The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive


Chapter 17

Captured for a Time

The plates were long cleared from the table, and the men sat around the living room, a football game shining off the screen of the television, volume turned low so as not to disturb the baby resting in his cousin Jack’s arms. Jack was married to his cousin Nina, and Shara was their first baby, though number two was a work in progress, more than seven months along inside Nina’s belly.

Nina sat down next to Alan on the couch, across from her husband and Alan’s dad. She ruffled his hair as she did when he was a kid and she was his babysitter. “So,” she said with an accusatory tone in her voice, “You move to the city and we see all of a grand total of ONE time since September? I don’t know whether to be hurt or insulted.”

“Sorry Nina, been busy, but the phone works two ways. You haven’t called me. I’d be glad to come over, especially if you’re cooking.” Before the first baby was born Nina was the sous-chef at a very well regarded French bistro in Tribeca. Now she was a stay-at-home mom, and loving it.

“Pig,” she snorted. “I’ll call you.”

“After the new year,” he insisted gently. “Exams start in about two weeks.” She agreed. Alan was impatient for the whole gang to go home. They had eaten at four, and it was nearing eight.

He had plans to stop by at Megan and Leila’s that night, but it would be bad form to sneak out while the guests were still hanging around. Leila still took and occasional shift as a PT, despite her med school status, because she liked doing it. She was thinking of doing her residency in sports medicine. Since school was on break for the holiday and a lot of people went away for Thanksgiving, the hospital had begged her to work both Thursday and Friday, so the two of them had remained in Westchester. It was just as well for Megan. She had yet to tell her parents that she was bisexual, and for that matter, bisexual with a live-in female lover, and for that matter, that she was pregnant out of wedlock. Every time she was working up the nerve to tell her folks she could just imagine her father having a heart attack, her mother a stroke.

Alan pulled up to their house and parked shortly after nine. Megan answered the door. “Welcome to the farm,” she greeted him with a chuckle.

“Farm? I don’t get it.”

“You’ve come to see me—the cow—haven’t you?” Megan took a step back from the doorway, and Alan could see her stomach. She was showing her five month pregnancy, a bulge visible from underneath her sweater.

“You look beautiful.”

“That’s what I keep telling her! Hi, Alan,” Leila said coming over and kissing him on the cheek. After he sat down Leila returned from the kitchen with a glass of wine. The minute he had drained it she took it back from him and went back to fill it.

“You don’t have to get me drunk,” he laughed.

“Megan insisted,” the trim Asian woman confided, “If you’re drunk you wont think she’s fat.” Leaning closer she lowered her voice to a stage whisper, “She thinks she isn’t pretty since she started to show. It’s up to us,” she added with a twinkle in her liquid brown eyes, “to convince her otherwise.”

With that she stood and took his hands, pulling him up and guiding him up to the bedroom; Megan followed closely behind. Leila stood behind him, turning him so that he was facing Megan and sat him on the end of their bed. As she worked her hands at his shirt buttons she stared over his shoulder at her red-haired lover. “Tell her Alan. Tell her how lovely she is.”

“You’re gorgeous, Megan. You always were, and you always will be.” Megan gasped, her hands playing with the top button of her blouse, but too afraid to unbutton it, afraid that if he saw her naked he would recoil in shock. He approached his former teacher; Leila had unfastened all the buttons, and as he stepped to Megan she had held on to his shirt, so he was topless as he approached her. Gently he removed her hand from her neck, grasping the top of her blouse, and with a deft touch popped open the neck button and pulled the blouse over her head and off her. She pressed her body to his, and he could feel the smooth hardness of her belly. He dropped his arms down from around her neck and rested his palms against her pregnant abdomen, making gentle strokes all around it, and at the same time lowered his mouth to hers.

They kissed for a long time, distracted only by Leila undressing them; once she asked Megan to step out of her skirt, and then took off Alan’s shoes and socks, then his pants and underwear. Alan led Megan, clad only in her panties, over to the bed, and sat down on it, pulling her into his lap. She groaned as he fondled her breasts, now more sensitive due to the hormones of pregnancy, her head lolling back to rest against him as the pleasure began to overtake her, little hums and gasps escaping past her trembling lips. Leila joined them on the bed a minute later, completely nude, taking charge of the situation.

