The Planet Ericpotsdam: Tales of the Transfer

Part 6

I write science-fiction stories with a bondage slant. If you want to read BDSM sex and torture scenes linked by a little bit of story line, then I am not the author for you. In particular, this story starts slowly, and it has sections which are more concerned with plot than with chained women. Be patient. By the end there will be thousands of women in the story securely in restraints.

You may wish to read Village Visit before you read this story, in order to better understand the culture and people of Potsdam Village. Several characters from that story will re-appear in this one.


Chapter 10: Red, White, Blue, and Tan

Red: The Waterworks near New Potsdam Village, Planet CBQ 4960, Sunday evening

Professor Marvin Smith was the chief engineer on the Wabash Team, the group responsible for the waterworks for the new village, and for the flood control and power generation dams just upstream that were altering the ecology of the valley. On Sunday evening, planet-Earth calendar, he called his entire Wabash Team of ecologists, engineers, and support staff into the waterworks conference room for a briefing meeting.

He told them "I've got some news that I hope will be good news, and some news that could be very bad news for some of you. The good news is that none of us should be at risk of catching the Tsalichi plagues. The bad news is that this will be achieved by destroying the warp link to Earth before any infected people can cross over to us. That means that few of the people who are on 4960 now will ever see Earth again. The warp gates will be gone in less than 24 hours.

"None of the women will be allowed to go back. You will all be among the mothers of the first generation to be born on this planet. The men are less important; in nine months one man could theoretically start 270 pregnancies, so a few men with differing genetic backgrounds would be enough to build a planetary population with a wide variety of DNA types quickly. But in nine months a woman can have only one baby. We need every woman now on the planet to build its future population. So you will all be required to stay.

"A few of the men may be able to go back, in the last few minutes before the warp links are destroyed. They will probably have to fit through the small number-two gate. The large primary gate is likely to be crowded with the last of the people coming the other way.

"Farewell messages will be allowed for anybody who wants to send them. If you want to say good-bye to your parents, or to somebody else on Earth, you can record what you have to say and we will do our darndest to get it back through the warp gates before they all are destroyed. We can't promise delivery, of course. The cops back on Earth may intercept your messages as evidence. And your intended recipients may be dead of the plague before your messages reach them.

"The population of Potsdam Village is mostly on this planet already. They outnumber the USM people here, and all those who could come here, about three to one. So the social system on this planet will be run by the rules that were followed in old Potsdam Village, on Earth.

"According to the philosophy behind those rules, women are the helpmates of men. That notion may be rejected as hopelessly old-fashioned by most people on planet Earth, but it has been an important aspect of primate behavior since before any primates evolved all the way to homo sapiens. That notion will be accepted here.

"It does not limit the kinds of work that women do. Potsdam Village has women cowboys, and women plant managers, and women in all kinds of other occupations. The women engineers and ecologists in this group will all still be engineers and ecologists. But each of you will need a formal connection to some man in order to fit into the Potsdam Village social structure.

"Potsdam Village women display their formal connections to men in a variety of ways. Collars are most common, but there are village women who wear engraved rings, and bracelets, and hair bands, and hair pins, and neck ribbons, and distinctive dresses, and other symbols as well.

"You will all learn how to read a village woman's status over the next few months, mostly by absorption as you deal with the villagers. For University women, the system will be much simpler. You will all be collared. The collars will all be made from plastic-coated stainless steel cable. The coatings will be red, or white, or blue.

"All of the women in this room qualify for red collars. Those collars will proclaim your status as university women who were caught on planet CBQ 4960 when the warp gates were destroyed. White collars will mark university and other women who volunteered to come through the warp gates. Blue collars will be for women who were drafted away from the USM planet-Earth campus and given no choice about coming.

"Most collars will come with tags identifying the man that the wearer is associated with. Red-collar and white-collar women will be allowed to pick their men. If a red-collar woman changes her mind about which man she wants to connect with, then her collar tag will be changed appropriately. Same rule applies to white-collar women. Blue-collar women will have to wear the tags of whoever picks them. Wearing a red collar is therefore something that you want to do.

"In this room there is one obvious exception to the rule about tags on red collars. Janine Wong and Jack Chittaporn, come on up here to the stage!"

Both of these students had the complexions and the facial features that were typical of their Oriental bloodlines. Both of them were dressed as working engineers, in pale-blue denim coveralls. As always, Janine wore a Turian-style gold-plated collar made from 6-mm-diameter polished steel rod, with a heart-shaped charm dangling in front. Jack had given it to her. She had never explained to her friends that she wore it always because she couldn't get it off. A flush rivet locked it on, and the rivet would have to be drilled out in order to release the close-fitting shiplapped mating ends of the collar pieces.

Professor Smith said "Janine and Jack have been partners since their freshman year. They have followed the Potsdam Village philosophy in their personal life for quite some time, even though neither of them has ever lived in Potsdam Village. Janine has worn Jack's collar for over a year. She doesn't need another collar now.

"So instead of a red collar, she will wear a red ID tag. Here it is. Jack, you have the privilege of applying it."

Jack responded "We were together in our apartment when we got the call to this meeting. Janine has been wearing more steel than just the collar in the privacy of that apartment. I guessed what this meeting could be about, and I brought another item that she was wearing with me in my back pack. Now, under Potsdam Village rules, she will be wearing it in public as well as in private. Excuse me for a moment."

He slipped the back pack off, dug into it, and pulled out two miniature padlocks, a larger long-shackle padlock, and also a set of manacles with a 60-centimeter linking chain. The manacles and the chain were gold-colored; they matched the appearance of the collar that Janine wore.

Janine held out her hands. Jack put one of the manacles on her right wrist, passed the chain behind her back, and latched the other manacle onto her left wrist. He locked the miniature padlocks through holes in the latching mechanisms of the manacles. He said "Belly, Janine!", and she brought her hands close together in front, pulling the manacle chain tight around her waist. Jack connected the ends of the chain by using the long-shackle padlock. Janine's hands were pinned close to her stomach.

Janine said, "Does anybody think that I am being abused? Think again. Jack has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I needed guidance when I left home and came to the university, and he provided it. He has seen to it that I study what I should and that I get my assignments turned in on time. I would have flunked out before I finished my sophomore year if he hadn't taken care of me.

"Now take another look. Look at the way he looks at me when I wear his chains. I know of only one old married couple where the husband still looks at his wife like that. They are also into bondage, and he often keeps her in his chains. I hope that Jack will still look at me like that when we are an old married couple. I expect to still be wearing these chains too when that happens."

Jack said "I think that she is just as pretty when I take the big lock off and she wears the manacles with the chain dangling in front. That is how she cooks, and cleans, and studies, and otherwise lives in our apartment. To me, Janine in my chains is the most beautiful girl in the world.

"Now, the tag. Kneel, Janine!" Janine knelt down with her back straight and looked up at Jack. Professor Smith handed Jack a heavy-duty pair of pliers and a red metal ID tag. The tag was hand-scribed "Possession of Jack Chittaporn." A quick squeeze with the pliers secured the tag onto Janine's collar. That tag could not be removed without using a hacksaw.

