetown. I’d have to live as a scavenger,” Virgil stated the bleeding obvious.

“You would do that for me? You hardly know me,” Madeline said.

“Virgil… I’ve been a Comfort Girl all my life; raised to do nothing more than provide pleasure to men who are strangers to me. You're the only man that I’ve had any sort of relationship with and in the short time I've known you you’ve been kind and caring to me,” Madeline shook a little.

“We didn’t begin our relationship that way but that is what it has become in a very short time. We’ve developed a bond and whatever it is called I like it,” Madeline began to smile.

“I want to stay in Freetown and I want to be with you. We can decide what we call this thing between us when it suits us both. For now consider me yours,” Madeline kissed him and Virgil held her close.

Madeline could feel Virgil’s burgeoning erection pressing into her. She’d promised him sex last night but had fallen asleep exhausted and there had been no time to dally this morning. She knew that men had needs because her job had been to service those needs but this was different. She wanted him too and she wanted him now.

“We need to be quick,” Madeline gave him a salacious smile and unzipped his fly.

“You don’t have to,” Virgil felt a little guilty.

“Shut up. I want to. Why do you think I came out of the fitting room dressed like this,” she freed his erection and squeezed it.

They kissed again, a slow tender kiss that soon became a burning passionate expression of desire. Madeleine felt Virgil's manhood throb in her fingers as she slowly caressed it, expressing dewy droplets of pre-ejaculate as he began to whimper as his excitement built. Her own appendage was fully erect, tenting her satin babydoll boy-leg shorts. Virgil was conscious of it pressing against his thigh and he began to stroke it, caressing the curvature of her penis through the silky garment.

She grazed the head of his penis on her nylon-sheathed thigh, knowing the sensation would delight him. Virgil shuddered with pleasure at the feel of her gossamer-clad flesh on his tender organ and kissed her harder, leaving silvery strands on pre-ejaculate on her stockings.

He pressed his cock against Madeline’s erection through her satin camiknickers, the heat of her engorged member transferred to his own bloated organ. They rubbed cocks like this while they kissed and held each other close, both of them breathing raggedly as their desire quickened.

“We should be quick,” Madeline sighed, spinning around and offering her buttocks to her lover.

Virgil put his arms around Madeline and caressed her breasts through the flimsy garment. She was not wearing a brassiere and he felt her nipples engorge as he tweaked and cosseted them. He put his hands inside the flowing gauzy top and delighted in the feel of her smooth supple flesh, her nipples were like hard berries demanding of his attention.

Madeline wriggled her buttocks, encouraging him, goading him almost; feeling his shaft nestled in the crevice of her bottom, rubbing against her silky camiknickers.

She reached behind her, finding his shaft and guided it inside the loose leg opening of the shorts, nestling his glans in her sphincter which she had lubricated in the fitting room in anticipation of his need. She pressed back against him as he thrust, his cock sliding into her, filling her.

Madeline groaned and wriggled her buttocks again in encouragement as Virgil tweaked a nipple with one hand whilst his others slipped inside the waistband of her camiknickers and took her turgid member in hand.

He fucked her slowly and Madeline mewled and met his thrusts, grinding her bottom into his pubis as Virgil stroked her hard cock, feeling it throb and become fully bloated.

“Oh my god Virgil!” she moaned and pushed back hard against him, ensuring that his glans pressed on her prostate as she expressed her seed into his hand.

Virgil gripped her turgid member and stroked it, milking her as he ejaculated deep inside her anus. He held her close as Madeline shuddered and sobbed, her orgasm overwhelming her. He too was shaking with the intensity of his climax as her anus undulated and rippled around his throbbing organ, depositing his seed deep inside her.

Virgil wrapped his hands around Madeline’s belly, supporting her lest she collapse as the last of his issue filled her tight channel.

Without warning Madeline suddenly rolled out Virgil's embrace, pulling him to the floor with her. She reached up and snatched her M4 carbine off the counter and began to empty the magazine into the galleries between the racks of clothing.

Virgil heard the screams of men hit by gunfire and he clamoured for his own weapon.

“I’m not sure how many. I saw at least three,” Madeline was crouching below the counter.

Suddenly the glass counter shattered as someone returned fire then another weapon joined the barrage and the walls of the fitting rooms were peppered with bullet holes.

“Fuck! It’s the scavengers! I should have known better than to park the Humvee out front. We've been here too long,” Virgil hissed zipping his fly and reaching for his own long arm.

A fusillade of gunfire raked the countertop sending Virgil's M4 flying out of reach.

“Give me your weapon. You're not trained for this,” he hissed.