Alan laid back on the mattress, and Megan straddled him, Leila kneeling behind her, in between Alan’s outstretched legs. Holding Megan by her now more meatier hips she guided her onto his erection and then pulled her down so she sunk down all thy way.

“Ooof! Ah, ah, MY GOD, it’s been sooooo loooooong!” the redhead exclaimed, her passions rising as she felt Alan fill her completely, a feeling complemented by the incredible sensation Leila was causing by strumming her hardened nipples. She could feel the softness of Leila’s breasts pressed into her back as she rode up and down on Alan’s hard cock, and the very idea of it still excited her.

“Tell her again,” Leila demanded of him, “She still needs to hear it. Tell her again, and again, and again. She wont listen to me,” she ordered him, her eyes boring into his with a frightening sense of determination.

“You’re so pretty,” he gasped up at his pregnant partner. “So pretty, so pretty, so pretty.”

Megan began to cry, tears spilling down her face and over her heaving bosom. “Thank you,” she squeaked (hormones again, she thought to herself), a split second before her body seized up as she orgasmed. Alan came in her, and she quivered at the sensation of it, then collapsed and rolled off of him, a stewing morass of emotion. As she laid beside him her hands danced up and down his chest, and watched Leila take his manhood into her slurping mouth, cleaning him of their combined juices, and getting him hard for round two.

Once he was ready she gave him a swat on the side of his butt, and her sat up and moved off to the side of the mattress. Leila positioned herself over the supine Megan so that they were face-to-face, her wiggling behind a tempting target for their teenaged lover.

As Alan sunk into her she lowered her face, and pressed her lips against Megan’s. Leila moaned, and Megan snaked her tongue past Leila’s hot lips. He began to thrust in and out of her clenching pussy, enjoying the sound of loud slurps that her tight passage emitted; her syrup coated his dick from tip to root, the excess falling in dribs and drabs on the bedspread, pooling between its folds.

Leila’s moans and groans increased in fervor and loudness as Alan increased the pace and force of his fucking. As Leila bucked her throbbing pussy back against his throbbing cock Megan was finding it difficult to maintain her lip lock with her Sapphic partner; to deal with this she placed her hands on Leila’s temples, holding her fast.

It was a good thing, too, for just as Megan gained a grip on Leila’s bouncing head an enormous climax exploded throughout the Asian woman’s sweaty body. Alan climaxed as well, and they collapsed into a sweaty mess on the top of the bedspread.

“Mmmmm,” both women purred. Alan settled himself between them, caressing each one lightly. He stayed the night. Megan drifted off first, Leila’s soft cries echoing in her ears, “Yes, my ass, so g-good, ahhhhh!”

* * *

The train was crowded for a Sunday evening, filled mostly with college students like himself returning to school. He didn’t see anyone he knew in his car, so he used to time to study. He had a term paper due for his history intro class, and his outline was complete as the train pulled into the Harlem station. He hailed a cab on 125th Street for the very short trip back to Morningside Heights, and stared blankly out the window as the cab headed west to Broadway.

“Excuse me,” Alan heard the heavily accented voice behind him say. He had just dismissed the cab at the corner and turned towards campus.


“Vhich vay is to Columbus Avenue? I’m a bit lost, I thinks.” He had a piece of paper in his right hand and held it up for Alan to see, an address scribbled on it.

Alan turned forty-five degrees and gestured south and east. Columbus Avenue terminated at 110th Street, one block east of Amsterdam.

“You need to walk down Broadway a few blo—”

He didn’t finish his sentence.

The foreigner stepped forward and held him up, preventing Alan from collapsing to the pavement.

His partner pocketed a small white device, a jet injector filled with tranquillizer, just as the van pulled up to the curb. In a matter of seconds Alan was inside and the van was pulling away, headed for the Triboro Bridge, and then on to the Bronx.