Jack helped Janine stand up, and they left the stage.

Professor Smith took over the meeting again. He said "I expect that many of you women already have partners picked out, either among the terraforming staff on the planet or among the students who have registered to warp over. If you don't, Professor Burlington will act as a sort of temporary harem master, and you can put his name on your tags.

"You probably all know that Professor Burlington is deeply committed to Tina Carlsen, his personal assistant, mistress, and now also esdigie. You won't be expected to provide any of the more intimate services of a harem member. But you can use the professor's name until some other guy persuades you to become his partner. Then you will have a marriage ceremony, or enslaving ceremony, or whatever is appropriate for your new relationship. After that ceremony you will wear your new partner's tag instead of the professor's, of course."

Gail Hitchens promptly spoke up. She had been working on Potsdam Village's new water and sewer lines. "Oh, darn, does it have to be an older guy like Department Chair Burlington?"

Smith answered "I suppose not. Is there somebody else that you would trust enough that you would prefer to have him as harem master?"

"Yes. You, of course. I have had a crush on you since I first saw you on campus." Professor Marvin Smith was tall, slim, blonde, and blue-eyed, and he kept in shape by swimming. Every female engineering student had seen how great he looked when he wore nothing but a close-fitting swim suit. It wasn't at all surprising that Gail had a crush on him.

She wasn't alone. When all of the women had collars sealed around their necks, Professor Marvin Smith had acquired a three-girl harem.

White: Bob Coates and Rita Johanson

Late Sunday evening Bob and Rita were relaxing together in his dormitory room just off the Central Dormitory Quadrangle, sitting side-by-side on an old couch that at least twenty other students had owned before, listening to music. Bob had always enjoyed 20th-century musicals from before the rock era. He was introducing Rita to Rogers and Hammerstein. South Pacific was one of his favorites.

Abruptly the PA system in the dormitory drowned out 'There is Nothing Like a Dame'. Somebody with a bass voice was making an announcement, speaking slowly. The combination of low pitch and slow speech made the message sound like a Proclamation of Doom.

The message was "Transfer of University Personnel to Planet CBQ 4960 is imminent. Repeat: Transfer of University Personnel to Planet CBQ 4960 is imminent. All people in this dormitory who are making the transfer should pack immediately. Make sure that your luggage is tagged with your names. Open your room doors when you are packed. Village Transfer Volunteers will be coming through to help you. I repeat . . . ."

"What should you wear to an interstellar warp transfer", Rita asked. She was wearing harem-styled pajamas, loose-fitting but bare-midriff and made of semi-see-through fabric, with only thong panties for underwear. Bob thought that she looked very, very sexy.

But for the transfer he had to recommend "Practical working clothes. We have lots of stuff to pack and haul. I'll be wearing blue jeans, short-sleeve sweatshirt, and running shoes, over practical socks and underwear. Don't you have a similar outfit?" He was wearing dark-brown flannel pajamas.

"I think so. We have to pack mostly your stuff this time. Most of my stuff is still packed from the move from Satellite West Campus."

"Yup. That probably means we have the time to listen to several more songs. 'Some Enchanted Evening' is a special favorite of mine." When that song had ended, they both changed clothes and went to work.

The job took almost an hour. They had to spend some of that time clambering over, under, and around Rita's suitcases and other packages. Less than three minutes after they finally left their dorm room door open, several Potsdam Village young men came in. One of them asked "Did you register?"

"Yes, we did."

"Ready to go?"

Bob answered "Yes, we are."

"Can you help us after we get your luggage on a cart? We could use your help in hauling other people's stuff out to the waiting luggage cart trains."

Bob hesitated for a moment. They were paying no attention to Rita while they asked him for help. What would Rita be doing? He wanted to stay with her while their lives were reorganized, protecting her if necessary. Then he realized that Potsdam Villagers would automatically expect the man to make the decisions for any couple. He answered "Okay. Rita and I would be happy to help."

"Great! We'll start with your stuff, get it out to a cart. Besides, we have a hat for you to wear."

The hat was a baseball cap with the Potsdam Village design, white on sides and top of brim, and dark on front and back. The dark sections were black, a color that Bob had not seen before. Wearing a team hat would make Bob part of the Potsdam Village team.

Bob and Rita's belongings were carried out and piled up at the leading cart in a train of four that was parked by the dormitory. With four guys and Rita all working, the job was quickly done. Then they started on other people's personal stuff, which was put onto the other carts in the train.

Transfer Volunteers began to bring women out of the dormitory and attach them to the drawbar at the front of the cart train. These women all had their heads in black drawstring bags and their hands cuffed behind their backs. Clothing varied from flannel pajamas to nothing at all. Most of it was appropriate for sleeping, not for emigrating to a new world.

Bob and Rita exchanged surprised glances when they saw this. Bob asked one of the Potsdamers what was going on. He was told "It's about time you learned. We are taking all of the women on this campus to CBQ 4960, whether or not they volunteered. These are among the draftees. Your woman will be getting much better treatment because she is a volunteer."

Bob realized that any attempt to fight this group kidnapping would risk his getting left behind on Earth while Rita was taken to CBQ 4960 in handcuffs and a head bag. He decided that he had to go along with the situation, at least for the time being, to protect Rita. If the Potsdamers all got arrested for kidnapping, he could testify in court and at the very least get his own sentence reduced. He went back into the dormitory to pick up another load of somebody's personal belongings.

Rita paused to take another look at the draftee women being harnessed to the front of the cart train. They all looked anonymous in their black head bags. And then all of a sudden the one at the right front of the drawbar was not anonymous at all. Rita recognized Diane Fujioka. She was wearing only black bikini-styled underwear, opaque but skimpy.

Rita immediately said "Diane, it's me, Rita. What happened? I thought that you were going to volunteer too."

"I did volunteer. I filled out and signed their paperwork. I would be willing to go with Tony Gilmore as soon as he gets back here on his bicycle, but not until then. Two guys barged into my dorm room and told me that I was leaving now. They didn't even give me enough time to get dressed. How did you recognize me?"

"You have an unusual skin tone. It's probably due to your tangled ancestry. The identification was easy to confirm because of your little tattoo of Mount Fuji on your left upper arm." Besides Japanese, Diane's thoroughly mixed ancestry included Swedish Caucasian, Pakistani Caucasian, American Indian, and Black.

"How could you see all that? Don't you have a bag on your head too?"

"No. Or at least, not yet. Bob is right here, and I suppose that he is protecting me. I'd better get back to him."

A young Potsdamer man promptly told her "You can't. Not allowed. You volunteered to help, and this is where we need your help, pulling and guiding this cart train. Take position, on the left in front."

"But I am with Bob, Bob Coates. He's the one who volunteered me."

"He'll be joining you again, at the check-in desk on 4960. He'll be told what has happened to you. There are limits on my patience. Take your position!" Rita just gave him a stubborn glare instead.

