Monday, September 20, 2021

Grand Opening - Chapter Eight - Thailand

Chanthaburi Gem Market was doing its usual robust business.  A colourful assortment of deaders

shouted to passersby in the hopes of attracting a sale.  Some took the bait, others chirped back, most

just walked on, as did Ivory Stevens, though most wanted her for reasons other than selling her


The FORCE agent was not interested in buying cut stones from a normal vendor, she was interested in

the more high end buy/sell/cut.  She turned left and went down a narrow laneway.  Intel had given her the

names of possible companies that specialised in her quest.  Eyes still followed her but she was more

than used to it.  At 5’11’, blonde, curvy and with legs that went on forever, she stood out in the crowd and

she liked that.  

Ivory found the first shop on the list FORCE had provided.  It didn’t look like much and perhaps that was the point but a discerning person could see the gems on offer were of a better cut and quality.  

‘May I be of service,’ a friendly voice from the other side of the counter asked when she was safely inside the store.  

Ivory had already decided on her course of action given the time constraints of the assignment, besides she figured the more urgent she made the matter, the quicker word would get about, the result being a faster resolution, however that played out.  

‘Perhaps, I’m looking for this stone,’ she said, showing the picture from her phone. ‘Have you seen it, I want to buy it and of course I would pay a generous finders fee.’

‘How big is this sapphire?’ the man asked in awe.

‘22.93 carats in a platinum setting.  Have you seen it?’

‘That is far beyond my capacity,’ he answered, but Ivory sensed more.

‘Maybe you know someone who’s capacity it's not beyond,’ she asked, her smile lighting up the place as her hand slid across the glass counter, money clearly visible to him.

‘That would be a very small list, but your ask is a large question,’ he countered.

Ivory rather than be annoyed liked this back and forth because she could use the list as a cross reference to her own and as the saying goes, time is money.  

‘Money well spent,’ she smiled as she compared the two lists and made the matches.  She twisted and turned a little in the streets until she came to the next place.  Upscale and better, but it had to her mind just that shade of something not as it appears.

‘Yes I have seen it, yesterday as a matter of fact, but I refused to have anything to do with it,’ the man, in his early fifties, said as he removed his jeweler's glasses.  

Ivory’s face conveyed the obvious question.

‘That stone is perfect, why would anyone want to cut it up into smaller pieces.  The waste would be incredible not to mention the destruction of the object as it stands.  The 12 new stones would in sum be worth less than the one stone.  Why would anyone want to do that? I was offered an incredible sum to do the work, but my conscience and my professionalism would not allow me to.’ he explained his voice agitated.

‘I want to keep it as it is, so I’m glad you refused.  Do you know where it went or who would not have your professionalism and perform the cutting,’ Ivory asked.  In truth, she shared his anger that such a wonderful stone would be defaced. 

‘I know two people who would do it.  I will give you their names and locations.  Oh no, Miss I do  not want your money.  I believe you are sincere in your quest to keep the stone intact.  It would take several days to do an examination on how to best cut it, so you will have some leeway to find it.’

‘Sometime is good.  Perhaps you’ll take my money for those lovely emerald and diamond pendant earrings,’ Ivory asked.

One lead turned up nothing but the other was a hit.  She found herself back in the heart of the market at a

location that FORCE had not turned up on its list.  The facade looked fine and indeed the inside was clean

and bright as you’d expect from a jewelry store, but there were corners to explore that were not visible at

first and these led to places not so well lit or refined.  It reminded Ivory more of a Pawn Brokers

establishment, one that had been left to run down a considerable amount.  

The FORCE agent explained what she was looking for and although the woman behind the counter claimed not to have seen it the spy could easily tell she was lying.  

‘Pity I was willing to pay double what it was bought for and of course cover all the costs and expenses a cutter such as yourself would have incurred determining how to approach such a difficult task and of course say fifty percent on top of that.  I’m sorry to have bothered you, but if you happen to see it, here is my card and where I’m staying, sorry did I mention there’s a finders fee as well.

She pushed the card over, turned and walked away, her hips swayed naturally, her long legs were the last

to disappear.  