Karick dialed a number on his cell phone and spoke immediately upon hearing an answer on the other end. “Team Alpha to base. Extraction successful.” He thumbed the END button, not waiting for a response. He had a bad feeling, growing worse the further north he went. Just a few blocks shy of the rendezvous he reached into his pocket and depressed a button which caused the cell phone to ring, though no call was actually incoming.

“Yes,” he said into the device for the benefit of his vanmates. He paused for a few seconds and said, “Understood,” and then keyed the END button. “Let me out here,” he instructed the driver. “I haff to go back to ze office and clean out all of ze files. I’ll take the subway.”

* * *

Mr. Patel folded his own phone closed, and then placed it in his pocket, his left pocket. He felt his jacket’s right pocket, double checking that his pistol was there, and properly situated for swift removal. He rubbed his hands together, his breath visible in the unheated expanse of the warehouse, wishing he had a nice cup tea to keep him warm. A light snow sprinkled, though not enough to accumulate. “All the better,” Patel thought to himself. Snow keeps people inside, and the fire he was about to set would not be discovered for a few extra minutes due to the reduced street traffic. The only problem was the homeless; upon arriving at the warehouse a few hours earlier he had to scoot them out from the squatting places. He could have brandished his weapon, but thought better of it. Hundred dollar bills were a much better method, and the six bums had gladly accepted them as an inducement to vacate. He just worried about more showing up.

While in the middle of these musings he saw the headlights of the van coming up the alley, where the side entrance of the warehouse was located. “Money,” Patel thought. “That’s when I’ll take care of it.” He would wait until they were distracted by the wads of cash he would place in their hands to “take care of business.”

“Where is One?” he asked the two before him.

“He told us he had to go back to the office to shred the files. You didn’t know?” one of them explained.

Patel shrugged, not wanting to let on his frustration. Karick was smart, demanding half his payment upfront and deposited into a Swiss account. He must have suspected that he would be terminated upon completion, so he took what he had already been paid, and ran. “Well, we didn’t hire him because he was stupid,” he thought. His Lordship would not be pleased by this complication, but there would be time enough to rectify this later.

After the van had pulled in through the loading doors Mr. Patel directed the team to strip Alan Marshall of all his clothes and possessions and place him in the second van.

“These rings,” one of the agents said with a tone of exasperation. “They wont fucking budge.”

“Let me see,” Mr. Patel said impatiently, but he was no luckier than the soon to be dead man. “OK, well leave them. I’ll cut them off of him later.”

“OK,” the agent responded, not really caring, and looking forward to his payoff.

Mr. Patel reached into the inside pocket of his suit coat and withdrew two packets of cash.

Two minutes later he was pulling out of the warehouse, the first smoke wisps rising behind him; he tapped his jacket and felt both packets, replaced.

* * *

Alan came to his senses sometime later. He was moving, he could feel. His was—for some reason he didn’t understand—naked but for a straight jacket and a length of rope binding his ankles together, flat on his back on an rattling ambulance gurney.

He was very groggy. His whole body ached.

He tried his powers against his bonds. No joy. Underneath the gurney, though he couldn’t see it, was a large sphere of pure silver, slightly less then the diameter a regulation basketball. The waves coming off of it served to deaden his abilities. He struggled for awhile longer, but fatigue and a nasty headache got the better of him.

The van came to a halt; Alan’s eyes popped open, but all he could see was the inside of the roof of the van. He heard the front door open, and expected to hear the back door open shortly, but it did not. Two men were standing just outside of the rear of the van. They were on a gravel driveway, Alan could sense by the sound of their footsteps. They spoke for a few minutes, but he couldn’t make out the words.

After a period of time indeterminable to him he heard one of the men reenter the van and pull into a garage. The back door popped open, and the opener was surprised that Alan was conscious. Alan felt something against his neck, and he dropped off into unconsciousness once again.

* * *

Mr. Patel cut the engine inside the garage and directed his underlings to remove the boy from the van and roll him into the mansion. Using the connecting door he entered the house and made his way to the living room.

“Report,” Lord Thornbow demanded.

“Success. He’s being moved now. The men have their instructions.”