Fortunately the young man really did not want to put Rita in handcuffs and a head bag. If he did, none of the women would be able to help in steering the cart train. The others were already blinded by their head bags. He put his hand on his whip, but he left it hanging at his belt. He decided to try persuasion first. That often worked with his own girlfriend back in Potsdam Village. Rita somehow reminded him of his girlfriend.

He asked "Isn't all of your personal stuff on the leading cart? You should stay with it, so that you will be able to retrieve it on CBQ 4960."

Diane pleaded "Please stay, Rita, and do as he says. This whole situation is scary enough knowing that you are right here beside me. It would be much worse if you go."

So Rita sighed, and took her position, and allowed the young man to harness her to the drawbar. Then he used a lightweight chain and four plastic cuffs to connect Rita to the other women on the left side of the drawbar left wrist to left wrist, forming a coffle. All of the other women were cuffed behind their backs, but Rita's right wrist stayed free; being a volunteer worker was apparently good for that much, anyway. The young man repeated the coffling on the other side, right wrist to right wrist, connecting Diane to the other women.

The young man announced "I am the whipper-onward for this cart train." He snapped his whip, generating a sharp crack!. "Move out!" All of the young women leaned into their load, and the cart train began to roll toward the warp gate.

- - - -

A few minutes later Bob Coates came back out of the dormitory with a large trunk full of somebody's clothing. He immediately asked a nearby villager who seemed to be in charge "Hey! Where is Rita and the cart with our own stuff?" Another cart train had been parked by the dormitory exit.

"They must have left already. No doubt you will want to re-join her as soon as possible. Wait a moment. George! Bring that coffle over here!"

All four girls in the coffle wore head bags, and plastic disposable handcuffs behind their backs. Two of them were dressed in normal street clothing. The others were dressed for sleeping, one each in silky pajamas and a rather sexy baby doll.

The villager who seemed to be in charge told Bob, "You know already that we are not bringing all of the guys across the warp bridge, just the gals. You shouldn't have any trouble being allowed to go across while you are wearing that hat and guiding this coffle. Take them to the girls' waiting room in the warehouse and hotel complex on CBQ 4960. Signs will be posted to guide you on the other side."

Bob did not like the idea of helping to kidnap four girls. But he liked the idea of being separated from Rita even less, and he realized that she must already have been taken over. So he grabbed the left arm of the girl at the front of the coffle, and he set out toward the warp gate. He made small talk with the girls as he guided them, trying to make the experience less terrifying for them. None of the girls had volunteered for transfer to 4960. None of them had scientific or technical majors.

Nobody argued with Bob or tried to stop him when he entered one of the Quonset huts in front of the Ecology Department building and took the girls across to Planet CBQ 4960.

- - - -

A horrible thought occurred to Rita while she was standing in a Quonset hut, waiting for the air pressure to drop from Earth-normal to 4960-normal. The Village Transfer Volunteers were perfectly willing to kidnap women, and leave men behind. This conclusion was based on evidence that was right before her eyes. Was she being kidnapped? Were the villagers telling her the truth? Or were they planning to leave Bob behind and assign her to some horny village man? By the time she thought of that possibility, the air pressure in the hut had been completely adjusted. The large garage door to the actual warp gate was opening. Rita had no choice but to go on forward.

A villager woman directed her and her cart train into a warehouse and onto a parking space in a row with dozens of other similar carts. The woman used a marker to write "C97" on Rita's left forearm, telling her "This is your parking-place number. It will be a lot simpler to retrieve your belongings if you know where your cart is parked."

The villager woman then put the same mark on all of the other gals who had pulled this cart train. With two quick cuts using heavy-duty shears, she released Diane Fujioka from her behind-the-back cuff and her head bag. She unlocked and unbuckled all of the gals from the cart, but she left the coffle cuffs on, holding the gals in two groups of four, all still in head bags and handcuffs except for Diane and Rita. The villager woman told Diane and Rita that "You are responsible for the other girls in your coffles. If they need to use a toilet, you will have to help them. Now take them through those doors."

Rita led her coffle through the doors, and then looked around. She turned to Diane and commented "This is the scariest place that I have ever been in."

- - - -

Bob found that the direction signs on 4960 were clear enough. When he arrived at the indicated location, another village man directed him to "Drop off the girls here, I'll pass them on in. We're going full speed now, which means only girls go in through this end and stay in the girls waiting area. Guys go in through the other end. Are any of these girls yours?"

"No. I think that my girl arrived a few minutes ago. We did register."

"You will probably want to get her out of that waiting area as soon as possible, then. Go up those stairs, turn right along the gallery, down the stairs at the opposite end, and wait in line by your check-in desk. The desks are in alphabetical order by last name of the registered guys."

The gallery on Bob's route could also have been called a balcony. It was one story above the floor of a large room, with walls two stories tall, typical undecorated warehouse space. Several rows of chairs occupied the floor, and there were several portable toilet booths around the sides. Metal galleries ran around all of the edges of the space, with some bridges also across the center. One end of the space was divided from the rest by a barrier of chain-link fencing. A low platform was just beyond the fencing. A row of desks along the platform were marked by signs reading "A-B", "C-E", "F-H", and onward through the alphabet.

Village Transfer Volunteers patrolled the galleries and the bridges across the space. Bob realized that these Volunteers could reach any spot on the floor below with their long whips and taser rifles.

The area was filling up with girls, most of them in plastic handcuffs with black bags over their heads. The room echoed with the voices of upset and worried women and the jangle of chains which linked these women in coffles, each with about four girls. The PA system kept giving orders, like "Mary Smith, Mary Smith, report immediately to the 'W-Z' check-in desk." The PA announcements could not keep up with the rate at which women were being put into the room.

Bob Coates scanned the floor quickly, looking for Rita. He didn't find her. He soon realized that the best thing he could do for her would be to check in himself and get her out of there.

From the gallery level, he could see that the waiting room was actually larger than the women's area. The check-in desks divided the room into two spaces. The young men who had registered were being guided into the other end as they arrived. Bob went down the stairs from the gallery on the men's side, as he had been directed. He got in line at the 'C-E' desk.

- - - -

Rita became even more tense as the PA announced "Rita Johnson, Rita Johnson, report immediately to the 'C-E' desk." Was that supposed to be her? What kinds of nastiness were waiting for her after she reported?

The tension drained out of her as a different voice on the PA announced "Rita Johanson, Rita Johanson . . . " She breathed an enormous sigh of relief.

Diane Fujioka observed "You seem to be a lot happier now that they are saying your name right."

Rita grinned and replied "It's much more than that. The second announcement was made by my Bob. I recognized his voice. Come on up with me. Maybe he can get you out of this horrible place too."

It turned out that he could. He met Rita and Diane by the 'C-E' desk on the girls' side, and he gave each of the gals a quick, intense reassuring hug. Then he asked a village man who was guarding that spot to cut both gals loose from their coffles.

The guard asked "You are taking responsibility for both of them?"

"Uhm, yes, I am."

"OK, then." A few quick cuts with the guard's heavy snips released both Rita and Diane, and also removed the head bag and the cuffs behind the back for the next girl in each of their coffles. Those girls were informed that "You are the coffle captains now."