“Of course darling; go save me,” Madeline said in a reproachful tone.

She lay on her back and slid her M4 across to Virgil who snatched it up and ejected and checked the magazine and then slammed it home.

“Stay here!” Virgil hissed and rolled over and hunched into a crouch, automatically assuming a combat stance.

“Yes sergeant,” Madeline replied, she sounded annoyed.

Virgil dived into a rack of clothing which was immediately shredded with gunfire but he’d kept low and the bullets flew over his head. He duck walked down the aisle, paralleling the space from which the gunfire came from.

“Give us the girl and we’ll let you go,” a guttural cry came from within the store.

Virgil emptied his magazine in the direction from which the voice came and was rewarded with the strangled cry of a man suddenly in pain.

“Well fuck you then! We’ll kill you and take the girl anyway,” the man called back and opened fire aiming in Virgil’s direction.

But Virgil had moved on. He made his way down the aisle and circled around the place from where he had heard the man call out.

Four scavengers lay dead or dying behind a bullet-riddled counter where one of them was crying, the others lay still, presumably dead. Three men in ragged garments carrying AK47s were looking desperately in the direction of the fitting rooms. They were arguing; two of the men imploring the other to retreat and the other determined to press on their attack.

“How often do you see a woman in the Badlands? And this one is protected by only one man. We kill him and take his woman. Imagine the fun we will have with her and how much she will be worth in trade,” the man intent on pressing on their attack growled.

“We don’t know if she’s female or one of the pretenders,” one of his compatriots hissed.

“What the fuck does it matter? She’s valuable either way,” the man who appeared to be in charge replied and stood up and unloaded a burst in the direction of where Virgil had once been.

Virgil stood upright and opened fire, his rounds rippling the backs of the men, crimson blooms sprouting on their ragged shirts where the bullets entered their bodies. He waited until there was no movement and then closed in on the scavengers and inspected the carnage. They were all dead except for the youngest one who lay on his back moaning, blood dribbling from his mouth.

Virgil was about to administer the coup de grâce when suddenly an arm was locked around his neck and a pistol was thrust into his side.

“Sorry soldier boy but you didn’t get all of us,” a man hissed into his ear; his breath hot and foul.

“Neither did you,” Madeline barked pressing her M17 to the scavenger’s temple and pulled the trigger.

The blast caused the man holding Virgil in a headlock to slide sideways as he fell to the floor.

Madeline walked over to the young man who was whimpering and bleeding out and shot him twice in the chest.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here,” she stood over the carnage, breathing heavily.

Virgil looked at Madeline in awe. Still wearing the babydoll pyjamas and heels, her pistol held in a two-hand grip the support-hand thumb directly forward of and below the shooting-hand thumb as he had trained her at the range. She looked like some sort of manga amazon woman but she was also alert and ready to respond to any further danger.

Virgil kept watch while Madeline shucked of the babydoll pyjamas but left on her stockings and pulled on a pair of nylon hipster panties then quickly changed back into her ACU. He watched her reload her sidearm and her M4, holstering her pistol but keeping the rifle ready. She pushed the shopping trolley ahead of her whilst Virgil led the way out of JCPenny, through the abandoned mall and out to the Humvee. He made her wait until he checked that the car park was clear of danger and then he waved her through.

Madeline unceremoniously tossed the contents of the trolley into the back of the Humvee whilst Virgil maintained a combat stance and then they hopped into the vehicle and Virgil sped away from the Music City Mall.

“Well that was pretty fucking amazing,” Madeline was still on a combat high, endorphins coursing through her bloodstream.

Virgil glanced sideways at her only briefly, his concentration on navigating the rat run. He could hardly believe what he had just witnessed. Not only had the meek Comfort Girl transformed into a more than adequate soldier, she had without a doubt saved his life.

Victoria Eglin

“Sorry about this,” Billy Brody smiled as he handed Victoria Eglin the red sheath dress she had been wearing when she was captured.

She was also wearing the same panties and brassiere but the straps of her brassiere had been cut and the panties were torn in the seat. Her black fully-fashioned hold-up stockings were full of runners. The red pumps she had worn when captured were scuffed, the soles caked in a veneer of filth from the underground sewers she had trudged through to escape Durden City.

Victoria winced as she put on the dress and the pumps and she looked at herself in the mirror.

She had not bathed since she had gone to bed with Susan and Billy and she was sweaty, her hair was a tangled mess and her makeup was smeared over her face. She felt sticky between the legs and her nipples were sore as was her labia.

“How do I look?” she turned to face Major William Brody.