“Any problems?”

“Well, he was awake when we opened the van just now, but that isn’t such a problem. Our friend Karick did not show at the warehouse. I’ll put some of my people on it.”

“Agreed,” his boss replied, pouring the Indian man a small brandy. “You have done well, as always, Mr. Patel.” If all went as planned Karick would not be a problem, living or dead. He clinked his glass against that of his servant and they sipped. His Lordship picked up the receiver on his desk phone and pressed for the intercom. A few seconds later they were joined by another.

“Neil, please come in. I’d offer you a drink but you have work to do. The boy is in the basement. Mr. Patel will show you the way.”

“Yes, Your Lordship, straightaway. Thank you again,” Dr. Neil Swindon-Smythe said as he bowed and allowed the swarthy man to show him to the dungeon.

* * *

“Dungeon” wasn’t exactly the word Alan would have used to describe the room to which he was confined. It more closely resembled a hospital room; the walls were white and antiseptic, and he was still, of course, lying bound in a straightjacket on a hospital gurney. Furthering the scene was the IV bag on the stand next to the bed, a catheter in his arm slowly feeding fluids to his veins. He didn’t know what they were giving him, but he felt debilitated. It was morphine, dulling his senses, reaction time, and mental defenses.

The only thing out of place, that made him know he wasn’t really in a hospital (besides, of course, they way he got to where he was) was a small silvery-looking sphere suspended from the ceiling in a clear mesh net. It was slightly smaller around than a basketball, and it was brilliant in the fluorescent lighting of the room. Had his mind been unclouded by the morphine he would have been able to discern wave upon wave of mystic energy emanating off of it, enveloping Alan in a virtual downpour of powerful heavenly radiation.

Dr. Swindon-Smythe stopped at the alcove just outside the boy’s cell and spoke to the guard and physician outside the door who had been monitoring the CCTV.

“Any movement?” the archeologist asked.

The guard shook his head.

Swindon-Smythe swiped his keycard through the reader mounted on the wall near the door and waited for it to click open; he entered, the doctor trailing him.

“Wake him up,” Swindon-Smythe directed.

“First I’ll switch him from the straightkacket to the regular restraints,” the doctor said, not waiting for assent to do so.

The doctor retrieved a canister of oxygen and some tubing from the closet and placed a mask over the semi-unconscious prisoner’s face, turning the valve open to full blast. When he saw this was having effect he briefly lifted up the mask and waved some smelling salts under Alan’s nose. This did the trick.

“Well, well, well, we meet again, young man.”

“You!” Alan groaned softly.

Swindon-Smythe didn’t answer; instead, he walked back out into the alcove and pulled a small rolling cabinet into the cell. From it he pulled a few small talismans and fetish items of the cult of Ahuramazda, some of them recently unearthed by teams digging with the financial backing of Lord Thornbow, others stolen from museums, private collections, and even government storehouses, over the last few years.

The scientist arrayed the small items around the room in no particular formation, at least as far as Alan could tell. There really wasn’t a pattern; Swindon-Smythe was just spreading them out around the room to see if any would react to be being in close proximity to a Seed carrier. He doubted they would. His walkie talkie crackled from its cradle on his waist. “Yes, my Lord?”

“The rings. Remove them.”

Swindon-Smythe didn’t bother to answer; he knew he was being observed through the camera. He signaled for the doctor to return, and he came in carrying shears designed to cut off rings, something found in every hospital emergency room, and something the doctor knew how to use.


“Shite!” the doctor swore.

“What happened?” Swindon-Smythe asked, looking over the doctor’s shoulder.

“The tool just snapped apart. I’ve never seen something like that happen before.”

“You cut him.” The doctor had poked Alan after he lost control of the shears after they came apart violently; there as a small jagged laceration on his middle finger, about a two centimeters long, and it was oozing steadily. It took the doctor just a few minutes to clean the wound and drop three stitches into Alan’s finger. It usually took longer, but since the boy was on a morphine drip he didn’t have to give him a local. The two men withdrew to the anteroom and Lord Thornbow joined them presently.