Bob led Rita over to the "C-E" desk, and Diane one desk further to "F-H". He explained their circumstances to the desk clerks. Both clerks checked their paperwork and confirmed that the gals had registered. Both gals therefore rated white collars.

Bob personally strapped and cuffed both Rita and Diane into place when their turns came to sit in a collaring chair. Nobody told any of them that gals in collaring chairs could be allowed the option of not being restrained. Rita was soon tagged "Rita Johanson, esdigie to Bob Coates". Diane's tag read "Diane, to Bob Coates, for Tony Gilmore". Bob was given keys for the spaces allotted to each of them.

Bob installed Diane in her new space, which was one of the cages in the warehouse being used as a short-term prison. She was surrounded by hanging draperies which concealed chain-link fencing. She had two and a half by three meters of space, plus a covered pail for use as a toilet, a single-bed mattress, and a box of food and bottled water. She had no way of knowing it, but Lou Sullivan and Chi Rivera of the campus 911 emergency staff, and University President Maxine Lee, were all being held in nearby cages.

Diane still had no clothing except for the skimpy underwear that she had been wearing when she was snatched. She had no work to do, and no books or radio or other ways to amuse herself. She was alone after Bob left with Rita. Her only reasonable option was to catch up on the sleep that had been interrupted when she was snatched. So she tried. She tossed, and turned, and worried for a while, but eventually she did get some sleep.

- - - -

Bob and Rita's new space was a two-room suite in one of the hotels. It was much nicer than Diane's cell. They had a kitchenette, a private bath, a king-size bed in the back room, and a table, couch, and chairs in the front room. They realized that this would be a pleasant place to stay, at least until the supply of village housing caught up with the demand.

A complete set of their personal bathroom supplies would have been nice, but they did what they could with the hotel-style soap in the room and the items they had been carrying in the belt packs that they both wore.

Bob let Rita use the facilities first. When he came back out of the bathroom, she was lying on the bed, on her back. Her hands were stretched above her head. All of her clothes were neatly and conspicuously piled on a chair in the bedroom. The shape of her body showed clearly through the bedspread and sheet. She obviously was not under any heavy blankets.

She gave a loud and theatrical snore. He realized what she wanted. He took a pair of handcuffs from his belt pack and locked her wrists to a handy bracket that somebody had recently added to the headboard of the bed.

She pretended to wake up. He leaned over her and looked as menacing as he could.

She smiled at him, and then she tried to scream softly. It came out "EEmmmmmp!" as her menacing man's hand covered her mouth. When her lungs were emptied from the attempted scream, his thumb and forefinger closed on her nostrils and blocked her breathing for about three seconds. When she was allowed to breathe again, she was too busy refilling her lungs and meeting her body's demand for oxygen to try to keep fighting.

He said "Promise not to scream? Do you promise not to scream?" She nodded her head. He pulled his hand back from her face. She grinned again. She squirmed a bit and rattled the handcuff chain against the headboard bracket that her hands were wrapped around. She asked "These are the same handcuffs, aren't they, the ones from that party that the student engineers threw?"

"The very same ones, again."

Bob continued to stand by her bed, looming over her, looking down with a wicked gleam in his eyes at his lover who was lying chained with no clothes on and her long black hair spilling across the pillow. He leaned over and kissed her gently. Then his right hand began to massage her left breast through the sheet and bedspread which covered her. She asked "Are you going to rape me now?"

The massage continued. He kissed her again, just a bit harder. He replied "Rita girl, I think that you have just given me the most wonderful, the most glorious, the nicest gift ever, your body just like it is, covered only by a bedspread that I will soon remove, helpless with your hands chained out of my way. You would have to have complete trust in me to give me that. Now you have given me that trust. That gift means that rape is now impossible, because you are consenting. Thank you very much for that trust."

Rita replied "What are you doing to my chest may not count as rape, but you are taking unfair advantage."

"I figure you gave consent to this also when you let me chain your wrists to the headboard. I'm not even peeling your bedspread off, yet. Am I hurting you?" The massage shifted to her right breast. Rita smiled and shook her head. Bob added "Of course, since you have now given consent to a lot more . . . . " He left the sentence unfinished.

Rita kept smiling and said "I guess I'm not allowed to have a headache, this time."

Then he pulled the sheet and blanket toward the foot of the bed, uncovering all of her body, and said "No, you aren't. You look really pretty when you squirm." His hands began to roam over more of her body.

Then she asked "Will my safeword do any good, this time?"

"It will make me pause. But you don't have to say it. I am going to pause right now anyway." He stepped back from the bed, but his purpose was immediately evident. He began to take his own clothes off.

A few minutes later he climbed onto the bed, on top of her. He observed "We have had sex before, but never before while you were wearing these cuffs. Ever since I almost took you in the basement of Upsilon Beta Gamma, I have been waiting for the right moment to dedicate these cuffs properly. And now [kiss on one breast] the moment [kiss on the other breast] that these cuffs have been saved for [intense kiss, open mouth to open mouth] has arrived."

Blue: Sharon Richards and Margaret Brown

Sharon and Margaret were in their dormitory room, each reading a book, when the PA system announced that the transfer of university personnel to CBQ 4960 was imminent. Soon afterward the corridor outside their room became very noisy.

Margaret was nude; she normally slept that way. She got up and locked the small deadbolt that somebody had screwed onto their room door. She said "Don't open the door for any reason until all the people who are going have left. Don't you dare even think about unlocking that deadbolt. Those horny Potsdamer bastards just might decide to kidnap us if you do."

Sharon was wearing her bra and panties. She took another look at the rather small deadbolt on the door and had her doubts about whether it would be adequate against a determined Potsdamer assault. She put her bookreader down, got dressed again in jeans and short-sleeve knit blouse, pulled her back pack and suitcases out from her closet, and began to pack.

Margaret exclaimed "For crissake! You aren't planning to go out and join them, are you?"

"No, I'm not. But if those horny Potsdamer bastards really want to kidnap us, that dinkum little deadbolt isn't likely to stop them. I believe in being prepared. You should pack too." Her bookreader, bathroom supplies, changes in underwear, and a few other important items were put into her backpack. She began to fill her suitcases with her other belongings.

"How are they going to get the deadbolt open, if you don't open it for them?" Margaret stayed on her bed.

"Remember that Dave Antonion is an engineer, and he isn't the only one in Potsdam Village. My bet is that he could figure out something, if he really wanted to."

Somebody knocked on the dorm-room door. Margaret hissed "Don't even answer it!"

Somebody unlocked the doorknob and tried to open that door. The deadbolt rattled in its mounts. Apparently the Potsdamers had a master key to the university's dormitory rooms. Sharon called 911, and was told that nothing could be done until the next day. She realized that the Potsdamers had probably taken over the campus 911 dispatch center, which would account for how they got that master key.