Seashell Village Resort was a pleasant place to stay.  Ivory enjoyed having her own cottage right on the beach. The breezes cut the heat at night while the large living area afforded her a space to stretch out her long body and keep it top condition while she waited for a reply. 

She knew one would come, the offer was too good to turn up for both parties.  She was more than sure if it wasn’t the owner of the sapphire it would be someone from the store looking to cash in.  

‘Some gems are priceless, but morals can always be purchased,’ she told herself as she lay on the beach working on her tan.  

Ivory relaxed completely on the beach, normally she would be alert either because of an assignment or because of her training in general, danger could come from anywhere, this time she had brought along protection.  The first was her clear sunscreen, SPF 90.  Skin protection coupled with a rather effective nerve toxin should someone 

or something decides to get a little too close for comfort.  Next, her bangle gave a very feminine version of brass knuckles.  Ivory hit hard anyway, but with this she could deliver a crushing blow to anyone.  Finally in case anyone or anything breached those two defenses her final weapon would deliver a fatal blow.   Ivory rolled over onto her back, the gold sequin bikini shimmering and reflecting in the light as the sequin cells charged.  Fully charged her bikini could deliver a fatal electric impulse.  She didn’t think she would need it today which left her conflicted.  Ivory Stevens loved her job, she hardly ever took a break, only when ordered to, she actively pursued dangerous missions to test herself and relished in the perils, but she had to admit she was enjoying this moment, even if that admittance was reluctant.  

She enjoyed enough of the day when her phone rang,’ she smiled and answered.

After the introductions negotiations began in earnest.

‘I’m not concerned with the price.  I know the value of the stone so what you're asking is acceptable.  I agree someplace private would be better, fewer prying eyes as you check the payment.  My place is very private, right on the water.  Follow the path to the last cabana, I’ll be waiting, come after dark,’ she offered.

‘That was too easy,’ she said, getting up from the sand.  A quick brushing and she walked back to her cabana planning her strategy for the evening.  

The evening offered multiple outcomes.  Ivory knew she couldn’t plan for every possibility so she planned her strategy around what could come up most with each scenario, this gave her the best chance of covering her bases.  But, she also planned for something else, something unexpected, not from her guest, but from her. It was after 10pm when the knock on the door came.  Ivory gave herself one final look in the mirror, she didn’t need to, but it was an old habit and it delayed her getting to the door right away so she didn’t seem too eager.  When she opened the door she instantly realized she had chosen perfectly and that he was not a disappointment in any way.  Ivory sized him up without giving anything away, a benefit of her training and feminine skills.  He was young, handsome, about her height, toned, but not overly so.  He wore sky blue coloured crepe tearaway shorts and a white tearaway muscle top.

‘Come on and can complete this business so we both can enjoy the rest of the night,’ she said the suggestive sentence not at all lost on him.

Ivory led the way into her cabana, heels clicking on the tile and hardwood floor while his eye scanned up her long incredible legs to the fringes of her babydoll hoping to catch a chance glimpse of her ass, but no matter how she moved it refused to reveal itself.  Ivory smiled as she walked knowing exactly what he was hoping for, but she was far too skilled at the art of seduction to give anything away so cheaply.   Giving up on that he focused on her toned upper back and her curves, both an intoxicating activity.  Western women, especially blondes were enticing for their exoticness and when you added in the curves they became even more desirable, a rare bird in the garden of paradise.

She swung round the end of the kitchen island, her pirouette graceful and alluring but still not revealing anymore of her to him.  Her face and stance told him to stop on the other side which he did.

‘First things first I suppose.  How much do you want and of course I need to see the stone before we can get the business end of this meeting out of the way,’ she smiled giving a slight twist of her torso for added flair.  

‘The price is $300 thousand US,’ he said as the gem appeared from his pants pocket.

‘Well that’s certainly one way to make an impression on a lady,’ Ivory said as she took the sapphire from his hand making she gave him just the merest of touches to spark him.