The doctor had a small medical saw, the kind used to remove fiberglass casts, and he said it would take a bit of time to get it down from the truck and brought to the cell. Lord Thornbow ordered him to proceed, and the doctor shuffled up the steps to retrieve it.

“Will it prevent us from succeeding if we can’t get the rings off of him?”

“I’m not sure, my Lord. He obviously had the powers when I first met him at the museum last spring, and that was before he had acquired the ring, so it’s hard to say. We’re flying blind with most of this.”

Lord Thornbow nodded ruefully. “When the doctor returns tell him not to bother just yet. Tomorrow, if we still can’t remove the rings we’ll just have to cut his fingers off. Begin the interrogation.” This was a mistake.

* * *

Years of careful planning were coming to fruition for Lord Thornbow. The acquisition of the abandoned silver mine in southeast Turkey was the key. It had taken him many years to pull that one off. First, years and years of study of the ancient legends. The scientific analysis of the metal had led him there.

He had met Jean-Pierre Massimo at Oxford; he was a young student and Massimo was a fortyish lecturer. His mother, recently widowed had visited him from London the same time that his professor’s father had been staying in England, and the two had hit it off. At first he had liked the his new step-brother, but there was always something about him, an easiness with which Massimo navigated life’s oceans, that was troublesome.

He had taken his course in archeology and became fluent in Arabic because of it; it was no great surprise that the intelligence services came calling after him after he had received his degree. Massimo was disappointed in his choice, hoping his new stepbrother would follow in his footsteps and lead a major dig or two, but it was not enough to rupture their relationship seriously.

Twenty years he spent in MI6, though very little of it in the field, and when he was in the field it was as a “legal” agent, attached to an embassy or a consulate, covered as a cultural attaché or some such, running agents and informants. It was in the mid-1970s that his background in antiquities first came to play in his career. He was well aware of the legend of Paishiya’uvada, having read some texts on it in university. Most of them were vague in details.

A few months after he was posted he was in the shopping district, browsing in his favorite antiquities shop he came upon a scroll. Mustafa, the proprietor, seeing what he was examining told him that it was probably worthless, but nonetheless a fine example of a pre-Mohammedan Arabic legend scroll. His Muslim clientele was mostly uninterested in such things, and he offered the diplomat a fair price. Thornbow examined it more closely, and studied the title, “The Scroll of Hyrcanus,” and that name rang a bell. He bought, paying Mustafa two hundered pounds; it was money well spent, as it turned out.

* * *

Alan played the innocent. No, he told Dr. Swindon-Smythe (“Call me Neil”), he had never heard of Hyrcanus. Jean-Pierre Massimo. Who’s he? Powers? Mind control? Telepathy? Telekinesis? Fairy tales and fantasy. His inquisitor wasn’t buying it.

“Tell me, Alan, where did you get those rings?”

“What rings?” the captive teen asked groggily. No one had ever noticed them before, except of course Jack Massimo, but he had been a fellow Vessel.

“The rings on your middle fingers. One on the right, one on the left. Come now, son, it’s me you’re talking to. I remember when you stole one of them from the Met. What interests me now is the other. Where did you get that one?” Swindon-Smythe gestured to Alan’s right hand, indicating the Ring of Hyrcanus, though he was asking about the ring on the other hand, the Ring of Cyaxares, the ring Jack had sent him.

“Stole? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

Swindon-Smythe sighed and walked to the door of the cell. He stuck his head through it, said something Alan couldn’t hear, and the doctor entered shortly. Sodium pentathol was injected into the port on the IV, and the doctor placed an EEG monitor on the table next to the gurney and then began applying the contacts to Alan’s head; he punched some buttons on the IV pump and the morphine drip was halted.

The doctor and Swindon-Smythe stepped out into the anteroom and waited for the pentathol to take effect. The debilitating effects of the new agent was different; he was no longer so weary, though his head became more fuzzy. As his fatigue lessened he began to be able to make out the waves coming off of the orb hanging over him. They looked like a disturbance radiating in a pond when a pebble was thrown into it, the orb being the pebble. The waves were pale yellow in color, and their frequency was lazy.