The door shook in its frame: Wham! Wham! Wham! Wharrang!. The screws that anchored the little deadbolt tore out. The door opened to reveal several dents in its outside surface, and a Potsdam Village man holding a five-kilogram sledge hammer. Several other villagers charged through the door. One of them, apparently a leader, said "You girls are going to 4960, whether or not you were planning to! Get moving!"

Margaret lay in bed and went limp. She had read that this was a tactic used by demonstrators to stymie arresting police. She thought that several Potsdam men would be needed to move her limp body. Sharon opened another drawer and began to fill spare space in her open suitcase with some of Margaret's clothing.

The lead Potsdamer ordered "Get moving" again, repeating those words as he whipped Margaret's back with a nasty switch. Margaret gave him a hate glare and remained limp.

Another Potsdamer zapped Margaret with a cattle prod. Margaret curled herself into a fetal position but she still did not leave her bed.

The lead Potsdamer stuck his head back out to the corridor and shouted "Al! We've got a customer for you! Get your kit!" He turned to Margaret and said "Last chance. Get moving, or you'll be sorrr-ee." Margaret did not respond.

The lead Potsdamer turned to Sharon and asked "Did you register?"

"No, sir. I thought about it, but I didn't do it."

"You seem to be willing to go now. If you promise to cooperate, we'll use you as an example of how we treat girls who accept our authority. Of course if you promise and then try to do a double cross, you will be in worse trouble than your roommate. So, do you promise to cooperate?"

"Yes, sir. I promise."

Margaret commented "You are a wimpy rat fink."

Sharon answered "Look around you. The real options now are to cooperate, and go, and be treated better; or fight them, and go, and get dumped on. Not going isn't an option now."

The lead Potsdamer told Sharon that "You have a realistic attitude."

Another Potsdamer entered the room, carrying some poles and some equipment. The lead Potsdamer said "OK, Al. That one." He pointed to Margaret.

Al rolled Margaret back onto her stomach. She went limp, again. He grabbed her arms, pulled them onto the middle of her back, and began to wrap them with a leather sheath. Sharon realized that the sheath was a singleglove. Al continued, rocking Margaret back and forth to apply straps around her shoulders, and also an extra strap around her chest just below her breasts. Then he buckled and locked the singleglove, leaving several centimeters of space between her elbows.

The lead Potsdamer began to help Al with Margaret, buckling and on and locking broad ankle cuffs connected by a short fifteen-centimeter chain. A carabiner linked this connecting chain to a ring at the tip of the singleglove to confine Margaret in a hogtie. A black bag was pulled over her head, and its draw cord was pulled snug around her neck.

Another Potsdamer assembled two poles that Al had brought to the room into a single three-meter length. Al slid this long pole between the singleglove and Margaret's back, and then beneath the connecting chain of the ankle cuffs. He said "Ready? 3 - 2 - 1 - lift!" Two Potsdamer men put the ends of the pole across their shoulders. Margaret was carried from the room suspended from the pole, still naked and hogtied.

The lead Potsdamer turned to Sharon and said "OK, come along." Sharon closed her suitcases, grabbed their pull handles, and followed.

The horizontal pole that supported Margaret was then lashed between two vertical poles on a Potsdamer luggage cart. Sharon was leashed to the rear pole, and her suitcases were loaded onto the cart. Her hands were not cuffed. Eight other gals from her dormitory were handcuffed and assembled into two coffles, one each for the left and right sides of the cart train's drawbar. A Potsdamer man cracked his whip, and the cart train started toward the warp gate.

At the warehouse on CBQ 4960, the cart was parked, and the coffles of girls that had pulled it were marked on their arms with the parking-place number and sent into the girls' waiting room. Two Potsdamer men picked up Margaret's pole; one of them took Sharon's leash also. They brought both girls into the waiting room, removed pole and leash, and ordered Sharon to "Take care of that one as necessary."

When the men had gone Sharon asked Margaret, "Are you all right?"

Margaret answered, "The whip lash marks hurt, and I can't see a damned thing through this head bag, and I have aching muscles where I didn't even know I had muscles. Can you do anything to get me loose, at least from this goddamned hogtie?"

"I think that I could release your ankles from the singleglove. They aren't locked together, just held with a spring-clip thingamabob. But there is a guard with a whip directly above us. We would probably both get pounded if I undid you. Everything else is locked."

"So I either stay hogtied or get whipped. Equally bad either way. You either stay unharmed or get whipped. Don't undo me. No point in you getting hurt too."

"I'm staying right by you. I'll do what I can."

"Thank you."

Over an hour went by. Sharon spoke with Margaret, telling her about the space where they were confined and the people who were filling it. More coffles of girls were put in the room, each one usually led by a volunteer who had registered to come to CBQ 4960. One by one, the volunteers were called up to the check-in desks, released from their coffles, and reunited with their young men who had also volunteered. The room began to be crowded with three-girl left-over coffles of girls who had been drafted.

Then the PA system announced "Sharon Richards and Margaret Brown, report to the 'A-B' desk". Sharon looked up toward the Potsdamer guards on the gallery and shouted "That's us! We're paged!" over the general background hubbub. A guard nodded. Sharon undid the carabiner and allowed Margaret's legs to unfold.

It took a while before they could move around. Margaret needed to flex her knees and get the kinks out of her legs. Sharon helped her roll over and sit up. Margaret folded her knees and brought her feet up by her hips. Sharon pushed from behind, and then steadied Margaret as they both stood up. Then Sharon guided Margaret slowly over to the 'A-B' desk. They couldn't move rapidly. Margaret was limited to a 15-centimeter stride.

Dave Antonion met them both. Sharon dashed into his arms with a happy "Dave Honey! Am I glad to see you! You can get us out of here, can't you?"

She had broken up with Dave only a few weeks before, and now she regretted this. He ordered her to "Keep on calling me 'Dave Honey'. I like that." It was a stern command, not a polite suggestion. Then he turned to the villager who was operating the collaring chair and said "Two in blue, Sam! identical tags on both of them, 'Possession of Dave Antonion' ." And then again to Sharon, "Get on up there and sit down in that chair, now!"

A few minutes later, Dave led both of his newly-acquired women on leashes toward his family's home in New Potsdam Village. Margaret was still naked except for her head bag. The singleglove on her arms had been replaced by ordinary handcuffs. Sharon had been handcuffed too.

Tan (Police Uniforms): Dispatcher Sandra Williams, and Sheriff Theodore Wilkerson

Sandra turned to the sheriff and said "This is turning into a mass kidnapping. We ought to do something about it."

Sheriff Wilkerson answered "What info have we got?"

"We've been launching spy-eyes to fly over the campus. The villagers have jammers on the frequencies that the spy-eyes use, so we can't get anything from them in real time. But some of them have flown back out beyond the range of the jamming and downloaded what they have recorded. Apparently the villagers don't have any way to shoot the spy-eyes down. We have pictures of underdressed coeds being herded out of their dormitories in the central complex and forced to pull cartloads of personal belongings through the warp gates. Some of the men students are being allowed to go along. Other men are not being allowed to leave their dormitories; the ones who insist get tased. I suppose it depends on whether or not they registered with the villagers, after last night's speech by Tina Carlsen."