The spy produced a Jewelers Loupe from between her breasts in a slow tantalizing motion examining the


‘Everything seems good, the stone hasn’t been damaged in any way,’ Ivory said as she turned it about then placed it back on the counter.  ‘I have the money right here,’ she added, reaching below the counter.  A small athletic bag appeared on the counter, she unzipped it and removed large stacks of money placing them back below the counter.  ‘Count it if you like?  I brought along extra in case negotiations became sticky,’ she added scooping up the sapphire and walking into her. ‘You can see yourself out,’ she added as she held the sapphire up to the moonlight

Ivory didn’t hear the steps behind her, she didn’t need to, the reflection in the gem gave her all the warning

she needed.  The spy slightly contracted her feet, loosening her heels.  What she did see, even

somewhat distorted, was impressive.  He had removed his shorts and top, his extension at full mast and

ready for action.  It was however not the action she wanted or he expected.  

The heel sailed off hitting the wall at the same time her foot connected with his head.  She reversed her body and slammed his head from the other side, that heel skittering along the floor.  He tumbled over from the double blows, his head swimming from the power and ferocity of the blows, but Ivory was just beginning.  A long sexy taut leg swept out at full extension and took him down, his body crashing hard to the wood floor.  Ivory side rolled and dropped the heel of her left leg into his stomach, the downward power overcoming his stomach muscles.  He reacted as she expected, hands criss-crossing over the area as his torso elevated into the air, just long enough for her thighs to capture his head and pull it down to the floor.  

‘Comfy.  Now we can do this one of two ways.  You tell me where the real sapphire is, that one is fake, no flaws in the stone, real sapphires all have flaws and you can tell me who you work for or I can give you a very bad headache as my thighs crush you slowly while my hands give your stem a workout.  It may sound like the better choice but after a while you’ll wish you’d talked, because by that time, you’ll be in a fever, delirious from the pleasure/pain I deliver.  The choice is yours?’  Ivory let him think about it, but she knew what his answer would be.  

‘Very well, I could use the workout,’ she mused.  

The spy applied a little more pressure, she could see its near instant effects as his arms flailed, taking turns between slamming the floor and trying to insert them between her legs to pry her open, a hopeless endeavour, her steel vice was much too firm.  Ivory crossed her ankles and arched up delivering pushing pressure, her ass making slow circles then thrusts back and forth as she constricted.  

A few more seconds and that would have been the end of him, her body was arched to deliver a fatal neck snap, but that would not have got her what she wanted and be nowhere near as satisfying.  Instead, the blond python relaxed her legs and turned, sixty-nining him, her thighs sliding slowly down his neck until he was placed firming at the top.  Ivory pulled back her arms around his arms fr leverage as she settled on her feet.  From there she stood up to full height, pushed her arms through his legs and behind her shoulders where they stayed as she arched back slightly to stretch him.  

‘Now to pick up where we left off,’ the spy hummed as both her hands closed around his hard cock and cuddled.  His body jerked suddenly, Ivory smiled, she had his full attention.  

She employed her talents and skills to total and complete effectiveness, his body snapped and thrust, but

was held firm in her sexual entwinement.  He shuddered and moaned as she released him for the first time.  

‘Impressive baby, a lot in such a short time, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised you are rather well appointed.  Let's see if you can maintain the effort, you're still rock hard and throbbing.’

The paradox of her cinching legs and her soft alluring hands worked on him perfectly.  Just as Ivory knew he would give up trying to escape and enjoy her stimulation .  By his third orgasm he was entirely under her control.  

‘That’s it baby, enjoy the ride, judging by your efforts you have plenty of fuel left in the tank, let me convince you to spend it.’

Ivory’s hands bathed his rod in lapping touches as she worked.  He responded to certain techniques more than others.  Her routines settled on alterations as she pulled his essence from him with little trouble.

‘There, geyser, keep it coming, yes, spill again baby,’ she honeyed as her hands pulled his hard cock back

and forth as he grunted in her grip.  ‘One more lover, you can do it, you're so hard still, don’t fight me, you

can’t overcome my touch, just let go.  Ah, yes, so wonderful, feel the joy as I release you,’ she said as he


Ivory arched her body and turned suddenly, wrenching his torso then let go, his body hitting the floor with a thud.

‘Siren Sheath, lover, it temporarily scrambles the electrical signals in the spinal column, making movement impossible,’ Ivory said as she straddled him.  She lowered her face and softly kissed him while her hips pushed in, lifted up and caught his prong on the tips of her labia.