He tried to move, and found that he could angle his neck to the side enough to see his hands. The rings were glowing too, one blue, the other red, each emitting colored fields which covered their respective hands like mittens of tinted radiances. The ring which was Massimo’s was glowing brighter, its color field larger and stronger. Alan again tried to use his powers to release him from his bonds, and he concentrated on the leather restraint holding his right wrist. He was unsuccessful; he couldn’t tell if it was because of the yellow waves or the drugs. He couldn’t concentrate hard enough to make the buckles release. They twitched a little, and Alan saw that whenever they did his rings glowed more strongly, but it wasn’t nearly enough to loosen them. After just a few minutes he was out of breath with effort and his head hit the pillow with moderate force. His breathing was improving, thanks to the oxygen and cessation of the morphine, and he took in great draughts of air, building up stamina for his next attempt.

Swindon-Smythe and the doctor reentered and approached him, the doctor taking up station at the EEG and Swindon-Smythe on the other side of the bed.

“Anything?” Swindon-Smythe asked the physician as his colleague considered the tracings.

“Nothing interesting. Looks like a normal set of brainwaves. If he is altered in some way, I can’t tell.”

“Oh well, it was a long shot.” Swindon-Smythe gently patted Alan on his cheek to get his attention. “The rings. We were talking about the rings.”

“Water,” Alan croaked. “Please.”

Swindon-Smythe held a cup up to Alan’s mouth and allowed him a couple of sips.

“Tell me about the rings.”

“Rings?” Alan said numbly, not trying to dissemble. His mind was fogged by the various drugs coursing through his system.

Swindon-Smythe placed his hand on the top of Alan’s head and turned him so his right hand was straight in his view, paused for a few seconds and then rotated his head to the other direction so Alan could view his other hand. Alan saw the rings, but was more attentive to the glowing aura each one was emitting. Massimo’s ring was glowing even brighter now, the luminescent field edging closer to the surface of the shimmering surface of the silver orb suspended above the gurney.

“You stole one of them from the Museum. I was there. I opened the case for you. Do you remember?”

“Yessss,” Alan answered, sounding a bit drunk. “Museum,” he mumbled. “Case.” The drugs were working now.

“Now we’re finally getting somewhere,” Swindon-Smythe thought to himself. He looked up at the camera in the corner of the cell and nodded.

“Tell me about Paishiya’uvada,” he put to Alan.

“Seeds,” Alan mumbled. “Seeds of Paishiya’uvada. There used to be seven. Five now. No, four.” The aura of Massimo’s ring was millimeters from reaching the orb.

“What is the Seed?”

“Power. Hyrcanus was the son of Devaryesh. Used power of Seed to defeat his Uncle Smerdis who had taken throne from, from Devaryesh. Devaryesh had Hyrcanus killed because he had the power. Used orb,” Alan explained languidly, his eyes shifting to take in the sight of the orb suspended above him, and saw Swindon-Smythe follow his gaze. “Used orb and chalice of Ahurmazada—”

“You mean ‘Ahuramazda,’ don’t you?”

“Whatever.” The aura from Jack’s ring was slowly enveloping the silver sphere and the waves radiating off of it were losing strength and frequency. Alan could feel himself recuperating, though he knew somehow the process would be a slow one. “Hyrcanus had a servant. As he died he gave Seed to him. Ko’un-Zir. Kanteer. Ko’un-Zir had Orbis Tertius destroyed. Made rings for Vessels from metal.”

“What is a Vessel?”

“Person who has Seed called Vessel. Vessel of the Seed of Paishiya’uvada. Please, water.”

“And you are a Vessel,” Swindon-Smythe said as he held the cup against the prisoner’s lips; it wasn’t a question. Alan said nothing, knowing that by denying his status he would be tortured, and by confirming it he would be killed. It startled him to realize that he knew this because he was reading Swindon-Smythe’s thoughts. He was getting better.

They talked for another hour at least, though Alan couldn’t be sure how long, his sense of time adversely affected by the medications. As his bearings returned slowly he became much less forthcoming with his answers. At one point the doctor stepped up and injected more pentathol into his IV port, but Alan was able to counteract it.