"Oh. Lovely. Goddamn!"

"Can't we do something?"

"No. Goddamn! We can't. I've been talking to the colonel who is in charge of the troops that are here already. He has specific orders to wait until all of the planned reinforcements are here. I'm sure that the real reason is, until Secretary Fay Ellen Roe has arrived to take command; she wants to look good in front of the news cameras. She's a blithering idiot, but there is nothing we can do about it. The colonel won't go against orders. We have to wait until tomorrow morning."

"I'll agree with your opinion then. Goddamn!"

Chapter 11: End of Sabine, and Climax

North Campus Dormitory Complex; the Last Phase of Operation Sabine

Matt Higgins thought that his team of Village Transfer Volunteers were ready to do a good night's work. They had been assigned to the North Campus dormitory complex.

Matt's team pulled trains of coupled luggage carts into the quadrangle of the complex, which was surrounded by the girls dormitories. Many of the girls in this complex had registered with their boyfriends. When the first train of carts was in position, Matt used the PA system of the complex to announce "All registered women, come on out! All registered men, join your women in the quadrangle! Everybody bring your luggage!"

Matt did not want to hold a coldly serious kidnapping if he could help it. He wanted this event to be a party or a celebration for starting a new way of life on a plague-free planet. Just after Tina Carlsen's speech he had sent part of his team out of the quarantine perimeter to a liquor store just off-campus. As a result, several of the luggage carts had arrived for the North Campus transfer operation already loaded with cases of beer and bags of pretzels. One of the carts carried a music player; the volume was soon turned up full.

When Matt's invitation was proclaimed, Neil Alt was one of the first guys who came down from the men's dormitory area with his suitcases. He met Alanna Novarro near the flagpole on the quadrangle, a meeting point that they had used several times before. They were both wearing practical hiking outfits. A village man came up to them there and offered "Free beer and pretzels for both of you, if she is handcuffed!" The villager offered Neil a plastic zip tie.

Neil answered "No thanks on the zip tie. I've got my own." He grinned, turned to Alanna, and ordered "Hands behind your back!"

Alanna grinned back shyly, and then looked down and hesitated. Neil had never cuffed her before. Now it was about to happen in public. It almost felt as if he were undressing her in public. It would feel so different from being handcuffed to a date at a college party, or playing with handcuffs in her room. This time she would be helpless.

After a moment of thought, she turned away from Neil and put her hands behind her back, still looking down. She wasn't sure just why she did that. Did she want to make Neil happy? It wouldn't be so horrible to be wearing handcuffs as long as Neil had the keys, now would it? Would being helpless in handcuffs in public even be fun? She did know that she did not want to catch the plague. She had seen many Potsdamer women in cuffs of various types during their stay on the USM campus. If she wished to join them on their new planet, stay with Neil, and avoid the plague, then she would have to accept the Potsdamer way of life.

She felt cold metal close around her wrists. She heard a single sharp click.

She tried to bring her hands around to her side to look at the cuffs, but she couldn't. The cuffs were comfortable, but very restrictive. They pinned her wrists closely and inflexibly together. She exclaimed "Hey! These aren't the same kind of cuffs as the ones at the handcuff party!"

When she said that, Neil knew that she must have been playing with the pair that she got at that party, a pair with a three-link connecting chain. He wasn't surprised. He had suspected from the beginning that she had wanted those handcuffs as toys, for playing at self bondage. It was one of the first things that had attracted him to her.

He said "No, they aren't the same kind as the party cuffs. They are Irish-8s, the same kind that Pedro Mackenzie used on Jennifer during Tina's speech Saturday night. I bought them just for you, because I thought you would look delicious in them." He looked her up, looked her down, and added "And I was right." Then he added "You look even prettier when you are blushing."

A villager said "Bring her over here", and Alanna was harnessed to a luggage cart. Several villagers loaded her luggage onto the cart, along with the luggage for several other girls. Neil contributed just one suitcase to the cart. The rest of his stuff was in two large wheeled suitcases that he prepared to pull himself.

Another villager handed Neil a double-size bottle of beer and a small bag of pretzels. Neil pulled two pretzels out of the bag, stuffed one of them into his mouth, and held the other in front of Alanna's face. She stretched her neck forward, took the offered pretzel between her lips, sucked it in, and began to chew.

Neil took a generous swig of beer. Alanna asked "Where's my bottle? And how could I drink it with my hands behind my back?"

Neil replied "I think that's why they gave me one bigger bottle instead of two ordinary ones. Besides, they gave me a straw." He took the back of Alanna's head in one hand, shifted his grip on the beer bottle and the bag of pretzels, and stuck the straw into his beer bottle. He continued to supply her with beer and pretzels as they waited for their luggage cart to finish loading and leave the quad.

As other couples came out, they saw the example being set by Neil and Alanna. The boyfriends got the same offer as Neil. To many of the guys the tie-ups seemed to be the correct thing to do in the spirit of the occasion, considering where they were going and the rules in Potsdam Village. Some of the girls objected but got cuffed or tied anyway. Most of the girls went along with the fun. Securing giggling girls' wrists became a game, not an ordeal. All of these girls were then harnessed in pairs to luggage cart trains. Their boyfriends prepared to escort them to the warp gates. Many of the boyfriends would be pulling additional wheeled luggage.

Some of the Village Transfer Volunteers then moved into the men's dormitory area and sealed the doors to keep any men who hadn't registered out of their way. The rest of the Volunteers began a mass snatch of the girls who hadn't registered. Those girls were cuffed behind their backs, blindfolded by bags over their heads, and pulled out of their dormitories. Unlike the volunteer girls, most of the head-bagged draftees wore a variety of sleepwear, much of it rather revealing.

Pairs of head-bagged girls were added to the teams that were ready to pull cart trains, and they were coffle-chained to the girls who had volunteered. The whippers-onward began to crack their whips as soon as each train had a team of eight girls. The cart trains began to move out.

The girls who weren't needed for cart hauling were also assembled into coffles. Each coffle was led by at least one girl who had registered.

Girls who had registered without male partners were cuffed, but they weren't blindfolded. Snatching them in cuffs was a good way to start teaching them what their status could be on their new planet. Did they like being eyeballed and cuffed by young Village men? Were they turned on by being treated that way? If so, they had the option of finding a man who would keep them in close chains for the rest of their lives. If not, then they would have to find a man who would be kind to them on their new planet. At least they would wear white collars. They would have their choice of men. And besides, once they were cuffed, they also were given help to drink their choice of beer.

Each cart and each of the coffles had a Village Volunteer assigned as whipper-onward. A few girls were still reluctant even when whipped or zapped with a cattle prod. They were allowed to wait until the initial group of celebrating beer drinkers had left. Then they were loaded onto one or two of the carts, hogtied on poles. Few girls needed to be moved that way; many other reluctant girls were allowed to see what happened to the ones put on the poles and decided not to fight.