‘You seemed to have had a good time so I think it's only fair that I enjoy myself a little,’ she whispered hotly into his ear as her hips burst forward engulfing him with a single thrust.

Ivory rocked back and forth as she kissed him before suddenly pulling out and smiling.

‘Sorry baby, you're not my type. I know you're disappointed, but I hope the little gift I left behind will make up for it.  Now you remain still. I'll be back in just a minute,’ she explained, disappearing from view.   

He looked down his body and saw an opaque ring secured around the base of his cock.  

‘Ah you peaked.  Nevermind.  My gift, Circe’s Crown.  I transferred it to you during my thrust.  It’s activated and controlled using my compact,’ she explained showing him her compact, the excitement in her voice growing.  ‘Opening the compact activates the Crown.  The embedded microprocessor adjusts itself about you constantly as it works.  Once started it spins at varying speeds around your pole, up and down, the sensors inside sending ever pleasing pulses into you.  From time to time it secretes lubricant to reduce friction but also to keep you hard.  Any attempt to remove it triggers blades inside to activate and well you don’t want that.  Not only would it be insanely painful it would also cause you to bleed to death. I’ll let it run for a while before questioning you again, by that time you’ll be more than willing to talk,’ she hummed then kissed him several times, her soft hungry lips exciting him, Ivory straddled him again and light captured him again pulling his spear straight up.   ‘This way the device runs smoothly against your soft skin while I question you,’ she smiled while starting up the device.                                                                                                                                  

Ivory delivered a variety of kisses as a compliment to Circe’s Crown. She could feel the vibration of the device around his shaft as she held him and his pounding spear.  The spy tilted her hips from side to side, like a pendulum, the ball of his tip moving with her motion, held firm by her lips.

‘Tik tok, tik, tok,’ Ivory whispered into his ear as her tongue swirled about.  ‘The settings adjust, never the same motion twice, unless it detects a setting that makes you cum faster, then it adjusts and uses variations of that.  Right now it's rizzing up and down and up and down, driving you insane with pleasure.  You'd love nothing more than to push inside me, fill me up and thrust release, but you can’t, I won;t let you, everytime you get close, I pull back.  I’ll let Circe do my work.  You may survive her, but you’d never survive me,’ Ivory charmed as she felt him climax again.  ‘Goodness, so many, so fast, you can barely move now from exhaustion.’

Ivory changed her motion swing up and down his body, his body jerking in joy as he released.  ‘Just a few more of those and delirium will take over then you’ll tell me all I want to know,’ Ivory explained, her voice deep and throaty.

But sets of her lips delivered him as he jerked softly.  Ivory whispered questions to him and got all she wanted.

Wonderful sugar, I have all I need.  As a reward for being so helpful I’m going to leave you a present, my negligee.  Since you couldn’t get close to it before, you will now.’  

Ivory pulled the garment off and tied it about him.  His hands behind his back and about his ankles as the garment bound them together, Ivory pulling him back to stretch him fully over.

‘There, in this way Circe can spin up and down, her deadly caress free of your body interference.  She will eventually run out of power, but by then you’ll be quite finished.  I’d do it myself but I have other matters to attend to.’

Ivory kissed him goodbye, her hot and darting tongue working about his mouth as he came.

‘Quite the compliment, you do know how to flatter a girl,’ she smiled and left him looking at her amazing body as she disappeared to pack and leave.  

Friday, September 10, 2021

Grand Opening - Chapter Seven

‘It’s clear you can’t stay here, you need to find a place to create a Hive,’ Claire said as she and Seetha

finished a vigorous yoga session. Claire laid out a towel on the floor of the conservatory and lay down on

her stomach.  Seetha unfolded herself,  softly placing her body on Claire’s, a few minute adjustments

bringing them together.  The Silkworm’s arms ran down Claire’s until their fingers joined, both sets of

arms outstretched.  Seetha’s head resting softly beside her partner.  

‘Have we worn out our welcome already?’ Seetha inquired.