“Like a woman who had been held captive by Revolutionary scum and repeatedly taken against her will,” Billy eyed her critically.

“I'm missing something. Pope needs to be convinced that I was held captive and resisted my captors, at least at first,” Victoria commented.

“You sure?” Billy asked.

Victoria nodded and without warning Billy punched her in the face inflicting a blow that he knew would blacken her eye. He gave her another to split her lip then he punched her in the ribs with a combination of blows that would leave bruising on her upper body.

“Enough?” he asked matter-of-factly but was sickened by what he’d done.

Victoria was doubled over, her breathing ragged because of her bruised ribs.

“Perfect,” she replied wincing through her split lip.

Billy carefully embraced her and kissed the side of her mouth that wasn’t cut.

“You're a brave woman Victoria Eglin and I’m sorry I had to do that,” Billy sighed.

“Get out of the way and let me see,” Susan Solister brushed Billy aside and looked at Victoria with some concern.

“Sorry darling but we have to make it look authentic,” Susan stroked Victoria’s hair softly then stepped in and kissed her cheek.

“I think I’ll pass inspection,” Victoria smiled wanly and winced.

“You have her purse? Her phone?” Susan was suddenly all business.

“Yep,” Billy held Victoria’s purse in one hand and her mobile phone in the other.

“You got your story straight?” Susan turned to Victoria who nodded.

“You know the communications schedule?” Susan asked.

“Yep,” Victoria replied.

“Then let’s do this. Good luck Victoria,” Susan held Victoria in a gentle embrace and kissed her lips, the bottom lip had started to swell but Victoria welcomed the tender gesture of affection.

Susan watched Billy lead Victoria through the Ops Centre and up into the fresh air of Freetown. He helped her into the back of an armoured troop carrier. Virgil and Madeline were in the scout car and another Humvee would bring up the rear. They were carrying valuable cargo.

Sergeant Benning had regaled Major Brody with Madeline’s performance at the Music City Mall, leaving out the part where they were having sex before the scavengers attacked, and Billy had passed the report onto the Commander who was at that time giving Victoria Eglin a final briefing.

“Looks like Madeline is earning her keep already,” Victoria said smugly.

“It’s possible your Comfort Granny might have other uses besides sucking cocks,” Susan scoffed but there was no doubt that she was impressed with Madeline's potential.

Virgil had used Madeline’s performance at the mall as justification for her to join his troop and his Troop Captain had not objected and Major Brody sanctioned the decision.

“If she’s as good as you say she is, she might as well start mounting up for combat but she’s under your wing until your Troop Captain thinks she’s trooper material,” Brody had acquiesced.

Virgil led the convoy through the rat-runs with Madeline beside him scanning for any signs of enemy activity whilst manning the radio. Once out of the rat-runs and onto the cleared section of the highway that led to Durden City Virgil instructed Madeline to be extra vigilant because this road was maintained and used by the Durden City Guard.

With the kill zone and the walls of Durden City in sight, Major Brody radioed ahead for the scout car to leave the highway and head to what freedom fighters called Telegraph Hill. It was named such by the Revolutionaries because it was the one place outside of the kill zone where there was cell phone reception courtesy of COMTEL, the Durden City Communications and Entertainment Commission’s cellular phone service.

The convoy pulled up into a defensive triangle and the captain and his troops scrambled out of the APC and took up defensive positions. Sergeant Benning and Trainee Trooper Smith remained with the Major and Victoria Eglin to provide personal protection.

Billy took out Victoria’s cell phone and switched it on. He held it up and acquired a signal: COMTEL. He handed the phone to Victoria and nodded. She brought up Michael Durden’s number on her contact list and pressed ‘call’.

“Pope?” Victoria tried to sound apprehensive and scared which was easy because that was exactly how she felt.

“Who is this?” despite seeing Victoria’s name on the screen Pope was sceptical.

“It’s me, Victoria,” Victoria answered.

“Victoria was taken by Revolutionaries. My estimation is she being fucked into unconsciousness,” Pope said through gritted teeth.

He snapped his fingers at Silvia Cornish who was languishing on what used to be Victoria’s bed.

“Get onto COMTEL. Get the fucking Commutations Commissioner if necessary but get this call traced,” Pope covered the mouthpiece of his phone.

“Well it’s me. They wanna trade,” Victoria sounded terrified to Pope.

“I don’t believe it. No one in the Badlands is going to trade a woman, not even someone as old as you,” Pope couldn’t help being hurtful even now, with his lover held captive.

“They're going to want to keep fucking you; possibly even breed you,” he added.

Victoria had the phone on speaker and Billy took it from her.