Edgar Royce sat on yet another of the park benches that are scattered around the USM campus and watched all of this activity. He liked seeing the gals come out with their guys and get handcuffed and harnessed. He imagined asking some of these gals to be his girlfriends on CBQ 4960, and he imagined that they would not be allowed to say no. He was delighted to watch the snatching of gals who had not volunteered, since they might become his bedroom partners with no imagination needed and no arguments from existing boyfriends. As the last of the carts and coffles left, Edgar grabbed the handles of his large wheeled travel chests and joined the tail end of the procession.

The procession ended without capturing all of the women in the North Campus dormitories. A few of these women were living with their men over in the men's dormitories. Some of these women had not registered. Digging these women out without shooting anyone would be a dangerous project, since the Village Volunteers didn't have enough tasers to handle an entire dormitory of men. These women might well be protected by all of the other men in their partners' dormitories. The Village Volunteers would be badly outnumbered, and they were under orders not to shoot anybody unless they absolutely had to. So the women living with these men were safe from being snatched.

But there were also women living alone in the top two floors of North Tower B who had not been snatched yet. Matt had had reports of women with guns who were defending the fourth and fifth floors of that building. According to the reports, those women were sharpshooters. He had to check these reports out himself before making any decisions.

So Matt went up to the fourth-floor landing of one of the staircases in Tower B. Hiding carefully behind one of the door jambs, he switched on the wireless link between his student-model pocket pen/camera and his wrist display. Then he carefully poked the camera end of the pen/camera around the edge of the doorframe, aimed it down the dormitory hall, and studied the images on his wrist display to see if he could find out what was going on.

Blang! A bullet slammed into his pen/camera and whipped it out of his hand. He had given the women sharpshooters a target that measured about one by three centimeters, at a distance of at least ten meters based on his brief glimpse of the hall. The shooter had hit it with her first bullet.

Matt said "Ow! Damn!!" and shook his hand, which had been bruised when the pen/camera was snatched away by the impact of the bullet. He switched his wrist display back to wristwatch mode and found that it was 7:00 am. He glanced out a window and saw the sky begin to pale in the east as dawn approached. Time was running out. The party was over.

He left Tower B and found Jake Lanning. Jake had been transferred from the machine-gun squad on top of the Theater Arts building and assigned to support him. Matt said "Message for headquarters. 'Operation Sabine over. Further snatches too dangerous. Am sending the hall patrols, and the room break-in teams, and the remaining carts and coffles, all back to warp gates for immediate transfer. Request orders for gate guards and weapons teams.' Take the message to Dick Smith, on the roof of Tower A. He should be able to send it by Morse lamp with no interference by anybody's electronic signal jamming gear."

Jake answered "Right, will do. But I think that there is something else HQ should know about. I hear something. Isn't that some sort of helicopter, different from the little robotic copters that keep flitting around us? Heavier. Slower blades. Maybe we'd better warn Headquarters that government reinforcements are arriving."

Matt knew that Jake had unusually good hearing. The Volunteers and the U.S. Army were both putting out electronic jamming signals, each aiming to interfere with their opponent's communications. Owing to the electronic interference, the earliest warning that the Villagers would have of incoming aircraft was likely to be the keen ears of people like Jake. Radar wasn't working.

Matt scanned the sky with the binoculars that he had slung around his neck. Sure enough, something bigger was coming. He said "Add that to the message: 'Have spotted an entire squadron of heloplanes approaching. Suspect that Sec'y Roe is on board.' Move quickly. We may not have as much time as we thought we did to wind things up." Then he moved out and toured all of the units under his command. He passed the word that everybody who wasn't leaving immediately needed to stand by for a quick evacuation.


Tony Gilmore sat on a park bench on the edge of the police perimeter around the University of Southern Minnesota campus. He had pedaled a bicycle loaded with luggage for two hundred and fifty tough kilometers, on through the night with only one four-hour break for eating and sleeping. But to all appearances, he had arrived too late.

One length of yellow 'Police Line Do Not Cross' tape was actually tied to the bench he was sitting on. If he turned around, he could see a gateway in the quarantine fencing about 100 meters away. But soldiers were guarding the yellow-tape line, and the gateway in the fencing was securely locked and guarded by Village Volunteers. He was just 100 meters from his first goal, and he saw no way of crossing that gap.

He was tired and discouraged, but he wasn't surprised. He had heard the radio news reports as he pedaled. He had known that his chances were slim. But he had also known that his chances would be zero if he gave up, so he kept on pedaling. It seemed that his determined effort had been worthless.

The sky became noisy. Tony looked up. An entire squadron of Army heloplanes was circling the football stadium, which was outside the quarantine perimeter. The heloplanes were switching from airplane mode to helicopter mode and making vertical landings. It seemed that the police perimeter was about to be reinforced.

Tony gave one more despairing glance toward the campus. To his surprise, a squad of soldiers had moved up to the quarantine fencing. With a flash and a bang, the gate lock on the outer fence was destroyed. The soldiers surged inward and began to work on the gate of the inner fence.

The Potsdam Villagers were no longer actively defending the North Gateway of their perimeter. Somebody within the 'Do not cross' line had noticed this, and that person was apparently launching an attack on the perimeter without waiting for new orders, before all of the reinforcements were in place.

Tony looked around. Everybody near him was staring off in the other direction, watching the heloplanes make their landings. Nobody else had noticed the bang that destroyed the gate lock over the sound of the circling heloplanes. Tony ducked under the yellow tape, got on his bicycle, and began to sprint.

His timing was perfect. The soldiers had just blown the lock on the inner gate and were pushing it open when he rode past them.

He rode into the middle of a firefight. Bullets whistled past him in both directions. He hoped that none of them were aimed at him, ducked as low as he could, and sprinted even faster. That would be the quickest way that he could get clear of the gunfire.

He came to the Ecology Department building and rode up the handicapped ramp. The door was held open by a tall distinguished-looking man with a full head of gray hair and a gray mustache. Tony heard a "thump" as he went past the man, who said "Aaaauuhhhhh!" in a very pained tone of voice. Tony slowed down to make the turn into the main corridor of the building, and then kept on riding. It took him a few moments to realize that the "thump" must have been the sound of a bullet impact.

Several Village Transfer Volunteers were running down the corridor ahead of him. They came to a T-intersection and turned left. Tony followed them, turning left, and then right. They entered one of the Quonset huts through a side door.

The hut was filling rapidly with more Volunteers. The exit door to the actual warp gate was closed. Somebody shouted "What's the hold-up?"

Somebody else replied "We're waiting for Mr. Potsdam."

- - - - -

Two more Volunteers were the last ones to go through the north door of the Ecology Department building. They found Moses Potsdam hanging grimly onto the door handle, struggling to stay upright. One of them said "We're last!" and pulled the door shut and locked. The other one attached a heavy hanging chain and padlock to reinforce the locking.

Moses Potsdam said "Get me to the warp generator room. Quickly!" The Volunteers heard the pain in his voice.

"You want the generator room, not the transit gate?"

"If I'm not in the room soon, we all lose everything. Quickly!" So the last two volunteers put their arms across Moses Potsdam's shoulders, one from either side. They carried him with his feet dragging down the corridor to the T-intersection, then turned right where everybody else had turned left. One more zig put them in the large room where the space warp was actually generated. They left a trail of blood drops behind.