‘Of course not, I just worry that besides the training FORCE offered and your ladies excelled at, we and

by we I mean FORCE run the risk of contaminating you,’ Claire explained.

'And by you, I take it you mean Silkworms,’ Seetha answered.

‘I don’t want to be the saviour and destroyer of such a rich organisation.  The Silkworms have had their traditions and ways of doing things for millenia, too much exposure to how others do things can only contribute to a dilution of the purity.  You and the others are the gatekeepers of that rich heritage and it needs to be preserved,’ Claire said,  Seetha hearing the worry in her voice.

‘Circumstances at the moment don’t exactly give us options.  All the money and property is gone, taken by TRIDENT.  At present we’re no better than paupers, living off the generosity of a distant relative.  I dare say we are inhabiting a Jane Austen novel,’ Seetha mused.

‘Is that what you think?’ Claire said in an annoyed tone that was all about her mistake.  ‘You mean more to me than money, things, pride and whatever else.  There is no charity in this or anything I’m doing right now.  This is respect, compassion, caring and yes love that does not count the cost.  Right now I’m more at peace, relaxed and cared for than I have felt in a long time.  You can come to me for anything, ask for anything.’

Seetha switched her head over to the other side, her scented hair cascading with her.  She folded their arms in little as the two lay still.

‘I have been thinking about these and other things for some time now, but I have not, and I am ashamed to say this, the courage to bring them up,’ the Silkworm softly began after a few moments.

Claire curled a finger around one of Seetha’s, nothing more but motion said it all.

‘I don’t think going back to the traditional Hive will work.  It's too concentrated, all the Silkworms in one location.  I was thinking the Queen should live alone, the others come for various things, meetings, education, well being of the collective, but they all live separately.  In that way we are harder to hunt down, let alone locate. Modern communications can keep us in touch whenever and wherever.  To most people we would just appear as single ladies.  Silkworms are very good at being aloof, but in a polite way,’ she added.  ‘I like Allison’s recruitment plan, but I would like to suggest something,’ she added with a little hesitancy in her voice.

‘You’re doing it again,’ Claire said in a calm relaxed voice.

Seetha adjusted her body, rolled her head over to the other cheek and softly kissed Claire’s cheek.

‘We are far too vulnerable at the present to do the recruiting by ourselves.  Would it be possible for some of your agents to accompany them for this, there being strength in numbers.’

‘Have you ever met Paige Worthington?’ Claire asked.

‘Not personally, but I know of her by reputation.  Beautiful, inventive, extremely lethal,’ Seetha answered.

‘I met her while on a mission.  She was nothing like she is now, but she had that something.  I think you meet potential recruits in all situations, but I’ve always found missions work for me.  So, no to recruiting missions, yes to active missions.  We can learn from and help each other.  You and Susan can work out the pairings if that is ok with you,’ Claire offered.

‘There are other concerns,’ Seetha added.  ‘We have no more intelligence services and access to designer weapons, not to mention money.’

‘We can support both of those needs. David and his team love what they do.  I can introduce all of you to our clothes designers, jewelry makers and other needs a woman desires.  They will need your help in replicating some of your needs.  Do not worry about money, I’ll see to that, in fact I think you and I should go house shopping or should I say Hive shopping.  Are there places you are fond of?’ Claire asked.

Seetha moved her head moved again, the Silkworm tossing it  so her gardenia scented hair formed a canopy as they talked further.


Newton’s Third Law applies to the spy game as well.  TRIDENT had discovered the Male Silkworm Hive, the carnage left behind by Allison and Esha and the missing items The Strippers Guild had taken from their victims.   David Jacob’s and his team had kept FORCE up to date on chatter they had monitored.  It was surprisingly Mekong LLP and SALON that had more Intel to offer.  

‘We need to be very concerned about this!’ Alice explained.  ‘TRIDENT appears to be a little bigger than we thought, they have their tentacles into many countries, industries and governments.  They seem especially strong in South East Asia, the MIddle East, Central and Northern South America.’

‘Weak governments, corruption, offers that are too good to turn down.  It's the same playbook,’ Susan Janus offered.  