Frustrated, Swindon-Smythe picked himself up from his chair and left. The waves coming from the orb had ceased, choked off by the aura streaming from Massimo’s ring. After he was alone for a few minutes he heard Jack’s voice again.

“Jack?” he said aloud, his voice raspy.

“Don’t say anything. There are listening devices in the room. Just listen.”

“OK,” Alan whispered.

“I know you’re feeling better. I can sense it.”

Alan nodded slightly.

“When they give you more drugs you will be able to neutralize the effect, but you must act to all outward appearances that you are still dopey. In a few hours,” the voice of Jack Massimo said, though it went silent as the doctor reentered. The doctor looked Alan over, and check to see that the stitches were holding and the wound showed no sign of infection. He left.

“In a few hours,” the voice went on, picking up from where they had been interrupted, “You will escape. They are going to cut the rings off your fingers, and failing that they will amputate them to get the rings. We cannot let that happen. You wearing my ring is the only thing keeping both of us alive. Understand?”

“Yes,” he mumbled quietly.

“Get some rest. I will help you.”

Alan fell asleep. The guard outside his room watched him slumber on the closed circuit system, reporting to Lord Thornbow every fifteen minutes that the prisoner was secure.

* * *

“It seems to me the matter is simple. The power of the Seed is passed from one person—Vessel, if you will—to the next at the time of death. Why don’t we just kill him?”

“Neil,” Lord Thornbow replied thoughtfully, “What if it’s not as simple as that? What if the Vessel has to pass this on willingly? I understand the risks are greater by keeping him alive, but if you keep at it he will, eventually, give us the information we need. Once I know what I need to do to get his power, the Seed of Paishiya’uvada, we will kill him, and wash our hands of it.”

“Yes, your Lordship,” the younger man replied, though not entirely convinced.

“He’s fighting it.”

“Yes, I noticed that. I’ll talk to the doctor about upping his drugs. Perhaps we’ll try the hallucinogenic therapies if he continues to stonewall.”

“If the doctor agrees. He’s the expert with this.” Lord Thornbow took on a pensive cast. “How do you think he’s doing it? He can’t be using his abilities, assuming he does indeed have them. If he is a Vessel the orb should be absorbing his power, right? We do know that much.”

Swindon-Smythe, who had fashioned the Fourth Orb himself, and was justifiably proud of his work, thought it unlikely that Alan Marshall could be using his powers in such close proximity to it. “I followed the instructions in the scroll precisely. I used only the silver you provided, and we double-tested it. It is chemically identical to the small spheres in the necklaces. I don’t see how it could not be functioning.”

“Yes, I agree,” Lord Thornbow said moodily. “It’s been a long day for me, travel and all. I will see you in the morning, and will expect a report.

“Goodnight,” he said, leaving the study and going upstairs to the bedroom.

Swindon-Smythe hastily beat his way back to the dungeon.

* * *

Alan was feeling better. The doctor was stending next to the bed, checking the readout on the EEG monitor, and then took his pulse and blood pressure. He made some notations on the chart and began to leave the room. He paused at the door, and stood stock still for more than a minute.

Alan was reaching out with his mind, struggling against fatigue and the aftereffects of his exposure to the orb’s radiation. “Stay,” he thought, trying to keep the doctor in control.

“What are you doing,” Neil Swindon-Smythe asked the doctor, his voice testy. “Close that bloody door,” he ordered as he approached the entrance to the cell. Alan’s spell was broken.

“Ah, sorry. Just lost in thought,” the doctor said as he stepped aside to allow Neil to enter.

“Go get some coffee, it’s been a long night, and we need to stay focused.” The doctor left.

“You’re looking better. I see the water has helped. Are you ready to answer more questions?”

Alan nodded, closing his eyes in concentration. He reached out with a tendril of thought to probe Neil’s mind, asserting the start of some semblance of control.

“How did you get the Seed you have? How did you become a Vessel?”