Moses said "Over there!" They carried him to a blue box that looked just a bit out of place in the room. The box was a different color and design from all of the other equipment. A cluster of cables poked out of one side.

Moses punched a six-digit code into a keypad on the box. A display screen began counting down: 300 - 299 - 298 - 297 . . .

Moses unslung his submachine gun from his back and said "Go! Now!"

"You want us to leave you here?"

"Go! Now!"

The other volunteer started toward the door and said "Joe, Moses Potsdam is sacrificing his own life to get us all away safely. If you stay, you will ruin his sacrifice, take the blame for the whole business, and spend the rest of your life in jail. Come on!"

Joe paused for a moment, then said "Oh!" and snapped his fingers as if he had just remembered something important. Then he took his assault rifle off of his back, thrust it into Moses Potsdam's hands, and began to run.

Moses accepted the assault rifle, aimed it out the open doorway, and fired a few rounds. Just five minutes . . . he only had to last five minutes more . . .

- - - - -

In the meantime, on CBQ 4960, Sophie Carlsen and her fiancÚ Jack Cliburn dropped in on University President Dr. Maxine Lee, who was in her cell in the warehouse. Jack said "It's time for your final decision, Madame President. Are you going to stay on this planet, free of the plague, or return to Earth and deal with the consequences of what the Potsdam Villagers have done? The warp gates won't last much longer."

Dr. Lee replied "I have to go back. My daughter and grandchildren are there. They need my help. I am divorced, and my worthless ex won't be able to help them."

"Okay, then. Stand up, turn around, and put your hands behind your back." Jack had a pair of handcuffs in his hands.

Dr. Lee followed that order while she asked "Why are you handcuffing me?"

Sophie said "Handcuffing and gagging. Open wide." She carried a panel gag with a fat pin on the inside.

Dr. Lee said "I don't understand this at all. Am I being double-crossed?" Then the gag went in.

Sophie answered "No." When the cuffs and gag were secure, Sophie gripped an imaginary microphone in her hand and said "This is Julie Anderson, channel 84 news, with President Maxine Lee of the University of Southern Minnesota. Madame President, how could you allow something like this to happen on your peaceful country university campus?"

Sophie pushed the imaginary microphone into President Lee's face. Maxine Lee replied "Ahh gignn awwow ah-ahginn."

Sophie observed "That is probably the best thing that you could say, under the circumstances. That is why you are wearing cuffs and a gag. Faye Ellen Roe, the Cabinet Secretary of the Federal Department of Xenoenvironmental Development, will be landing on campus very soon. If we turned you loose, she would be asking you how you could permit such a thing to happen. It would be all your fault. After you are seen cuffed and gagged, probably on international TV, nobody will be able to blame you for anything. Secretary Roe will have to take a big share of the blame herself. It's time, Dr. Lee. Come on." She draped a string that supported some keys around Dr. Lee's neck and gestured at the door of the cell.

When they arrived at the small secondary gate between Earth and CBQ 4960, one of the Village Volunteers ran up to them and draped the strap of a cloth sack over Dr. Lee's shoulder. He said "You are going to act as a courier. This bag is full of recorders and data chips, with farewell messages from some of the girls we have snatched."

A few moments later a small team of Village Volunteers came running out of the small Number-2 warp gate. They were the machine-gun crew of the Ma Deuce on the roof of the Ecology Building, the last gun that the Volunteers had kept manned on Earth. When they were clear, Dr. Lee stepped through the portals of that warp gate and stood in the gentle breeze that blew into the gateway due to the higher air pressure on Earth. The closed doors of the room where the gate was located could suppress this breeze, but could not entirely prevent it. She was joined by a few other University men and older women, students and professors, who were also choosing plague and friends and relatives on Earth over healthy new lives all alone on CBQ 4960.

Ninety seconds after that, Moses Potsdam's timer reached zero.

- - - - -

In the Quonset hut, somebody shouted "Hey, let's get a move on! This can't last much longer!"

"We're still waiting for Mr. Potsdam."

The two volunteers who had helped Moses Potsdam into the generator room had both just arrived in the Quonset hut. One of them shouted "Mr. Potsdam is not coming. The demolition timer is running. Everybody who is still on Earth in three minutes won't be going at all."

His partner Joe called out "Gilmore! Growler! Take her down! Dive! Dive!"

That call referred to an incident in World War II, and it was the important item that Joe had remembered as he left the warp generator room. Somebody near the door controls understood it and cracked the door to the warp open. The air pressure in the Quonset hut began to fall rapidly.

- - - - -

A team of soldiers blew the lock on the north entrance of the Ecology Department building. The padlock and chain still held the door shut. The soldiers had to blow the hinges also to get in.

The lieutenant who led the first group in reached the T-intersection of the corridor and followed the blood drops on the floor around to the right. A burst of submachine gun fire, followed by several rounds from an assault rifle, came from the open portal of the warp generator room. There were presumably at least two villagers holed up there. The lieutenant asked "Where's Hopkinton? He's an expert at this kind of thing. I don't want to start tossing bullets and grenades around a warp generator room without his input."

Another squad came up and went to the left at the T-intersection. They found the Quonset hut door, but it was held shut by several tons of net difference in air pressure. It couldn't be opened. The squad could do nothing except watch while the hut full of Village Volunteers all trotted through the large garage-type door that led to the warp gate.

At the end, a bulldog mutt ran up to the door and began jumping up and barking at the soldiers through the window. Somebody shouted "Spike! Come! Come!" The dog turned, realized that his people were leaving him, and ran to join them.

The dog went last through the warp. Fourteen seconds later Moses Potsdam's timer reached zero.

Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!

The sequence controlled by Moses Potsdam's timer began with a series of small explosions inside the cabinets of warp-generation equipment. These explosions continued relentlessly, at half-second intervals, and their effects added up. Half-second intervals, 120 beats per minute, happens to be standard military march tempo. A March of Doom echoed through the corridors of the Ecology Department building.

- - - - -

Dr. Maxine Lee heard that march. The breeze blowing past her stopped. She turned around and saw only an inside building wall. The warp link had been broken.

She swallowed as hard as she could around her gag to force her ears to pop. When the pressure in the warp room reached Earth-normal, the door of the room opened easily. She was greeted by a captain with a functioning helmet cam and radio. The resulting gagged and cuffed image was intercepted by a news network and transmitted to half of the world before anybody could try to censor it.

- - - - -

Moses Potsdam heard that march. He realized that his life had been a success. He had gotten his people safely to their promised land, despite the opposition of Secretary Faye Roe and all of the men at her command. He would never see that land himself, but it didn't really matter. His people were safe.

Moses Potsdam smiled, and set his submachine gun down, and relaxed, and died.

End of part 6


You can Google "Gilmore Growler" and get several descriptions of that incident in World War II. I think that this one is best:

The best real-world performance of a March of Doom on YouTube is probably the one associated with the demolition of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, in 2004.

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