‘I think we hurt them,’ Tina Samuels interjected.  Your points are valid, the data backs it up, but TRIDENT’s reaction is a little more than should be expected.  Yes, they failed to wipe out the Silkworms.  If they thought that was going to happen, then they are incredibly bad planners or very naive.’

‘Exactly where does the hurt come from?’ Cindy Krutzler asked.

‘It’s sitting right there,’ Tina said looking at Claire.  ‘They didn’t count on her reaction, which tells me they have no idea about how she thinks or acts.  TRIDENT probably thought we’d be ecstatic about an adversary getting wiped out, one less problem to deal with, never thinking they’d, meaning TRIDENT, would have one more problem to deal with.  Now they will become very aggressive, that’s what the chatter is about.’

‘Enough of referring to me in the third party,’ Claire smiled.  ‘Besides, you all supported me on this venture, thank you again.  FORCE is not me, it’s we.  Now I know sometimes I make the calls, but I try to keep those to a minimum. We,’ she said, circling her hands around the table, still make the strategic choices and we need to make this one.  

‘I vote full frontal,’ Cindy smiled, knowing it would be well received in both ways.  ‘But, I will add, we are strategic and above all ruthless in our dealings.’

‘I see no other course of action,’ Fan Li added.  ‘My ladies can play both parts, but I will caution, that some of them may have to play the long game here to keep the Intel coming which means we cannot alway be giving a heads up without revealing ourselves and risk cutting off the supply.’

‘The same would apply to us, Yen Chau,’ added.

‘Of course,’ Claire said. ‘We have to play the long game and keep our agents safe.  That should not be a problem as the women are leaving for training in a few days.  Let me go back to the Intel for a minute, or should I say, a specific aspect of it, the jewelry.  Speaking just for myself I have a rather extensive collection, a great many of them functional, others just decorative.  They are important to our jobs and some are very special to me for a variety of reasons.  But, with the Silkworms, every piece is special.  It becomes part of who they are, their status in the Hive and outside of it with other Silkworms.  Losing a piece is like losing part of who and what they are.  Now, these ladies have hidden that very well, but not well enough. Allison please explain.

‘When Graveeta put the pearls back on Esha she cried and I don’t mean tears of joy.  This was from somewhere deep, I could feel it.  She has the longest continuous strand of any Silkworm over 1500 years.  She carries that legacy and in truth that burden and when she had it taken from her, she lost herself and the respect of the Hive.  You all saw the reaction the other day when she came back with me from the other Silkworms.  What you, none of us saw in fact, was the distribution of the other pieces we recovered to their rightful owners.   Some women got nothing back, others a few things and a small minority almost everything they fled with when this whole thing started.  I’m saying it will be easy or even feasible, but if we can we need to use our resources to find more of their pieces.  It’s all very high end, so the field is narrow.’

‘Seetha has decided and I agree with her to change the model of how the Silkworms are set up.  It was in the briefing notes, so I assume everyone has seen it and now's the time to offer counter proposals or to add something that may have been missed,’ Claire picked up the conversation.  

‘I want to see how they do in training and how their evaluations come out.  The physical I’m sure will be fine, I’d be much more interested in the mental reports,’ Tina said and she saw Claire give her the go on look.  ‘I remember my own start here, having to face unpleasant truths that were told to me.  Things I never wanted to admit, but knew were true.  These women have a mystique about them, always have, an aura of sophisticated sexiness and confidence, age was never an impediment, it was an advantage.  I gained some of that mystique, but it took others to help me realise it, but I wonder what would happen to me if for some reason I began to question if I was losing  it.  Clearly, Seetha has it, Esha just got it back, but what of the others.  When I watch them walk about or interact with them, honestly I don’t see it.  Most of them are questioning themselves.  They are dependent on us for the first time since they became Silkworms, they are just what they were before they joined, essentially, back where they started.  Now clearly we can do nothing about the financial aspect of the dependency, but the other part we can do something about.’

‘I think I know where this is going but the floor is still yours,’ Claire smiled.

‘Get the leads if we can and send them after their stolen items, but send them with a, and apologies for the blatant sexism, but with a male partner, only if the data from the evaluations points in that direction, but I’m betting it will,’ Tina finished.

‘You think they need that?’ Cindy said.