“We want a tanker full of high grade petroleum, one thousand rounds of 5.56 ball and a forty-foot refrigerated CONEX filled with fresh meat and vegetables,” Billy hissed into the phone.

“And I want world peace and seventy two virgins but neither of us is getting what we want,” Pope barked.

“We've finished with the woman. We don’t have the facilities to breed her and my men will just keep fighting over her,” Billy said calmly.

“She’s worth more to you than she is to me,” Billy added.

Susan, Billy and Victoria had discussed, argued and debated what would seem a reasonable ransom for Virginia. If they asked for too much Pope would baulk, if they didn’t ask for enough Pope would be suspicious. He would be suspicious in any event. They needed him to think that the Revolutionaries were a loosely organised gang of thugs not the disciplined paramilitary force that they were.

“What if I don’t want her back? Every man in your ragtag army will have used her at least once by now,” Pope countered, trying to bide time.

But Pope was already thinking what a huge propaganda story it would make if he demonstrated to the people of Durden City that he had rescued Victoria. They didn’t need to know that he had paid a ransom. He could tell them that he had valiantly led his City Guards on a raid against the Revolutionary scum to save her.

“So what if we have? She used to be breeder, she’s been fucked by most of the men in Durden City deemed suitable for the breeding program. We’ll keep the Comfort Girl; she can keep my men amused,” Billy tried his best to sound nonchalant.

“You can make as many Comfort Girls as you want, females are a rare commodity, even I know that,” Billy used the truth to bolster his story.

“Let me consider your offer,” Pope once again tried to stall for time.

“I’m through to COMTEL, they want to speak to you,” Silvia whispered and handed her phone to Pope.

He snatched it away from Silvia.

“Just fucking do it!” Pope growled and threw the phone back at Silvia.

“This is a onetime deal. I’ll text you the coordinates where to make the exchange from this phone in two hours. Your men deliver the fuel tanker, the ammo and the CONEX and withdraw. It’s a cleared area just outside your kill zone. My men will be covering it,” Billy replied.

“How do we know you won’t just take the booty and keep my woman?” Pope growled.

“She’ll be chained to a stake out in the open when your men arrive at the rendezvous. Your men verify that she’s still alive and then leave the booty, as you call it, then leave. We move in and inspect the goods and if their kosher we take the ransom and leave you the female. I’ll have a sniper trained on her. If you try to take her before we make the exchange I’ll kill her. If you jip me on the ransom I’ll kill her. If you don’t make it to the rendezvous on time I’ll kill her. Simple enough?” Brody crossed his fingers.

“I get it. You're gonna kill her if I don’t dance to your tune,” Pope sighed.

Billy hung up before Pope could reply and did not accept the call back.

He got Victoria to pose against a clapped out sedan with two of his Troopers either side of her. It was easy for her to look terrified when Billy took her picture and sent it to Pope attached to a text as proof of life.

“Let’s hope this works. Let’s go to the rendezvous and get ready,” Billy gave the hand signal for the Troop to mount up.

“Well?” Pope snatched the phone away from Silvia and barked into it.

“I’m sorry Commissioner; we were only able to narrow the call down to the cell tower it pinged off. It’s the one mounted on the city wall next to the railway yards,” the COMTEL employee explained.

“So all we know is that they are somewhere north of the city, likely off state highway 349,” Pope hissed.

“That would make sense sir,” the employee agreed.

Pope broke the connection and turned on Silvia.

“Get packed and move back to your old quarters, your girlfriend is coming home,” Pope sneered.

“Will they really give her up do you think?” Silvia sounded sceptical.

“I thought it unlikely but they're asking a lot for her; for them it’s a lot anyhow,” Pope pondered.

“They could just take the ransom and shoot her but that would be a waste,” he scratched his head pensively and then realised that time was slipping away.

“Why are you still lying there? Get your ass out of bed, get packed and go back to the breeding chambers. And not word of this to anyone or I’ll cut out your tongue and sell you to Austin. They keep their breeders like dogs and knock them on the head at menopause,” Pope snarled.

Pope got on the phone and talked to his loyal second in command and told him to put together the ransom demands and assemble and an escort and to wait for further orders. He debated whether to go back to the City Commissioner’s mansion but decided that he could handle things just as well from here and if Victoria was rescued it was here to the Breeding Facility she would be brought.

Meanwhile Billy Brody and his troopers had arrived at the designated handover site having left one trooper on Telegraph Hill with Victoria’s cell phone and a handheld radio.

The Troop Captain placed his troopers in defensive positions and a lookout was sent down the highway in a Humvee so he could radio ahead when the ransom convoy was approaching. There was no sniper placed to cover Victoria Eglin; that part of the plan was all bluff.