“I think you’ve made a mistake. I only read about this Seed stuff, you know, in books and stuff. It’s a story. A fairy tale. You can’t possibly believe it,” Alan said wearily.

“It’s a story. A fairy tale. Yes, I don’t believe it,” Swindon-Smythe said back, his voice rote.

“Your awfully sorry for bringing me here,” Alan Obi-Wan’ed.

“Yes,” Swindon-Smythe agreed. “Awfully sorry,” he said, nodding, as he began undoing the restraints. Alan sat up in bed.

“Where did you put my clothes, Neil?”

“Don’t know,” Neil replied distractedly and truthfully.

“Go find me some.”

Swindon-Smythe left the room and made his way upstairs, to his own room and pulled his suitcase from the closet. While he was gone Alan got out of bed and removed the surgical tape holding the IV cathter to the crook of his elbow, and then removed the EEG contacts. Just as he finished he heard the cell door click open, and he turned, expecting Neil had come back with some things for him to wear.

“What the FUCK are you doing?” the guard bellowed. He had watched Alan on the monitor, and wasn’t sure something was really wrong until he had begun to remove the IV and the contact pads. He was standing in the doorway, his handgun held in a two-handed grip.

Sindon-Smythe stepped between Alan and the guard. “It’s all right,” he said calmly. The guard shrugged and put his gun back in his holster. Alan had the guard get into the bed and Swindon-Smythe attached the restraints and covered him with the blanket. Alan looked around the room, and saw noting that would hold the orb, so he stepped out into the anteroom and poked around until he found a gym bag. It belonged to the guard, and he brought it back into the cell and emptied the its contets onto the floor of a closet. The guard was struggling in his bonds, so Alan sent out a command for him to fall into a deep sleep, and instantly he was still.

The orb was heavy, and it was a bit of a struggle for him to manuver it into the bag, but Neil helped, and soon it was zipped closed.

“We’re going,” Alan said tersely to Dr. Swindon-Smythe, and they made their way up the stairs into the main house. There were two more guards upstairs, but soon they too were sleeping.

“Where are we?” Alan asked as he started the car. Neil was in the passenger seat, the bag with the orb in the trunk. It was snowing hard and windy, the wind making the flakes swirl violently in front of them, and visibility was low.

“New Jersey. Hunterdon County.”

Alan wasn’t familiar with the area. Neil told them they were about an hour and a half from New York, though that was in regular conditions. He thought it would take longer in the snow, and he was right; I-78 was a mess. Alan watched the sun come up over the Manhattan skyline as he drove It took more that two and a half hours before they reached the Holland Tunnel. Alan drove to Wilkin’s office and let himself in, Neil following closely behind. He locked the archeologist in his office with the steel door and told him not to touch anything, an order reenforced with the power of the Seed. Neil laid down on the floor and dozed off. The sun was just starting to come over the horizon on this Monday morning, and it had been a long day for him; he was exhausted. Truth be told, the last few weeks had been just as exhausting, and he was grateful for the chance to rest.

Wilkins showed up a few hours later. Alan explained that he had a friend staying in his office for the time being, and the lawyer lent Alan some cash, since his wallet was now burnt up in a Bronx warehouse. Wilkins agreed to arrange for Alan to get all of the papers and credit cards lost in the incident replaced, and he and Alan arranged for a more permanent place to stash Neil Swindon-Smythe. The corporation Alan owned, Cyaxares LLC., had a number of properties, so that would take care of that.

Alan was still worried, and he still knew next to nothing about the abductors beyond Neil. When school broke for Christmas they would sit down for a long together and hopefully Alan would get some information out him. Also added to his checklist was polwing through Massimo’s research notes, and spending a fixed time each day honing his abilities.

As he hailed a taxi to take him back to campus he saw a slightly familiar face looking his way from across the street, and it wasn’t until he was paying the cabby that he figured out who it was. The foreign guy who had asked for directions last night. A shiver crawled up his spine. He was still being watched.

Karick did not pursue him from the office, figuring that he was headed back to his college. He would approch him later, and confess all. He had a strange premonition that Alan Marshall was the only person on the planet who could keep him alive.