‘They’ve been here for, what, six weeks.  Not one of them has had a liaison.  For an organisation that uses the smouldering exotic femme fatale motif to the maximum not to have had an encounter, especially in this environment, tells me somethings not right upstairs,’ Tina explained.

‘So you think pimping them out with a male agent will build some sort of confidence back into them?’

Claire said in a shocked tone.

‘Don’t act so shocked, all of us have done it on missions, even when we didn’t have to, if we’re all honest,’ Tina said, looking directly at Claire then Cindy.  

‘True, Cindy said thinking of how she and Quinn had met.  Claire didn’t answer, she knew it was true.

‘I will consider looking at it once we have the data,’ Claire answered.


‘See you back here in 16 weeks.  Take good care of them, take advantage of everything offered and by all means mix in with the other trainees and staff,’ Claire smiled.

‘I was nervous about this and so were they,’ Seetha said.  ‘But when Esha came back with a recruit and the jewelry it seemed to perk most of them up again.  So I think the majority are looking forward to it as well.’

‘We’re working on finding other pieces, we have several good leads and a few new sources, hopefully we can send along a care package or two.’ Claire explained.

‘I will miss you Claire,’ Seetha said as her arms opened and they hugged.  

Claire watched the private jet takeoff before she turned and walked back to her car.  

‘More Intel to review and some of this is very promising,’ her assistant said as the car pulled away. 

‘Let’s get dossiers ready for what we know are hard leads.  Also, pull Cara from Myanmar, the situation is not stable and frankly I don’t want to aid this illegal military junta  in any way.  Let me know when you’re ready and we’ll proceed.  If TRIDENT wants a fight they can have all the fight they want.’


‘I get that everyone thinks we’ve done enough for these women with nothing to show for it, but I thought we all bought into the long game here?’ Claire said to a room of tight jawed faces.  ‘Come on then, speak up or are you all too fucking afraid!’ she added.

‘What a pathetic attempt at getting a rise out of us and uncalled for,’ Cindy said in a slow and controlled manner.  ‘No one in here is afraid of anything and you know that and we, all of us,’ Cindy said, her hand sweeping the table past Allison, Alice, Fan, Mai, Susan, Tina and Jacob. ‘Will do anything for the cause, but you're asking people to risk their lives for a nebulus goal, one that we and you, have no idea will ever become a reality.’

‘That’s what we do here everyday or maybe you’ve forgotten that!’  Claire shot back then regretted it, but it was too late.  

Susan shot a hand onto Cindy’s thigh under the cover of the table to keep her in place and Cindy took it the right away as she inched back into her seat.  

‘You’re a piece of shit for saying that and you know it,’ Cindy said.  ‘You can give them all the money you want, none of that matters to us, what matters is expending agents for no reason.  Chasing down gems, they could just as easily find on their own once they get back.  How much favour do we have to curry with them before we see a return, if any and that’s my point.  SALON has been by our side since day one, never a moment's hesitation when by all reason they had a right to be wary.  But, these Silkworms are somehow treated differently.  I think this woman Seetha has gotten into your head, among others areas,’ Cindy finished and this time it was Claire who felt the hand of Alice on her shoulder.  ‘Oh and one more thing. The next time you recall an agent in my department, how about you talk to me first about it!’

Eyes darted about the table, the last point was the one most taken in as it affected them all, but the former about Claire and Seetha was not being totally disregarded either.  Finally it was Mai who decided to speak.

‘Sometimes openly airing your thoughts, however raw, is a good thing, cathartic, but other times it does more harm than good, damaging to the point of non repair.  There are boundaries, not always definable until we step over them.  That is not the worst thing, not acknowledging and asking for forgiveness is,’ and here she took a long breath before speaking again.

‘SALON came to this organization a little while ago, circumstances were somewhat but not dissimilar to

what the Silkworms now face.  We had an adversary now grown to stature and resources. Now you

could say we made a deal to save ourselves and you wouldn’t be wrong to think that, we did indeed, but

we also made a deal with a woman and an organisation we knew we could trust because she was a true

believer, for better or worse and she believed in us.  We weren’t a pawn to be played and sacrificed for

the better when it suited her, we were part of something bigger, we’d all win by getting there together. 