The handover site was a truck stop parking lot; one of the few not littered with rusting wrecks. The few that had been left in the lot were pushed and towed by the Humvee and APC onto the verge leaving the whole lot wide open; just flat weed-strewn asphalt but with observation and defensive positions on the high ground above it. The truck stop was off the cleared stretch of highway that led to Durden City but the Revolutionaries had cleared rat-runs leading out of the lot to the south and west.

Victoria sat in the back of a Humvee taking advantage of the air conditioning before she would be staked out on the hot asphalt. The door opened and Madeline Smith poked her head inside the Humvee and smiled at Victoria. The smile changed to a look of genuine concern.

“Oh my god, what happened to your face?” Madeline reached in and gently stroked Victoria’s cheek.

“It’s ok. You could say it’s almost self-inflicted. I need to look convincing when I’m handed over,” Victoria smiled wanly.

Madeline gave Victoria the onceover and screwed up her face.

“Well you certainly do. Isn’t that the dress you were wearing in the sewers and you look a mess and frankly honey; you stink,” but Madeline’s smile beamed only affection for her new found friend.

Normally a Comfort Girl would never talk in such a manner to a female, especially one as high up the pecking order as Victoria, but they had been through a lot together and formed a special bond.

“And look at you Trooper Smith. Who would have thought it possible?” Victoria smiled back at her friend.

“I owe my life to you. You vouched for me. Your cooperation bought my sanctuary,” Madeline said.

“But from what I hear you have proved yourself already and Susan no longer despises you,” Victoria said graciously.

“When they kidnapped us, they said we looked like twins. If I had a twin sister I’d like it to be you,” she continued.

Madeline fought back tears and leaned into the Humvee and hugged Victoria and kissed her.

“I’m going to miss you,” Madeline whispered.

“You won’t be lonely. That hunky sergeant seems pretty taken with you,” Victoria smiled mischievously.

Madeline blushed.

“Yeah; he’s training me,” Madeline replied.

“I bet you're training him too,” Victoria’s tone was salacious and Madeline's blush deepened.

“Ok ladies; the fond farewell is over. Trooper back to your position,” Billy Brody interrupted the conversation.

Madeline kissed Victoria quickly and scurried away to her designated defensive position.

“Sorry Victoria but it’s time,” Billy helped Victoria out of the Humvee and led her to a steel light post in the centre of the truck stop.

“Sorry about this too,” Billy held out manacles that were clamped onto a long chain attached to the light post.

Victoria held out her hands and Billy manacled her wrists.

“There is a chair to sit on and a canteen of drinking water. Hopefully this won’t take too long,” Billy leaned in and kissed Victoria farewell.

He dropped the keys to the manacles just out of Victoria’s reach.

The trooper stationed on Telegraph Hill had been ordered to open Victoria’s phone and send the text with the coordinates of the truck stop to Pope Durden. Sometime later the lookout stationed down the highway radioed that the convoy loaded with the ransom requisites was inbound.

The Troop were on high alert when the fuel tanker and a flatbed with a CONEX shipping container and cases of 5.56mm ammunition rolled into the truck stop. The two trucks circled the light post and stopped and drivers got out the cabs. They were both City Guards. One of them went over to Victoria, took pictures of her with his phone and spoke into his radio. Seconds later a scout car drove into the struck stop and picked up the two drivers and sped away.

The designated troopers cautiously approached the ransom vehicles while the rest of the troop covered them. The men took a sample of the fuel and tested it and opened the CONEX and the ammunition boxes to confirm the contents validity. They signalled Major Brody that all was as it seemed and climbed into the cabs of the two trucks.

The scout car with Virgil and Madeline aboard led the trucks and the APC out of the truck stop into a rat run while the other Humvee went to pick up the lookout and the trooper on Telegraph Hill.

Victoria sat on the rickety metal chair and watched the convoy drive away. She sipped water and waited and before long four Humvees filled with City Guards careered into the parking lot and circled the light post forming a protective perimeter around Victoria. A City Guard exited one of the vehicles. He took more pictures of her then he snatched up the keys and released Victoria from her bonds and bundled her into the vehicle.

The Humvees sped off forming a convoy as they sped off along highway 349 towards Durden City.

The officer in the front passenger seat turned his head and gave Victoria a warm smile.

“Welcome back to Durden City ma’am, the City Commissioner is very much looking forward to seeing you,” the officer’s smile hardened into a sneer.

He nodded to the guard sitting beside Victoria who snatched her wrists and handcuffed them.

To be continued

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