You’re not only as good as your last mission, all your missions, all your victories and failures, no matter

when they happened, were respected.  Along with that was the autonomy on the missions, the trust in the

agent not the system that was one of the reasons FORCE was founded I believe or was I misled?’

‘I would trust Esha with my life,’ Allison said but Claire jumped in.

‘I don’t need your help, Allison, but thank you for that.  For the record, Seetha and I have a strange erotic relationship, never fufilled and it never weill be, that would ruin it.  We each know the other's emotional scars on some level, we never talk about it, we don’t have to, but being with her is healing for me, but she does not and will not ever cloud my judgement about us and yes I mean us.  TRIDENT is the enemy and they are coming hard for us, harder than they ever came for the Silkworms, because I pushed it in that direction and I will continue to do so.  The fact is we have got nothing back from the Silkworms, because they could give us nothing, they were a spent force, but with training they become another weapon, the Mature Section we always wanted, but never saw through.  They will give us the best of east and west in one more sharpened package when they return.  My apologies for not explaining that more clearly and now I wish I had a time machine to go back and not say what I said to my best friend, the woman who along with her Section single handedly saved FORCE on more occasions than I can count.  Without you Cindy Grace Krutzler none of this would have been possible and what I said I can never undo, but can only explain in this way.  When you married Quinn I lost the best agent I ever had and I knew you could not continue as an active agent much as I wanted that, a selfish narrow minded petty woman that could not see the joy you brought each other but only see the loss for me and not the joy you bring me everyday for sticking with me when I say stupid thoughtless cruel things like I just did.  Sad fact is I’m jealous because I won’t allow myself the happiness you do, but that is no excuse for what I said.  There are three people I love in this world, you, my Great Gran and Mrs. Hawthorne.  I am so sorry for what I said and did,’ Claire finished as she tried to hold it together.

‘Meeting over,’ Alice said softly and they all left the room.  


‘I’m having trouble coming up with three worse locations to send agents,’ Susan said as she reviewed the dossiers for the missions.  ‘Jaipur, Hong Kong and the Silom neighbourhood in Bangkok and Chanthaburi in eastern Thailand, the latter two are certainly extremely dangerous.’  

‘We agreed that Pushpa is perfect for Jaipur.  Who should we send to Hong Kong?’ Claire asked, pushing the meeting forward.  

‘Irene Wen is the perfect choice.  Sexy, sophisticated, cultured,’ Fan Li offered.   

‘I agree,’ and nods confirmed the choice from the others at the table. ‘Now that just leaves the hardest one, Bangkok and  Chanthaburi,’ Claire added.  

‘I would like to suggest Ivory Stevens,’ Cindy said and Claire looked alarmed. 

‘I thought we talked about this,’ Claire said.  ‘The CURVE Section has done more than enough and then

there’s the other issue.’

‘Your ladies do tend to attract attention from the wrong types of women,’ Alice added.

‘Exactly the point,’ Cindy smiled.  

‘It certainly is,’ Claire chimed in.  ‘You know what she’ll be up against, lithe women who are deadly to her kind.  They’ll attack in multiples and overwhelm her and not even Ivory’s talents will be able to overcome them.  I’ve been entangled in a double and a triple, I was lucky to escape the double, the triple was impossible and it nearly killed me,’ Claire stated.  

‘She’s our best option and she wants the mission, she knows the risks and can’t wait.  She reminds me of another certain PLUS agent who used to be your mentor,’ Cindy smiled. 

‘She does to me as well.  Ok, but please tell her, no unnecessary risks,’ Claire added.

‘I’ll tell her to be just like you, me and Sharon,’ Cindy added with a smirk.  

Claire and Cindy had made up at the end of the meeting, each understanding more about the other.  Cindy desperately wanted to take on assignments, but she could not shake the thought of being disloyal to Quiinn even though he had told her not to even consider that, she just could not get past it, so she concentrated her time on making her CURVE Section agents the best in FORCE.  Claire now understood this and Cindy understood Claire’s inability to let herself care for a lover like she had before.  In essence, both were on islands of their own making.